Randall’s Ramblings, November 19, 2023

At last! After six consecutive days of overcast skies and drizzle or rain, Mother Nature has taken pity on us as there’s a glimmer of sunshine to start today, and at least it’s not raining–although it’s in the forecast. It’s been too wet to get outside and clean up the fallen leaves, so hopefully, we’ll get a couple of consecutive dry days so I can do this as it doesn’t take long for the leaves to start rotting.

The Consumer Price Index dropped again last month, now down to 4.7 percent, which is better than the September rate of 6.3 percent. As with the Fed goal to get inflation down to two percent, the Bank of England wants to do the same for the UK.

There was another decrease in gasoline (petrol) prices this week, with a further two pence shaved off the price to £1.47 a liter. However, with the current exchange rate, the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon rose slightly to $6.91, and increase of three cents. Meanwhile, diesel dropped two pence a liter to £1.57, but with the exchange rate, this actually led to an increase of seven cents a gallon to $7.40.


I received good news yesterday. Ultimate Escalation, which is competing for the 2023 Chanticleer International Global Thriller Book Awards, has move from the slush pile to the long list. There’s still a long way to go in the competition, with the short list, the semi-finals, the finals, the announcement of the seven first in category winners, and the genre grand prize winner.  The final results won’t be announced until 20 April 2024 at the annual Chanticleer Authors’ Conference, but I’ll keep posting as Ultimate Escalation moves through the competition.

“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.” — Edgar Rice Burroughs. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 19th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/).

Lieuwe van Aitzema, Dutch historian (Matters of State & War); Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian scholar and poet; Wilhelm Dilthey, German philosopher (Das Leben Schleiermans); Karel van den Oever, Flemish author and poet (Geuzenstad); Fernand Crommelynck, Belgian playwright (Le Cocu Magnificent); Allen Tate, American poet (Mr Pope & Other Poems),; Anna Seghers [Netty Reiling], German author (The 7th Cross); Jack Schaefer, American author (Shane); Luc Tourneir [Christian J. H. Engles] Netherland-Curaçaon poet, artist, and doctor; (Emmanuel) “Emil” Braginsky, Soviet Russian screenwriter (The Irony of Fate); Zygmunt Bauman, Polish-born sociologist (Modernity and the Holocaust); Sharon Olds, American poet (“Stag’s Leap” – Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2013); Peter Aykroyd, Canadian actor, comedian, and writer (SNL, 1980; PSI Factor); Sam Hamm, American screenwriter (Batman); Charlie Kaufman, American screenwriter (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind); Michael Wilbon, American sports analyst (The Washington Post; Ryukishi07 [real name unknown), Japanese mystery writer (When They Cry series); and Barry Jenkins, American director and writer (Medicine for Melancholy, Moonlight).

Any names familiar to you? There weren’t any for me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I finished chapter twenty of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2, and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Reviewers provided another seventeen critiques this week, bringing the total to 400. As always, they’ve provided plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into reviewing my work.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions to improve the story, please let me know.

Sear pulled through the arch of the Rashid property and parked underneath an awning near an ornate door. The men climbed out of the Noah, pulling out their luggage.

A young man, dressed in a traditional thobe, bowed toward Sear.” Welcome, Sayyid. I am Parvez, the caretaker and sometimes cook. Sayyid Bashari told me to expect your arrival.” Parvez smiled. “Please, follow me.” He led them inside the two-story, whitewashed building with black trim around the windows.

Sear glanced around as they entered. “Parvez, is anyone else living here right now?”

He shook his head. “With the demise of Sayyid Rashid, I am the only one. Why do you ask?”

“Just a feeling I have.” Sear smiled to alleviate any worries Parvez might have. I think he’s lying—my bullshit meter is on overdrive.

Parvez led them along a narrow corridor devoid of furnishings and fixtures into a large, well-lit divan.  Two red and white sofas and four armchairs filled most of the living room, with several round hand-carved tables and two coffee tables arranged around the seating.

Pervez gestured toward the furniture. “If you will be seated, I shall bring you black tea with mint and qahwa, Arabic coffee. I prepared some Yemeni snacks for you after Sayyid Bashari told me you were coming.”

“Just the tea and coffee, for now, Pervez.” Sear patted his stomach. “It’s not that long since Bashari fed us.”

“As you wish. They will be ready when you are hungry.” He turned and left the room.

After Parvez departed, Sear turned to Wasim and Malik. “What do you think?”

Malik rubbed his chin. “I think he is trying to be friendly, but I do not believe he is sincere and cannot be trusted.”

“I agree.” Wasim smiled. “as the RSO used to say, ‘he’s slimy.’”

Sear chuckled. “My thoughts exactly. We’ll need to keep an eye on him.”

“When we meet with Tarik, we should mention Pervez and have Tarik check him out.” Wasim pursed his lips. “We cannot be too careful.”

Sear nodded. “Agreed. I—”

Pervez returned to the divan, pushing a trolley. He set the tea and coffee service on one of the coffee tables, placing a plate of dates next to it. “I know you said you were not hungry, but in the Arab world, we say dates help to rejuvenate the body.” He turned to Sear. “What would you like to drink?”

“Coffee.” Sear studied the young man. “How long have you worked for the Rashid family?”

Pervez twisted his lips into a smile. “They took me in about three years ago. Before that, I lived with some of the homeless in the old part of the city.” He shrugged. “Without their generosity, I would have joined with Allah as so many of the poor have done.”

He served tea to the brothers. “If there is nothing further you require, I shall return to my duties.” He pointed to an old-fashioned bell on the wall, a gold-colored rope attached to it. “The Rashid family found this on one of their excursions. Pull the cord, and I shall hear it.” He turned and departed.

Wasim stood.

“Here are you going?” A look of amusement creased Sear’s face.

“I am going to wander around our new home. Perhaps, I might learn something of interest.”

Malik stood.

“I supposed you’re going to help your brother?” Sear grinned.

“No. I’m going to find a toilet.”

Both men departed, leaving Sear to his thoughts. Plenty of subterfuge going on. I think I can trust Malik and Wasim, but everyone else bears watching. He poured himself some more coffee, now almost cold.

Twenty minutes later, the brothers returned.

Sear glanced at their faces. “Learn anything?”

Wasim shook his head. “Nothing of any use, but I did overhear Pervez talking to someone on the phone. I could not make most of it out, but he did mention you by name.”

“Hmm. Time for me to wander.” Sear left the divan, wandering through the various hallways and rooms of the property. No sign of Pervez. Where did he go?

Sear turned at the sound of a voice, which seemed to come from above. Is he on the roof? If so, why? He walked along the corridor, checking the rooms. All locked. He tried the final door.

It opened to reveal a set of stairs.

Sear pulled out his pistol and climbed the stairs, one at a time, so he didn’t make any noise. When he reached the roof, he eased another door open and stepped out.

Spotting Pervez heading toward him, Sear ducked behind an air conditioning unit. After Pervez passed his hiding place, Sear stepped out behind him. “Who were you talking to?”

Parvez jumped as he shoved the phone into his pocket. “Uh. No one, Sayyid.”

More next time.

I’m also working on a new project as a co-author with Michael Maxwell, the author of over thirty novels. The tentative title is The Great Rebellion – Finn Harding Book One.  It’s a romantic alternate history of the American Civil War. I recently completed a new chapter two and sent it to Michael for approval, which came quickly. Now, I’m busy with a new chapter three.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

1 thought on “Randall’s Ramblings, November 19, 2023”

  1. My wife was also born today the 19th. She’s not happy about reaching 70 I told her she should be many do not even reach that age.
    In Montreal we seem to have the same cold rainy weather as you have. I liked the new chapter and the good hook at the ending on the roof.
    Thank you for your excellent comments on my “Friends, spies,enemies” Posted on TNBW. Have a great week.

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