Randall’s Ramblings, January 2, 2022

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a safe and prosperous 2022! We had a quiet night at home, but did catch the fireworks shown on the t.v. from around the world. There were plenty of fireworks in the area, too, based on the sounds, but we couldn’t see them.

The cream tea river cruise on the Firth of Forth was good and it was interesting to see Blackness Castle. I didn’t know the castle was referred to as ‘the ship that never sailed’ due to its great stone ship appearance, but if you look at the photo below you’ll see. The castle was closed to visitors at this time, but we hope to make a trip inside in the future.

Screenshot 2022-01-02 at 08-44-57 Blackness Castle, Linlithgow – Castles

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “In Life, it’s not where you go. It’s who you travel with.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 2nd, the first Sunday of the new year. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Philip Freneau, poet of American Revolution (The American Village); Henry Kingsley, English Australian writer; Mendele Moykher Sforim, Jewish writer; Ernst Barlach, German writer and artist; Johannes L “Jan” Walch, Dutch literary (Grimaces); Jacques Chardonne [Boutelleau], French writer (l’Epithalame); Moyshe Leyb Halpern, Galican/American poet; Robert Nathan, American poet and novelist (Portrait of Jennie); Rene Etiemble, French literature historian (Parlez-vous Franglais); Ulrich Becher, German writer and playwright; Srirangam Srinivasarao [Sri Sri], Telugu Poet; Isaac Asimov, Russian scientist and sci-fi writer (I Robot, Foundation Trilogy); David Herbert, publisher; Gerhard Amanshauser, writer; Daisaku Ikeda, Japanese writer; Morimura Seiichi, Japanese novelist; and Hans Herbjørnsrud, Norwegian author.

Any names familiar to you? The only name I know is Isaac Asimov. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Terrifying New Year promotion, running from now until the end of January. With 118 novels available, there’s bound to me something to catch your interest.

My Work in Progress

Slide1I didn’t get a chance to do any writing this week, but will be back to my manuscript in the coming days. Ultimate Escalation received another ninechapter reviews, bringing the total to 458. Plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Nate nudged Willie. He whispered, “Hey, does the guy who just passed through customs look familiar?”

Willie craned his neck. “Can’t tell. Why?”

“I think he was at our hotel in Dubai.”

“So? Lots of people use the same hotel before catching flights.”

Nate rubbed his chin. “Yeah, I know. But there’s something about him… Perhaps it’ll come to me.”

“Your turn.” Willie gestured toward the official beckoning Nate forward. “Be nice to the guy, right?”

After clearing customs, the three Bedlam operatives headed into the oppressive heat and sunshine. They walked past two taxis at the head of the line and climbed into the third one.

“Where to?” The driver weaved around the other taxis, waving as they blew their horns.

“Pearl Continental Hotel.” Willie reached into his backpack, pulling out an iPod and earbuds.

“Traffic is heavy. Take about an hour.”

“No rush.”

* * *

The man in the thobe leaned over the seat in the first taxi. “Follow them, but not too close.” He dropped an envelope next to the driver.

“Yes, sahib.”

They rode through the crowded streets in silence. Outside, myriad horns blew, and the squeal of worn brake pads permeated the air.

The taxi pulled into the Pearl Continental parking lot two cars behind the Bedlam operatives’ vehicle.

“Don’t go any closer. I’ll get out here.”

“Yes, sahib.

The robed man climbed out of the taxi and used a side entrance to enter the hotel. He headed to the lobby, pulling a newspaper from a rack, and sitting in a chair partially hidden behind a large golden pot and green fern. From his vantage point, he could still monitor the check-in desk.

He fished a cellphone from his pocket, dialed, and waited for someone to answer.


The man spoke in Arabic-accented Russian. “Mishka, it’s me—Farook.”

“Da. Report.”

“The foreigners are at the Karachi Pearl Continental.”

“Keep an eye on them. Find out who they meet and where they go.”

“As you wish.” Farooq cut the connection.

* * *

After collecting their luggage from the trunk of the taxi, Willie, Nate, and Alfie shouldered their backpacks and pulled their roll-arounds into the hotel.

They approached the check-in desk, quiet at this time. Once they received their room cards, they headed to the elevators.

* * *

Farooq watched the elevator, noting it stopped on the fourth floor. He stood and approached the check-in desk.

The man behind the desk smiled. “Checking in, sir?”

“No.” Farooq pulled out an identification card and flashed it at the clerk. “I’m with UAE State Security. Three men just checked in.” He slid an envelope across the counter. “What are their names and room numbers?”

The clerk glanced around before grabbing the envelope and shoving it in a pocket of his shawal kameez. He studied the computer screen. “Mister Smith, Jones, and Brown are staying in rooms four oh two through four oh four.”

Farooq grinned. How original with their names. Or is it arrogance? “Thank you. Please have someone bring me a tea. I’ll be waiting in the lobby. Do not tell the mean I asked about them.”

The clerk nodded. “Your money has purchased my silence. I will arrange a tea and something for you to eat.”

“Excellent.” Farooq returned to his seat.

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week . 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. All the best for 2022!

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