We’ve had mixed weather this week but fortunately, no snow. Today it even feels mild at 46F/7C. Not sure how long it’ll last, but we’ll take what we can get.
It’s been a busy week with the Christmas market in full swing. So far, I’ve sold thirty-two signed copies of my novels. Sylvia’s done well too, with around twenty-five of her laminated poetry sheets sold and six of her debut poetry book, Colours of My Life. We’re back at it again today and hope to have another good day as Christmas keeps approaching.
So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 12th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Olof Rudbeck, Swedish scientist, writer and composer; Peter Rabus, Dutch poet and translator (Liberated Britanje); Erasmus Darwin, influential English physician, poet, philosopher, and botanist (grandfather of Charles Darwin); Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (Madame Bovary); Maurice Donnay, French playwright (Lovers); Paul Elmer More, American critic and essayist; Volter Kilpi, Finnish writer (Alastalon salissa); Howard Koch, American playwright and screenwriter; Manès Sperber, Austrian-French writer (Like a Tear in the Ocean: A Trilogy); Armand Boni, Flemish poet and writer; Nilda Pinto, Curacao writer (Nanzi); Ahmad Shamlou, Iranian poet (The Book of Alley); Chinghiz Aitmatov, Soviet-Kyrgyz author and best-known figure in Kyrgyzstan’s literature (Jamila); John Osborne, English playwright (Entertainer, Look Back in Anger, Luther); Ali-Akbar Sa’idi Sirjani, Iranian writer and journalist; Bengt Emil Johnson, Swedish author and composer; Karl Edward Wagner, American sci-fi author (Bloodstone, Night Winds); Robert Lepage, French Canadian playwright; and Sophie Kinsella, English author (Confessions of a Shopaholic).
Any names familiar to you? I know two: Charles Darwin and Gustave Flaubert. 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
With all of the time at the Christmas market, I haven’t had much time to write. However, I do have drafts of chapters twenty-one and twenty-two. A total of eight chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 433. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.
Here’s another snippet:
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Mishka approached the door. “Da? Who is it?”
“Is that you, Mishka? Open up—it’s Grigori.”
Mishka slid the deadbolts and lifted the metal retaining bar stretching across the frame. Aiming his pistol toward the entrance, he pulled the door open. He spotted his old friend and relaxed. “Come in.”
After Grigori stepped inside, he hooked a thumb toward the Loud music, bright lights, and gunfire coming from behind the property. “What’s with the party?”
“A wedding celebration.” Mishka laughed. “Vladimir thought we were under attack. Don’t tell him I said this, but I think he’s getting too old to keep up with us.”
“Where is our comrade colonel?”
“Upstairs. He was pacing the balcony, watching for intruders when you pounded on the door.”
Grigori chuckled. “I’m sure his recent injury is accounting for some of his apprehension. Why don’t—”
“Welcome, Grigori!” Vladimir’s voice boomed as he descended the marble stairs, an AK-47 nestled in his arms. “Come in. Sorry about the noise, but they should be finishing soon.” He gestured toward a barred window where early morning sunlight lightened the sky. “These parties last all night, but everyone disappears by sunup—just like vampires and werewolves in European folklore.”
“Mishka said you were watching for intruders?”
“Da. Can’t be too careful.” Vladimir dismissed Grigori’s comment with a wave of his hand. “Is it too early for vodka? Yusuuf should be here soon to make breakfast, but nothing like a good drink to wake you up.”
Mishka resecured the door. “Yusuuf arrived about an hour ago, laden with fresh fruit. He’s making sharlotka.”
Grigori’s stomach rumbled. “I haven’t had sharlotka for a long time. My mother’s was the best. She always said the secret was slicing the apples so you could almost see through them and adding plenty of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.”
“Breakfast first, then the vodka.” Vladimir led them through the swinging doors into the dining room. The aroma from the breakfast cooking wafted through the air. “Take a seat and fill us in, Grigori.”
After taking a chair facing Vladimir and Mishka, Grigori eased back and crossed his arms. “As you requested, I spread the word throughout the former Spetsnaz community. Several are already committed to other endeavors, but there are twelve willing and able to support you.” He grinned.” The number doesn’t include Captains 3rd Rank Karol Pushkin and Stepan Gennadi and their crews, who will support you should it be necessary.”
Vladimir rubbed his chin and smiled. “Ah, yes. The Lyre class submarines—decommissioned in 1990 and designated for scrapping. I believe NATO referred to them as the Alfa class.”
“Da.” Grigori uncrossed his arms and leaned forward. “No one questioned Colonel General Kutzenov’s order to keep two of them from going on the scrapheap. Even the NATO inspectors were clueless.”
Vladimir tapped his fingers on the edge of his chair. “Would it be possible to arrange a short trip on one of them?”
“Da. I believe one of them will be in the Gulf of Hormuz soon so the crew can practice their targeting and evasion techniques. Do you want me to set up a visit?”
Vladimir glanced at Mishka. “Make the arrangements—we’ll both go.”
“Not counting Puskin and Gennadi, there will be seventeen of us.” Mishka rubbed a hand over his head. “Will that be enough, Vova?”
“Da. I shall lead eight here in Pakistan, and you’ll take the remainder and cause disruption in India.”
Mishka nodded. “It will be a pleasure to be back in the field again.”
Yusuuf stepped into the room and approached Vladimir. “Shall I serve breakfast, sir?”
Yusuuf escorted Ajit and Imran into the living room, returning moments later with a plate of sliced fruit and cups of tea.
After exchanging pleasantries, Vladimir motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for your today?”
Ajit sipped his tea and set the cup down. “First, our apologies for the incident during our meeting by Bahawalpur. We thought it best to come to you here to continue our discussions.”
“The council agreed we would speak on their behalf, and they would accept whatever arrangements we make.” Imran picked up a mango slice and took a bite. “We are uncertain how the attackers found out about our meeting, but we shall find out. Even if it was one of our own, he will be dealt with.”
Vladimir waved a hand in dismissal. “In our line of work, there are always interruptions. Nothing to be concerned about.” He stared at Ajit and Imran in turn. “I believe there might be a way to bring India and Pakistan together to resolve the Punjabi situation. However, there will be bloodshed.”
Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”
“First, we begin with peaceful protests on either side of the border. These will become more intense as time passes. Minor attacks will take place, escalating until the military forces of each country are involved.” Vladimir stared at the ceiling. “We’ll need someone to organize peace talks between India and Pakistan, but this can be arranged later.”
“India and Pakistan are always talking and making threats.” Ajit pursed his lips. “Why should this be any different? Kashmir is still a disputed territory without a resolution in sight. Why should they agree to resolve the Punjab situation?”
Mishka tapped the side of his nose. “We’ll make them.”
“How?” A puzzled expression creased Imran’s face. “I don’t understand.”
“We have a weapon which will wreak havoc on Pakistan and India’s financial centers. If they do not agree to our terms, we will destroy their economies.”
Imran glanced at Ajit. “What is this weapon?”
“It will be revealed to you only if the situation requires its use.” Vladimir crossed his arms and leaned back on the sofa.
More next time.
This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. 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.
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