Randall’s Ramblings, November 12, 2023

Over the past week, daytime temperatures have struggled to reach 50F (10C). The past two mornings, we’ve had ground frost. At the time of writing this, it was 28F (-2C), although there was plenty of sunshine.

In preparation for the local hedgehogs to begin their winter hibernation, we cleaned out the three houses they use in the back yard (garden) and filled them with fresh straw. The hedgehogs still come each night for food and water, but it won’t be long before they settle down for a sleep.

The price of gasoline (petrol) dropped another penny to £1.49 a liter.  With the pound dropping  against the dollar, the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon dropped by twenty-six cents to $6.88. Meanwhile, diesel also dropped another penny to £1.59 a liter, resulting is a fifteen-cent drop to $7.33 a gallon.

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” — Maya Angelou. 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 12th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/).

Juana Ines de La Cruz, Mexican poet, nun and feminist (Primero Sueno); Jacobus Bellamy [Zelandus], Dutch poet; John Burke, Irish genealogist (Burke’s Peerage); Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American women’s rights activist, abolitionist and writer; Oskar Panizza, German writer (Das Liebeskonzil); Ben Travers, British playwright; DeWitt Wallace, American publisher who founded Readers Digest; Abraham van Oosten, Dutch poet and author (His Master’s Voice); Hans Werner Richter, German author (Socially Responsible Cinema, Gruppe 47); Harry Blackmun, American lawyer, jurist and 100th Supreme Court Justice (1970-94) who authored the Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade; Luc Estang [Lucien Bastard], French writer (Stigmates); Pennar Davies, Welsh poet, author and theologian; Roland Barthes, French literary critic (L’Empire des Signer); Johan Polak, Dutch publisher and publicist (Bloom of Decadence); Michael Ende, German fantasy and children’s writer (The Neverending Story); Tonke Dragt, Dutch children’s author (Towers of February); Michael Bishop, American sci-fi author (Nebula, Stolen Faces); Tracy Kidder, American journalist and author (The Soul of a New Machine); Naomi Wolf, American author and feminist; and Damon Galgut, South African playwright and writer (2021 Booker Prize).

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 nineteen of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2, and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Reviewers provided another sixteen critiques this week, bringing the total to 383. 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.

Bashari strode to a nearby table and lifted a set of keys before turning to Sear. “Who will be driving?”

“I will. Any problems if I add another dent or two to the Noah?” He laughed.

Bashari smiled. “If it helps you recover my daughter, you may do what you like with the vehicle.”

“As soon as we collect our belongings from the hotel, we’ll change locations.” Sear pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “Here’s my satellite phone number. I’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.”

Bashari took the paper. “May Allah, in his infinite wisdom, guide you along the correct path.”

Sear nodded as he turned and followed the servant from the room, Malik and Wasim bringing up the rear.

Back at the vehicles, Sear toss the keys to the Hilux to Malik and unlocked the Noah’s doors. “Meet you at the hotel.”

Wasim climbed in beside Wasim. “Do you think it’s safe to move into Bashari’s brother-in-law’s home?”

“Yeah.” Sear started the engine and engaged the clutch. With a lurch, the Noah edged forward behind the Hilux. “We don’t have a choice. While Dabir seems nice enough on the surface, I’m picking something up about him I don’t like.” Sear shook his head. “I might be wrong, but I always trust my gut feelings.”

The servant waved the vehicles into the street.

Sear traced their route back to the hotel, following Malik.

They parked behind the hotel and entered through a rear door.

Dabir stood in his customary position behind the check-in counter. “Good day, Sayyid. Did you meet with Sayyid Bashari?”

“Yeah.” Sear nodded. “He’s offered us a place to stay, so we’re going to move. I’ll be spending more time with Bashari so this’ll cut down travel time.”

“I … see.” Dabir frowned. “But the hotel isn’t far away, so why not remain here?”

“Doesn’t matter—this is my choice.” Sear’s voice hardened. “I always prefer remaining in more private surroundings. Even though there aren’t many occupants in the hotel at the moment, this could change.”

“Oh, okay.” Dabir replaced his frown with a smile. “Do you require any assistance in packing?”

Sear shook his head. “No, since I didn’t bring much with me. Keep my room for me in case I change my mind.”

“Yes, Sayyid.”

Sear, Malik, and Wasim headed up the stairs and collected their meager belongings. Before he left the room, Sear threaded his belt through the holster holding the  SIG Sauer and pulled his shirttail over it. He shoved the two spare magazines into a back pocket. Picking up his bag, he headed back to reception.

Wasim and Malik hovered near the check-in desk, each holding a small duffle bag.

Sear nodded and continued toward the back door with the brothers following and Dabir traipsing along.

Sear, Wasim, and Malik climbed into the Noah, with Sear once again driving. They waved to Dabir as they departed.

A heavyset man dressed in a black thobe and wearing a white dishdasha on his head stepped out of the shadows. Wiping the perspiration from his head, he stopped by Dabir. “So, the infidel has departed. When will he return?”

Dabir turned to the man. “Salam alaikum, Badr. He is moving to a property controlled by Bashari but asked me to keep his room.”

Badr nodded. “Wa alaykum as-salam. Have you notified the others yet?”

“I shall do that now.” Dabir pulled out his cell phone and punched in a text. Infidel relocating. Will have someone keep an eye on him as he can’t get too close to the truth.

He showed the text to Badr before hitting send.

Badr grunted. “When we were with the infidel during the air attack, he never gave an indication he recognized any of us. Let us hope it remains that way.”

“Agreed.” Dabir grinned. “If he gets in the way, he will join his brethren.”

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. More to follow on this later.

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