Randall’s Ramblings, November 13th, 2022

It’s been a mild week, with daytime temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal averages for this time of year. Still a mixture of clouds, sunshine, rain, and wind, but overall, it’s been a reasonable week. I was able to get outside twice to rake up leaves as the wind is doing its job in bringing the rest down.

There was another decrease in the price of gasoline (petrol) this week, dropping two pence. So we’re now at £1.62 a liter. With the current exchange rate of $1.18, this makes the equivalent cost of a U.S. gallon $7.24, a an increase of twenty cents from last week. The Automobile Association is calling on the chancellor not to increase fuel duty, which was dropped five pence a liter in April. We should find out in his autumn statement this week. If he does raise it, price will increase the dollar equivalent to $7.46. Only time will tell.

The number of American college football games shown on Saturday remained at ftive. This weekend, there were two from the Southeastern Conference, one from the Atlantic Coast Conference, and one from the Big Ten. As always, I recorded all of them. The Big Ten game featured Michigan playing Nebraska, with Michigan increasing their record to 10-0 with a 34-3 win. Meanwhile, Michigan State defeated Rutgers 27-21.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress. You are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 13th, the second Sunday of the month:

Árni Magnússon, Icelandic scholar and collector of manuscripts (Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection); Charles Simon Favart, French dramatist; William Shenstone, English poet; Esaias Tegnér, Swedish writer (Frithjof’s Saga); Caroline Lamb, English aristocrat, author (Glenarvon); Edward John Trelawny, English traveler and author (Adv of Younger Son); John Wolcott Phelps, American abolitionist, author and Brigadier General (Union Army); Peter II, prince-bishop of Montenegro (1830-51) and poet (The Ray of The Microcosm); Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Mexican author (El Zarco); Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author (Treasure Island); Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams, Russian writer and feminist; Josef Kjellgren, Swedish writer (Guldkedjan); Paul de Vree, Flemish author (Between Doubt & Tears); William Bradford Huie, American writer and publisher; Inez van Dullemen, Dutch author; Nico Scheepmaker, Dutch columnist and poet; Garry Marshall, American TV writer (The Dick Van Dyke Show), TV producer (The Odd Couple; Happy Days; Laverne & Shirley), and film director (Pretty Woman; Runaway Bride; The Princess Diaries); Gérald Godin, French Canadian poet and politician; Ronald Shusett, author (Project Mankind); Edwin “Rick” Bakker, Dutch author: Rick’s Report, AIDS Diary; Thilo Timothy Newman, writer (Freejack, Alien); and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dutch author.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Robert Louis Stevenson. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

Coming Soon!

Ultimate Escalation cover artIn case you missed it, I can now reveal the cover of Ultimate Escalation, which will be released by Solstice Publishing. We’re closing in on the publication date. I’m currently going through the PDF file the editor-in-chief sent me for the third, and hopefully, the final time.

Here’s the blurb:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev, a disgraced Spetsnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful, or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

My Work in Progress

I’ve resumed work on Frozen Conquest. Chapter eighteen was posted this week to the two onlineSlide1 subscription writing sites I use. There were another fifteen reviews this week, bringing the total to 317. As always, plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s another snippet:

Felix approached Emmanuel’s door with apprehension. Wonder what’s up that he needs my help when he talks with security? He rapped his knuckles on the door.

“Come in.”

“You wanted my help?”

Emmanuel waved to a chair. “Take a seat. Sawyer will be joining us in a few minutes.”

“Uh. I thought we were going to his office.” Felix shut the door and sat in front of Emmanuel’s desk.

“That was the plan, but it’ll be easier here.”

“Okay, whatever you think is best.” Why’s he staring at me?

“How are you settling into the job, Felix? This must be quite a transition for you after heading up your own team.”

Felix shrugged. “You know how it is—need to go where I’ll make the big bucks so I can retire early.”

“That’s why I took Brown’s offer. I want to set up my own business in the future because I don’t want to answer to anyone.” Emmanuel chuckled.

“That’s too much of an effort for me to take on. I always work better under a boss—but one who gives me freedom to complete jobs on a timely basis without interference.”

Emmanuel nodded. “Understood. I—”

Someone knocked and opened the door.

In came Sawyer, the head of Brown’s security. He nodded at Felix as he sat in the chair next to him. “So what’s up, Emmanuel, that requires my assistance?”

“I believe we have a security breach.” He glanced at Felix. “An unknown individual is apparently using clandestine means to communicate outside the organization even everyone signs the nondisclosure agreement saying they understood such communication is forbidden.”

Felix swallowed. I’ve only sent one message through the dark web. How did Emmanuel find out?

“I’m pretty tied up doing some special projects for Brown, so I thought Felix would be the perfect candidate to help you out.”

“I-I am?” Felix glanced between the two men.

“Sure. Next to me, you’re the best person on the team.” Emmanuel smiled. “What do you think, Sawyer?”

“It’s your call, but if you’re satisfied with Felix lending a hand, I have no problem. Speaking of hands, I need some assistance on the ice with a Sno-Cat. I skidded off the frozen path, and the machine was stuck. Could you both give me a hand? With three of us, it should only take a few minutes. The rest of the security team is tied up, or I’d get them to help me.”

“Sure thing, Sawyer.” Emmanuel stood. “Felix and I will get our gear together and meet you outside in ten minutes.”

“Excellent. We’ll take one of the larger machines in case we need to tow the other one back.”

* * *

Fifteen minutes later, the three men climbed into a Sno-Cat, with Sawyer being the wheel. “Should take about twenty minutes to get to the stuck machine. Hang on, as I’m going to use a shortcut over the ice.”

Maneuvering off the normal path, Sawyer gunned the engine as they bounced over the icy terrain.

“Is that your machine up ahead?” Emmanuel pointed to a dark smudge on the horizon. “You were well off the beaten path.”

Sawyer laughed. “Brown pays me well to search for alternate routes around crevices. It’s exciting work but can be a bit dangerous.”

As they approached the abandoned Sno-cat, Sawyer pointed to the left of the machine. “If you look closely, you can see there’s a crevice not far from where I got stuck. I was trying to go around it when my little accident happened.” He parked behind the first machine.

The men climbed out of their warm Sco-cat and inspected the other one.

Felix pointed to the left side. “Looks like some damage—something fell off.” He glanced around and spotted a red and white piece of metal near the crevice. “There it is.” He slogged through the snow toward the damaged part.

As he bent down to retrieve it, he slipped on the ice.

“Wait a minute, Felix. I’ll help you.” Sawyer stepped next to Felix. “Here, take this rope and tie it around your waist. I’ll hold you while you step closer.”

Felix did as instructed and inched his way forward. He began to turn toward Sawyer.

A dark shape hit Felix on the shoulder, propelling him toward the crevice. “Hey! What are—”

Sawyer gave Felix a final shove, and he fell through the thin ice.


Perhaps another one next week.


Five of my novels (all but Revenge) are also participating in a Mayhem & Motives: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Reads. This one allows five books per author and there are currently 145 novels participating.


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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved