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Ziva Returns To The Cover Of TV Guide

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I was one with thousands of my fellow NCIS viewers at the end of last season, when the total surprise in the last minute of the show unfolded. My jaw did indeed fall open and I did indeed literally say “Wow – no way!” and I then added the yell “Ziva!”

I gotta say, I’m actually pleased that I did not see this coming.

 
I’m glad my entertainment, at the end of its 16th season, is still figuratively ‘knocks my socks off’. And it did so after an episode that was already suitably bizarre, in both plot and characterisation. This show ain’t rolling over for no one…


NCIS is television of a different ilk, but it still manages to keep its followers where they should be – on the edge of their seats.
 
It appears Ziva’s return will not be a ‘one-off’. I don’t know what arc they’ll put Ziva through, but I hope it takes many episodes Whatever transpires, I will be of good cheer.
 
Shalom aleichem, Ziver!
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Margaret Atwood Travels Further Than Ever – Blessed Be!

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I have noted some folk looking at this post from a couple of years ago. I had put it up because of the success of the television series, A Handmaid’s Tale.

Now, Ms. Atwood has produced a new novel, The Testaments, [which, by the way, has a brilliant front and back cover] with an international launch from London, England. I can humbly state that my part in her literary life remains the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was not my intent to piss off Margaret Atwood.

The opposite, in fact. I wanted her to know she was an inspiration.

She was giving a reading at the University of New Brunswick in my student days. I attended, but there was quite the gathering and she was whisked away at the end. However, I overheard there was a ‘gathering’ in her honour. Invitation only, of course. Academia and literati.

I crashed the party (that was the term used by the professor who clapped his sturdy hand upon my shoulder but – happily – did not thrust me into the night).

But Ms. Atwood was kept deep in many a learned conversation and I had no opportunity to converse. I did, however, overhear where she would be spending next afternoon – the historic University Observatory.

Next day I knocked upon the Observatory door.

It was not a cheerful Margaret Atwood who answered, and answered with alacrity.

She asked my name.

She asked my business.

And she asked how the hell I knew where she was. She had stolen the day to do some writing. Some ‘real’ writing, in this window-of-opportunity grudgingly offered on the book tour.

At least I was there to praise Atwood and not to bury her with some essay question.

Nor had I a manuscript to hand to her.

I might not have garnered a smile, but her curt thank you was reward enough.

For me, at least.

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1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

via 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

As long as one did not nod off for too long.

10. Dame Edith Sitwell would start her day’s writing lying in a coffin.

Source: 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

Hurricane Dorian Approaches, And it’s Déjà Vu

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When I last waited for a hurricane, it was a number of years ago. Then – as now, while I await Dorian – I could sense nothing in the air as the storm churned and crashed and destroyed up the Atlantic coast in my general direction. The skies have been clear and cloudless and pristine. The ocean is calm. The weather invites to sit out on lawn chairs.
I found I wrote about the experience at the time, including an odd exchange with a fellow working at the port, waiting for the hurricane (Arthur) to see what it would do to his work. maybe that fellow is wondering the same thing today, and stacking those containers to keep them on the dock.
As of 16:00 AST, the sky is nearly total cloud and the wind is up.
***************

The hurricane is coming tomorrow. I have found that when I try to experience a hurricane when it is actually upon us, I don’t get to see very much. Wind and rain, fog and cloud. Often you can’t see across the street.

So I went down to the harbour today. Hours before the storm, though reports indicated there would be waves. It certainly was cloudy. There are new docks at the Container terminal, and one can go out (or so it looks) almost a third of the way into the harbour. On a cement walkway which is fenced off from the terminal itself.

Had I not known a hurricane was coming, I would have noticed little change. The white caps which are always present at one of the points of the shore were longer and higher. There was a lot of stirred-up vegetation in the water, and a noticeable number of jelly fish. In an hour I saw but two sea birds, one cormorant and one seagull. One ship went out and one ship came in. There was no excessive wind, and though the clouds roiled more than usual, not by much.

As I stood standing, one of the huge trucks which move the containers came to a roaring stop behind me. I though this odd as there were no container ships at berth. The driver apparently wanted to talk.

“Are you going to jump?”

I assured him I was not.

“Well – the only people I see standing here are fishing.”

He was on a break and had time to kill. All the while listening closely to the two-way radio which exploded information from his cab, he nattered away. There had been higher and numerous white caps two hours earlier, but they had calmed. The small container ship I had seen leaving (and I wondered where it might be headed, for it was obviously a coastal vessel) was going to the islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland and LabradorHe wished the boat well. So did I.

He talked some more (commenting, for instance, about the terrific view from the cab of the gigantic cranes). But he now had to leave.

“I have to change the fours and threes into twos.”

“Pardon me?” asked I.

“For the storm tomorrow. Where we have containers on the dock stacked three and four high, we have to level all the stacks off to two high. Don’t want the wind knocking them over.”

I couldn’t tell which ship had left port, but I did note the one which scurried in. It was a Research Vessel, the Western Patriot. And damned happy (I would guess) to have made it to port.

[Image] https://static.nationalgeographic.co.uk/files/styles/desktop/public/hurricane-dorian.jpg

QWERTY of the World – Unite (do Not Untie)

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When In Rome!

There was:

an Abyssinian (I made her),

an Albanian,

a Bolshevik,

a Brataslzvian (he was worst),

a Brazilian,

a Canadian,

a Cannibal (uh-oh),

a Colombian (smoking hot),

a Cynic (she didn’t believe the Canadian),

a Dominican,

a Druid (he prayed for the Dominican),

a Druze,

an Eatonian,

an Estonian,

a Fool (ha ha),

a Freizen,

a Gazian,

a Graduate,

a Haligonian,

a Helgolandian (he was and gone),

an Israeli,

an Iranian,

an Iraqi (they three went into a bar),

a Jamaican,

a Japanese,

a Kazistanian,

a Kurd,

a Lithuanian,

a Lush (one in every crowd),

a Mongolian,

a Monster (them is the odds),

a Nederlander,

a Norwegian,

an Olympian (he was game),

an Opportunist (coulda been me),

a Pole (he vaulted over the rest – *joke*),

a Québécoise (I’ll never forget her / Je me souviens),

a Russian (great dancer – he had the steps),

a Scandinavian,

a Southerner (I melt when she says ‘Y’all) ,

a Stevedore,

a Transvalanian (out for blood),

an Ukrainian,

an Unitarian,

a Vulcan (he was eerie),

a Waalloon,

a Wisenheimer,

an Xanaduian (and on her dulcimer she played),

an Xaverian (he shot daggers at the Dominican),

a Yugoslavian

and

a Zarahthustain (thus he spoke a lot)

The Canadian won the first game.

 

[Image] https://droidbox.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/a/1a_2.png

Rejection Takes Many Forms – And Comes At Any Time

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I glean many sources after information of which agents and which editors have purchased recent books that are similar to one of my manuscripts.
When I find someone I think will be compatible to my work, I research them. Then, if I think they would have a reasonable interest in my manuscript (and there can be a variety of reasons) I’ll send a query letter.
I prefer to go through this process of finding names a number of times in a row, instead of finding a compatible person, then immediately sending a query. So, when I find a person I plan to contact, I send this information to myself in an email. It can be weeks before I actually send a query to an agent or editor, and then it can be two or more months before I hear a reply.
I came across information that John le Carré has a new book coming out the end of this year. I adore John le Carré. This announcement unusually named both his agent and editor. I sent both to myself, and eventually wrote queries.
Recently I had a rejection for my NATO Thriller. It was a refusal sent through the portal of an agency (which happens more and more). Since it was not an actual response by the agent, I had to go to my Sent file to see who I had sent the query to.
Uh-huh – it was the same agent as John le Carré. So, I actually got rejected before I sent the query.
Well – anyway – that’s how writers think.

One Wedding And Twelve Tuxedos

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Until this month, I would have said the strangest thing I have researched – and written about – for one of my novels, was the chapter in my first Onion novel, where my characters built a bridge over a river in 3rd Century Italy.

Alison Alexandra seems destined to edge me even further.

In There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Stones Were Not So Smooth, I currently find myself writing about a wedding ceremony where the bride is dressed in a tuxedo, as are all her attendants. She is a fashion designer, and has created a line of female tuxedos. She is unveiling them at her own wedding.

Peaked vs. shawl lapels – to say nothing of all the colours.

One aspect of Alison Alexandra – rarely alluded to – is that in her teens and early twenties, she was a fashion model in Europe. She left the job from boredom after five years, but it is from this enterprise she gained enough sustainable income (via investments) to be left alone, and live the life she lives.

However, her mentor – the fashion designer, Bellissima Isobella – has called her back to do a favour. Bellissima Isobella is getting married, and has created a line of tuxedos for herself and all her attendants. What better way to promote them?

There is the aspect of the tail wagging the dog in this research. And, let me tell you, the Interent is awash with photos of ladies in tuxedos.

Oh – yes.
Alison Alexandra will be in red.

Louie-the-Dog Becomes Part of The NATO Family

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An excerpt from: The Bonner Prediction – a NATO thriler, for International Dog Day. Louie is a Cane Corso, adept at both defence and attack. In this scene, he has earned (trust me) a little down time.

05:14:31 ZULU Time

“I’ll sweep the house.” Bonner puts the keys on the dining room table.

“That’s fastidious.” Bess looks at her watch. “It’s a quarter past one in the morning. Who’s going to visit?”

Bonner gives her a closer than usual look to make sure she is kidding. She winks and sets out to find dishes. He stops her with a hand on her arm.

“Are you familiar with NATO safe houses?”

“Nope – never been in one.”

“Don’t try to use the back door.” Bonner points through the kitchen. “It’s wired with explosives.”

“You call this a ‘safe’ house?’

“Makes it safer for us.” He removes his hand. “It will explode if someone aggressively attempts to break it down.” He smiles. “We can also detonate if from here, if necessary,”

“But this wasn’t your idea?”

“No – alas.” He starts away with his handheld. “But I approve.”

The house is conventional in its layout, ready for a family. She wonders if there are families any more. If these buildings have been relegated as guest accommodations, she doubts either diplomats or military travel with a family.

She removes the food from the containers and places it on dishes. As she puts them in the microwave, Bonner passes with his electronic handheld. She thought he might give only a cursory search (no one can possibly know they are staying here) but – no.

The walls, the light fixtures, the electrical outlets, the appliances, the taps, the windows, the doors are all given a sweep for tell tale signs of transmission. The doors are closed and their locks are tested. As with any place of sanctuary, every room can become a ‘safe’ room. If this dwelling is like others she has experienced, the windows can even withstand an RPG.

When Bonner is finished, he goes to the cupboards and removes napkins. On his way past the fridge he takes out a bottle of wine. He shakes his head disapprovingly.

“Screw top.” Bonner carries the wine and napkins to the table.  “Not the usual standards of NATO.”

“I was planning on Sprite.” She looks toward the kitchen as the microwave beeps. “NATO lives it up while we Swiss live in parsimony.”

“If NATO inclined towards having us live it up, they would have put us in more graceful accommodations.” Bonner twists off the cap. “At least it’s white.”

“Where’s the dog food?”

“They’re a tidy group. I bet food will be in the kitchen.”

As Bess takes the food from the microwave and hunts for plates, Bonner searches for dog food. Not only does he find a bag in the corner, together with a foil pack of dog treats, but there are two shiny, new, metal dog bowls – one for food, one for water. Bonner guesses that a member of the supply personnel is a dog lover and raided the stores of the guard dogs.

“How much?”

“Two scoops.” Bess is putting the salad into a bowl.

“What about treats?”

After.” She looks at him. “I bet you don’t have kids, either.”

“Nope.” Bonner puts two generous handfuls of food into the dish. “I’d make a lousy father.” He runs water from the tap then fills the other bowl. “There’s time.”

“Not that much time.” Bess takes their food to the dining table.

“Ouch.” Bonner has little interest pursuing this thread. He opens a cupboard and takes out two wine glasses. “Louie is fed and watered.” He carries the glasses to the table. “And now, soon to be us.”

Bess looks over to Louie. He is attentive to her, but also has side glances to the kitchen.  She waits until he is only looking at her, and then makes a hand gesture.

“Go.”

Louie is out of the room before Bonner can pick up the wine bottle. His claws clatter across the kitchen floor, quickly followed by crunching and the scrape of the dog bowl on wood.

“He’s not going to savour, is he?”

“Nope.” Bess takes her wine glass. She is about to take a drink but stops. She extends the glass toward Bonner. “It’s been a night.”

“But our wee family is safe to home.” Bonner clinks her glass. “Though Louie’s table manners could be more refined.”

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