The Americans think they’ve got problems with the NSA. Come to Singapore. They watch every living thing here.
A reader in Italy sent me this picture of him with my book, Smokescreen, taken at the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome. Pretty cool, huh?
It’s always interesting to receive pictures of people from around the world holding your book.
If you’ve read my novel, please send a picture of yourself with my novel, and I’ll load it up on a special page that I have created here on this website. I will be happy to receive it.
You can take the picture anywhere you like, whether it’s at the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, a rooftop in New York, your favorite cafe or simply at your favorite reading place.
Catherine Rose Putsche, a British author in Austria, received her signed copy of Smokescreen, and she was kind enough to send me this picture. Thank you so much, Catherine! She is the author of numerous suspense-thrillers and horrors.
I should put more trust in my thoughts and ideas. Story ideas that I had in mine but doubted them were eventually made into books and movies by others. And when I watched these movies, I would scream in my head, “Hey, I had the same idea!”
One example was “Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight” with Billy Zane. I had a similar concept but instead of portraying demons, I thought of vampires.
My version: Some people were trapped in a castle, and one of them had this special gadget that created a temporary force field (20 minutes each time) that protected them from vampires.
In Demon Knight, someone had a mystical bottle of blood that when poured on the ground would create a temporary force field to prevent the ghouls from crossing over.
There were other stories that I lost opportunity too. But you get the idea. Confidence is key.
During a trip to Jordan many years ago, I purchased two fancy daggers from a bazaar. You know how it is with souvenirs, especially if you see something exotic.
On my way back to Singapore, I declared to the Jordanian airport customs what I was packing. They had no issue. They gave me a piece of formal paper like a receipt, and left the daggers with the security guy to carry on board the plane. I was told the security guy would released them to me when the plane landed in Kuala Lumpur during my transit.
At Kuala Lumpur airport, the security guy handed the daggers to me outside the doors of the plane. His job was done.
The Malaysians, aware of what I was carrying, gave me another piece of formal paper that allows me to carry the daggers on board the shuttle. I assumed everything would be fine when I landed in Singapore. Everybody was cool, everybody had common sense… until I arrived in Singapore.
Upon my arrival at Singapore airport, I took the liberty to declare what I had in my possession. I even showed the authorities the papers I was carrying. Wrong move.
The next thing I knew, I was hauled into a room and interrogated by the police. The police officers adopted an aggressive tone when they spoke to me. Arms crossed, they asked me why I bought those daggers, and even wanted to know what else I had in my suitcase.
Of course, I was humored by the enlarged situation. For me, it was entertainment seeing their exaggerated behavior. I realized, of course, it was pointless discussing with these people. I knew I had to break it down for them. So this is what I said to the senior uniform officer sitting behind the desk as the rest flanked me:
“If I really wanted to harm someone, I wouldn’t bother going all the way to Jordan to buy daggers, and then declare what I was carrying. I just have to walk into my grandmother’s kitchen, borrow her Japanese steak knives to do something nasty. Believe me, she’s got sharp ones.”
My explanation sunk into the senior officer’s mind. He let me keep the daggers, but it had to be quarantined for two weeks at the Police Arms & Explosives Division before they were returned to me. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas.
Contrary to popular belief, the world of espionage isn’t a man’s domain. Here are some examples of women in history who have served their allegiances with as much distinction as their male counterparts.
Doris Bohrer was an operative for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) (the CIA’s precursor) in the 1940s, and served in Italy.At the age of 20, she helped plot the Allied invasion on the Italian front and eventually wound up stationed on the country’s Adriatic coast. She returned to Washington, where she became the agency’s deputy chief of counter-intelligence.
Elizabeth “Betty” McIntosh is the oldest living CIA ‘spy girl.’ She was one of the few women who worked overseas for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). During World War II, she created false news reports, postcards, documents, and radio messages designed to spread disinformation to undermine Japanese troop morale. She then went on to work for the CIA until her retirement in 1973.
Born on August 7, 1876, in the Netherlands, Mata Hari (Geertruida Zelle) was a professional dancer and mistress who accepted an assignment to spy for France in 1916. She was hired to pass military information to the French government. However, Mata Hari was accused of being a German spy. She was executed by firing squad on October 15, 1917, after French authorities learned of her alleged double agency.
Antonia Ford was alleged to have been a US Confederate secret agent. After being reported to authorities by a Union spy, Ford was arrested and jailed in Washington, D.C. at the Old Capitol Prison in early 1863. During her confinement, her arresting officer, Major Willard, worked for her release. Ford was freed, and later married Major Willard on March 10, 1864.
Noor Inayat Khan was a British intelligence officer who ran a spy network in Paris. For ten months she was tortured by the Gestapo desperate for any information. She was eventually executed at Dachau concentration camp on September 13, 1944, aged just 30.
Did I ever tell you about the time several Singapore and Malaysian police officers were looking for me?
They went searching porta porta for me in Arab Street, a neighborhood famous for cafes, restaurants and sheesha bars.
I had waiters and customers rushing toward my face telling me several squad cars had arrived with men carrying Heckler & Koch sub machine guns, and it was an APB for a certain “Khaled Talib.”
Well, they found me – and it was a riot.
What did they want? An officer approached me and said he heard about my reputation in making good sheesha. So he wanted me to concoct a good one for the visiting Malaysian police commissioner.
I got permission from the cafe owner to serve the commissioner a specialty – apple and grape. He enjoyed himself.
SMOKESCREEN BOOK CONTEST
Spies are discreet people. We are always hiding in the shadows. But when it comes to hosting exciting contests, we are just like everyone else – we can’t keep our mouth shut!
So here’s letting everyone know about the $30 Amazon Gift Card we are offering as a grand prize. All you have to do is participate in the Smokescreen Book Contest, follow the instructions, and stand a chance to win the Grand Prize!
*The Winner is chosen based on verified entries and total points. * The Winner will be contacted and have 3 days (72 hours) after email is sent to claim the prize. If the prize is not claimed within the time frame of 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen. * The new winner will have 3 days (72 hours) from the time of notification to claim the prize. *Smokescreen Book Contest team reserves the right to end a giveaway early without notice or prolong if it is deemed necessary.* Smokescreen Book Contest team reserves the right to disqualify an entry. * Smokescreen Book Contest team is not responsible for lost or damaged items. *Contest open only to the following countries United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom.
At an ancient café in Cairo, two veteran spies plot a covert mission to resolve — once and for all — the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The pledge: Israel will make a major concession as part of the peace treaty. In Singapore, Jethro Westrope, a magazine journalist, stumbles onto the scene of a murder: the beautiful Niki Kishwani directs him, in her last breath, to a digital recorder, evidence that puts Jethro’s life in serious danger. And, much worse, he is framed for Niki’s murder. Jethro sets out to find Niki’s killer and is drawn into a web of deception and intrigue involving officials from the Singaporean, Israeli, and American governments, each with a complex, competing, and potentially deadly agenda. Against this pulse-pounding backdrop, Jethro races to find answers and save himself —yet nothing is as it seems. He finds himself at the centre of a political plot so diabolical and sweeping in its world implications that he is stunned to discover tomorrow’s news headlines today. He is being set up not only as a murderer but as an assassin, and something much larger than his own fate is in his hands.
“Original and Bold Plotting” – The Examiner
“Authentic and Compelling” – e-thriller.com
“Plenty of twists and well depicted action” – Crime Thriller Hound
“Bourne-like” – Times of Israel
“Action-packed spy thriller” – Digital Journal
“Ample Adrenaline” – Millennium Post (India)
“Extraordinary Thriller” – Expat Living Singapore
$30 Amazon Kindle Gift Card – Judy from New Zealand