Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. He has worked full time for magazines, and his articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, while his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines.
Khaled is also the author of The Little Book of Muses, a collection of personal muses for writers and aspiring authors. The author is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association.
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The night’s tempest tossed the ancient carrack sideways. The soaked captain, wrestling the wheel, shouted commands as his crew scrambled around the slippery deck, rolling up the sails and tightening ropes.
Lieutenant Blake Deco rushed up to help the crew pull the shivering mainsail down. The storm was unexpected. His grip was torn loose by a massive wave that swept across the deck, ripping the halyard through the pulleys and throwing the sodden sail over the side of the ship.
Sleepy waves lapping against the sand woke Lieutenant Deco on a beach with wild rocks rising above lofty summits. A dozen bodies lay scattered around Blake, some covered in driftwood and leaves. The crew members who had survived checked on the motionless bodies. Some coughed up water from their lungs when they awoke, others remained rigid.
Lieutenant Deco got up slowly. He stared out at the calm sea in daylight. Their vessel was nowhere to be seen. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see the bearded captain, whose long wet hair floated around his shoulders.
“I don’t remember what happened,” Blake said. “Last night was ominous—unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”
“Neither do I, but without our ship, I pray for a miracle,” the captain replied, brushing the sand off his hair, face, and dampened clothes.
They scanned the mysterious landscape, then counted the remaining crew. “Only eighteen of us left,” the captain said. “We need to build a fire now or less of us will remain.”
The crew found some dry wood and stones to build a fire, which generated enough heat to warm them in the frigid weather. When they’d regained their strength, the men decided to explore the other side of the island. The rocks cut their feet as they climbed over the mountain. Once over the top the sight of a sun-kissed meadow lessened the pain.
The sun’s rays cast a golden hue over the tall fescue grass, stretching for miles in every direction. No one seemed sure how far they’d walked. At one point one of the men had to be carried. The grass became taller as they ventured farther to a point the stalks covered their path.
Blake suddenly stopped. “Did you feel that?” he asked, sensing a tremor.
“I did,” the captain said.
They felt it again and again. It was surging across the earth like an advancing wave.
“Wild animals?” Blake asked.
“I don’t know,” the captain said.
Standing paralyzed in fear, Blake was the first to see it… [end of excerpt]
Hip place serving LA cuisine with farm-fresh southern Californian produce in a rustic-chic dining interior.
Add: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Cute and cozy place serving American eatery tucked beneath the Hollywood sign.
Add: 2695 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Housed in two historic bungalows, this cottage-like cafe serves up large plates of gourmet American classics.
Add: 1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Trendy eatery/bar with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, serving Mexican fare, including tacos & margaritas (though the place is not mentioned in Gun Kiss, it had inspired the fictional establishment Mama Tacos owned by the protagonist).
Add: 225 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
A screenwriter and actor rendezvous spot with French antics, sidewalk tables and bistro fare.
Add: 1802 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Bar Nineteen 12 at The Beverly Hills Hotel
Indoor bar with signature cocktails overlooking the terrace.
Add: 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Mediterranean/Arabic dishes with vegetarian options.
A report from my publisher revealed that Gun Kiss is one of the Top 5 selling ebooks for the month of January 2018. It kinda feels like a pop singer trying to climb the music charts. This was a fun book to write, and thankfully my sentiments are shared by readers. The novel also comes in a paperback version, available at your usual stores.
I saw the paperback version of Gun Kiss on the first day of the new year when the courier guy arrived with a box from the publisher. Here it is. What do you think? By the way, can you hear the birds in the background? That was coincidental, not planned.
The book is available at your usual stores along with the Kindle version, which is still on sale until 7 January. Personally, I’m not too bothered whether I read books on electronic devices or on paper. I’m flexible that way, having been introduced to Kindle by someone. Of course, there was some slight resistance in the initial, but having experienced it first hand, I find that it works for me too. So Kindle or paperback, it’s all the same to me. Naturally, if you are a traditionalist, you want to feel the paper in your hand. But I wonder what the ancient Egyptians would have thought of paperback books against their mud tablets. See my point?
Still, it’s nice to have a paperback version of a book. But having the best of two world’s is much better.
I don’t have any new year resolutions. It’s live and let live for me. Or maybe it’s more like Live and Let Die. I learned a long time ago that you can’t plan things. Even if you tried, things have a way of working out differently, though not everything has to be sulky. And if it does, think positive. I mean, look at how nature deceives you with some fruit that looks so ugly you’re even too scared to come near it. But how sweet the taste when you give it a try.
I’ll continue to do things as I normally do but if there’s room for improvement, sure, why not? Provided I can handle it. If not, c’est la vie. Why force yourself, right?
I hope it’ll be a year of fun instead of the gun. The things you read about these days, it makes you wonder if the world will ever improve. But we all have to do our part right? We got to do the good, even if the bad appears overwhelming. Just don’t change whatever the situation. Stay the course. Try to survive the hurricane at sea. Remind yourself every day in 2018.
I think you know what I’m trying to imply. No need to say more. Good health and good fortune to all.