If you like the cover of Incognito, please vote for it.
If you like the cover of Incognito, please vote for it.
Ask any author what’s it like to wait for their book’s first review, and you’ll probably get a nervous answer. But I’m excited that Gun Kiss’s first review is now out, from Midwest Book Review, and it’s a nice one. Take a peek:
“The mark of a superior thriller lies in its ability to seamlessly transcend borders, boundaries, and special interests to provide a series of interwoven subplots that all come together in a satisfying crescendo of intrigue designed to keep readers on edge right up to the end.
“Take a deep breath before reading Gun Kiss. Its special brand of activity and complex personal and criminal interactions makes it hard to put down, and highly recommended for thriller and crime readers alike.”
Some famous wartime cats who performed above and beyond their duty.
Simon’s efforts for Britain’s Royal Navy didn’t go unnoticed during World War II. He first survived a brutal attack that killed his caretaker, and proceeded to annihilate rats and raise the morale of his crew. He became a national hero, which earned him the prestigious Dickin Medal. He is the only cat ever to receive the award.
In 1854, when British and French troops occupied the Russian port town of Sevastopol, Tom led the famished troops to caches of food beneath a rubble hidden along the waterfront by the Russians. Tom was adopted as a mascot by the grateful soldiers. He was later taken back to England when the troops were called back.
Born and raised a ship cat, Tiddles served a few Royal Navy aircraft carriers, including the HMS Victorious in the early 1940s as the official Captain’s Cat. He traveled over 30,000 miles during his naval service.
She made her home at Saint Augustine’s Church in London in 1936. On September 6, 1940, the mother of one apparently instinctively moved her recently born kitten from the warm upper floors to the basement. The church was bombed by the Germans a day later. Faith and her kitten, Panda, were rescued from beneath the rubble by Father Henry Ross. The cat was later awarded a special medal for “steadfast courage in the Battle of London.”
The kitten was born in the Belgian trenches during World War I. After his mother was killed, Lieutenant Lekeux of the 3rd Regiment Artillery, decided to adopt Pitouchi, the only survivor of the litter. The Germans were up to something, throwing dirt near a thicket. Lekeux decided to investigate. With Pitoutchi on his shoulder, he left the trenches. He hid in a nearby shell hole to sketch their activity. He didn’t notice the enemy soldiers approaching. When he finally did, it was too late for him to run.
Lekeux hoped the Germans would not see him. When they came closer, he heard one of them say, “He’s in the hole.” Pitouchi jumped out of the shell hole. Startled, the Nazi soldiers fired twice at the cat, but thankfully missed. The cat managed to jump back into the hole. The Nazi soldiers laughed it off thinking they had mistaken the cat for a man. Lekeux returned safely behind the Belgian lines with his unharmed cat.
I guess this would be considered the boy’s locker room by today’s standard. While researching the Colosseum in Rome, I discovered plenty of things that I took for granted about gladiator fights. And then I realized how we’ve been duped by Hollywood.
Contrary to what the movies always show, not all gladiators were slaves nor did they always fight to the death. It’s too expensive to have a dead gladiator, especially after training and investing in these guys. It made no economical sense to exterminate the guy.
The “thumbs down” probably didn’t mean death even. Interestingly, there were also women gladiators.
These guys were even celebrities and icons.
Now we know…
My new Gun Kiss has a scene where it discusses the dilemma of a woman debating whether or not she needs a handgun when her life is put in danger.
I suppose, depending where you live, the question might pop up whether or not you need to keep one.
There are more than a dozen handguns out there designed specifically for women. They are easy to carry and concealable.
Here’s an example: The Ruger LC9s (9mm).
What are your thoughts about owning a gun?
Feel free to email me @ khaled_talib AT hotmail dot com
During the early days of the Syrian war I was monitoring a family friend who smuggled himself out of the country. I didn’t say anything to anyone because his safety was paramount.
In the course of his journey he was swindled, robbed, almost killed but he made it to Egypt then to Libya before reaching Italy. Some money was transferred to him.
He kept in touch with that “someone” I know through a cell phone at various stops. He’s safe now somewhere in Europe. His wife and family are with him.
Got bitten by a relative’s horse recently after taking a selfie with it. Laceration on my right arm. I ended up at a Malaysian polyclinic for treatment.
The medical service in Singapore is very slow. So you’d expect Malaysia to be much slower. I mean really sloooooooow, plus their reputation for being too lax.
But I got the surprise of my life. I walked into a crowded polyclinic in a small Malaysian town. Lots of patients already. The staff seemed very calm (humored by my incident, of course).
So I registered, got an injection,met the doctor, ended up in another room for a dressing, got some medication after — and I was out in less than half hour. I guess they won’t cast me as the next Lone Ranger.
1. Incognito was inspired by my frightful incident after encountering a mysterious woman in black one cold night in Geneva. The woman had been standing outside the building as I watched her from my room window. Later, when I went downstairs, I found her in the dim foyer. She was standing frigid, staring at me. There was no one else in the foyer. I was reminded of the governess in the old movie, The Omen. It led me to create an assassin based on this character.
2. I went for a holiday to Switzerland and Italy, but the holiday turn into research work for my novel. Meeting people, taking trains, visiting historical monuments all played a part for the story backdrop. I took down lots of notes.
3. I have always been fascinated by the Pierre Lotti café in Istanbul with its spectacular view of the Golden Horn. The first time I saw the place, it was in a tourist book. As I sat drinking apple tea, I realized I could write an action scene here, which I did.
4. Guy, one of the names of the characters in the book, is based on a real person. He was the receptionist and telephone operator in the hotel I stayed in Geneva.
5. I did some fact checking, which included contacting the Mandarin Oriental Geneva. The day I wrote “The End” after finishing Incognito’s manuscript was also the day the hotel’s marketing and communications manager resigned from her job. I had been corresponding with her to fact check some details.
6. The tourist guide’s character at Villa Balbianello in Lake Como is based on a real person who led the tour during my visit. This is the villa where they filmed Daniel Craig (James Bond) was recovering with Vesper (Evan Green) in Casino Royale.
7. I chose the novel’s title “Incognito” to blend with my previous novel’s one-word title, Smokescreen, to create a signature identity.
8. The idea of dragging the Vatican into the picture is based on my encounter with a Swiss woman I met while trekking a snowy mountain in Saint Moritz. I had asked her for directions. One thing led to another and she started complaining about her neighbor, Italy. Then she blamed the Vatican for all “the problems of the Europe.” I felt she had issues, but her words prompted me to thicken the plot.
9. The mystery side of the novel was inspired by Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Robert Ludlum’s the Road to Gandolfo, which included a plot to kidnap the Pope.
10. There were two other characters that made up the specialist team sent to rescue the Pope. But I had to downsize to keep the plot focused. The character Guy was initially a hotel receptionist, but I merged him with another. The other, a young Swiss, had to be deleted.