Randall’s Ramblings, August 21, 2016

Another weekend filled with brilliant sunshine and rain, occasionally at the same time. On Friday evening we were treated to a spectacular lightning display over the lake. Numerous bursts lit up the sky. No thunder or rain, but still a good show.

If your birthday is this weekend (I know someone who has one today), you’re in good company: H.P. Lovecraft, author of horror tales; Isaac Hayes, composer, musician, actor, co-wrote “Soul Man” and won an Academy Award for “The Theme From Shaft”; Jules Michelet, French historian, who wrote the 24-volume Historie de France; William “Count” Basie, American band leader and composer; Kenny Rogers, singer; Jackie DeShannon, also known as Sharon Lee Meyers, singer/songwriter, including “Lonely Girl” and “What the World Needs Now”; and Ivan Stang, writer.

Also this weekend, another first, back in 1667. John Milton published Paradise Lost, about the fall of Adam and Eve.

Happy Birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

As I continue researching information for homework from my publisher, I looked back on what I’ve been doing over the past year. In addition to completing my first novel, ‘The Kurdish Connection’, I’ve written four short stories. In some ways, I think writing a short story can be more difficult as the elements are the same as for a novel, but certainly compressed. Otherwise, you end up with a novella.

With two of my short stories, I stepped outside my normal action-adventure genre, with one suitable for children and another my first ever attempt at science fiction. Where will the next year take me? Hope you’ll join me for my continuing journey.

No excerpts from any of my works this time. Next week, I’ll include more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge. I might also have some news to share regarding a condensed version of the first chapter from this work.

My Work in Progress

It’s been another hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with. Once again, I spent more time returning critiques for those who’ve been reviewing my work than I did writing. It’s been time to catch up to lend my thoughts regarding their stories. After all, they’ve made the effort to read and comment on mine.

Chapter six of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ is almost finished and hope to have it posted to my writing groups over the next week. Work is also underway on chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, but it might be too difficult to post both chapters at the same time.

The last touches of my sci-fi short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ were completed this week. The story has been entered in a contest held in memory of a novice sci-fi writer who passed away a week ago. She was a member of one of my writing groups.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Savior (The Savior Series Book 1) by A. King Bradley. An exciting story about the struggles of a teenage superhero, I actually enjoyed it. I don’t remember why I chose this particular story, but I’m glad I did.

Adam Reaper, a sixteen-year old, has a secret. He knows he’s different, but not why. Constantly hounded by school bullies, he eventually learns he has super powers. He meets the girl of his dreams, who happens to be the principal’s daughter. Things begin to change for Adam after being invited to the principal’s house for dinner. Imagine his shock when Monica opens the door.

Joining forces with two friends, one a computer geek and the other, a magician with swords, they take on a group of thugs intent on causing murder and mayhem. When his brother is killed by the group, he swears to bring them to justice. He has no idea who’s behind the group but makes a startling discovery. In the meantime, the government tries to enlist his assistance to take on a villain referred to as The Righteous. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read the story yourself.  I do look forward to the next installment!

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I’m returning to two favorites. Hope you’ll check out the links! 

Fleeting Muse – a great site for poetry with a punch.

Down Many Roads – novels and shorts stories, based on where life has taken the author.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write a description to draw readers to you. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

http://bookinabox.com/how-to-write-a-book-description-that-works/

5 Tips on How to Write The Best Book Description Ever

https://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/10/05/the-11-ingredients-of-a-sizzling-book-description/

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall’s Ramblings, August 14, 2016

Our cats have been finding cool spots to hide during the past week. One of their favorite locations is our basement, where they find plenty of boxes to curl up in and sleep during the continued heat and humidity.  That’s fine during daylight hours, but when it becomes cooler in the evening they want to venture outside. We would like to oblige, but there are coyotes in the area so we keep them in during the evening as much as possible.

A couple of firsts happened this weekend in history. In 1892, the first issue of the Afro American newspaper was published in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1457, the German astrologer Faust published the first book printed.

If your birthday was this weekend, you’ve shared it with a few noted writers and authors: Lucy Stone, woman’s rights activist and founder of Woman’s Journal; Ernest L. Thayer, poet; Russell Baker, author and columnist; Danielle Steele, fourth-best selling author of all time; and Gary Larson, cartoonist (The Far Side).

Other notables include: Alfred Hitchcock, who directed over fifty films; Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader and president; Don Ho, Hawaii’s musician and singer; Dan Fogelberg, singer-songwriter; Steve Martin, comedian, actor, musician, and screenwriter; and Halle Berry, actress.

Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I never thought at my age I’d be given homework. While not specifically called that, my publisher sent me a list of things to work on so they’re taken care of when editing of ‘The Kurdish Connection’ begins. 

I’ve read through the list for a couple of days and yesterday I began research so I can provide the best possible responses. Over the next two months, I need to provide the following:

  • An attention grabbing headline, also called a hook or logline
  • A short, to-the-point description
  • A longer, more detailed description
  • An author bio
  • An edited version of the bio for the back of the book
  • A list of search terms or tags people might use to find my book online
  • The genre of my books using BISAC categories
  • Comments – blurbs from authors or other notables
  • Also by – listing of previous or upcoming publications
  • Dedication
  • Forward
  • Acknowledgments
  • First chapter of a forthcoming book

There are several other items, many optional, that I’ll have to consider after I tackle this group. I never realized how much had to go into putting a book together!

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge:

An hour later, Pepe turned into a potholed parking lot at the rear of a seedy cantina called El Cerveza. “Go inside. Señor Días is waiting for you. I’ll be here when you finish your business.”

Alberto and Michael grabbed their packs from the rear of the vehicle and headed toward the bar’s entrance. A warped wooden door once painted red, rested against a brick, allowing patrons access without fighting through a barricade.

The three men hoisted their beer and drank a silent salute, not stopping until empty bottles landed on the table.

“One more cerveza and Pepe will drive us to my Bogota home so we might have our discussion in private. Too many ears are listening here.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

It’s been another hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with. I spent more time returning critiques for those who’ve been reviewing my work than I did writing. 

However, I did manage to complete chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ and it’s now posted on the two subscription writing sites I use. One reviewer calls it the best chapter I’ve ever written, so that will be the bar for the remainder of the story.

During the coming week, I hope to begin chapter six and continue my research for chapter seven. In addition, I want to post chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but as least for now, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ is my priority.  Editing is also ongoing on my short stories ‘Trek for Survival’ and ‘Lakeside Retreat,’ which I want to complete by the end of the month.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading an action-adventure story by Phillip Strang called ‘The Vane-Martin Conundrum.’ Non-stop action, intrigue, and plenty of backstabbing, set in Britain as Islamic State attempts to carve out areas of the country for themselves.

Two high-flying analysts, Vane and Martin, are called upon to anticipate upcoming targets after a series of explosions in easily accessible locations kill hundreds of people. This is only the first stage. A Royal Navy submarine is destroyed, but how? Vane and Martin work their magic as control of the political situation is in turmoil. An unlikely source, a killer in Belmarsh, becomes a pawn in the game as both sides try to overcome the over. Our analysts determine churches and police facilities will also be targeted, as the terrorists hone in on their ultimate target–the British prime minister. Get yourself a copy and have a roller-coaster ride through this exciting story.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

Heartstring Eulogies – the writing of Sarah Doughty, who suffers from PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

Unmotivated Enthusiast – a different way to look at the world through the eyes of a high school student.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I now have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write an attention grabbing headline or tagline. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

Writing a Killer Logline

How to Easily Write a Great Logline – The Write Practice

Writing Loglines that Sell

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Randall’s Ramblings, August 7, 2016

We’re off to the races–racing against time to complete every outdoor task on this year’s agenda. The higher-than-normal humidity has made this a challenge. Good news though, two nearby empty lots were purchased last summer and the owners are planning to build this year.

We’ll be surrounded by building sites but with only two homes going up, the upheaval should be intense but brief. Their homes will complete the small cove we live on and bring new acquaintances, and one day, new friends.

Okay, who are the birthday people this weekend? If your special day was yesterday or today, you’ve joined a select few from the writing world: Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet laureate; Richard Hoftstadter, historian with two Pulitzer prizes; Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob, science fiction and fantasy author; and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author.

With a short list this weekend, I’ve added a few additional names which should be recognizable for their contributions to our lives: Alexander Flemming, Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin; Lucille Ball, actress and comedian; Andy Warhol, pop artist; Louis Leakey, and anthropologist who believed Africa was the cradle of mankind. Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge:

The vehicle lurched forward as the man tried to reverse. Grinding the gears, he backed out of the parking spot, left the airport and headed away from the city on a winding, dusty two-lane road.

“Give me your passport. Forget Alberto. Your name is Abdul Rahman.”

Alberto handed over his Argentine passport. “Where are we going?”

“To the mountains. You will join other faithful traveling to al-Raqqah. No more questions.”

He leaned forward and whispered. “Good to see you, Abdul. Close call in Madrid, say what?”

“Call me Alberto here. We’ll save Abdul and Mahmood for other environs.”

“Gotcha. How many will we be recruiting this time?”

“None. We’re to organize training facilities for up to 150 men.”

“I don’t know anything about training. Why pick me?”

“I liked your style in al-Raqqah. You’re dedicated to the cause and with your European appearance and passport you’ll be able to travel easier than the others.”

From ‘Countdown to Extinction’:

“Three … two … one.”

The rocket sprang upward, inertia thrusting the red, white, and blue bullet into the sky. Slow at first, speed increased until the transport slipped through the exosphere into outer space.

Sam Rogers, better known to his friends as ‘Reckless Roger’ scrunched into his seat. Settled, he flipped the turbo switch, thrusting his chariot faster through the void toward his destination—Mars.

More next week.

My Work in Progress

It’s been a hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with but I finally completed editing of my short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction.’ I also wrote a short poem, my first, for a writing club. Look forward to reviews on ‘Ode to My Humans.’

Work also continued on chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge,’ but didn’t complete the chapter yet. Should be posted for review by the middle of this week. Editing is also ongoing on my other novel ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ and short stories ‘Trek for Survival’ and ‘Lakeside Retreat.’

Books I’m Reading

Late last week I began reading an action-adventure story by Phillip Strang called ‘The Vane-Martin Conundrum.’ My review won’t be posted until next week, but it’s a great story.

 I’ve identified a couple of more books to read. As soon as I finish, I’ll provide my thoughts to you.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Musings of a Mad Woman – Although nothing’s been posted during the summer, this provides an interesting look at things from one person’s perspective.

Channillo.com – Looking for something different to read? Check out the varied works by numerous authors, covering multiple genres provided through novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something as soon as I resume my research, but it will likely be the end of August as I’m tying up various loose ends. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall’s Ramblings, July 31, 2016

As another month draws to a close, this one has gone out with a bang, or at least plenty of thunder, lightning, and wind-driven rain.  The storm began just after one a.m. and finally ceased before six a.m., with a few pauses during the period. Right now, it’s 63F/17C, which feels pretty good after the heat and high humidity of the past few days.

Time for birthday connections to the famous and not so famous. If your special day occurred yesterday or today, Happy Birthday to you. Here are the folks from the writing world who share July 30th and 31st:

Emily Bronte, author; William H. Gass, writer; C. Northcote Parkinson, historian and author; Primo Levi, Italian writer and scientist; and one everyone is sure to recognize: J.K. Rowling, author (Harry Potter). Congratulations to all.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Malicious Affiliation’:

Khan Soo Chin paced back and forth in the Zhongnanhai waiting room. He glanced at his watch a second time.

He sat, added sugar to the tea provided by a servant and stirred. Soo dropped the spoon and pushed the tea and dim sum across the table. Despite the delectable aromas wafting from the dishes, which caused his empty stomach to rumble, he resisted the urge to partake.

Did they add something to the tea or food?

The ambassador stood and resumed pacing. His thoughts swirled as he searched for a way out of his current dilemma, which began two days ago.

“I realize there is a food shortage. Our factories no longer produce because there is no oil to keep them running. Our military might is teetering toward disaster. This is not my fault. The problem lies with our sworn enemy—America and their puppets in Seoul. We are peaceful, but America wishes for our death.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“Return to Beijing and request an immediate audience with that fat goat, Huang Fen. Get us oil.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“And, Soo, just because we grew up together, doesn’t mean I will accept failure. What will become of your family if something happens to you?”

From ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Grabbing their drinks, they strolled toward AJ’s office. She shared the space with the other people in Lintstone’s meeting but had a coveted perk—her own office, not a cubicle.

 “Cozy office.” Javier glanced around the room—desk and chair, four-drawer safe, along with a small conference table and six chairs. A computer and three different-colored phones occupied the desk. A few framed certificates and diplomas, but no photographs or trinkets.  Efficient and impersonal.

“Taken years before I earned one. But I spend more time overseas each year than I do here.”

“I’m with you. Name a hotspot over the past fifteen years and I’ve been involved. Want to slow down a bit but still be active.”

Will be in your AOR within forty-eight hours. Request meeting for myself plus one to discuss possibility of Iranian freighter being used to transport Islamic State personnel to training camps in Panama and Colombia. Any local intel appreciated.

“Perhaps modify local to local/regional as they might possess additional data we can use. I assume the regional chiefs share knowledge on a regular basis.”

“Agree. Will make the change.” AJ’s brown eyes appraised Javier. “For a grunt, you’re alright.”

“For a civvie, you’re not bad, either.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I finally completed and posted the second chapter of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’. Within a short span of time, four reviews were completed and helping me with my journey.

Editing continued on my novel, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, as well as short stories ‘Countdown to Extinction’, and ‘Trek for Survival.’ Hope to complete at least one of the short stories this week and try to complete chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.’

Books I’m Reading

This week I completed reading ‘Darius Odenkirk‘ by Rikon Gates. What happens when you combine a filthy-rich eccentric, a wannabe journalist, and a proper butler? You end up with a recipe for action, intrigue, and plenty of twists and turns.

Darius, the eccentric owner of Crecy House, is dying. Before leaving this world, he wants to share his story. A young, freelance journalist, trying to make a name for himself, is selected. Follow the journey back in time to when Darius first committed a crime (I won’t tell you what it was, you’ll have to buy the book) and why. Learn the real reason Joshua Wishaw was chosen to hear this incredible story. What about the butler? How does he fit in and what crime might he have committed? A gripping murder-mystery story worthy of your time.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Sideways Eight Series – Check out AJ Wallace’s website, learn about the author of ‘Mindfield‘ and other upcoming stories.

Oliver Chase – Learn about author Oliver Chase’s take on life.

Writing Resources

As I’m constantly seeking to improve my writing, this week I’d like to share a link for those who are writing, trying to publish, or market your work. While it’s a blog, it’s full of useful information to help writers. It’s now part of my online resources. Where do you find it? Check out The Creative Penn.

This brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

If You Missed Your Copy of Mindfield …

If you missed last week’s opportunity to obtain a free copy of ‘Mindfield‘, by AJ Wallace, click on the title to obtain a free Kindle download. Today only!!

Displayed in a bizarre setting, the body of a little girl is discovered. Law Enforcement in Fairfax, County, Virginia, requests the assistance from the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI. A satellite facility under the direction of SAiC Simon Dubuclet, enlists the help of Special Agent Charley Faraday, an experienced behavioral analyst. Directed to work with Special Agent Sean Murphy, Charley sets aside personal grievances when she predicts the death of Robin Senters will not be the last. The killer has murder in mind. She turns to SA Murphy desperate to apprehend a child killer after a secretive trip to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Own it today!!

Randall’s Ramblings, July 24, 2016

For the past week, the heat index hovered around 100. No big deal if you live in an area that has 100-degree temperatures on a regular basis. Our hottest day temperature-wise, was Friday with 91F/33C, but with high humidity, it’s been a scorcher. Even being on the lake and normally have a breeze didn’t help. When there was some wind, it wasn’t cooling as a wave of hot air pushed forward. By the way, our historical temperature for this week is a pleasant 80F/27C.

If your birthday was yesterday or today, congratulations and may you have many more. Notable personalities with birthdays on July 23rd and 24th include:Raymond Chandler, detective writer and creator of Philip Marlow; Marston Bates, author; Nicholas Gage, journalist and author; John Nichols, author; Lisa Alther, author; Alexandra Dumas, author (The Count of Mounte Cristo, The Three Musketeers); Robert Graves, poet and novelist; Zelda Sayre, writer; and John D. MacDonald, author.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I’ve been on a roll lately with my writing. This week, I’d like to share more snippets with you. From ‘Trek For Survival’, a short story:

With three injured men tucked into a safe location, she returned to the plane to gather whatever supplies she might find. Ten minutes later, she placed the last item on a blanket and dragged the stash to the shelter.

“What’d you find, Maddy?” her brother asked.

“A few things we need: four blankets, first aid kits, six energy bars, a flashlight with extra batteries, a box of matches, and a canteen. Also found ten bottles of water and some beef jerky. I brought everyone’s backpack, too.”

“Not beef, Miss Maddy. “Jomo shook his head. “Impala and zebra. Good for you.”

From ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Flicking her long, brown hair, AJ grabbed her chair and glanced around the table. Colleagues filled four of the seats. A stranger sat in the remaining one, across the table. Silver eagles adorned his uniform. Black hair, piercing green eyes, an olive complexion, and his nametag read Smith.

Both stood to shake hands across the table. The colonel dwarfed AJ’s five-foot-ten-inch frame by several inches. AJ noted a thin scar running from his left ear to his chin. After a firm squeeze, both returned to their seats.

“You’ll be working togeth—”

“Sir, I work alone.”

“Not this time. Orders from above.”

“Don’t worry, AJ, you won’t slow me down.” Colonel Smith smiled as his base voice resonated.

“Excuse me, Colonel, I don’t want you to be in the way.” AJ crossed her arms. A frown etched across her face.

“You two finished? Good. You’re working together—no debate.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Another busy week, but with the weather stopping some outdoor activities, I spent more time writing. I finally posted chapter four of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, on my two subscription writing sites. So far, favorable reviews overall, especially with the introduction of two new characters, AJ Bruce and Col Javier Smith.

My short story, ‘Trek For Survival’ was posted to the writing sites this week and received thirteen critiques. I’ll definitely be expanding this into a novella or a novel in the future.

Editing of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ continued, but at a slow pace. It will be submitted to a contest next month. Didn’t have much time left over to work on ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but hope to have a first draft of chapter two completed over the next week.

Books I’m Reading

I began reading ‘Darius Odenkirk‘ by Rikon Gates. My review won’t be posted until next week, but I will say it’s a great story and well worth a read. I’ve had the pleasure of providing reviews for the sequel, both they both standalone, too.

I’m also scurrying to finish reading two other novels, recently completed by fellow writers on one of the subscription sites before the stories go to editors. Once they’re available, I’ll provide my thoughts.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Roderick Will’s 365 Short Stories – A very ambitious undertaking by Roderick Wills, who is writing a short story of about 1,000 words every day for a year. Check out his stories!

Writing Resources

As I’m constantly seeking to improve my writing, this week I’d like to share a link for those who like to blog and how to improve your posts. I’ll be making changes to my own work based on this information. The article is written by Robert Woods, a developmental editor for Standalone Books.

This brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

If You Don’t Have a Copy Of Mindfield …

If you don’t already own a copy of ‘Mindfield‘, by AJ Wallace, click on the title to obtain a free Kindle download. Today only!!

Displayed in a bizarre setting, the body of a little girl is discovered. Law Enforcement in Fairfax, County, Virginia, requests the assistance from the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI. A satellite facility under the direction of SAiC Simon Dubuclet, enlists the help of Special Agent Charley Faraday, an experienced behavioral analyst. Directed to work with Special Agent Sean Murphy, Charley sets aside personal grievances when she predicts the death of Robin Senters will not be the last. The killer has murder in mind. She turns to SA Murphy desperate to apprehend a child killer after a secretive trip to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Own it today!!