Randall’s Ramblings, August 23, 2020

We’ve had a week of unsettled weather, with plenty of clouds, multiple showers–even a thunderstorm. There were occasional outbreaks of sunshine, but the temperatures were more like what we expect in late September or early October, not in August. At least today began with plenty of brilliant sunshine. Nor sure how long it will last, but we’ll take what Mother Nature dishes out.

I had to laugh at an article I scanned in this morning’s paper. Apparently, there’s a group of people (referred to as snowflakes in the article), who are offended by the use of a period to end a text message. They say this indicates the sender is insincere.

Huh? Since when did proper punctuation become offensive? How long will it take before there’s a push to ban teaching of punctuation and capitalization in the schools?  I’ve seen a few books available for sale where the authors clearly don’t care. In fact, I read a post somewhere where one of these authors mentioned it doesn’t matter if a book is full of improper grammar, poor punctuation, incorrect capitalization, etc., as long as it’s a good story. 

I tried reading one of these books during the past week. Fortunately, I didn’t pay a penny for it. Good thing, as I couldn’t get past the first chapter. I’m not expert on these things, but I do try hard to use what I do know.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Fulvio Testi, Italian poet (Pianto d’Italia); Moritz B. Cantor, German historian of mathematics; William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher; William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor; Marcel Schwob, French writer and journalist (Le Croisade des Enfants); Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology); Alexander Grin, Russian novelist (Jessie and Morgiana); Will Cuppy, American humorist (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody); Jo Sternheim, Dutch actor and playwright (Fatherland); Alfred Lichtenstein, German writer; Cecil Rolph Hewitt, English journalist and policeman; Mauritius van Haegendoren, Flemish historian and senator; Arthur Adamov, Russian-French playwright (Paolo Paoli); Albert Alberts, Dutch writer and journalist (French battle); Jara Ribnikar, Serbian writer; Ephraim Kishon, Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and Oscar-nominated film director; Clifford Geertz, American anthropologist (symbolic anthropology); Roy Strong, English writer, art historian and director (Victoria & Albert Museum); Nelson DeMille, American action adventure and suspense novels author (Plum Island); Andrei Pleşu, Romanian writer and essayist; John Bauldie, British music journalist; Charles Busch, American actor, screenwriter, playwright and drag queen (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife); Roger Avary, Canadian-American screenwriter, director, and producer (Pulp Fiction); and Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor.

This week I certainly recognized one name: Nelson DeMille. Anyone familiar to you? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

This week, I was on a roll with my writing, having completed chapters 34-36 of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 426 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of seventeen in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The maître d‘ greeted him and escorted him to a table sheltered by an awning. “Are you expecting anyone to join you, Doctor Okonjo?”

“Yes, Clifford. One man. He’ll ask for my table.”

“Very good, Doctor.” Clifford snapped his fingers and a waiter hurried to the table, a tray perched on one hand. “ I took the liberty of ordering your favorite drink—a Mongozo beer.”

“Excellent. Leave me until my guest arrives.”

Clifford nodded as he backed away from the table.

Okonjo sipped his beer, savoring the flavor of the palm nuts used to make the brew. He glanced at the beach and smiled as two couples strolled through the sand, arm-in-arm. I’m tired of the games. I hope this contact brings usable information.

Twenty minutes later, Clifford reappeared, leading a short slender man, wearing a Western-style suit. Scars crisscrossed his face.

After seating Okonjo’s guest, he placed a beer in front of him and departed.

“So. You requested this meeting. I hope you bring me what I want.”

The man sipped his drink, his gaze focused on Okonjo. “My leader sends his greetings. Are his words what you want to hear?” He shrugged. “That is up to you to decide. He instructed to tell me he had to relocate his camp, so he requires additional funds to pay off the other groups who allowed him to move without interference.”

Okonjo pursed his lips. “How much this time?”

“The usual—all in diamonds.”

“He’ll have to wait. I won’t receive more until the weekend.” Assuming Buhari is successful. “What about Mwanga’s son? Does he still live?”

The man grinned. “For now. He is useful as my leader’s woman is with child.”

“When will he be dealt with?” Okonjo drained his glass. “His departure will provide me with the leverage I require.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You are not as important as you think. My leader is an equal partner with you in creating the new Africa.” He waved a finger in front of Okonjo. “Do not be impatient.”

“Is that so?” Okonjo arched his brows and aimed the pistol in his lap at his guest. “You are nothing but a messenger. Be careful, or you will meet whatever idol you worship sooner than you expect.”

“Are you threatening me?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Our business is finished.”

Okonjo raised his arm, showing his pistol. “Sit down, or I’ll blow a hole through you. This is my restaurant, so I could kill you without any interference.”

The man gulped and leaned over the table, his hands supporting him. “I’ll return in two days. You better have the payment.”

“Here’s a reminder for you.” Okonjo raised his left hand. The dagger flashed in the light as he jabbed the blade downward.


The man grabbed his hand, blood spurting from the hole.

Okonjo stood and glared across the table. He turned when Clifford rushed forward. “Show my guest out the back door. My driver will take care of him.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I received an advanced copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Nicolette, which will formally hit the streets on August 30th. If you’re a fan of Blair’s writing like I am, you’ll appreciate how Lt. Kate Gazzara digs into another case to find a killer.

Who killed Nicolette, and why? After all, she was just a young woman searching for true love. Follow Lt. Gazzara and her team as they unravel the threads they come across to finally solve the case. But at what expense? Clearly Lt. Gazzara is overworked and under enormous pressure. However, with her guiding hand, the team follows their leads, piecing together the clues. No spoiler alert here–you’ll need to grab a copy to find out what happens.

I will say this is another excellent plot from a master storyteller. With plenty of twists and turns, and loads of realistic characters, you’ll enjoy the ride. I know I did!

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved



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