Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 15, 2022

As we hit the middle of the month, things have greened up nicely and the hydrangeas are getting ready to produce their blooms. Each evening we have a visit from two hedgehogs. It’s always a treat to see them scamper across the back patio to a dish of small animal munchies and another filled with water. Sometimes, though, there will be a punch-up as one insists it’s getting to whichever dish first.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “What we are today is a result of our own past actions; Whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions; Decide how you want to act now. We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 15th, the third Sunday of the month:

Mary Wortley Montagu, English essayist, feminist, eccentric; Martinus W van der Aa, author/Dutch head-editor (The Time); Eduard von Keyserling, Baltic German writer (Dritte Stiege); (Lyman) L. Frank Baum, American children’s book author (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian playwright/novelist (La Ronde); Albert Verwey, Dutch poet/literature historian (Motion); Katherine Anne Porter, American novelist (Ship of Fools); David Vogel, Russian-born Hebrew writer (Huwelijksleven); Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian playwright and novelist (The Master and Margarita, Black Snow); Xavier Herbert, Australian author; Max Frisch, Swiss architect/writer (Stiller, Biedermann); Alexis Kagame, Rwandan philosopher, historian, poet and Tutsi intellectual and cultural leader; Jakucho Setouchi, Japanese writer and Buddhist nun; Jaime Garcia Terre, poet/essayist; Anthony Shaffer, Engish playwright (Sleuth); Peter Shaffer, English playwright (Equus, Amadeus); Donald [Anthony] Moffitt, American sci-fi author (Jupiter Theft); and Harve Brosten, American comedy writer (All In The Family, 1975-77).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Lyman) L. Frank Baum. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work is underway on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. I’ll be posting the first chapter later today to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Some of you might have read earlier postings where I’ve included the synopsis. I’ve tweaked it a bit, so here it is again:

An international criminal gang, known as Diablo Corps, plans a series of devastating attacks to take over the G7 countries unless their demands are met. Secure in their hidden headquarters in Antarctica, they possess the means to disrupt the leading world economies. Walter Brown, the Diablo Corps CEO want what other power-hungry people want—ultimate power.

Will the G7 bend to the will of these rogues or will evil triumph? Diablo Corps believes their previous infiltration of the international banking system and world stock exchanges will allow them to risk all on a single gamble.

Bedlam joins forces with The Scandinavian Protection Agency to thwart the efforts of the group and restore faith. Will Antarctica become a smoking ruin or will the world suffer an economic meltdown?

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another forty reviews this week, bringing the total to 855.Slide1

Here’s the penultimate snippet:

Major Bangash muted the television after the third review of the chaos in Lahore. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Alo?”

“Good evening. This is ISI Major Bangash. Connect me to Captain Fazli Khan at once.”

“At once, sir.”

While he waited, Bangash heard the switchboard operator speak to someone in the background.

“Good evening, sir.” The low-pitched voice appeared to be in the room rather than across the country.

“Fazli. How are you doing? I’m sure you’re busy with the hooligans in Lahore, but I wanted to get an update.”

“Yes, sir. It has been complete chaos here. We do not yet know the identities of the perpetrators of this outrage. But we shall.”

Bangash clicked his teeth. “Understood. The scenes on the television showed a lot of violence and destruction.”

“At least twenty police officers were taken to the hospital with injuries. In addition, the miscreants destroyed more than a dozen vehicles before the army arrived to calm the situation.”

“Do you have an estimate of the number of protestors?”

“Yes, sir. We estimate over one thousand five hundred people joined in. At least seventy were arrested while fifty are being treated for cuts, bruises, and broken bones.” Fazli sucked in a breath. “Seventeen people died at the scene–including three children.”

Bangash frowned. “I see. Well, I won’t keep you any longer, Fazli. Send me regular reports on your investigation.”

“Yes, sir. May I ask why?”

“There might be a link to someone I’m monitoring here in Peshawar.”

“Understood.”

“I expect to hear from you soon.” Bangash broke the connection. He slid his chair over to his private laptop, logged in, and began typing:

I cannot be certain, but it appears our Russian ‘friend’ is somehow connected to the pro-Punjab reunification protest in Lahore today. I fear this is just the beginning A colleague posted to Lahore will keep me apprised of any further developments.

On an unrelated matter, I have learned from a contact at the Governor’s House that the Tehrik-i-Taliban are expecting further attacks from the army in the FATA region. I shall use my influence to warn the tribal elders.

Bangash pulled a forbidden bottle of whiskey, obtained through an American contact, and took a large gulp. Finished, he put the bottle back in its hiding place. What will happen next?

I’ll bring you the final snippet of Ultimate Escalation next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 8, 2022

We’ve had rain to start most days, but today’s been dry and overcast, so I was able to cut the grass. Hope it remains dry for a few days, as we have a painter coming tomorrow to paint the eves. Too high for me without a different ladder, so we took advantage of this painter doing a couple of other properties on the street.

Another update on Sylvia’s condition. She had a pacemaker installed on Tuesday and all the initial tests were fine. We saw the practice nurse on Thursday, who changed the bandage and said Sylvia was healing nicely. The next appoint is six weeks from now and the pacemaker will be recalibrated/adjusted if needed.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Never lose Hope you never know what Tomorrow may bring.” Hope is the best thing which make us believe that God is with us ,God with us that mean hope lives in our souls and our thinking so please smile never give up everything be okay. Always when things seem darkest you know God is always there & things work out, that’s God working in a mysterious ways. Always works for me. You just have to do everything humanly possible& and let God handle it. ~ Melissa Browning © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 8th, the second Sunday of the month:

Andrea Alciato, Italian lawyer and writer; Francis Quarles, English poet (Argalus & Parthenia, Emblems); Edward Gibbon, English historian (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire); Phillis Wheatley, American poet who was both the second published African-American poet and first published African-American woman; George Bruce Malleson, English officer in India and author; Francis Warre-Cornish, English scholar and writer; Oscar Hammerstein, German opera and playwright (Kohinoor); John Meade Falkner, English novelist (Moonfleet); Edmund Wilson, American critic/writer (Patriotic Gore); Vera Chapman, English writer and Tolkien Society founder; George Woodcock, Canadian writer of political biography and history (Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements); Gertrud Fussenegger [Dorn], Austrian writer (Mohrenlegende); Romain Gary, Polish writer; Sloan Wilson, American novelist (Man in the Gray Flannal); Tristan Jones, British sailor and author; Gary Snyder, American beat poet (Turtle Island – Pulitzer Prize, 1975; Rip Rap and Cold Mountain Poems); Julieta Campos, Cuban-Mexican writer; Daniel Robberechts, Belgian writer (Labia Majora); Thomas Pynchon, American novelist (V, Gravity’s Rainbow); Peter Benchley, American novelist (Jaws, The Deep); Beth Henley, American actress and playwright (Miss Firecracker); Andreas P. Nielsen, Danish author and composer; and Terry Christian, British writer, radio and television presenter.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Peter Benchley. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.
 

My Work in Progress

Slide1The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another fifty reviews this week, bringing the total to 815.

Here’s another snippet:

Two days later, over 100 protesters assembled near the memorial park. Two youths led the demonstration inching toward the monument, beating a discordant rhythm on their drums.

Police officers lined the perimeter of the monument, their backs to a black wrought-iron fence.

Numerous onlookers crowded the park, anticipating a clash between the security forces and the protesters.

The apparent demonstration ringleader stopped within a couple of meters of the police line. He turned to his supporters, holding a blue and gray portable megaphone. He gazed at the myriad of banners, signs, and flags. “Listen, my friends. Today we begin our conquest to reunite Punjabi—once and for all. Do not cower in front of these officers.” He gestured toward the police. “We have a fundamental right to demonstrate.”

Cheers erupted from those assembled, while some waved their flags with vigor.

“We will not be cowered. We must show courage in the face of ongoing strife. Who is with me?”

“Yes!” a multitude of voices shouted.

Someone broke into a pro-Punjabi chant.

Soon, others joined in.

The ringleader raised his hands. “There is no better place to show the government our strength and courage than at the monument to those who lost their lives facing adversity. Will they continue to beat us down?”

“No!”

Someone threw a rock at the police line.

An officer collapsed to the ground, his face bloodied.

Another officer blew a whistle.

Gunshots came from the police line, striking the demonstrators closest to them.

Screams filled the air. Pandemonium broke out as tear-gas canisters blanketed the area with a thick fog.

Once peaceful protesters lowered their signs, banners, and flags. Using the staffs as weapons, they charged the police line.

More gunfire ensued.

The penultimate snippet will come next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 1, 2022

Happy May Day! May April’s showers bring May flowers. We didn’t have a lot of rain throughout April, but the final day did bring us a steady but light rain all day. Hopefully, we’ll see the benefits soon.

An update on Sylvia’s condition. Although the consultant had anticipated Sylvia’s procedure was going to be on Tuesday, the specialist actually doing the operations told he on Monday he was heavily backlogged and would refer her to a colleague at a different hospital and she was discharged.She’s now scheduled to have the procedure this coming Tuesday, May 3rd. Fingers crossed it takes place and gives her what she needs!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Staying quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say, it means I don’t think you’re ready to hear my thoughts.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 1st, the first Sunday of the month:

Joseph Addison, English essayist and poet (co-founder of The Spectator); Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov, Russian poet; José Amador de los Ríos, Spanish historian and poet; José de Alencar, Brazilian writer (O Guarani); Guido Gezelle, Flemish priest and poet; Laza Lazarević, Serbian writer (Prvi put s ocem na jutrenje) and psychiatrist; Conrad Weiss, German writer and poet (Tantum dic verbo); John Evans, English cricket batsman (1 Test) and author (‘The Escaping Club’); Ignazio Silone, Italian novelist (Fontamara, Pane e vino); Antal Szerb, Hungarian author and historian; Giovannino Guareschi, Italian writer (Don Camillo, Peppone); Yiannis Ritsos, Greek poet and political activist; Joseph Heller, American novelist (Catch-22, 1963 Arts & Letters Award); Terry Southern, writer; Sergio Infante, Chilean poet and writer; and Wes Anderson, American director and writer.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Joseph Heller. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1As I mentioned last week, the final chapter of Ultimate Escalation was completed. I’m currently working my way through the myriad of reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

My manuscript received another forty-one reviews this week, bringing the total to 765.

Here’s another snippet:

The sounds of heavy traffic woke Mishka. He glanced out the window, watching a motorcycle with a family of five passing by. “You forgot to wake me.”

Bikram shook his head. “We have not yet reached Amritsar, sahib. Perhaps ten more minutes. Do you want to stop by the Golden Temple? It is the most important shrine for the Sikhs.”

“Perhaps another time. I think—” Mishka grabbed onto the door handle to steady himself as the truck rocked while passing a cluster of people on bicycles.

“Yes, sahib?”

“I think we might have to leave India in a hurry after we complete our mission.”

“Many things to visit in India, sahib. I will be happy to be your guide—for a small fee.”

Mishka laughed. “We shall see.”

Bikram turned onto a side street, packed with trucks, cars, and rickshaws. Dozens of pedestrians scooted between the vehicles, tempting fate as they headed toward their destinations. Three and four-story buildings, with stores on the ground floors, hugged both sides of the street, display stands erected on the sidewalks to attract buyers. Multi-colored signs covered the storefronts, beckoning consumers inside. Vehicle horns, people shouting and laughing, and the scent of cooking food wafted through Mishka’s window.

“One day, sahib, a ring road around Amritsar will be completed. For now, we must work our way through the outskirts of the city until we reach the road leading to Vedant’s property. From there, it is only a few kilometers.”

Twenty minutes later, Bikram made another turn onto a divided highway. Traffic heading into Amritsar was heavy, but few vehicles traveled in the outbound direction.

Bikram blew his horn and swerved to miss another motorbike bearing multiple passengers. “We will soon arrive, sahib.”

“Excellent.” Mishka studied the family clutching to one another as they sped by. “How often do those overloaded motorcycles end up in accidents.”

“Many times each day. They are a hazard but no worse than stray livestock on the streets.”

Buildings gave way to farmland as they continued out of Amritsar. Bikram pointed to the right. “See those buildings in the distance? That is where we are going.”

“Did I catch a glimpse of a sign for a business?”

“Yes, sahib. The farm is used as a getaway for people who want to escape from city life. It is closed right now, so we could use it for our purposes.” Bikram chuckled. “I am aware you will be paying the fee for all of the buildings. Did you not know this?”

Mishka pursed his lips. “Vedant did mention something about it, but we’ll take care of the finances later.”

Bikram slowed and turned onto a narrow lane. The second truck followed. “We are here, sahib. First, I will take you to one of the stone cottages where you and your men will stay. Our supporters will use two of them to make signs and banners, and those not from this area will sleep in the other two.”

“What about the big house?”

“That is where we will eat out meals and meet to discuss whatever you think is of importance.” Bikram gestured to the first cottage. “You will be in this one. In the evening, when there is a slight breeze, it is very pleasant on the rooftop terrace to enjoy a sunrise or sunset.”

Mishka laughed. “You sound like an advertising man.”

“It is my duty, sahib, to support the family.” Bikram stopped in front of the building. We shall unload your equipment before going for something to eat.”

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 24, 2022

Overall, the weather’s been good this week. Little rain, plenty of sunshine, but a chilly breeze. We went to DeVilla Forest twice for long walks and of course, plenty of chats with dog walkers we met.

Unfortunately, we also made a trip to the emergency room Friday night. When I was asleep, Sylvia woke me up. She was fully dressed and said she was going to A&E because she was having heart palpitations. Sylvia never mentioned they had been occurring for the last six weeks but they weren’t stopping last night. I took her to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. After an EKG, chest xray, blood work, etc., they decided to keep her overnight as their tests revealed she had a previously undiagnosed heart murmur. The consultant said Saturday afternoon they’d be keeping her in until they sorted things out. Sylvia will be receiving a pacemaker. She said after her recovery, she planned to go snowboarding in the Alps and bungee jumping in the Himalayas. I better get some rest!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Most people are stronger than they know. They just forget to believe in it sometimes.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 24th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Robert Bailey Thomas, American journalist and founder (The Farmer’s Almanac); Nikolaj Bestuzhev, Russian Navy officer, writer and painter (Decembrist revolt); Karl Leberecht Immermann, German writer; Vicente Fidel López, Argentine historian (La Novia del Hereje); Anthony Trollope, English novelist and poet (Barchester Towers); Carl Spitteler, Swiss poet (Prometheus & Epimetheus; Nobel 1919); Eduardo Acevedo Díaz, Uruguayan writer (Ismael, Grito de Gloria); Jaroslav Hašek, Czech writer (The Good Soldier Švejk); Kurt Pinthus, German-American writer; Robert Penn Warren, American poet and novelist (All the King’s Men, Pulitzer 1946); Clement Freud, British writer, radio personality, and politician; Patricia Bosworth, American actor, journalist, writer, and biographer; Sue Grafton, American author of detective novels (“A” Is for Alibi); Eric Kripke, American television writer, director and producer (Supernatural); and Siarhey Balakhonau, Belarusian writer.

Any names familiar to you? There were four for me: Robert Bailey Thomas, Anthony Trollope, Robert Penn Warren, and Sue Grafton. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Earlier in the week, I was on a roll with Ultimate Escalation, completing the final seven chapters, bringing the first draftg to forty-seven chapers and 73,414 words. My manuscript received another twenty-five reviews, bringing the total to 724. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing. I’ve also added three beta readers to my list.

Here’s another snippet:

They were soon escorted to Steve Wright’s office. After handshakes, they took chairs around a small conference table. Steve, his bald head shining, poured coffee for his guests. “It’s not every day the secretary of state contacts me to do a favor for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Whatever you need, Trevor, it’s yours.”

“Thank you, Steve. We have a two-fold mission. I assume you’re aware of the recent turmoil in Punjab?”

“Yes, my counterpart in Lahore keeps all of the mission in Pakistan apprised of unrest—we all do. No telling if or when it might spread to other factions—this country’s a powder keg waiting to explode.” Steve sipped from his cup.

“I’ve been cleared by the chairman to fill you in on the purpose of our visit. We suspect several former Russian Spetsnaz soldiers were involved in the Punjabi unrest. Another of our teams is heading to India now to verify activity there.”

Steve nodded. “There’s a rumor circulated by the Pakistani intelligence services regarding this. Don’t know if they’re trying to cover up something they did and it got out of hand, or whether it’s a valid concern.”

“It’s definitely a concern.” Trevor pursed his lips. “Imagine two nuclear powers embroiled in a bitter conflict over losing some of their territory. It’ll be worse than the continuing feuds over Kashmir. The chairman is worried they might resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction to hang on to their land.”

Steve pulled a business card from a pocket and scribbled on it. “Here are my official contact numbers. My personal number is on the back.”

“Thank you, Steve. We’ll keep you in the loop while we’re in Karachi.”

“Sure thing. What the other matter?”

Trevor glanced at the rest of his team. “Three of our multi-national group were following Russians from Dubai to Karachi. After they arrived here, we soon lost contact.”

“Hmm.” Steve rubbed a finger across his smooth chin. “Our nurse was contacted by one of the local hospitals. They said an American was in critical condition after being caught up in a terrorist attack at one of our hotels. They want all foreign hotel chains to leave the country. You might recall Sheraton pulled out years ago after a series of attacks.” Steve waved a hand in the air. “I’m getting sidetracked. The hospital reported the American had a broken arm and leg and multiple lacerations, including a deep wound on the side of his head. He’s been in a coma, but this morning he regained consciousness. We haven’t identified him yet. There weren’t any documents on his person when medical personnel took him to the hospital.”

“One of our team following the Russians was an American. Would it be possible to visit him? If he’s our colleague, we’ll recognize him.”

“Of course. “Steve spoke briefly on the phone before returning the instrument to its cradle. “The nurse will call the hospital now and clear the way for you. We’ve also reserved an armored vehicle for you during your stay.”

“Outstanding, Steve. I’ll let the chairman know you’ve gone out of your way to accommodate us. I’m sure he’ll contact the secretary of state.”

Steve’s face beamed. “Thanks, Trevor. If there’s anything else I can do, just name it.”

Trevor stood and shook hands. “We’ll be in touch.”

“I’ll take you to the motor pool, so you can collect your ride.”

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Reaper’s 3rd Bookiversary!

Three years ago today, a friend of mine, Jonathan Pongratz, released Reaper, a horror novella. I’d like to share with you about Reaper, an excellent story, and give you a brief introduction to an up and coming author.

Blurb:

How do you fight a monster?

Halloween night, 1992. Promised the allowance he’s always dreamed of, Gregory has to babysit his little sister Imogen and hand out candy.

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement. Before Imogen was taken from him by that terrifying monster.

Now, Gregory has to scramble to put the pieces together before it’s too late. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? Can he save his sister, or is she already gone forever?

Excerpt:

Reaper Cover ImageI shined my flashlight on the wooden steps leading below, doing my best to stay calm as a frigid chill raised goosebumps on my arms and legs. There’s nothing down here but your stupid little sister. Monsters don’t exist. You’re being a baby.

Ignoring my own thoughts, I forced myself to begin my descent. Each step on the rickety stairs gave a loud squeak that made my heart pound and skin tingle. My flashlight continued to guide me down the steps, but the further down I went, the more it seemed that the darkness was getting thicker. Was that even possible? It’s all in your head.

By the time I reached the bottom of the steps, my nerves were rattled. Imogen had better be down here, and she better be ready to go. I was done playing these stupid games.

An awful smell rose on  my left. I turned my light to it. On top of an old wooden table was an ornate black lantern. Wisps of black smoke came off it, but no light. I gave a good sniff and instantly recoiled.

Who lit this terrible thing? This was ten times worse than the stinky candles Mom lit every year. I plugged my nose and gave the contents of the lantern another glance. Inside was a grey-looking candle with weird flecks of black stuff molded inside of it. My nose crinkled. Whatever it was, I didn’t care. I needed to find Immy.

I turned back around to the rest of the basement. “Immy? Immy!” I shouted. I thought I heard a scuffle up ahead, so I shined my light that way.

Numerous toys littered the floor and old furniture covered with large white sheets took up most of the space in the basement. Something about the odd shapes the unwanted stuff created creeped me out, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I stood still, listening in the darkness. Was that … breathing? It was faint, but what else did I have to go off of?

I maneuvered around a cluster of covered couches, wiping my sweaty palms on my pants as I ventured towards the back. Ahead of me were small rows of sheeted items, but one stood out to me, one particularly little-girl shaped.

I smirked. Nice try, Immy.

I crept up on my toes, and as soon as I was within arm’s reach, I yanked the white sheet away. “Aha!” It was a rusty standing birdcage. But I could’ve sworn … Damn it!  I kicked the nearest couch and wandered aimlessly to vent off my frustration.

What could I do to draw Immy out? Talking to her wasn’t working; I’d already tried that. I could try the candy route, but the bucket was all the way upstairs and she could hide again by the time I got back. I supposed I could knock stuff around until she emerged, but then I’d have to clean it all up or Mom and Dad would kill me. I walked up to an uncovered desk and wiped my finger along the top, inspecting the layer of dust on my forefinger. Maybe I could scare her out.

Suddenly, something grabbed my ankle from under the desk. I shrieked and yanked my leg back as my heart pounded.

Peeked your interest? If so, check out Jonathan’s trailer: https://youtu.be/UtilAuPJdSc

Reaper is available as an ebook via multiple outlets: http://www.books2read.com/reaperhorror

Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. He currently resides with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! Hope everyone has a fantastic day.

Mother Nature gave us a fairly dry week. While clouds were the predominant feature, there was little rain. As a result, we managed a couple of walks in the nearby forest, did more work in the flower beds, and cut the grass for the first time this year. As the amount of daylight increases each day, so does the chirping and twittering of the various birds in our area. Coupled with the growth of buds and leaves popping out, spring is definitely here!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Sometimes, burning bridges isn’t a bad thing. It prevents you from going back to a place you should never have been to begin with.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 17th, the third Sunday of the month and International Haiku Poetry Day:

John Ford, English dramatist (‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore); Henry Vaughan, English poet (Silex Scintillans); François Valentijn, Dutch vicar and writer (Old and New East-India); Robert Blair, Scottish poet (The Grave); Ray Stannard Baker, American journalist (Puliter Prize 1940); Anton Wildgans, Austrian poet and playwright (Armut); Isak Dinesen [Karen Blixen-Finecke], Danish baroness and writer (Out of Africa); Antonius Coolen, Dutch author (Village by the River); Thornton Wilder, American playwright and writer (Bridge of San Luis Rey); Edward Chodorov, Broadway playwright and director (Story of Louis Pasteur); Humphrey Sims Moore, British pacifist and journalist (founder of Peace News); Ivan Goff, Australian screenwriter (Man of a Thousand Faces; Hervé Bazin, French writer (Head Against the Wall); Bengt Anderberg, Swedish poet and writer (Kain); Lloyd Biggle Jr., American sci-fi author (Silence is Deadly); Donald Richie, American-born author and (Japanese) film critic; Cynthia Ozick, American author (Pagan Rabbi & Other Stories); Joyce Molyneux, British chef and author; Ruth Etchells, English poet and principal (St John’s College-Durham); Mario Brenta, Italian writer and director (Maicol, Barnabo of the Mountains); and Nick Hornby, English writer (High Fidelity).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I continued moving forward with Ultimate Escalation, completing chapters thirty-seven through forty. My manuscript received another thirty-five reviews, bringing the total to 699. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

I also updated my manuscript’s outline again. One chapter was deleted while several others were combine, Barring any further changes, there will now be forty-seven chapters when it’s completed.

Here’s another snippet:

The Emirates Airlines flight bounced on the runway at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi before settling into a smooth roll, jerking as the pilot applied the brakes. A wing tipped in a strong gust of wind as the plane cut onto a taxiway before lurching to a halt at the designated gate.

Despite announcements from the cabin crew to remain seated, many passengers undid their seatbelts, jumped to their feet, and pushed toward the exit.

Evelyn shook her head as she turned to Barbara Battersea, one of her Bedlam Charlie teammates. “Despite the dozens of flights I’ve taken over the years, it never ceases to amaze me when people think they’ll disembark before the crew is ready.”

Seconded from New Zealand’s Security and Intelligence Service, petite with an athletic build, Barbara ran her hand over her blonde, spiked hair. “Are you nuts? For the most part, civility disappeared years ago. I’m flabbergasted when a gentleman comes along.” Barbara grinned. “Too bad I can’t carry my Ka-Bar on the plane. I’d clip a few Achilles tendons and let them crawl.”

As the aircraft door finally opened, the impatient passengers surged forward, ignoring safety warnings from the crew.

Evelyn and Barbara opened their seatbelts, stood, and reached up to the overhead bin to collect their bags.

“Let me help you.” Noah Appleman, the quietest team member and originally from Israel’s Sayeret Matkal, dropped his backpack in the aisle as he assisted Evelyn and Barbara.

“Thank you, Noah.” Evelyn slipped her arms through her bag’s shoulder straps and headed toward the exit.

Barbara, Noah, and Ollie followed.

After stopping by the baggage carousel and collecting their checked luggage, they cleared customs without any difficulty and left the terminal.

Evelyn spotted two men dressed in casual clothes standing to the right. Both wore mirrored sunglasses and were of similar height.

One man, who clearly worked out based on the size of his bulging biceps, held a sign with a single word: Skylark.

After she nodded, the men turned and led the Bedlam team to a restricted parking lot. They stopped by two identical red and black Kia Sonet SUVs.

The man with the body-builder physique gestured to the far vehicle. “The packages you were expecting are already loaded in the back.” He hit the key fob and unlocked the SUV before handing the keys and an envelope to Evelyn. “Inside is the information regarding your hotel in Chandigarh and a contact information card. If you need any further support, ring the top number, and we’ll get things sorted.”

“Thank you.”

Both men nodded before climbing into the other vehicle and departing.

The Bedlam team stowed their gear on top of the three packages.

Noah closed the door and climbed inside.

Barbara and Ollie raced around their vehicle, both reaching the driver’s door at the same time.

Evelyn shook her head as she edged between them. “Listen, you two. You’ve been at each other since we boarded the plane in Australia. You act like siblings instead of professionals. If you were my niece and nephew, I’d clip you ‘round the ear. Button it.” She dangled the vehicle’s keys from her hand.

Barbara and Ollie grinned at each other. She grabbed the keys from Evelyn. “I’ll go first. Ollie, you can navigate.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 10, 2022

Over the past week we’ve experience more below season average temperatures, barely reaching 50F/10C. There’s been a mixture of sun, clouds, and rain throughout, and we even had frost one morning. Today, it’s bright and sunny and the birds are singing away.

We’ve been at the monthly small business market this weekend. Sales were a bit lower than normal. Thirteen of my autographed books sold along with sixteen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets and another of her books. With the recent increases in domestic gas and electricity bills (ours went up fifty-four percent from last month), council taxes (similar to property taxes), car taxes, and national insurance premiums, it’s likely some people are still figuring out their personal impact. Also, local schools began Easter holidays which could also have figured in the lower attendance.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird had died, ants eat it. One tree can be made into a million matchsticks, but only one matchstick is needed to burn a million trees. Circumstances can change at anytime. Don’t devalue or hurt anyone in this life. You may be powerful today but time is more powerful than you.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 10th, the second Sunday of the month: Balthazar Huydecoper, Dutch translator and historian; Basílio da Gama, Portuguese poet (O Uraguai); William Hazlitt, English essayist and critic; Lewis “Lew” Wallace, American author (Ben-Hur) and Major General (Union Army); Forceythe Willson, American poet (The Old Sergeant); Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American publisher (St Louis Post-Dispatch, NY World) and Democratic politician whose bequest founded the Columbia School of Journalism and the Pulitzer Prize; George William Russell, Irish nationalist, poet and artist; Alfred Kubin, Austrian writer and illustrator; Montague Summers, English clergyman and writer (Malleus Maleficarum); Paul Sweezy, American Marxist economist and editor (Monthly Review); Stefan Heym, German-American author (Crusaders, Family Benda); Leo Vroman, Dutch-American hematologist and poet; Chuck Connors, American author, actor (The Rifleman, Branded, Cowboy in Africa), professional basketball and baseball player; Marcel van Maele, Belgian poet and playwright; Adrian Henri, British poet and founder of poetry-rock group (Liverpool Scene); Rokusuke Ei, Japanese author and lyricist (Sukiyaki); David Halberstam, American journalist, historian and author (Pulitzer 1964); Bella Akhmadulina, Russian poet (The String, Fever); Penny Vincenzi [Hannaford], British novelist (An Absolute Scandal, Spoils of Time trilogy); Paul Theroux, American travel book writer and novelist (Mosquito Coast); Barry M. Riemer, American author (The Great American Con Machine); John M. Ford, American sci-fi author and poet.

Any names familiar to you? I spotted three I know: Joseph Pulitzer, Chuck Connors, and Paul Therous. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge continue to participate in a Kindle Unlimited thrillers and killers promotion throughout April. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 109 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/aprilthrillersandkillers/ygd654x5xa

My Work in Progress

Slide1I continued moving forward with Ultimate Escalation, completing chapters thirty-four through thirty-six. My manuscript received another twelve reviews, bringing the total to 664. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

I also updated my manuscript’s outline again. Barring any further changes, there will be fifty-two chapters when it’s completed.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Blakely rubbed a hand over his messy hair as he strode down the corridor to his office. The click of his heels echoed in the deserted hallway. He unlocked his door, turned on the light, and set his Starbucks coffee on the credenza. He flicked to one of the twenty-four news channels and sat at his mahogany desk.

The admiral glanced at the wall clock as it clicked to 0430. While he waited for his computer to boot, he sipped his lukewarm brew. As soon as his computer was ready, he logged in and began sorting through a myriad of emails. Lots of routine stuffmy subordinates are cc’ed so they can respond.

As he reached the end of the overnight’s incoming emails, he clicked on one which caught his attention:

I wish to advise you, kind sir, about our Russian ‘friend.’ Since he relocated to Lahore, I have been cut off from him. I suggest asking a colleague to infiltrate the Punjab reunification effort.

“Hmm.” The admiral pursed his lips. “Might be useful.” He clicked on reply.

Proceed with caution. Assume he will pass his intel through you?

After sending his response, he stepped into the outer office, where the aroma of brewing coffee greeted him. He glanced around, wondering who had prepared it since it was too early for his secretary to be in the office.

A tall, slender man jumped to his feet. “Morning, Admiral. I thought you might enjoy some fresh coffee.” Matthew McMasters, nicknamed ‘the grandson’ because of his youthful appearance, filled two cups with the steaming liquid.

“Thanks, Matthew.” The admiral pointed toward his office. “Join me.”

They sat in chairs positioned in front of the admiral’s desk.

I have a task for you.” The admiral sipped his drink. “I want you to work your magic and delve into the financial background of two people—former Spetsnaz Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev and ISI Major Ejaz Bangash.”

“How far back do you want me to search, Admiral?”

“At least five years should be good. However, if something surfaces which might warrant going back even more, use your judgment.”

“Yes, sir. Should I send my reports to the usual distro?”

The admiral shook his head. “The report on Nikolaev can be sent to Sir Alex and Harrison but send the info on Bangash just to me.”

Matthew stood. “Yes, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

“Relax and finish your coffee.” The admiral laughed. “Plenty of time to get started.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 3, 2022

After some seasonally-high temperatures during a good portion of March, we dropped about 20 degrees (F) during the last week and the first part of April. For the most part, there’s been plenty of sunshine, but we had hail and snow flurries over two days. Fortunately, no accumulation.

We did manage to get some more yard (garden) work done. During the recent wind storms, several of the trellis panels atop the back fence were broken and can’t be repaired. So far, I’ve taken down four of them–another four to go.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Some relationships are like Tom & Jerry. They tease and irritate each other, knock each other down, but can’t live without each other.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 3rd, the first Sunday of the month:

Lieven van der Maude [Ammonius], South Netherland poet; George Herbert, English metaphysical poet (5 Mystical Songs); Ferenc Verseghy, Hungarian poet and composer; Washington Irving, American writer (Legend of Sleepy Hollow); Anne Lister, English diarist; Ivan Kireyevsky, Russian literary critic and philosopher; John Burroughs, American writer and nature enthusiast (Burroughs Medal namesake); Frederik Willem van Eeden, Dutch utopian writer (Walden); Jose Juan Tablada, Mexican poet (El Florilegio); Margaret “Daisy” Ashford, British child author who wrote “The Young Visiters” (Mister Salteena’s Plan) aged 9; Neville Cardus, English writer and cricketer; Douwe Kalma, Dutch literary writer and leader (Young Frisian Movement); Henry Luce, American magazine publisher (Time, Fortune, Life); Peter Huchel, German poet; Isaac Deutscher, Polish-English historian (Stalin/Trotsky biography); Bert Bakker, Dutch publisher (Free Netherlands); Herb Caen, American columnist (SF Chronicle); Max Frankel, American journalist (Tables of Id of Organic Compounds); Jane Goodall, British primatologist, anthropologist, and writer (Through a Window: My Thirty Years With the Chimpanzees of Gombe); Reginald Hill, British crime author (Andrew Dalziel and Peter Pascoe novels); Jonathan Lynn, English writer and actor (Greedy, Bar Mitzvah Boy); Arlette Cousture, French Canadian writer (Les filles de Caleb); and Boris Miljković, Serbian TV and theatre director, writer and lecturer.

Any names familiar to you? I spotted two I know: Washington Irving and Jane Goodall. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are participating in a Kindle Unlimited thrillers and killers promotion throughout April. Why not stop by and check it out? There are over 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/aprilthrillersandkillers/ygd654x5xa

My Work in Progress

Slide1I was on a writing frenzy this week as I completed chapters thirty-one through thirty-three  of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another eighteen reviews, bringing the total to 652. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

I also updated my manuscript’s outline. Barring any necessary changes, there will be fifty-three chapters when it’s completed.

Here’s another snippet:

Ajit stopped the dinged green and white van in the parking lot. He climbed out and motioned for Vladimir and the others to follow. He pointed toward the towering monument. “We cannot drive any closer, so we shall mingle with others visiting the park.”

Vladimir glanced at his watch. “It seems quiet.”

“Yes. However, dhuhr prayers will finish soon. Afterward, more people will flock to the park to enjoy the multitude of flowers, lush greenery, and fountains. On most days, it’s very busy as families partake of the food courts.”

“I spotted two of the leaders I picked.” Grigori grinned. “They’re doing just as we rehearsed. They’ll wait until they get near the black wrought-iron fence surrounding the monument before opening their banners. The other three leaders and their men should be surfacing soon.”

Vladimir clapped Grigori on the shoulder. “Appears all the frustration you went through is paying off.”

“We’ll see.”

As they strolled through the park, the number of visitors increased. Children ran across the grass, shouting and laughing as they chased a ball or trying to launch colorful kites in the slight breeze. Others sat on benches, eating ice cream cones, licking the drips before they fell on the ground. The aroma of cooking meat at the food courts wafted through the air.

“Punjab for Punjabis. No One Else!”

Shouts erupted near the fence. Several men carried banners calling for independence from Pakistan and India. Someone banged on a rhythmic beat on a drum while patriotic music played through a portable music system. More banners appeared, with slogans such as Unite Punjab and Let Our Families Join Us amid calls for an independent Punjab.

People waved the green and white national Pakistani flag with its white crescent and five-pointed star, while others held aloft the Punjab provincial government flag, comprised of a white circular seal with an Islamic crescent on a green background. Dotted here and there was the Nisan Sahib, an orange triangle with three black, interlocked swords.

Ajit turned to Vladimir and chuckled. “I told you Pakistanis are curious. There must be five hundred people near the monument now.”

Tweeet! Tweeet!

Police officers blew whistles and chased after two men who had jumped over the barricade and stood at the base of the monument, waving flags to encourage others to join them.

An officer raised his baton, striking one of the demonstrators on the shoulder.

As he fell, someone rushed forward and resumed waving the flag.

Incited by what they perceived as police brutality, dozens of onlookers screamed and hurdled the fence, rushing to the aid of the fallen man.

Police vehicles screeched to a halt. Officers wearing riot gear jumped out of the trucks, creating a melee as they waded into the crowd, swinging their batons and striking men, women, and children with total disregard.

As the crowd continued to swell, the police seemed to lose control of what had started as a peaceful demonstration.

Blam! Blam! Blam!

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 27, 2022

Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating today. Hope you enjoy your special day!

We’ve had quite a run of sunshine this past week. Today, it briefly ended with plenty of fog although the sun is still trying to make an appearance. With all of the sunshine, we were able to get the flower beds at the front of the house ready for planting–even managed to get a few violas in!  We also found an excellent place for walking–Devilla Forest. It’s not far from the house and there are six walking paths through the forest. We took advantage of the sunny and relatively warm days  to go a couple of times. The clocks also jumped ahead an hour today, into what’s called British Summer Time.

During the first part of the week, the price of gasoline (petrol) increased by two pence a liter to £1.64. However, the Chancellor’s spring announcement saw a decrease in duty by five pence. I was definitely surprised to see the price actually dropped at our local station by six pence, down to £1.58, which makes it the equivalent of $8.03 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Blowing out the other person’s candle does not make yours shine brighter.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 27th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month: Benjamin Neukirch, German poet (Herrn von Hofmannswaldau); Michael Bruce, Scottish poet (Elegy written in Spring); Franz Xaver von Baader, German philosopher and theologist; Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, Hungarian Tibetan scholar (first Tibetan-English Dictionary); Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny, French musketeer and writer (Moise, Chatterton); Adolf Glassbrenner, German satirical writer; Heinrich Mann, German novelist and essayist (Professor Unrat); Marie Under, Estonian author and poet; Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, Turkish writer and translator; Thorne Smith, American sci-fi author (Topper, Rain in the Doorway, Stray Lamb); Karl Mannheim, German sociologist (Ideology & Utopia); acques [Izaak] den Haan, Dutch writer (Dangerous Book); Golo Mann, German-American historian (Antisemitism); Ai Qing, Chinese poet; Budd Schulberg, American novelist and screenwriter (On the Waterfront); Stefan Wul, French sci-fi author (The Temple of the Past); Louis Simpson, Jamaican-American poet (Good News of Death); Shūsaku Endō, Japanese writer (Sea & Poison, Silence); John Bayley, English academic and writer (Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch); Frank O’Hara, American writer and poet; Anthony Lewis, American columnist (NY Times) and author (Gideon’s Trumpet); Bob den Uyl, Dutch journalist and writer (Bird Watching); Istvan Csurka, Hungarian politician and writer; Abelardo Castillo, Argentine writer and novelist; Michael Jackson, British writer and journalist; Walt Mossberg, American journalist, the highest-paid journalist at the Wall Street Journal; Russ Conway, American sports journalist (Eagleson NHL scandal); and Patrick McCabe, Irish novelist (The Butcher Boy).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter thirty of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received a whopping thirty-four  reviews, bringing the total to 634. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After they passed the accident, Raj turned to the taxi driver. “Find a place where we can monitor the traffic. I want to photograph the license plates of the two Tata trucks.”

“Yes, sahib. In a few kilometers, the road bends, and there is a hidden spot where the police wait for speeding motorists.”

“Excellent. Pull into that area and wait for them to pass us.”

* * *

Mishka’s two-vehicle convoy continued along the highway. He yawned as he studied the arid landscape. Good thing for us it’s not the monsoon season. Would be more difficult to travel. He reached down, picked up his water bottle, and sipped.

“Sahib.” Bikram studied the side mirror. “A yellow taxi approaching. What should I do?”

Mishka glanced in his mirror and spotted the vehicle. “Let’s see if it’s the same one. If it is, lose him.”

Bikram grinned. “Yes, sahib. No problem. I do not like taxi drivers. They think they own the roads.” He allowed the truck to slow.

The taxi drew abreast as they passed a steep ravine. The lone passenger stared at them.

“It is the same one, sahib.” Without warning, Bikram yanked the wheel and swerved toward the taxi.

Bang! Screeeech!

The side of the taxi caved in as Bikram continued to force the vehicle off the road. He gave a final nudge.

The taxi crashed through a rusted guardrail and sailed over the embankment.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Now that Michigan State and Michigan have been knocked out of the 2021 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, I hope to resume my normal evening reading. Within the next week or two, I’ll resume posting my reviews.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 20, 2022

Today’s the start of the fourth consecutive day with plenty of sunshine and no rain. The temperature has even made it into the low ’50s (max 13C), but a chill in the breeze has made it feel a bit cooler. We’ve finally been able to clear away the winter detritus and dig over the flower beds at the front of the house. Today’s project will be to start in the back!

Due to the current world situation, we continue to see the price of gasoline (petrol) increase. Over the past week, the price of a liter climbed five pence to £1.62 or the equivalent of $8.22 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate. Thank goodness we have small engines in our cars.

I’ve been watching the 2022 NCAA March Madness basketball games. The two teams I follow, Michigan and Michigan State, won their opening games and have moved to the round of thirty-two. Go Wolverines and Spartans!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Music can change the world because it can change people.” ~ Bono

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 20th, the third Sunday of the month:

Ovid [Publius Ovidius Naso], Roman poet (Metamorphoses); Balthasar Bekker, Frisian theologist (Examiner of Comets); Friedrich Hölderlin, German writer; Karl August Nicander, Swedish poet; Matthias Keller, German hymn writer (O Farther un High); Carel Vosmaer, Dutch art historian/poet/editor; Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (Peer Gynt, Hedda Gabler); Obe Postma, Frisian poet/geography/historian (Frisian Clay Farm); Karin Michaelis, writer; Börries von Münchhausen, German poet; Siegfried von Vegesack, German writer; Kathryn Forbes, short story writer (mama’s bank account); Donald Featherstone, British writer and wargamer; Carl Reiner, American comedian, screenwriter, (Your Show Of Shows; 2000 Year Old Man; The Dick Van Dyke Show), director (The Comic; The Jerk), and author; Shaukat Siddiqui, Pakistani Author, Journalist and Political Activist; Anthony Blond, British publisher (The Publishing Game, Book Book); Alexander Gorodnitsky, Russian geologist and poet; David Malouf, Australian author; Elizabeth Gille, writer translator/editor; Gerard Malanga, American poet and photographer; Jay Ingram, Canadian television host and author; Pamela Sargent, American sci-fi author (Venus of Dreams, Cloned Lives); Curt Smith, American author and media host; Touré, American writer; and Andrzej Pilipiuk, Polish writer.

Any names familiar to you? Only one stood out for me: Carl Reiner. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

I also found out The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore are nowseries finalist a finalist in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the series competition. They are competing in the Global Thriller category for high stakes fiction. I’ll have to wait until the end of June to find out if they are selected as a first place winner. Fingers crossed!

ComL-8c(1)If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift (at least in the UK since it’s coming up on 27 March) for those special people in your life, there’s still time to pick up a copy (or several). Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-nine of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another sixteen reviews, bringing the total to 600. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Thick, black smoke filled the warehouse as both trucks belched. The Indian drivers killed the engines before they hopped out of the cabs.

“Open the doors—now!” Mishka waved his hands as he coughed. “Hurry before we all suffocate!”

One of the drivers approached Mishka. “Do not worry, sahib. Once the engines run for a few minutes, the smoke will stop.”

“Will they get us to our destination?”

“Of course, sahib.” The driver grinned. “My cousin, who is the second driver, is also a mechanic. He will fix any problems.”

The doors screeched open. Within minutes, the air had cleared inside the warehouse.

Mishka glanced at his fellow Russians. “Time to load up and head to Amritsar. Vedant and more of his followers will meet us at his family’s property.” He gestured toward the driver standing next to him. “What’s your name?”

The man grinned, showing several missing teeth. “Bikram, sahib. I am at your service.” He pointed to his cousin. “His name is Foola.”

“Benedikt, you ride in front with Foola, and I’ll be with Bikram. The rest of you divide up and hop in the back of the vehicles.” Mishka stepped toward Benedikt. “Make sure we take everything. There’s something about this place I don’t like.” Mishka glanced around. “It feels as if the building has eyes.”

Benedikt nodded. I feel the same as you. Ten minutes and we can depart.” He yelled at the others to check everything. “Hurry up, you halyavshchik! Stop being lazy—we don’t have all day.”

Fifteen minutes later, the engines roared into action. The Russians climbed aboard, and their two-vehicle convoy left the warehouse, thick, black smoke dissipating behind them.

* * *

Raj took a final photograph of the departing vehicles before dropping his camera into a shoulder bag. He ran into the warehouse through the open doors.

Empty.

He fished his cellphone from a pocket and dialed. “Sir, the foreigners left the warehouse.

“Thank you, Raj,” Senior Field Officer Chatterjee said. “Take two men and follow them. Report back whenever you find something of interest or when they meet with someone.”

“As ordered, sir.” He raced around the corner, hopped in a beat-up yellow Hindustan Ambassador taxi, and pulled out his Research and Analysis Wing identification. “Official business! I need you to follow two Tata trucks. I believe they’re heading north, perhaps to Srinagar.”

“Sit back, sahib.” The driver gunned his engine and sped along the narrow streets. “We shall find them.” He blew his horn at two pedestrians as he motioned them out of his way. The taxi rocked as he swerved around them.

Raj grabbed the panic strap. “I would prefer if you do not kill us.”

The driver grinned. “I am the best driver in Chandigarh, sahib. Do not worry. Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, will protect us. I keep a statue of him in the truck to ensure we have a safe journey.”

Guess this is a good time to believe in Indian superstitions. “I hope so.”

The driver nodded. “Wait and see—no harm will come to us.”

After five near misses, the driver gestured through the windshield. “Look, sahib. Two white Tata trucks, turning onto Highway Five. Are those the ones you are interested in?”

Raj peered through the window. “Yes! Don’t get too close but follow them.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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.

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