Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 10, 2017

What a hectic week! First, our computer decided to die. This happened a couple of hours after I posted last week’s blog. Nothing I could do brought it back to life. That evening, we had dinner with some friends and sold another copy of The Kurdish Connection. They’ll be giving it as a Christmas present.

On Monday, I tried to have someone pull the data from the dead hard drive–no joy. I bought a replacement computer so we’re back in business. It’s amazing how much rely on them.

On Wednesday, I underwent my very first surgery. Nothing major and obviously I survived. I’m still feeling the effects of the anesthetic and the follow-on painkillers, but this too shall pass. I’m still slow on my feet and can’t lift more than ten pounds for the next six weeks–a good reason to spend more time writing.

My Work in Progress

My final giveaway of the year began on December 8th. I’ll be giving away twenty Kindle copies of The Kurdish Connection. This event is hosted on Goodreads and will run through December 17th,

I didn’t get much editing done on Dangerous Alliance this week, and with the computer crash, I have to rebuild the later chapters. Fortunately, everything is posted on the two subscription writing sites I use, so it’s a case of copying and pasting what I need. Just a hiccup in the process.

Despite the ups and downs of the week, I did manage to edit the first three chapters of Carnage in Singapore and begin working on chapter four. I’ll begin providing snippets next week.

Books I’m Reading

The First Chapter by Michael Maxwell is an interesting collection of short stories culminating in his first novel, The Whistler. I enjoyed following Michael as he shared his earlier work, giving us insight to how even as a novice writer, he clearly exhibited outstanding storytelling skills that have matured as time passed. While this is the first of his work I’ve read, it won’t be the last. Many thanks for sharing your journey with us.

The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell didn’t disappoint. Clive has been one of my favorite authors for years, and this one is another excellent journey by Sam and Remi Fargo. With plenty of twists and turns, lifelike characters and a compelling plot, all Cussler fans should enjoy this one, too.

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer.

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. His short story, The Reunion, is now available through Amazon, and his new story, A Dragon For Christmas, will be released this month.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 3, 2017

Yesterday I participated in a small Christmas craft fair. There were at least forty-one vendors. What an amazing arrays of talent! Everything from homemade goodies to an interesting display of wooden puzzles that kept young and old alike how to disassemble three pieces and put them back together.

Our contribution?  Sylvia’s knitwear, oil and acrylic paintings, and some of her poems printed on rainbow-colored paper and laminated–always a big hit. My side of the stall included a variety of scents and colored candles in a variety of shapes and sizes, and several pieces of pyrography (woodburning). The organizers allowed me to include The Kurdish Connection, and I sold three autographed copies!

My Work in Progress

My giveaway of The Kurdish Connection on Amazon ended this past week but the one on Goodreads is still open until December 6th, so there’s still time to enter. A Kindle giveaway will commence on December 8th on Goodreads, too.

This week saw plenty of effort in editing Dangerous Alliance. My goal is to finish going through the 600 plus reviews and tweaking the story by the end of January. Since goals usually slip, it might take a bit longer.

I also continued working on Carnage in Singapore, the third novel in my Bedlam series. The third chapter was posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. My faithful readers and a few new ones to my work have already provided twenty-two chapter reviews. I hope to get the next chapter posted over the coming days.

What’s Carnage in Singapore about?

Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them and ISIS-affiliates at an alarming rate. Blended operations by various Asian countries have forced the groups to work together to identify a new operational base.

They seek an island nation to call home, one where they can plot against countries who oppose their ideals.  They found a target, a small nation-state, perfect for their needs: The Republic of Singapore.

Before anyone can respond, several foreign ambassadors are kidnapped from their residences. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning.  Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

Bedlam Charlie team leader, Evelyn Evinrude, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

Stay tuned for more.

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t get a chance to complete my review this week. I plan to have two for you next time: The First Chapter by Michael Maxwell and The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell.

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away!

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. His short story, The Reunion, is now available through Amazon, and his new story, A Dragon For Christmas, will be released this month.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 26, 2017

I went into a farmer’s store yesterday to purchase some supplies for the animals and birds who frequent our home throughout the year. With it being Thanksgiving weekend, the ‘Black Friday’ sales were still ongoing. While some things were wiped out because of the sale prices, I still managed to buy what I wanted and saved some money, too. Playing in the background were Christmas carols, the first I’ve heard for this season. I’ve also noticed several homes have already set up their exterior decorations. While to me this seems a bit early, I must admit when driving in the evening, the colored light displays do brighten up the gloom.

My Work in Progress

untitledMy giveaways of The Kurdish Connection are live. If you haven’t stopped by and entered, take a moment to do so Just click here on Goodreads if you want to enter for a chance at one of five autographed copies.

Or if you prefer trying to win a Kindle version, clicking on Amazon will take you where you need to be. I’ll be giving away ten Kindle copies.

Stay tune for future giveaways between now and Christmas.

In the meantime, editing is still underway for Dangerous Alliance, the sequel to The Kurdish Connection. With over 600 chapter reviews, iI have plenty of reading and writing to do. My goal is to have the novel completely edited by the end of February. Since this is a self-imposed deadline, it might slip if there are extenuating circumstances requiring my time be spent elsewhere.

I’ve also been working on the initial chapters of Carnage in Singapore, the third novel in my Bedlam series. So far I’ve written two chapters and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I used. My faithful readers and a few new ones to my work have already provided fourteen chapter reviews. I hope to get the next chapter posted over the coming days.

Next time, I’ll provide a bit more from Dangerous Alliance and also the synopsis for Carnage in Singapore. Hope you’ll keep reading.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past few days, I finished another book written by Russell Moran. The second in the Patterns series, The Scent of Revenge was as good as the first one. Russell created another excellent political/terrorism thriller. Returning to take on new challenges caused by terrorist attacks, Rick Bellamy, a FBI counter-terrorism expert and a CIA official named Buster tackle the latest threat.

Both men use their specific talents to take on what is the biggest terrorist attack they’ve faced. It becomes personal for Rick, when is wife becomes one of the targets. Will Rick and Buster be successful? I don’t want issue an alert spoiler, so you’ll have to purchase a copy and find out.

Once again Russell’s well-crafted characters, believable plot, and several twists will keep you guessing until the end. If you enjoy roller coaster stories, this is one for 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. With the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn’t spend much time researching new sites to share, but will provide the link below to a group of international writers who are bringing some of their favorite writers to you.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! A new review of The Scourge and interview with author Roberto Calas will be published soon.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 19, 2017

Each morning when I head towards the computer, I’m met by various four legged members of the family. Are they glad to see me–you bet! At least, until I pop the top on their food. If I’ve chosen wisely, they hunker down and begin eating. It I’ve goofed, I know in seconds, as they walk away, leaving the tender morsels alone.

I’ve tried playing the ‘that’s all you get, so eat it’ game. Sometimes this works, but other times, I’m not so lucky. There’s no doubt who is setting the rules–and it isn’t me.

My Work in Progress

untitled

As many of you are aware, The Kurdish Connection is my debut novel. I’m holding my first giveaway on Goodreads, between November 23rd and December 6th.

I’ll be giving away five autographed copies of The Kurdish Connection. Unfortunately, due to exorbitant international shipping costs, I’ll only be including those with U.S. mailing addresses in this one.

However, I’ll also be running two more giveaways in early December, one on Amazon and the other on Goodreads. Both will be for Kindle versions, so this will open up for those residing elsewhere. Stay tuned for the Kindle giveaway dates!

The inclement weather continued over the past week, so I was able to spend more time writing. I’m pleased to report the entire first draft of Dangerous Alliance is now posted to the two subscription websites I use. Despite November being NaNoWriMO month, reviews are trickling in–a total of 605 chapter reviews as of this morning! What a fabulous bunch of supporters. They’ll be quick to point out what’s working and what does, so I can make necessary changes.

This week also saw the initial start to the first chapter of Carnage in Singapore, the third book in my Bedlam series. This one will feature the Bedlam Charlie team. More about this next week.

Books I’m Reading

Last night, I finished reading Two Roads to Sunday by Carol W. Huff and Arthur F. Torrance, IV. This is the first Western novel I’ve read in years, and I couldn’t have picked a better one for my return to this genre.

Dirt, a wanderer, is seeking revenge for the murder of his brother, Owen. Meanwhile, Sarah and her husband, accompanied by their daughter Cassie, join a wagon train heading west. Join Dirt and Sarah on their individual journeys as they seek their respective futures. Sharing their joys and sorrows, you’ll be on an adventure which will energize your emotions.

Events lead to them finally meeting each other Will this be a joyful union or a devastating one? You’ll have to read for yourself, as I don’t want to spoil anything. With well-crafted characters, a superb plot, and an unexpected outcome, I thoroughly enjoyed Two Roads to Sunday and look forward to reading further novels by these authors.

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! A new review of The Scourge and interview with author Roberto Calas will be published soon.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 12, 2017

We had our first dusting of snow for the new ‘winter’ season. Only about half an inch, just enough to cover most of the ground. With cold daytime temperatures hovering around freezing (32F, 0C) and nighttime much lower (8F, -13C), it’s no wonder it took several days for even this small amount of snow disappear.

Today, we’re off to a gloomy start, but nothing a cup of coffee or two won’t brighten. The sky is gray and so is the water. No hint of the sun, which must be up there someplace. With the leaves shed from the trees, it does paint a bleak picture but onward we go!

With the colder weather, we’re receiving more visitors at the apple tree feeders. Blue jays, cardinals, black-eyed chickadees, juncos, an occasional tree sparrow. Two different woodpeckers dropped by as well. It’s always a treat to glance out the window to see who has dropped by.

My Work in Progress

There’s always a positive side to inclement weather for a writer. Outdoor chores are put on hold, allowing more time with paper and pen (okay, a computer these days, but what the heck?).

Despite November being the annual NaNoWriMo competition, reviews of my latest manuscript, Dangerous Alliance, keep flowing, now up to 558 chapter reviews. A couple of faithful reviewers asked me to keep posting as they like to read several chapters in a row and not wait for the eventual announcements of a new post.

I agreed with them and it’s a good thing the words have been flowing. Over the past week, I completed six more chapters, leaving me five remaining to complete the first draft. Once the final chapters are completed, the hard work will begin–editing.

Here’s another sample from Dangerous Alliance:

Two men pulled the tent flaps open, allowing Busuri and Looshan to enter. Knives drawn, they rushed to the sleeping foreigners.

George stirred, eyes opening when the hilt of a dagger clipped the side of his head. “What? Who’s there?”

A hand covered George’s mouth as a dagger traced a line down his chin to his throat.

“Sshhh. Make a sound—you die.”

***

Several hours later, a phone rang twice before someone answered. “This is the British Embassy in Nairobi. How may I direct your call?”

“Hello, I’m Ian Jones, the Jujubba Refugee Camp coordinator near Malindi. We need help. There’s been a kidnapping!”

A bit more next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed the first two novels in the new Ryan Kaine series by Kerry Donovan. I’ve already been an avid reader of Kerry’s DCI Jones Casebook series, so I could wait to get started.

I believe Kerry has taken his writing to a new level with his new series. The first one, Ryan Kaine: On The Run, grabbed me from the beginning. Holy smokes! Set up by his superiors, Ryan blasts a commercial airliner out of the sky. Not content with tricking Ryan into doing something he would never have voluntarily done, the boss sends out thugs to ensure Ryan remains quiet—permanently.

With eighty-three innocent deaths on his hands and guilt threatening to overwhelm him, Ryan sets out to prove his innocence. Will his skills, instincts, as well as new and old friends, be enough to spur him on?

With realistic characters an exciting plot, and riveting action, I found it difficult to put down. I wanted Ryan to succeed in his mission. An excellent beginning to this exciting new series.

After finishing this story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks. Kerry stepped up the action, having a somewhat vindicated Ryan traveling to Scotland to rescue the younger brother of one of the fatalities from the airliner. On a school outing, he’s missing on a Scottish mountain. Ryan infiltrates a rescue team to lend his knowledge of the area and his skills. The team took him at his word, until the schoolteacher leading the outing recognizes Ryan.

With Ryan’s identity revealed, he escapes and works his way up the mountain. Climb with him as he scales steep cliffs until he finds the boy. I read this one even faster than the first one; I was so enthralled with the plot. For those who love thrillers, the Ryan Kaine is a series not to miss!

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! My interview with Kerry Donovan is now posted (along with the reviews listed above of his Ryan Kaine series).

B. Douglas Slack – A newly published author, Mr. Slack provides an interesting style as he brings us a romance spanning the globe–an American man and a Japanese woman. I won’t say any more just now as my review will be posted next week. It’s a great story and one not to miss. Available now on Amazon.com.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 5, 2017

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I switched on the television to begin watching the football game between Penn State and Michigan State. It was a recording but the game I expected wasn’t the one being shown. Why? The weather was so bad, there was a three-hour delay during the second quarter. Later on, the start of the University of Michigan’s game was delayed by over an hour.

At our house, the wind was blowing across Lake Huron. The bird feeders in our apple tree were perpendicular to the ground, their contents blown who know where. Things are back to normal now, so I repaired one of the feeders (the metal wire holding it in the tree had snapped), and topped all of them up. The first to greet me–a pair of black-capped chickadees.

My Work in Progress

This week’s inclement weather meant more time working on my Dangerous Alliance manuscript. I completed two chapters this week, but as I mentioned last time, I wouldn’t be posting them to the subscription writing sites I use for reviews until December because of the annual NaNoWriMo competition.

In addition to the two completed chapters, I’m doing something I haven’t tried before. I began working on the remainder of the chapters simultaneously. Seems to be working well, as it’s easier to ensure all threads are coming together as the end approaches. I might begin using this process as part of my normal draft preparation.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

In a quiet voice, Busuri spoke. “Change of plans. I found something better than entertainment to take from the camp.”

“What’s better?” Looshan asked.

“You’re the youngest member of the group, so there is more to learn. Foreigners—we’ll be able to ransom them as Dacar does with the ships.”

“Aah. I understand.”

***

Busuri gazed at the heavens, thousands of stars twinkling. He found his omen—the narrowest sliver of moonlight, shaped like a billaawe, the Somali double-edged dagger. Perfect tool for this evening.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently became a member of Blair Howard’s Advanced Reading Group. We had the pleasure of reading his new release, Hoodwinked.  Here are my thoughts about the latest adventure in the Harry Starke series:

Blair Howard’s Hoodwinked is the latest and greatest in his Harry Starke series. Semi-retired, Harry takes on a different role when a longtime friend is accused of murder. Despite his partners, the defense lawyer, and Kate Gazzara all believing his friend murdered his wife, Harry doesn’t believe it. The cast of suspects grows daily, even after Harry’s friend, Jim, is arrested.

Despite his best efforts Harry and his team are unable to find sufficient evidence to aid in Jim’s defense. Just when I thought I new who was responsible, another likely candidate surfaced. A surprising twists finally reveals who the murderer is. Hoodwinked is a non-stop roller coaster ride and impossible to put down until you reach the end. Blair created an exciting plot and plenty of exciting characters–you’ll be willing for Harry to solve the case. I hope there’s more to follow in the series!

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! My reviews of the first two novels in the new Ryan Kaine series and an interview with author Kerry J. Donovan will be posted tomorrow.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved