Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 1, 2021

It’s hard to believe how fast July seemed to go by. At least we’ve been having some decent summer weather, although it’s turned cooler again.

Our crafts participated in another artisan market yesterday. Sales weren’t as good as last time, but Mother Nature played a part in this. Since the market was held on a local main street (high street), even though the vendors and their stalls were protected by gazebos, the foot traffic was minimal for half the day due to persistent rain. Once the sun popped out, so did people. I ended up autographing five of my novels, while seven of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went home with satisfied customers. Added to the mix were several pieces of pyrography and a couple of candles, so overall, still a decent outing.

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

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 1st, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Luís Vélez de Guevara, Spanish writer (El diablo cojuelo); Benedetto Marcello, Italian author and composer (Lettera Famigliare); Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, poet and composer of the lyrics to “Star-Spangled Banner”; Ivan Gagarin, Russian Jesuit and founding editor of Études; Richard Henry Dana Jr., American author (Two Years Before the Mast); Herman Melville, American author (Moby-Dick, Billy Budd); M. R. James, English scholar and author (Ghost Stories of an Antiquary); Rose Macaulay, English writer (The Towers of Trebizond); Isaac Keesing, Dutch publisher and founder (System Keesing); Constant Burniaux, Belgian writer (The Abandoned) and art historian (Temps Inquiets); Paul Horgan, American novelist (Mountain Standard Time); Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet (Kamouraska); Stanley Middleton, British novelist (Holiday, Three Wise Men); Jeffrey Segal, British actor and playwright (Dad’s Army, Traitors); Ernst Jandl, Austrian writer (Otto’s Pug); Ko Un, South Korean poet; Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County); Étienne Roda-Gil, French songwriter and screenwriter; Brad Stephen “Taylor” Negron, American actor and writer (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Money); and James St. James, American author and nightlife personality.

Any names familiar to you? I’m familiar with the work of three: Francis Scott Key, Herman Melville, and Robert James Waller. 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 Published Work

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the first edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 741. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

A tall, slender man, dressed only in Bermuda shorts and sandals, gazed out the open sliding doors of his two-story sanctuary perched on a prominent elevation across the South Shore.  He sipped his iced Dark ‘n Stormy as he rubbed the two puckered areas of skin on his lower right torso, the result of a recent altercation with a competitor.

“Good morning, sweetheart.”

Phoenix Vanidestine turned at the husky words spoken in a posh British accent by his long-time girlfriend, Zaine Greenly. “’Bout time you woke up—it’s almost noon.”

“I needed my beauty sleep.”

He chuckled. “You’re always a beauty.”

Zaine ran her hands through her long, straight blonde hair before stepping closer and taking his drink. She wrinkled her nose after tasting the Gosling Black Seal Rum and ginger beer. “Ugh. How can you drink this stuff?”

“What’s wrong with it? This is Bermuda’s national drink!”

“True. But, you’re not from Bermuda, so why not drink something that tastes better?” She ruffled his curly black hair. “Take me water skiing today.”

Phoenix shook his head. “Can’t. Too busy. There’s—”

“I know, I know. Business. But you’re the boss, so why aren’t you making the decisions?”

“I might be the boss of this part of the operation, but we’re just a small cog in the overall organization. Someone above me is calling the shots, and he wants his merchandise.”

Zaine pouted.  “I’m beginning to think you don’t love me anymore. You spend more time with those guys than you do with me.”

Phoenix wrapped his arms around her and gave a slight squeeze. “You’re the most important person in the world to me. However, I still have to earn a living.”

“Why can’t you have a normal nine-to-five job instead of one that takes you away at all hours?”

He shrugged. “You should have realized I’d be bored doing some mundane job.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Zaine rubbed his bullet-wound scars.  “I just worry the thrills you seek might lead to your death.”

“Not to worry.” Phoenix puffed out his chest. “I’m golden—nothing can harm me.” I hope. “Let’s have brunch before I head to—”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to complete chapter ten of Ultimate Escalation. Slide1

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 210 reviews, and increase of eleven over the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Cosega Search, the first book in the Cosega Sequence series by Brandt Legg. This was the first of Brandt’s novels that I’ve read. Although there are numerous novels about something being found which might destroy the Vatican and its teachings, the adventures of Ripley Gaines, an archeologist, was a very enjoyable read.

With plenty of twists and turns in the plot and larger-than-life characters, I found myself staying up late burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happened next. Who are friends and who are enemies? You’ll have to buy a copy and sort this out for yourself. Although I normally prefer novels which wrap everything up by the final page, this one is worth going to the next book in the series. Look forward to reading more.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021

So far this summer, we’ve had pleasant evenings, perfect for sleeping. Daytime temperatures have ranged from warm to very warm, with a couple of days which could call in the hot category, even though last week was the hottest of the summer. Although there hasn’t been much rain, a few trips with a watering can have ensured the survival of the flowers, although some of the trees have become so dry they’re already shedding leaves as if it was autumn.  Such is life!

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

“Stupidity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 25th, the last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Thietmar, German chronicler and Bishop of Merseburg; Jacques Peletier (du Mans), French poet and scientist; Gerard Brandt, Dutch theologist, poet and historian; Pieter Langendijk, Dutch painter, etcher and playwright (Wiskunstenaars); Immanuel J. Pyra, German poet (Temple of Real Poetry); Elizabeth Hamilton, Scottish author (The cottagers of Glenburnie); Charlotte von Kalb, German writer; Christian Bernhard Tauchnitz, German publisher (T Edition); George B. Vashon, American, lawyer, academic and poet; Flora Adams Darling, American writer and historian, founded Daughters of American Revolution; Max Dauthendey, German painter and author (Ewige Hochzeit); Benito Lynch, Irish-Argentine writer (Caranchos de la Florida); Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan author (La victoria no viene sola); Walter Breedveld, Dutch writer (Een ship vergaat); Eric Hoffer, American longshoreman and author (The True Believer); Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-British author (Life-Terms, Nobel 1981); Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British writer and illustrator (The Little Grey Men); Joseph Mitchell, American writer (Joe Gould’s Secret); Hubert Booi, Bonairian poet (Golgotha, Muchila); Maria Gripe, Swedish writer (Josephine); Bill Fitsell, Canadian journalist, writer and historian (International Hockey Hall of Fame curator, historian 1969-2005); Midge Decter, American journalist and author (The Liberated Woman & Other Americans); Alice Parizeau, Polish-born Quebec writer and essayist; Gibson Kente, South African playwright and composer; Claude Zidi, French film director and screenwriter (My New Partner); Felix Philipp Ingold, Swiss translator and writer; Brian Stableford, British sci-fi author (Day of Wrath); Mur Lafferty, American podcaster & writer; and Jovica Tasevski-Eternijan, Macedonian poet.

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Revenge-Cover-HRThe editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

“Have you lost your mind?” AJ shook her head as she flopped onto a chair. She reached over and picked up the package.

“What are you talking about?” Javier’s brows rose.

“Oh. I don’t suppose you know anything about one of your employees following me?”

“Uh …. Well …. I guess.” Javier’s face reddened.

“Yeah. Don’t think I can look after myself? You never learned anything about me when we worked together on a joint mission?”

“Well …. Look. I really care about you—a lot, and ever since I received the photo of headless bodies and then your accident, which seemed suspect, I assumed—”

“Remember the saying about making assumptions?” AJ rolled her eyes. “I understand you did what you thought was best, but don’t you think it would have been better to include me in the decision?”

“I understand.” Javier snapped his fingers. “Wait a minute. How did you find out I had someone following you?”

“I spotted Cesar a couple of nights ago. He did a good job of staying hidden and not making it obvious but remember I’m highly trained.” She grinned. “Besides, the director thought the accident was a bit strange, too. He assigned a security officer to follow me—not all of the time, but when necessary. The guy tasked as my support spotted Cesar and clobbered him.” AJ picked up the package from the other chair, leaned over, and tossed it on Javier’s desk. “My guy filled me in this morning and gave me a present.”

“What’s that?”

“Cesar’s weapon, his wallet, and a few condoms.” She raised a brow. “Since when are condoms part of a surveillance package?” AJ smiled.

“Uh.” Javier’s face reddened again.

“No worries—just having some fun.”

“Okay. But it’s tough knowing someone might be gunning for you.”

“We just need to coordinate things.” AJ stretched out her legs. “I’ll ask for assistance from you if I think I need it. Can you summon Cesar? I have a suggestion on how we should proceed.”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to do a bit more writing on Ultimate Escalation. I didn’t quite finish chapter ten, but I’m satisfied with the progress I’m making. Slide1

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 199 reviews, and increase of eight over the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Once Revenge is released, I’ll add another story to my current WIPs. There are two I’m considering at this time:

The first one is Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2, the sequel to Mission: Angola. Here’s the draft synopsis:Mission- Yemen

Xavier Sear is thrust into a new adventure when he accepts an under-the-table assignment from a longtime friend, Ron Vincent. A former CIA operative, Sear takes on any and all missions, which appeal to his sense of justice.

Abudullah Bashari, a retired Yemeni geologist who dabbles in archeology is embroiled in the bitter struggle between the Houthis and the government. He reaches out for help to save his family. A wealthy man, he offers to reveal a damaging secret Saudi Arabia is trying to keep hidden.

Life-threatening danger abounds as Sear visits Yemen and creates a plan to help Bashari’s family escape. However, Hussien Khan al Mishari, a young Saudi prince, threatens to undo Sear’s intervention in pursuit of his own deadly game. Who will be victorious?

European-Caper-HRThe other one under consideration is European Caper, the third novel in my Bruce and Smith Thriller series. Here’s what this will be about:

Larry Samson, a former DEA agent, and his wife, Cindi, a semi-active certified public accountant, check in for their flight to London, to begin their annual European river cruise. Before they board the aircraft, they’re asked to check into a drug smuggling ring using pleasure craft to move their goods through the various European capitals.

Shortly after they depart from their initial location on the river, they meet an American couple, Javier and AJ, who are on their honeymoon. They identify themselves as friends of Larry’s boss.

Before long, the couples are mired in a conspiracy with an Eastern European drug ring. Sparks fly as they take on the smugglers, who attempt to kidnap the women.

Will Larry, Cindi, Javier, and AJ be able to trace the conduits and pass the information along or do they run afoul of the group and end up in harm’s way? Only time will tell.

Plenty of time to decide which one will join Ultimate Escalation on my active work-in-progress list. In the meantime, if I feel the need for a change, I can always tinker with these!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Continue reading “Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021”

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 18, 2021

It’s been the hottest week of the summer thus far, with historical average temperatures being beaten by twenty degrees (F) on a daily basis. Today we’re off to a bit cooler start, with a slight chance of a later afternoon shower. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts!

small business marketAs I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I participated in a small business market at the local mall, along with around twenty vendors, although we were the only authors. While last Sunday was quiet for everyone, overall we did quite well, with fourteen autographed copies of my novels being sold and eighteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. We were absolutely delighted!

On the first day of the event, a customer bought Mission: Angola. He came back Sunday afternoon to tell me my writing was as good as, if not better, than one of his favorite authors, Clive Cussler. What a compliment!

I’ve also been contact by a couple of people who picked up business cards and wanted to know when we’ll be back as they want to purchase some books. The next small business market will be 6-8 August at the Kinsgate mall, Dunfermline (same location as last time). The photo above was taken by one of our stall’s customers and posted on Twitter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Zacharias Ursinus, German theologist (Heidelberger Catechism); Saverio Bettinelli, Italian Jesuit writer; Gilbert White, English naturalist (Natural History and Antiquities of Selborn); William Makepeace Thackeray, British novelist (Vanity Fair); Tristan Corbière, French poet; Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer; Ricarda Huch, German writer and historian “First Lady of German humanism”; Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina); Manuel Gálvez, Argentine novelist (La maestra normal); Sydney Horler, English detective writer (Checkmate); Nathalie Sarraute [Tcherniak], French writer (Childhood, Portrait of a Man Unknown, The Golden Fruits); Clifford Odets, American dramatist (1961 Award of Merit-Golden Boy); Harry Levin, American literary scholar; Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (paradigm shift); Robert Sloman, English screenwriter; Margaret Laurence, Canadian writer (The Stone Angel); Ludwig Harig, German writer; Simon Vinkenoog, Dutch writer and poet; Aad Nuis, Dutch writer and political scientist; Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station); Edward Bond, English playwright and director (Blow-up); and Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Charlie and Sam donned their Ray-Bans and walked through the terminal’s exit into the intense sunlight.  They headed to a nearby taxi rank, choosing a silver Hyundai van, and handed the driver their luggage.

The driver turned to Charlie. “Welcome to Bermy. First time here? Do you need a hotel?”

Charlie glanced back at the building. “Thank you. Yes, our first time here, but we are waiting for two more people.” He pointed. “Here they come.”

Wild and TJ approached the taxi and tossed their luggage in the back.

After closing the rear of the vehicle, everyone climbed inside.

As they pulled away, the driver tapped his horn and cut off an empty taxi. “Arryone, I am Felix. Wopnin?”

Charlie and the others glanced at one another before he turned to Felix. “Is that anything like what’s happenin’?”

Felix laughed. “You’re too smart for me. Most tourists don’t have a clue what I’m saying when I use our island slang.” A grin spread across his face. “All de onions will try it on you.”

“Onions?”

“At one time, onions were a major export from Bermuda, so those born and bred here became known as onions. What hotel?”

“The Oxford House in Hamilton. How long will it take?”

Felix nodded. “An excellent bed and breakfast. Since there is only one road from de airport, traffic is always slow. Today? Perhaps twenty minutes, but maybe forty.” He shrugged. “We find out.”

They left the airport, merging toward the exit. At the first roundabout, the van lurched to a stop. “Sorry. Must be a tourist in front of us.” Felix laughed. “Once we get on De Causeway, we will pass him.”

When an opening appeared in the traffic, Felix gunned the engine, taking the first left onto The Causeway and whipping past the slow-moving car. He tapped his horn and waved. “De water we are passing is called Castle Harbour.  We will take de North Shore Road to Hamilton.”

Charlie glanced at the pastel-colored buildings interspersed with small copses hugging the road. As they continued toward Hamilton, various businesses dotted the landscape.

The van swayed as Felix alternated between braking for vehicles in their way to dashing into oncoming traffic to pass anything in his way. After a series of turns in Hamilton, the van screeched to a halt in front of The Oxford House. He checked the clock on the dash. “Twenty-eight minutes. An excellent time.”

Everyone climbed out of the taxi and converged at the rear of the vehicle to collect their belongings.

“How much?” Charlie pulled out his wallet.

 “Let’s see. Ten miles from the airport, so that is thirty-two dollars and sixty-five cents.” Felix raised a hand and pointed at their roll-around suitcases and backpacks. “Plus, one dollar for every piece of luggage.” He grinned. “Because I like you, make it forty dollars.”

Charlie raised a brow, pulled out two twenties and a five-dollar note, and handed the money to Felix.

Chingas!” Felix pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. “If you need a taxi or a guided tour while you are in Bermy, give me a call, and I give you de business rate.” He shook their hands. “Enjoy!”

More next time.

Slide1Work is also progressing with Ultimate Escalation. Chapters eight and nine were completed this week and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 191 reviews.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently reread, The Fulcrum: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. If you’ve read any of JC’s work you know how good it is. The Fulcrum is the first book in the series, and is an excellent introduction to Rex’s character and what makes him tick. While some readers might not like the main character for a variety of reasons, it’s important to the series to know how Rex became the man he now is. Well worth the read!

I also read by Wired Secret: Vigilante Justice Thrillers Series (Paradise Crime Thrillers Book 7) by Toby Neal. An intricate plot and realistic characters make for an exciting read as Sophie Ang deals with personal demons while assisting the U.S. Marshall’s Service in protecting a witness. Before long, Sophie is also in the sights of the same person after the witness.

She also finds out more about her mother and tries to decide which man is best for her. There’s plenty of action and great twists to keep the story moving forward. Look forward to reading more of Toby’s work.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 11, 2021

We’ve been busy the past couple of days attending a small business market at the local mall. Plenty of crafts to choose from. Our table had my novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets.
Over the first two days, we sold a dozen of my autographed books and fifteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. Needless to say, we’re happy. All being well, a few more of both will sell today!
Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Robert Greene, English writer (Friar Bacon); Luis de Góngora, Spanish poet and writer; Jean-François Marmontel, French historian and writer; Thomas Bowdler, British physician and writer (Family Shakespeare); Léon Bloy, French novelist and essayist; Richard Beer-Hofmann, Austrian writer; Herman de Man [Salomon H Hamburger], Dutch writer/Radio Orange; E. B. White, American writer (Charlotte’s Web, Elements of Style), John Francis Boyd, journalist; Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, American sci-fi author (Space Lords); Cordwainer Smith, American writer; Frederick Buechner, American author; Harold Bloom, American literary critic; Pai Hsien-yung, Taiwanese writer (Taipei People); and Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: E.B. White. 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 Published Work

All of my novels are participating in a gripping reads promotion, covering action & adventure, mystery& suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror. There are a total of seventy-nine novels available between now and the 15th. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/grippingreadskuor99/yblerf0c6g

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 721. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ grabbed empty seats and introduced themselves to Charlie.

“So, where’s the beer?” TJ picked up the pitcher, and poured the dregs into a glass and tossed it back.

Charlie glanced at each of his new team members. “How’d weapons training go?”

Paul approached with two pitchers of beer, set them on the table, and departed.

TJ filled everyone’s glass. “Not bad. I learned something new today.”

Wild laughed. “Yeah. Which end to shoot from.”

Everyone chuckled, with Javier almost choking on his beer.

“Who would’ve thought? I always figured I was right-eye dominant. At least I’ve never had an issue before with a pistol.” TJ sipped his beer and nodded at Sam and Wild. “Ask them who had a perfect score on the pistol range, including in the night-vision chamber?”

Sam grimaced. “So, my eyes don’t work as well in the dark. I’m not a cat or an owl.”

“Yeah, but you missed three times!”

“Out of sixty. But who had problems on the rifle range?”

“I still qualified.” TJ grinned and focused on Javier and Charlie. “When we hit the rifle range, I took out a target every time I shot.”

“So, what happened?” Javier glanced at Charlie. “Anything we need to be aware of?”

TJ shook his head. “Naw. At least, I don’t think so. Once we zeroized our M4s, I kept missing the targets. The instructor had me switch—I began shooting left-handed vice right-handed. Once I did that, I didn’t miss again.”

Charlie nodded. “Not a problem as far as I’m concerned. We’ll only be carrying SIG Sauers anyway. The rifle training was part of the package, and it’s always wise to understand everyone’s capabilities and shortcomings. Could make the difference between life and death.”

Paul and another waiter approached, each carrying large platters. After they passed out the plates, everyone stopped speaking as they dug into their meal.

Before long, the food had disappeared, and conversation picked up. Javier refilled everyone’s glass.

“Our flight to Hamilton will depart from BWI tomorrow afternoon. Take about two and a half hours.” Charlie looked at his team. “Be at the office by 0900, and we’ll go over the comms gear and a few other things.” He turned to Javier. “Anything else?”

Javier tapped a finger against his lips. “Nothing from me—it’s your show.” He raised his glass. “Here’s to the success of the Brusch Agency’s first contract.”

Everyone followed Javier’s lead before taking a drink.

Javier stood and pulled out his wallet.

“No worries, Javier.” Charlie waved at Javier. “We’ll stay a bit longer and become better acquainted. We’ll meet you at the office in the morning.”

Javier nodded. “Okay. Have a good evening.” He glanced toward AJ. “How about you?”

AJ grinned as she stood. “Let’s go.”

Outside on the sidewalk, Javier stopped. “Coming over or heading home?”

AJ smiled. “Nothing early planned.” She linked her arm through Javier’s. “Let’s head to your place and see what mischief we can get into.”

Javier pulled her close. “Sounds promising.”

They both laughed as they set off.

***

A man wearing a Yankees’ baseball hat slid down in his seat as Javier and AJ passed. Enjoy your evening. You’ll get what you deserve soon enough. He made a pistol with his thumb and index finger and pulled the trigger. We’ll have our revenge.

More next time.

In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews.Slide1

All seven chapters have been revised and reposted. So far, the they’ve received seventy-six chapter reviews. Excellent suggestions to further tweak the story and fix a few typos.

In addition, I’ve almost completed the next installment, chapter eight. It’ll be posted this coming week.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I need to dash to the final day of the small business market, so a book review will have to wait until next week.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 4, 2021

Happy Fourth of July!  Whether you’re celebrating with friends and family or keeping a low profile, have a safe and happy holiday!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Paul Scarron, French writer (Virgile Travesti); Christian Fürchtegott Gellert, German poet and novelist (Fables & Tales); Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author (House of 7 Gables, The Scarlet Letter); Lynette Roberts, British poet; Christine Lavant, Austrian poet and writer (Das Kind); Ann Landers [Eppie Lederer], American advice columnist “Ask Ann Landers,” twin sister of fellow advice columnist “Dear Abby” (Abigail Van Buren); Neil Simon, American playwright (The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, Biloxi Blues); Patrick Tilley, British sci-fi author (1st Family, Blood River); Paul de Wispelaere, Flemish writer and critic; Colin Welland, British screenwriter (Chariots of Fire) and actor (Straw Dogs);  and Ron Kovic, American anti-war activist and writer (Born on the Fourth of July).

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ann Landers, and Abigail Van Buren. 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 Published Work

All of my novels are participating in a gripping reads promotion, covering action & adventure, mystery& suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror. There are a total of seventy-nine novels available between now and the 15th. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/grippingreadskuor99/yblerf0c6g

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is now underway. Over the past week, there were another six new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 711. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

The door slammed behind Bennie and Justin as they walked into the kitchen. Justin went to the fridge and yanked out a jug of orange juice while Bennie pulled glasses from a cupboard.

As they poured the juice and sat, Alberto walked into the room. “Well? Did you take care of things?”

“Piece of cake, as the Americans would say.” Justin glanced at Bennie. “After we sent her to her god, we weighted her body, took it to the middle of the lake, and pushed it in.”

Alberto glanced from Justin’s face to Bennie’s. “Where did you find a boat?”

“Uh. There was one on the beach.” Justin grinned. “No one was around, so we borrowed it.”

“I see.” Alberto drummed his fingers on the table as he stared at the ceiling. “That’s one loose end tied up.” He tossed a small piece of paper on the table. “The man we hired to kill the CIA woman in an accident was released from the hospital.” He smirked. “The man failed yet expects his payment—he sent me a text earlier, along with where he wants to collect the money.”

“Are all Americans so greedy?” Bennie laughed. “Where do we find him?”

Alberto gestured at the paper. “That’s the location. He’ll be there in two days. He wants the money in small bills and placed in a backpack. Take care of him—but make it slow and painful. Failure cannot be tolerated.”

Bennie and Justin glanced at each other and nodded.

Justin poured another glass of juice. “Anything else?”

“Leave me.” Alberto waved them away. “I must think.”

***

Left to his thoughts, Alberto wandered into the living room, and sat in a brown leather recliner, adjusting the chair’s position until he was comfortable. I think this immoral country is corrupting Bennie and Justin’s minds. He shook his head. Once we’ve exacted revenge, we’ll return to the Middle East, where we can continue our jihad against the Israelis and those rushing to be their friends.

He fished his phone from his shirt pocket and dialed.

“Hello?”

“No names. Do you recognize my voice?”

Silence. “Uh, yes.”

“Good. How is your work progressing?”

“By the end of the week, I will have twelve packages ready for your use.”

Alberto chuckled. “Excellent. Can you make two smaller ones which can be attached to the bottom of a vehicle?”

“As you wish. Do you want activation by a sensor or remote control?”

“Hmm.” He tapped his index finger against his lips. I want to witness their deaths. “Remote control.”

“Okay, I’ll put a test model together as soon as I can and find a place to test it. If it works, I’ll make two operational devices for you.”

“Keep me posted.” Alberto broke the connection and grinned. At least one of my team remains loyal to Allah. He put the phone back in his pocket and closed his eyes.

Two hours later, Alberto woke with a start. The room had dimmed as the sun headed toward the horizon. What disturbed me? He climbed out of his chair and walked from room to room, checking all windows remained locked.

After he finished examining every external door and window, he stepped into the utility room. There!

More next time.

In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews.

As of this morning, all seven chapters have been revised and reposted. So far, the they’ve received sixty-nine chapter reviews. Excellent suggestions to further tweak the story and fix a few typos.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Swagger Sword: Templars, Colombus and the Vatican Cover-up (Templars in America Series Book 8) by David S. Brody. As with all of the novels in this series, there’s an excellent blend of truth, myth, and fiction.

Join Cameron Thorne, his fiance, Amanda Spencer-Gunn, and their adopted daughter Astarte, as they’re embroil in another chase to determine whether their is any validity to the engraving on a sword they stumble upon. Will this lead to a hidden scroll and undue centuries of mistruth?

Cameron and Amanda put their lives on the line as they attempt to solve the riddle. With plenty of twists and turns, this one will have you flipping the pages to find out what happens next. If you haven’t read any of the novels in this series, you don’t know what you’re missing!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 27, 2021

After a long hiatus due to Covid, we finally secured a craft table yesterday at an event which has resumed with the lifting of most restrictions. My novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets took center stage, with our candles and pyrography filled up our allocation.

Nine of Sylvia’s poetry sheets sold, along with eight of my novels, as well as some of the candles and pyrography. All-in-all, a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” 

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Indian novelist (Anandamath); Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (Under the Yoke); Lafcadio Hearn, American author (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan); Emma Goldman, American anarchist and publisher (Mother Earth); Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet and novelist (Oak & Ivory); Helen Keller, American political activist, author (The Story of My Life) and lecturer, who was the 1st deaf-blind person to earn a BA; Lewis Bernstein Namier, English historian; Ajla Rachmanova, Russian-Austrian author (Students); Catherine Cookson, English novelist (Bannaman Legacy); Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet (Ballad of Mari Lwyd); João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands); Alexander Pola [Abraham Polak], Dutch actor and writer (Cassata); Robert Aickman, English writer and conservationist (co-founding the Inland Waterways Association); Herbert Ziergiebel, German writer; Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian writer (Nyamekye); Joachim Wohlgemuth, German writer; Lucille Clifton, American poet (Two-Headed Woman); James P. Hogan, British sci-fi author (Giants’ Star); and J. J. Abrams, American writer, producer and director (Lost, Star Wars: the Force Awakens).

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly familiar with Catherine Cookson.  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 started the editing process of Revenge. Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 705. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ hoisted their beer bottles before taking a sip. A waiter slid a bowl of hot, salty popcorn on the table, winding his way through the tables and dropping off additional servings.

Wild took a long swig of his beer. “Man, I needed that. What a day! Those driving instructors are crazy!”

Sam laughed. “I know what you mean. When I went to the first test, I stopped as requested by the two armed guards at the checkpoint. One came up to the window and tapped on the glass with his AK-47. He spoke in the worst Spanish I’ve ever heard.” She grabbed a handful of popcorn and tossed a couple of kernels into her mouth. “He wanted my identification. I ended up shoving it through the window vent. After he glanced at it, he gave it back through the vent and waved us through.”

“So, what happened?”

“After we drove away, the instructor said I came up with a great way to provide what the guard wanted without rolling the window down.” Sam grinned. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him I did that because the main window wouldn’t come down.”

Everyone laughed and drained their bottles as full ones were set on the table.

“That’s nothing.” Wild chewed some popcorn before washing it down. “My instructor asked me why I sped toward a vehicle trying to back onto the road. A guy stood with his hand in the air for me to stop. I was going to when another stepped out with an AK-47. I was too close to back up, so I gunned it. The instructor finally agreed with my decision, although he said I should be more cautious.” He turned to TJ. “Anything exciting?”

“Not really. My instructor got mad when I swore. We came across a roadblock that I couldn’t bust through—two vehicles blocked the way, with a third one behind. When I began to reverse, the engine cut out. I hollered, ‘Shit!’ and started to climb out of the car when the instructor said the exercise was over. He then admonished me for swearing because he didn’t think the situation warranted it, although he did have a grin plastered across his face. He used the engine kill switch to disable the vehicle to see how I would respond.”

“Well, we survived our day of driving.” Sam stood. “I’m looking forward to the weapons stuff tomorrow.” She pointed to the sign for the restrooms. “Be right back.”

When Sam returned, they drained their glasses. “Pizza?” Sam pointed to the Pizza Hut sign down the street.

“Sure, but I want one to myself.” TJ rubbed his stomach. “What I don’t eat now I’ll have later or for breakfast.”

“Works for me.” Wild yawned. “After we eat, I’m heading back to the hotel to crash. Be another busy day tomorrow.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

With all of the editing and external events this week, I didn’t finish the novel I’m currently reading. All being well, I’ll present my review next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 20, 2021

Happy Father’s Day to those celebrating today in the U.S. UK, France, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Hungary, Malta, and other locations around the world. Enjoy your special day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Neither a rich man or a poor man gets to enjoy his money. One is too busy trying to hold on to it, and the other is too busy trying to get it.” ~ Linda Poindexter

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Salvatore Rosa, Italian baroque painter, poet, musician and actor; George Hickes, English linguist (Old German Philology); Nicholas Rowe, English poet and playwright (Tamerlane), Poet Laureate (1715-18); Adam Ferguson, Scottish sociologist and historian; Anna Laetitia Barbauld, English poet and writer of hymns (Life! I Know Not What Thou Art); Moses Waddel, American educator, minister and bestselling author (Memoirs of the Life of Miss Caroline Elizabeth Smelt); Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, French poet (Bouquets et prières); Charles W. Chesnutt, American writer (The Conjure Woman); Ivans [Jacob van Schevichaven], Dutch lawyer and detective writer; Kurt Schwitters, German-British dada-artist and poet (collages); Sergei Tretyakov, Russian constructivist writer, playwright and special correspondent for Pravda; George Delacorte, American philanthropist and publisher (Dell Books); Elisabeth Hauptmann, German writer (co-author of The Threepenny Opera); Lillian Hellman, American playwright (Toys in the Attic, Little Foxes); Anthony Buckeridge, English author (Jennings); Zoltán Sztáray, Hungarian writer; Robert Rozhdestvensky, Soviet poet; Claire Tomalin, English biographer and editor; Paul Muldoon, Northern Irish poet; Vikram Seth, Indian poet and novelist (A Suitable Boy); and Michael Gerber, American parody author.

Any names familiar to you? None stood out for me.  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 Published Work

In addition to today being Father’s Day, it’s also the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. To celebrate, my publisher, Solstice Publishing, creating a series of photos to promote some of their authors. Two of my books are featured (one twice):

 

 

Why not check out some of the featured authors!

My Work in Progress

This week, I’ve tinkered with some chapters in Revenge, before I get editing fully underway. Over the past week, there were another sixteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 680. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Heidi stared at him. I won’t show any fear. She grabbed a handful of sand and flung it at her executioner.

Blam!

“Aah!” Justin jerked his arm as the sand struck his face. In a reflex action, he pulled the trigger, missing the side of Heidi’s head by no more than an inch.

“No!” Bennie shoved Justin to the ground and fell on top of him, fists flailing.

Heidi scooted across the sand, rushing into the lake’s cold water. With a brisk pace, she swam away from the shore.

Shouts behind her caused Heidi to slow and take a quick look.

Both of the men were now on their feet but still struggled for control of the pistol.

Heidi resumed swimming, veering toward a couple sitting on a beach on the other side of the lake. She made short work of the distance, her long arms and legs biting into the water and rappelling her along.

“Help!” Heidi cruised into shallow water in front of the couple.

The man rushed forward. “Let me give you a hand.” He grabbed her arms and guided her to shore.

The woman yanked a blanket from a beach chair and draped it over Heidi’s shoulders.

“What happened?” The man led her to the empty chair.

“I—I was kidnapped.” She pointed to the far side of the lake. “Two men—they were going to kill me.” Heidi held a hand on her forehead as she scanned the area from where she escaped. “I don’t see them—I hope they left.”

The woman pulled a phone from her bag. “I’ll call 9-1-1.”

“No! Do you mind if I call a friend instead?”

The man and woman glanced at each other. After a nod, the woman gave Heidi the phone.

Before entering a number, Heidi glanced around. “Where are we?”

“An abandoned gravel pit near Independent Hill.” The man reached into his bag and pulled out a pistol and his Virginia State Police identification. “Don’t worry—we’ll protect you.”

A glimmer of a smile creased Heidi’s face as she punched in the numbers.

Moments later, a female answered. “Hello?”

“Sindee! Thank God! It’s Heidi.” She pulled the phone away from her ear at the ensuing shriek.

“Where are you?”

Heidi repeated the location.

“Are you safe? I’ll tell Javier, and we’ll be on our way.”

“Yes, I’m okay for now. You won’t believe it—I’m using the phone of an off-duty state trooper and his girlfriend.”

“Sit tight, Heidi—we’ll be on our way.”

The state trooper waved a hand to get Heidi’s attention. “Tell them to meet us at the Independent Hill State Police office.”

Heidi relayed the information.

“Hang on, Heidi—it’ll take us about an hour to reach you.”

“Okay.” Heidi broke the connection and handed the phone back.

“I think you’d be safer in our area office.” The officer finished putting his belongings in his backpack. “Of course, we’ll need a statement from you while we wait.” He stuck out his hand. “Guess we better introduce ourselves. I’m Sergeant Larry Supernaut.” He gestured toward the petite blond. “This is my girlfriend, Jenny.”

“Pleased to meet both of you and thank you for saving my life.”

“We better go.” Larry grabbed the lawn chairs.

Heidi nodded and smiled as they collected the couple’s belongings and headed up the slope to their vehicle.

More next time.

Since I’m still taking a short break from Revenge, II also revised chapter three of Ultimate Escalation. In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews.

As of this morning, the three revised chapters have received twenty-eight reviews. Excellent suggestions to further tweak the story and fix a few typos.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading The Holy Grail (Sam Reilly Book 13) by Christopher Cartwright. As with all of Christopher’s novels, this has another well-crafted plot and was a fast read. This time, Sam was mainly on his own after being kidnapped and forced to flee from government authorities who seemed intent on killing him and his kidnapper. So what happened? I don’t like to post spoilers, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out. Highly recommended for those who enjoy fast-paced thrillers. I look forward to reading more of Christopher’s work.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 13, 2021

This past week, Mother Nature has teased us a couple of times with a few sprinkles. Not enough to soak the ground, which is what we need as it’s been dry for over two weeks. As a result, I’ve had to start watering the plants so we don’t lose them. Since there’s been requests not to use hoses because of the dry weather, I’ve doing my bit by using a watering can.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Last year, there was a vine growing near and old wooden post cemented into the ground. Since the roots of a neighboring tree are intertwined around and across the concrete, I can’t remove the post without damaging these roots. Needless to say, I don’t want to do that. Instead, we’ve been training the vine to go around the post. This week we were rewarded with this flower popping out. There’s only the one, as least so far, but it’s a great addition to the area.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ~ Randy Pausch

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Adrien Baillet, French scholar and critic; Fanny Burney, English novelist (Camille, Evelina); William Austin Burt, American scientist, surveyor and inventor who patented America’s first typographer (typewriter) and the equatorial sextant; Thomas Arnold, English educator and historian (History of Rome); Bernard ter Haar, Dutch poet (Herbert and Clara); W. B. Yeats, Irish poet (Wild Swans at Coole-Nobel 1923); Leopoldo Lugones, Argentine poet (Las montañas del oro); Max d’Ollone, French composer and writer (Le Ménestrel); Étienne Gilson, French philosopher and historian; Bruno Frank, German-born writer; Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet and writer (The Book of Disquiet); Dorothy L. Sayers, English novelist (The Nine Tailors); Mark van Doren, American poet and author (Happy Critic, Transients); Lode Zielens, Flemish author and journalist (Obscure Blood); Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, Spanish writer associated with the Generation of ’36 movement; Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, French Canadian poet (Regards et jeux dans l’espace); Etienne Leroux, Afrikaans author (Een vir Azazel); Hans Fellner, bookseller; Jean Villain, Swiss writer; Whitley Strieber, American author (The Wolfen, The Hunger); and Johannes Grenzfurthner, Austrian artist, writer, curator and director.

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly aware of Yeats. While most of us might not know Burt, we can certainly are familiar with his creation. Where would writers be today without the typewriter and later the computer?  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 Published Work

All of my novels are participating in various promotions throughout June. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.  Here they are:

Thriller Reputation Builder: https://books.bookfunnel.com/alexablake/y4v4ep6lli

Faced Paced Thrillers: https://books.bookfunnel.com/fastpacedthrillers/r9qv4ero70

Chilling Reads: https://books.bookfunnel.com/chillingreads/gyniozpth8

Thriller, Mystery & Suspense: https://books.bookfunnel.com/audreywalker/col6tc780v

I’m sure I can say on behalf of all of the participating authors, many thanks for your support!

My Work in Progress

This week, I reached another milestone, completing the first draft of my sixth novel, Revenge. the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Everything is now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’ll take a couple of weeks off from this manuscript before I begin my initial editing.

Over the past week, there were another sixteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 664. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier wandered into the conference room carrying an iPad, followed by AJ. Seven of the ten brown leather chairs surrounding the rectangular oak table were occupied.

After taking his seat at the head of the table with AJ to his right, he glanced around the room. “Once the money starts rolling in, we might need a bigger place.”

Everyone chuckled.

“Anyone see TJ?” Javier raised a hand in the air to mimic a tall person.

“Right behind you, boss.” TJ spoke in his normal soft voice.

Javier turned and glanced upward. “How about climbing down from those heights and joining us?”

“Sure thing.” TJ took the remaining seat.

“Okay, now that everyone’s here, a couple of announcements.” He gestured toward AJ.

“Sindee, I spoke with one of my contacts in the Alexandria police.” A slight frown creased AJ’s face. “No sign of your neighbor yet, but they’ve put out the word to their confidential informants. A check of available CCTV cameras didn’t provide any leads so far, although one device did capture a late-model SUV leaving the parking garage around midnight. The vehicle was yellow or bronze. Are you aware of anyone in the building with a vehicle like this?”

Sindee shook her head.

“No plates on the SUV, so this appears to be a planned incident. When I hear more, I’ll pass it along.”

“Many thanks, AJ. Let’s hope they find Heidi soon.” Alive.  Javier glanced from Sindee to AJ. “While everyone’s getting settled in, I want to establish some routine. Every Monday and Friday, we’ll meet here for about an hour or so. Mondays will be to discuss any new business and events from the weekend, while Friday will be used to catch up on what’s happened during the week. Any questions?”

“Yes.” Sam glanced at the others before directing her attention toward Javier. “What if something urgent comes up?”

Javier nodded. “Good point. We can always hold impromptu meetings when they’re needed. As we progress and become a more cohesive team, we can make adjustments.”

He opened the iPad and read for a few moments. “Okay, team. We have our first overseas client, compliments of the DEA.”

“Who gets the assignment?” Wilder “Wild” Harris swiped his hands through his thick, brown hair.

“There’ll be four. The team lead will be one of the Snakes, but I don’t know which one yet—depends on who can break away from their normal duties and use some of their accumulated leave.” Javier gazed at the eager faces. “Sam, Wild, and TJ—you’re up. Cesar, I’ll talk to you later—something separate for you.”

More next time.

Since I’m taking a short break from Revenge, I’ve already pulled up another WIP to focus on. In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews. Relevant suggestions have been incorporated into the manuscript and the first two revised chapters are now reposted. They’ve already received twelve reviews.

Ultimate Escalation is the fourth novel in my Bedlam series, following award-winners, The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore. Here’s the synopsis:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev, a disgraced Spetnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

Last night, I finished reading Thief on the Cross: Templar Secrets in America by David S. Brody. This is the second novel in his Templars in America series. Join Cameron Thorne and his fiancée Amanda Spence, as they try to unravel truth from fiction.

Once again David has weaved a superb plot, filled with plenty of twists and turns. Who did the Templars really worship and how did they become so powerful? Is David’s alternative to historical facts the truth? You’ll have to pick up a copy and make your own decisions. In any event, you’ll find this an excellent page turner. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 6, 2021

The past week has seen plenty of sunshine, with cloudy skies most days. However, predictions of rain weren’t realized. Some of the ground became so dry I had to do some watering so we didn’t lose any plants, but the grass continues to grow, so I couldn’t skip mowing.

Today’s no exception–we’re off to a brilliant start to the day. I hope it continues, although there are already hints of water shortages despite the very wet winter and spring.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye.” ~ Plato

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 6th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pierre Corneille, French poet and dramatist (El Cid, Horace); Cornelis Loots, Dutch accountant and poet (Dwingelandij); Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer and poet (Eugene Onegin); Eliza Orzeszkowa, Polish novelist (Dziurdziowie); Steele MacKaye [James Morrison Steele MacKaye], American playwright and actor (Spectatorium, Paul Kauvar); Gerben Postma [Ids], Frisian writer (Swealtsjeblommen); William Inge, English author, theologist and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral; Henry John Newbolt, English poet and author (Studies Green & Gray); Paul Keller, German writer (Ferien vom Ich); Thomas Mann, German novelist (Magic Mountain-Nobel 1929); Dorothy Heyward, American playwright (Porgy); Violet Trefusis, English writer and socialite who had a famous affair with writer Vita Sackville-West; R. C. Sherriff, English playwright (Journey’s End); Tom Scott, Scottish poet (Sea Dirge: A Mither’s Keenin); V. C. Andrews, American author (Flowers in the Attic); Bogusław Schaffer, Polish composer and playwright; Viktor Konetsky, Russian screenwriter; Lasse Hallström, Swedish writer and director (Once Around, My Life as a Dog, ABBA); Harvey Fierstein, playwright (Torch Song Trilogy, ID4); Cynthia Rylant, American author; François Avard, Canadian writer and scenarist; and Sarah Dessen, American author.

Any names familiar to you? None stood out for me, but that’s not unusual. 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 Published Work

 

The 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards finals ceremony was held last night. I’m please to announced Colombian Betrayal was selected as one of seven First in Category winners in the Global Thrillers category. Needless to say, I’m absolutely thrilled!

All of my novels are participating in various promotions throughout June. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.  Here they are:

Thriller Reputation Builder: https://books.bookfunnel.com/alexablake/y4v4ep6lli

Faced Paced Thrillers: https://books.bookfunnel.com/fastpacedthrillers/r9qv4ero70

Chilling Reads: https://books.bookfunnel.com/chillingreads/gyniozpth8

Thriller, Mystery & Suspense: https://books.bookfunnel.com/audreywalker/col6tc780v

I’m sure I can say on behalf of all of the participating authors, many thanks for your support!

My Work in Progress

I’ve had another writing frenzy this week, completing chapters forty-two through forty-five of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. All are now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Only one more chapter to go, and then editing will begin.

Over the past week, there were another thirty-four new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 648. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

After dusk set, Bennie and Justin headed to the basement. Both wore clown masks. One of them flicked on the dim light, and they thundered down the stairs.

Heidi bolted upright, keeping the chair between her and the two men. “Stay away from me!”

“Relax, princess.” Justin stepped closer, a cloth in his hand. “We’re going to take a little ride.”

Heidi rushed to a corner of the room, pressing her back against the wall. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Bennie pointed at the ceiling. “Sound-suppression tiles. While someone upstairs might hear you, no one outside this building will.” He grinned. “You belong to us.”

Heidi jerked away as Bennie tried to grab her hand. She swung a fist, catching him on the side of his mouth. “Bastard!” She stepped forward, thrusting a knee into his groin.

He collapsed to the floor, hands covering his wounded parts.

Before Heidi realized where the other clown was, Justin grabbed her in a bear hug. He worked the cloth into Heidi’s mouth before pinning her against the wall.

“Help me, Bennie!” Justin grabbed one of Heidi’s hands and wrenched it behind her back. “Quit playing with yourself and help tie her up.”

“But she kneed me. It hurts like hell!”

“Just help me.” Justin grabbed Heidi’s hair and slammed her forehead into the wall.

She dropped like a stone.

***

The rocking of a vehicle brought Heidi out of her stupor. She moaned as she struggled against her bonds, eventually freeing herself from the loosely-tied rope. Where are they taking me? Need to wait for a chance to escape.

The car slowed and turned to the right, continuing along a rut-filled road.

Heidi bounced a few times against the trunk’s roof. “Ow!”

A few minutes later, the vehicle stopped. Two doors slammed.

Footsteps drew near.

Heidi tensed.

The trunk opened. Hands reached inside and yanked her out, dumping her onto the ground.

Both men laughed.

One waved a gun. “Get up, princess. Time to go.”  He gestured toward a copse. “We’re gonna have some fun.”

Heidi pretended to stumble as she followed a narrow path along the edge of a lake. When one of them grabbed her, she lashed out, catching the man in the kneecap.

“Get out of the way, Bennie! She’s gonna escape!”

Heidi ran through the thick trees. “Help! Rape!”

A shot echoed across the water. “Come back, bitch!”

Another shot.

Heidi screamed and lurched forward.

Justin stood over her, the pistol aimed at her head. “You’re mine.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

With all of the writing this week, I didn’t finish the novel I’m currently reading. All being well, I’ll present my review next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day, weekend, traditionally the start of good weather, is upon us. As you enjoy your picnics, parades, and family gatherings, please also take a moment to reflect upon the background of the holiday. It’s also a time for honoring and mourning the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Happy Memorial Day to all who are enjoying the long weekend, and Happy Bank Holiday to my English friends, too.

We’ve had another week of crazy weather, but finally had two somewhat sunny but dry days in a row. Could we make it three? Hard to say–fog began rolling in during the early morning hours and is still with us. Hopefully, the sun will pop out and burn it off.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

As I had mentioned before, we were able to purchase a few bedding plants this spring despite the lockdown restrictions.  Here’s a couple of photos from our front yard (garden). This first one

is along the front of the property. We were fortunate to pick up these plants the morning they arrived at our local Tesco. They’ve taken well and are one of the best borders on our street, even if I do say so myself. Many of our neighbors have given it a thumbs up, too.

 

 

 

The second photo shows a variety of new plants with those that survived the past winter. Some

KODAK Digital Still Camera

perennials which we expected to be with us again this year didn’t make it, but my wife has done an excellent job of blending colors together to create another stunning display.

We’re still tackling the ‘jungle’ in the back, but next time I’ll add a couple of photos of the various types of flower and colors brightening up this area.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): Life is short. Don’t waste it being angry or sad. Be happy and enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Randolph Bourne, American writer (Education and Living); Cornelia Otis Skinner, Chic, writer (When Our Hearts Were Young & Gay); Countee Cullen, African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance (Black Christ & Other Poems); Joseph Stein, American dramatist and playwright (Fiddler on the Roof); Julian Gustave Symons, writer; Guadalupe “Pita” Amor, Mexican poet; Evelyn Wesler Zemel, American author (American Glass Animals); Arthur C. Jacobs, Scottish poet; Michael Piller, American screenwriter; and Kelley Armstrong, Canadian novelist (Women of the Otherworld).

While I don’t remember Joseph Stein, I’m certainly familiar with Fiddler on the Roof. Any names 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

I had another whirlwind writing time this past week, completing chapters thirty-nine, forty, and forty-one  of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. All are now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I  also updated my outline. After merging some of the final chapters, I believe I’ll finish with forty-five.

Over the past week, there were another nineteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 614. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A whimper escaped from swollen lips. She touched her face. Dried blood crusted her upper lip.

“Help.” The woman gasped. “Please. Someone. Help… Me.”

She collapsed.

* * *

Heidi awoke to darkness. Something scurried across the floor. A blanket was draped over her. She felt around—still clothed. She passed out again.

* * *

After she regained consciousness, the same dim light cast eerie shadows around the room. Next to her, a bottle of water and a sandwich wrapped in plastic.

She drank half of the lukewarm water. She wet her fingers and dabbed around her nose and mouth to rinse off the dried blood. Voices in the distance—strange, yet familiar.

Heidi pulled the sandwich from the bag and sniffed. “Ugh—I hate peanut butter.”

Her stomach growled in response.

She nibbled along the edge of the bread to minimize eating the filling, turning the sandwich as she progressed. When she finished, Heide drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

After dusk set, Bennie and Justin headed to the basement. Both wore clown masks. One of them flicked on the dim light, and they thundered down the stairs.

Heidi bolted upright, keeping the chair between her and the two men. “Stay away from me!”

“Relax, princess.” Justin stepped closer, a cloth in his hand. “We’re going to take a little ride.”

Heidi rushed to a corner of the room, pressing her back against the wall. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Bennie pointed at the ceiling. “Sound-suppression tiles. While someone upstairs might hear you, no one outside this building will.” He grinned. “You belong to us.”

Heidi jerked away as Bennie tried to grab her hand. She swung a fist, catching him on the side of his mouth. “Bastard!” She stepped forward, thrusting a knee into his groin.

He collapsed to the floor, hands covering his wounded parts.

Before Heidi realized where the other clown was, Justin grabbed her in a bear hug. He worked the cloth into Heidi’s mouth before pinning her against the wall.

“Help me, Bennie!” Justin grabbed one of Heidi’s hands and wrenched it behind her back. “Quit playing with yourself and help tie her up.”

“But she kneed me. It hurts like hell!”

“Just help me.” Justin grabbed Heidi’s hair and slammed her forehead into the wall.

She dropped to the floor.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Habitat Zero (Sam Reilly Book 15) by Christopher Cartwright. As with all of Christopher’s novels in the series, Sam is thrust into serious situations involving myriad myths and legends from the past. Habitat Zero follows along in the same style as readers are immersed in a hybrid of reality combined with a people from the past and a sphere which could only come from the future (or have been left by aliens).

While a bit far-fetched in some parts, this is another easy-to-read story, with plenty of twists and turns as Sam and his sidekick Tom, explore an unbelievable habitat. I always look forward to reading Christopher’s books as they allow readers to forget about what’s happening around them and enjoy a thrilling adventure.

I also finished Airliner Down: An Aviation Thriller by John Etzil. What would you do if you were stuck on a plane containing a bomb? Follow the actions of the plane’s crew and several of the passengers in this gripping thriller. With an intriguing plot, realistic characters, and plenty of non-stop action, you’ll keep wanting to turn the pages to find out what happens next. This is the first of John’s books I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved