Randall’s Ramblings

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Randall’s Ramblings, June 26, 2022

We’ve had another good week on the weather front. Our hottest day of the year so was was on Thursday when we reached 74F (24C). We definitely won’t hit it today–right now we’re at 58F (14C). There’s been a few showers this week, but most of them occurred in the evening so they didn’t impact on daytime activities.

Gasoline (Petrol) jumped again this week, with another three-pence a liter increase . Now it’s up to £1.92 a liter, making an equivalent U.S. gallon at $9.07. It would be even higher except Sterling weakened this week against the dollar. As a result, it was only an increase of eight cents for a U.S. gallon over the past week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 26th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Branwell Brontë [Patrick Branwell Brontë], English painter and writer and brother of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne; Bartolomé Mitre [Martínez], Argentine general, author, statesman and President (1862-1868); Julius Rodenberg [Levy], German writer (Kriegs-Songs of War & Peace); Martin Andersen Nexø, Danish writer (Pelle Erobreren; Ya’akov Cahan, Hebrew poet and writer; Anna Maria Franciska van Wageningen-Salomons, Dutch author (Girl Student); Sidney Coe Howard, American dramatist (Swords, Pulitzer 1925); Pearl S. Buck, American author (Good Earth-Nobel 1938); Stefan Andres, German writer (Wir sind Utopia); Betty Askwith, British writer and biographer; Aimé Césaire, French Martinican poet and politician; Laurie Lee, English poet and author (I Can’t Stay Long); Charlotte Zolotow, American author and publisher of children’s books (When the Wind Stops); Colin Wilson, English author (Afterlife, Book of Great Mysteries); and Yves Beauchemin, Canadian novelist (L’enfirouapé). 

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

My Published Work

39375-302

The results of the 2021 Chanticleer International Books awards were announced overnight. I’m thrilled to announce that Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) was selected as one of six first in category winners for Global Thrillers.

The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore (Bedlam Series) also competed this year in the Fiction Series. All categories competed against each other. The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore ended their run in the competition as a finalist.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued once again on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The first six chapters have been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, they’ve received seventy reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Here’s the next snippet:

Crash! Bang! Crunch!

A packed city bus smashed into a Honda Civic as the lights went out at the intersection. A delivery van added to the congestion, crashing into the side of the car as it whipsawed due to the impact.

Two police cars skidded to a stop near the partially overturned bus. Officers jumped out and dashed to the smoking vehicle.

Blood covered the cracked windshield. Screams and cries filtered out.

One of the officers knelt and peered inside. Looks like the driver’s a goner—headed dented from the impact.”

“Lou, we need to get inside.” His partner yanked his baton out of the belt holster. “There are kids inside.” He whacked the glass several times before it gave way under his assault. Hand on kids—help’s on the way.”

Sirens overwhelmed the cacophony as multiple fire engines, ambulances, and police cars arrived. A fire department chief took control of the scene, directing her men to hose down the vehicles’ engines to prevent any explosions.

Ray, Lou’s partner, forced his way into the bus, crawling across a pile of bloodied schoolbooks and backpacks.

Two paramedics followed him. “We’ll take over, Officer. When it’s safe to move them, can you stay by the opening, and we’ll pass them to you?”

“Of course. Let’s get moving.” Tears trickled down Ray’s face. “I have kids at the same school. I don’t see the—I hope they were on a different bus.”

The paramedic clasped Ray’s shoulder. “First responders are heading to multiple crash sites. If their bus was involved in a collision, they’ll be taken care of.” He gave Ray a weak smile. “I better start working on the injured.” The paramedic turned and knelt by the first motionless body. He checked for a pulse and shook his head before moving to the next child.

* * *

“In other news, local hospitals have been overwhelmed by multiple accidents caused during a total power outage in the downtown area. Over twenty-five men, women, and children were killed, while another sixty are being treated for injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. The cause of the outage is still under investigation. We’ll bring you more as soon as we find out.” The announcer stared into the camera, his lips pursed. “Such a tragedy.”

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of the month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

THE COLOR OF Action: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy with 18 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

Thriller, Mystery and Suspense: There are 70 novels in this one.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thrillertime/ai0n57rurm

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 19, 2022

For all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!  Earlier this week I received a Father’s Day card through the mail and today there was an e-gift card in my email. Our son is like an elephant–he never forgets. Many thanks, Craig!

It’s been a pleasant week weather-wise, with our two hottest days of the year in our area, both at 71F (21C). Since the weather was so nice, a neighbor gave us a few plants for the front borders. One was a yellow geum but I don’t remember the name of the other twenty-seven plants he gave us. All of them have found homes in the borders, adding additional color.

Gasoline (Petrol) jumped again this week, with a three-pence a liter increase on Tuesday and another fiv on Saturday. Now it’s up to £1.89 a liter, making an equivalent U.S. gallon at $8.99. It would be even higher except Sterling weakened this week against the dollar. It was still a increase of thirty-eight cents for a U.S. gallon over the past week.

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

“I have just Three things to teach: Simplicity, Patience & Compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” ~ Lao Tzu

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 19th, the third Sunday of the month: Annibale Caro, Italian writer and poet (Lettere familiare); Thomas Fuller, British scholar, preacher and historian (History of the Worthies of Britain); Christiaan de Placker, Flemish poet and composer; Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais, French Catholic priest and writer (L’avenir); Gustav Schwab, German writer; David Jayne Hill, American diplomat and author; Elbert Hubbard, American editor, publisher and author (Message to Garcia); José Rizal, Filipino nationalist, author (‘Noli Me Tángere’, ‘El Filibusterismo’) and ophthalmologist; Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Icelandic writer (Dr Rung); Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, French Dadaist artist and writer; Robert Herberigs, Flemish composer and writer (Hiawatha’s Song); Laura Z. Hobson, American TV writer and panelist (I’ve Got a Secret); Osamu Dazai, Japan, novelist (Tsugaru, No Longer Human); Julius Schwartz, American editor and agent; Wassil Bykau, Belarusian writer; Sybren Polet [Sijbe Minnema], Dutch writer and poet (Mannekino); Barry Took, English comedy writer; Tobias Wolff, American writer (This Boy’s Life); Robert Franklin Palmer Jr., American writer, musicologist, and musician (Deep Blues); and Salman Rushdie, British-Indian novelist (Midnight’s Children, Satanic Verses).

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

My Work in Progress

Things are moving along nicely on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The fifth chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. Over the past week, Frozen Conquest received another eleven reviews, bringing the total to sixty-three, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.Slide1

Here’s the next snippet:

Back in his own office, Chris eased into his chair, slamming a fist on the metal desk. Hired to handle Diablo’s information technology and communications needs, he found himself working more and more as a personal lackey. “On day … I’ll make Brown pay for his callous behavior.”

He booted his computer and logged in. Staring at the ceiling, he tapped a finger against his lips. Beware the Devil. Attack imminent.

Focusing on a mental image of his message, he encoded it as he typed:

To: Numerologist

From: Knuckle Cracker

25220 42609 22071 92223 22051 81500 26070 72624 16221 41418 13221 30700

Chris reread through it again, cracking his knuckles as he did so. Satisfied there were no errors, he connected to the Dark Web and sent his message.

He frowned. Hope Grandson remembers our university code.

A red strobe began flashing.

Chris picked up the phone and hit the appropriate button. “Yes, Mister Brown?”

“I want an update from our test team. No one is answering the phone. Where are they?”

Chris closed his eyes. The sooner I’m out of here, the better. “I’ll find out.”

Walter broke the connection.

Chris hit another button on his console.

Reginald immediately answered. “What’s up, Chris?”

“The usual. Why won’t you answer when Brown calls?”

“You know why.” Reginald sighed. “I told him it would be a few days before we can calve more of the ice. He doesn’t want excuses—just results. I told him we had to wait for the arrival of a new demolitions expert since Harold disappeared—probably dead. All he could say was, ‘It’s damn inconvenient of Harold to kill himself.’ So much for any concern about his nephew.”

“I thought Harold’s death was an accident.”

“It was. As far as Brown’s concerned, Harold was weak and couldn’t handle the pressure.”

“Okay, understood. But try to appease him and keep him off my back.”

“Will do. We’re almost finished drilling the holes for the explosives. But I’ve told the others not to touch it—no point in anyone else dying for this maniac. The money might be good, but I want to live to spend it.”

“I agree with you, Harold. Talk to you later.”

More next time.

Book Promotions

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of the month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

THE COLOR OF Action: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy with 18 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

Thriller, Mystery and Suspense: There are 70 novels in this one.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thrillertime/ai0n57rurm

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

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Randall’s Ramblings, June 12, 2022

It’s been a mix week, weatherwise. There’s been plenty of clouds, rain, and spurts of sunshine, with temperatures about the historical averages. As we head towards the summer equinox, the days are definitely longer with first light at 04:32 this morning and last light supposed to be at 21:45. The flowers have made their appearance and the hydrangea plants heavy with their buds as they begin to change color. It’ll be a smorgasbord of color when they are all in bloom.

Last weekend’s small business market was another success. Although it was quiet, I still sold thirteen novels, while Sylvia sold two of her poetry books and nineteen of her poetry sheets. A bit under our averages but we’re still pleased with the result.

I saw yesterday the average price of a U.S. gallon of gasoline (petrol) broke $5.00. On Tuesday, we saw an eight pence per liter rise at the local pumps.  Now it’s up to £1.81, which makes it the equivalent of $8.61 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate, a jump of twenty-seven cents a gallon since last week.

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

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” ~ Mark Twain

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 12th, the second Sunday of the month:

Juan del Encina, Spanish author and composer; Harriet Martineau, British controversial journalist, political economist, abolitionist and life-long feminist; Johanna Spyri, Swiss children’s book author (Heidi); James Oliver Curwood, American journalist and writer (Kazan the wolfdog); Djuna Barnes, American author (Nightwood); Sandro Penna, Italian poet; Bill Naughton [William John Francis Naughton], English playwright (Alfie); Milovan Djilas, Yugoslavian politician and writer (The New Class); Bob Carroll, American screenwriter (I Love Lucy, Stage Two Revue, Stranger); H. C. Artmann, Austrian writer; James Archibald Houston, Canadian author and filmmaker (Tikta’Liktak); Christopher Derrick, British writer; Henry Slesar, American writer and playwright (The Edge of Night); Anne Frank, Dutch Diarist and Jewish victim of the Nazi Holocaust (Diary of Anne Frank); Brigid Brophy, British novelist (Hackenfeller’s Ape) and campaigner; Jameel Jalibi, Pakistani scholar, writer, and Urdu linguist; Rona Jaffe, American novelist (Mazes & Monsters); Christoph Meckel, German writer; Harry Glasper, English writer; Jim Goad, American author and publisher (ANSWER Me!); Jordan Peterson, Canadian psychologist and author (12 Rules for Life); and Chanel Miller, American writer (Know My Name).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me again this week: Johanna Spyri and Anne Frank. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Work continued once again on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The fourth chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, the four chapters have received fiftytw reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.Slide1

Here’s the next snippet:

Compensating for a skid, the pilot brought his aircraft to a gentle halt. Hydraulic lifts raised an opening, allowing enough space for the plane to enter a hidden hanger.

As soon as they stopped, a door opened on the plane and a set of stairs extended. A short, mostly bald man rushed down. “Chris! Grab my bags and take them to my quarters.”

“Yes, Mister Brown.” Chris Handler, tall, slender, and sporting a thick, black beard, handed Walter a thick legal-size envelope. “Here’s your latest messages, sir.”

Walter waved a hand. “Anything urgent?”

“No, sir. All routine. Everything is moving forward according to your plan.”

“Excellent. Bring me a black coffee and a heated croissant.”

“Right away, sir.”

Walter turned and strode along a red all-weather carpet. As he walked, he glanced around his cavernous facility housing his hidden headquarters. Built in great secrecy near the Aramis Range, Prince Charles Mountains, and at a cost exceeding five billion dollars, he considered it a masterpiece. The original above-ground facility was built by the Russian Antarctic Expedition and nicknamed Soyuz Station but was officially closed in 1989.

To ensure no one found out about his headquarters, building contractors lost their lives when one of his ocean-going vessels sank during a storm, taking its cargo of innocent victims to a watery grave.

When he reached his office, Walter entered a five-digit code onto a keypad, gazed into a retinal scanner, and pressed his index finger onto another pad that popped out of the wall.

Security protocols complete, the door clicked open, and Walter walked inside, tossing his coat onto a nearby chair. He slid into his ergonomically designed chair behind a polished oak desk. Walter pushed a button under the lip of the top.

A panel opened on the left side of the desk, and a computer slowly rose and locked into position.

He logged on as an inner door opened.

Chris entered, pushing a cart holding a china coffee pot, a cup and saucer, a sugar bowl, and a covered plate. Each was trimmed in gold with a blue D prominently displayed.

He placed the cup and saucer on a pull-out shelf and poured a cup of black coffee. After using a pair of tongs, Chris deposited two sugar cubes into the steaming liquid.  After uncovering the croissants, he stepped back from the desk, cracking his knuckles. “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Walter nodded. “Will you please stop cracking your knuckles? It sounds like you’re breaking bones.”

“Sorry, sir. Just a nervous habit.”

“Well, once we launch our operation, you need to speak to someone about it.” Drives me bonkers.

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll buzz you if I need anything else. Dismissed.” Walter sipped from his coffee and turned to the computer screen.

More next time.

Book Promotions

6 Novels

My novels are participating in four Bookfunnel promotions this month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…THE COLOR OF Action: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy with 18 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

Summer Chills and Kills: A Kindle Promotion: There are 84 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/s…Thriller, Mystery & Suspense group promo. Another 70 novels in this one.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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Randall’s Ramblings, June 5, 2022

It’s been a fairly dry week, with a lot more sunshine, especially yesterday. With the UK celebrating the Queen’s platinum jubilee this weekend, Mother Nature seems to tweaked the weather to make the thousands of street parties more enjoyable.

I’ve been back at the monthly small business market the past two days . Ten of my novels sold, while two of Sylvia’s poetry books were purchased, along with eleven of her poetry sheets. Today’s the final day for the month, so hopefully it’ll be a good one.

Over the past week, the price of petrol jumped another two pence a liter. Now it’s up to £1.73, which makes it the equivalent of $8.34 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate. This is a jump of thirty-four cents a gallon since last week.

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

“The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 5th, the first Sunday of the month:

Bernardino Baldi, Italian mathematician and writer; Pu Songling, Qing Dynasty Chinese writer (Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio); Cláudio Manuel da Costa, Brazilian poet; John Maynard Keynes, English economist whose ideas changed the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics; Ivy Compton-Burnett, English novelist (Manservant and Maidservant); Raden Mas Noto Soeroto, Javanese poet (Melatiknoppen); Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet and dramatist (Blood Wedding); Hugo Huppert, Austrian writer and poet; Rolf Bongs, German writer; Alfred Kazin, American writer and literature critic (The Inmost Leaf); Richard Scarry, American children’s author and illustrator (What Do People Do All Day?); Cornelius Ryan, Irish war reporter and historian (Bridge too Far); Otto F. Walter, Swiss writer and publisher (Walter Verlag); Alifa Rifaat, Egyptian writer; Christy Brown, Irish novelist (My Left Foot, Down All the Days); Margaret Drabble, British author (Needle’s Eye); Ann Craft, British researcher and writer and disabilities advocate (NAPSAC); Matthew Lesko, American author; David Hare, English playwright and director (Plenty, The Hours, The Reader); Ken Follett, Welsh spy author (Eye of the Needle, Lie Down with Lions); J. J. Bittenbinder, American television host and author; Suze Orman, American financial advisor, author and TV personality and author (The Suze Orman Show); Margo Lanagan, Australian author; and Rick Riordan, American author (Percy Jackson & the Olympians).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: Jon Maynard Keynes and Ken Follet. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Work continued this week on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The third chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, the three chapters have received forty-one reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.Slide1

Here’s the next snippet:

A wheeze escaped from Brown as he clutched a hand to his chest. He reached into a drawer with the other, rummaging for his nitroglycerin pills. Where are they?

His shaking hand found the elusive bottle. With agonizing slowness, he forced the cap from the top and placed two pills under his tongue. Before long, his chest relaxed. Damn inconvenient getting old.

He picked up his glass and took another sip of his whiskey. Ah, the elixir of life. If some French nun made it to 117 drinking a glass of wine each day, why can’t I have my favorite beverage?

Brown took a final sip before turning back to his computer. He reread his message and clicked on send. And so it begins. Who will be the first to crack? Not the British—too stoic. America? A possibility. He clicked his fingers. My money’s on the French.

Enjoying the sound of his own voice, he began uttering his thoughts. “So what should my demands be? The G20 is unable to get climate change under control. Perhaps if I confiscate the G7’s gold stockpiles and share them with less wealthy nations to get climate change promises underway? Perhaps push them to provide the rarest diamonds and artwork, either from private collections or museums and banks?”

Brown stood and gazed out the window at the shimmering ocean. “Problem is, I don’t really need anything, but I crave all the power the G7 controls. As my father used to say, ‘Power is everything. Without it, you’re nothing.’”

His phone rang, interrupting his train of thought. He scowled and picked it up. “What?”

“Mister Brown, this is Pierre. I wondered what you would like for dinner this evening and at what time?”

“Hmm.” Brown tapped his fingers on the desk. “Mexican—not what you made last time, even my dog wouldn’t eat it. Order in—for 8 p.m. Make it for two—you will join me. Perhaps you can learn from the experience.”

“But, sir, I have a late-night date.”

“So? Cancel it. What’s more important? A private and personal life or taking care of my dietary needs?”

“But … but …”

“No excuses, Pierre. If you’re not in the dining room when the food arrives and I’m ready to eat, I suggest you pack your bags. You won’t find another job in this city as a chef—I promise you. “Brown hung up and sighed. “So hard to get good help.”

More next time.

The editing process is going well on Ultimate Excalation. I completed my third edit pass through the manuscript, which now stands at 78,034 words.Slide1

I sent the manuscript to my beta readers on Wednesday  and requested their feedback by July 10th. Depending upon their feedback, I’ll be submitting it to my publisher the beginning of August.

In the meantime, I’m taking a week or so off from looking at the manuscript before I start my fourth edit pass. I still want to check for missing or incorrect punctuation, misspelled or incorrect words, and make any adjustments if I think something needs a tweak.

 

Book Promotions

6 Novels

My novels are participating in four Bookfunnel promotions this month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…


THE COLOR OF Action: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy with 18 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

Summer Chills and Kills: A Kindle Promotion: There are 84 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/s…


Thriller, Mystery & Suspense group promo. Another 70 novels in this one.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Randall’s Ramblings, May 29, 2022

It’s been a mixed week with rain, clouds and sunshine, sometimes all at the same time. For the past couple of days, though, there hasn’t been any rain. However, the wind shifted and is coming from the north, making it difficult for the temperature to get into the mid-50s. At least the blooms are continuing to pop out and of course, the grass needs a cut every week.

Over the past week, the price of petrol jumped five pence a liter. Now it’s up to £1.71, which makes it the equivalent of $8.33 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate. This is a jump of thirty-four cents a gallon since last week.

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

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 29th, the fifth and final Sunday of the month:

Johann Heinrich von Mädler, German astronomer (published the most complete map of the Moon of the time, Mappa Selenographica, 4 vol. with Wilhelm Beer); G. K. Chesterton [Gilbert Keith], English writer (Man Who Made Gold); Oswald Spengler, German historian and philosopher (Decline of West); Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, British astronomer (theory of relativity); Alfonsina Storni, Argentine poet (La inquietud del rosal); George L. Funke, Dutch botanist (Flower Physiology); Ronald Russell, British journalist, author and Conservative politician; Sebastian Shaw, British actor, director, playwright and poet (High Season, Ace of Spades, Caste); T. H. White, English novelist (England Have My Bones) and author of the King Arthur novels; Desmond Shawe-Taylor, British critic and writer (co-author of The Record Guide); Neil R. Jones, American sci-fi author (Space War, Twin Worlds); Jan Hanlo, Dutch poet (Go to the Mosque); David Jenkins, Welsh librarian (National Library of Wales); Dick Hillenius, Dutch biologist and writer; Paul R. Ehrlich, American biologist and author who founded the group Zero Population Growth; and André Brink, South African writer (Dry White Season).

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

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The second chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, the two chapters have received nineteen reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

Walter Brown, the eighty-year-old founder and CEO of the privately held Diablo Corps, gazed out the office windows on the top floor of the Diablo headquarters in downtown Miami. Although dwarfed by much taller buildings, Brown normally enjoyed the skyline view toward the ocean.

As one of the world’s richest men, he could have lived anywhere. Few knew his name, and even fewer could boast of meeting the recluse.

Rain lashed the windows as an intermittent storm disrupted the otherwise hot and sunny day. He turned back to a sixty-four inch-monitor. Blinking red and green lights signified his worldwide operations.

When his phone rang, he stabbed at the console and put the call on speaker. “What?”

“Sir, Reginald here. Both tests were completed.”

“Excellent Have the accountants arrived yet?”

“Yes, sir. They came yesterday and are getting acclimated now. Several began work this morning, but ….”

“What’s wrong?”

“Uh … your nephew. He was caught on an ice floe after the second test. He’s still missing.”

Walter closed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Very well. Keep searching, but I doubt he’ll still be alive. However, my sister will want to give him a proper burial.”

“Yes, sir. When will you be returning?”

“I should finish what I need to do here by tomorrow morning. Expect me to arrive in the evening. Tell Chris to make sure everything is ready for me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Walter broke the connection and changed the monitor presentation. Blue lights signified the locations of major banking and investment institutions and the world’s leading stock exchanges. “Soon, we shall make our requirements known. If the G7 doesn’t bend to our demands, the might of Diablo shall disrupt their economies.”

He stepped to a self-service bar in the corner of his office and poured himself a large single malt whiskey. After taking a sip, he logged onto his computer and created a message:

To: The Chairmen and Governors of the G7 Central Banks

From: Nightmare

Stand by for my demands, which will be released soon. Failure to comply will result in the destruction of your way of life as you know it. The world cries out for truth, and I will be the sword of justice.

More next time.

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another seven reviews this week, bringing the total to 873. Slide1

The editing process is going well. I just started my third edit pass through the manuscript, which currently stand at 77,926 words. I’ve decided that six of my foreign characters will not use contractions when they speak, to separate them from those who do.

Now it’s a case of checking for missing or incorrect punctuation, misspelled or incorrect words, and making adjustments to anything else I think needs a tweak. I’m on schedule to send the manuscript to my beta readers by the middle of June. Depending upon their feedback, I’ll be submitting it to my publisher the beginning of August.

Book Promotions

6 Novels

My novels are participating in two Bookfunnel promotions this month:

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

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

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 22, 2022

All the flowers, plants, and shrubs which should be in bloom are now out, creating a fantastic color display. The rain has subsided a bit, but there’s been enough whereby I have to cut the grass on a weekly basis. Since our grassy area is so small, I use a push mower and I’m still done in less than an hour!

Over the past three weeks, the price of gasoline (petrol) has been creeping upwards. In early April, the Chancellor’s spring announcement saw a decrease in duty by five pence, reducing the price to £1.58 a liter. Now it’s up to £1.66, which makes it the equivalent of $7.99 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate.  Fortunately, the dollar has strengthened against the pound. If the exchange rate was still where it was in March, it would be $9.80 a gallon!

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

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 22nd, the fourth Sunday of the month:

Gérard de Nerval [Gérard Labrunie], French writer; Catulle Mendès, French poet; Arthur Conan Doyle, British author who brought Sherlock Holmes to life twice; August Cuppens, Flemish author (Limburgs Driemanschap); Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born actress, scriptwriter, and producer (Blood and Sand); Johannes R. Becher, German writer and politician; Robert Neumann, Austrian-British author (Waters of Babylon); Anne de Vries, Dutch teacher and writer (Bartje); Paul Viiding, Estonian poet; [Georges Prosper Remi], Belgian comic book creator (The Adventures of Tintin); Vance Packard, American journalist and author (The Hidden Persuaders); udith Crist, American film critic (TV Guide, Today); M. Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and writer (The Road Less Traveled); and Lucie Brock-Broido, American poet and academic (Noctuary).

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

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

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work continues on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The first chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use and it received eleven reviews. I’ll be posting chapter two later in the week.

Here’s the first snippet from Frozen Conquest:

Walter Brown, the eighty-year-old founder and CEO of the privately held Diablo Corps, gazed out the office windows on the top floor of the company headquarters in downtown Miami. Although dwarfed by much taller buildings, Brown normally enjoyed the skyline view toward the ocean.

As one of the world’s richest men, he could have lived anywhere. Few knew his name, and even fewer could boast of meeting the recluse.

Rain lashed the windows as an intermittent storm disrupted the otherwise hot and sunny day. He turned back to a sixty-four inch-monitor. Blinking red and green lights signified his worldwide operations.

When his phone rang, he stabbed at the console and put the call on speaker. “What?”

“Sir, Reginald here. Both tests were completed.”

“Excellent Have the accountants arrived yet?”

“Yes, sir. They came yesterday and are getting acclimatized now. Several began work this morning, but ….”

“What’s wrong?”

“Uh … your nephew. He was caught on an ice floe after the second test. He’s still missing.”

Walter closed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Very well. Keep searching, but I doubt he’ll still be alive. However, my sister will want to give him a proper burial.”

“Yes, sir. When will you be returning?”

“I should finish what I need to do here by tomorrow morning. Expect me to arrive in the evening. Tell Chris to make sure everything is ready for me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Walter broke the connection and changed the monitor presentation. Blue lights signified the locations of major banking and investment institutions and the world’s leading stock exchanges. “Soon, we shall make our requirements known. If the G7 doesn’t bend to our demands, the might of Diablo shall disrupt their economies.”

He stepped to a self-service bar in the corner of his office and poured himself a large single malt whiskey. After taking a sip, he logged onto his computer and created a message:

To: The Chairmen and Governors of the G7 Central Banks

From: Nightmare

Stand by for my demands, which will be released soon. Failure to comply will result in the destruction of your way of life as you know it. The world cries out for truth, and I  will be the sword of justice.

Perhaps another snippet next week.

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another eleven reviews this week, bringing the total to 866. Slide1

Here’s the final snippet:

Raj finished his lunch at a nearby restaurant and returned to his office. When he entered, he spotted a note on the center of his desk: See me – J.

He left his office and headed to the basement. Raj knocked on a door at the far end of a dimly lit corridor.

It creaked open, and Jadallah stepped out. “Hello, Raj. Have you come to see my handiwork?” He wiped his hands on a bloodstained apron.

“If I must.” Raj wrinkled his nose at the smell emanating from the partially open door. “Tel me … did Vedant ever figure out you were planted on him because of his nationalist views?”

Jadallah shook his head. “Never. In fact, he thought we shared a common bond. Little did he know who my true employer was.”

“Well, he will be one of many who will face prison time or even death for plotting to break up India.” Raj gestured toward the door. “I suppose it is time.”

Jadallah stood aside and waited for Raj to enter.

“Oh my …” Raj paled before he bent over and vomited.

Jadallah handed him a towel. “Quite a sight, is he not? He was very strong, but everyone bows to my questioning. Wait until I tell you what I learned.”

Raj covered his mouth with the towel as he looked at their prisoner.

Chains held Benedikt against the wall; the ones connected to his arms caused him to stretch upward. Both his eyes were empty sockets. Burns covered most of his body while blood seeped from hundreds of tiny cuts. He moaned. “K-kill m-me.”

Raj turned to Jadallah. So what did he say?”

Jadallah grinned. “You will not believe this. Former Russian Spetsnaz soldiers, now working as mercenaries, have been helping the nationalists on both sides of the border. They have been behind the calls for Punjab to be reunited.”

“I must inform the Bedlam woman, Evelyn. She will know what to do with this information.”

Jadallah gestured toward Benedikt. “What about him?”

“Kill him if he is not already dead. Throw his body on a funeral pyre.”

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved


 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 15, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

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

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

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

My Work in Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the penultimate snippet:

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

“Alo?”

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

“At once, sir.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, sir. May I ask why?”

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

“Understood.”

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

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

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

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

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

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 8, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

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

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes!” a multitude of voices shouted.

Someone broke into a pro-Punjabi chant.

Soon, others joined in.

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

“No!”

Someone threw a rock at the police line.

An officer collapsed to the ground, his face bloodied.

Another officer blew a whistle.

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

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

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

More gunfire ensued.

The penultimate snippet will come next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 1, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

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

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

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

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

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

My Work in Progress

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

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

“Yes, sahib?”

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

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

Mishka laughed. “We shall see.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about the big house?”

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

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

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

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 24, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure thing. What the other matter?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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