Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 17, 2018

To those who are fathers or soon-to-be, Happy Father’s Day! Hope you have a great day.

Any fathers with a birthday today? Here are some folks from the writing world who were born on June 17th (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Everhardus J Potgieter, Dutch writer/publisher (The Guide);Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian author; Ferdinand Freiligrath, German poet and translator; Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya/Chatterjee, Bengali writer and poet (Vande Mataram); Henry Lawson, Australian poet; James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, leader of the NAACP and Harlem Renaissance poet; Nicolae Iorga, writer/poet/literature historian/President of Romania; Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (Red, Nigger Heaven); Michail Swetlow, writer; Jacob “Jimmy” Herman Huizinga, journalist/writer; Viktor P Nekrasov, Ukrainian author (Vokopach Stalingrada); Felix Hartlaub, writer; John R Hersey, author (Hiroshima, Bell for Adano, Wall); Max Dendermonde, [Henk Hazelhoff], Dutch literary; Gotthold Gloger, writer; Harry Browne, American free-market libertarian writer, politician, and investment analyst; Hanna Johansen, writer; Peter Rosei, Austrian writer; Gail Jones, Australian author; and Will Forte, American writer, actor and comedian.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

FINALIST - 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards

On June 15th, the winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards was announced. Amy J. Markstahler’s Life Happens on the Stairs grabbed the top prize.

The other finalists were: Mari Clark for The Road to Dusty Death, Barbara Kline’s Inside the Enemy, your’s truly for Dangerous Alliance, and Chio Ojukwu’s To Cross a Blade and a Dagger.

  • Many congraDangerous Alliancets to all as the competition was stiff. I hope to have another novel ready for next year’s competition. I suspect many of the finalists are already hard at work on their next stories. Watch for publication of these novels and support these rising writing stars.

This week I concentrated on reviews for people who had helped out with Dangerous Alliance. Without their support, I wouldn’t have ended up as a finalist. Many thanks to all of my supporters!

I should be back to writing as normal next week. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from Carnage in Singapore, the follow-on story to Dangerous Alliance:

The woman gasped for breath, her slight figure paused against a tree. Her head snapped from right to left, a whimper whipped away in the wind. Covered in slime and blood, her clothes in tatters, she lunged into the middle of the path.

The gnarled roots of a monkey pod tree remained hidden beneath a layer of mud. A perfect trap to catch any unsuspecting creature, they waited for someone to approach.

Unsure if wild creatures or savage humans created the path, she didn’t care. All she wanted was to escape.

The pain in her chest easing, she staggered away. She struggled in the mud and stumbled, her foot caught in the roots of a nearby tree. She fell to the ground, her hands sinking into the thick ooze.

“Help!”

Who would save her in the middle of nowhere? She kicked at the root and twisted her leg until her foot popped free. She pulled herself to the edge of the mud pit and onto hard ground.

Craack!

Back on her feet, she pumped her knees to escape the sludge, her heart rate accelerating as panic skyrocketed.

A bolt of lightning lit the sky, striking a nearby tree. Shadows slithered in front of her, blocking her way forward.

She turned, searching for an escape route.

Rough hands grabbed her by the shoulders in a vise-like grip and threw her to the ground.

 

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading two books this week, the second one at almost midnight last night. I haven’t finished my reviews yet, so I’ll post them next week.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Since I mentioned the rising stars who were finalists in the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards, it’s only fitting I include several up and coming authors:

Sideways Eight Series – Join author AJ Wallace as she spins the tales of Charley and Murphy, two FBI agents. Two novels have been published so far (Mindfield and Devil’s Door), with two more to follow. Well worth the read!

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. He’s also released The Calling, an excellent sci-fi story, plus several others.

B. Douglas Slack – A newly published author, Mr. Slack provides an interesting style as he brings us a romance spanning the globe–an American man and a Japanese woman. Follow their story in You Only Love Twice.

Michael Kent – If you love crime stories, Michael has a great selection for you to read!

End of The Lime; The Beginning – a website dedicated to poetry by J.S.T. Louise.

Texas Outlaw Poet – check out this site by poet/author Jeff Callaway.

Alan Kemister – Follow Alan’s blog to learn more about him and his writing adventures.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 10, 2018

Another week has sped by. Hard to believe how fast time passes. A couple of days ago, it was forty-five years since I graduated from high school. It does seem awhile ago, but I didn’t realize how long.

Temperatures are still on the cool side, but I think it’s better than having a heatwave. Much easier to complete outdoor tasks without feeling like I was in a sauna!

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Esprit Fléchier, French writer and bishop; Edwin Edwin Arnold, English writer (Light of India); Jacques F H Perk, Dutch poet (Iris, Wood Song); Mrs. Leslie Carter, American actress and writer (Rocky Mountain Mystery, The Heart of Maryland); Louis M A Couperus, Dutch poet/writer (Eline Vere); Gustave Vanzype, Belgian literary/headed La Gazette; Margit Kaffka, Hungarian writer (Colors and Years); Leo Weismantel, German writer (Der Reiter der Apocalypse); Paul J M Lindemans, Flemish agricultural engineer/author; Immanuel Velikovsky, writer (Worlds in Collision); Henri Bruning, Dutch literary; Saul Bellow, Canadian-born American author (Mr Sammler’s Planet, Nobel 1976); Nat Hentoff, columnist/novelist (Village Voice, The Cold Society); Willem Oltmans, Dutch journalist (Outlawed, Free as a Bird); Maurice Sendak, American author and illustrator (Where The Wild Things Are); Simon Jenkins, editor (Times); and Mensje F van Keulen-van der Steen, Dutch writer (Bleeker’s Summer).

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

At last I finished my cast of characters for Dangerous Alliance. I didn’t write anything new this week as I concentrated on several reviews for people who had helped out with this novel. In addition, I finished a beta review of a 43,000-word story for a new writer.

It’s been awhile, but here’s a snippet from New World Revolution:

Abraham continued driving the horses along the street. “Not too far dat way,” he used his crop to point to the left, “is da North Church. Dat’s where da master an’ mistress take da children.”

He stopped the wagon when they entered a large square. “Dis is Clark’s Square. Master and Mistress Sutton live on da other side—dat two-story brick building.”

The entire family gawked at the house. Black shutters guarded each of the four windows on both floors. An imposing door stood in the center, while a brick chimney towered above the roof.

“His lordship must be wealthy to build such a home,” Thomas whispered in awe.

Abraham laughed. “Master Sutton isn’t a lord an’ he didn’t build da house. He’s da third merchant to own da building.” Abraham coaxed the horses onward. “Many merchants an’ doctors live around the square. You’ll learn who dey are.”

***

“‘Tis enough, I reckon.” William turned to Abraham. “What’s kept on the second floor?”

“Anything dat can be stored in a dry place. Some feed for da animals an’ food, too. Da next building is where Ruth an’ I live. You’ll live in the bigger house on da other side of ours.” He pulled up in front of the Alexander’s new home. “Ruth, come out an’ meet our new neighbors.”

A short, rotund, dark-skinned woman with a flawless complexion stepped from the Alexander’s, her face beaming. “Welcome to Boston. I made tea for you.”

William helped Mary from the wagon, while their children jumped down. Everyone lined up and introduced themselves.

“I’ll take the horses to the barn an’ return.” Abraham brought the wagon around and rumbled away while Ruth led the new arrivals inside.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Author Alan Kemister’s first novel, A Body in the Sacristy (Barrettsport  Mysteries Book 1) is a well-crafted story with realistic characters, making it very difficult to put down as I kept turning the pages to find out what happened next.

Set in Nova Scotia, Detective Simon Goodyear’s first case in Barrettsport involves an infant found inside a sealed cabinet by a carpenter. Simon sets out identify the baby and the parents, immersing himself into the founding families of the town. What secrets have they managed to keep hidden over the years? Alan has weaved an intriguing mystery, with plenty of possibilities. I thoroughly enjoyed following Simon’s search for the truth. I won’t provide a spoiler alert but suffice to say, Alan is on a winner here and I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Alan Kemister – Follow Alan’s blog to learn more about him and his writing adventures.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 3, 2018

Another month has passed us by. Hard to believe how fast times speeds by. The end of May brought us superb temperatures, reaching up to 88F/31C. However, the hot weather didn’t last long. Yesterday was only 59F/15C. While this would have been fine back in April, with a drop of twenty-nine degrees in just a day or so required the use of a sweatshirt to keep warm outdoors. Oh well–Michigan weather!

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Sydney Smith, preacher/reformer/author; William Hone, author/bookseller (Every-Day Book); Eugeen van Oye, Flemish writer/poet (Morning Twilight); Detlev [Freiherr Friedrich A von] Liliencron, German poet; Rosa Chacel, spanish novelist; Gerard den Brabander, [Jan G Jofriet], poet (Nothing New); Louis Simmonds, bookseller; Wilfred Thesiger, explorer/writer; Pedro Mir, Dominican Poet Laureate; David Richard Holloway, literary editor; Gerhard Zwerenz, writer; Allen Ginsberg, American beat poet (Howl);  Marion Zimmer Bradley, American sci-fi author (Storm Queen); Larry McMurtry, US scriptwriter (Lonesome Dove, Pulitzer 1986); Melissa Mathison, American screenwriter (E.T.); and Lawrence Lessig, American lawyer and author.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

My plans to finish the cast of characters for Dangerous Alliance this week didn’t work out as planned. Once again, too many external requirements meant I did very little with my works in progress. Hopefully, the next week will be more promising and I can get back to writing. I also plan to bring another snippet or two.

Books I’m Reading

Even my evening reading and reviewing suffered this past week. All being well, I’ll be back to normal and continue providing my thoughts on the various works I’ve been reading.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Michael Kent – check out Michael’s crime novels–well worth a read.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 27, 2018

Happy Memorial Day!  Originally an American public holiday to honor veterans who served in the armed forces, it’s morphed into the unofficial start of the summer holiday season. Friends and family join together to open up vacation homes, relax, fire up barbecues, and enjoy the long weekend.

The weather is certainly giving a summer feel to the weekend, with temperatures in our area reaching as high as 86F/30C. Of course, with the high temperatures comes the threat of thunderstorms. There were a few scattered thunderclaps yesterday afternoon, but no rain in our area.

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world and the Civil War you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Julia Ward Howe, American author/lecturer (Battle Hymn of the Republic); Henry Parkes, British journalist/premier of Australia; John Gray Foster, American Major General (Union Army); Edwin Gray Lee, Brigadier General (Confederate Army); Robert Frederick Hoke, Major General (Confederate Army); Luigi Capuana, Sicilian author/critic (Roccaverdina); Georges Eekhoud, Belgian writer (Jeune Belgium); Arnold Bennett, English novelist/ playwright/critic (Great Babylon); Richard von Schaukal, Austria poet/writer (Eros Thanatos); Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski, Polish writer; Rudolf Pannwitz, German writer; Max Brod, Czech-born Israeli composer, writer and biographer of Kafta; Erich Kuttner, German journalist/historian (Vorwarts); Dashiell Hammett, detective novelist (Sam Spade, Maltese Falcon); Louis-Ferdinand Céline, French writer (Die Nacht); Uładzimir Zylka, Belarusian poet; Rachel Carson, American marine biologist, conservationist and writer (Silent Spring); Torolf Elster, Norwegian journalist/writer (Frihet och demokrati); John Cheever, writer (Wapshot Chronicle); Herman Wouk, American novelist (Caine Mutiny, Winds of War); Sidney AK Keyes, English poet (Iron Laurel); Tony Hillerman, American writer; Jan Blokker, Dutch writer/journalist (VPRO, People’s Newspaper); John Barth, novelist (Sot-Weed Factor); Harlan [Jay] Ellison, American sci-fi author (7 Hugos, Doomsman, Babylon 5); Adriaan Venema, Dutch journalist/author (Mussert); Norma Jean Almodovar, American author (Cop to Call Girl); and Rebekah Brooks, English journalist.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

I had hoped to finish my cast of characters for Dangerous Alliance this week. However, too many external requirements meant I did very little with my works in progress. Hopefully, the next week will be more promising and I can get back to writing.

Books I’m Reading

As mentioned a week or two ago, I finished another novel fro David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series. I hoped for another intriguing plot and Buccaneer didn’t disappoint. I’m sure many of you have heard of the Oak Island money pit. Used as the primary setting for Buccaneer, David created a whirlwind of a story, with treasure maps, Templar churches and a secretive organization trying to revive an ancient kingdom.

As with all of David’s novels in the series, Dane Maddock leads us on a roller coaster ride with plenty of twists and turns and plenty of realistic characters to aid readers in finding the treasure. This is one of those novels I just couldn’t put down and look forward to the next one in the series.

I had also hoped to provide a review of A Body in the Sacristy (Barrettsport  Mysteries Book 1) by Alan Kemister but will do this next time.

 

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this week to find new sites to share with you. Perhaps next week.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 20, 2018

I was almost finished with today’s post when I accidentally wiped it out. Nothing I could do to recover. What a bummer!

My Work in Progress

Most of this week was spend outdoors getting the yard into shape. However, I did manage to work a bit on the cast of characters of Dangerous Alliance. I should be able to complete it this week.

I have some news to share regarding Dangerous Alliance. In March, I submitted the first ten thousand words for the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards sponsored by The Book Khaleesi and Books by Ken Fry.  This week I found out that Dangerous Alliance is one of five finalists. The winner will be announced around June 15th.

Books I’m Reading

I had planned to share a review of another novel from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series but didn’t finish my comments. My bad! This review, plus one or two others, will be provided next Sunday.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this week to find new sites to share with you. Perhaps next week.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to those who are honored by their families and friends on this special day. I know some countries celebrate Mother’s Day on a different day, but in several counties, including the U.S. and Canada, it’s today. Hope you have a great day!

I wasn’t able to post my ramble last weekend. Not that I didn’t want to, but a power outage from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon got in the way.

The Friday started out fine with plenty of sunshine and blue sky. By mid-morning, we were into a windstorm the forecasters accurately predicted. No rain, but gusts up to 65MPH for almost six hours. The result: dozens of tress knocked down or snapped in two. Power and telecommunications lines were severed. A neighbor who still relies on a landline borrowed an old cell phone as he was informed his landline might not be fixed until May 24th.

I’m still picking up branches from our trees so I can finish mowing the grass. Should get this done today, which is a good thing as the grass is growing quickly in our sunny days with moderate temperatures and just the right amount of rainfall.

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Adrian Loosjes Pzn, publisher/writer (Mauritius Lijnslager); Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin of Tarascon); Jos Panhuysen, author; Alfred Earle Birney, poet; Daphne du Maurier, English writer (Rebecca, Parasites); Wallace Breem, British author; Adolf Muschg, Swiss writer (Gruppe Olten); Roger [Joseph] Zelazny, sci-fi author (6 Hugos, Chronicles of Amber); Roch Carrier, Canadian novelist (The Hockey Sweater); Bruce Chatwin, England, writer (On the Black Hill); Betsy Finley Ashton, broadcast journalist/author/lecturer; Armistead Maupin, American author; Stephen R Donaldson, American sci-fi author (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Lord Foul’s Bane); and Kathleen Jamie, Scottish poet. Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

Editing of the paper copy of Dangerous Alliance was finished yesterday. All I need to do now is create a cast of characters to aid readers. Here’s what a recent reader and author had to say about Dangerous Alliance: “An exciting roller coaster of emotion, action, and a kinship borne of dedication against impossible odds. This tale will not let you down. An exciting and suspenseful story of strong men and iron women committed to the truth and each other in a battle to preserve the world from those who take life without thought.”

Stay tuned for more information regarding the release of Dangerous Alliance. In the meantime, I better get cracking on Carnage in Singapore, A Cartel’s Revenge, and New World Revolution. Look for a snippet from one of these works in progress next time.

Books I’m Reading

Last weekend’s power outage stopped me from finishing a review of another novel from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series. This review, plus one or two others, will be provided next Sunday.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

End of The Lime; The Beginning – a website dedicated to poetry by J.S.T. Louise.

Texas Outlaw Poet – check out this site by poet/author Jeff Callaway.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 29, 2018

As another month heads to its finale, the weather still hasn’t settled. While most of the past week wasn’t bad, the hour of snow flurries yesterday was definitely an unwanted addition. At least the temperature was warm enough the flurries melted almost as fast as they hit the ground.

Is your birthday today? If so, here’s a few people people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Taliesin, Welsh poet; John Arbuthnot, Scottish writer (Alexander Pope); Charles Nodier, French writer; Edouard Rod, France/Swiss writer (Mishel’ Tes’e); Louis William Stern, German/US philosopher (Intelligence of Children); Rafael Sabatini, Italian/British writer; Egon E Kisch, Czech writer/journalist (Rasende Reporter); Walter Mehring, writer; Bernard Verhoeven, Dutch poet (Pleidooi near een non); Jack [Stewart] Williamson, American sci-fi author (Cometeers); Terence de Vere White, novelist/critic; Walter Kempowski, German writer (German Chronicle); Rodney “Rod” McKuen, American poet; Jill Paton Walsh, English writer; David Icke, English writer; and Robert J. Sawyer, Canadian writer. Recognize any names?

My Work in Progress

Not much to mention regarding my work in progress. Editing of the paper copy of Dangerous Alliance is moving along, with about half of the 102,425 words completed. Some corrections and a few changes, but overall, things are still looking good!

In addition to editing, I’m also assisting a writer with a review of his 43K-work as well as providing reviews of those who have done the same for me on Dangerous Alliance.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve almost finished another novel from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series. My review will be posted next week.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this week to find new sites to share with you. Perhaps next week.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved