Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 15, 2019

We’ve been puppy sitting since Friday morning. First time Frankie has been with us overtime. He’s done well considering he’s only four months old.  Two of our cats have been venturing closer and closer, but the others are still very wary of this bundle of energy bouncing through the house.

Frankie’s just has his breakfast after a quick trip to the back yard/garden. He’s worrying one of my slippers just now, so I’ll need to get him out for soon his first excursion of the day.

We’ve had intermittent rain throughout the week, making work on a drainage project a bit problematic but hopefully the forecast of decent weather (no rain) for the next week will allow me to get things wrapped up.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer of maxims and memoirs; James Fenimore Cooper, 1st major American novelist (Last of Mohicans); Willem Josephus van Zeggelen, Dutch author; Heinrich von Treitschke, German historian and political writer; Frank E Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett); Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Indian novelist; Agatha Christie, English crime writer (Murder on the Orient Express); Claude McKaye, Jamaica/American author (Songs of Jamaica, Banjo); John J Slauerhoff, Dutch ship’s doctor/writer/poet (El Dorado); Gerd Gaiser, German writer (Ship in the Mountain); Richard Baerlein, racing writer; Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentine writer; Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet/painter; Norman [Richard] Spinrad, American sci-fi author (Child of Fortune); Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, American sci-fi author (Hotel Transylvania); Howard Waldrop, American sci-fi author; Jim Curtiss, American writer; Sophie Dahl, English model and author; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer (Half of a Yellow Sun).

Was anyone familiar to you? There’s three names which stand out for me: James Fenimore Cooper, Frank E. Gannett, and Agatha Christie. 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!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

The action in this novel never lets up, and it’s made all the better by fully developed and believable characters. One of the strongest openings I’ve ever read. It pulls you to read farther, and you’ll be happy you did. You gotta love a character named Evelyn Evinrude, leader of the good guys, a group named Bedlam Charlie vice Alpha.

Evelyn and her team rush to defeat the terrorists, who have headquartered themselves in the nation of Singapore. They have already kidnapped the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. To show their horribly serious intent, the terrorists have amputated a finger digit from each of the ambassadors and threaten to remove more body parts if their demands aren’t met.

You think you know where it’s all going when the plot twists and does backflips. “Page-turner” may be a cliché, but there is no way to describe this book without those words.

This book will pull you far into the night. I read it in one sitting, and I’m hoping for the sequel. Five stars for a fabulous job well done!

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-nine. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 394, an increase of twenty in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

With Frankie getting more excited, so it’s best I skip the weekly snippet before he wrecks something. Watch for a longer snippet next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Zach’s Gold by Frank Kelso. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this type of novel and I’m glad I did. Frank created an interesting plot with larger-than-life characters, particularly Zach.  Follow his exploits as he hunts for gold, helps others to form a consolidated mining corporation to fight off claim jumpers, with any apparent need to be compensated, just doing what he thinks is right.

A real page turner and fans of Westerns will truly enjoy this story. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Frank and won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 8, 2019

Friday evening we had a super time on a nighttime cruise on the River Forth. While most of the attendees remained in the main cabin, we spent the trip on the upper deck, taking advantage of the unimpeded views of the various islands, the shorelines and the three bridges spanning the river.

Although a bit chilly, we were well-prepared. With live folk music from the main cabin being piped up to the upper deck, it was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning scenery, especially with the superb view of Edinburgh Castle.

We didn’t have to worry about being hungry as a ribeye steak sandwich and salad was included in the cost of the trip. While we want to do this again some time, we’ll have to wait until next year as the final trip of the season is sold out.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ludovico Ariosto, Italian poet (Orlando Furioso); François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud, French sentimental writer (Les Épreuves du sentiment); August Wilhelm Schlegel, German poet, translator and critic; Clemens Brentano, German poet and author (The Story of the Just Casper and Fair Annie); N. F. S. Grundtvig, Danish writer and philosopher; Eduard Friedrich Mörike, German poet; Charles-Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, French writer and historian; Frederic Mistral, French Provencal poet (Nobel 1904); Wilhelm Raabe [Jakob Corvinus], German author (Der Hungerpastor); Adolfo Albertazzi, Italian writer (Amore & Amore, Top); Alfred Jarry, French writer (Ubu Roi); Siegfried Sassoon, English poet and writer (Counterattack); Nico Donkersloot, Dutch literary and writer; Gianni Brera, Italian sports journalist and writer; Robert W. Firestone, American author and clinical psychologist; Ansen [Nancy Ann] Dibble, Dutch sci-fi author (Summerfair); Ann Beattie, American novelist and short story writer (Chilly Scenes of Winter); Lynn [Lorraine] Abbey, American sci-fi author (Black Flame); and Christopher Klim, American novelist (Jesus Lives in Trenton).

Was anyone familiar to you? I must admit this was an unknown group to 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!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following four and five-star reviews this past week:

Carnage in Singapore is the third book in Krzak’s Bedlam series, however like the other two novels this works well as a standalone story. What Krzak does well is developing a story that grabs you right from the start. I’m not a big military fan or mystery fan, but I’ve enjoyed both of Krzak’s other novels and wanted to continue on. This time the story takes place in Singapore and I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that carnage is an understatement of events. The story felt very real to me and it was as if you were reading a historical account of what happened before, during, and after a series of terrorist attacks in Singapore. I loved getting to meet new characters and having some old favorites pop in even if just briefly.

There were slower parts of the book, but that is not the authors fault, it is the nature of the story itself, it’s easy to say he could have cut or edited them, but if he did that needed and necessary information would have been taken out which would have lessened the story. I akin it to some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s writing there are parts that are dry, but you need them in order to make the exciting parts that much more exciting.

If you are looking for a good military mystery by a writer that is making quite the name for himself then this novel is for you. (****)

This is the third book of the Bedlam Team series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. If you love well-layered thrillers with engaging characters and a few twists, this book is for you!

I particularly loved Natalee’s story, and it was great to see some of the characters of the previous books too.(*****)

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-eight. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 374, an increase of sixteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

After the last guest departed, Olivia, Pedro, and Alonzo sauntered to the veranda for a nightcap. While they sat sipping single malt whiskey, a myriad of night creatures serenaded them.

“So, Alonzo. What do you think about the lovely ladies who visited tonight?” Pedro drained his glass. “Did any stand out?”

“Pedro, it’s not a cattle market,” Alonzo grinned, glancing upwards. “But, one or two caught my attention.”

“Make sure you marry for money and power. Love can wait.”

Olivia rolled her eyes at Pedro’s guidance but held her tongue. Sounds like his personal creed.

Arm in arm, Pedro and Olivia ascended the grand staircase. Midway down the corridor, they kissed and separated, each going to their own bedroom.

Olivia tossed and turned. At last, sleep took her. Two hours into an uneasy slumber, she sensed someone’s presence. Her eyes shot open, searching the darkness for any hint of an intruder. Her hand slid over to the nightstand as a voice distracted her.

“Olivia.” A familiar voice whispered.

“Yes, Papa?”

“You must build new alliances. Our business is suffering. Americans consume less product, and foreign competitors are encroaching upon our territories, stealing our fields, and our workers. More security is required—tougher measures. You may not want to go to war, but you must or lose all I built. Reach out to Días. He will help you.”

The voice faded. Olivia waited, but she remained alone. She drifted off to sleep, a smile on her face. She understood her dead father’s edict.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Vanished by Mark Bierman. This is a thought-provoking story, which is very relevant given the global push to end modern-day slavery. It’s easy to become immersed in the helpless situation of those finding themselves alone and subjected to all kinds of brutality. Mark’s characters, John and Tyler, head to Haiti to assist with the construction of an orphanage but before long, find themselves involved in the hunt for a missing child, Chantale.

Mark has done an excellent job in creating realistic characters and an intense plot. Readers will find themselves cheering on Tyler and John in the hopes they can rescue Chantale before it’s too late. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Mark and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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Cover Alert – T.A.D. The Angel of Death

Today is the unveiling of the cover for author M.D. Neu’s latest work, T.A.D. The Angel of Death. So what’s it all about?

Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people.  He’s an Angel of Death.

TAD-f500Doug is fun loving and a drama queen.  Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime.  But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?

To give you a bit of a tease, here’s the prologue:

Walking between the past, present, and future, seeing what I’ve seen, isn’t for everyone.

One day, I can be in San Francisco on October 17, 1989. On another—well, it was longer than a day, more like half a year—I was in Petrograd and Moscow from March through November, 1917. That was a busy time. On my favorite day, as tragic as it was, I was at Alpha Base, Mars, on September 21, 2051. There was so much hope and heroism on Mars that day. I’d go back and relive it anytime.

When I think about all I’ve seen, in the grand scheme of the universe, it’s not even a blink of an eye. However, what I’ve been left with is one overlying thought: humanity is amazing.

No matter what happens, humans keep moving forward. Humanity is a joy to witness and be a part of. Even in my own small way.

Humans here—at this time—aren’t much different from in other realities.

I’ve been to three. There are more, but I’m still pretty new. In one, mankind has paranormal creatures living among them. The humans don’t know it, but they are there, living and working together. I wonder what would happen if the humans on that world knew about the paranormal creatures in their midst? Something like that would be up to the Fates to decide. Which is way over my pay grade. I doubt I’ll find out, but anything’s possible.

On another alternate Earth, aliens have arrived. The good kind. That has been an interesting scenario to witness. I’m not sure the humans in that dimension were really ready for aliens, but they didn’t have much of a choice. The Arches and Fates were working overtime there, and I’ll admit, considering how bad it could have been, well, it turned out pretty good for both the humans and the aliens. At least from what I’ve been told and seen.

The last reality I’ve witnessed so far has none of those things. It’s the Earth I’m on right now. The one where my work takes me today. These humans still accomplish great things, but they’re alone, at least as far as I know.

A loud blare of a taxicab’s horn shifts my focus. I check up the street at all the people and traffic. This is such a busy and noisy place. I don’t understand how anyone can think.

Ah, well.

As much as I’d like to, I don’t get to spend all my days bouncing between realities. I’ve heard from my brothers and sisters there is an Earth where magic and dragons exist. That would be pretty neat to see. Maybe another time. Today, I have a job to do, helping the dead. Unfortunately, I can’t always interfere with history, especially if the event is a major convergence point. You know, something like the Black Death, or the fall of the Roman Empire, something hugely important to human development. So, I can’t stop a dictator from rising. I can’t keep millions from dying. But I can help those who die cross over and make their journey painless.

Sometimes, people don’t want to leave, and who am I to tell them they have to go? Yes, it’s upsetting, because I know the suffering they are going through, and I can help them, but I can’t force them. Some think they have unfinished business, and that might be the case, but not for all of them. Those spirits don’t want to let go, and they think staying is better. It’s not. But I let them stay. I will, however, come back and check on the lingering deceased from time to time. Most souls eventually come around and let me help them. That’s always a nice feeling.

To date, I’ve never lost a single soul. Everyone I’m responsible for gets crossed over, maybe a little late, but they still get to where they are supposed to go. Not many of my brothers and sisters can make that claim. Maybe that’s why I’m able to get away with messing with fate and altering the timeline.

Inhaling the fall morning air brings back so many memories. I wish it could always be like this. It can’t, of course. Without the sadness and the pain, humans wouldn’t know how to celebrate the happiness and the pleasure.

I check the sky. Nothing yet.

Sitting on the park bench, I adjust my arms, flexing my wings as a pug trots over to sniff my feet. The dog’s caregiver tries to tug at the leash to get the pug to move. The man can’t see me, which is a great perk of my job. I don’t think most people would appreciate or understand my current appearance, but animals do. I reach down and pat her head.

I love animals. Dogs. Cats. I love them all. Now, working with animals would have been a good job to have. Helping the animals cross over. They never complain, and they’re always happy to have the attention. I’ve heard some choose to stay and watch over their caregivers and wait for them.

Now that’s dedication.

Finally, the man comes over and attempts to pick up the pug. He has no clue why she stopped. I wave my hand and she trots off, confusing the man even more. I chuckle through my exhalation.

I rest my arms across the back of the bench and sigh as I glance up at the twin buildings. I’ll be honest, I’ve played with how many die, who dies and when, but I have to be careful. I can really screw things up, and I don’t want to do that. Fixing reality is no easy task, and they never get it just right again. Too many variables, I guess. And way above my pay grade. That work gets handled only by the top Arches and the boss. Anyway, the trick for me is finding the balance. Like I did in 1989.

My time in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California, on October 17, 1989 worked out well, and I count it as a huge success. I was able to find the sweet spot, the perfect balance between life and death. All I had to do was make a few of my tweaks, and the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics were in the World Series. The Battle of the Bay, they called it. I called it a job well done. Only sixty-three people died, instead of almost twenty-five thousand. Who says baseball can’t save lives.

I suppose the changes didn’t affect the timeline much. Well, at least, I didn’t get in trouble. I’ve heard punishment can be bad. So that’s good.

The shadow of War flashes above me.

Right on time.

She’s scary but misunderstood, like all of us. Still, my wings tighten, remembering the deaths she’s caused.

I don’t like to focus on my failures throughout history because there have been so many. Sometimes, there is nothing I can do. Certain moments in time only offer me small amounts of wiggle room, and humans are as bloodthirsty as they are kind.

My wings tighten again, and I scout around. It feels like there’s another one of us here.

Odd.

Oh, well.

It’s hard not to help, because I want to. I was created to help. We all were. I’ve been reprimanded—well, warned I could be put on probation or dismissed—and reminded I do help, and I do make a difference, so I should be happy with that. Leave fate in the hands of others. The Arches take care of human’s fate. They ensure what is to happen, happens. It’s not up to me.

I often wonder if I could be an Arch. Really play with fate, and decide more than just life and death. Decide when events happen if they happen at all, who is born when, how to alter the timeline for the best results. I don’t think they have it so tough. They get to write the past, present, and future and that gives them a lot of flexibility, but there are whispers about how they leave their positions. Some have fallen. The idea makes my wings shudder, but sadly, it happens.

Not too often.

I check the sky, not seeing anything notable yet. I wonder if the Arches are involved today? Maybe. It’d make sense. I massage the spot between my back and the base of my wings.

I can hear the Arches now when they lecture me.

“You do good work,” the Arches tell me. “Be happy with your job.”

And for a short time, I will be.

Then I’ll watch something awful happen, like I did today, and my wings will tingle all over again.

I have to act. I have to change things. I know I’m only supposed to shuttle the dead. That’s my job, but sometimes, one has to bend the rules to make things right.

Humans, you are beautiful and wonderful, so creative. Watching you come to be, I can see why some of my brothers and sisters were envious. You’ve got a lot, including free will. However, you didn’t get everything. There were counterbalances to your gifts; limited lifespan, pain, suffering, and worst of all, in my opinion, heartache.

That is something I’ll never experience, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous.

It makes my wings shudder to think about the amount of suffering you go through and cause throughout your short lives. Which is why, on a day like today, I bend the rules, just a little. Despite this moment of respite, it’s been incredibly busy for me.

I don’t expect praise or thanks, because the truth is, people are still going to die, some in awful ways. They are going to leave behind families and friends, and there will be so much sorrow. Not only for their families but for the country and the whole world. I wish I could do more for those left behind, but that is a job for my brothers and sisters.

I’ve done what I can. And really, a few lives continuing on won’t affect the future. Today, I’ve made several trains run late. I’ve made some people oversleep. I’ve made mundane matters urgent for those they affect. I made a small group of airplane passengers brave and courageous. In years to come, their daring will still be talked about. Hopefully, I’ve done enough to make everyone’s passing as painless as possible. What I’ve altered won’t stop the events to come and my tweaks won’t help a great many people, but I’m limited. This event is too important. Too painful. The ramifications will drive the humans and their future to the next fixed point.

Under three thousand people was my hope, and I did it. So that is something I’m very proud of. I’m getting better at my manipulation of people and events.

I glance up at the sky and watch.

It’s 8:40 a.m., and I’ve got to cross over just under three thousand people from three different locations. These deaths are so much less than the almost forty-three thousand it would have been without my interference. And nothing near the almost half a million people over the next two weeks from a different part of the world that will keep me and my brothers and sisters busier than we care to be. So, for the next two days, my wings will get a workout. But I’m feeling pretty good. I saved five hundred forty thousand people this time, the most people saved yet for this event.

8:42 a.m.

This is my last attempt. I stand. I’ve tried five different times, and I can’t risk another go. Plus, I think my boss is coming around to my tricks. After today, I won’t be able to come back to this day, at least not to change things, but maybe I’ll come back to visit.

In the distance, I see the first plane heading for the first tower. Time to get to work. I flex my wings, stretching them out. Enjoying their heaviness before I take to the air.

My name is Death, and I’m going to have a busy day.

T.A.D.-The Angel of Death M.D. Neu © 2019. All rights reserved.
To read any more, you’ll have to wait for the release on September 23, 2019! However, here are a couple of pre-order links in case you want to get your copy queued up!

 

M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart MDNeu 2of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

Links:

Website: http://www.mdneu.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66488958-md

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfGxw0RBSgsTiyYkA_UGhCw

RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Blog-MDNeu

Watch for my review of T.A.D. The Angel of Death. Coming soon!

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 1, 2019

It’s hard to believe today is the 1st of September. Where did the summer go? The weeks have certainly sailed past. We’re off to a sunny but chilly start at 49F/9C.

Yesterday, we participated in a Maker’s Market at the Olympia Shopping Arcade in Kirkcaldy. Built in 1898, the arcade was originally part of a three-story linen mill. There are currently nine independent businesses in the arcade. The fees for setting up a table at the market go toward rejuvenation of the facility.

While it was quiet, depending upon footfall traffic, we did manage to sell two signed copies of The Kurdish Connection. Some of my candles and several sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets also went to happy customers who ventured out in the mixed weather.

Best of all, one of the coordinators of the market, who also has a shop in the arcade, offered me shelf space to sell my novels, receiving a small commission in return, which will go into the rejuvenation fund.

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

Wilhelmus Kist, writer/director of Dutch Staatscourant; Lydia Sigourney, American religious author (How to Be Happy); James Gordon Bennett, Sr., American newspaper publisher (New York Herald); Jacobus J Cremer, painter/author (Overbetuwsche Novellen); Innokenty Annensky, Russian Empire, poet, critic and interpreter (poètes maudits); Henri Bourassa, French Canadian politician and publisher; Edgar Rice Burroughs, American author (Tarzan of the Apes, Mars Saga); Blaise Cendrars, [Frederic Sauser-Hall], Swiss poet/writer; Hubert Lampo, Flemish writer/essayist (Coming of Joachim Stiller); Willem Frederik Hermans, Dutch writer (Mandarins on Sulfuric Acid); Theo Joekes, Dutch journalist, writer, and politician (VVD); C[arolyn] J[anice] Cherryh, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Faded Sun Trilogy); Mustafa Balel, Turkish writer; and Timothy Zahn, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Cobra Strike).

Was anyone familiar to you? There were several I recognized, including Edgar Rice Burroughs and Timothy Zahn. 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

1541181671Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter twenty-seven. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 358, an increase of eighteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Throughout the afternoon, trucks delivered the necessities for the Morenos’ party, including flower arrangements, tables, chairs, and linens. As the day wore on, the caterers appeared, bringing their own special implements for creating sensational regional and local dishes for the buffet. The staggering menu included Valluna cutlets, milanesa, arroz de lisa, mamona, lechona, and tamales. Others brought cases of champagne, whiskey, vodka, and rum. In the corner of the mansion’s ballroom, a twelve-piece orchestra worked through their repertoire, selecting pieces designed to awe their audience.

Everything and everyone was in position by seven thirty in the evening.

Eight p.m. Still no guests. Olivia’s outward calm crumbled, a frown replaced her smile. She paced back and forth from the entranceway to the ballroom, her grimace deepening with each circuit.

Eight fifteen. A taxi arrived—false alarm, a waiter, late for work.

Eight thirty. Pedro strolled toward his over-anxious wife and smiled.

“A long string of fancy cars passed through the perimeter gate. Your guests are sticking to an old-fashioned belief—arriving late.” He sighed. At least I hope they’ll come—for Olivia’s sake.

“As long as they come, that’s the important thing. For Alonzo. And us.”

More next time.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Together, we’ve completed chapter seven and are moving along nicely with the story.

It’s always interesting to see how our minds interact and create the way forward for our characters. It’s a truly collaborate effort and I’m enjoying every minute of the experience!

Books I’m Reading

The Lt. Kate Gazarra Series 1-3 has been released in a box set by Blair Howard. Some of you might have already read my reviews of Jasmine, Cassandra, and Saffron, but in case you haven’t here’s a recap:

JasmineBased on the adventures Harry’s friend and police partner, Lieutenant Kate Gazzara, this is an excellent beginning to this series.

Harry left the police force to begin life anew as a private investigator, leaving Kate to solve new homicides while building up her own network of contacts. Harry’s still in the background, assisting when needed but Kate is now the primary character. Already molded in the Harry Starke series, Kate takes readers on a whirlwind ride as another body appears.

An excellent cast of characters, a riveting plot, and almost more excitement than one can handle in a single evening (I read the entire novel in four nights), its another one for thriller aficionados to add to their collection. I’m already looking forward to the release of the next one!

Cassandraanother excellent read, given to us by a master storyteller. Lt. Kate Gazzara is up to her ears with internal police department issues when she’s instructed to update the assistant police chief on the cases she’s working on, including a twenty-three-year-old murder of a young woman named Cassandra.

I enjoy how Blair blends his larger-than-life characters together with an excellent plot, which keeps readers guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime. This is well-written and moves at a fast pace. Highly recommended for those you enjoy crime stories.

SaffronBlair has created another excellent thriller with his latest Lt. Kate Gazzara novel, Saffron. More bodies keep popping up, but Kate is hard on the case, trying to determine who the killer or killers might be. When the bodies begin appearing in other jurisdictional areas, since Kate had the first one, she became the overall coordinator since they were all killed in the same manner.

Things become more difficult for Kate as her long-time partner makes a surprise announcement and the assistant chief is creating personal problems for her. Blair weaves everything together into a realistic plot. You won’t want to put this one down until you’ve ready every page! I’m personally looking forward to the next one in the series.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings,August 25, 2019

We’ve had decent weather over the past week. As a result, we put some of the outdoor chores aside and made three trips to Aberdour beach. Since it’s a bank holiday here this weekend, we made the most of our excursions before the crowds came in.

The first time we went, we took Frankie, the puppy we help look after. It was his first time to the beach. Every time he saw a bird or dog, he’d sit and watch. We didn’t let him off the lead as he’s still young, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Tommy, one of our male cats, decided this week he wanted to use the laptop. Several times he would push my hand away from the keyboard. He was very persistent and at one point, he actually powered it down. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything I was working on!

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

Johann G von Herder, German philosopher, theologist and poet; Antoine Louis Léon de Saint-Just, French revolutionary and writer; Bret Harte, American author (Outcasts of Poker Flat); Judith Gautier, French poetess, novelist (Le Dragon Impérial); Mollie Panter-Downes, British writer and columnist (The Shoreless Sea); Desmond Flower, English publisher; J. B. Charles [Willem H. Nagel], Dutch criminologist and writer; Brian Moore, Irish novelist (Catholics, Doctor’s Wife); Thea Astley, Australian novelist and short-story writer; Charles Wright, American poet (Black Zodiac); Frederick Forsyth, British author (Day of the Jackal, Deceiver, Odessa File); Sherley Anne Williams, American poet and novelist (Dessa Rose); Conrad Black, Canadian-born British newspaper magnate; Charles Ghigna (Father Goose), American poet and children’s books author (Tickle Day: Poems from Father Goose); Martin Amis, English novelist (London Fields); and Noxon, American television writer and producer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew except for one of my favorites: Frederick Forsyth. 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

1541181671This week, I was on a writing roll, finishing chapters twenty-three through twenty-six of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 339, an increase of twenty-nine in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Pushing through the doors, she slid around the corner, squatted, and fired three times without aiming. An incoming round smashed into the wall in front of her. She leaned into the stone for cover as rough-edged shards whirled toward her face. Startled, Olivia dropped the pistol. Blood trickled from a cut above her right eye. She sucked in her breath and wiped it away as anger replaced her fear.

Alto.” A huge man climbed over the railing from the patio. Piercing dark eyes shone beneath a mop of black hair as he plopped into a chair at the small bistro table, and helped himself to a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Diablo.” Olivia spat the word as the behemoth stood and helped her into the other chair. “Ramon, one day you’ll cause my death. The training becomes more intense every day.” She grabbed his goblet. “Salud.” She drained the glass.

***

Bam! Bam!

Ramon rose. His movements panther-like, he approached the door. He turned the knob in minor increments while the thudding continued.

“Shhh.” Someone outside the room cautioned and received a snigger in response.

Ramon yanked the door open. Caught off guard, two girls tumbled into the room. Laughing and giggling, they fell into a disheveled stack of limbs. He grabbed an arm of each child and helped them to their feet.

“Ramon, be careful! You’ll wrinkle my pretty dress.” Olivia’s ten-year-old daughter, Maria, stomped her foot and straightened the folds of her pink frock.

“Maria, stop it.” Silvina, her eight-year-old sister, dressed in blue, squirmed out of Ramon’s clutches.

Together, the two girls darted across the Spanish tile, color-coordinated ribbons holding their long hair in place as they melted into Olivia’s embrace for a much-needed hug.

More next week.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Most of my time this week was spent on various pieces of research for chapter seven, but it’s coming along nicely.

I’m really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Michael. Between us, I believe we’re coming up with some great ideas, bouncing things off each other across the world as we are eight time zone apart. So far, the arrangement is working well and I’m learning a lot from Michael.  Eventually, we’ll fine-tune our synopsis and I’ll include it in one of my weekly posts.

Books I’m Reading

I recently had the opportunity to read Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless Legal Thriller Book 1) by Melissa F. Miller.  What a fantastic story! From the offset I became immersed in my reading, following Sasha as she works in a Pittsburgh law firm.  Working on a case for one of the firm’s largest clients, things go awry. Not only is the client embroiled in the aftermath of one of their planes crashing, killing everyone on board, people close to the case begin dying.

Irreparable Harm is a light-hearted story with an excellent plot and realistic characters, which kept me turning the pages. When Sasha joins forces with Connolly, an air marshal, to investigate the crash, the action and tension continues to increase, and I stayed up late to finish reading. This is the first novel of Melissa’s I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 18, 2019

We’ve had a few more glimpses of summer this past week, but plenty of showers and a couple of thunderstorms to drive the summer-time feeling away. Yesterday, we had a glorious day for the most part, just one brief shower around lunchtime.

With yesterday’s sunshine and pleasant temperatures, I was able to get some additional external chores completed. After six hours of steady effort, I declared my workday finished. Shortly afterward, Mother Nature ensured I didn’t do any more work with a ninety-minute shower.

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

Marko Marulic/Marulus/Splichanin/Pechinich, Croatian poet; Jean Bolland, Flemish Jesuit writer and historian (Acta Sanctorum); Charles Francis Adams Snr., American writer and diplomat, US Minister to the UK, son of President John Quincy Adams; Johan E. Elias, Dutch historian (Amsterdam’s regency); Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and essayist (Henry Handel Richardson: A Study); Armijn Pane, Indonesian writer (Belenggu); Elsa Morante, Italian writer; Alain Robbe-Grillet, French novelist (Voyeur); Brian W[ilson] Aldiss, UK, sci-fi author (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, Helliconia Trilogy); Vincent Bugliosi, American attorney and author (Helter-Skelter); William George Rushton, English actor, author and cartoonist (TW3); Umberto Guidoni, Italian astrophysicist and writer (STS 75); and Brian Michael Bendis, American comic book writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew. 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!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

“I enjoyed reading, “Carnage in Singapore” by Randall Krzak, who in my opinion, is a brilliant writer who has a unique ability of immediately capturing attention with a very intense opening scene which was extremely riveting. As I read on, the action, twists and turns, and the whole story got even more intense and exciting.

I am a big fan of this author and read his previous book, “The Kurdish Connection,” which showed to me his highly sophisticated knowledge of the military and his high intelligence and experience about what really goes on in the background.

His writing style is excellent, and I thought he described each scene extremely well bringing out ever-increasing and amazing exciting action, thrills, suspense, bravery, and selflessness on the topical subject of terrorism.

The story, in my view, is thought-provoking and very fast-paced with great action and suspense as the Bedlam Team struggles and combats international terrorism.

I felt this author is highly creative, gifted and very extraordinary and, in my view, as more people read his work his fan base will grow. I believe his works are not to be missed as after I read “Kurdish Connection” I became a lifelong fan of this author’s talent.

Very well done and I give this book five stars plus and highly recommend it!”

Hopefully, similar reviews will be forthcoming.

My Work in Progress

1541181671This week, I finished chapters twenty-one and twenty-two of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count has now climbed to to 310, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the first snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Zapata screamed, “Get us out of here! Hurry, before it’s too late!”

Men wearing white coveralls jumped out of the blocking vehicles, aiming light anti-tank weapons at the front and rear escort vehicles.

Weapons fired, the escort vehicles soared into the air, plummeting back to earth, now burning hulks. Zapata’s guards returned fire, but their response couldn’t match the overwhelming firepower of the attacking force.

One-by-one, the defenders succumbed to the withering fire as the remaining escort vehicles met the same fate as the others. Gunfire waned, as moans of the injured and crackling of burning vehicles grew in intensity.

The assailants approached Zapata’s SUV through the thickening smoke. They lined up along the driver’s side and stared at Zapata and his son.

Defiant stares greeted them.

Two men shouldered LAWs and aimed.

Zapata’s reign died as he and his son were immolated.

***

Francisco Tomas Kruz, Zapata’s longtime friend and confidant, replaced the receiver without a word. He rubbed his hand through his dyed black hair as he walked to the windows and gazed across the mountainous expanse. A brief smile etched across his face, not reaching his cold, hazel eyes.

He returned to his desk, grabbed the phone, and placed a call. “This is Kruz. Give her the phone.” He spoke for a moment.

Olivia screamed.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

As I mentioned last time, I had received a copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, The Raven (Harry Starke Genesis Book 2).

Here’s my thoughts: Blair has done it again. Someone knocked off a wealthy woman, leaving behind a distraught husband. A friend of Harry’s father, the husband, who is a judge, turned to Harry and his new private investigation service to find the killer. Things become complicated with the addition of Russian mobsters into the story.

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one is fast-paced with plenty of twists to keep readers guessing who might have killed the judge’s wife. Realistic characters help Harry in his quest for the truth. Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading, different suspects crept forward, muddying the water. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so you’ll have to grab yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 11, 2019

It’s been a crazy week, weather-wise. Plenty of sunshine and loads of thunderstorms, too. One knocked out the power briefly last night. At least we’re not in an area prone to erosion or low-lying land since there’s been flood warnings most of the week.

In between the cloudbursts, I did manage to finish some outdoor chores, including a bit of exterior painting and cleaning out some of the excess foliage. Things are looking better all the time, as confirmed by several comments made by people living on our street.

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

Cristoph Kaldenbach, Prussian poet and composer; Charlotte Mary Yonge, English writer (Heir of Redclyffe); Alfred Coville, French historian (Lesson etats de Normandie); Ernst Stadler, German poet (Der Aufbruch); Hugh MacDiarmid (Christopher Murray Grieve), Scottish poet (Scots Unbound); Eiji Yoshikawa, Japanese novelist; Louise Bogan, American writer (Sleeping Fury); Enid Blyton, English children’s writer (Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Adventure); Angus Wilson, England, writer (Mulberry Bush-1955); Alex Haley, American writer (Autobiography of Malcolm X, Roots); Carl Rowan, gun-toting newspaper columnist (Wash Post); Fernando Arrabal, Spanish song/romance writer (Baal Babilonia); Charles Hugh Shirley, publisher; and Marilyn Vos Savant, writer/world’s highest IQ (228).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew. 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!

Just Released!

Carnage 3D CoverSolstice Publishing released my third novel, Carnage in Singapore, this past week. Many to everyone for making this a reality.  If you haven’t followed my progress with the story, here’s the synopsis:

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

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

Before anyone can respond, the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia are kidnapped from their residences in Singapore. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning. Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

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

Work in Progress

1541181671One positive from the stormy weather, other than giving everything a drink, I had more time to write this week. I finished chapters twenty and twenty-one of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count jumped a bit this week to 291. Plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the synopsis for A Cartel’s Revenge:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

Watch for the first snippet, coming next Sunday.

Books I’m Reading

I received a copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Raven this week. I had hope to bring you my thoughts today, but time slipped past and I haven’t quite finished what is another great story. Watch for my review next time.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved