Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 22, 2018

This morning I woke to a calm lake, with plenty of sunshine shimmering across the water. In the background, the low throttle of engines from a passing freighter actually added to the serenity, along with the occasional song provided by myriad birds.

After last weekend’s severe ice storm, the past three days have been the same: blue skies with occasional clouds, still water, and brilliant sunshine. While the temperatures are still a bit below the average for this time of year, things are finally warming up. Spring is here!

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 a quarter of the 102,425 words completed. Some corrections and a few changes, but overall, things are looking good!

Here’s another snipped from New World Revolution:

William turned to the boys. “Collect our possessions and we’ll wait here.” In a rare show of fondness, he took his wife’s hand. “Take a good look around, Mary. This is our new home.”

He bowed his head, closed his eyes, and prayed in silence. By the time he finished, Thomas and George returned, struggling to carry a heavy, wooden trunk. They set it down and disappeared, returning a short time later with five bags made of wool.

“Is this all, lads?”

Breathless, Thomas and George nodded.

William glanced over the meager assortment, a grim reminder of their life in England. “‘Tis everything, I reckon.” He took Mary and Hannah’s hands. “Come, the New World beckons.” He led them ashore, Thomas and George following with their bundles.

 Once his family were seated in the back of the wagon and the possessions stowed, William climbed upon the seat with Abraham. The wagon jolted forward as Abraham flicked the reins over the horses’ backs. As they departed, William glanced back at the Wester. We’ve made our way thus far. What are the Lord’s plans for us?

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished two novels from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series: Quest and Icefall. In both stories, Dane and his business partner and friend, Bones, are off on new adventures. As always, David does an excellent job of blending historical facts and myths into his plots, making for quick-paced and exciting reads.

In Quest, the daring duo (Dane and Bones) help the daughter of their former naval commander in a search for the daughter’s boyfriend who disappeared in the Amazon.  With plenty of thrills and near mishaps, they travel through dangerous terrain, made all the more sinister as they run up against an organization searching for the missing professor. Without giving away secrets regarding the success or failure of their trek, I think it’s sufficient to say that adventure seekers will enjoy the action-packed plot and larger-than-life characters David has created. Highly recommended!

Icefall introduces readers to another thrilling plot, this time set in Europe. Dane and Bones, along with a couple of their friends, have traveled to Germany for Christmas. This is a shorter story than David’s other novels in the series, but still provides plenty of ups and downs for the group during their visit to a German cathedral. Once again, David does an excellent job of mixing history and legends together. You’ll have to grab a couple to find out what happens, but this novella is filled with plenty of high octane to keep you reading through the night!

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, April 15, 2018

You know the phrase, ‘April showers bring May flowers?’ Do you suppose the same holds true for ‘April ice storms bring May flowers?’ 

I thought the harshness of the winter was over when we had a beautiful 71F/21C temperature with blazing sunshine on Thursday. Friday was almost as warm, but plenty of clouds. The weather forecasters predict rain for Friday night, turning to sleet and a wintry mix with winds up to forty-five mph through Sunday at noon.

They were correct. The rain came as predicted, and beginning about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the sleet began. Hours later, it stopped, only to begin again this morning. The winter storm warning has been extended until 4 p.m.

When I look toward the lake, all I see is blurry patterns as every window and deck door are iced over. The good news–no outside work. The bad–yesterday’s Tigers’ baseball game was cancelled and rescheduled for today as part of a double-header. It appears both games today will be cancelled, too. Oh well!

My Work in Progress

I finished my first edit of Dangerous Alliance. It’s currently at 102,425 words and yesterday I began reading a paper copy of the story, going word by word and making changes and corrections, which will be transferred to the manuscript when I finish. With the storm and cancelled ball games, no guessing what I’ll be doing today.

Here’s a bit more from New World Revolution:

Sails dropped as the Wester rocked on the gentle waves. After seven weeks crammed into the hold, surviving on foul water and inedible hard tack and salt pork, dozens of immigrants from throughout England and Scotland pushed onto the deck, hopeful for a glimpse of their new land.

Hannah ducked beneath outstretched arms and reached the railing. She gazed at the spectacle as her mother joined her.

“Mama, ‘tis so different from home. So many people and buildings—how will we find our way?”

***

A tall, black man stood to the side, his hand blocking the sun’s rays as he watched the stream of humanity, hugging a few possessions to their chests, making their way down the narrow gangplank. Jostled by two new arrivals, he bowed his head, and stepped out of their way, as they shoved past. William and his sons hurried up to him. He stared at the man before putting out his hand. “You must be Abraham. My name’s William, and these are my sons, Thomas and George. Master Sutton described you in a letter to his brother.”

Abraham removed his hat and shook his head. “No offense to you, but ‘tis better not to shake my hand in public. I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Why is that?”

“Der’s a law in Boston dat says if a black man hits a white man, he receives a severe whipping. I don’t touch white folks so der’s no mistake. I keep myself to myself, don’t need no trouble.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Shark Bait, the eight novel in the Aristotle Socarides series by Paul Kemprecos. As with his previous stories, Paul has created another fast-paced plot. “Soc” finds himself in trouble with criminals through no fault of his own. After he loses his vehicle and his boat is already down due to engine problems, he answers a call for a boat captain to work on a film set.

What could go wrong driving a boat while a movie is being made? As always, problems seem to escalate when Soc is around. I won’t spoil the story, so no more about what happens. However, I must say, once again Pauls’ larger-than-life characters and riveting plot had me turning the pages far into the night. I look forward to reading Soc’s next adventure.

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.

Charlie De Luca – check out Charlie’s blog and learn more about life, his writing, and horses!

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

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 8, 2018

What crazy weather we’ve been having! On Thursday we had rain, hail, more rain, thunder, lightning, and even snow. It was a very light and fluffy snow, and because the temperature was above freezing it didn’t stick. Overnight, there was more of the white stuff, about two inches but within the space of a couple of hours, most of it melted away.

Brilliant sunshine followed, at least for a few hours. Then the heavens darkened to the point I needed to turn on lights. A white-out took over, so thick I could see the water’s edge. Cell coverage terminated as the snowfall thickened. Before long, this also passed.

Now we’re getting plenty of sunshine but temperatures below average for this time of year. At least most of the snow has disappeared once again. I hope that’s it for the season. I’m waiting to get outside and begin cleaning up from the winter. Branches to pick up, grass to rake, trees to trim, and flower beds to prepare. Hurry up, spring!

My Work in Progress

I’m about two thirds through my first edit of Dangerous Alliance. Won’t be long before I’ll be printing the entire manuscript and going word by word, checking for punctuation, grammar, word usage, etc. I did this with The Kurdish Connection and was pleased with the outcome. Since it helped, this is now part of my editing routine.

Work also continue, albeit at a slow pace, on chapter ten of A Cartel’s Revenge. I hope to post the chapter in the next week or so. I read through chapter four of Carnage in Singapore, the follow-on novel to Dangerous Alliance. Although I didn’t add any words, I known where the chapter is going.

Here’s another snippet from New World Revolution:

Tobias sighed, his shoulders drooping. “William, his lordship is demanding full payment. Parliament keeps raising his due and he’s suffering too. He’s been in arrears since the 1765 crop failure, and now this. I must have all of it, or I will be forced to evict tenants so some of the land can be sold.”

Tears dribbled down William’s face. Tobias turned away, giving him time alone.

“I’m sorry, Master Sutton. It’s been so difficult. What are we to do? I looked for work in Alnwick and Berwick-Upon-Tweed, but no one wants to hire a tenant farmer.”

Tobias’s expression softened. “There might be another way, William.” He released a pent-up sigh as he appeared to reach a decision. “Yesterday, I received a letter from my brother, Matthew, a tea merchant in Boston. He needs extra hands and asked if anyone I could vouch for their honesty and industry, would take a chance on a new life. He’ll pay the costs of your transport, but you’d be indentured for five years.”

***

Mary nodded from time to time, while Hannah stared wide-eyed as William explained the offer from Tobias. She gazed into his eyes and each of the children’s, before turning back to her husband.

“You are the head of the family. You and the Lord have always provided for us. Do what you believe is right.”

William bowed his head and prayed in silence. Lord, thank you for sending us this opportunity and for a biddable wife and children. We place our lives in your hands. Finished, he gazed at his family for a few moments. “We’re going to the New World.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I enjoy reading novels by authors who are forging their way with their works. Not long ago I finished reading Deception by Bill Ward. Although the first novel I’ve read by Bill, it definitely won’t be the last.

Deception, set in England, had everything I could ask for: mystery, intrigue, well-crafted characters, and a superb plot, guaranteed to keep you turning the pages. The CIA and MI6 are conspiring to change the thinking of the British public, while ISIS is planning to bring further terror to the streets of the country.

Our MC, Powell is caught in the middle as are his friends. Will he be able to extricate himself from the quagmire, save his friends, while helping to break the CIA-MI6 conspiracy and thwart ISIS terror attacks? With plenty of action scenes, this is a fast-paced read. If this is the genre you enjoy reading, you won’t be disappointed with Deception. I can’t wait to read more of Bill Ward’s novels!

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.

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.

Room With Books – Check out the book reviews and more by author Patricia S. Green.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 1, 2018

Last night I watched a thrilling Final Four basketball game between one of my favorite, the University of Michigan, and Loyola Chicago. Although Michigan jumped out to a lead, Loyola quickly fought back and twice led by ten points. However, the Michigan team proved too tough and eventually clawed back, winning by a twelve-point margin. Commiserations to Loyola and congratulation to Michigan!

The final game of the 2017-2018 NCAA men’s basketball season will determine this year’s national champion. Will it be Michigan or Villanova, who blew past Kansas? It should be an exciting finish to the season.

This past Thursday was supposed to be the season opening for the Detroit Tigers. However, Mother Nature had something to say about baseball being played in March in Michigan. The game was delayed until Friday. Although the Pittsburgh Pirates were the victors 13-10, it was a great game.

Mother Nature came back yesterday, delaying the game until today, when the two teams will play a double-header to close out their only meeting of 2018. I hope she lets them play!

My Work in Progress

Not much to say about Dangerous Alliance as I continue to edit. My current plan is to complete the editing process by the middle of May and begin submitting to a number of publishers.

As promised last week, here’s a snippet from one of my other works in progress, New World Revolution:

“Mary, I—” William placed his hands on the table’s patterned woodgrain surface and lowered his head.

“What is the matter?” Mary’s eyes widened. “Has something happened?”

“The crops—I don’t know what we will do.” He lifted his head, tears brimming. “We work hard on our land each year to provide our due to Tobias Sutton, and still have enough left for us to live on and perhaps sell a bit to buy what we might need. This year, we can’t even pay Tobias.”

Mary gathered her apron in her hands, twisting the stained cloth into knots. “There must be something. Talk with Sir Percy’s agent. We’ve been faithful tenants. Perhaps he’ll help.”

“Yes. I’ll seek him on the morrow at the castle and explain our problem. I must make him understand.”

Mary stood and walked over to William, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Husband, you’re a good man. This must be a test from the Lord. You’ll see us through.”

***

“William, what can I do for you today? Is this Thomas? He’s growing into a fine young man, your double.”

“Thank you, Master Sutton. I’ve come because, er, ah well, I have a problem.”

“Most of the tenants have troubles this year. A blight or whatever pestilence is causing payment shortages.” Tobias stared at William. “’Tis the same for you?”

He nodded, ashamed to look Tobias in the face. “Yes, most of the wheat and turnips are spoiled.”

“An issue for everyone. In normal times, I can help out the better tenant farmers, but this year … I can’t make any promises.”

“I—I understand, Master Sutton. I wanted you to know. The boy and I will bring you the best of the crops and try to sell the rest at the market. I hope we can meet our due.”

“Bring what you can in three days’ time. If suitable, they will be used in the castle. Otherwise, I’ll be at the market with you.”

Perhaps more next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Stoddard’s Gold by John Rose Putnam. Set during the mid-1880s, we join John’s well-crafted characters in the California mountains, searching for the elusive shiny metal–gold.

This novella has everything–good guys, bad guys, a possible budding romance, with plenty of intense drama. For me personally, the story was too short, but John could easily make this into a full novel and create even more intrigue. This was the first story I’ve read of John’s and it won’t be the last.

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.

Moran Communications – The Write Stuff – the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works, check out his blog, books, and his suggestions for writers.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 25, 2018

It was a bittersweet time for my two favorite basketball teams in this year’s March Madness. Unfortunately, Michigan State was knocked out in the second round. I really thought they might make it to at least the final four teams.

On a positive note, the University of Michigan did make it to the final four.  They’ll play Loyola-Chicago, a team knocking off higher-ranked opponents, next Saturday, to determine which one will go into the national championship game. Should be an exciting game to watch!

My Work in Progress

Over the past week I continued to edit Dangerous Alliance. Progress is moving along but not really much to say about it, except I’m pleased with how the ‘final’ version of the story is shaping up.

Perhaps next time I’ll include a snippet from one of my other works in progress. Stay tuned.

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard 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.

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.

Mark Bierman – check out Mark’s Adventures in Writing. 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 and reading.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 18, 2018

March Madness, one of the most intense sporting events began this week. From an initial field of 68 teams divided into four brackets, the top NCAA basketball teams face of in a single-elimination tournament to determine the annual number one team.

My two favorites, from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, won their first round battles. UM played their second round game last night–haven’t watched it yet, but will so this evening. MSU tips offs this afternoon, but I’ll watch that one after the UM game.

While this exciting finale to the college basketball season gets underway, it also won’t be long before baseball fans begin wearing their favorite jerseys and flocking to the stadiums to support their teams. The Detroit Tigers’ opening game in on the 29th of March. Hope it warms up a bit!

My Work in Progress

Over the past week I continued to edit Dangerous Alliance. Progress is moving along at a rapid pace, with about fifty percent completed to a level where I would send it to an agent or publisher. Still plenty of work to do.

My mind’s also been ticking over a synopsis for another new story. This one will have to wait quite a while before I begin working on it, but I’ll make note of what’s come to me for future reference. As soon as I finish Dangerous Alliance, I think it’ll be time to revisit A Cartel’s Revenge and pick up where I left off. I was working on chapter ten, the most of my three other works-in-progress. I’d like to get the draft completed by the end of the year.

Books I’m Reading

I’m reading two novels at the moment, one by Brad Thor and the other by Blair Howard. I hope to bring my thoughts about these two next week. I’ll also check through my notes to find out if I’ve missing any–I think I have.

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. Check out these friends of mine:

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.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 11, 2018

This morning I felt very tired when I got up. The normal sunrise wasn’t there, just a glimpse of what might be. Then I remembered, Daylight Savings Time! No wonder, just moving the clocks ahead can cause a bit of time disturbance. Never mind, a day or two and things will be normal again.

Despite the clock change, Mother Nature is doing her best to remind us she’s still in control. Only eighteen more days to the first home baseball game of the season!

My Work in Progress

Over the past week I was able to get back to my writing. Of utmost importance to me is completing the editing process on Dangerous Alliance. Therefore, I concentrated on editing (and drinking coffee). About twenty-five percent of the novel is now edited to a level I would pass to a publisher. This doesn’t mean editing is completed as there will always be minor tweaks made. But, at least I’m satisfied with my progress.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading A Time of Fear, the third novel in the Time Magnet series by Russell Moran. Once again our time-traveling band, referred to as The Thanksgiving Gang, whisk around to save the United States from another devastating terrorist attack.

Because of their time travel, the team knows what will happen–multiple nuclear bombs will be set off. Their dilemma: they have no idea where the bombs are located. Join the gang as they attempt to unravel this latest threat. Once again, Russell has created a realistic plot with characters who will grow on you. He also springs an unsuspecting surprise on readers of the series. I won’t spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to grab a copy and find out yourself. Another fast-moving novel from an excellent storyteller. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

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

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