Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 18, 2017

To all the fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!  I won’t see my son today as he lives in D.C. and came up for Mother’s Day. However, he sent me a great Father’s Day card and also an Amazon gift card. Now, I can buy some more novels to read!

My Work in Progress

The continuing improvement in the weather means more outdoor activities. I wish I could report I was doing something exciting, but I wasn’t. Cutting grass, pulling weeds, and doing some painting don’t qualify as fun, but they are things that do require regular upkeep.  The marigolds are a fantastic splash of oranges, reds, and yellows, and it won’t be long before the daisies and coneflowers will be popping out.

At least I was able to continue writing when time permitted. I haven’t finished the next chapter of Dangerous Alliance yet, but it’s well underway and should be posted to the two subscription writing sites I use by next weekend.

Two nights ago, a plot for another book popped into my head. This one will involved a former D.C. homicide detective and a former DEA agent. Perhaps later, I’ll provide a glimpse into this one.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

“Eat.” Asad stabbed at the roasted meat with a sharp knife. “Take the kibhis and I will cut you a piece of goat.”

With their first nourishing meal since being abducted, the women gobbled the bread and meat, licking the juices from their fingers.

“When you are finished, you may go to the wooden huts. The one on the left is the female toilet.” Asad nodded toward the structures. “Afterward, return to your building. Remain until the sun begins to rise.”

***

Jamiila peeked out the doorway. Men carrying torches gathered at the wall. On the ground, a body lay motionless.

Asad turned around, glaring at the captives. “I told you the penalty for trying to escape.” He kicked the body until it rolled over, face up.

Jamiila gasped—the woman chosen to lead the other group of captives. I never knew her name. She sank to her knees, covering her face. Why?

A wild animal screamed in the distance. Another howled as if recognizing the stench of death.

“Heed my warning. Or you will be like her.”

Perhaps a bit more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been finishing up a historic thriller for an author so I can provide a pre-release review. Unfortunately, I can’t share anything on this one yet. Next time I have two reviews planned: The Shadows of Terror (Patterns Book 1) by Russell Moran and Wrong Place Wrong Time by David P. Perlmutter.

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. This week, I’d like to share a link to the release of a new crime novel.

Devil’s Door – The second novel by AJ Wallace in the Sideways Eight series was released on June 15th and it’s another winner. Why not grab yourself a copy?

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve found something of interest.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 11, 2017

A warm breeze, brilliant sunshine, birds twittering, and no rain in the forecast–what a start to the day!

My Work in Progress

Despite the better weather and outdoor activities, I managed to finally complete another chapter of Dangerous Alliance and post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. Overall, initial responses are good, but as always, there is room for improvement. Chapter twenty-one is now underway. I’ve also been busy refining my outline, dropping a chapter here and adding another there to improve the story’s flow.

 

Books I’m Reading

After several attempts to consolidate my thoughts on a couple of books I recently read, I’ve finally been able to do so.

First up today is Jack Du Brul’s River of Ruin (Philip Mercer Book 5). Primarily set in the jungles of Panama, a friend of Mercer’s is searching for a legend. Inca riches, referred to as the Twice-Stolen Treasure are purported to be buried in Panama.  Mystery, intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman all vie for Mercer’s attention. Mr. Du Brul weaves another spellbinding story, taking his readers on a realistic journey, which might have serious consequences for the United States if Mercer is unsuccessful in piecing the puzzle together and grabbing the prizes. However, a Chinese organization is trying their best to recover the prize, even if it means the elimination of Mercer and his friends. Another great plot from a master storyteller!

Next up is The Thousand Years War by Angel Medina. What begins with a normal winter’s day in New York changes the lives of four people as they end up in a virtual mirror image of Earth, but one which is under attack by an evil presence who wants the planet for himself. Can Angel (the main character) and the others defeat evil and maintain the virtual Earth for mankind or will they fail and the real planet falls into dark ages?

Mr. Medina uses well-crafted characters, a vivid imagination, and a gift for building an excellent plot. has written an action-packed story with excellent twists and turns. Even if your don’t normally read this genre, I think you’ll find the story worthwhile. I wish him every success as he continues his writing journey.

 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. With all the extra curricular activities this week, I didn’t have a chance to browse around. I should have something to share with you soon.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 4, 2017

It’s been a hectic day since I first saw the shimmering reds and yellows across the water as night gave way to dawn. I should have grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos.

During the past week, all of my writing time has been devoted to external events, so I don’t have anything new to mention regarding my creative journey.

However, here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Exhausted, the captives tried to maintain the grueling pace. Malnourished, weak from hunger and disease, they struggled. When they slowed too much, blows from rifle butts hurried them along.

After more than an hour’s march, the leader called for a halt. “Short break. Some water. Then we go.”

***

“We stay here until dark.” Asad grabbed Jamiila’s covered arm. “You responsible for the others. Make sure they not run away—or you die.” He turned to his men. “Two guards. Remove prisoner ropes. Make sure no trouble.”

So tired—must have dozed. I miss my children. Like an automaton, Jamiila placed one foot in front of the other, stumbling over exposed roots from nearby bushes. My children—will I ever hold them again? Tears, like drops of rain, fell unchecked.

***

Asad extended a hand to Jamiila. She hesitated fearful of might happen. “Take my hand. I understand we’re not married and shouldn’t have physical contact. However, he embarrassed himself—and me.”

She reached up, allowing Asad to help her rise. “Thank you.” She glanced at those attached to her. “Why take these young girls? What do you want with them?”

“Some of the men want wives.”

“They’re too young.”

“Perhaps, but they will age. In the meantime, they will cook, clean, and take care of their man.”

Jamiila shook her head. Fearful to say anything more, she remained silent. Animals. Nothing but animals.

Perhaps more next week.

Books I’m Reading

In addition to my writing time being curtailed, even my normal nighttime reading was hampered. As a result, we’ll have to wait for next week for my thoughts on River of Ruin by Jack Du Brul and The Thousand Years War by Angel Medina.

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.

Ann Everett – A Texan author who believes in sass, sizzle, and suspense. Check out her website, especially her Five on Friday blog, where she interviews various authors.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve found something of interest.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 28, 2017

The last Monday of May is Memorial Day–an American federal holiday set aside to honor those who died while serving in the armed forces. Unofficially, the Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer vacation season and this year was no exception.

Mother Nature played her part in starting the weekend off with good weather, at least along Lake Huron. The sounds of multiple lawn mowers filled the air as ‘fair weather’ owners opened their homes and tackled grass last cut the previous fall. Powerboats and kayaks dotted the water’s edge, while barbecues provided nourishment. Last night, camp fires and fireworks brightened the evening sky.

Today began with a myriad of birds twittering away and sunshine shimmering across calm water. Not sure how long it will last, as multiple thunderstorms are predicted for today. In the meantime, no matter how you spend the weekend, enjoy yourselves.

My Work in Progress

With good weather for the past few days, writing once again had to take a backseat to other activities, such as cutting our grass, giving the beach a proper clean, and staining the deck. I also planted around 100 marigolds, to provide some color while we’re waiting for our coneflowers and daisies to mature and blossom. On tap for today, time on the riding mower as the rains have ensured a steady growth of the green stuff.

Despite the long preparations to prepare our home for the summer ahead, I still managed to continue some writing. The first draft of Dangerous Alliance, chapter twenty, is almost complete.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Soo hung his head. “T-hey beat me. Asked me questions. If they didn’t like my answers, they hit or kicked me.”

“What did they ask?”

“One man spoke but there were four—all wearing masks. He wanted to know why I came to Victoria. I told him for a vacation. Would you open the window, please? I need fresh air.”

Kim walked to the window, pushed aside the curtains, and shoved against the frame until the window opened. He returned to Soo. “What else did this man ask?”

“He wanted to know the names of who traveled with me—I told him I was on my own.”

“What happened next?”

“Someone gave me an injection and I passed out. I awoke when you found me in the gardens.”

Kim rubbed his chin, gazing at Soo for telltale signs of a lie. He asked a final question. “Did you tell them about me?”

“No.”

“Hmm. I must make arrangements for us to return to Pyongyang. Are you sure you didn’t mention my name?”

“I’m sure. I told them my wife and sons lived in Korea but nothing else.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m currently finishing two books, River of Ruin by Jack Du Brul and The Thousand Years War by Angel Medina. I’m not quite finished but should have my thoughts about both books for your 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. With all the extra curricular activities this week, I didn’t have a chance to browse around. I should have something to share with you soon.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 21, 2017

The middle of the past week brought excellent weather to our area, especially for this time of year. On Wednesday, the temperature topped out at 85F/29C, followed by 82F/28C. I thought we were on to a good thing.

The warm weather brought around the first hummingbird of the season. It couldn’t find its normal feeder, which was still in the garage, so I quickly cleaned the container and placed it in the tree. We also had a visit from our first Baltimore oriole–its special swing (where we can place orange slices) is ready to go.

Of course we saw all of our regulars who braved the cold Michigan winter, but the best surprise came on Thursday, with our first sighting since moving here four years ago.

KODAK Digital Still CameraOur first red-headed woodpecker!  What a beauty. We’ve had downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers and an occasional northern flicker, but this one is definitely a keeper!

Then Friday arrived with our old friend, Mother Nature saying hello with a quick reminder of who is in charge. The temperature made it all the way to 48F/9C–brrr! To compensate, it was sunny and a bit warmer yesterday and during the early morning hours we had a spectacular thunder and lightening show!

My Work in Progress

With such great weather for at least a couple of days, writing stopped as I concentrated on outside activities, such as cutting the grass, getting rid of some dead wood, washing the siding, and preparing the deck for its semi-annual staining. I put some old fence posts and warped boards out at the roadside, and within an hour someone stopped by to see if they could have them. Needless to say, my answer was yes. It’s always better to recycle.  

Even with my writing time seriously diminished, I still managed to finish the first draft of Dangerous Alliance, chapter nineteen. Since it’s a rainy day here, I hope to finish and get it posted to the two subscription writing sites I used. There are several reviewers patiently waiting for the next installment.

Someone also sent me a suggestion for a new book. I’ve already come up with a synopsis and tentative title. I shared this with the person providing the suggestion and they like it. Another person suggested I bring a couple of characters from The Kurdish Connection into the story, which seems like a good idea. I won’t share the synopsis just yet, but my tentative title is Forgotten Daughters. Watch this space for more details.

Books I’m Reading

As I promised last week, I finished reading Jack Du Brul’s Deep Fire Rising (Philip Mercer Book 6). I always look forward to reading Jack’s novels, and this one was no exception. Through his main character, Philip Mercer, who insists he be called Mercer (and there’s a story about his reasoning behind this) we’re off on another adventure. His initial summons by the government to check out the collapse of a ‘special’ mine in Nevada leads Mercer on a deadly chase to save millions of lives.

Enter a secret society called the Order, which is reeling from a schism, and Mercer’s life is once again on the line. Only this time, he has the help of a beautiful woman named Tisha. While the premise is a bit far-fetched, I still found Mercer’s actions well-suited for the task at hand. Can the Order really predict natural disasters and will Mercer be able to prevent one before a volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami wipes out low-lying coastal areas, including the eastern coast of the U.S.? Hold onto your hats and climb on board for another action-packed thriller.

I also finished reading Brad Carl’s  Grey Areas – The Saga. This is the first work by Brad that I’ve read and I’ll be back for more. We meet a drifter named Henry who lands in a small town and manages to find work in a local store. He tries to keep to himself but before long he saves the life of an accident victim and is embroiled in a deadly drug plot.

As if he doesn’t have enough problems, his real name is released through a television program, which also stated he was on the run after murdering his boss. If Henry didn’t kill him, who did?  Brad’s created an excellent story, full of twists, turns, believable characters, and his story is hard to put down. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but f you enjoy drama and thrills, grab Brad’s saga and you’ll be glad you did. 

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. I shared these sites last time, but thought they’re worthy of another mention.

ReadersAbode – Created by a group of writers spread across several continents, there’s sure to be something of interest. Thus far, the site contains short stories and poems written by its members, several blog posts and interviews with established authors. Or check it out on Twitter: @readersabode.

Art Galore – A virtual world of art and books! Whether you’re into art of into finding a new book to read, check out this site.

Lenka’s List – Home of creative people. An excellent website for authors and bloggers to showcase their work.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have this overcast and rainy Sunday. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 14, 2017

Today is Mother’s Day in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States, as well as several other countries. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and moms-to-be! Hope you have an enjoyable day. I know my wife is, because our son flew in yesterday morning from Washington, D.C., to spend the weekend with her. I don’t think he could have picked a better present!

My Work in Progress

Despite a myriad of external tasks this week, I still managed to squeeze in more writing on Dangerous Alliance. Chapter eighteen is posted to the two subscription writing sites I use and reviews are coming in.  Progress on chapter nineteen is also underway and I hope to post this during the coming week.  All other works on other projects are on hold until I at least complete Dangerous Alliance‘s overall first draft.

Here’s another snippet for you:

A man, dressed in dark clothing and covered in a green blanket with scattered dark brown splotches lay on the mulch, his head resting against a palm.

Kim bent down. Part of the blanket covered the man’s face. He pulled it aside—and gasped.

Soo!

Battered, bruised, but still with a pulse. Kim tapped Soo’s face—no response. He grasped him by the shoulders and gave a light shake. Soo’s head moved, minor twitches, before his hand reached out and grabbed Kim’s arm.

“Help. Me.” Soo’s hand fell to the ground.

***

A man smiled as he snapped photos through the open window, zooming in on Kim’s face. Another, this time with both men. He pushed back through the bushes, dropped his camera inside a Lufthansa airline bag, and departed.

How to proceed—threats? Blackmail?

Perhaps most next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m finishing up Jack Du Brul’s Deep Fire Rising (Philip Mercer Book 6) and Brad Carl’s Grey Areas – The Saga. I’ll have both reviews for you 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.

ReadersAbode – Don’t forget to check this site out. Created by a group of writers spread across several continents, there’s sure to be something of interest. Thus far, the site contains short stories and poems written by its members, several blog posts and interviews with established authors. Or check it out on Twitter: @readersabode.

Art Galore – A virtual world of art and books! Whether you’re into art of into finding a new book to read, check out this site.

Lenka’s List – Home of creative people. An excellent website for authors and bloggers to showcase their work.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have this sunny Sunday. Need to enjoy the rest of the day with our son before he heads back to Washington this evening. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 7, 2017

Brilliant sunshine bouncing off the one-foot waves this morning created a wall of intense light, making it difficult to see. When my eyes could refocus, not a cloud could be seen. A crisp morning with a slight breeze to be sure, but very welcome after several days with thick, heavy clouds and blustering winds.

And so begins another Sunday on the lake as the waves continue to smooth the sand, having removed the stones which infiltrated over the past couple of weeks. Now there is a smooth beach, untouched by humans, with a thin line of nature’s refuse along the shore. Easy to clean up and make the beach perfect!

My Work in Progress

In case you missed it, The Lakeshore Guardian, a monthly newspaper on the Thumb of Michigan provided a review of The Kurdish Connection. It’s now linked on my publisher’s website, Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC (just click on their name to link to the article). They also added a worthy sentence: “Randall Krzak’s novel of the Kurd’s struggle against Turkey, THE KURDISH CONNECTION, is so relevant that it reads like today’s headline news.”

Despite a myriad of external tasks this week, I still managed to squeeze in more writing on Dangerous Alliance. The first draft of chapter eighteen is now complete and will be posted in the next couple of days so my reviewers can check it out.  All other works on other projects are on hold until I at least complete Dangerous Alliance‘s overall first draft.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Light filtered through narrow slats nailed across a window. Dust particles shimmered in the sun’s beams, creating a pattern in the air. A body slumped on the concrete floor stirred.

Ooh. Aah.

He pushed himself to a kneeling position. A whimper escaped from swollen lips. Eyes mere slits, black and blue streaks surrounded them. Dried blood crusted his upper lip. He collapsed again.

Soo struggled to his feet. He wrapped the blanket closer and glanced around the room. A closed gunmetal gray door was centered on the wall opposite the blocked window. Near the door, an armless chair, his clothes in a neat stack.

A door slammed. Footsteps. Voices, growing louder.

“What’s the meaning of this? Who are you? Why did you kidnap me?”

Four men, faces hidden behind latex party masks formed a semi-circle in front of him. One retrieved the chair, placing it under the light. “Sit.”

Perhaps more next week.

Books I’m Reading

I finished David L. Golemon’s The Mountain: An Event Group Thriller.  The tenth book in the series, for me this was one of his best. While very different from other books in the series, this one centered on a historical artifact, one of the first obtained by the Group. Set during the Civil War, President Lincoln sends a group of Yankees and Rebels on what might possibly be a total folly.

Experience the intense emotions of the Northerners and Southerners as they steam away from the fighting. Escaping from British and French warships, they eventually end up in the Black Sea. Their destination–Mount Ararat and the fabled Ark. A professor who has witnessed the Ark first hand is sent with the team (along with some foreign spies who infiltrated the professor’s team), which begins to experience untimely and inexplicable deaths, even before landing on the shores of Trabzon.

While a bit slow to start, the pace rapidly picks up and like David’s other books, I couldn’t put it down. This isn’t just a tale about Noah’s Ark but also about the beliefs and devastation the Civil War launched upon the country. A worthy read!

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.

ReadersAbode – Don’t forget to check this site out. Created by a group of writers spread across several continents, there’s sure to be something of interest. Thus far, the site contains short stories and poems written by its members, several blog posts and interviews with established authors. Or check it out on Twitter: @readersabode. The next bi-weekly posting will be out sometime today.

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.