Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 20, 2017

It’s hard to believe how fast the summer is sailing by. While we’ve had several humid days this summer, only once has the thermometer reached 90 degrees, and that was on the 12th of June!

Still, we can’t complain. Despite the unsettled weather, we’re still getting plenty of sunshine. Today has started out with a gorgeous sunrise, the water’s calm, and we’re supposed to reach 82 degrees (although the humidity will make it feel like 90.

A perfect day for another garage sale. We held one yesterday–plenty of people stopped by. We sold a few items. Even better, I sold another autographed copy of The Kurdish Connection without leaving home!

My Work in Progress

Despite real life events keeping me busy, I finally finished chapter 22 of Dangerous Alliance. It was posted to the two subscription writing sites I use three days ago. So far, there’s been seven reviews, with some excellent suggestions to make the story even better.

As normal, the chapter contained a couple of twists for my readers. As one person said, “This is one of my very favorite of your chapters. There’s nothing to complain about here … all is in order. Your writing skill shines bright in this chapter.” Another chimed in with, “Great dialogue. You did a good job of adding emotion to this tense situation. Now, where’s the next chapter?” But as good reviewers do, both pointed out areas for possible improve. It’s great to have such great support!

The next chapter is already underway. At least one twist will pop up in this chapter as I bring back some characters from earlier in the story.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Hasan’s chest heaved as he tried to keep his emotions in check. “They knew we were coming.”

Tahliil nodded. “I told them. They’ll be too busy to worry about Dacar’s mission.”

“But … But, Gari was your friend.”

“At one time, perhaps, but he wanted to take over.” Tahliil shrugged, his lower lip covering the edge of the upper one. “He died for our cause.”

Hasan stared at Tahliil, searching for some sign of humanity, a glimpse to indicate his decision to inform the government about the fake Kenyan attack was for the greater cause and not for himself.

Nothing.

Hasan raised the pistol as Tahliil lunged forward to stop him.

Too late.

He pulled the trigger.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

One of the books I recently finished was from a favorite author, Jack Du Brul. The Lightning Stones involves Philip Mercer, a geologist who always seems to be ending up in bad situations. No different this time, but a good twist involving a historical figure ties the past to the present.

While Mercer always seems to sort things out, sometimes he ends up in serious situations where his life can be on the line. This is another well-crafted story, with plenty of descriptions and action. Some might want more action, but I believe Jack has done a good balancing action and I look forward to reading more about Mercer’s adventures.

Next time, I’ll have a review of Neptune Island by Tony Reed and Cool Blue Tomb by Paul Kemprecos.

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 to browse for new sites this week.

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.  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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 13, 2017

Today marks the last day of the 15th annual Michigan Yard Sale Trail, spanning more than 200 miles. Although it officially begins on a Friday, many people now start setting up and selling on Thursday.

Friday and Saturday saw intermittent thunderstorms and hail, but Mother Nature couldn’t detract from the large numbers of people out searching for bargains or just having a wander. Today, the weather is supposed to be partly sunny with a high of 75F, a perfect day for checking out the sales.

We’ve met people from throughout Michigan and Canada at our tables. While we do like to sell things, most times the conversations are just as enjoyable. I even sold one autographs copy of The Kurdish Connection!

My Work in Progress

With all of the prep work for the annual sales, I didn’t manage to do as much writing as planned. However, the draft of chapter 22 of Dangerous Alliance is now completed and will be posted in a few days.

The Kurdish Connection recently received its tenth five-start review on Amazon. This one came from Preston Holtry, the author of the Morgan Westphal mystery series and the ARRIUS trilogy.

The Kurdish Connection delivers a fast paced, Adrenalin charged tale of conspiracy, espionage and terrorism. The plot is diabolical and will keep you on the edge to the very end. Randall Krzak is a writer whose background has given him the knowledge and technical skills to craft a compelling novel requiring a seat belt while you read it. I look forward to more from this author.”

Any author would be thrilled with this kind of feedback. Perhaps you’ll be my next reviewer?

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Hasan shook Gari. His slumped body slid toward the door, Gari’s head on his chest. When Hasan tried to move him, he pulled his hand back.

Blood.

“Allah, help us!”

Gari groaned as he placed a bloody hand on Hasan. “Time … to … leave—” Gari passed out.

***

Hasan continued out of the city, not stopping until he approached the area where they rested overnight. Of the eight men entering Kismaayo in these two Land Rovers, two fled the scene, battered and bruised, but for now, alive.

They wept.

***

Samatar brought the damaged Land Rover to a halt. He struggled to open the door, which fell off its hinges. Losing his balance, he fell into the sand.

Hasan rushed to his side. “Where are the others?”

Samatar coughed, blood seeping out of his mouth. “Tell … tell them we died with bravery in our hearts.” The man’s head lolled to the side as his body sagged.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

With yard work and yard/garage sale preparation taking up a good portion of the week, I wasn’t able to prepare my thoughts about the novel I recently finished reading. Next time, I’ll have a review of Jack Du Brul’s The Lightning Stones and Neptune Island by Tony Reed.

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.

Tai Baker – this is a newly established website/blog by a musician and author. On Mondays, Tai will be posting about the various aspects of novel writing and from time-to-time, interviews with other authors. Check it out!

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.  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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 6, 2017

Welcome to August! Named for Augustus Caesar, it means dignified or imposing (among other definitions). Let’s hope Leo the Lion’s month brings fantastic weather as summer heads towards its finale. I also hope August brings inspiration to all.

My Work in Progress

Writing remained slow over the past week, so chapter 22 of Dangerous Alliance is still a work in progress. Overall, the summer has hindered my writing and reading to the point I’m falling behind with my self-imposed goals and deadlines. However, I can’t do everything at the same time, so the most important events and tasks come first, with writing time squeezed in whenever possible.

The Kurdish Connection recently received its ninth five-start review on Amazon. This one thrilled me as its written by an author with six published novels and five non-fiction works. Russell Moran had the following to say about The Kurdish Connection:

“A non-stop thriller may seem like an overdone phrase, but that is what Mr. Krzak has created in this book. Hard to believe that it’s his debut novel.

“The characters are so real that you feel affection – or fear, as the different groups look for or try to hide a deadly cache of Sarin gas canisters left over from Saddam Hussein.

“Krzak keeps you turning pages as you follow the different characters as they wend their way through the exciting plot. The proverbial “clock is ticking” as you watch the drama unfold. You find yourself saying, “no don’t do that, do this,” because the author has given you enough information to be a couple of steps in front of the protagonists.

“The “Bedlam Alpha” team was a brilliant move on the author’s part. It consists of butt kicking characters readily believable by a fan of thriller novels. The author has a fine ear for language, such as his Canadian character’s often ending a sentence with the familiar Canuck, “eh.”

“It was easy to give this excellent novel a five star rating. I look forward to his next book.”

Any author would be thrilled with this kind of feedback. Perhaps you’ll be my next reviewer?

Here’s a bit from the the sequel, Dangerous Alliance:

Gari grinned. “What do we need with armored vehicles like Harbi wants? We’ll take what we want from the Kenyans.” He pressed his hands down the front of his captain’s uniform to remove the wrinkles.

His driver, a gray-haired man named Hasan Fido, laughed. “You are a handsome captain. But why not a general?”

“Generals don’t chase across the desert. They send captains and sometimes majors.”

“Next time, I want to be a lieutenant.”

“We’ll need to find a lieutenant willing to part with his uniform.”

***

Hasan glanced at Gari. “When we reach the square, should I stop?”

“Yes, we want to make as much noise as possible. Since you speak Swahili, I want you to accompany me and yell at anyone in the way. We’ll spend a few minutes in the village establishing ourselves as a Kenyan military unit chasing al-Shabaab terrorists.”

“Aah! I understand. No one will suspect us when we pursue the terrorists.”

***

Gari woke before the rest of his men. He dreamed of death during the night. A premonition of what might happen today? My death or someone else?

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently had the pleasure to read the first novel in a new series by Preston Holtry. My anticipation this would be as good as his Morgan Westphal mystery series was fulfilled.

Arrius Volume I: Sacramentum (Oath) introduces readers to an up and coming Roman soldier. He doesn’t follow blindly, but offers his opinion on matters, even to his own detriment. Arrius eventually becomes embroiled in the Roman fight against the Jews revolt in Judaea, focusing on his duty and little else.

Once the conquest is completed, Arrius still refuses to serve in Rome and at his request, ends up at Hadrian’s Wall. A complex but well-written story and I can’t wait to see whether he made the right choice!

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.

Preston Holtry – in case you haven’t read any of the Morgan Westphal series, here’s a link to learn more about Preston and his novels.  Enjoy!

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, July 30, 2017

This week saw the waves higher on the beach than at any time since we bought our property four years ago. Fortunately, we just had some of the grassy area cleaned to extend the beach inwards. Otherwise, we would have temporarily lost our entire beach!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

It took about three hours to clear the beach. Too windy to burn the stuff, I had to wait a couple of days for a calmer day. The day after I burned everything we had a minor repeat of the wave action–not as much to clear up. Looking good now!

My Work in Progress

Writing was slow over the past week, so chapter 22 of Dangerous Alliance is still underway. I had to spend time researching different aspects for the chapter, which cut into my writing time. I hope to have it completed and posted to the two subscriptions writing sites I use during the upcoming week. Soo will be making a revelation, so stay tuned for a snippet or two. 

In the meantime, here’s a bit more from an earlier chapter of Dangerous Alliance:

“We’ll leave tomorrow and be in place during the night. We’ll attack at dawn in two days.”

Gari nodded. “Okay, my men will hit Kismaayo at the same time. Two attacks at the same time might cause extra confusion.”

“Perhaps more difficulties if Busuri hits the refugee camp at the same time.”

“Agree, but Busuri does what he wants when he’s ready.” Gari spat out the chewed khat leaves. “Don’t know why Tahliil puts up with him.”

***

Back in the Toyota Land Cruiser, he pulled inside, followed by the other vehicles. A man jumped out of the last SUV, closed the barn doors, propping the poles back in place. He entered through a narrow side door as Harbi inspected the interior.

“Perfect. No one would suspect anyone would be hiding here.” He glanced up and studied the myriad of stars through the rafters. He turned to his men. “One hour rest and we head to our targets.”

The final vehicle remained on the bridge as 3M jumped out of the vehicle, carrying a backpack. Two others joined him, each with an identical bag.

“Come, while the others tend to their attacks, we’ll prepare our surprise.” 3M grinned at the others. “A farewell boom for when we leave Mombasa.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed Deadly Impulse by Carolyn Arnold. The sixth book in the Madison Knight detective series; this one is one of the best plots yet. Beginning with an elderly dead woman in a wheelchair found near a hospital, Madison and her detective partner Terry strive to identify the woman and how she died. Before long, more bodies appear. Is this the work of one individual or total coincidence?

While hot on the trail of myriad suspects, Terry is anxiously awaiting the birth of his first child. At the same time, Madison is trying to decide if her current lover is getting to close or is it time to finally put aside things which had happened to her in the past and move forward with her social life.

Join Madison and Terry as they deal with their personal situations and begin to unravel the threads connecting the bodies and work their way through multiple suspects. Deadly Impulse is well written and an excellent read, which will keep you guessing about the perpetrators to the very end!

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, July 23, 2017

Yesterday’s rainfall was a welcome relief as it broke the high humidity, which had descended upon us. Today is somewhat cloudy, cool and crisp, although thunderstorms are predicted. Looks like I’ll escape from cutting the grass for at least another day.

Our beach is looking good after having it cleaned as I mentioned last time. The only sign of imperfection is a ragged line of flotsam tossed onto the sand by the waves. A day or so in the sun and it’ll be easy to rake up and use as kindling for a nighttime fire.

My Work in Progress

Despite the continued pressures of summer’s chores and pursuits, I finally completed chapter 21 of Dangerous Alliance. It’s now posted on the two subscription writing sites I used and reviews are beginning to appear.

The next chapter is beginning to take shape. Since I use an outline for my stories, I already had an idea of where I wanted to go next. A bit of tweaking and I’m moving forward.

Writing has continued to take a back seat to other requirements–unfortunately! But it’s important to prioritize things and as a friend used to say, ‘do the needful’ before enjoyment. So I’m still putting the final touches on the next chapter of Dangerous Alliance. While I know my reviewers would be happy to begin reading now, I don’t want to make their work any more difficult than necessary, Of course, they’re always willing to provide their suggestions.

The person I assisted with his draft chapters was delighted with my feedback. He’s already asked if I’ll continue and will be sending me the next three chapters. I’m looking forward to providing further assistance.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

“Where is the captain?” Dacar glanced around the bridge while his men detained the crew.

A small, white-haired man limped forward. “I’m the captain. Don’t hurt my men. What do you want?”

“Simple, Captain. Your ship now belongs to me. Behave, and no one will be hurt—except for the injured man who killed one of mine.”

Dacar pulled a slip of paper from his pocket and handed it to the captain. “Here are the coordinates for your new destination. Take us there. No tricks.” He pointed at the young-looking helmsman. “Or he dies.”

***

“I hope Dacar and Sahid are successful.” Harbi waved an AK-47 in the air. “These are excellent weapons, but we need more firepower and armored vehicles to take on the army.”

“What do you want? Perhaps we can make a trade.” Busuri launched a stream of spit into the shimmering sand where it sizzled in the intense heat.

“We have a few mortars, RPGs, grenades. I want—Hummers.”

Gari stared at Harbi and shook his head. “Dreamer.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Devil’s Door by AJ Wallace. The second novel in the Sideways Eight series, Devil’s Door picks up where Mindfield left off. Having successfully identified who had been killing little girls, FBI Special Agents Faraday and Murphy are now embroiled in a new case.

Brutal murders are appearing, each with a grisly similarity. The perpetrator is collecting trophies while at the same time leaving a calling card. It’s up to Charley and Sean to put an end to the trail of corpses appearing across the United States. Join them as they uncover clues leading toward the killer. What caused the attacker to commit his crimes? The answer will surprise you. Grab a copy, go to your favorite reading place, and follow our special agents as they attempt to solve another crime spree. 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. Unfortunately, I ran out of time this week and didn’t find anything to share with you. I hope to have something next week.

I’m afraid that’s all 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, July 16, 2017

It’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of July already. The days are certainly rushing by. Too bad there isn’t a way to slow time so we could enjoy more of the summer days,

We joined with several neighbors to have our beach cleaned. Since buying the property four years ago, the water levels have risen and we’ve lost about ten to fifteen feet of beach. Since there was a grassy area between the bottom of the bluff and the sand, we also had the company clear some of the grass. Now our beach is also deep like it was and if the water should recede, we’ll have even more beach!

My Work in Progress

Writing has continued to take a back seat to other requirements–unfortunately! But it’s important to prioritize things and as a friend used to say, ‘do the needful’ before enjoyment. So I’m still putting the final touches on the next chapter of Dangerous Alliance. While I know my reviewers would be happy to begin reading now, I don’t want to make their work any more difficult than necessary, Of course, they’re always willing to provide their suggestions.

I did spend some time over the past week finishing a review of someone’s draft chapters. They’re not part of the two subscription writing sites I used, but someone who asked for some assistance, so I’ve obliged. It’ll be a great story when it’s finished and I look forward to reading the entire novel.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

A moonless but starry night provided sufficient light for the passage of the two small speedboats along the river and into the Indian Ocean. The latest information from Rooble indicated a tanker left the Suez Canal during the previous afternoon, bound for South Africa.

As the first rays of dawn shimmered over the glass-like surface, Dacar reckoned they were about 300 miles east of Kismaayo. He whistled, waking the men on his boat.

“Up. Time to prepare.” Dacar grabbed his AK-47 and checked his ammunition. The others gathered their weapons. Metal clicks indicated magazines were seated and ready to go. Two of the men loaded their RPGs, additional rockets ready nearby.

“Dacar! On the horizon—a ship!”

“We wait until they pass. Perhaps three hours. The sun will be in their eyes if they scan the area where we are.” The others nodded their understanding. A couple of men nudged each other and grinned. They glided knives across small whetstones, sharpening the blades should they be required.

Dacar turned to one of the men holding an RPG. “Fire a warning shot in front of them. Don’t hit the ship.”

A wavering contrail signaled the flight of the grenade, which sailed over the bow and into the water. With a prearranged signal, the others began shooting above the deck, not aiming at any particular target.

The first pirate to reach the railing fired his AK-47 into the air. He lifted his leg to climb aboard. His body jerked. He fell–silent–into a watery tomb below.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past three weeks, I’ve continued to read novels by some of my favorite authors, including Brad Thor and Clive Cussler.  I had hoped to provide a review or two this week, but time hasn’t been on my side. I’m also searching for good novels to read and review from lesser-known authors.

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.

Mississippi Writers Pathway – a new site dedicated to writing by Mississippi writers. Take a look and you might run into an old friend or two.

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, July 9, 2017

Shimmering water, ripples gently cascading toward the shore, with brilliant sunshine and a blue background dotted with fluffy clouds. A light breeze to keep the morning’s heat and humidity away. What a start to the day!

KODAK Digital Still CameraConeflowers, delphiniums, and daisies are also enjoying the weather. Two years ago we scattered the seeds from several coneflowers along the area. Not many flowers last years, but what an abundance today!

We took a dozen photos but I’ll only share this one for now. Hope you enjoy.

My Work in Progress

My writing continues despite the outdoor activities, although at a much slower pace. I guess this is the price to pay for living along the lake and having such a varied environment to enjoy. The next chapter of Dangerous Alliance is completed, but needs a bit more work before posting to the two subscriptions writing sites I use.  In the meantime, I’ve also been updating my outline to keep my story and its various threads in order.

More from Dangerous Alliance:

When Dacar and the three lieutenants entered the tent, Tahliil sat on a three-legged campstool. On the sand, a pile of rocks, and a stick. He smoothed an area of sand.

“Sit. New plan. Came last night.” He drew a rough outline of the Somali and Kenyan coasts in the sand with the branch. Picking up several stones, he placed two in Kenya, one in Somalia, and one in the Indian Ocean.

“Dacar. No more freighters. Need weapons. Take tankers for North Koreans.” Tahliil tapped the stone in the area representing water.

Dacar nodded. “When should I begin?”

“Today. Take Sahid and others. Capture ships. Change name and go Si-Sihan—”

“Sihanoukville.”

“Yes. Try not kill crew. Perhaps more money.” Tahliil pointed to the rock farthest away from the Somali border. “Harbi. Your target is Mombasa. Attack whatever you want. Keep Kenyans too busy to help tankers.”

“Understand, Tahliil. I must scout the areas for targets before choosing one.”

Tahliil glanced at Busuri. “You like girls. Go to refugee camp. Take more. No kill.”

Busuri’s eyes brightened. “What about ra—”

“No rape, no torture, no kill. Hostages.” Tahliil glared at Busuri until his gleam disappeared. “Or I do same to you.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading novels by some of my favorite authors, including Brad Thor and Clive Cussler.  I’ll provide reviews next time. I’m also searching for good novels to read and review from lesser-known authors. More later.

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 – Check out Ann’s ‘Five on Friday’ blog. The latest one has an interview with yours truly, so if you want to learn more about me and my writing, this is your chance.

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.