Randall’s Ramblings

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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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 4, 2019

As we move into August, the past week has been a busy one. We puppy sat for three days. Frankie, a cockapoo, loves the various nooks and crannies he finds to explore. He still thinks the doorstop shaped like a dog is someone to play with, but he seems to be growing out of that, perhaps a shoe or two instead.

With some decent weather, we managed to get some branches trimmed, painted the front porch, and spruced up some decorative trim. Still plenty more to do but things are taking shape.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Paulus Adrianus Daum, Dutch writer, founder and editor (Batavian Newspaper); Vernon Louis Parrington, American author (Romantic Revolution, Pulitzer 1928); Eugène Baie, Belgian author (Sub rosa et sub umbra); Rupert Brooke, British WW I poet (Lithuania, The Soldier); Clifford D. Simak, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Empire, Way Station); Leonhard Huizinga, Dutch journalist and writer (Adriaan & Olivier); Sal Santen, Dutch writer (You Are Jewish People); Shakeel Badayuni, Indian poet and lyricist; James MacGregor Burns, American political writer (The Lion & the Fox); P. D. James [Phyllis Dorothy], Baroness James of Holland Park, English crime writer (Cover Her Face); Hayden Carruth, American poet (The Crow and the Heart); Robert Sumner, American evangelist and author; Roger Foulon, Belgian writer (Un été dans la Fagne); Leon Uris, American novelist (Exodus, QB VII, Battle Cry); Cécile Aubry, French actress (The Black Rose), author (Belle et Sébastien); James Komack, American writer, director and actor (Courtship of Eddie’s Father); Diane Wakoski, American poet (Motorcycle Betrayal); Reed Waller, American comic book author (Omaha the Cat Dancer); and Frank Schaeffer, American author (Crazy for God).

Was anyone familiar to you? There was one who clearly stood out for me: Uris. 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!

Coming Soon!

carnage in singapore-001(1)We’re in the home stretch with Carnage in Singapore, which will soon be released by Solstice Publishing. Over the past week I’ve gone through a formatted .pdf file of the manuscript, checking for any missing/misspelled words and fixing any punctuation needing some attention. I’ll be sending it back to Solstice’s editor-in-chief tomorrow so it can continue toward publication.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

“It worked.” Kali chuckled. “The sole casualty was Gesang’s suicide bomber.”

“Two options to consider about him.” Abu Zeze gazed into Isagani’s face, followed by Kali’s. “Either we kill him ourselves or report him to the Indonesian authorities.”

Kali ran a hand across his mouth as he stared into the flames. “If we kill him, we’re rid of a problem. However, if we notify the authorities, he’ll end up with Detachment 88. This could lessen their search efforts.”

“Hand me the satellite phone, Kali. “Abu Zeze pointed. “On top of the mantle.”

After receiving the phone, Abu Zeze punched in a number from memory. Once someone answered, he said, “A man named Gesang is responsible for the attacks in Surabaya.”

“Who? What is your—”

Abu Zeze broke the connection and gazed at the others. “One issue resolved. Gesang is no longer a man of action. He’s become old and feeble and deserves to die.”

***

After Kali left to catch the speedboat, Abu Zeze and Isagani shared a forbidden glass of sherry. Isagani tossed another log on the fire to ward off the evening chill and poured a second round of drinks.

“My friend, Kali is a well-educated man.” Isagani raised his eyebrows. “Perhaps, too competent for his own good. I would be cautious in giving him too much free rein. He’ll be thinking of replacing you.”

Abu Zeze nodded. “I thought the same myself. For now, he provides results and seems to be supportive.” His eyes hardened into a distant stare. “Once he outgrows his usefulness, or gains too many followers, he’ll be eliminated.”

“A wise decision. I would also have someone keep a close eye on him.”

“How long have you known him?”

“About six years. He’s a friend of a friend.”

“You realize a friend might still be an enemy?”

“I may be aging, but I still keep my wits about me.” Abu Zeze chortled. “I had someone begin following Kali weeks ago. If he oversteps himself or fails in his tasks, we’ll deal with him.”

“Do you trust this person?”

“Yes. Sakti’s already taken the heads of two traitors—a third won’t matter. My daughter will act as necessary to defend our ways.” Abu Zeze stared at Isagani. “To her last breath.”

Perhaps more next time.

Work in Progress:

Despite the non-writing activities and work on Carnage in Singapore, I still managed to 1541181484finish and post chapter nineteen of A Cartel’s Revenge to the two subscription writing sites I use. The number of chapter reviews continues to climb, now reaching 256. Many thanks to all who continue to support my writing journey!

 

 

 

angolan cole-revised3Last week I mentioned that chapter six of Xavier Sear: Angola, had been completed. We’ve come up with several enhancements to the chapter, which will impact on later chapters. I’ll have this updated in the next few days. Collaboration is a great exercise and very fulfilling working with another author.

 

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been a bit behind on this category and will try to catch up. One of the novels I read earlier this year is ICE (Dr. Leah Andrews and Jack Hobson Thrillers Book 1) by Kevin Tinto. This is Kevin’s debut novel and it won’t disappoint action-adventure enthusiasts. After Dr. Leah discovers an abandoned Native American cliff dwelling deep in a cavern, who knew there would be a startling discovery. How did granite crystals found only in Antarctica end up in the dwelling of a people believed to have existed 800 years before?

Dr. Leah knows only her former husband, Jack, has the wherewithal to help her find the source of the crystals. With realistic characters and a riveting plot, this is a super read which will keep you turning the pages. I can’t wait to read the next on in the series!

I also finished reading Templar by Paul Bannister. I enjoy novels which combine a bit of history with fiction, particularly those leaning toward action-adventure. With the death of King John, his nine-year-old son is left as heir. Too young to rule, who will be a guiding hand for Henry when plotters would like to steal his throne?

Alaric, a new Templar knight, travels with his father, Banastre, to France to bring Count Ramon of  Toulouse back to England to serve as regent before the country is ripped apart by a holy crusade. With a good plot supported by plenty of research and believable characters, I enjoyed the story and would continue to read more works by Paul.

To close this section for this week, I’ll finish with my thoughts on The Dead Songbird (The Northminister Mysteries Book 2) by Harriet Smart. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of Chief Constable Major Giles Vernon and Police Surgeon Felix Carswell in the first novel of the series and wasn’t disappointed to follow them as they try to identify the killer of a talented singer. Set in the Victorian era, it’s easy to immerse oneself into the rigors of life during this period.

I thoroughly enjoyed following Giles and Felix as they unravel the mystery they’re faced with. With an excellent blend of historical facts and well-written fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to the next installment 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, July 28, 2019

After a week of unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, Mother Nature cooled things off yesterday with a day filled with rain. We’re back to more normal weather, with a light breeze and scattered clouds.

Instead of doing outdoor tasks, things were concentrated on indoor jobs which were waiting for the right time, particularly painting of new skirting boards, which were installed earlier this year. With windows and doors wide open, plenty of fresh air kept the paint fumes at bay. Still a bit more to do, but will see how things pan out over the next few days.

Even our cats sought shelter in the heat, lounging in whatever cool locations they could find. Hope is still on the mend. While she seems to be returning to her normal self, she’s still not eating as we would like. It could be because of the weather, as the others are eating less too, just like we humans sometimes do. Hope goes back to the vet in the morning for another check-up and blood tests. She’s been really great taking her five pills each day!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 28th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian poet (Arcadia); Fabre d’Églantine French dramatist and politician, creator of the French Republican calendar; Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (Windhover); Beatrix Potter, English children’s author and illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit); Thomas P. Krag, Norwegian author and novelist (Jon Graeff, Ulf Ran); Ernst Cassirer, German philosopher and educator (Essay on Man); Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher (Logic of Forschung); Kenneth F. Fearing, American poet (Dead Reckoning); Malcolm Lowry, English novelist (Under the Volcano); John Ashbery, American poet (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror); Remco [Wouter] Campert, Dutch literary/poet/son of Jan Campert; Jean Roba, Belgian comics author (Boule et Bill); Natalie Babbitt, American children’s writer (Tuck Everlasting); Robert Hughes, Australian art critic and writer (Barcelona); Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani writer and feminist; and Shahyar Ghanbari, Iranian poet.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. 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

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this past week. I haven’t tallied the results yet, but I know the number of followers across social media increased, as did the number of people marking my novels to read. Many thanks to all who participated in my tour. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The edits have now carnage in singapore-001(1)been completed. I’m just going through the formatted pdf file checking for any typos, missing words and punctuation before it continues through the publication process.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Kali walked among the waking men, touching an arm here, a shoulder there. Satisfied each man was alert, he returned to his sleeping area and placed his personal possessions in a backpack. The pillows and blankets can remain. Nothing to identify us.

He turned to the others and coughed into a closed fist to get their attention. “I shall accompany each team but will remain in the shadows. I’ll report your courage and conviction for our cause to Abu Zeze.” And shoot anyone who falters. “Allahu Akbar!”

“Allahu Akbar!” Eleven voices responded in unison.

“First two men, it is time.”

A tall man wearing black-rimmed glasses stooped to pick up a blue and white tennis bag. Next to him, a man three inches shorter with a scar running across his right cheek grabbed a green and white bag. Unlike others in the group, these men were lighter skinned and exhibited Caucasian features. They followed Kali out to a battered gray Mitsubishi Xpander.

The men piled in the back seats, placing their bags on the floor.

Kali hopped behind the wheel and turned the key, but the engine failed to start. Is this an omen? He climbed out, opened the hood, and jiggled the battery cables. Back in the driver’s seat, he tried again. Black smoke poured out of the exhaust as the engine started.

The vehicle weaved through traffic, smoke continuing to mark their journey. Before long, Kali pulled over to the curb and stopped.

“Your target awaits.” Kali tilted his head toward a two-story white colonial-style building with deep-yellow shutters. “A symbol of Indonesia’s former ties to Britain and Japan, and where our declaration of independence was announced. You appear to be infidels, so the outrage caused by your mission should sour relations between Indonesia and Western societies.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “May Allah share in your triumph.”

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, but at a slow pace. Chapter nineteen is almost finished but completion was delayed with editing of Carnage in Singapore. As soon as the chapter is completed, I’ll post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews increased slightly to 249, providing plenty of excellent recommendation to choose from.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola.angolan cole-revised3 I sent him chapter six on Friday, and he’s comes back with a few suggestions which will enhance the chapter. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication.

We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin. As with the first book in the series, this was a another excellent blend of historical facts and fiction, making for an excellent read.

James, the Black Douglas, refuses to give in to the English conquerors and takes the was to them, utilizing guerilla tactics against superior-numbered forces. Follow James and his band of courageous men as they strive to free Scotland from the clutches of King Edward. I look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.

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