Randall’s Ramblings

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 23, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera

It’s with a heavy heart I announce the passing of one of our feline friends–Charlie. While not as devastating as what’s happened during the pandemic, animal lovers will certainly understand.

A starving Charlie joined us during a heavy snowstorm in January 2015. We have no idea where he came from as we lived in a semi-remote area, with only one full-time neighbor, and he didn’t have cats.

When we took Charlie to our vet, his age was estimated at eighteen months. He was a gentle cat, afraid of his own shadow, but was a fantastic addition to the family. Unfortunately, his end came far too soon, but we had to do what was right for Charlie. He’ll always be in our hearts.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Life is short. Don’t waste it being angry or sad. Be happy and enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer; Giuseppe Parini, Italian prose writer and poet (Il Giorno); Thomas Hood, English poet and composer (The Song of the Shirt); Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros, French poet and writer (Les Vierges Folles); James Gleason, American writer and actor (Bishop’s Wife, Flying Fool); Adrian Roland Holst, Dutch poet (Raged & Tired); Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish writer, Nobel laureate; Scott O’Dell, American author; Walter Reisch, American screenwriter (Ninotchka, Gaslight, Titanic); Margaret Wise Brown, American author; Barbara Ward, economist/writer (Only One Earth); Leo Lerman, American writer and editor (Condé Nast Publications); Margaret Hayden Rector, playwright (living legacy award 1995); Robert KJE Antonissen, South African literary; James [Benjamin] Blish, US/UK, sci-fi author (Hugo, Star Trek Reader); Friedrich Achleitner, German poet; Barbara Barrie [Berman], American actress and author (Breaking Away, Barney Miller); Lasse Strömstedt, Swedish writer and actor; Peter Preston, editor (Guardian); Jane Kenyon, American poet; Mitch Albom, American writer; and Ryan Coogler, American director and screenwriter (Fruitvale Station, The Black Panther).

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week. 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

I manged to complete chapter thirty-eight of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be forty-seven or forty-eight.

Over the past week, there were another fourteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 595. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier stood and offered a hand to his long-time friend. After shaking, they took seats in front of Javier’s desk. “So, what can I do for the DEA?”

Mitch laughed. “That’s what I’ve always liked about you—no beating around the bush.”

“When I was in the military, I used to call it efficiency. Now, time is money.” Javier chuckled.

“Couple of things. First, I want to congratulate you on your retirement.”

Javier nodded. “Many thanks. When are you pulling the plug?”

“Me? Not for a few more years. One of the kids is a freshman at Georgetown, and the other will join him next year. After they graduate, Bella wants to head back to Lombardy where she grew up.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Figure I’d buy a cab and schlep people around—at least when we’re not checking out the vineyards.”  He shook his head. “Not sure yet. Bella wants to open a deli.”

“Why not both?”

“I thought the same, but Bella wants to do something together.” Mitched sighed. “Plenty of time to make our minds up. The primary reason for dropping in was to dangle some work in front of you.”

Javier leaned forward. “Whad’ya got?”

“A British colleague of mine needs some help. Intel indicates a drug smuggler is using Bermuda as a base to ship his product into Florida.”

“Why aren’t you taking care of it?”

Mitch sighed. “We’re overstretched in the area, and this guy’s volume is too small for us to take an interest in—at least at this time. This would be an off-the-books assignment, which would give you an easy win while at the same time, I’ll improve relations with the British.”

Javier pursed his lips as he stared at the ceiling. “Okay, we’re in. How many operatives do you think we’ll need?”

Mitch pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket. “I think three or four max to handle this. All the details are here, including Cedric’s contact info.”

“Cedric?”

“The name of my British counterpart.”

Who to use? Perhaps a couple of the Snakes can take some leave. Take two of my new team. Should be enough. “Count us in.”

“Fantastic!” Mitch glanced at his watch. “I better run—have a meeting in an hour at headquarters. If any questions arise, give me a shout.”

The men stood and shook hands.

Javier showed Mitch back to reception.

A distraught Sindee sat in a chair, chest heaving, eyes wide.

“What’s the matter, Sindee?” Javier rushed over.

“S—Sorry, I’m late. L—Last night. A problem at my apartment building.” She took a deep breath to calm herself.  “I’ve been with the police all morning.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Undaunted Valor: An Assault Helicopter Unit in Vietnam by Colonel Matt Jackson. This is a true-life story as told through the eyes of Colonel Dan Cory as he flies combat missions during the Vietnam War.

This is a well-written account of various service personnel caught up in the war, from cowards to heroes, and from imbeciles to gifted pilots and leaders, told by someone who experienced it. Whether you supported the war or not, this rendition will give you an honest picture of how our people lived and died. Well worth a read!

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 16, 2021

We finally started getting some normal May weather recently. While the week began with more rain and cool temperatures, by Thursday, things had picked up. Buds that we’re damaged in last month’s snow and frost are blossoming. While it’s still chilly in the shade, when the sun pops out it’s great!

Of course, the better weather also means the grass (and weeds) are growing, so a bit of time was devoted to tidying things up. There’s always something needing attention, but I’d rather have the better weather to do so.  Almost finished pulling the ivy off the back of the house–then it’ll be a clean-up effort to remain the tentacles, but so far I haven’t seen any damage caused. Thank goodness!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Neither a rich man or a poor man gets to enjoy his money. One is too busy trying to hold on to it, and the other is too busy trying to get it.” ~ Linda Poindexter

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Friedrich Rückert, German Poet, Translator and Orientalist; H[erbert] E[rnest] Bates, novelist (Feast for July, Love for Lydia); Arturo Uslar Pietri, Venezuela, writer/minister (Lanzas Coloradas); Margret Rey, author and illustrator; Olga Berggolts, Russian poet; Studs Terkel, American author/host (Stud’s Place, Working); Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and author; Juan Rulfo, Mexican writer (Pedro Paramo); Richard Mason, English author (The World of Suzie Wong); Adrienne Rich, American feminist writer (Diamond Cutters); and Peter Levi, poet/writer.

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week.  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 Published Work

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

I was on a roll this week, completing chapters thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-seven of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. They’re now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be at least forty-sven.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 581. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier and AJ climbed the stairs and entered the third-floor kitchen/diner. “Want a coffee?”

“Of course.” AJ pulled out a chair at the island. “How are things going?”

Javier poured coffee from the pot he put on earlier. He placed a cup in front of AJ and sat in a chair next to her. “So far, so good. Elton, Sindee, and Bruno are getting settled. I gave them corporate credit cards so they can order what they need for their respective areas. I’m hoping we’ll be in business within a week.”

“Moving fast.” AJ took a sip of her black coffee. “Did you give any more thought about my suggestion of a back-up field team?”

“Yep. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Never can tell when a situation might arise where an all-female field team might be needed. However, I don’t have the funds right now to create one.”

“I’ve been giving it some thought.” AJ raised a hand. “Hear me out before you discount my suggestion. You’ve already chosen two women to handle minor cases. Why not expand their training so they could be deployed in more dangerous situations to support the others.”

Javier nodded. “I do want everyone working here to cross-train into other areas so we can be a lean and efficient force.” He tapped a finger on his lips. “But, I like groups of four. Where will I find the others?”

“Duh!” AJ pretended to pout. “Depending upon the situation and my availability, I could be part of the team. What about Sindee? I read her file—she’s been doing some martial arts training and belongs to a shooting club.”

“Would the CIA let you come and go at short notice, or are you still considering a career change?”

AJ laughed. “Still pondering. If I make the jump, I want to land in a suitable position.”

“I’m sure it can be arranged.” Javier nodded. “It’s one thing to shoot at targets but something else when the targets can return fire. I’ll set up a confidence course, and we’ll find out what Sindee and the others can do and set a baseline for training.”

“That’s all I ask.” AJ leaned closer. “Anything else planned for today?”

Javier gave a soft laugh. “What did you have in mind?”

***

Once Sindee entered the elevator, Bennie wiped the smile off his face. He left the building and crossed to a bronze late-model SUV. Tossing the bags in the back, he climbed in beside Justin, the driver. “I found out where she lives.”

“Excellent. We’ll come back this evening and grab her. Can we get in?”

“Yes, I checked—through the parking garage. There aren’t any barriers.”

Justin nodded. “Perfect. Let’s find a place to eat.”

“How about a bowling alley? They usually have decent food, and we can bowl and watch sports on their big screen while we wait.”

“Excellent idea.”

Five hours later, the bronze SUV pulled into the apartment complex and headed to the multi-story parking garage. Justin backed into an empty slot closest to the third-floor walkway to the apartments.

They climbed from the vehicle and stepped out of the garage.

“Wait a minute—forgot my bag.”

Justin pursed his lips. “Which way?”

Bennie retrieved his backpack from the rear seat and pointed. “This way—at the far end.”

They crabbed along the corridor. On the left, a railing to keep people from falling. On the right, doors signaled each apartment. Curtains were closed, but shadows cast by internal lights filtered outside.

As they approached the end of the walkway, Bennie turned and put a finger to his lips. “Keep watch.” He pulled a set of lock picks out of his back pocket. “Shouldn’t take long—these locks are simple to bypass.”

Justin gave a thumbs-up.

Bennie knelt by the door and worked his magic. The door swung inward, and he slinked inside.

A woman sat on a sofa, her back to the door. Headphones covered her ears as she pecked away at the keyboard on her phone.

Bennie crept forward, pulling an extendable baton from his bag.

Thwack!

He conked her on the head.

The headphones popped off as the woman’s body tilted to the side.

Bennie took a piece of rope from one pocket and tied her hands. From another pocket on the side of his backpack, he pulled out duct tape. After he stretched a piece across her mouth, Bennie picked her up in a fireman’s carry and dashed out of the apartment.

Justin aimed his gun at Bennie, lowering it when he recognized his partner. “That her?”

“Yeah, let’s get out of here before someone spots us!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finally completed enough real-life requirements so I could return to reading Primeval: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon.  Join Colonel Jack Collins, head of the Event Group’s Security Group as he leads several members of his team in a frantic search for his sister. Who grabbed her and why?

Jack’s search efforts leads to western Canada, home of the legendary They Who Follow. But it was real men who took his sister. This is another fast-paced thriller by David, filled with plenty of twists and turns. What are the men who took Jack’s sister after? Who will be the final victors? I don’t like to give away too much, so you’ll have to pick up a copy of this well-written story and find out for yourself.  It’s definitely worth a read!

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating today in the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world. Enjoy your special day!

Well, Mother Nature decided the rain and hail we’ve experienced, along with cool temperatures over the past week weren’t enough. In some parts of Scotland there was snow this week. While we didn’t have any in our area, we could see it on the distant hills. Hopefully, the white stuff is finished for now and we’ll see things improve. Certainly hope so!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Smile like you’ve never cried, fight like you’ve never lost, love like you’ve never been hurt, and live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Dante Alighieri, Italian poet and author (Dante’s Inferno, Divina Commedia); John Wolcot, English satirist (Peter Pindar); Johannes Cornelis de Jonge, Dutch historian and archivist; August Pauly, German writer (Real Encyclopedia); J.M. [James Matthew] Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (Peter Pan); Lucian Blaga, Romanian philosopher and poet (Dogmatic Aeon); Walter Dehmel, German writer; Eleanor Estes, author (Ginger Pye, Moffats); Baldur von Schirach, German writer/nazi politician (Frame); Josef Muller-Brockmann, graphic designer/writer; Richard Adams, English author (Watership Down); William Tenn, American author; Mona Van Duyn, American poet; Bulat S Okudzjava, Russian author (Student!); Jean J A Girault, French director/screenwriter (l’Amour); Gavin Lyall, British author (Conduct of Major Maxim, The Secret Servant); Alan Bennett, England, playwright/actor (Secret Policeman’s Other Ball); Roger Hargreaves, English author and illustrator of children’s books (Mr. Men and Little Miss); Charles Simic Yugoslavian-born poet, 15th Poet Laureate of the United States; Joy Harjo, American poet and musician (first Native American US Poet Laureate 2019-); and Skye Regan, Canadian Actress and Writer.

Were any names familiar to you? While I didn’t know the names of the authors, I certainly spotted several works I knew. I’ve certainly heard of Dante’s Inferno, Peter Pan, Watership Down, Mr. Men, and Little Miss.  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 Published Work

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-three and thirty-four of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure yet, but I think there’ll be forty-five chapters when the first draft is completed.

Over the past week, there were another thirty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 556. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“I’m heading upstairs for a bit. I dropped a load of my personal stuff off this morning before going to the restaurant, but want to get it stored in a closet. The movers are supposed to bring my furniture and the rest of my belongings tomorrow.”

Elton raised his hand. “How long do you want us to hang around today?”

“As long as it takes to square away your area, ET.” He handed a Sam’s Club card to him. “I want you and Sindee to take a trip and pick up whatever we need. If they don’t have it, figure out who does and will get things arranged.” He turned to Bruno. “I’m sure you’ll have an idea of what you’ll require in the IT arena.” He held out a black American Express card. “Use this.”

“We’re on it, boss,” Elton, Sindee, and Bruno chimed.

Javier laughed. “I’ll be upstairs.”

***

Climbing up the stairs to his new home, Javier walked from room to room. With two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen/diner, and a bathroom, the top-floor accommodation was perfect. I’ll use one of the bedrooms as a private office, so I don’t have to traipse downstairs during the night.

Javier sat on the sole piece of furniture. The chair creaked under his weight. As he stood to adjust the cushion, his phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hey, Javier. Zorkin here. I got the first group of background checks back from the FBI. Everything’s fine.”

Javier grinned.  “Excellent. So nothing showed up to cause any concern?”

“Not a thing.”

“Perfect. The first three are working downstairs now. I want to task Cesar with keeping an eye on AJ without her finding out. I know she can look after herself, but I’ll feel better.”

“Anything particular you’re worried about?”

“No, but something is sending shivers up my arms when I think about her—especially after that incident with the truck.”

“Understand. Listen, I gotta run. I’ll be back to you as soon as the other background checks come in.”

“Thanks again, Brian.” Javier broke the connection and headed downstairs.

***

A man wearing sunglasses sat in a black Ford F150 across the street from Brusch Investigations. He shuffled through the photos he took earlier when Javier and his employees arrived. “Excellent. Decent facial shots of each one. Need to find out where they live—perhaps some pressure to force one of them to let us inside.”

He started the engine and pulled into the sparse traffic, a grin spreading across his face. “Boom!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Due to unforeseen real life activities, I didn’t do much extra reading this week. I hope to provide a review of another David L. Golemon novel next time.

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 2, 2021

April’s showers are still falling in the early part of May. Although temperatures are slightly below normal, we’re seeing a benefit–trees are greening up (except the acer trees, which have red leaves), flowers are popping out, and we’ve even had to cut the grass!

We’re thinking about turning one grassy area (which isn’t doing too well because of large trees from adjacent properties limiting the sunlight) into a wildflower meadow. Not sure if this’ll work, but we’ll probably give it a try. Otherwise, the area will eventually be covered with artificial grass.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” ~ Mary Kay

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

William Camden, English historian (Brittania, Annales); John Galt, Scottish novelist (Annals of the Parish); Abram Sanders Piatt, American farmer, publisher, poet, politician, and Brigadier General (Union Army); Jerome K. Jerome, English writer (The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow); Clyde Fitch, American playwright; G. G. van der Hoeven, Dutch editor-in-chief (NRC newspaper); Gottfried Benn, Ger; man poet and essayist; Hedda Hopper [Elda Furry], American gossip columnist; E. E. Smith, American food engineer and sci-fi author (Triplanetary); Alfred Kurella, German author and functionary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in East Germany; Peggy Bacon, American author and illustrator (Off With Their Heads); Jef Last, Dutch poet and writer; Lev Lunts, Russian writer (Outside the Law, City of Truth); Willi Bredel, German writer; Axel Springer, German newspaper magnate (Bild Zeitung); Marten Toonder, Dutch comic writer and cartoonist (Tom Puss); Otto Buchsbaum, Austrian writer and ecological activist; A. M. Rosenthal, American journalist and newspaper editor (NY Times); Jamal Abro, Sindhi writer; Phil Bruns, American actor and writer (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman – “George Shumway”); Maury Allen, American sportswriter and columnist (New York Post); Gisela Elsner, German writer (Die Riesenzwerge, Rowohlt); Lorenzo Music, American writer, actor and voice actor (Carlton-Rhoda, Garfield); and Franz Innerhofer, Austrian writer (Beautiful Days).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  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 Published Work

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter thirty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure yet, but I think there’ll be forty-five chapters when the first draft is completed.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-nine new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 523. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Alberto whacked Bennie across the face. “Estúpido! I didn’t tell you to follow them. You’re not trained in surveillance.” He glared at Bennie and stomped to his seat. “They could have heard you when you shouted, ‘Alberto, I found them!’”

Bennie’s head dropped to his chest as he gazed at the floor. “I-I did what I thought was right. You wanted me to find them.”

Alberto squeezed his hand into a fist. “Yes. But why didn’t you pay some kid on the street to find out where they went instead of doing it yourself? I gave you enough money.” Perhaps I made a mistake pulling him from the collapsed building and bringing him with me.

“I didn’t think.”

“You got that right. In the future, do just what I tell you and nothing else. Remember, Allah is judging us.” He gestured to the table. A small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with string sat in the center. “Keep taking photos of the targets from a distance. There’s more cash in the package—use it to hire two or three locals who know how to follow people. No more amateur stunts.”

“Yes, Alberto.” He reached for the parcel.

“Start moving your equipment to our new property. The address is written on the bottom of the package. Don’t return here—Walter will be the only one still using this location.”

Bennie nodded as he picked up the parcel. “I won’t let you down, Alberto.”

“I know you won’t.” Or you’ll meet Allah sooner than you expect.

***

Walter stopped and glanced at the house. He returned inside and headed to the living room. I’ll open the curtains—make it seem like someone’s up. Otherwise, the nosy neighbors might stop by again to see if everything is okay.

He returned to the vehicle and drove in a practiced manner, obeying all speed limits and traffic signs until he pulled into the storage facility.

Inside his medium-sized storage unit, he closed the roll-up door and turned on a flashlight.  He checked the labels on the myriad containers and crates until he located what he wanted.

Once he loaded the acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulphuric acid into the van, he wrapped each of the six bottles in foam padding and secured them in an upright position with elastic luggage straps. Satisfied, he began the journey home, stopping at a Burger King along the way.

Two hours later, Walter headed to the basement where he had set up his laboratory. The Americans are their own worst enemy. Everything I need to make my bombs was easy to obtain.  The hard part is not blowing myself up.

He used an oval metal animal-feeding trough to mix his ingredients. Taking his time, he didn’t want to repeat the disaster of his first training session in making triacetone triperoxide, when he lost two fingers on his left hand.

Finished, Walter moved to one of the portable workbenches, where a section of metal pipe rested between two vises. He marked equal lengths and used a hacksaw to make the outer shells of his bombs.

He smiled. My favorite weapons—which will bring death to the infidels.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been on a roll reading novels by David L. Golemon. I just finished Event: An Event Group Thriller. Whether you believe in the UFO crash near Roswell in 1947, it’s a great setting for Department 5656 to be embroiled in a new mission. This time, not one but two spaceships are involved, with one of them carrying death–the Destroyer.

David’s Event Group fights to almost the last man and woman to save mankind. Or do they? This is a fast-action story with plenty of twists and excellent characters, both human and extraterrestrial. If you’re like me, you’ll be burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens. I’m looking forward to reading more of David’s work in the days to come.

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 25, 2021

It appears we’ve turned the tide regarding the weather. No more frosty mornings, although on a few days the temperature was just above freezing. This week we purchased another fifteen plants for the borders at the front of the house. Plenty of color already there, but this will finish it off. Once everything’s in bloom, I’ll include a photo.

Sylvia and I received our second Pfizer Covid vaccination this week. No major issues, except the nurse administering the injections must have been a carpenter/joiner in a previous life. The way she shoved the needles into our arms was like she was driving a nail home in a piece of wood.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa

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

Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, British soldier, statesman, and dramatist; Antonio Fogazzarro, Italian writer and poet (Il santo, Leila); Leopoldo Alas, Spanish novelist (La Regenta); Walter de la Mare, British poet and author (The Listeners, Memoirs of a Midget); Rubén M. Campos, Mexican novelist (Claudio Oranos) and musicologist (El folklore y la musica mexicana); Sally Salminen, Finnish writer (Katrina); Claude Mauriac, French writer (Le Temps immobile); Ross Lockridge, Jr., American novelist (Raintree County); William Goyen, American writer; Jean Mogin, Belgian poet; Albert Uderzo, French cartoonist and script writer (Asterix comic books); Corín Tellado, Spanish romance novelist; José Ángel Valente, Spanish poet (A modo the esperanza); Paul Mazursky, American writer/director (Moscow on the Hudson); ed Kooser, American poet and US Poet Laureate; James Fenton, English poet and journalist; and Dinesh D’Souza, Indian-American author (2016: Obama’s America).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  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 Published Work

I’m delighted to announce Colombian Betrayal is now a finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. This year’s competition must be extremely intense as the judges decided to move all fourteen semifinalists into the finals.

The five First in Category winners and the category grand prize winner will be announced on June 5th. In addition, the grand prize winners from each of the seventeen genres will compete for the overall winner of this year’s competition. Many congratulations to all those who are now in the finals. Good luck!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-one of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-two new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 494. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Excuse me?”

Javier glanced up.

A clean-shaven man with a short slender build and red hair stood at the end of the table. “I-I’m a bit early. I’m Elton. Elton Taylor. I applied for the receptionist job.”

Javier motioned to the chair on his right. “Take a seat, Elton. Let me pull up your application and do a quick review.” He read through the document. “Huh. Uh-huh.”

“Excuse me, sir. May I have a glass of water?”

“Help yourself. And do us both a favor.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Relax. Your application looks fine.” Javier smiled. “So, why are you interested in working for the Brusch Agency?”

“Since I finished my degree at Northern Virginia Community College two years ago, I’ve been working as a receptionist at a senior citizens’ home. It’s okay, but ….”

Javier nodded.

“I prefer something more exciting, and when I saw this position advertised online, I thought it was perfect. I live with my parents two blocks away, so I can be here whenever I’m needed. I’m a hard worker, too.” A glimmer of a smile creased Elton’s face.

“There are seven other applicants for this job.”

Elton glanced at the table, rejection apparent in his demeanor.

Javier raised a hand. “However, you’re the only one with previous experience. You would still need some training, but it’s not a stumbling block. The job is yours—on one condition.”

Elton locked his eyes on Javier’s. “Yes, sir?”

“Well, there’re two conditions. The first is, stop calling me sir. And would it be okay for me to call you ET?”

“Yes, sir! I mean …. What should I call you?”

“My parents named me Javier, so that’ll work.” He stretched out a hand. “Welcome to the Brusch Agency.  What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

ET grinned. “I was too nervous to eat, so I’m going to get a burger downstairs. Afterward, I’ll share the news with my parents.”

“I tell you what. I’ll pay for your meal. After you eat, if you want to get on the clock right away, come back up. You can use my laptop to take notes during the rest of the interviews.”

“I’ll be right back!” ET jumped to his feet and rushed away.

***

“Count me in.” TJ half-rose and offered a hand to Javier.

He stuck his hand into the vice and tried not to wince as TJ crushed it. Javier stood. “Welcome aboard. We’ll be in touch in a few days with the contract.”

TJ waved a hand and departed.

As soon as he was gone, Javier flexed the fingers in his hand. “Hope the last guy doesn’t have a grip like his. We better make sure our gym is fully equipped.”

ET nodded and pointed toward the far end of the table. “Your visitor.”

Javier turned and spotted a tall, well-toned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. “Can I help you?”

The woman stepped forward. “I made an appointment—Samantha Bennett. Call me Sam.”

Javier glanced at ET, who shrugged.

“Well, Sam, why didn’t you put your full name on the application?” Javier gestured at an empty chair. “Please sit.” He did the same.

“If I had done that, would you have given me an interview?”

“Sure, why not? I don’t care about anyone’s gender or sexual preferences. What’s important to me is whether a person can hold their own if they end up in a tough situation.”

Sam gazed into Javier’s eyes. “I believe you. Serving in a combat role in Afghanistan shows what I can do when cornered.”

“Agreed. The job is yours if you want it.”

“I accept.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Event: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon and will offer my review next time. I have several other books lined up to read, so I better start turning the pages!

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized, Writing Announcements

New Release – The Called (Book 2 of The Calling Series)

The world is changing quickly for Chris now that he’s part of the Immortal Community. With the events of his past finally behind him, he’s still having visions and true magic is gradually taking hold in our world. There are new challenges that the Immortals must face, but Chris is still new and has no real standing in the immortal community. Learning that nothing in the Immortal community is what Chris thought and now having to face new threats, how will his new world unfold? Old enemies must work together and longtime friends may not be trustworthy. Who is lurking in the shadows? Why are they here? What does this mean for witches, immortals and humans?

Can Chris’ visions even be trusted given recent events, and how easily his mind is manipulated? With Juliet, Amanda, and Kirtus by his side they have to prevent the immortal and witch community from being exposed. Can they trust the local witches that are there to assist them? Can they trust their fellow Immortals? New friendships are made, and longtime alliances are called into question. How will The Called defeat these latest threats, and what does it mean for our world?

Excerpt (from chapter one):

The question of death returned to me as I reflected on recent events. You die and your body no longer functions. I was wrong. You die and your soul leaves, and what’s left turns to dust. That wasn’t the case.

Everything I thought was no longer my reality.

I sat with a glass of brandy between my hands, focusing on the fire in Juliet’s office. The oranges, reds, and yellows of the flames danced around the logs, releasing a warmth that barely penetrated my worried exterior. The crackling of the fire tickled my ears as the scent of burning pine lingered in and out of my consciousness. A knot tugged the back of my neck. What was this new vision? Worse yet, what did it have to do with me? Not to mention Juliet, Kirtus, Gregor, and the other Immortals.

“Chris.” Juliet’s gentle voice pulled me from my fog of apprehension.

How long had I been like this? A minute? A day? A year? I wasn’t sure. I turned from the fire. Kirtus sat next to me on the sofa, his coat removed, replaced by an air of worry. His red hair, green and gray eyes typically so intoxicating, brought me no joy. Gregor’s tall solid frame blocked one of Juliet’s bookcases, his rugged face a shadow of concern. All of Juliet’s tomes and books, several of them personal journals of her long life, sat there taunting me. Would they be able to unravel this new vision? This new mystery? They were next to no help with the witches, or my father. The monster. I sipped my brandy, hoping it would take the chill from my soul.

I caught Juliet out of the corner of my eye waiting for me to speak. She was patient as always. She sat with her ivory pant-clad leg crossed and a glass of red in her hand, but deep in her stunning eyes there was unease. Despite her apprehension in moments like this, she appeared so young. Nevertheless, behind that façade of youth was the power of an Immortal who had been around for 1650 years. No one should ever underestimate her.

My eyes narrowed on the red, and my stomach flipped, not from hunger or desire but from this new burden I was meant to carry.

“Would you like a glass?” she offered. Her dark blonde hair, normally combed out, was in a ponytail, making her appear all the younger. I caught a whiff of vanilla and roses, her signature scent. I inhaled deeper, hoping it would soothe me.

I shook my head.

“I realize it’s difficult, but please can you tell us the vision again.” Juliet’s voice was a whisper, but the request rang in my head. How many times would I have to retell this story?

I put the half-full brandy glass on the coffee table, recalling the images to me. “I’m standing in some kind of chamber, but it’s not anyplace I’ve been.” I scanned their three faces. “It’s not here.” My heart pounded louder in my chest. I focused on my breathing a bit more before I continued. “In the center, there is what appears to be a formal table of polished stone with nine ornately carved chairs around it. On the wall…” I kept my eyes closed and focused on the wall. “There’s a mural. You’re in it, Juliet; so is Sybil, Garrett, Fernando, Rahim, all the members of the Council of Light.”

“The council chamber in Egypt.” Juliet tapped her finger on the edge of her glass, the noise echoing throughout her office.

The sentence was barely spoken before all the images of my vision flashed back. It was too much, and my eyes flew open. Juliet, Gregor, and Kirtus surveyed me. Considering their strained expressions, they are worried about me. I waved off their unease and shook my head.

“What else?” Gregor’s deep voice cool and calm, but the glance he shared with Juliet betrayed his composure. He didn’t understand what to do with this information any more than I did.

I pulled the vision to my thoughts and continued, “The wall with the mural began to crack and crumble and I smell smoke. The chamber is on fire…” I focused on Juliet. “The stone table crumbles. The chairs burn and everything is in shambles.”

Juliet nodded and sipped her red.

“Something or someone destroyed it, but I didn’t see them.”

“Who could do such a thing?” Kirtus rubbed his hands together. “Only the Council of Light knows the actual location.”

“What else do you see?” Juliet’s peaceful aura melted my worry and fear. After a moment my thoughts cleared. Normally I would be upset at her for using her gift on me, but I needed it. Especially after all that had happened these last few weeks. My mother’s sacrifice to save me and kill my father still haunted me. My father’s death came after we discovered he was in charge of a coven of witches who wanted to destroy the world. It was a battle we had to fight to stop the witches from releasing true magic into our world.

We failed at that. True magic had still seeped into our world before we cut it off.

I had hoped it was all behind us. I wanted things to return to normal, but my gift of being a Seer had other plans. I focused once more on the brandy, wanting a sip but not taking it; my gaze returned to the fire. More of the vision came forward. “As the room fell to ruin and the mural burned, a large carved wooden chair with inlays of gold and decorated with jewels pushed the debris away.” I closed my eyes again. “There was a shadow figure sitting in the chair.”

“Who is it?” Kirtus asked.

“I’m not sure, but I hear his voice.” I pushed my eyes together tighter to help me hear.

“I’ve stayed out of the way of history, but it’s time to return and bring what is right and just back to this world.” I took a breath. “That’s what he said, but I don’t sense malice from him, but I don’t know. Sorrow and pain, maybe. Sacrifice?”

“What does he look like?” Juliet called me to focus.

“He’s tall and he’s wearing some kind of toga with deep crimson and white stripes. I can’t really see anything else.” My eyes fluttered open.

Everyone was silent. The crackle of the fire might as well have been the rumble of a train going through the room. It was unbearable, and I was about to speak.

Kirtus beat me to it. “Why don’t we take a break?”

I shook my head. “It’s fine. After the man vanished, I was standing on a grass-covered pasture. In front of me was a hill with a young girl sitting there laughing and clapping her hands. She had long brown hair and her gaze planted on an oversized full moon. It was impossibly big.” I sighed. “I’m sorry but that’s all.” I slouched deeper in the couch, focusing my own gaze on the ceiling and the rich wood inlays and trim. “I have no idea what any of it means.” The square patterns offered my brain a relaxing, ordered shape.

“That’s okay.” Gregor’s voice was stronger now as if he realized what needed to be done.

Maybe he did. I couldn’t be sure.

“You’ve given us a lot of information to go through. Add that to the reports of magic both Victor and I have seen. There is a lot happening we still have to address,” Gregor continued. “Once we begin to break it down, perhaps more will come to you.”

I faced him. “Maybe. I hope so, because right now, it feels like a whole lot of nothing. Especially when you are already dealing with these other problems.”

“We’re all new to this Seer business.” Kirtus’s hand rested on my leg.

His touch caused a shiver to rush through my body, and right now, all I wanted to do was take him to me, hold him, and get lost in his arms and warm body.

“Plus, it’s not like you haven’t been through a whole lot of hell over the last few weeks.” Kirtus offered me a grin, the single dimple on his left cheek popping out. It melted away more of my worry.

“Is it possible it’s another witch?” Kirtus asked. “Especially if magic is involved.”

He must have already known about the reports of magic being seen both in San Jose and up in San Francisco. Either way he didn’t seem surprised by this news. Or, he could have an amazing poker face.

I turned toward Juliet, who had left the chair she was sitting in and walked over to her office windows to look out. Her ivory pants and jade-green shirt somehow still looked as crisp as the moment she had glided into my bedroom only a few hours ago.

“I doubt it’s a witch, especially given the comment about staying out of histories way and setting things right.” Juliet’s voice was tight. “The clothing Chris describes is a Roman Senator, I think.” She turned to me and the others. “Another Immortal, maybe, one from the fall of Rome.”

“That doesn’t narrow the list down.” Gregor pulled at his goatee. “Especially if we include the Dark.” His frown stretched farther across his face. “Perhaps we need to talk to Victor.”

“I can ask him,” Kirtus offered. “He mentioned he wanted to see me this week.” He tried not to grimace.

Was it about the lieutenant position and the posting as his representative to the Council of Light? What he mentioned to me earlier tonight? Was that what he wanted to speak to him about?

“Thank you.” Gregor offered a slight bow of his head. “Juliet, is there anyone you know who can help with this?” He walked over to the golden cart with the bottles of alcohol and red on it. He poured himself a glass of red. “What about the witches you know here? What about the local coven? You have a good relationship with them. What about the one who charmed this estate?”

Juliet’s lips pulled into a small frown. She crossed over to the cart and poured herself another glass of red.

“I could have gotten you that.” Gregor’s tone was gentle.

She waved him off before she sipped her drink. “He’s a Healer, not a witch, and I’m not sure if he will assist us; we have an unfortunate history.” She held her drink in one hand and pulled a book from the shelf. She turned to her desk and walked to her seat, a quiet, far-off look about her.

I peeked over at Kirtus. “We should go.” I stood and glanced over to Juliet. “You have a lot on your plate with the reports of magic. I’m sorry I’ve added to the burden, but with this new vision I figured you needed to know.”

“Chris, if you see anything else…” She trailed off.

“Of course.”

“Thank you, Chris.” Gregor extended his hand. “This new vision and perhaps the magic we’ve seen may be related.”

“I hope not.” The pull of Kirtus’s body helped me realize he was by my side. “I’ll see if I can track down anyone on my end.” He glanced over to Juliet. “My network isn’t nearly as broad as yours, but you never know.”

“I think we’ll need all the help we can get,” Gregor affirmed.

I spared a worried glance at Juliet. Something was bothering her, and it wasn’t just my vision or the reports of magic. I didn’t recognize what it was, but I understood my creator well enough to leave her be. She would tell me once she had processed her thoughts and all my vision information.

She met my gaze. “Yes, we’ll speak more. Thank you for understanding.”

“Of course.” I took Kirtus’s hand, and we walked out of her office for the second time tonight.

Pick up a copy at the following:

NineStar Press: https://bit.ly/3uNlkeM
Website: https://www.mdneu.com/shop
UBL: https://books2read.com/The-Called 

About The Author:

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of 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.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Continue reading “New Release – The Called (Book 2 of The Calling Series)”

Uncategorized

Reaper Bookiversary

How do you fight a monster?

Halloween night, 1992. Promised the allowance he’s always dreamed of, Gregory has to babysit his little sister Imogen and hand out candy.

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement. Before Imogen was taken from him by that terrifying monster.

Now, Gregory has to scramble to put the pieces together before it’s too late. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? Can he save his sister, or is she already gone forever?

If you haven’t read Jonathan Pongratz’s work, you’re missing out. Check out Reaper–available across the Amazon network. Jonathan  is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 18, 2021

We’re finally seeing an end to the morning frosts (I hope) and temperatures are climbing back into normal springtime ranges. There’s been plenty of sunshine each day, and with sunrise and sunset earlier and later, respectively, things are brightening up.

All of the plants and flowers we put in the flowerbeds have survived the frost, although the tips of our existing hydrangeas had some damage. The grass has been treated to its semi-annual weed and feed mixture. Plenty of color to make things more appealing.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you. Not because they are nice, but because you are.”

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

Thomas Middleton, English playwright (A Game at Chess); George Colman the Elder, English dramatist; Pieter ‘t Hoen, Dutch journalist and patriot (Neder-Rhijn); George Henry Lewes, English philosophical writer (Life of Goethe); Henry Clarence Kendall, Australian poet (Bell Birds); Antero Tarquínio de Quental, Portuguese poet (Beatrice); Richard Harding Davis, American journalist and author (Soldiers of Fortune, The King’s Jackal); Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, German author (In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message); Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Croatian writer (The Brave Adventures of Lapitch); Vicente Sotto, Filipino politician and author (Sotto Law, Republic Act No. 53); Clara Eggink, Dutch poet (Life with J C Bloem); Stephen Longstreet, American writer (All or Nothing); Joy Davidman, American poet, writer and wife of C. S. Lewis; Cliff Hillegass, American publisher (Cliffsnotes); Leif Panduro, Danish writer (‘k Have varnish on traditions); Raf de Linde [Raphael van Hecke], author (Vaarwel on Gertrude); Samuel P. Huntington, American political scientist (The Clash of Civilizations); Kathy Acker, American experimental novelist (Blood and Guts in High School); and Keith DeCandido, American sci-fi author (Star Trek).

Were any names familiar to you? While Cliff Hillegass’ name wasn’t familiar, I certainly used his Cliffnotes in a variety of classes when I was a student.  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 Published Work

I received great news last week. Colombian Betrayal is now a semi-finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Colombian Betrayal will now compete with thirteen other novels for the finalist positions. There’s been a slight change in the progress to the final announcements. The finalists of the sixteen categories will be announced over three days, April 22nd-24th. The Global Thrillers will be announced the evening of April 22nd, so hopefully, I’ll have good news to share next week.

This year, there will be five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will now be announced on June 5th. Fingers crossed my novel becomes one of the finalists and continues its journey!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 472. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Many thanks, AJ. Let’s hope they find Heidi soon.” Alive.  “While everyone’s getting settled in, I want to establish some routine. Every Monday and Friday, we’ll meet here for about an hour or so. Monday’s will be to discuss any new business and events from the weekend, while Friday will be used to catch up on what’s happened during the week. Any questions?”

“Yes.” Sam glanced at the others before directing her attention toward Javier. “What if something urgent comes up?”

Javier nodded. “Good point. We can always hold impromptu meetings when they’re needed. As we progress and become a more cohesive team, we can make adjustments.”

He opened the iPad and read for a few moments. “Okay, team. We have our first overseas client, compliments of the DEA.”

“Who gets the assignment?” Wilder “Wild” Harris swiped his hands through his thick, brown hair.

“There’ll be four. The team lead will be one of the Snakes, but I don’t know which one yet—depends on who can break away from their normal duties and use some of their accumulated leave.” Javier gazed at the eager faces. “Sam, Wild, and TJ—you’re up. Cesar, I’ll talk to you later—something separate for you.”

“All right!” Sam and Wild high-fived.

TJ pursed his lips and focused an intense stare on Javier. “So, what’s the job? I assume the mission is drug-related, but where?”

Javier grinned. “Have any of you been to Bermuda? Your contact will be a Doctor Cedric Yates. He’s aware of an American drug smuggler using the island as a transit point to push his produce into Florida and would prefer the U.S. deal with him. Not enough volume to interest DEA since they’re stretched to breaking point, so they contacted us.”

“The team leader will be here tonight.” Javier turned to Sindee. “Set up flights, hotels, and two rentals for three days from now. Plan everything for a ten-day vacation—things will be adjusted based on what the team uncovers.”

Sindee nodded. “What about visas? Can we get them in time?”

Javier shook his head. “I checked last night. Not needed for visits of less than six months.”

“I’ve arranged a specialist training program for you. Not long—two days at the Farm.” AJ glanced at Sam, Wild, and TJ. “You’ll get a day of personal security and a day on the pistol and rifle ranges.” AJ chuckled. “Rest up—you’ll need it as the instructors will try to grind you down.”

“Any questions?” Javier surveyed his team. When no one spoke up, he nodded. “Back to work.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Legend: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. Imagine searching for a relic surrounded by a legend, only to find out the item is real and protected by a living beast!

David’s story contains vivid descriptions, multiple subplots, and plenty of characters, including the formidable Major Jack Collins and his deputy, Lieutenant Commander Robbie Everett. Will they encounter the beast and rescue a missing archeological team? There’s plenty of action in this one, so get ready for a real page turner!

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 11, 2021

Decent spring weather continues to evade us. During the past week, we’ve had a frost each morning, with daytime temperatures struggling to get above 45F/7C. While there’s been plenty of sunshine each day, we’ve also had multiple snow squalls. Fortunately, there hasn’t been any accumulation, but we can see damage to new buds on several shrubs and trees due to the crazy weather.

With the lifting of some Covid restrictions, we had an opportunity to visit a local garden center/nursery and pick up a few hardy perennials which we know from experience can handle the current weather. They’re in the ground and seem to be loving it!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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

Antoine Coypel, French painter and poet; Christopher Smart, English poet & journalist (Ceremony of Carols); Manuel Jose Quintana, Spanish author and poet (El Duque de Viseo); Claude Tillier, French journalist and writer (My Uncle Benjamin); Bernard O’Dowd, Australian poet; Léo-Paul Desrosiers, Quebec novelist (Les Engagés du Grand Portage); Sándor Márai, Hungarian writer (A gyertyák csonkig égnek); Glenway Wescott, American writer (Apartment in Athens); Quentin Reynolds, American newscaster (Its News to Me) and author (FBI); József Attila, Hungarian poet; Leo Rosten, American writer and humourist (Joys of Yiddish); David Westheimer, American novelist (Von Ryan’s Express); Marlen Haushofer, Austrian writer (The Wall); Antoine Blondin, French writer (L’Europe buissonnière); Theodore Isaac Rubin, American psychiatrist and author credited with popularising psychotherapy; Clive Exton, British scriptwriter and playwright; Tony Brown, American journalist (Tony Brown’s Journal); Mark Strand, American poet, editor and translator (Another Republic); Ellen Goodman, American political columnist (Pulitzer 1980); John Milius, American screenwriter (Red Dawn, 1941, Big Wednesday); James Patrick Kelly, American sci-fi author (Think Like a Dinosaur); and Sergei Lukyanenko, Russian sci-fi author (Labyrinth of Reflections).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any.  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 Published Work

I received great news this week. Colombian Betrayal is now a semi-finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Colombian Betrayal will now compete with thirteen other novels for the finalist positions. This year, there will be five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will be announced on April 25th. Fingers crossed my novel becomes one of the finalists and continues its journey!

All five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU), comprising seventy-three action & adventure, mystery & suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror novels. My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. This promotion runs through April 15th, so don’t miss out!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters twenty-eight and twenty-nine of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Both are now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 449. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

After dusk set, Bennie and Justin headed to the basement. Both wore clown masks. One of them flicked on the dim light, and they thundered down the stairs.

Heidi bolted upright, keeping the chair between her and the two men. “Stay away from me!”

“Relax, princess.” Justin stepped closer, a cloth in his hand. “We’re going to take a little ride.”

Heidi rushed to a corner of the room, pressing her back against the wall. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Bennie pointed at the ceiling. “Sound-suppression tiles. While someone upstairs might hear you, no one outside this building will.” He grinned. “You belong to us.”

Heidi jerked away as Bennie tried to grab her hand. She swung a fist, catching him on the side of his mouth. “Bastard!” She stepped forward, thrusting a knee into his groin.

He collapsed to the floor, hands covering his wounded parts.

Before Heidi realized where the other clown was, Justin grabbed her in a bear hug. He worked the cloth into Heidi’s mouth before pinning her against the wall.

“Help me, Bennie!” Justin grabbed one of Heidi’s hands and wrenched it behind her back. “Quit playing with yourself and help tie her up.”

“But she kneed me. It hurts like hell!”

“Just help me.” Justin grabbed Heidi’s hair and slammed her forehead into the wall.

She dropped to the floor.

***

The rocking of a vehicle brought Heidi out of her stupor. She moaned as she struggled against her bonds, eventually freeing herself from the loosely-tied rope. Where are they taking me? Need to wait for a chance to escape.

The car slowed and turned to the right, continuing along a rut-filled road.

Heidi bounced a few times against the trunk’s roof. “Ow!”

A few minutes later, the vehicle stopped. Two doors slammed.

Footsteps drew near.

Heidi tensed.

The trunk opened. Hands reached inside and yanked her out, spilling her onto the ground.

Both men laughed.

One waved a gun. “Get up, princess. Time to go.”  He gestured toward a copse. “We’re gonna have some fun.”

Heidi pretended to stumble as she followed a narrow path along the edge of a lake. When one of them grabbed her, she lashed out, catching the man in the kneecap.

“Get out of the way, Bennie! She’s gonna escape!”

Heidi ran through the thick trees. “Help! Rape!”

A shot echoed across the water. “Come back, bitch!”

Another shot.

Heidi screamed and lurched forward.

Justin stood over her, the pistol aimed at her head. “You’re mine.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Legends: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon and will offer my review next time. I have several other books lined up to read, so I better start turning the pages!

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 4, 2021

For those who recognize today as Easter, Happy Easter! For those who don’t have a super Sunday!

The weather’s been crazy this week. While there’s been plenty of sunshine, the thermometer is going in the wrong direction. The past three mornings we’ve either had frost or heavy dew. Up to two inches of snow is forecast beginning tonight through tomorrow afternoon, with more flurries throughout the week. What happened to ‘April shows bring May flowers?’ I just hope the spring plants survive the week!

On another front, the Covid lockdown is starting to ease, with the stay at home order rescinded. It’s been replaces by a stay local mandate for the next three weeks. A variety of facilities will open tomorrow, including garden centres (nurseries), homeware stores, auto dealerships, hairdressers, and barbers. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you have ever imagined.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 4th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays

William Strachey, English writer (early history of the English colonisation of North America); Bettina von Arnim, German writer and composer of the Romantic era (This Book Belongs to the King); Thomas Mayne Reid, Irish-American novelist (The Headless Horseman); Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and biographer (Beleaguered City); Comte de Lautréamont, French writer (Les Chants de Maldoror); Remy de Gourmont, French poet; George P Baker, American educator and playwright (47 Workshop); Charles Earle Funk, American lexicographer (Funk & Wagnalls); Zdzisław Żygulski, Sr., Polish literary historian; Tristan Tzara [Samuel Rosenfeld] Romanian-French poet (Approximate Man); Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, French poet and author (Lutin Sauvage); Stanley G. Weinbaum, American sci-fi author (Martian Odyssey); Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author (Cheaper by the Dozen); Jerome Weidman, American writer (Tenderloin); Marguerite Duras, French novelist and playwright (Sea Wall); Jan Drda, Czech writer (Nema Barikada, Mestecko Na Dlani); Lars Ahlin, Swedish writer (My Death is My Own); Emmett Williams, American poet; Maya Angelou [Marguerite Johnson], American author (“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”), poet and actress (Nyo-Roots); Trevor Griffiths, English playwright (Absolute Beginners); Ian St James, novelist (Balfour Conspiracy, Vengeance, Money Stones); Kitty Kelley, American journalist and author (Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra); Dan Simmons, American sci-fi and horror writer (Song of Kali); David E. Kelley, American writer and TV producer (Picket Fences, Chicago Hope); and Cazuza, Brazilian poet, singer and composer.

Were any names familiar to you? I found two: Charles Earle Funk, Maya Angelou.  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 Published Work

All five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU), comprising seventy-three action & adventure, mystery & suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror novels. My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. This promotion runs through April 15th, so don’t miss out!

My Work in Progress

While I did spend some time outdoors this week when the weather permitted, I also managed to complete another chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Last week, I mentioned I had completed chapter twenty-seven. That was a bit premature, as it was chapter twenty-six. However, the next chapter had now been completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another eleven new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 429. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A woman stirred from a fetal position on the concrete floor. She raised her head, and an eye eased open. Dim light emanated from a solitary fixture on the ceiling at the bottom of a set of stairs. Faint footsteps came from above.

She pushed himself to a kneeling position on a rug spread underneath her. A whimper escaped from swollen lips. She touched her face. Dried blood crusted her upper lip.

“Help.” The woman gasped. “Please. Someone. Help. Me.”

She collapsed.

* * *

Heidi awoke to darkness. Something scurried across the floor. A blanket was draped over her. She felt around—still clothed. She passed out again.

* * *

After she regained consciousness, the same dim light cast eerie shadows around the room. Next to her, a bottle of water and a sandwich wrapped in plastic.

She drank half of the lukewarm water. She wet her fingers and dabbed around her nose and mouth to rinse off the dried blood. Voices in the distance—strange, yet familiar.

Heidi pulled the sandwich from the bag and sniffed. “Ugh—I hate peanut butter.”

Her stomach growled in response.

She nibbled along the edge of the bread to minimize eating the filling, turning the sandwich as she progressed. When she finished, Heidi drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

The door at the top of the stairs banged open. A second light popped on, illuminating Heidi’s prison. Footsteps rushed down the steps.

“Get up!” Someone wearing a clown mask kicked Heidi in the ribs.

She groaned, grabbing her side. “Stop! Please stop! Why are you doing this to me?”

“I want information about your boss—you will tell me everything, or you’ll be sorry.”

Heidi struggled to a sitting position and stared at the man. “My boss is married—has three kids. I—”

More next time.

I recently finished Ancients: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. What’s causing earthquakes around the world at an alarming rate? Will the brainy people at the Event Group, be able to identify the source and put a stop to the chaos before the world is destroyed? How does the fabled city of Atlantis feature in the story? 

David’s plot is thrilling and will keep you turning the pages until you find out the answers. For those who are particular about accuracy, things like private first corporal (PFC) might throw you for a loop, but it’s still an exciting read. I look forward to reading more of David’s work.

That’s all for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved