Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 20, 2022

Today’s the start of the fourth consecutive day with plenty of sunshine and no rain. The temperature has even made it into the low ’50s (max 13C), but a chill in the breeze has made it feel a bit cooler. We’ve finally been able to clear away the winter detritus and dig over the flower beds at the front of the house. Today’s project will be to start in the back!

Due to the current world situation, we continue to see the price of gasoline (petrol) increase. Over the past week, the price of a liter climbed five pence to £1.62 or the equivalent of $8.22 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate. Thank goodness we have small engines in our cars.

I’ve been watching the 2022 NCAA March Madness basketball games. The two teams I follow, Michigan and Michigan State, won their opening games and have moved to the round of thirty-two. Go Wolverines and Spartans!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Music can change the world because it can change people.” ~ Bono

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 20th, the third Sunday of the month:

Ovid [Publius Ovidius Naso], Roman poet (Metamorphoses); Balthasar Bekker, Frisian theologist (Examiner of Comets); Friedrich Hölderlin, German writer; Karl August Nicander, Swedish poet; Matthias Keller, German hymn writer (O Farther un High); Carel Vosmaer, Dutch art historian/poet/editor; Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (Peer Gynt, Hedda Gabler); Obe Postma, Frisian poet/geography/historian (Frisian Clay Farm); Karin Michaelis, writer; Börries von Münchhausen, German poet; Siegfried von Vegesack, German writer; Kathryn Forbes, short story writer (mama’s bank account); Donald Featherstone, British writer and wargamer; Carl Reiner, American comedian, screenwriter, (Your Show Of Shows; 2000 Year Old Man; The Dick Van Dyke Show), director (The Comic; The Jerk), and author; Shaukat Siddiqui, Pakistani Author, Journalist and Political Activist; Anthony Blond, British publisher (The Publishing Game, Book Book); Alexander Gorodnitsky, Russian geologist and poet; David Malouf, Australian author; Elizabeth Gille, writer translator/editor; Gerard Malanga, American poet and photographer; Jay Ingram, Canadian television host and author; Pamela Sargent, American sci-fi author (Venus of Dreams, Cloned Lives); Curt Smith, American author and media host; Touré, American writer; and Andrzej Pilipiuk, Polish writer.

Any names familiar to you? Only one stood out for me: Carl Reiner. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

I also found out The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore are nowseries finalist a finalist in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the series competition. They are competing in the Global Thriller category for high stakes fiction. I’ll have to wait until the end of June to find out if they are selected as a first place winner. Fingers crossed!

ComL-8c(1)If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift (at least in the UK since it’s coming up on 27 March) for those special people in your life, there’s still time to pick up a copy (or several). Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-nine of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another sixteen reviews, bringing the total to 600. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Thick, black smoke filled the warehouse as both trucks belched. The Indian drivers killed the engines before they hopped out of the cabs.

“Open the doors—now!” Mishka waved his hands as he coughed. “Hurry before we all suffocate!”

One of the drivers approached Mishka. “Do not worry, sahib. Once the engines run for a few minutes, the smoke will stop.”

“Will they get us to our destination?”

“Of course, sahib.” The driver grinned. “My cousin, who is the second driver, is also a mechanic. He will fix any problems.”

The doors screeched open. Within minutes, the air had cleared inside the warehouse.

Mishka glanced at his fellow Russians. “Time to load up and head to Amritsar. Vedant and more of his followers will meet us at his family’s property.” He gestured toward the driver standing next to him. “What’s your name?”

The man grinned, showing several missing teeth. “Bikram, sahib. I am at your service.” He pointed to his cousin. “His name is Foola.”

“Benedikt, you ride in front with Foola, and I’ll be with Bikram. The rest of you divide up and hop in the back of the vehicles.” Mishka stepped toward Benedikt. “Make sure we take everything. There’s something about this place I don’t like.” Mishka glanced around. “It feels as if the building has eyes.”

Benedikt nodded. I feel the same as you. Ten minutes and we can depart.” He yelled at the others to check everything. “Hurry up, you halyavshchik! Stop being lazy—we don’t have all day.”

Fifteen minutes later, the engines roared into action. The Russians climbed aboard, and their two-vehicle convoy left the warehouse, thick, black smoke dissipating behind them.

* * *

Raj took a final photograph of the departing vehicles before dropping his camera into a shoulder bag. He ran into the warehouse through the open doors.

Empty.

He fished his cellphone from a pocket and dialed. “Sir, the foreigners left the warehouse.

“Thank you, Raj,” Senior Field Officer Chatterjee said. “Take two men and follow them. Report back whenever you find something of interest or when they meet with someone.”

“As ordered, sir.” He raced around the corner, hopped in a beat-up yellow Hindustan Ambassador taxi, and pulled out his Research and Analysis Wing identification. “Official business! I need you to follow two Tata trucks. I believe they’re heading north, perhaps to Srinagar.”

“Sit back, sahib.” The driver gunned his engine and sped along the narrow streets. “We shall find them.” He blew his horn at two pedestrians as he motioned them out of his way. The taxi rocked as he swerved around them.

Raj grabbed the panic strap. “I would prefer if you do not kill us.”

The driver grinned. “I am the best driver in Chandigarh, sahib. Do not worry. Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, will protect us. I keep a statue of him in the truck to ensure we have a safe journey.”

Guess this is a good time to believe in Indian superstitions. “I hope so.”

The driver nodded. “Wait and see—no harm will come to us.”

After five near misses, the driver gestured through the windshield. “Look, sahib. Two white Tata trucks, turning onto Highway Five. Are those the ones you are interested in?”

Raj peered through the window. “Yes! Don’t get too close but follow them.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 13, 2022

The past week has been marked by plenty of wind and rain, with the occasional dry spell. Fortunately, the temperature has risen and we’ve been close to 50F/10C for most of the week. The warmer weather has led to the appearance of buds on various bushes and shrubs, including the hydrangeas. I did manage to do a bit of cleanup in some of the flower beds at the front of the house, but plenty more to do when the weather permits.

Due to the current world situation, we continue to see the price of gasoline (petrol) increase. Over the past week, the price of a liter climbed seven pence to £1.57 or the equivalent of $7.87 for a U.S. gallon. If the exchange was the same now as in late February, the price would be $8.20!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “They are not grey hairs. They are my Wisdom highlights. I just happen to be extremely wise.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 13th, the second Sunday of the month:

Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist and writer; Moritz von Strachwitz, German poet; Oswald Garrison Villard, American journalist and editor of the New York Evening Post; Emanuel Stickelberger, Swiss writer (Bluthochzeit); Hugh S. Walpole, British novelist and playwright (Jeremy, Maradick at 40); Oskar Loerke, German writer (Longest Day-1926); Janet Flanner, American journalist (New Yorker); Dorothy Aldis, American children’s writer; Marcel Thiry, Belgian writer and wallon militant; Maria Pia de Braganca, Portuguese journalist and writer who claimed to be the bastard daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal; Mircea Eliade, Romanian religious historian (Le Yoga) and author; Walter Annenberg, American publisher (Triangle-TV Guide) and philanthropist; L. Ron Hubbard, American sci-fi writer (Death Quest) and founder of the Scientology cult; Sergey Mikhalkov, Soviet writer and poet; W.O. Mitchell, Canadian writer (Who Has Seen the Wind?); Maria Vlamynck, Flemish author; Charles Sickman Corsen, Dutch Antillean poet; Jim Slater, British financier and writer; Wolfgang Kohlhaase, German actor, director and writer (Solo Sunday); Barry Hughart, American author of fantasy novels (Bridge of Birds); David Nobbs, English comedic writer (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin); Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian prominent poet and writer; André Téchiné, French director and screenwriter (Scene of the Crime, Rendez-Vous); Yuri Andrukhovych, Ukrainian writer, poet and political essayist; Joe Ranft, American screenwriter and animator (Toy Story, Cars); and Robert Lanham, American author and satirist (The Hipster Handbook).

Any names familiar to you? I know one name on today’s list: L. Ron Hubbard. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

And finally, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance are participating in a Kindle Unlimited Mystery & Suspense and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion. There are 41 novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

ComL-8c(1)If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift (at least in the UK since it’s coming up on 27 March) for those special people in your life, look no further. Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-eight of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another fourteen reviews, bringing the total to 584 As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

“Aaaaaaih!”

Screams, shouts, and alarms pierced the air. Someone coughed.

Willie pushed aside chunks of concrete, broken furniture, and a dead body as he inched his way in the direction of the cough. “Hello? Who’s there?”

Another cough. “Alf.”

“Just a minute, and I’ll be there. Are you injured?”

“A few cuts and bruises but nothing broken. There’s a lump of mortar pinning my arm. Can’t get enough leverage to shift it.”

Willie slid through an aperture. “Hang on. I’m right here.” He put his shoulder into the concrete. “Ready? Might hurt.”

“Go for it, mate.”

Willie grunted as he shoved the debris off Alf’s arm.

“Ow!” Alf wiggled his fingers. “What the hell happened?”

“Not sure exactly. There was a loud explosion, the hotel shook, and floors collapsed.”

“How long ago?”

“About fifteen minutes. C’mon, let’s climb out of here and find Nate.”

The men worked through the collapsed building. Dust continued to hang in the air, making it difficult to see their way.

At last, Willie and Alf dragged an unconscious Nate from under a pile of rubble and into a corridor.

“Help!” Willie waved his arms above his head.

A hotel security guard, covered in dust, blood trickling down his face, stumbled forward, carrying a rolled-up canvas stretcher. “I will help you, sahib. Are you a guest here?”

“Yes, and thank you.” Willed helped the guard unrolled the stretcher on a somewhat debris-free space.

Together the three men lowered Nate to the floor. Once he was safely ensconced, they picked him up and trundled toward the hotel’s lobby.

A doctor, wearing a dust-covered suit and a grimy facemask, approached them and gave Nate a once-over examination. The doctor pointed toward the main entrance. “Take your friend outside. An ambulance will take him to the hospital.”

“Thank you, doctor.” Willie rubbed a hand over his face. “What are his chances?”

The doctor extended his hand so the palm was perpendicular to the floor. He tilted his hand back and forth. “Fifty-fifty. If Allah is willing.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 6, 2022

We just finished this month’s three-day small business market a the local mall. Overall, things went very well, although some vendors found things very slow. Twenty-three of my novels were sold, along with twenty of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets and three of her poetry books. Many thanks to all who supported us!

The price of gasoline (petrol) increased by three pence a liter this past week. This brings the cost to £1.50 a liter or $7.67 for a U.S. gallon. Good thing my car has a small engine!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “If you didn’t hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 6, the first Sunday of the month.

Michelangelo, Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance (David, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel); Luigi Alamanni, Italian poet (Opere Toscane, La Coltivazione); Jan Zoet, Dutch actor, author, playwright and poet (Parnasssus aan ‘t Y); Cyrano de Bergerac, French playwright (Voyage to the Moon); Francis Atterbury, English man of letters, politician, and priest (Church of England Bishop of Rochester, 1713-23; Giovanni Meli, Siclian poet (Buccolica); Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet (“Sonnets from the Portuguese”); George du Maurier, Franco-British illustrator and writer (Trilby); Ringgold “Ring” Lardner, US sports writer (You Know Me Al); John Henry Pyle Pafford, British librarian (University of London); Hugh Williams, British dramatist, actor and writer (Wuthering Heights, Bank Holiday); Lewis Gilbert, British director, producer and screenwriter (You Only Live Twice, Sink the Bismarck!); John Fairchild, CEO (Fairchild publishing); Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist (1982 Nobel Prize in Literature); David Haddon Whitaker, British publisher (Whitaker’s Almanack); Teru Miyamoto, Japanese author; and Jan Kjærstad, Norwegian author.

Any names familiar to you? I know two names on today’s list: Michaelanglo and Hugh Williams. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

And finally, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance are participating in a Kindle Unlimited Mystery & Suspense and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion. There are 41 novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

ComL-8c(1)If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift (at least in the UK since it’s coming up on 27 March) for those special people in your life, look no further. Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Someone recently left a review on Amazon, entitled, ‘Remarkable Book of Poetry!’ It went on to say, “Too often, I think, people have a tendency to shy away from poetry. Maybe they find it depressing, boring, stuffy, ‘pollyannish’ – pretty much useless.

“Well, in Sylvia Grace’s fine collection, there is not a trace of the above negatives. It’s original poetry and it’s from the heart. No pretense. No gimmicks. No reasons to say, ‘Ugh!’

“Sylvia’s poetry covers all areas of life. No proverbial stone is unturned. This is a ‘Must Have!’ I am very glad to have a copy!”

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed another chapter of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another forty-one reviews, bringing the total to 570. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Richard Blakely leaned back in his captain’s chair, feet draped over the edge of his desk. Although his regular role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff required him to spend most of his time at the Pentagon, as the mastermind behind the Bedlam program and the Alpha team overseer, he visited their headquarters at least once a week.

He sat upright after scanning an email on his desktop. Whatever Nikolaev is planning, if it involves nuclear weapons-capable Pakistan and India, can’t be good. He hit a button on his console. “CC, can you come in for a minute?”

“Aye, Admiral. Be right there.”

Moments later, CC entered the admiral’s office. “Tina wanted me to remind you about the upcoming VTC with Sir Richard and Harrison.”

“Yes, I want you to sit in as well. We might need to deploy all three teams.”

“What’s happened, sir?” CC frowned. “I didn’t notice anything on the threat board.”

“This is breaking news—just received an update from a source—Major Bangash. Seems Nikolaev might try to stir things up between Pakistan and India. He’s heading toward Lahore, while another Russian team associated with him flew to India.”

“Did Major Bangash give any idea what Nikolaev is up to?”

“Negative.” Admiral Blakely shook his head. “But, whatever he’s planning, it doesn’t bode well.”

“Aye. I—”

Soft gongs activated on the Marconi ViPr secure video conferencing system on the admiral’s desk. He turned and accepted both incoming connections. “Sir Alex. Glad you could make it. I see Trevor is with you.”

“Morning, Richard.” Blakely chuckled. “Looks like Harrison is having some technical difficulties again.”

“I’m prepared.” The admiral pulled up a sign and held it to the screen.

“Thank you, Richard.” Harrison grinned. “I forgot to unmute again.”

“No worries. Is Lady Evelyn with you?”

“Yes.” Harrison repositioned his unit, and Evelyn’s face appeared. “Better?”

“Much.” Admiral Blakely cleared his throat. “I sent you the latest report from our source in Pakistan’s ISI. As you’re aware, former Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev has been operating out of Peshawar for some time. According to the latest intel, he must be planning something along the Pak-Indian border. He’s apparently heading toward Lahore while some of his accomplices flew into India a few days ago.”

“Richard, did the source have any idea regarding Nikolaev’s motive?” Sir Alex scratched the top of his head. “I assume it must be more financial than ideological.”

“The source didn’t provide any specifics—perhaps he doesn’t know, or he’s dangling info in front of us to increase his stipend.” The admiral pursed his lips. “I asked him to dig further into Nikolaev’s motives and to keep us informed.”

“What do you propose we do, Admiral?” Harrison sipped from a cup, steam circling upward.

“Since our teams are back at their normal staging areas, and overall threat assessments are manageable, I suggest we pre-deploy. With two somewhat unstable governments, who knows what might happen and whether they’ll resort to nukes.”

“I agree.” Harrison nodded.

“I’m with Harrison, Admiral.” Evelyn’s lips tightened into a thin grimace.

“So do I.” Sir Alex glanced at Trevor.

Trevor gave a thumbs up.

“Here’s what I propose: Bravo will travel to Pakistan, and Charlie to India.”

“What about Alpha, Admiral?” CC glanced at the Marconi screen. “Forgetting about us?”

The admiral laughed. “No way! We’ll use Alpha as a QRF in case either of the teams requires assistance. You would be positioned at the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Doha. You could work out of Central Command’s forward headquarters.”

“Works for me, sir.” CC grinned. “Just don’t want to miss out on any action.”

“Understood.” The admiral gestured toward the screen. “I recommend Bravo proceed to Karachi and try to uncover any intel regarding Willie, Alfie, and Nate—they’re long overdue with a SITREP.”

“Agreed.” Sir Alex nodded. “When do you want the teams on the ground?”

Admiral Blakely rubbed an index finger along his jawline. “Five days—since we don’t have any specifics, no need to rush—yet. Any questions? If not, I need to prepare for a meeting with the National Security Advisor. She wants to brief the president.”

Sir Alex and Harrison shook their heads.

“Until next week.” The admiral broke the connection.

“I better get things organized for Alpha, Admiral.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t send you directly into one of the countries, but it’ll be easier for Alpha to coordinate access to Al Udeid.”

CC stood. “Aye, sir.”

* * *

CC chuckled as he entered the office used by Antonia “Toni” Turner, Ph.D., and Georgia White, Bedlam Alpha’s IT/Telecommunications consultant, and logistics whiz, respectively.

“Sharing recipes again?”

Toni and Georgia laughed.

“Something better—pictures of you.”

“Hope you picked good ones.” CC grinned. “Just finished a VTC with the other Bedlam teams. Alpha is heading to Al Udeid Air Force Base in Doha and will act as a backup to Bravo and Charlie going into Pakistan and India. Can the two of you work your magic and place us on the ground in five days at the latest? I prefer to go in on a C-130 or C-17, so we can take all of our equipment, to included weapons and ammo.”

“We’ll hop right on it, CC.” Georgia crossed her heart. “Consider it done.”

“Just take a few minutes to pull your communication devices and weapons from storage.” Toni pursed her lips. “I’ll do separate packages to send to the defense attaché offices in Islamabad and New Delphi.”

“Aye. Great idea. If you run into any difficulties, give me a shout.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 27, 2022

ukrainian-waving-flag-28While I normally refrain from making any political comments in my posts, the situation in Ukraine certainly calls for action.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the brave Ukrainian people as they fight against the brutal onslaught from a deranged despot.

The price of gasoline (petrol) increased by two pence a liter overnight. This brings the cost to £1.47 a liter or $7.60 for a U.S. gallon.  Glad I filled up on Friday!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When someone is rude, keep a smile on your face. When you stay on the high road and keep your joy, you take away their power.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 27th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month.

Franciscus Raphelengius, Dutch book publisher; Edward Cave, English editor and publisher; Elias Annes Borger, Dutch theologist/poet (To the Rhine); Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (Song of Hiawatha); Alfred Pollard Edward, Civil War journalist; Richard Garnett, English author (Ananda the Miracle Worker); Alice Hamilton, physician/writer (workmen’s compensation laws); Manuel Ugarte, Argentine diplomat, politician, newspaper owner, and author; Angelina Weld Grimke, American journalist, teacher and playwright (Harlem Renaissance); Georges Migot, French composer, and poet (Les Agrestide; L’Arche); Allison Danzig, sports writer (Tennis Pictorial History); John Steinbeck, American author (Grapes of Wrath-Nobel 1962); James Thomas Farrell, American author (Studs Lonigan trilogy); Peter De Vries, author (Reuben, Reuben, Prick of Noon); Lawrence Durrell, Indian-British writer (Private Country, Alexandria Quartet); Kusumagraj, Indian writer; Irwin Shaw, American novelist (Rich Man Poor Man); Mervyn Jones, English author (Nobody’s Fault, 5 Hungarian Writers); Richard AFM Auwerda, Dutch journalist/writer; Josh Greenfeld, American author and screenwriter (A Child Called Noah); Peter Stone, American writer; Edward Lucie-Smith, British poet and poetry critic; N. Scott Momaday, American author (House Made of Dawn, Pulitzer 1969); and Michael A. Burstein, American writer.

Any names familiar to you? I know three names of today’s list: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, and Irwin Shaw. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-five of Ultimate Escalation and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another seven reviews, bringing the total to 559. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing and showing me what’s working and what might need a tweak.

Here’s another snippet:

ISI Major Ejaz Bangash stepped to the door of his spartan office. “Tea—and be quick!” He returned to his desk and gazed out the window.

Members of a Pakistani infantry company raced through an obstacle course before joining the growing formation on the parade ground.

Our excellent military is keeping themselves fit. How many will live through their first encounter with the Tehrik-i-Taliban or succumb to injuries fighting the Indians over Kashmir? He shook his head as he returned to the latest intelligence report that required his attention.

“Here, sir. I brought you some biscuits, too.” Zafar, Bangash’s aide, bowed as he set a tray on the desk before running out of the office.

Bangash sipped the hot brew and grimaced. No sugar—again. He removed the lid of the sugar bowl and added three heaping spoonfuls into his cup. He tried the tea again. “Ah, much better.”

He reread the report regarding the latest action of the Pakistani Taliban within the Khyber-Pahktunkhwa province. After adding his commentary to the report, he sent it to the next office on the distribution list.

Bangash scooted to his private laptop, resting on a roll-around cart in the corner. After logging in with a thirteen-digit password, he stared at the ceiling before composing a new message:

Thank you for your recent payment, duly received in the appropriate account. Our Russian ‘friend,’ and I use the term with trepidation, departed from Peshawar and is heading toward Lahore while his accomplice and several others flew to India. I anticipate an increase in calls for the reunification of Punjab in due course, including demonstrations and riots. Will advise when additional details are available.

Bangash sent his message and closed his laptop before glancing at the wall clock. Just enough time to get to Governor’s House for the reception. Perhaps I’ll collect a few more nuggets to send to my friends with the deep pockets.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I haven’t been doing much reading lately. With the college basketball season well underway as the conferences get ready for their tournaments and March Madness, I’ve been glued to the t.v. Once March Madness ends, I’ll be back to reading and reviewing on a regular basis.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 20, 2022

It’s been another week of crazy weather, including two named storms: Dudley and Eunice. Fortunately, our area missed out on the worst of the weather, although we can see snow on the hillsides surrounding Edinburgh.  No telling what Mother Nature will throw at us over the coming week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t believe everything you hear. There are always three sides to a story, yours, theirs and the truth.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 20th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Henry James Pye, English poet, British Poet Laureate (1790-1813); Johann Heinrich Voß, German poet; Adam Black, Scottish politician/publisher; William Carleton, Irish novelist; Nérée Beauchemin, Canadian physician and poet; Nikolai Garin [Michailovski], Russian author (Tjoma Kartashov); Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Holland, mystic poet/scholar (Verzen); Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen, French aristocrat and novelist; Pedro Munoz Seca, Spanish playwright (Vengeanza de Don Mendo); Shiga Naoya, Japan, novelist (Road Through Dark Night); Hesketh Pearson, England, biographer/playwright (Writ for Libel); Georges Bernanos, French novelist (Diary of a Country Priest); Russel Crouse, journalist/novelist/playwright (Life with Father); Freida Geiken, autobiographer (National Historic Taping); Cecil H King, Irish/British daily newspaper publisher (Daily Mirror); René Jules Dubos, French US microbiologist/author (Health & Disease); Jascha Golowanjuk, Swedish writer (Acrobat); Pierre Boulle, French author; Rex Tucker, TV writer/director; Alex La Guma, novelist (A Walk in the Night); Pramudya Ananta Tur, Javanese author (Anak semua bangsa); Robert Altman, American screenwriter, producer and director (The Player; M*A*S*H; Nashville); Richard Matheson, American author; Adrian Cristobal, Filipino writer; Charlie Gillett, British pop-rock and world music radio presenter and writer (The Sound of the City), born in Morecambe, Lancashire, England (d. 2010); Andrew Bergman, director/screenwriter (Soapdish, Honeymoon in Vegas); Kenn Nesbitt, American children’s author; and Sally Rooney, Irish writer (Normal People).

Any names familiar to you? I know two names of today’s list: Henry James Pye and Robert Altman. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

Mission Angola ebookI’m thrilled to announce Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) is now on the short list for the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category.

Competition will be stiff during the remainder of the 2021 contest. Further information regarding the finalists, first place winners, and genre grand prize winners won’t be available until the end of June.  Plenty of time to keep on with other things while the remaining contestants await the judges’ verdict.

If you haven’t seen the synopsis about this book, here it is:

Joao and Caterina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwelewe, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Caterina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week my writing time was taken up by real-world requirements. I hope to finish chapter twenty-five of Ultimate Escalation over the next week. My manuscript received another twenty-three reviews, bringing the total to 552. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing and showing me what’s working and what might need a tweak.

Here’s another snippet:

The roar of a commercial plane rolling down the runway echoed in their small compartment.

Ajit placed his hand on Vladimir’s AK-47 and tapped him on the knee.  “We’re here.”

Vladimir opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep—just contemplating our mission.”

“Who would have thought our reunification movement would be conducting their planning in a hanger on one of Pakistan’s international airports?”

Vladimir chuckled. “Yes, and the military is providing overall security. When will they find out?”

“I hope long after we’ve moved.” Ajit rubbed his chin. “Let’s join the others.”

Vladimir and Ajit climbed out of the hidden compartment and shook hands with the departing Umar.

Ajit led the way into the office.

Grigori, Fedor, and Eduard stepped forward. After sharing man hugs with Vladimir, they sat around a scarred wooden table. Stretched across the surface was a map of the border area.

“How is the initial training coming along?” Vladimir studied the frown on Grigori’s face.

“I admit, not as good as I would like.” He pointed at Fedor and Eduard. “However, they’ve reminded me to do my best. I think they’ll be ready for the first demonstration in three days’ time, but nothing is certain.”

“Understood. Vladimir gazed at the map. “Remember, this is just the beginning. Mishka and his team will begin demonstrating across the border.” He glanced into the faces of the three former Spetsnaz soldiers. “Make sure they are unarmed, at least for now. As things progress, we’ll allow an escalation of violence if it seems to be helping the cause.”

“Yes, Vladimir.” Eduard pointed to the map. “When should we begin splitting our volunteers into separate teams?”

“As soon as possible. Suggest you acquaint yourselves with your men.”

“If I may add, Vladimir.” Ajit half-raised a hand. “I’m expecting at least another hundred supporters tomorrow.”

“Okay. When they arrive, they’ll be split among the teams. Anything else?”

The Russians shook their heads.

“After the first demonstration, I want to gauge the reaction by the government and the people.” He turned to Ajit. “Do you have people you can trust to embed themselves with the demonstrators and report back?”

“Of course.” Ajit grinned. “I shall be one of them.”

Vladimir raised a brow. “Just keep out of trouble. Plenty of time for that later.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 13, 2022

We’ve had another week of topsy-turvy weather–rain, sleet, a bit of snow–even a rainbow, with the occasional dry spell. Today it seems we’re in for a day-long rain. Temperatures are struggling to reach 50F (10C) but with the wind chill it’s been closer to 40F (5C).

The small business market last weekend was another success, with fifteen of my novels being sold. In addition, seventeen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went, plus three of her poetry and prose books. We’re looking forward to next month’s market!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “If you didn’t hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 13th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jan B. Wellekens, Dutch poet and painter; Ivan Krylov, Russian fabulist; Lev A Mej, Russian nobleman/poet; Gerard Keller, writer (Netherlands Spectator); Frank van de Goes, Dutch writer/marxist theorist; Uchimura Kanzo, religious writer (How I Became a Christian); Sarojini Naidu, Indian freedom fighter and poet; Eleanor Farjeon, English writer (Martin Pippin); Kate Roberts, Welsh nationalist and writer; Neville Pearson, English publisher; Georges Simenon, Belgian born mystery writer (Maigret detective novels, Snow Was Black); Jan Arends, Dutch poet/author; Ali El-Maak, Sudanese writer; Friedrich Christian Delius, German writer; Leo Frankowski, American sci-fi author (High Tech Knight, Flying Warlord); and Denise Austin, US fitness instructor & author.

Any names familiar to you? I struck out once again. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Most of my available time this week was spent on real-life matters, so I wasn’t able to complete another chapter of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another ten reviews, bringing the total to 539. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The rocking of the overpacked Chevrolet cargo truck as it lumbered along the M2 lulled Vladimir to sleep, his arms through the sling of his AK-47.

Bam!

Vladimir jumped, aiming his weapon toward the sound.

“Relax, my friend.” Ajit grinned. “Umar hit another pothole or drove off the side of the road again.”

“He’s not a very good driver, is he?” Vladimir relaxed.

Ajit shrugged. “Perhaps not, but he’s willing to do whatever we need and doesn’t ask too many questions.”

“Da. He’s a wise man to keep nose out of—”

The truck jolted to a stop. Umar’s voice trickled through a speaker. “Do not speak. We are at a roving military roadblock.” He killed the engine.

Vladimir eased a Maserin Reactor folding knife from his belt and opened the blade. After it locked in position, he laid it on his leg and retrieved a second one.

Voices filtered through the speaker.

“They said Umar’s papers are in order, but they want to inspect the load,” Ajit whispered.

Vladimir nodded.

Screeech!

The rusty cargo doors opened. The vehicle tilted slightly as someone climbed inside.

Angry voices increased in volume.

Thwack! Thwack!

Someone kicked one of the crates. The truck shifted as the person climbed down.

Voices faded as Umar climbed back into the cab. His voice came through the speaker. “They weren’t happy with the baksheesh, but I told them I’d pay more next time. Anyway, they are going after a much larger vehicle behind us.” He started the engine. “Perhaps one more hour to our destination.”

* * *

The roar of a commercial plane rolling down the runway echoed in their small compartment.

Ajit placed his hand on Vladimir’s AK-47 and tapped him on the knee.  “We’re here.”

Vladimir opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep—just contemplating our mission.”

“Who would have thought our reunification movement would be conducting their planning in a hanger on one of Pakistan’s international airports?”

Vladimir chuckled. “Yes, and the military is providing overall security. When will they find out?”

“I hope long after we’ve moved.” Ajit rubbed his chin. “Let’s join the others.”

Vladimir and Ajit climbed out of the hidden compartment and shook hands with the departing Umar.

Ajit led the way into the office.

Grigori, Fedor, and Eduard stepped forward. After sharing man hugs with Vladimir, they sat around a scarred wooden table. Stretched across the surface was a map of the border area.

“How is the initial training coming along?” Vladimir studied the frown on Grigori’s face.

“I admit, not as good as I would like.” He pointed at Fedor and Eduard. “However, they’ve reminded me to do my best. I think they’ll be ready for the first demonstration in three days’ time, but nothing is certain.”

“Understood. Vladimir gazed at the map. “Remember, this is just the beginning. Mishka and his team will begin demonstrating across the border.” He glanced into the faces of the three former Spetsnaz soldiers. “Make sure they are unarmed, at least for now. As things progress, we’ll allow an escalation of violence if it seems to be helping the cause.”

“Yes, Vladimir.” Eduard pointed to the map. “When should we begin splitting our volunteers into separate teams?”

“As soon as possible. Suggest you acquaint yourselves with your men.”

“If I may add, Vladimir.” Ajit half-raised a hand. “I’m expecting at least another hundred supporters tomorrow.”

“Okay. When they arrive, they’ll be split among the teams. Anything else?”

The Russians shook their heads.

“After the first demonstration, I want to gauge the reaction by the government and the people.” He turned to Ajit. “Do you have people you can trust to embed themselves with the demonstrators and report back?”

“Of course.” Ajit grinned. “I shall be one of them.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 6, 2022

We’ve been at the monthly small business market the past two days. Friday was really slow–only the food stalls were constantly busy. Even so, ten autographed copies of my novels, ten of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets, and two of her poetry books sold. All being well, today will be a good day and we’ll hit our monthly sales averages.

Weather-wise, the dreaded ‘s’ word is in the forecast. It was supposed to hit the higher elevations last night. All we had was rain, but there is more forecast for the middle of the week. Only time will tell what we’ll receive, if any (fingers crossed).

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “You decide every moment of every day who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance every second.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 6th, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Džore Držić, Croatian poet and playwright who is considered one of the fathers of Croatian literature; Daniel Georg Morhof, German writer & scholar; Évariste de Parny, French poet; Ugo Foscolo, Italian poet (Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis); José María de Pereda, Spanish novelist; Eliza Johannes Meester, Dutch journalist & writer (Geertje); John Henry Mackay, Scottish-born German writer (Anarchists); Karl Sapper, German traveller & natural historian; Alfred Mombert, German poet; Wilhelm August Schmidtbonn, German writer (Der Sprechende Eros); Ljudmil Stojanow, Bulgarian poet (Metsh i Slowo, Cholera); Siegfried Kracauer, German writer; Pieter G Buckinx, Flemish writer (Temptation of Poverty); Irmgard Keun, German author; Lothar-Günther Buchheim, German author; Louis Heren, English foreign correspondent & writer (China’s Three Thousand Years); Paolo Volponi, Italian communist & author (Road to Rome); Jin Yong [Louis Cha Leung-yung], Chinese Wuxia novelist; and Oscar Sambrano Urdaneta, Venezuelan writer.

Any names familiar to you? I struck out once again. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

The Kurdish Connection, Colombian Betrayal, and Mission: Angola are participating in a first-in-series promotion for mysteries and thrillers. There are sixty-four novels in this one, which ends on February 12th.

ComL-8c(1)

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for those special people in your life, look no further. Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Someone recently left a review on Amazon, entitled, ‘Amazingly Upbeat. It went on to say, “Sylvia’s poetry and prose lifted my spirit. Her love of life lingers on every page.”

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I spent my writing time on research for upcoming chapters of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another eleven reviews, bringing the total to 529. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Grigori slammed the door behind him as he entered the office attached to a hanger on the edge of the airport. “If I could, I’d replace these fifty zhopas with a dozen Spetsnaz.”

“Don’t be too harsh on our new colleagues. After all, they can’t help it if they are arses. Remember, we need Punjabis to fight for their cause.” Eduard Kalugin, a former Spetsnaz major laughed. “Many of them believe martyring themselves will give them a place with Allah.”

“Da. But I’m tired of repeating myself.” Grigori sighed. “They act like they’re getting ready for a picnic, not an uprising.”

“Relax and take several deep breaths.” Former Spetsnaz Captain Fedor Tatarov grinned. “You’re taking yourself too seriously. All we can do is offer our guidance based on our years of experience in troubled areas. If they choose to ignore us, it’ll be their downfall, not ours.”

Grigori tilted his head. “I suppose both of you are correct. But it is frustrating. If we can’t get them to understand how their demonstrations should begin and escalate when they should, how will we control them when it comes to shooting?”

“Do your best, Grigori. That’s all we can do.” Eduard pushed back his sleeve and checked the time. “Vladimir should be here in about three hours. Once he arrives, you can explain the difficulties you’re experiencing and find out if he has any suggestions.”

“Da. But I’m not sure it will help.” Grigori walked to a carton of bottled water in the corner. He pulled one out and drank, excess water dribbling down his face. “I hope Mishka is having better success with the Indians.” He grabbed another bottle of water. “Guess I better rejoin our recruits before someone gets injured.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 30, 2022

Parts of the UK were really hammered by Storm Malik during Friday evening and most of yesterday. In Scotland, winds reached 85 MPH, although it was a bit calmer in our area. There were a few branches down, but nothing like what the people in the Aberdeen area experienced, where hundreds of people lost power and one woman was crushed by a falling tree.

Storm Connie is supposed to hit us this afternoon, with calmer wind gusts between 50-60 MPH. Hopefully, the forecasters have this one correct. In any event, we’re heading out for a walk in the fresh air.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges makes you strong.” Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, there is only today. Be fearless. Listen to your heart. Envision your perfect day and go out there and live it. You have many smiles to share with those around you–and they with you. Radiate your love and feel that loving energy return to you. ~ Creig Crippen © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 30th, the fifth and final Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, English statesman and poet; Charles Rollin, French historian; Walter Savage Landor, English poet & writer (Imaginary Conversations); Adelbert von Chamisso, French writer (Peter Schlemihl); Alfred Townsend George, American Civil War journalist; Francis H. Bradley, British idealist philosopher (Appearance and Reality); Samuel Pierre l’Honoré Naber, Dutch rear-admiral and librarian; Gelett Burgess, American humorist & author (The Purple Cow); Anton Hansen Tammsaare, Estonian author (Truth and Justice); Jaishankar Prasad, Hindi poet, dramatist and novelist; Hans Erich Nossak, German writer; Saul David Alinsky, American radical writer (John L Lewis); Barbara Tuchman, American historian & author (Pulitzer, Guns of August); David Opatoshu [Opatovsky], American actor & writer (Star Trek, Bonino, Secret Empire, Masada); Nikolay Glazkov, Russian poet; Lloyd Alexander, American writer; Margaret Yorke [Margaret Beda Nicholson], English author (Patrick Grant novels, No Medals for the Major); Andrew Salkey, Panamanian-Jamaican novelist; Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author (Transit of Venus); Allan W. Eckert, American historian, naturalist, and author; Richard Brautigan, American novelist and poet (Trout Fishing in America); Gregory Benford, American author & scientist; Michael Dorris, American novelist & scholar; Les Barker, English poet; and Judith Tarr, American sci-fi author (Isle of Glass, Ars Magica).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out again this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Terrifying New Year promotion, running from now until the end of January. With 118 novels available, there’s bound to me something to catch your interest.

In addition, The Kurdish Connection, Colombian Betrayal, and Mission: Angola are participating in a first-in-series promotion for mysteries and thrillers. There are sixty-four novels in this one.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I posted chapter twenty-four of Ultimate Escalation to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another nine reviews, bringing the total to 518. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Mishka slurped the last of his tea and turned to Benedikt. “Have you finished eating?”

Benedikt shoved the last of a samosa into his mouth. He chewed and swallowed before burping. “Da. I am now. What’s up?”

“Jadallah should be here soon. He’s bringing our contact with him. Take one of the others and find a good spot along the street to monitor anything strange.” Mishka handed his pistol to Benedikt.

“How will I know what’s strange? Everything here is different to me.”

“Use your common sense.” Mishka sighed. “I assume you still have some.”

Benedikt grinned. “Of course—just winding you up.” He shoved the pistol in his belt and joined the others.

Of all the people to send with me, why did Vova pick him? Mishka chuckled as he watched Benedikt approach the sleeping Evgeni and kicked him in the leg.

“Get up, Evgeni. You’re on guard duty with me.”

“Says who? Why not disturb Igor or Jasha?” Evgeni stifled a yawn. “Is this one of your jokes?”

Benedikt hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Mishka told me to pick someone—you’re it.”

“You forget you’re no longer in the army.” Evgeni struggled to his feet. “Let’s go before I do or say something I might regret.”

“Great idea. I might not be a sergeant any longer, but I can still whip you in a fight.”

Benedick and Evgeni disappeared, banging the side door as they departed.

Beep! Beep!

Moments later, Evgeni ran inside and hit the button controlling the vehicle door. As the roll-up barrier slid upward, Benedikt ducked underneath and entered. “Hey, Mishka—delivery’s here.”

As soon as the door cleared the opening, a dirty white Tata ACE HT truck.  pulled inside, followed by a second one.

Mishka waved the vehicles to the rear of the warehouse.

After the drivers alighted, they walked to the rear of their vehicles and unlocked the doors. Once they shoved them open, they climbed aboard and prepared to offload the cargo.

Mishka nodded to his men as he lowered the roll-up barrier halfway down.

Benedikt and the others began taking boxes and crafts from the trucks, carrying them into the lockable areas.

The rumble of a car’s engine caught Mishka’s attention. He turned.

A yellow and black taxi pulled up to the vehicle entrance. With barely enough clearance, the taxi inched inside, stopping by Mishka.

Jadallah grinned as he climbed out. “Sorry, we’re late.” He shrugged.

A tall man with black hair and a trimmed black beard dressed in matching grey patiala pants and shirt under a purple sherwani jacket climbed out of the taxi’s rear seat. He stepped toward Mishka, his hand outstretched. “Hello. You must be Mishka. I am Vedant Mohdi. I believe we have business to discuss.”

Mishka grasped Vedant’s hand. “Da. I understand you want to see a combined Punjab, is that correct?”

Vedant nodded. “Yes, it was a lifelong dream of my father’s. Now, I hope I’m in a position to make it happen.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 23, 2022

It’s been another breezy, damp and dreary week–for the most part, with temperatures struggling to get to 46F/8C. There were a couple of afternoons where the sun ventured out and we took advantage both times to go for a walk in a nearby park/play area. At least we’re starting to see the days slightly extend in length! In the meantime, all we can do is make the best of it. At least the dreaded ‘s’ word is staying away!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “You decide every moment of every day who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance every second.”

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

Friedrich von Matthison, German poet (Adelaide); Christian A. Vulpius, German novelist & dramatist (Rinaldo Rinaldini); Stendhal [Marie Henri Beyle], French writer (Le Rouge et de Noir, a Chartreuse de Parme); Herbert Bedford, English author and composer; Herbert David Croly, American author (Promise of American Life); Oton Zupancic, Slovenian poet (Zimzelen pod Snegom); Freda Utley, British scholar & author; Joseph Nathan Kane, American non-fiction writer & journalist (Famous Firsts); Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński, Polish poet (Zielona Ges); Dusan Kostic, Serbian writer; Walter M. Miller Jr., American sci-fi author (Hugo, View from Stars); Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet (Omeros), Nobel Prize for Literature 1992; Gatewood Galbraith, American author & attorney; and Elvira Lindo, Spanish writer & journalist.

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Terrifying New Year promotion, running from now until the end of January. With 118 novels available, there’s bound to me something to catch your interest.

In addition, The Kurdish Connection, Colombian Betrayal, and Mission: Angola are participating in a first-in-series promotion for mysteries and thrillers. There are sixty-four novels in this one.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I posted chapter twenty-three of Ultimate Escalation to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another seventeen reviews, bringing the total to 509. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Vladimir tilted his head. “Earlier, I started to ask about your crew when we were interrupted by the presence of the Americans.” He glanced upward. “How did you pick your crew?”

“The Russians are all experienced with the Lyre class before the submarines were decommissioned.  Rather than being trained so they could be deployed on another class, they were abandoned by the navy. Since the Iranians had already trained in Russia, it didn’t take long to provide the necessary guidance to work on the Negodyay. Of course, they aren’t involved in driving the submarine nor with the armaments.”

Chug! Chug! Chug!

“What’s that, Comrade Captain?” Wide-eyed, Mishka point toward the sound.

“Nothing to worry about. Just one of the many supertankers transiting the straits. If there was a potential for danger, the sonarman would alert us.” Pushkin chuckled as the sub shifted downward. The helmsman is adjusting our depth to ensure we won’t be involved in an accidental collision.”

Mishka kept staring upward as the sound of the tanker faded. “Do accidents happen often?”

“On occasion.” Pushkin shrugged. But not to us.”

They moved forward, stopping by the periscope station. “Would you like to take a look?” Pushkin gestured toward the controls.

“Da.” Vladimir stepped closer.

“Watch what I do.” Pushkin demonstrated, turning in a complete circle before stepping back. He tapped a control. “Hold this button if you want to focus on a particular ship.

Vladimir took over, mimicking what Pushkin showed them. “A great way to sneak up on your enemy.” Vladimir stepped aside, allowing Mishka a turn. What armaments do you carry?”

“The Negodyay has six torpedo tubes. There is storage space for eighteen to twenty torpedoes or the same number of cruise missiles. We have a mixture of both. In addition, we always carry a dozen mines.”

Vladimir pursed his lips. Can you hit an inland target?”

“Depends on the distance from the submarine. Our missiles can travel as far as six hundred sixty kilometers.”

“What if I wanted you to sink a ship?”

“Not a problem if we’re within fifteen kilometers for our torpedoes, but closer for the mines, which are usually placed in the projected path of the target.” Pushkin snapped his fingers. “Would you like a demonstration?”

“What? Here?” A grin spread across Vladimir’s face. “Da!”

Pushkin returned to the periscope and performed another search. “A perfect opportunity to cause confusion and mayhem.”

“What did you find?”

“Have a look—two Iranian patrol boats.” He stepped aside.

Vladimir scratched his head. “But what if you miss?”

Pushkin shrugged. “We acquired several American MK67 anti-ship mines a couple of years ago. We’ll use one on each boat. If any identifiable debris is found, the Americans will be blamed.”

“Captain, you’re full of surprises.” Vladimir glanced at Mishka. “What do you think?”

Mishka nodded. “Any opportunity to show America in a negative light is a good one, Vova. I say do it.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Feathers, the newest release by Blair Howard. Another riveting plot by a master storyteller.  Detective Kate Gazzara is embroiled in a  cat and mouse game with a deadly killer, who always seems to be a step ahead. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one is full of twists and turns. Combined with larger-than-life characters, this one will keep you turning the pages. Heartily recommended.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 16, 2022

After a week of continuous dreary skies, we finally have a bit of sunshine. Not sure how long it will last, as rain clouds are building up along the skyline.  At least it was dry, and I was finally able to clean up the last of autumn’s fallen leaves.

Overall, the first three-day small business market of the year was a success. I sold fourteen novels, while seventeen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went home to happy customers, along with three of her poetry books. Our next event will be the first weekend in February.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “It’s OK to not have the answer yet. Continue your journey and trust the process.”

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

Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter, Norwegian poet; Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, French writer (Mémoires); Richard Savage, English poet and playwright; Vittorio Alfieri, Italian count, dramatist and poet (Maria Stuarda) who is considered the founder of Italian tragedy; Andre Michelin, French industrialist, tire manufacturer (Michelin) and publisher of the Michelin Guide; Frank Bacon, American playwright, actor and author (Lightnin’); Robert W. Service, English-Canadian poet (Cremation of Sam McGee); Robert Garbe, German poet (Gorniek); Zhou Zuoren, Chinese writer; Osip Brik, Russian writer; Nat Schachner, American author; Ruth Rose, American screenwriter; Carlos Pellicer, Mexican poet; Franz Tumler, Austrian author/novelist (Cloak, Aufruf); Stirling Silliphant, screenwriter; Nel Benschop, Dutch poet; Anthony Hecht, American poet; William Kennedy, American writer; Vladimír Škutina, Czechoslovakian writer and actor (Hvezda jede na jih); Susan Sontag, American author & film director (Benefactor, 1966 Pol Award); Magdalen Nabb, British author; Ruth Reichl, American magazine editor; Brian Castro, Australian author; and Garth Ennis, Irish comic book author.

Any names familiar to you? The only name I know is Andre Michilen. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Terrifying New Year promotion, running from now until the end of January. With 118 novels available, there’s bound to me something to catch your interest.

In addition, The Kurdish Connection, Colombian Betrayal, and Mission: Angola are participating in a first-in-series promotion for mysteries and thrillers. There are sixty-four novels in this one.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I posted chapter twenty-two to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Ultimate Escalation received another twenty-four chapter reviews, bringing the total to 492. Plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

KS-1 cut through the water at twelve knots just below the surface. Captain 3rd Rank Karol Pushkin, the former commander of a Russian hunter-killer submarine, kept his eye on the periscope’s eyepiece. Satisfied with the space between KS-1 and surface ships in the narrow Straits of Hormuz, he stepped toward his visitors.

“Comrade Colonel. Welcome to the KS-1. We refer to her as the Negodyay.

“Spacibo, Captain. Please call me Vladimir. My military rank was long ago.” He shook hands with Pushkin. “I look forward to our journey on the Villain.”

“We shall cruise along the coast until we reach the Gulf of Oman before heading to deeper water.” Pushkin turned and shouted an order to a seaman with a dark complexion hunched over a scope.

“Still clear, Captain.”

“Very well. Continue as planned.” Pushkin glanced around the control room before turning back to Vladimir. “Ever been on a submarine before?”

“Nyet. How big is the crew?”

“The Lyre class submarines, which NATO called the Alfa class, was designed for operations with a crew as small as fourteen, plus a cook. When active, this was increased to thirty-one.” Pushkin smiled. “Today, we use the minimum crew size.”

Vladimir gestured toward the man still studying his scope. “What nationality is he? I don’t think he’s Russian.”

“You are correct. He’s Iranian, as is half my crew. They all trained on Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines Mother Russia built for the Islamic Republic of Iran, selling them for hundreds of millions of rubles.”

“How did they end up on the Negodyay?

“They became disenchanted with their government.” Pushkin shrugged. “We offered them an opportunity, and they joined us.”

“Interesting. How—”

“Captain! An American cruiser is ahead of us.”

“Rig for ultra-quiet. Take us down.”

The submarine tilted, continuing downward until it hovered just about the sandy bottom. Quiet ensued as the crew, Vladimir, and Mishka kept their movements to a minimum.

Ping!

The sound all submariners dread echoed throughout the Negodyay.

Minutes passed, the only sound was the men snatching shallow breaths.

The sonar man waved an arm to attract Pushkin’s attention.

The captain approached and leaned toward the seaman. “What’s the status?” His voice was almost inaudible.

“The Americans—they are heading toward the Iranian shore. I picked up several noises from Iranian attack craft.”

Pushkin relaxed. “Keep an eye on them.” He shuffled to the helmsman’s position. “Ahead dead slow. Hug the bottom until we clear the area and resume our normal depth.”

“Yes, Comrade Captain.”

Clang!

More next time.

Slide1During slow periods while attending the Christmas market and last weekend’s market, I began working on Frozen Conquest. So far, I have two draft chapters, but they’re not quite ready to post on the two subscription writing sites.  For those who might not be aware, here’s the initial synopsis:

An international criminal gang, known as Diablo Corps, plans a series of devastating attacks to take over the G7 countries unless their demands are met. Secure in their hidden headquarters in Antarctica, they possess the means to disrupt the leading world economies. The Diablos want what other power-hungry people want—more power.

Will the G7 bend to the will of these rogues or will evil triumph? Diablo Corps believes their previous infiltration of the international banking system and world stock exchanges will allow them to risk all on a single gamble.

The Scandinavian Protection Agency joins forces with Bedlam Delta to thwart the efforts of the group and restore faith Will Antarctica become a smoking ruin or will the world suffer an economic meltdown?

Books I’m Reading

I was going to post a review of The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman when I realized I had already posted one. For those who might not have seen it, here it is again:

Nick and Selena are embroiled in another battle to preserve relics from the past, this time the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.  Since I haven’t read the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this nonstop action-packed adventure. If you haven’t read any of Alex’s books, here’s another author to check out. I’ll be heading back to the beginning of the series to find out how it all began!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved