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Randall’s Ramblings, September 25, 2022

The autumn temperatures continue to hit us. Most morning temperatures (at 8 a.m.) struggled to reach 46F (8C) with daily highs rarely making it beyond 60F (15C). At least we’ve had plenty of sunshine again this past week, making it feel warmer than the actual temperature. With the dry weather, I was able to do a bit of pruning around the property, in particular removing a large patch of bamboo as high as twelve feet. Since the garden refuse bin is only picked up once a month, I made six trips to the local recycling center to get rid of the evidence.

Good news at the petrol (gasoline) pumps again this week as the price of a liter dropped a further penny to £1.64. This way above the £1.45 we saw in January, but at least it’s heading in the right direction. With the exchange rate plummeting to 1.0845 on Friday (currently 1.0847), this made the equivalent cost of a U.S. gallon $6.69, a drop of thirty-eight cents.

In Big Ten college football, Michigan held off Maryland 34-27 to increase their record to 4-0. While this game wasn’t televised here in Scotland, they did show the Wisconsin-Ohio State game, which I recorded to watch this evening.

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

“Everything is Beautiful, But Beautiful isn’t everything.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 25th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Matthew Merian the Elder, Swiss engraver and bookseller; Mark Zuesius Boxhorn, Dutch historian; Charles Robert Maturin, Irish playwright and novelist; Felicia Dorothea Hemans, English-Welsh poet (“The boy stood on the burning deck”, “The stately homes of England”); William Michael Rossetti, English writer and civil servant; Mina Kruseman, Dutch writer and feminist; Hans Vaihinger, German philosopher (Nietzsche Philosophy); Lope K. Santos, Filipino writer and Father of the Philippine National Language and Grammar; Lu Xun, Chinese writer of modern Chinese literature; Kees Boeke, Dutch reformist educator (Cosmic View); John Howard Lawson, American scriptwriter and playwright (Blockade, Algiers, Sahara); C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, Scottish writer and translator; Elsa Triolet [Ella Kagan], Russian-French writer and Resistance fighter; William Faulkner, American author (Sound & Fury-Nobel 1949); Ernst von Salomon, German writer (Kette Der Tausend Kraniche); Nahman Avigad, Israeli archaeologist (Discovering Jerusalem); Red Smith, American sportscaster and columnist (Pulitzer 1976, Fight Talk); Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Belgian writer; Phyllis Pearsall, British painter and writer (A to Z Map Company); Jessica Anderson, Australian novelist (Tirra Lirra By The River; The Impersonators); Remy C. van de Kerckhove, Flemish poet; Herbert Heckmann, German writer; Shel Silverstein, American writer and cartoonist (Now Here’s My Plan: A Book of Futilities; The Giving Tree) and songwriter (“A Boy Named Sue”; “The Cover Of The Rolling Stone”); Manouchehr Atashi, Persian poet; Maj Sjowall, Swedish writer (Martin Beck crime novels); Tim Severin, British author and explorer who replicated historic voyages; Eugenia Zukerman, American flutist and novelist (Deceptive Cadence); Bell Hooks [Gloria Jean Watkins], American author, feminist, scholar and social activist; and Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Spanish writer (Shadow of the Wind).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: William Faulkner. 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

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter Fifteen was posted this week to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’ve also made a dent in chapter sixteen.

This week, there were another twenty-two chapter reviews, bringing the total to 243, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. As always, plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

The Scandinavian Protection Agency had chartered the RV Aquavit as a floating platform for their venture to Antarctica, complete with an experienced crew and a scientific staff.

Carina and Gunner joined the rest of the six-person SPA team, which would conduct their experiments on the mainland. They entered the mess and found their teammates: Ailsa Dahl, a petite blonde who was game for anything; Bertelot Gulbrandsson, the team leader and an engineer by training; Eggert Falkenberg, a blond giant of a man with a quiet nature; and Rona Lundgren, a statuesque blonde well over six feet.

“Where did you two go? Checking out the sights—or each other?” Bertelot chuckled.

Carina’s face reddened. “If you must know, I was studying the landscape above the city. It’s the last time we’ll see anything like this until we return.”

“Should have taken some photos to remind you.” Bertelot maintained a straight face.

Everyone laughed.

Rona stood. “Anyone for coffee? I’ll put on a fresh pot.”

After a round of “yes” from the rest of the team, she headed into the galley.

Another whistle blew.

A vibration ran through the deck as the engine engaged. The ship swung away from the pier, heading in a southerly direction.

Rona returned a few minutes later with a fresh pot of coffee and cups. After everyone had a refill, she raised her cup in the air. “Here’s to our next adventure—Antarctica, here we come!”

Eggert spoke in his normal deep bass voice. “I am looking forward to my first time on the ice. I have dreamed of this since I was a child.”

“Too bad you missed our Arctic excursion.” Carina smiled. “What a time to come down with chickenpox.”

“Yes. They were a present from my niece.” He thumped his chest and coughed. “But I am in perfect shape now.” He coughed again.

“Take it easy, Eggert.” Bertelot grinned. “We don’t have a doctor aboard—just a nurse.”

“Is she pretty?”

Bertelot chuckled. “I guess you could say so. The nurse’s name is Tim.”

“Oh.”

Everyone laughed as they stood.

“See everyone here in about three hours.” Bertelot pointed at Rona. “We have a guest chef tonight.”

Rona touched a finger to her cheek. “Oh. Not sure about being a chef, but I make fantastic spaghetti and meatballs.”

“I’m heading out on deck. Anyone care to join me in bidding Ushuaia farewell?”

Ailsa nodded. “I’ll join you, Carina.”

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

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Randall’s Ramblings, September 11, 2022

It was quite a shock to hear on the news Thursday afternoon that doctors were concerned about the Queen’s health and her children were on the way to Balmoral. This was especially unsettling as little information has ever been released regarding her health. A few hours later, the anticipated news was released: The Queen has died. Long live the King.

Today is the twenty-first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda. Do you remember where you were when this awful tragedy occurred and claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people? I do–I was posted to the American Consulate, in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Fall temperatures and rainy weather continue. At least most days we’re still getting some sunshine, but daylight hours are rapidly shrinking. It wasn’t long ago it was still light at 11 p.m. Now it’s dark by 8:30. At least I’m still able to continue with some outdoor work I want to complete before winter.

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

“Be Happy. Be Yourself. If others don’t like it then let them be. Everyone has their own choices. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 11th, the second Sunday of the month:

Bernardo Accolti [Unico Aretino], Italian writer (Virginia); Pierre de Ronsard, French poet; James Thomson, Scottish poet (Rule Britannia); Johann Jakob Engel, German author (Herr Lorenz Stark); Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and playwright; Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Erastus Flaval Beadle, American publisher (Beadle’s Dime Novels); Fitz Hugh Ludlow, American author (The Hasheesh Eater); Vjenceslav Novak, Croatian Realist writer (Pavao Šegota); Juhani Aho, Finnish journalist and writer (Panu, Tuomio); O. Henry [William Sydney Porter], American short story writer (Cabbages and Kings); Rainis [Jānis Pliekšāns], Latvian poet and playwright; D. H. Lawrence, English poet and writer (Lady Chatterley’s Lover); William Thomas Walsh, American author (Isabella of Spain); Jessica “Decca” Mitford, English author (American Way of Death), activist and one of the Mitford sisters; Alfred Slote, American children’s books author (Love & Tennis, Omega Station); David S. Broder, American journalist (Pulitzer 1973); William Luther Pierce, American author and activist; Phoef Sutton, American television writer and producer; and Philip Ardagh, English children’s books author (Eddie Dickens series).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: D. H. Lawrence.  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

Slide1Things are proceeding with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter thirteen was posted this week to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I also updated my outline, increasing the number of chapters to at least forty-two.

This week, there were another seventeen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 204, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

A technical sergeant showed the Bedlam team leaders into the installation commander’s office. After a round of handshakes, they sat at a small conference table.

Brigadier General Frederick Rinehart, the Ramstein Air Base installation commander, puffed out his cheeks as he squirmed his rotund body into a chair. “I can give you ten minutes. I’m a very busy man, and a group of local leaders ais due to arrive soon for an important discussion.”

“Thank you for meeting with us, General Rhinehart. We greatly appreciate all of the assistance you’ve provided thus far. I’ll make sure to mention this to Admiral Blakely.” CC smiled. I think this guy is a big windbag and probably never served a day in a combat role.

Rhinehart nodded. “Not a problem. I’ve reviewed the memorandum of agreement.” He stared at CC and Trevor. “Colonels.” He dragged out the words as if it were a curse while tapping the single star on his shoulder board. “I understand your QRF leader is a mere sergeant. He should be staying with the rest of the single NCOs on base.”

“Actually, he was a master chief petty officer in the SEALs, equivalent to an air force chief master sergeant. Rank isn’t important to Bedlam—being able to do the job is what counts.” What a pompous ass!

“Well, you’ll have to replace him. I insist every organizational head on this installation be the equivalent of a field grade officer. This fits with what I project to the local communities. Until such time as he’s replaced, he’ll be required to attend all installation meetings. Furthermore, should we require his services in whatever capacity I choose, he’ll be required to comply.”

CC shook his head. “You might think you’re in control of everything on this base, but you’re not.” He turned to Trevor.

He opened the briefcase he brought to the meeting, extracted a folder, and handed it to CC.

Pulling out a multipage document, CC turned to the signature page before sliding it across the table. “Is that your signature under Brigadier General Frederick Rhinehart?”

The general scoffed. “Get to your point—I don’t have all day to waste with you on this nonsense.”

“Did you actually read the document before you signed it?”

Rhinehart stared at CC before giving a slight nod.

“Do you recognize the signatures of Admiral Blakely, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Claude Bouchet, the Air Force Chief of Staff?”

The general pursed his lips before tilting his head.

“Well, General. When did your one star outrank their four stars?”

Rhinehart crossed his arms but remained silent.

“Let me fill you in on some reality. You are instructed by this MOA, which you signed, to render all assistance to the Bedlam Quick Reaction Force while they are housed on this installation. Furthermore, you agreed not to interfere in any way with the operation of this organization.”

CC leaned forward. “There is absolutely nothing in the MOA indicating Bedlam is subordinate to you, nor is there a requirement for the QRF to participate in any installation meetings or events unless the QRF leaders choose to do so. Does this ring a bell?”

“Yes, but things missing from the MOA. I—”

“There are no buts, General. Details contained within an MOA are ironed out before the document is signed, not afterward. When I return to the Pentagon, should I inform Admiral Blakely and General Bouchet you agree to comply with the MOA? Or would you prefer a transfer to a weather station in Alaska?”

Rhinehart tossed the document at CC and struggled to stand. “Get out of my office—now!”

CC, Trevor, and Evelyn headed for the door. Before closing it behind him, CC turned back to Rhinehart. “By the way, General, as a member of the senior executive service, I hold an equivalent rank to you. So does Trevor in the British government. You might want to do a more thorough background check when you’re wasting taxpayers’ money conducting unauthorized investigations.” He closed the door.

Once out of the building, the Bedlam team leaders burst into laughter.

“CC, I thought he was going to have a heart attack or stroke.” Evelyn linked arms with both men. “He’s probably hasn’t been put in his position for a long time.” She glanced at CC. I bet you play a mean game of poker.”

He laughed. “Aye. But for a certain four-star warned me about Rhinehart and how he tries to intimidate people.”

“Well, CC.” Trevor smirked. “I think he just met his match.”

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

 
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Randall’s Ramblings, July 31, 2022

While some parts of the UK are struggling with a lack of rain and hosepipe bans have been put in place, we continue to receive showers compliments of Mother Nature. Even though the rainfall is less than the average, it’s still persistent enough to keep things green, although potted plants still require watering. As I look outside, a light shower is now upon us.

Craig finished his visit this past week. We did two more outings: Callendar House, which has played host to many great historical figures over the centuries, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie. It dates from the 14th century. It is set in the nationally-important historic designed landscape of Callendar Park, which also contains a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. Permanent displays include the story of Callendar House, a history covering the 11th to the 19th centuries, the Antonine Wall, Rome’s Northern Frontier, and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850, which explains how the local area was transformed during the first century of the industrial era.

Our last stop was to the Culross Abbey. It was founded in 1217 by Malcolm I, Mormaer or Earl of Fife, and was first colonised by monks from Kinloss Abbey. Culross may have been chosen to establish an abbey because this was the birthplace of Saint Mungo. It is evident that the abbey was built over the earlier Pictish church supposedly founded by Saint Serf in the 6th century. During Craig’s next visit, we’ll be checking out places that were currently closed for safety checks.

At last we’re starting to see the upward trend of gasoline (petrol) prices retreat. During the past two weeks, prices have dropped from £1.92 a liter to £1.85. This make the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon at $8.68 based on the current exchange rate.

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

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all others can’t stop you. The only one who stops you is yourself.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 31st, the fifth and final Sunday of the month:

Peter Rosegger, Austrian poet and Nobel Prize laureate; Harry Northrup [Henri N.], French-born American poet and actor (The Heart of Maryland, The Unchastened Woman); Munshi Premchand [Dhanpat Rai], Indian author; Grete Gulbransson, Austrian writer and poet (Geliebte Schatten); Arthur Daley, American sportswriter (NY Times-Pulitzer 1956); Brett Halliday, American writer (Dividend on Death); Louis De Funes, French actor and writer (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacobs); Sibte Hassan, Pakistani activist, journalist and writer; Norman Del Mar, British conductor and writer (Conducting Brahms); Primo Levi, Italian chemist and writer (Survival in Auschwitz); Walter Vogt, Swiss writer (Wüthrich) and psychiatrist; Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and writer; Lynne Reid Banks, British author (The Indian in the Cupboard); Cees Nooteboom, Dutch writer and journalist (Rituelen); Yvon Deschamps, French Canadian author and humorist; Mort Crim, American broadcast journalist, author, and inspiration for the Ron Burgundy character in the “Anchorman” films; João Barreiros, Portuguese writer (Um Dia com Júlia na Necrosfera); J. K. Rowling, English writer (Harry Potter novels);Elizabeth Wurtzel, American author (Prozac Nation); and Ahmad Akbarpour, Iranian writer (The Train of That Night).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: J. K. Rowling, who should be familiar to everyone. 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

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter eight was posted this week. There were another sixteen chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 120, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

After a quick meal, they headed back to the off-base house and gathered once again in the living room. This time, August retrieved the drinks.

Rufus unlocked a cabinet, pulled out his laptop, and booted it. While they waited, he turned to the others. “I placed all the applications on here. Eight are prior military, while the other two are FBI agents looking for a career change.”

“Aye.” CC sipped his German beer. “We’ll give you our opinions, but in the end, the choice is yours.”

Rufus nodded. “Admiral Blakely said we should pick four people, for now, giving us a decent QRF staff as we could split into two three-man teams, if necessary, although I think eight would be better.”

Trevor glanced at CC. “Fully agree with you. However, in our recent team building, the admiral indicated changes would need to wait for additional funding.”

“Aye. If everything works out, we’ll get the necessary funding in the next budget.”

“I recommend picking four people you want right away.” Evelyn sipped her white wine. “Choose two others as alternates—they can be added to the team when the budget is sorted.” She smiled. “Of course, it depends on how many met the threshold for being offered positions.”

“Makes sense.” Rufus clicked on the first file and opened it. “I’ve blocked the names in case any of us know the applicants and might show inadvertent favoritism. For now, they’ll be known as one through ten.”

“Aye. Excellent idea.” CC scooted forward.

* * *

Over the next three hours, the five Bedlam personnel reviewed the files. Two were rejected outright due to a lack of operational experience. While well-trained, they were desk jockeys and never served in a high-tension environment.

They took a short restroom break and replaced their empty drinks.

Rufus led them outside for a breath of fresh air.

“Will you keep this place when you’ve assembled your teams?” Evelyn glanced at the other houses on the street.

Rufus nodded and pointed to two others, both larger than their current one. “Yes. Those houses over there each have three bedrooms. Each member will have their own bedroom but will have to share the common areas. Meanwhile, August and I will stay here. It’s only two bedrooms but plenty of space for us.” He yawned. “Shall we get back to it?”

Everyone agreed, and they returned inside.

After an additional two hours, they reached a decision: one, three, four, six, eight, and nine.

“Shall we uncover their names and faces to see if we know any of them?” Rufus unblocked the hidden information and stepped through the six applicants.

“Wait.” CC raised a hand. “Number nine—I recognize his photo and name. In my opinion, you don’t want him.”

“Any valid reason? He seems very qualified.” Rufus frowned.

“Aye. He’s qualified, but that’s not the problem. He resents authority from those he considers junior to his abilities. In Afghanistan, he killed an Afghan captain after a disagreement. Charges were never filed—I think the rest of his team didn’t want to deal with any repercussions as they could end up like the captain.” CC gazed into each of their faces. “He also trilled to kill an American army colonel looking into the Afghan captain’s death—me.”

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

39375-302

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Reaper’s 3rd Bookiversary!

Three years ago today, a friend of mine, Jonathan Pongratz, released Reaper, a horror novella. I’d like to share with you about Reaper, an excellent story, and give you a brief introduction to an up and coming author.

Blurb:

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?

Excerpt:

Reaper Cover ImageI shined my flashlight on the wooden steps leading below, doing my best to stay calm as a frigid chill raised goosebumps on my arms and legs. There’s nothing down here but your stupid little sister. Monsters don’t exist. You’re being a baby.

Ignoring my own thoughts, I forced myself to begin my descent. Each step on the rickety stairs gave a loud squeak that made my heart pound and skin tingle. My flashlight continued to guide me down the steps, but the further down I went, the more it seemed that the darkness was getting thicker. Was that even possible? It’s all in your head.

By the time I reached the bottom of the steps, my nerves were rattled. Imogen had better be down here, and she better be ready to go. I was done playing these stupid games.

An awful smell rose on  my left. I turned my light to it. On top of an old wooden table was an ornate black lantern. Wisps of black smoke came off it, but no light. I gave a good sniff and instantly recoiled.

Who lit this terrible thing? This was ten times worse than the stinky candles Mom lit every year. I plugged my nose and gave the contents of the lantern another glance. Inside was a grey-looking candle with weird flecks of black stuff molded inside of it. My nose crinkled. Whatever it was, I didn’t care. I needed to find Immy.

I turned back around to the rest of the basement. “Immy? Immy!” I shouted. I thought I heard a scuffle up ahead, so I shined my light that way.

Numerous toys littered the floor and old furniture covered with large white sheets took up most of the space in the basement. Something about the odd shapes the unwanted stuff created creeped me out, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I stood still, listening in the darkness. Was that … breathing? It was faint, but what else did I have to go off of?

I maneuvered around a cluster of covered couches, wiping my sweaty palms on my pants as I ventured towards the back. Ahead of me were small rows of sheeted items, but one stood out to me, one particularly little-girl shaped.

I smirked. Nice try, Immy.

I crept up on my toes, and as soon as I was within arm’s reach, I yanked the white sheet away. “Aha!” It was a rusty standing birdcage. But I could’ve sworn … Damn it!  I kicked the nearest couch and wandered aimlessly to vent off my frustration.

What could I do to draw Immy out? Talking to her wasn’t working; I’d already tried that. I could try the candy route, but the bucket was all the way upstairs and she could hide again by the time I got back. I supposed I could knock stuff around until she emerged, but then I’d have to clean it all up or Mom and Dad would kill me. I walked up to an uncovered desk and wiped my finger along the top, inspecting the layer of dust on my forefinger. Maybe I could scare her out.

Suddenly, something grabbed my ankle from under the desk. I shrieked and yanked my leg back as my heart pounded.

Peeked your interest? If so, check out Jonathan’s trailer: https://youtu.be/UtilAuPJdSc

Reaper is available as an ebook via multiple outlets: http://www.books2read.com/reaperhorror

Jonathan Pongratz 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. He currently resides with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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New Release – Colours of My Life

ComL-8c(1)Sylvia Grace’s debut book, Colours Of My Life, has now been released. If you enjoy poetry, prose, and short stories, there’s bound to be something you can relate to.

This is from the intro:

The time has come to share my writing after many years of hiding my light under a bushel. Enjoy!

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

“When I read each poem… I saw Colours of My Life. Colours represent emotions. Each poem can be related to our moods … Walk with me as I share from my heart.” – Sylvia Grace.

Bio

Sylvia Grace was born in 1951 in Malta when her father, a Royal Navy technical electrician, was commissioned there. Her parents came from Tayport, Northeast Fife, where she grew up. Sylvia spent her childhood exploring the beach, sand dunes, and in Tentsmuir Forest with her pals. She loved growing up in Tayport and holds dear the many memories of her extended family who were integral to her life, especially her grandparents.

From a young age, Sylvia developed a love and passion for animals and nature. To this day, she supports numerous animal charities in the UK and internationally as well as the UK’s Woodland Trust. If you were to visit her back garden, you’d find numerous hedgehogs residing in four purpose-built houses. Her kindness knows no bounds.

Sylvia has always been an avid reader, and from time to time, puts her thoughts on paper, whether it be poetry, prose, or short stories. She’s a natural storyteller, entertaining people from an early age. A keen observer of the world around her, creativity is Sylvia’s forte. Colours of My Life is her debut book. In addition to writing, she enjoys drawing, oil painting, knitting, reading, and history. She holds internationally recognised diplomas as an Aesthetician, Cosmetologist, Swedish Massage Therapist, and an Aromatherapist. She currently resides in Scotland with her husband and four rescued cats whom she adores.

Comments From Those Who Encouraged Sylvia to Take This Step

“Heartfelt writing that explores the human condition and provides hope to all that read.” – Craig Palmer, founder of The Cultural Omnivore, a digital media magazine

“Your lovely poems are full of sights and the details you give are just so right. They take me back to years ago, when life was magical, and life was slow.” – Linda Axon, Artist

“So pleased you’re publishing your poems. I have enjoyed reading the ones you have shared.” – Margaret Davidson

“I enjoy your poems. They are such an inspiration to me during these tough times we have gone through.” Isobel Jamieson

“I love Sylvia’s poems. When I read them, I imagine being there … she brings them to life.” – Joyce Stevens

“I love reading your poems. I find them very touching” – Christine Matthews

“Thought-provoking—has a way with words, which grab at your heart. Reminiscent of American poet, Helen Steiner Rice.” – Randall Krzak, multi award-winning author

“True … From the heart … Opens up your emotions … Heartfelt … Lovely writing … Stunning … Beautiful …” – Comments from readers at various craft events

Colours Of My Life is available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle and paperback formats. Just click on the title anywhere in this release and you’ll be whisked to a universal link.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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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)”

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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.

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, April 12, 2020

I’d like to start today by wishing those who celebrate Passover and Easter, warm wishes. Also, a big thank you to all who are putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others. THANK YOU and stay safe!

Who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 12th. (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; Mark Strand, American poet, editor and translator (Another Republic); John Milius, American screenwriter (Red Dawn, 1941, Big Wednesday); James Patrick Kelly, American sci-fi author (Think Like a Dinosaur); Sergei Lukyanenko, Russian sci-fi author (Labyrinth of Reflections); and Walid Soliman, Tunisian author.

Recognize anyone? The only one I’ve heard of is Westheimer. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Colombian Betrayal’s online book tour is still ongoing until the end of the month, sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours. Why not stop by and learn a bit more about me?

https://www.bewitchingbooktours.biz/2020/04/now-on-tour-colombian-betrayal-by.html

My novel will also be participating in three Bookfunnel promotions during April. If you’re interested in checking them out and perhaps finding new authors to read, here’s the schedule. The links won’t be active until the first day of each giveaway. I’d greatly you forward these to anyone you think might be interested.

The links will go active on the first day of the promotions.

April 7th-30th:

https://dashboard.bookfunnel.com/bundles/board/a3k53rc4a2

April 10th-17th:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/assassins-kill-kill-kill/qjgu8z6ymr

April 11th-26th:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/2nd-quarter-mystery/tvyvcj2sx6

Colombian Betrayal also picked up another five-star review on Amazon this week, which I’d like to share with you:

Randy Krzak’s latest novel reflects his tremendous abilities as a writer. These abilities combined with his real world experience provide the reader with a wonderful journey through mystery, intrigue, action, and pure reading enjoyment. His ability to interweave multiple characters and plots is simply beyond reproach. Come join main characters AJ and Javier in this most excellent story that combines drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, kidnapping, murder, and suspense in a book that your simply will not want to put down. His professional experiences provides a platform of realism that simply can not be matched by other authors. During this challenging time of “sheltering at home”, do not hesitate to purchase not only this great book but all of Krzak’s award winning novels, The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore, and provide yourself with pure reading enjoyment as you “travel the world” of action with Randy! Hollywood needs to pay attention to this talented outstanding author if they are looking for a blockbuster movie script for all to enjoy! Very much looking forward to Book 2 of this series!

My Work in Progress

When I’m not working on marketing/promoting Colombian Betrayal, I’m continuing to move forward with my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapter fifteen posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received 160 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

How would Catarina react to his going to one of the most dangerous, yet unreported, trouble spots in the world? “Oh don’t worry dear, I’m only going to negotiate the release of an old friend’s son, taken by butcherous thugs, I’ll be fine.” It sounded like idiotic thinking. She was far too well-read to believe such a trite and blatant falsehood.

“What are the rebel’s demands?” João needed time to think. His heart understood what was right, yet his head told him to run away screaming in the opposite direction.

“Nothing so far. We received word from the people Peter works with. They said the rebels almost wiped out the village, with only one or two surviving the attack. They said Peter was taken, along with some of the women and older girls.”

“Perhaps the rebels are unaware of Peter’s connection with you.” João realized this was foolish. The name Mwanga was a common Swahili name, meaning independent and autonomous. Coupled with the desire for adventure, challenge, and responsibility, it’s no wonder Theo headed into politics. So, recognition of the name was inevitable. Theo was a war hero, a government leader, and held a place of honor and respect in the hearts of his people. “That isn’t possible, is it?”

“It is unlikely.”

“It would seem if you have received no demands, there is time to gather together a group of people who can formulate a plan. People are more familiar with this Masudi than I am. Don’t your army and police understand his ways? What about your intelligence and state security service—SINSE?”

“The official policy is no one wants to anger Masudi, or do anything that might provoke him. Doing so will cause the raids inside Angola to increase. They have all take a long step back from me.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Malvern Murders, by Terry Tombs. This is the first novel in Terry’s Inspector Ravenscroft Detective Mysteries series. Set during the Victorian period in England, Terry has created an excellent blend of scenery, descriptions, and characters to allow readers a glimpse of what the times were like.

In this novel, Inspector Ravenscroft, despite being a hard-working police officer, has the worst record on the force. He’s sent to the spa town of Malvern in the hopes a water treatment will cure his asthma.  Before long, he’s embroiled in a new case when a new acquaintance from Malvern is found dead. Ravenscroft works with local constable Tom Crabb. Bodies begin to pile up with no definitive suspect. To find out how it ends, you’ll have to grab a copy as I don’t like to spoil anyone’s reading pleasure. Suffice to say, there is plenty of intrigue, twists and turns to this story and you’ll stay up late turning the pages. I enjoyed this one so much, I’ve already downloaded the second book in the series.

This brings us to a close 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 
 
 
 
Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, February 23, 2020

What a week! Rain, hail, snow, and wind. Sometimes, all in the same hour! At least we’ve been fortunate though, as some areas have really been hit hard. At least the snow didn’t stick around for more than a couple hours–a good thing for the flora which has been greening up, thinking spring was here.

As a result of the bad weather, our builder wasn’t able to get started. Good thing, as I couldn’t take care of the preliminary stuff he wanted done before he began. Will see how the coming week goes, although high winds and snow are predicted for the next couple of days.

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

Samuel Pepys, English navy administrator and Member of Parliament famous for his Diary of the English Restoration period; Wilhelmus Schortinghuis, Dutch theologist (Profound Christianity); Herman N van der Tuuk, Dutch philologist (Tobasch’ Grammar); W. E. B. Du Bois, American civil rights activist, writer (Souls of Black Folk) and founder of the NAACP; Agnes M Royden, writer; Norman Lindsay, Creswick Victoria, artist/novelist; Ventura Garcia Calderon, Peruvian diplomat/author; Erich Kästner, German writer; Aartje W “Mien” van It Sant-van Bommel, author (Mieke-serial); William L Shirer, historian (Rise & Fall of 3rd Reich); Walter Ernest Allen, writer/critic; Heinrich Schirmbeck, German author (Das Spiegellabyrinth); David Wright, South African-British poet (Deafness: A Personal Account); Gery Florizoone, Flemish poet; Gerry Davis, British screenwriter (Dr Who); Jef Geeraerts, Flemish writer (Black Venus); Donna J. Stone, American poet (Wielder of Words); Edmund Boyd Fisher, publisher; Bernard Cornwell, English historical novelist; John Sandford, American novelist; and Doug Moench, American comic book writer.

Recognize anyone? There were a couple I’m familiar with: Bernard Cornwell and John Sandford. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

This week, Dangerous Alliance will be participating in TaleFlick’s Discovery contest. For those who aren’t aware, this is a weekly contest that allows the public to vote on which stories they want to see adapted to the screen.

I’ll be needing all the help I can get to push Dangerous Alliance forward. Voting will begin on Wednesday, February 26th at 10 a.m. Pacific Time and continue until Friday at 4 p.m. PT. Participation in the contest is free, so I hope I’ll be able to count on your support.

My Work in Progress

Editing is in the final stages for Colombian Betrayal, so today will be the final snippet:

The Afghan woman led Olivia inside and took her to a rough-hewn table. After she was seated, the woman brought Olivia a plate of food and motioned for her to eat.

“Where’s my knife and fork? Or a spoon?”

The woman gave a toothless grin and mimed lifting some of the goat and rice with her right hand and placing it in her mouth.

Olivia cringed. How disgusting! However, hunger soon overcame the lack of utensils, and she mimicked the woman, who began eating from her own plate. Food’s good, though.

Her food finished, Olivia drank from a bottle of lukewarm water. Her eyes became heavy.

Before long, she leaned forward, head resting on her arms. I’m so tired. Did the woman put something in the food to poison me? Tears seeped from her weary eyes. How are my babies? Her eyelids closed, and she drifted into an uneasy sleep.

* * *

Wham! Wham!

The building shook, and the shabby furniture bounced across the uneven wooden floor. Walls cracked as a hole large enough for a new door appeared.

Olivia screamed and scrambled under the table.

Wham!

A third explosion rocked the house.

Craack!

One end of the building tipped as a wall and corner gave way.

Yeeeah!

A blood-curdling scream filled the room as the roof collapsed, crushing the table.

And Olivia.

* * *

Seven thousand miles away, Lintstone stared at the live footage of the drone attack in Lashkar Gah being piped into his office. Yes! One loose end tied up. I’ll get Alonzo to send me more money, or I’ll release the photos.

His office door locked so no one could enter, Lintstone burst into laughter and clapped his hands. “After I bleed him dry, his body will be found. The autopsy will find he died using his own product.”

Watch for further snippets of my other works in progress.

Work is also continuing on my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, the first two chapters were posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has already received eleven chapter reviews. Plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Stay tuned for the first snippet of Angola. I hope to bring it to you next time, but as everyone knows, plans can be disrupted.

 

Books I’m Reading

I received an advance copy of The Peacemaker, the first novel in a new series by Blair Howard, will have you flipping the pages to find out what happens next. Bodies are flying all over the place as assassin Cassandra Wu and a former British SAS sniper known as Nero declare an uneasy truce to deal to stop the Peacemakers before they succeed in their quest to achieve peace on earth through another world war.

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one won’t disappoint. With a formidable plot and larger-than-life characters, you’ll find yourself switching your loyalties as the story progresses. With a timely twists here and there, you’ll really enjoy this one! I can’t wait for the release of the next one in the series!

 

This brings us to a close 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.

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© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, February 16, 2020

Last weekend and the beginning part of the week, we had plenty of snow squalls, heavy winds, and rain, compliments of Storm Ciara. This storm caused severe flooding and damage, and winds apparently reached ninety-seven miles per hour in some places, but our area wasn’t hit hard. Since then, there’s been Storm Dennis. It seems to have been a pussycat in comparison–still bringing some wind and rain, but nothing like Ciara.

Hopefully, things will settle down. We’re supposed to have some building works done this coming week. Nothing major, but there’s an area leading to the front porch we want redesigned as it becomes a water trap. The porch concrete-slab flooring will be replaced and extended out over this area. First though, there are a few plants and soil I have to move.

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

Ordericus Vitalis, French monk/historian/poet; Giambattista Bodoni, Saluzzo Italy, printer/typeface designer (Bodoni); Johann Heinse, German Sturm und Drang novelist/art critic; Joseph V von Scheffel, German writer (Gaudeamus); Nikolai Leskow, writer; Henry Adams, historian, writer (Education of Henry Adams); Octave Mirbeau, French writer (Journal of a Lady’s Maid); William Scarborough, Macon Ga, linguist/author (Birds of Aristophanes); Maurits H E Uyldert, Dutch poet/writer (Youth of a Poet); Elizabeth Craig, British writer; Van Wyck Brooks, NJ, literary historian/writer (Ordeal of Mark Twain); Albert Maurice Hackett, playwright/screenwriter; Hal Porter, Australia, writer (Tilted Cross, Paper Chase); Arthur Crook, British editor (Times Literary Supplement); Bob Tadema Sporry, Dutch (female) author; Hubert van Herreweghen, Flemish writer/journalist; Paul van ‘t Veer, Dutch journalist/writer (Het Vrije Volk); Peter NF Porter, Australian/British author/poet (Chair of Babel); Alfred Kolleritsch, Austrian writer; Aharon Appelfeld, Israeli writer; Paul Bailey, English novelist and biographer; Richard Ford, American author (Sportswriter); Eckhart Tolle, Author and spiritual teacher; Dorus Vrede, Surinam poet (Otobanda; the Other Bank); Iain [Menzies] Banks, UK, sci-fi author (Wasp Factory); and Guy Gallo, writer (Under the Volcano).

Recognize anyone? I admit I’m stumped 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!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

The Amazon Kindle Countdown Special, which started on Valentine’s Day, finishes this evening at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read Dangerous Alliance or Carnage in Singapore yet, there’s still time to pick them up at a reduced price, for yourself or gift a copy to someone you know.

My Work in Progress

Editing is in its final stages on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

During the past week, I began the penultimate edit pass. This should go quickly as I’m not finding a great deal to change. However, I’m not going to rush. Here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

Javier sipped his coffee, glanced at his phone, and read the incoming text: New arrival—seems important based on activities. Will provide mug shot when we return—no app on this phone. Will stay in position longer to monitor the situation.

He concurred and turned to AJ, who was typing on her iPad. When she finished, Javier nodded and sent a response: Continue mission.

 “Wonder who arrived? Wish they had taken one of the SAT phones with them to send the photo right away.” AJ drained the last of her coffee, reached for the carafe, and refilled both cups. “I received an update from MacKenzie. She says they’ve picked up chatter about a training camp in Colombia.” She pursed her lips. “Wonder if this is related to the facility we’re interested in or if it’s something else?”

Javier shrugged. “If they can gather more intel, we should be able to check it out.”

AJ’s eyes widened as she reread MacKenzie’s message. “There’s an unclear reference to two young girls. Someone is speculating they were taken and sold into slavery.” She shook her head. “After discussing the camp with the caller, the called party mentioned the girls—both men seemed pleased.”

Heat flushed through Javier’s body. He pounded a fist into the palm of his other hand. “Perverts—they need to be eradicated.”

AJ nodded. “MacKenzie finished her note by saying Lintstone gave us the green light.” Her eyes lit up with excitement. “We’ll eliminate the kidnappers if they get in our way.”

More next time.

Last week, I mentioned I have a bit of a conundrum on what to work on next. The decision’s been made–I’ll work on Xavier Sear: Angola, the first in the Xavier Sear thriller series.

Synopsis:

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?

Over the past week, I’ve also started setting up my newsletter. A few people have signed up. Those who have will receive a link to my award-winning short story, “A Dangerous Occupation,” read by an author. They’ll also have the opportunity for their first name to feature as one of my characters in an upcoming novel.

If you’d like to sign up and the pop-up window didn’t appear when you opened today’s post, go back to the main page of my website and select Randall’s Newsletter. Thank you.

Books I’m Reading

Cassidy, the seventh novel in the Lt. Kate Gazzara series by Blair Howard, continues the great trended Blair has established with Kate. Another riveting plot with larger-than-life Kate trying to solve the latest mystery. It doesn’t take long before a ‘simple’ appearance of a stranger in a farmer’s vehicle quickly turns into another murder investigation.

Filled with suspense, Kate’s investigation will keep you burning the proverbial midnight oil as you won’t want to put this one down until you find out who the culprit is. As with all of Blair’s novels, there are plenty of twists and turns for you to explore. Hope for another book in the series soon!

This brings us to a close 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

All being well, things will settle down and remain calm for some time. We’re supposed to have some

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