Uncategorized, Writing Announcements

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

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

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

Excerpt (from chapter one):

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

Everything I thought was no longer my reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I shook my head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juliet nodded and sipped her red.

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

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

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

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

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

“Who is it?” Kirtus asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe he did. I couldn’t be sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick up a copy at the following:

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

About The Author:

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

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

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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.

 

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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

Uncategorized

New Release: T.A.D. – The Angel of Death

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he meets Doug, and the two start a friendship that will last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause our world to end or will they manage to keep the future secure?
TAD - Teaser 5
Buy Links for T.A.D.-The Angle of Death:
NineStar Press: https://bit.ly/2m5eCmF
Website: https://www.mdneu.com/shop

M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart MDNeu 2of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

Links:

Website: http://www.mdneu.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66488958-md

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfGxw0RBSgsTiyYkA_UGhCw

RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Blog-MDNeu

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Uncategorized

Cover Alert – T.A.D. The Angel of Death

Today is the unveiling of the cover for author M.D. Neu’s latest work, T.A.D. The Angel of Death. So what’s it all about?

Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people.  He’s an Angel of Death.

TAD-f500Doug is fun loving and a drama queen.  Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime.  But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?

To give you a bit of a tease, here’s the prologue:

Walking between the past, present, and future, seeing what I’ve seen, isn’t for everyone.

One day, I can be in San Francisco on October 17, 1989. On another—well, it was longer than a day, more like half a year—I was in Petrograd and Moscow from March through November, 1917. That was a busy time. On my favorite day, as tragic as it was, I was at Alpha Base, Mars, on September 21, 2051. There was so much hope and heroism on Mars that day. I’d go back and relive it anytime.

When I think about all I’ve seen, in the grand scheme of the universe, it’s not even a blink of an eye. However, what I’ve been left with is one overlying thought: humanity is amazing.

No matter what happens, humans keep moving forward. Humanity is a joy to witness and be a part of. Even in my own small way.

Humans here—at this time—aren’t much different from in other realities.

I’ve been to three. There are more, but I’m still pretty new. In one, mankind has paranormal creatures living among them. The humans don’t know it, but they are there, living and working together. I wonder what would happen if the humans on that world knew about the paranormal creatures in their midst? Something like that would be up to the Fates to decide. Which is way over my pay grade. I doubt I’ll find out, but anything’s possible.

On another alternate Earth, aliens have arrived. The good kind. That has been an interesting scenario to witness. I’m not sure the humans in that dimension were really ready for aliens, but they didn’t have much of a choice. The Arches and Fates were working overtime there, and I’ll admit, considering how bad it could have been, well, it turned out pretty good for both the humans and the aliens. At least from what I’ve been told and seen.

The last reality I’ve witnessed so far has none of those things. It’s the Earth I’m on right now. The one where my work takes me today. These humans still accomplish great things, but they’re alone, at least as far as I know.

A loud blare of a taxicab’s horn shifts my focus. I check up the street at all the people and traffic. This is such a busy and noisy place. I don’t understand how anyone can think.

Ah, well.

As much as I’d like to, I don’t get to spend all my days bouncing between realities. I’ve heard from my brothers and sisters there is an Earth where magic and dragons exist. That would be pretty neat to see. Maybe another time. Today, I have a job to do, helping the dead. Unfortunately, I can’t always interfere with history, especially if the event is a major convergence point. You know, something like the Black Death, or the fall of the Roman Empire, something hugely important to human development. So, I can’t stop a dictator from rising. I can’t keep millions from dying. But I can help those who die cross over and make their journey painless.

Sometimes, people don’t want to leave, and who am I to tell them they have to go? Yes, it’s upsetting, because I know the suffering they are going through, and I can help them, but I can’t force them. Some think they have unfinished business, and that might be the case, but not for all of them. Those spirits don’t want to let go, and they think staying is better. It’s not. But I let them stay. I will, however, come back and check on the lingering deceased from time to time. Most souls eventually come around and let me help them. That’s always a nice feeling.

To date, I’ve never lost a single soul. Everyone I’m responsible for gets crossed over, maybe a little late, but they still get to where they are supposed to go. Not many of my brothers and sisters can make that claim. Maybe that’s why I’m able to get away with messing with fate and altering the timeline.

Inhaling the fall morning air brings back so many memories. I wish it could always be like this. It can’t, of course. Without the sadness and the pain, humans wouldn’t know how to celebrate the happiness and the pleasure.

I check the sky. Nothing yet.

Sitting on the park bench, I adjust my arms, flexing my wings as a pug trots over to sniff my feet. The dog’s caregiver tries to tug at the leash to get the pug to move. The man can’t see me, which is a great perk of my job. I don’t think most people would appreciate or understand my current appearance, but animals do. I reach down and pat her head.

I love animals. Dogs. Cats. I love them all. Now, working with animals would have been a good job to have. Helping the animals cross over. They never complain, and they’re always happy to have the attention. I’ve heard some choose to stay and watch over their caregivers and wait for them.

Now that’s dedication.

Finally, the man comes over and attempts to pick up the pug. He has no clue why she stopped. I wave my hand and she trots off, confusing the man even more. I chuckle through my exhalation.

I rest my arms across the back of the bench and sigh as I glance up at the twin buildings. I’ll be honest, I’ve played with how many die, who dies and when, but I have to be careful. I can really screw things up, and I don’t want to do that. Fixing reality is no easy task, and they never get it just right again. Too many variables, I guess. And way above my pay grade. That work gets handled only by the top Arches and the boss. Anyway, the trick for me is finding the balance. Like I did in 1989.

My time in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California, on October 17, 1989 worked out well, and I count it as a huge success. I was able to find the sweet spot, the perfect balance between life and death. All I had to do was make a few of my tweaks, and the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics were in the World Series. The Battle of the Bay, they called it. I called it a job well done. Only sixty-three people died, instead of almost twenty-five thousand. Who says baseball can’t save lives.

I suppose the changes didn’t affect the timeline much. Well, at least, I didn’t get in trouble. I’ve heard punishment can be bad. So that’s good.

The shadow of War flashes above me.

Right on time.

She’s scary but misunderstood, like all of us. Still, my wings tighten, remembering the deaths she’s caused.

I don’t like to focus on my failures throughout history because there have been so many. Sometimes, there is nothing I can do. Certain moments in time only offer me small amounts of wiggle room, and humans are as bloodthirsty as they are kind.

My wings tighten again, and I scout around. It feels like there’s another one of us here.

Odd.

Oh, well.

It’s hard not to help, because I want to. I was created to help. We all were. I’ve been reprimanded—well, warned I could be put on probation or dismissed—and reminded I do help, and I do make a difference, so I should be happy with that. Leave fate in the hands of others. The Arches take care of human’s fate. They ensure what is to happen, happens. It’s not up to me.

I often wonder if I could be an Arch. Really play with fate, and decide more than just life and death. Decide when events happen if they happen at all, who is born when, how to alter the timeline for the best results. I don’t think they have it so tough. They get to write the past, present, and future and that gives them a lot of flexibility, but there are whispers about how they leave their positions. Some have fallen. The idea makes my wings shudder, but sadly, it happens.

Not too often.

I check the sky, not seeing anything notable yet. I wonder if the Arches are involved today? Maybe. It’d make sense. I massage the spot between my back and the base of my wings.

I can hear the Arches now when they lecture me.

“You do good work,” the Arches tell me. “Be happy with your job.”

And for a short time, I will be.

Then I’ll watch something awful happen, like I did today, and my wings will tingle all over again.

I have to act. I have to change things. I know I’m only supposed to shuttle the dead. That’s my job, but sometimes, one has to bend the rules to make things right.

Humans, you are beautiful and wonderful, so creative. Watching you come to be, I can see why some of my brothers and sisters were envious. You’ve got a lot, including free will. However, you didn’t get everything. There were counterbalances to your gifts; limited lifespan, pain, suffering, and worst of all, in my opinion, heartache.

That is something I’ll never experience, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous.

It makes my wings shudder to think about the amount of suffering you go through and cause throughout your short lives. Which is why, on a day like today, I bend the rules, just a little. Despite this moment of respite, it’s been incredibly busy for me.

I don’t expect praise or thanks, because the truth is, people are still going to die, some in awful ways. They are going to leave behind families and friends, and there will be so much sorrow. Not only for their families but for the country and the whole world. I wish I could do more for those left behind, but that is a job for my brothers and sisters.

I’ve done what I can. And really, a few lives continuing on won’t affect the future. Today, I’ve made several trains run late. I’ve made some people oversleep. I’ve made mundane matters urgent for those they affect. I made a small group of airplane passengers brave and courageous. In years to come, their daring will still be talked about. Hopefully, I’ve done enough to make everyone’s passing as painless as possible. What I’ve altered won’t stop the events to come and my tweaks won’t help a great many people, but I’m limited. This event is too important. Too painful. The ramifications will drive the humans and their future to the next fixed point.

Under three thousand people was my hope, and I did it. So that is something I’m very proud of. I’m getting better at my manipulation of people and events.

I glance up at the sky and watch.

It’s 8:40 a.m., and I’ve got to cross over just under three thousand people from three different locations. These deaths are so much less than the almost forty-three thousand it would have been without my interference. And nothing near the almost half a million people over the next two weeks from a different part of the world that will keep me and my brothers and sisters busier than we care to be. So, for the next two days, my wings will get a workout. But I’m feeling pretty good. I saved five hundred forty thousand people this time, the most people saved yet for this event.

8:42 a.m.

This is my last attempt. I stand. I’ve tried five different times, and I can’t risk another go. Plus, I think my boss is coming around to my tricks. After today, I won’t be able to come back to this day, at least not to change things, but maybe I’ll come back to visit.

In the distance, I see the first plane heading for the first tower. Time to get to work. I flex my wings, stretching them out. Enjoying their heaviness before I take to the air.

My name is Death, and I’m going to have a busy day.

T.A.D.-The Angel of Death M.D. Neu © 2019. All rights reserved.
To read any more, you’ll have to wait for the release on September 23, 2019! However, here are a couple of pre-order links in case you want to get your copy queued up!

 

M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart MDNeu 2of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

Links:

Website: http://www.mdneu.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66488958-md

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfGxw0RBSgsTiyYkA_UGhCw

RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Blog-MDNeu

Watch for my review of T.A.D. The Angel of Death. Coming soon!

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Crèche Terrenium – New Release by K.C. Sprayberry

Slide1

A galaxy under attack… youth out of control… extreme measures are called for… until the citizens are faced with impossible choices.

Good day and welcome to the release of Crèche Terrenium. This book was written many years ago, when I was first starting out in my writing career. I submitted it to Millennial Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine as a 5,000 word short story. This was during the days of snail mail submissions and waiting months on end to hear back from the editor in chief. To my surprise, I heard back rather quickly, about six weeks. Figuring they’d laughed and sent me a letter telling me that I should quit writing, I waited a couple of days before reading the bad news. Well, it wasn’t a contract to have the short story published in their magazine. What I did get was a letter telling me that the then editor in chief loved the concept of my short story and wanted me to develop it into a full book before resubmitting.

The full book was written, critiqued, edited, rewritten, etc. over a period of six months of sleepless nights and fingernail chewing days. I finally resubmitted the new story to the editor in chief per her request, only to hear back nearly immediately. The thin envelope pretty much told the story before I opened it.

Turns out while I was breathing life into this novel, the editor in chief had been replaced with someone else. That individual bluntly informed me that they were no longer interested in teen sci-fi books, as “teens didn’t read.” Who was I to argue? I knew the book was good. All I had to do was wait for the right time and place to present it to the world.

The time is now. The place is here. Enjoy!

Crèche Terrenium on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/61rFrEsxp3wgKiuatfzzDy

The Melane Galaxy has a problem, one that threatens their very existence. Led by a reporter, Susannah Tilotsen, the citizens demand a solution to their children terrorizing people. Yet, when Chairman Marcus Sterling institutes the Crèche system, Susannah feels deep shock and dismay.

The children will be taken from their parents and raised by a computer designed to educate and monitor them. No adults will have interaction with the youth of the galaxy. The overall goal is to create good citizens of the youths rather than out of control hooligans.

Is this solution good intentions by the leadership? What if a parent protests the loss of their child? What choice do they have?

Blurb

Youth out of control… Citizens demand a solution.

The Edict… A law enacted to deal with recalcitrant children lays the blame on their parents. Only a computer can properly change The Melane Galaxy’s youth and turn them into good citizens. Chairman Sterling must force people to realize that parents aren’t right for raising children.

The Reporter… Susannah Tilotsen discovers she’s being used by a government attempting to parent children. She soon realizes no one is safe from this new law. The loss of her beloved husband and her daughter being forcibly taken to Crèche Terrenium drives her to organize a group determined to stop this madness

The Boy… Ripped from his loving home, Joey Dinaldo is taken to Crèche Terrenium after government troops find him living with his parents. He works hard to be a good citizen and obey the rules but soon discovers he can’t support a system designed to turn children into uncaring robots.

The Computer… Master, the computer system that will raise these children, controls every second of their lives. Yet, there is no one to maintain the machine. The computer never thinks it needs to be repaired, even as the control it exerts slowly erodes. It is perfect, and fights to keep from being destroyed.

Rebels refuse to stop fighting until they have closed down the Crèche system and returned the children to their parents. Or find them a guardian. All of them are willing to do whatever it takes to end this madness… but at what cost?

Amazon eBook: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SJTGPX1/

Amazon print book: https://amzn.to/2XowPcp

Excerpt

Black words on the creamy parchment in her hand numbed Susannah Tilotsen. Shivers racked her spine; fear deadened her fingertips. Her grip loosened and the document fluttered to her feet. The forty-something man in front of her caressed his silver-shot sable hair before spreading his hands. She watched the public façade take over as the benevolent leader of a fractious, crumbling galaxy smiled. She knew better. His duplicitous expression sent chills up her spine.

She looked at the settlement she was reporting on to a galaxy awaiting a solution for a growing problem. The gray on gray buildings depressed her. The same hue was repeated in the walkways and latticed worked fences enclosing the twelve living areas. The children who soon call this place home would have no relief from the depressing shades of grey.

https://youtu.be/8x0CFWcSn0o

About K.C. Sprayberry

Living a dream she’s had since she first discovered the magic of books. K.C. Sprayberry traveled the U.S. and Europe before finally settling in the mountains of Northwest Georgia. She’s been married to her soulmate for nearly a quarter of a century and they enjoy spoiling their grandchildren along with many other activities.

A multi-genre author, K.C. Sprayberry is always on the hunt for new stories. Inspiration strikes at the weirdest times and drives her to grab notebook and pen to jot down her ideas. Those close to her swear nothing or no one is safe if she’s smiling gently in a corner and watching those in the same room interact. Her observations have often given her ideas for her next story, set not only in the South but wherever the characters demand they settle.

Find out more about my books at these social media sites:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AuthorKCSprayberry/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Blog:

http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

MeWe:

https://mewe.com/group/5c668604d7749276f0a8689a

Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/collection/playlists

Manic Readers:

http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdB:

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

Authorgraph:

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Email:

kcspray01@gmail.com

© Copyright 2019 K. C. Sprayberry. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, August 19, 2018

As summer winds down, families are doing their final thrills with their kids before they head back to school. Stores are pushing ‘back to school’ sales. At least Mother Nature keeps reminding us it’s summer, with plenty of heat, humidity, and showers (and sometimes, thunderstorms). We also began today with fog!

Anyone out there celebrating a birthday today? Here’s a few people from the writing world who share today with you. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Marqués de Santillana, Castilian politician and poet (serranillas); Lodovico Guicciardini, Italian historian (Descrittione di Tutti); Paulus Merula, Dutch lawyer and historian (Historia Belgica); John Dryden, English poet (1st Poet Laureate 1668-1700); Eustace Budgell, English writer; Samuel Richardson, English novelist (Pamela); Pierre-Jean de Béranger, French poet and songwriter; Arnoldt Bronnen, writer; Ogden Nash, humorous poet (I’m a Stranger Here Myself); James Gould Cozzens, American novelist (1949 Pulitzer-Guard of Honor); Jerzy Andrzejewski, Polish writer (Ashes & Diamonds); Quentin Bell, artist, author/teacher; Ring Lardner Jr, American journalist and screenwriter (Woman of the Year, M A S H);  Malcom Forbes, American publisher of Forbes Magazine; D[avid] G[uy] Compton, UK, sci-fi author (Synthajoy, Radio Plays); Bodil Malmsten, Swedish writer; Jennie Bond, British journalist; and Li-Young Lee, Indonesia-born American poet.

Recognize anyone? I certainly did. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more.

My Work in Progress

Once again external pressures meant I had to forego my normal writing periods this week. However, I still managed to complete and post another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. I also refined my outline to reflect recent changes in how some chapters are plotted.

Despite my unplanned slowdown, reviewers added another nineteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 313. Here a bit more from Carnage in Singapore:

“Please take a seat.” A secretary gestured toward several chairs. “Mr. Robertson will be with you in a few minutes.”

Before Evelyn skipped through the ads in a magazine to the first article, the inner office door opened. Framed in the doorway stood a tall, gray-haired man. His chiseled jawline and deep brown eyes commanded attention.

Harrison Robertson, the Director-General of Security for ASIO, stepped forward, his arm outstretched, a grin plastered on his face. “Lady Evelyn, thank you for stopping by.”

“Please, Harrison, drop the title. Given my background and the Australian culture, it doesn’t fit.”

Harrison chuckled. “Come in.” He leaned toward his secretary. “Margaret, would you rustle up a pot of tea and biscuits? Thank you.”

Evelyn and Harrison entered his austere office. An immense oak desk, devoid of papers but holding three telephones and an Apple computer, stood in front of the windows. A safe in the corner, three easy chairs, a coffee table, and photographs of beach scenes completed the furnishings.

***

“How is your hip? I spotted a slight limp.” Harrison handed a cup to Evelyn and offered her the biscuits.

She nibbled on a Tim Tam. “The doctors say the limp might remain forever but is less noticeable every week. The joint is healthy—they believe some nerves might be damaged beyond repair.”

Harrison nodded. “Good to hear the joint is sound. How is your new team shaping up? I suspect it won’t be long before there’s a suitable mission for you.”

“Alfie—how he hates his nickname—is running them through their paces at our training facility. We’re ready for whatever you throw at us.”

“Excellent.” He nodded. “Islamic State affiliates are popping up around the world. I think Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah still pose significant threats in our region. With the apparent death of Abu Sayyaf’s leader, I fear AS will be more dangerous than ever.”

***

Evelyn entered her office. About the size of a standard living room, a red cedar desk and chair, two five-drawer safes, and four easy chairs crammed the space. On the wall opposite her desk, two photographs.

One was of the Queen. She walked over to the other one and read the inscription.

Lady Evelyn,

Thank you for your endeavors in retrieving me from a rather sticky situation. I shall assist you whenever it’s possible. George.

At her desk, she booted her computer and thought about her previous mission to recover Prince George. Never would have thought my crowning achievement with MI6 was to serve in a liaison role with a Somali terrorist. Now, I’m running my own covert team.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading several novels in the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey and one by Nick Thacker.

Mark for Blood (Mason Dixon Thrillers Book 1) by Nick Thacker was a riveting story. Bartender Mason Dixon has a secret—an on-demand secondary job, which leaves victims out in the cold. Assisted by his short-order cook and occasional fill-in bartender, they take care of the latest mark. Except there was a problem. The person didn’t provide the standard token confirming their identity. Troubles abound as Mason becomes a target himself—who is after him?

This is the first novel by Nick that I’ve read and I guarantee it won’t be the last. With excellent characters, a laid-back manner of presenting the plot, and twists and turns galore, this is an excellent thriller!

The Last Chamber by Ernest Dempsey was set up by the first two novels in the Sean Wyatt series. Sean, along with his long-time friend Tommy Schultz, set out on their continuing quest to find the Lost Chambers. Danger lurks around every corner as they are joined by Adriana Villa, something of an enigma in her own way.  Join the as the trail lead to the Caucasus Mountains not far from Armenia as they seek a treasure thought to be hidden forever.

Just when I think I’ve been there before, Ernest adds a new twist or additional characters pop up to take the story on a separate tangent. His life-like characters, attention to detail, and superb blend of historical facts and his splendid plots means I’m always in for a treat. Highly recommended for action-adventure thriller seekers!

The Grecian Manifesto, also by Ernest Dempsey, takes us on a new adventure with Sean Wyatt and his sidekick, Tommy Shultz. Adriana Villa goes missing during her search for the Eye of Zeus and the President of the United States requests Sean’s help to find her.

However, an unknown player also seeks the Eye of Zeus and doesn’t seem to care whether Europe and the rest of the world falls into economic ruin. Will Sean and Tommy locate Adriana and recover the ancient device in time?  With new thrills on almost every page, this story will delight those who love non-stop action. I can’t say enough about Ernest’s ability to create fast-paced scenes carried out by believable characters stuck in impossible situations. Grab a copy and find out what it’s all about!

An Interview With ???

This is a new section for my blog where I’ll be interviewing various authors I’ve recently read. I hope to have the first interview posted next Sunday or the following week.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I ran out of time this week and didn’t come across anything new to share.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, March 5, 2017

Yesterday morning, I glanced out the window–a few snow flurries. Okay, nothing unusual in this part of the world. The snow was coming from the east, across the lake. I pulled up my favorite weather site, just to see what was in store. Mainly cloudy, outbreaks of sunshine, but cold. 

The flurries didn’t last long and the sun paid us a visit. A couple of hours later, it was hard to see much outside as the wind-driven snow was pelting down–a whiteout! In no time at all, over an inch of the white stuff was on the ground, with no sign of the storm abating.

I prepared a shopping list, figuring I’d head to the nearest store where I could pick up groceries and the all-important cat food for our five feline family members. By this time, the white-out had slowed, it was more of a regular storm. Bundled up, I climbed into our vehicle and headed out. The county road crew had already passed by, so the highway wasn’t too bad. Six miles inland, and there was hardly any snow, so I needn’t have rushed.

Now for birthday celebrations over the past week. According to historynet.com, the following members of the writing community had birthdays:

Howard Pyle, writer and illustrator (The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood); Frank Norris, novelist (McTeague, The Octopus); Leslie Marmon Silko, writer (Ceremony); Alan Sillitoe, novelist (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner); James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (Divine Comedies); Nicolas Freeling, crime writer; Theodor Seuss Geisel [Dr. Seuss], author of numerous children’s books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham; John Irving, novelist (The World According to Garp); William Dean Howells, novelist; Ralph Waldo Ellison, African-American author (Invisible Man); Robert Lowell, Jr., poet; won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1947 for Lord Weary’s Castle;  Richard Wilbur, writer and translator; won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1957 and 1989; Howard Nemerov, writer; won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1978; Ben Hecht, writer; Stephen Spender, English poet and critic; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet; John Steinbeck, American novelist (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men); James T. Farrell, author (Young Lonigan); Peter De Vries, writer, poetry editor (Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker); and Lawrence Durrell, novelist (The Alexandria Quartet).
Recognize any names? I found a few. If you had a birthday during the past week, I hope you had an enjoyable day.

My Work in Progress

Marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection continued this week and will become part of my regular writing program.  Good news to report, at least I think so. Two district libraries have set dates for book signings. As part of their National Library Week activities, I’ll do a book signings on April 11th, followed by another one the next day. Along with the book signing, they also want me to talk about my writing journey.

Writing continued on Dangerous Alliance, with chapters eleven and twelve posted for review to the two subscription writing sites I use. Chapter thirteen is now underway.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

The door swung open, a shadow crept across the carpet. Kim slammed the door shut and jumped on the intruder. He shoved him to the floor and rolled him over.

Soo stared up at him.

“Ambassador, what were you thinking? Where did you go?” Kim jumped to his feet and pulled Soo up. “You know nothing about this place.”

“I-I woke early and went for a walk. No one saw me—at least I don’t think so.”

Kim sat on the edge of the bed and motioned for Soo to do the same. He sighed, easing the adrenaline, which had built up in his system as he went into fight mode.

“Ambassador—Soo, you must understand. This is not Pyongyang or Beijing, where you travel with at least six bodyguards. I am your protection, and if you disappear without my knowledge, what might happen?”

He speaks to me like I’m a child. I am the ambassador to China, and he’s a lowly aide. Perhaps a spy for Sung.

Books I’m Reading

While I had planned to finish one novel this week and begin another, extra time in front of the computer cut into my reading time. Hope to have a review to share with you next week.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. I have two to share today:

MDNeu – Join MD Neu on his writing journey. Check out his novels in progress, poetry, and his blog. Well worth the visit!

Reader’s Abode – This is a new site started by an international group of writers. Spread across four continents, they’ll share their short stories and poetry with you. There’s sure to be a genre of interest!

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.