Randall’s Ramblings, September 17, 2023

It’s been a mainly wet week, with daytime temperatures ranging from 59-68F (14-20C). Nighttime temperatures were also lower, staying between 43-52F (6-11C) There was one day where it was dry enough so I was able to start raking up the leaves. Plenty more have fallen since then, but I’ll have to wait for another dry day to gather them up.

Over the past week, the price of gasoline (petrol) jumped another two pence, bringing it up to 1.56 a liter. However, the pound continued to weaken against the dollar, and the price of an equivalent U.S. gallon fell from $7.26 to $7.21. Meanwhile, the price of a liter of diesel increased to £1.58 a liter.

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 17 September, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Gilbert Burnet, Scottish philosopher and Bishop of Salisbury (History of the Reformation); Durastante Natalucci, Italian historian (specialized in history of Trevi, in Umbria); Gottlieb Rabener, German author (Vom Misbrauch of the Satire); Marquis de Condorcet, French enlightenment philosopher (Condorcet Method) and mathematician; Johann August Apel, German jurist and writer; Edward William Lane, British lexicographer and translator (One Thousand & One Nights); Émile Augier, French dramatist; Edouard Pailleron, French attorney, poet and stage writer; Clemens Baeumker, German historian (Patristischen Philosophie); Hans Müller, German music historian and writer; Owen Seaman, British poet and editor (Punch); Désiré Inghelbrecht, French composer, conductor and writer; Anton Hendrik Blaauw, Dutch botanist (Perception of Light); Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Bernes, British composer and novelist; William Carlos Williams, American physician and poet; Bastiaan de Gaay Fortman, Dutch historian and Justice of Curacao; Abel Herzberg, Russian-Dutch Jewish lawyer and writer (Persecution of Jews); Mary Stewart, British sci-fi author (Crystal Cave); Ken Kesey, American author (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest); Mischa de Vreede, Dutch poetess (Our Eternal Hunger); Albertine Sarrazin, French author (L’astragale, La Cavale); Robert Graysmith, American Zodiac killer researcher and author; Lawrence Anthony, South Africa, conservationist and author; Brian Andreas, American writer, sculptor, painter and publisher; Rami Saari, Israeli poet and translator; and Wendy Northcutt, American author of the Darwin Awards.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me–Ken Kesey. 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

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapter thirteen  of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. As always, it’s been posted to the two online writing sites I use. Reviewers provided another nineteen critiques arrived this week, bringing the total to 241. As always, they’ve provided plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into reviewing my work.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

A light knocking on the door woke Shatara from a restless sleep. Who is that? First person not to barge in. She cleared her throat. “You may enter.”

She listened to a key turn in the lock before the door eased open.

A head peeped around the corner.

Aw, someone who seems younger than me. “Come in, please.”

A petite girl squeezed past the open door, adjusting her traditional Sana’ani, a curtain-style dress in black with red and green trim. Sequins adorned the garment. Upon her head, she wore an Al-Momq, a cotton cloth covering her head. Like the Sana’ani, it was in black but had red and white inclusions. Her long, black tresses flowed down her back. She set a tan canvas bag on the floor.

“As-salam alaykum. I am called Uzza Al-Hammadi. I will be your attendant while you visit us.”

Visit? Does she have any idea what’s going on? “Walaykum as-salam. I am Shatara. How old are you?”

She smiled. “I am twelve years old. Soon, I shall be ready for a husband.”

Shatara shook her head. She has no idea. “What do you have in the bag?”

Uzza glanced down. “A change of clothing for you.” She wrinkled her nose. “But first, you must clean up. I can smell you from here.”

“Yes, I was in a place where I couldn’t keep myself clean.” Shatara sniffed and seemed to recoil from her own body odor. “I hope you brought some shampoo.”

Uzza giggled. “Of course, Shatara. I brought you a shampoo soap bar, which is good for hair growth. It is made with cedarwood, lavender, and sweet orange.”

“Sounds lovely. Where can I clean up?”

Uzza pointed to the interior door as her face beamed. “We are blessed to have modern toilets. There’s one inside, along with a shower hose. Do you need my help?” She picked up the bag and pulled out a bar of soap, along with a square of cloth and a towel, and handed them to Shatara. “When you finish your cleansing, I will have your clothes laid out on the bed for you.”

“Why can’t I take the clothes with me?”

Uzza shook her head. “There isn’t any place to hang them, and they will get wet.”

“Oh.” At least I can protect my modesty with the towel. “Let me go now. I’ll feel better when I’m clean.”

“Oh, yes. And smell better, too.” Uzza covered her mouth as she blushed. “I am sorry if I have insulted you.”

“You’re correct. I’ll be back soon.” Shatara opened the bathroom door and stepped inside. In addition to the toilet, there was a small sink with a cracked mirror above it. In the corner, a hose was connected to two taps via a mixer tube. The water will flow across the floor. Oh, well. At least I’ll be clean again.

Shatara put the towel on the toilet seat, stripped off her clothes, grabbed the soap, and turned on the water.

“Oh!” A burst of cold water caused Shatara to shudder. She adjusted the taps, and the water warmed. “That’s better.” She scrubbed her entire body before lathering her hair. When she finished, she wrapped herself in the towel, knocked on the door, and entered the bedroom.

Uzza smiled. “How was it? I think you enjoyed your showering as I listened to you humming.”

“It was fantastic.” Shatara grinned.

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 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved


Randall’s Ramblings, July 16, 2023

It’s been a wet week, with rain almost every day. Sometimes there were light showers while at other times there were heavy downpours. Last night on the news during the weather segment, the announcer stated July was a wetter-than-normal month and it’s expected to continue for at least the next week.

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” – Barbara Kingsolver. Compliments of: https://getfreewrite.com/blogs/writing-success/55-motivational-writing-quotes

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 16 July, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Marc René, Marquis de Montalembert, French military engineer and writer; da B. Wells (-Barnett), American journalist, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the NAACP; George A. Birmingham, Irish clergyman and novelist; Lambert McKenna, Irish editor and lexicographer; Larry Semon, American silent film actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (The Wizard of Oz (1925)); Maurits Dekker, Dutch novelist and playwright (Merkteken; Boots In Jail); Edward Miller, British historian and Master (Fitzwilliam College Cambridge); Trevor Illtyd Williams, scientific writer; Shirley Hughes, English author and illustrator (Dogger); Anita Brookner, English novelist (Hotel du Lac) and art historian; Robert Sheckley, American sci-fi author (10th Victim, Mindswap); Lady Caroline Blackwood, British journalist and writer (The Last of the Duchess); Tom Rosenthal, British publisher and broadcaster; Marion Pitt, social worker/writer; Reinaldo Arenas, Cuban poet and novelist (Pentagonia); Esther Friesner, American sci-fi author (Witchwood Cradle); Tony Kushner, American playwright and screenwriter (Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes); Alexandra Marinina, Russian writer (Igra Na Chuzhom Pole); Johnny Vaughan, English writer and broadcaster (Capital Breakfast); and Will Ferrell, American Emmy and Raspberry Award-winning comic actor and writer (SNL, 1995-2002; Anchorman; Elf; Step Brothers); Larry Sanger, American co-founder of Wikipedia.

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me this week: Will Ferrell. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work – Promotions

The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, Colombian Betrayal, Mission: Angola, and Frozen Conquest are participating in a Thrillers and Suspense promotion through the end of August. There are seventy-eight Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Thriller, and Romance / Suspense novels to choose from, so when you have a moment or two, please check it out.

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapters three and four of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. Both chapters have been posted to the two online writing sites I use. A further thirty-one reviews, bringing the total to fifty-one. As always, plenty of recommendations for me to consider.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Shatara scurried forward as a chunk of bread and an apple dropped through a slot. Moments later, the door inched open, and a fresh bucket of water was shoved inside before the door slammed shut.

She studied the stale bread. Larger than normal. Makes up for the bruised apple. Oh well. She broke off several small pieces of the crust and put them in the corner. Here, Bushra, you may eat when you are ready.

Shatara scooped dead flies from the top of the new water bucket. Stomach rumbling, she broke off pieces of the bread and dunked them in the tepid water before shoving them into her mouth. After finishing the bread, she bit into the apple. She shook her head at the bitter flavors while she savored the juice trickling down her parched throat.

After finishing her meager meal, Shatara leaned against the wall opposite the window. She could make out a few stars appearing, as well as a sliver of a new moon. They were soon blotted out. The sounds of the wind picking up whistled through the bars as sand splattered the outside of the building, as noisy as if it were a tropical storm.

She crept back to the water bucket and dipped her hand into the tepid liquid, cupping her fingers as she brought a small handful towards her mouth. After wetting her lips, she spat it out and returned to her blanket.

With the cooler breezes because of the approaching storm, she spread the chador across the blanket to give greater warmth. Before long, she fell asleep.


Shatara tossed and turned for hours. At one point, she reflected on her family. Tears formed as she thought of her parents and her brother, Zahid. I miss them so much. Will I ever see them again?

At long last, she drifted into a troubled sleep, the blanket and chador tight around her body.


The morning call to prayer woke her from a restless night. Body aching, she stretched to work out some of the kinks. What will today bring? Will Baba find me and take me home? She began her preparations for the Fajr, or the first prayer of the day.


An ear-piecing screech filled the air, which was abruptly cut off.

What is happening? She dashed to the blanket and tugged on her chador.

Rather than the clip-clop sounds of the jailer, the measured footsteps of someone else echoed in the corridor.

Shatara hurried to don the chador.

The key turned in the lock, squealing as normal.

The door opened, and a man dressed in a white full-length loose-fitting garment with long sleeves known as a thobe and a red and white checkered kaffiyeh stepped inside. “Well? Are you ready? I demand your answer—now. Speak with great care, or it could be your undoing.”

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 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved


Randall’s Ramblings, May 22, 2022

All the flowers, plants, and shrubs which should be in bloom are now out, creating a fantastic color display. The rain has subsided a bit, but there’s been enough whereby I have to cut the grass on a weekly basis. Since our grassy area is so small, I use a push mower and I’m still done in less than an hour!

Over the past three weeks, the price of gasoline (petrol) has been creeping upwards. In early April, the Chancellor’s spring announcement saw a decrease in duty by five pence, reducing the price to £1.58 a liter. Now it’s up to £1.66, which makes it the equivalent of $7.99 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate.  Fortunately, the dollar has strengthened against the pound. If the exchange rate was still where it was in March, it would be $9.80 a gallon!

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

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 22nd, the fourth Sunday of the month:

Gérard de Nerval [Gérard Labrunie], French writer; Catulle Mendès, French poet; Arthur Conan Doyle, British author who brought Sherlock Holmes to life twice; August Cuppens, Flemish author (Limburgs Driemanschap); Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born actress, scriptwriter, and producer (Blood and Sand); Johannes R. Becher, German writer and politician; Robert Neumann, Austrian-British author (Waters of Babylon); Anne de Vries, Dutch teacher and writer (Bartje); Paul Viiding, Estonian poet; [Georges Prosper Remi], Belgian comic book creator (The Adventures of Tintin); Vance Packard, American journalist and author (The Hidden Persuaders); udith Crist, American film critic (TV Guide, Today); M. Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and writer (The Road Less Traveled); and Lucie Brock-Broido, American poet and academic (Noctuary).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Arthur Conan Doyle. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:


May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:


Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work continues on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The first chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use and it received eleven reviews. I’ll be posting chapter two later in the week.

Here’s the first snippet from Frozen Conquest:

Walter Brown, the eighty-year-old founder and CEO of the privately held Diablo Corps, gazed out the office windows on the top floor of the company headquarters in downtown Miami. Although dwarfed by much taller buildings, Brown normally enjoyed the skyline view toward the ocean.

As one of the world’s richest men, he could have lived anywhere. Few knew his name, and even fewer could boast of meeting the recluse.

Rain lashed the windows as an intermittent storm disrupted the otherwise hot and sunny day. He turned back to a sixty-four inch-monitor. Blinking red and green lights signified his worldwide operations.

When his phone rang, he stabbed at the console and put the call on speaker. “What?”

“Sir, Reginald here. Both tests were completed.”

“Excellent Have the accountants arrived yet?”

“Yes, sir. They came yesterday and are getting acclimatized now. Several began work this morning, but ….”

“What’s wrong?”

“Uh … your nephew. He was caught on an ice floe after the second test. He’s still missing.”

Walter closed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Very well. Keep searching, but I doubt he’ll still be alive. However, my sister will want to give him a proper burial.”

“Yes, sir. When will you be returning?”

“I should finish what I need to do here by tomorrow morning. Expect me to arrive in the evening. Tell Chris to make sure everything is ready for me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Walter broke the connection and changed the monitor presentation. Blue lights signified the locations of major banking and investment institutions and the world’s leading stock exchanges. “Soon, we shall make our requirements known. If the G7 doesn’t bend to our demands, the might of Diablo shall disrupt their economies.”

He stepped to a self-service bar in the corner of his office and poured himself a large single malt whiskey. After taking a sip, he logged onto his computer and created a message:

To: The Chairmen and Governors of the G7 Central Banks

From: Nightmare

Stand by for my demands, which will be released soon. Failure to comply will result in the destruction of your way of life as you know it. The world cries out for truth, and I  will be the sword of justice.

Perhaps another snippet next week.

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another eleven reviews this week, bringing the total to 866. Slide1

Here’s the final snippet:

Raj finished his lunch at a nearby restaurant and returned to his office. When he entered, he spotted a note on the center of his desk: See me – J.

He left his office and headed to the basement. Raj knocked on a door at the far end of a dimly lit corridor.

It creaked open, and Jadallah stepped out. “Hello, Raj. Have you come to see my handiwork?” He wiped his hands on a bloodstained apron.

“If I must.” Raj wrinkled his nose at the smell emanating from the partially open door. “Tel me … did Vedant ever figure out you were planted on him because of his nationalist views?”

Jadallah shook his head. “Never. In fact, he thought we shared a common bond. Little did he know who my true employer was.”

“Well, he will be one of many who will face prison time or even death for plotting to break up India.” Raj gestured toward the door. “I suppose it is time.”

Jadallah stood aside and waited for Raj to enter.

“Oh my …” Raj paled before he bent over and vomited.

Jadallah handed him a towel. “Quite a sight, is he not? He was very strong, but everyone bows to my questioning. Wait until I tell you what I learned.”

Raj covered his mouth with the towel as he looked at their prisoner.

Chains held Benedikt against the wall; the ones connected to his arms caused him to stretch upward. Both his eyes were empty sockets. Burns covered most of his body while blood seeped from hundreds of tiny cuts. He moaned. “K-kill m-me.”

Raj turned to Jadallah. So what did he say?”

Jadallah grinned. “You will not believe this. Former Russian Spetsnaz soldiers, now working as mercenaries, have been helping the nationalists on both sides of the border. They have been behind the calls for Punjab to be reunited.”

“I must inform the Bedlam woman, Evelyn. She will know what to do with this information.”

Jadallah gestured toward Benedikt. “What about him?”

“Kill him if he is not already dead. Throw his body on a funeral pyre.”

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved



Randall’s Ramblings, March 7, 2021

We’ve had cooler temperatures over the past week, barely making into the lower 40s (mid teens, Celsius). For the most part, it’s been dry, which has been good so we could do some pruning of the hydrangeas, which stated to bud a couple of weeks ago. Normally, we get the pruning done before they bud, but with the recent mild weather, they decided to spring out.

A variety of spring flowers are now flowering. I don’t remember all of their names, but at least we’re seeing a variety of reds, yellows, and blues adding color around the house.

“There are two amazing places you can be. The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts. The safest place to be is in someone’s prayers. (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 7th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Guillaume du Vair, French writer and thinker; Georg Neumark, German composer and poet; Ewald Christian von Kleist, German poet; Alessandro Manzoni, Italian poet/novelist (Betrothed); Frantisek L. Celakovsky, Czech poet (national anthem, folk song); Franz Grave von Pocci, German poet/composer (Der Alchemist); Matilde Serao [Tuffolina], Italian writer (Land of Cockayne); Paul Ernst, German writer; Vera Fjodorova Panova, Russian author (Sputniki); Greta Schoon, German poet; Leo Malet, French crime novelist (Nestor Burma novels); Stefan Kisielewski, Polish composer, writer and politician; Mochtar Lubis, Indonesian writer (Twilight in Jakarta); Kobo Abe, playwright (Woman, the Dunes); Jean-Paul Desbiens, Quebec writer and teacher; Georges Perec, French writer (Seire Noire, Retour a la bien-aimee); Harald Gerlach, German writer; Paul Preuss, American sci-fi author (Medusa Encounter, Starfire); Jürgen Theobaldy, German writer; Stanley Schmidt, American science fiction writer and editor; Robert Harris, British TV reporter, journalist and author (Fatherland, Enigma); Bret Easton Ellis, American writer (American Psycho); i Ai Yazawa, Japanese mangaka (manga author – Neighbourhood Story); and Amanda Gorman, American poet and activist who delivered the poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognise is Amanda Gorman. We watched her delivery of her poem on inauguration day. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

All five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU). My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. Mission: Angola is also participating in a separate promotion for New Releases – Mystery/Thriller. There are forty-two novels in this promotion, all of which have been released since October 2020. Please stop by–you might meet your next favorite author!

My Work in Progress

I still didn’t finish the next chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as real-life requirements once again took precedence. Over the past week, there were another twenty-one new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 372. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

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

“I didn’t think.”

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Act of War (Scot Harvath Book 13)  by Brad Thor. As with all of Brad’s stories, this is another riveting plot with plenty of action. Once again, Scot Harvath is embroiled in a struggle between good and evil as terrorists try to bring down the United States.With excellent descriptions, realistic characters, and Brad’s unique prowess, this is one not to be missed!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved