Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 12, 2017

We had our first dusting of snow for the new ‘winter’ season. Only about half an inch, just enough to cover most of the ground. With cold daytime temperatures hovering around freezing (32F, 0C) and nighttime much lower (8F, -13C), it’s no wonder it took several days for even this small amount of snow disappear.

Today, we’re off to a gloomy start, but nothing a cup of coffee or two won’t brighten. The sky is gray and so is the water. No hint of the sun, which must be up there someplace. With the leaves shed from the trees, it does paint a bleak picture but onward we go!

With the colder weather, we’re receiving more visitors at the apple tree feeders. Blue jays, cardinals, black-eyed chickadees, juncos, an occasional tree sparrow. Two different woodpeckers dropped by as well. It’s always a treat to glance out the window to see who has dropped by.

My Work in Progress

There’s always a positive side to inclement weather for a writer. Outdoor chores are put on hold, allowing more time with paper and pen (okay, a computer these days, but what the heck?).

Despite November being the annual NaNoWriMo competition, reviews of my latest manuscript, Dangerous Alliance, keep flowing, now up to 558 chapter reviews. A couple of faithful reviewers asked me to keep posting as they like to read several chapters in a row and not wait for the eventual announcements of a new post.

I agreed with them and it’s a good thing the words have been flowing. Over the past week, I completed six more chapters, leaving me five remaining to complete the first draft. Once the final chapters are completed, the hard work will begin–editing.

Here’s another sample from Dangerous Alliance:

Two men pulled the tent flaps open, allowing Busuri and Looshan to enter. Knives drawn, they rushed to the sleeping foreigners.

George stirred, eyes opening when the hilt of a dagger clipped the side of his head. “What? Who’s there?”

A hand covered George’s mouth as a dagger traced a line down his chin to his throat.

“Sshhh. Make a sound—you die.”

***

Several hours later, a phone rang twice before someone answered. “This is the British Embassy in Nairobi. How may I direct your call?”

“Hello, I’m Ian Jones, the Jujubba Refugee Camp coordinator near Malindi. We need help. There’s been a kidnapping!”

A bit more next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed the first two novels in the new Ryan Kaine series by Kerry Donovan. I’ve already been an avid reader of Kerry’s DCI Jones Casebook series, so I could wait to get started.

I believe Kerry has taken his writing to a new level with his new series. The first one, Ryan Kaine: On The Run, grabbed me from the beginning. Holy smokes! Set up by his superiors, Ryan blasts a commercial airliner out of the sky. Not content with tricking Ryan into doing something he would never have voluntarily done, the boss sends out thugs to ensure Ryan remains quiet—permanently.

With eighty-three innocent deaths on his hands and guilt threatening to overwhelm him, Ryan sets out to prove his innocence. Will his skills, instincts, as well as new and old friends, be enough to spur him on?

With realistic characters an exciting plot, and riveting action, I found it difficult to put down. I wanted Ryan to succeed in his mission. An excellent beginning to this exciting new series.

After finishing this story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks. Kerry stepped up the action, having a somewhat vindicated Ryan traveling to Scotland to rescue the younger brother of one of the fatalities from the airliner. On a school outing, he’s missing on a Scottish mountain. Ryan infiltrates a rescue team to lend his knowledge of the area and his skills. The team took him at his word, until the schoolteacher leading the outing recognizes Ryan.

With Ryan’s identity revealed, he escapes and works his way up the mountain. Climb with him as he scales steep cliffs until he finds the boy. I read this one even faster than the first one; I was so enthralled with the plot. For those who love thrillers, the Ryan Kaine is a series not to miss!

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! My interview with Kerry Donovan is now posted (along with the reviews listed above of his Ryan Kaine series).

B. Douglas Slack – A newly published author, Mr. Slack provides an interesting style as he brings us a romance spanning the globe–an American man and a Japanese woman. I won’t say any more just now as my review will be posted next week. It’s a great story and one not to miss. Available now on Amazon.com.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 5, 2017

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I switched on the television to begin watching the football game between Penn State and Michigan State. It was a recording but the game I expected wasn’t the one being shown. Why? The weather was so bad, there was a three-hour delay during the second quarter. Later on, the start of the University of Michigan’s game was delayed by over an hour.

At our house, the wind was blowing across Lake Huron. The bird feeders in our apple tree were perpendicular to the ground, their contents blown who know where. Things are back to normal now, so I repaired one of the feeders (the metal wire holding it in the tree had snapped), and topped all of them up. The first to greet me–a pair of black-capped chickadees.

My Work in Progress

This week’s inclement weather meant more time working on my Dangerous Alliance manuscript. I completed two chapters this week, but as I mentioned last time, I wouldn’t be posting them to the subscription writing sites I use for reviews until December because of the annual NaNoWriMo competition.

In addition to the two completed chapters, I’m doing something I haven’t tried before. I began working on the remainder of the chapters simultaneously. Seems to be working well, as it’s easier to ensure all threads are coming together as the end approaches. I might begin using this process as part of my normal draft preparation.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

In a quiet voice, Busuri spoke. “Change of plans. I found something better than entertainment to take from the camp.”

“What’s better?” Looshan asked.

“You’re the youngest member of the group, so there is more to learn. Foreigners—we’ll be able to ransom them as Dacar does with the ships.”

“Aah. I understand.”

***

Busuri gazed at the heavens, thousands of stars twinkling. He found his omen—the narrowest sliver of moonlight, shaped like a billaawe, the Somali double-edged dagger. Perfect tool for this evening.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently became a member of Blair Howard’s Advanced Reading Group. We had the pleasure of reading his new release, Hoodwinked.  Here are my thoughts about the latest adventure in the Harry Starke series:

Blair Howard’s Hoodwinked is the latest and greatest in his Harry Starke series. Semi-retired, Harry takes on a different role when a longtime friend is accused of murder. Despite his partners, the defense lawyer, and Kate Gazzara all believing his friend murdered his wife, Harry doesn’t believe it. The cast of suspects grows daily, even after Harry’s friend, Jim, is arrested.

Despite his best efforts Harry and his team are unable to find sufficient evidence to aid in Jim’s defense. Just when I thought I new who was responsible, another likely candidate surfaced. A surprising twists finally reveals who the murderer is. Hoodwinked is a non-stop roller coaster ride and impossible to put down until you reach the end. Blair created an exciting plot and plenty of exciting characters–you’ll be willing for Harry to solve the case. I hope there’s more to follow in the series!

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.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! My reviews of the first two novels in the new Ryan Kaine series and an interview with author Kerry J. Donovan will be posted tomorrow.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 29, 2017

As more seasonal weather descends upon us, associated sounds fill the air. Perhaps we’ve heard the last rush with lawn mowers, which weed wackers and chain saws attacking this year’s growth, or in some cases, finally go after long-neglected patches.

The first frost of the fall hit us earlier this week–a sign the dreaded ‘s’ word might not be far behind. Rather than dwell on what might in front of us, how about those sunrises? They keep coming, day after day, vivid hues of red, orange, and blue as the sun makes its morning appearance. Even with cloud cover, the hint of the daily ritual is always on the horizon.

My Work in Progress

When other requirements permit, the words keep flowing from my brain to the computer screen. I finished another chapter of Dangerous Alliance and posted it to the two subscription writing sites I use. This week saw me tackle two chapters at the same time. Since the characters belong to the same group, I thought it made sense.

I won’t be posting any additional chapters to the writing sites until December, although I’ll continue to move forward. November is National Novel Writing Month, commonly referred to as NANOWRIMO. During the next month most, if not all of the folks reading my work will be busy writing a 50,000 novel so its better to wait before posting.

I’ve never participated in NANOWRIMO, but perhaps next year I will. In the meantime, as I work through the final third of Dangerous Alliance, my mind is already flushing out characters for the next book in the Bedlam series–Carnage in Singapore. I can already envision the opening scenes–but enough on that right now. First and foremost, I must complete Dangerous Alliance and then let the editing begin!

Another taster from my latest work in progress:

Since the abductions and murder, George served as the de facto leader. He stood, backed away a few feet, and clapped his hands for attention. “The shock of what happened will remain with us forever.” He gazed at each person in turn. “We can’t let it ruin our lives. I speak from experience.”

Alf chuckled, breaking the silence. Soon, others joined in until a ripple of laughter circled the campfire.

“Rihana, who joined us a few days ago, came to me this afternoon.” George gazed around the campfire. “She doesn’t know much English, but she used two words: ‘Thank you’ before giving me a hug. We must pull ourselves up and continue our work before returning home. These people are counting on us.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Last week I mentioned I was reading the first novel in a spin-off series from Blair Howard’s Harry Starke. Based on the adventures Harry’s friend and police partner, Lieutenant Kate Gazzara, Jasmine is an excellent beginning to this series.

Harry left the police force to begin life anew as a private investigator, leaving Kate to solve new homicides while building up her own network of contacts. Harry’s still in the background, assisting when needed but Kate is now the primary character. Already molded in the Harry Starke series, Kate takes readers on a whirlwind ride as another body appears.

An excellent cast of characters, a riveting plot, and almost more excitement than one can handle in a single evening (I read the entire novel in four nights), its another one for thriller aficionados to add to their collection. I’m already looking forward to the release of the next one!

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.

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. His short story, The Reunion, is now available through Amazon, perfect timing for Halloween!

Reader’s Abode – Don’t forget to check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away! Next week will be my reviews of two next releases and an interview with author Kerry J. Donovan!

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 22, 2017

As I type, I’m watching the nighttime sky change to reds and blues as the sun rises above the horizon. A new beginning–birds chirping away, waves gently lapping at the shore. Of course, with it being autumn, there’s also the swirling of leaves, shed from the various trees surrounding us.

Sitting here with my morning coffee, things are calm, peaceful–then one of the cats meowed for its breakfast. Oh well, back to reality as the day begins!

My Work in Progress

With the above-average temperatures, we held another garage sale yesterday. On a small table in the corner, I placed copies of The Kurdish Connection and several business cards. Several business cards disappeared, and two people purchased autographs copies of my novel. Yeah!

For several weeks the words have been flowing so I complete two more chapters of Dangerous Alliance. After posting them to the subscription writing sites I use, it was time to pay my outline a visit. With a tweak here and there, I’m moving forward. Another chapter is already underway. If the characters continue to cooperate, I might finish the first draft ahead of my self-imposed deadline.

Here’s another sample from Dangerous Alliance:

David glanced at the ground before gazing at George. “Thanks for being understanding. This has been a tremendous blow to everyone here. I don’t know how you’ve held up given your past.”

After David departed, George grabbed a chair under a nearby canopy, dropping his head into his hands. Why’s the world so violent? Wish I could speak with Granny.

***

Unlike the first group George and Alf assisted, the latest refugees arrived in better physical shape. However, they were all traumatized when marauders razed their village to the ground. Several bled from small knife wounds and one sported a long welt when one of the raiders tried to brand a young girl before she escaped.

Deep brown eyes peeked from under long unkempt hair. The girl clutched her mother’s hand as she stared at George.

“What’s the girl’s name?” George knelt beside her. Her mother smiled as her daughter grasped George’s extended hand.

“Rihana. She is seven years old.”

“A beautiful name. Hello, Rihana. My name is George.”

Rihana giggled and hid behind her mother’s skirt. Moments later, she shifted her head to peek at George.

“Boo!”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I just finished the first novel in a spin-off series from Blair Howard’s Harry Starke. More to come next week but it’s a great beginning.

Last week I mentioned I’d completed another Dane Maddock Adventure by David Wood. Dourado, the first in the series, is an excellent introduction to Dane Maddock and his friends.  Dane and his friend Bones are former SEALs and after leaving the military become treasure hunters.

The daughter of a former commander sought their help after her father is killed. His ambition had been to find the treasure of Dourado, a ship that sank near the coast of Indonesia, purportedly carrying priceless relics from the Holy Land.

With well-crafted characters, a riveting plot, and plenty of action, this is one for all thriller readers. I can’t wait to open the pages of the next one!

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.

MD Neu – writer and soon-to-be published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. He’ll be releasing a short story on October 23rd, just in time for Halloween!

Reader’s Abode – Don’t forget to check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away!

David Burton – the author of mysteries, thrillers, and supernatural stories, David’s work will appeal to a wide range of readers. Check him out.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Rambling, October 15, 2017

Here we are in the middle of October. Hard to believe, as it seems like summer was still here a few days ago. No doubt about it–the wet, dreary days are reminiscent of previous Octobers, although we’re still having 60F+ temperatures.

Despite the weather, necessary yard work continued. It was a good time to trim all of the pesky unwanted shoots growing up through the pine trees. With almost 100 trees, it took some doing, but almost finished. Now, I’ll wait for the rain to stop so I can bundle the stuff and have a beach fire (wind permitting).

My Work in Progress

Two more autographed copies of The Kurdish Connection went to new homes during the past week. Great to have continued interest in my debut novel. I just need to figure out how to increase the online sales and I’ll be delighted. Blair Howard (I provided a review of his first Harry Starke novel last week) provided me with insights into his marketing program. All I need to do is apply his recommendations and see what happens.

This past week saw the completion of two more Dangerous Alliance chapters. Both are posted to the two subscription writing sites I use for review by my fellow writers. As one reviewer said, “Plots, plots and more plots. I look forward to each additional chapter and the characters are becoming more real as details of the life unfold.  I’m sure it will be one of those books that you couldn’t put down, an ‘all night read’ as they say.

The next chapter is also underway. I mentioned last week I had revised my outline. I did this again and believe I’ve tightened the last third of the novel and will complete with about forty-seven chapters. It still should be close to 100,000 words before the editing phase begins.

Here a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

“Tahliil! At last, I’ve reached you. I’ve been trying for hours.”

“We had bad sandstorm. It stopped. The sky is clear.”

“I need your advice, Tahliil.” Dacar explained what had transpired since they captured the oil tanker.

“Dacar, make Greeks fear you. Kill one.”

***

“How, why? Who would do this?” Alf clenched his hands into tight fists, his knuckles whitening. An occasional tear fluttered down his face as he tried to come to terms after witnessing human brutality for the first time.

“May I have your attention, please?” David stood on a small crate. “We volunteered to help those in this camp who are in distress and require assistance. Sometimes, evil forces take advantage of those who are weak.”

David wiped his eyes before continuing. “We must be strong for those who remain and depend upon us. We’ll never forget what’s happened, but we must continue our work.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading two novels in Kerry J. Donovan’s new series, Ryan Kaine. Since I’m doing an interview with Kerry, which will be posted in Readers Abode next month, I’ll hold my reviews and include them at that time.

I’m almost finished with another Dane Maddock Adventure, by David Wood. Stay tuned for my comments 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.

MD Neu – writer and soon-to-be published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. He’ll be releasing a short story on October 23rd, just in time for Halloween!

Reader’s Abode – Don’t forget to check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away!

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 7, 2017

If you’re from Michigan, you’ll know the big game was played last night between the University of Michigan and Michigan State. As always, this was expected to be a thriller. Even Mother Nature wanted in the act with pelting rain and driving winds. The winner? Well, just in case someone reading this recorded the game but hasn’t finished watching, I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say, a Michigan team won!

My Work in Progress

Yesterday I met with the store manager of the local Barnes & Noble. With the run-up to Christmas, they’ll be putting a display of works by local authors. The Kurdish Connection will be one of the novels they will showcase. In January 2018, they’ll also hold a book-signing event for me. I also sold two autographs copies this week. Things are moving along, slow and steady, but in the right direction!

This past week saw the completion of another Dangerous Alliance chapter. It’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use for review by my fellow writers. As one reviewer said, “Holy crap! What a way to end a chapter. Suspense abounds. You were right, the twists and turns keep coming.”

Needless to say, I’m moving forward with chapter twenty-nine. I also revised my outline, which now indicates a total of fifty chapters to complete this story. Plenty more to write as I want to complete the entire first draft by the end of January.

Books I’m Reading

Last night I finished reading Harry Starke by Blair Howard. The first in the Harry Starke series, this was a treat to read. It has everything a thriller reader could ask for: mystery, intrigue, action, romance, and plenty of twists and turns. Did I mention the deceit, extortion, and murder?

Harry is a middle-aged private eye thrust into a roller coaster ride after a beautiful woman rushed past him and dives off a bridge. If you love detective stories, you’ll love this one! I’ve already grabbed the next in the series, Two for the Money!

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.

Blair Howard – After reading the first novel in the Harry Starke series (there are eleven so far) and becoming hooked, I’d like to share Blair’s website with you.

Reader’s Abode – Don’t forget to check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer. Click on the events tab to learn about our exciting book give-away!

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 1, 2017

In the past eight days, we’ve seen the thermometer reach the high for the year (91F) and drop over thirty degrees to yesterday’s 59F. Wave action on the lake has been as varied as the temperature, with three-foot waves crashing against the shore and today’s almost mirror-like calm. At least there’s been on thing consistent–the sunrises have been superb. We began this morning with a brisk 38F and are climbing towards the forecast high of 64F. Plenty of sunshine so it’ll be a good day!

The wildlife continues to visit, seemingly oblivious to these changes. I was sitting in a chair in back of the house yesterday, when a young white-tailed deer buck sauntered by. He couldn’t have been more than twenty feet from me. An incredible sight!

My Work in Progress

I’ve been on fire with my writing the past three or four weeks. I finished chapter 27 of Dangerous Alliance and posted it for review. After spending a bit of time making adjustments to the remainder of my outline, I’ve also started on the next chapter.

We held another garage sale yesterday. As I’ve been doing, I have a small table set up with a couple of my novels, The Kurdish Connection, along with several business cards. I don’t mention anything but most people check the table out. Some make comments such as, “Oh, you’re a writer” while others don’t say anything but take a card. Yesterday, another individual wanted a signed copy. It’s always a great feeling when this happens.

I’m also assisting two writers with editing of their work, so I didn’t do much more on my own. Still, it’s been a good week. I hope it continues so I can achieve my goal of completing the entire first draft by the end of the year.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Loud engines noises drowned out whatever the man planned to say. Dacar rushed to a window as two military aircraft circled the ship. “I think the Americans called those planes Hornets.”

“What should we do?” The young man’s eyes widen with fear at the mention of the American aircraft. “Go ou—”

***

“They must be satisfied we’re not the missing Zeus.” Dacar laughed. “Good thing we changed the name as quick as we did.”

“Yes. Should I continue searching for the missing crewmen?” Sahid shoved his knife back in its sheath.

“Not yet. I want to speak with Tahliil and ask his opinion.”

***

Three hours ago, U.S. Naval aircraft located an oil tanker proceeding in established shipping lanes towards India. They identified the ship as the Zebu, flying a Bahamian flag. No sign of the Zeus.

Maintain current operation with Greek frigate. Will advise.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Loch: A Dane Maddock Adventure, by David Wood. Not sure how I stumbled across this as it’s the ninth in the series when I usually like to start with the first one.

I couldn’t ask for a better adventure story. Two former SEALs turn treasure hunters end up seeking treasure in Scotland. Plenty of action as Maddock and Bones assist others in trying to uncover a treasure, which might be guarded by the Loch Ness monster.

David has created excellent and realistic characters. As soon as I finished reading this adrenaline rush, I did what I should have done before–started with book one. Needless to say, I’m hooked on David’s writing style and his plots. More to come as I continue to read this series.

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. Unfortunately, with everything else going on, I didn’t have an opportunity to check out anything new. Hopefully, I’ll have something to share next week.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved