Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 21, 2018

Another week has passed. At least the weather warmed up and the snow is beginning to melt. Not sure how long the above-average temperatures will last, but we’ll take what we can get.

It’s great looking out toward the lake and seeing all of the trails the deer have made in the snow. Crisscrossing every direction, it seems like a herd might have visited.

My Work in Progress

The Kurdish Connection ended up fourth in the thriller category of the 20th annual Preditors and Editors reader’s poll, sponsored by Critters / Critique.org. Not bad! If I get Dangerous Alliance released this year, then it’ll be eligible for next year’s contest.

dangerousalliance02.jpgAs promised, here is the cover for Dangerous Alliance.

I’ve now transferred reviewer comments for all forty-eight chapters. Still plenty of editing to do, but things continue to progress.

What’s the novel about?

United Nations’ sanctions are crippling North Korea. China has turned her back on her malevolent partner. The North Korean military machine is crumbling, unable to function. Oil reserves are minimal and the government seeks new alliances.

Cargo and tourist ships are disappearing along the Somali and Kenyan coastline at an alarming rate. Speeches abound in the United Nations, but inaction emboldens al-Shabaab to seek their next prize: Kenya. The terror organization controls land but requires weapons.

Soon after Bedlam Bravo is called upon to disrupt their plans, a VIP’s son is kidnapped while on a mission to aide refugees. Can they manage to disrupt the North Korean-al-Shabaab axis and save the kidnapped son?

Team leader Colonel (Ret.) Trevor Franklin leads the small international team into East Africa. Tempers flare as the team is embroiled in a political quagmire. The axis must be stopped to avert an international crisis but will it be at the expense of the VIP’s son?

With my concentration on Dangerous Alliance, I still didn’t finish chapter four of Carnage in Singapore as I had planned. Too much going on!

Books I’m Reading

I  recently finished a number of novels. I’m still collating my thoughts and hope to bring you two or three reviews next time. I’m also continuing to collect new novels to read from a number of authors, so I’ll have plenty of material to share with you.

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.

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’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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 14, 2017

Today is Mother’s Day in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States, as well as several other countries. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and moms-to-be! Hope you have an enjoyable day. I know my wife is, because our son flew in yesterday morning from Washington, D.C., to spend the weekend with her. I don’t think he could have picked a better present!

My Work in Progress

Despite a myriad of external tasks this week, I still managed to squeeze in more writing on Dangerous Alliance. Chapter eighteen is posted to the two subscription writing sites I use and reviews are coming in.  Progress on chapter nineteen is also underway and I hope to post this during the coming week.  All other works on other projects are on hold until I at least complete Dangerous Alliance‘s overall first draft.

Here’s another snippet for you:

A man, dressed in dark clothing and covered in a green blanket with scattered dark brown splotches lay on the mulch, his head resting against a palm.

Kim bent down. Part of the blanket covered the man’s face. He pulled it aside—and gasped.

Soo!

Battered, bruised, but still with a pulse. Kim tapped Soo’s face—no response. He grasped him by the shoulders and gave a light shake. Soo’s head moved, minor twitches, before his hand reached out and grabbed Kim’s arm.

“Help. Me.” Soo’s hand fell to the ground.

***

A man smiled as he snapped photos through the open window, zooming in on Kim’s face. Another, this time with both men. He pushed back through the bushes, dropped his camera inside a Lufthansa airline bag, and departed.

How to proceed—threats? Blackmail?

Perhaps most next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m finishing up Jack Du Brul’s Deep Fire Rising (Philip Mercer Book 6) and Brad Carl’s Grey Areas – The Saga. I’ll have both reviews for you next time.

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.

ReadersAbode – Don’t forget to check this site out. Created by a group of writers spread across several continents, there’s sure to be something of interest. Thus far, the site contains short stories and poems written by its members, several blog posts and interviews with established authors. Or check it out on Twitter: @readersabode.

Art Galore – A virtual world of art and books! Whether you’re into art of into finding a new book to read, check out this site.

Lenka’s List – Home of creative people. An excellent website for authors and bloggers to showcase their work.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have this sunny Sunday. Need to enjoy the rest of the day with our son before he heads back to Washington this evening. 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.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 23, 2017

Yesterday, I began one of the season’s rituals–cutting the grass. Aah! Nothing like the scent of fresh-cut grass. Of course, by the time I get the first cut completed, I might be thinking something else.

We’re off to a beautiful start to the day. Brilliant sunshine, almost warm (a light chill in the breeze), and not a cloud in the sky. Long may it last!

My Work in Progress

This week I attended a monthly reading group at one of the district libraries. They purchased ten copies of The Kurdish Connection last month and I joined them to explain about my writing journey, answer any questions, and sign their books.  They came prepared!  Two members had even downloaded maps for Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, and had drawn the routes mentioned in the story.  It was pretty impressive. So were their questions, which came rapid-fire for almost ninety minutes. It was a great experience and they are already looking forward to purchasing the sequel.

By the way, The Kurdish Connection finished fourth in the weekly cover contest held by a website called Author Shout. Not too bad out of fifteen.

Speaking of the sequel, Dangerous Alliance is slowly moving forward. Once again, external forces kept me from the keyboard, but I did manage to add a few words to the chapter. It’s not for lack of trying but lack of hours in the day!

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

“You and Marco go to the refrigerated hold, a container to unload.” Luigi handed Trevor a piece of paper, a number scrawled in block letters.

Trevor and Marco headed into their designated work area to prepare the designated container. Trevor disconnected the cooling pipes from his side, waiting for Marco to finish.

A piercing scream enveloped the hold’s normal noises. Trevor dropped the cable he held, rushing to the source.

Luigi approached Trevor. “What happened?”

“No idea. I disconnected the hose on my side and waited for Marco. The next thing, he screamed.”

“Is there an—” Trevor glanced behind Luigi as he glimpsed a long shadow ascending the stairs in the back of the hold. Wonder who it is?

More next week.

Books I’m Reading

As I mentioned last time, I finished Justified and Sacrifice by Carolyn Arnold. I enjoyed both but didn’t have a chance to craft my reviews. Here are my thoughts:

Justified

Carolyn Arnold has done it again!  Justified continues the crime adventures of Detective Madison Knight and her partner, Terry.  It’s Christmas time, but no rest for the detectives of the Major Crimes Division as a dead body is found. Madison, definitely an A-type personality, gives the crime the same attention as she does with every murder. Focused on identifying the culprit, she is at odds with Terry, her boyfriend, and even her police sergeant. Despite this, Madison believes that everyone deserves her undivided attention.
Who is behind the death of Claire Reeves? There’s certainly no lack of potential candidates, but why was she killed? Love, money or blackmail? Madison and Terry take us on a journey through Claire’s past. For every person cleared new clues point to someone else. Undeterred, Madison forges forward with Terry’s assistance until they find the culprit. A great journey and I couldn’t put it down.  Well done!
Sacrifice
In this third book in the series, Madison Knight goes adrift of the police chief when the son of one of the city’s wealthiest and most influential people turns up dead. Pressure mounts as the police chief denies Madison’s access to the dead man’s father, almost to the point of collusion. This is an intense story, with Terry worry he might be out of a job, especially after Madison is suspended for pushing the boundaries far too much.
Terry carries on as best as he can, until Madison is reinstated. Together, they sift through clues and determine not only where the man was killed but by whom. A great thriller, with plenty of mystery and intrigue as the story unfolds. Another great one by Carolyn Arnold!

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.

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 26, 2017

It’s been a crazy week on the weather front, with temperatures here on the lake ranging from 29F/-2C to 63F/17C. At least the snow is gone, hopefully until next winter! What remained constant is some of our neighbors stopping by for a bit of breakfast. 

KODAK Digital Still CameraI never realized how mean they could be to each other until watching them eat. Of course, it is survival of the fittest.

Even the birds that stop by from time-to-time to check out the feeders become territorial, even though there’s always plenty for them to eat. It’s clearly instinct-driven. We’ve been fortunate to have so many regular visitors throughout the year. What a treat!

Did you have a birthday this week? If so, are there any names on the list you recognize? I spotted a few I knew, but as always, many that are new to me.  This week’s group includes: Louise Otto, German author; Edward Bellamy, writer (Looking Backward; A.E. Houseman, poet (A Shropshire Lad); Robert Frost, poet, multiple Pulitzer Prize-winner; Joseph Campbell, folklorist and writer; Erica Jong, poet, novelist (Fear of Flying, How to Save Your Own Life);  (Mary) Flannery O’Connor, novelist and short story writer; William Morris, English craftsman, poet and socialist; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, ‘beat’ poet; Louis L’Amour, American Western novelist; and Ovid, Roman poet.

Happy birthday to all!

My Work in Progress

Almost everything, including marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection, took a back seat to everyday requirements. Someone thirty miles away heard I had published a novel and requested a signed copy. Fantastic!  The word is getting out.

I only managed about 800 words on my next chapter of Dangerous Alliance, but hope to pick up the pace this week. The overall number of chapter reviews for the fifteen chapters posted on the two subscription writing sites I use increased from 229 to 245. Plenty of positive feedback, which will aid me when I enter the editing phase.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

A tall, broad-shouldered man twisted his back to work out the kinks, grabbed a red and white-checkered bandana from his pocket and wiped the perspiration from his face. His nose, white from layers of sun cream for protection, vied for attention with reddish hair to be his most prominent feature.

George turned to Alf, who joined Save the World for his gap year before returning to university to study history. “Want a drink of water? I’m getting one.”

Alf stopped digging a hole for a new post and climbed up. “I could kill a beer about now.”

George laughed. “The rumor going around is Tusker Beer is drinkable. Perhaps we’ll try one tonight.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Ties That Bind (Detective Madison Knight Series, Book One, by Carolyn Arnold, an international bestselling and award-winning author. I’ve already become a fan after reading, and have purchased the next two in the series: Justified and Sacrifice.

Detective Madison Knight and her able-bodied partner, Terry, are handed what appears to be an isolated incident. A woman is found strangled but then another body surfaces, both killed by the same brand of necktie. Their sergeant hounds them to close the case, even if they don’t have the perpetrator. Meanwhile, Terry’s mind is on his rocky marriage. Will they be able to stop a possible serial killer before another body is found?

Without a personal life, Madison works all hours to identify the killer. Her well-honed investigative skills are put to the test, while Terry keeps skipping out to deal with his personal crisis. Ties That Bind is full of suspense from the beginning to the end when the case appears to be solved. With a very smooth pace, it was very difficult to put down, as I wanted to keep reading and find out if they caught the culprit. An excellent storyline, filled with realistic police procedures centered on their current assignment, while at the same time we find the detectives exhibit a variety of traits, likes, and dislikes.

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. However, with the day-to-day commitments this week, I wasn’t able to check out new sites. Perhaps next time!

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.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 19, 2017

A reddish glimmer lined the horizon, the beginning of a new day. A noise had disturbed me, not time to get up. What caused the disturbance? Someone running in the hallway, crashing into a door. More footsteps–fast approaching. A thud, followed by scampering.

I eased the bedroom door open. Something hit my legs. I looked down and who should I find? Lady Flora, playing with a blue plastic ring from the top of a milk container. She had my attention. Rushing by, Flora dashed to the door, wanting outside. Another day, time to play!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Lady Flora Fluffbum

 

Who had a birthday this week? Go ahead, raise your hand. Here are a few people from the writing world with birthdays this past week:

Sarah Gertrude Millina, South African writer (The Dark River, God’s Stepchildren); Phillip Roth, American novelist and short-story writer (Portnoy’s Complaint); Stephane Mallarme, French symbolist poet; Wilfred Owen, World War I poet; John Updike, American poet and novelist; Daniel Conway Moncure, U.S. clergyman, author, abolitionist; Janet Flanner, writer (Letter from Paris); and George Seferis, Greek poet.

Hope you enjoyed your special day.

My Work in Progress

Once again, marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection continued during the past week. A district library contacted me, wanting to purchase ten copies of my debut novel for a monthly reading group. The group will receive the copies at the next session on Tuesday. Next month, I’ll join them for a question and answer session, followed by signing each book. Exciting time!

Writing continued on Dangerous Alliance, with chapters fifteen posted for review to the two subscription writing sites I use. The total number of reviews thus far is 229, or an average per chapter of fifteen. I’ve received plenty of positive feedback to help me improve my latest story.

Chapter sixteen is underway, but real-life requirements stopped me from completed two chapters this week.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Dawn broke, promising to be a pleasant day. No clouds lingered above. Oranges and reds gave way to a deep azure.

The B&B’s door swung open. Out stepped Bedlam Bravo, dressed in jeans, short-sleeved work shirts, and wearing steel-toed boots.

“Fergus, did you learn anything last night on your stroll with Nate?” Koning laughed and elbowed him.

“Oi, I learned it’s better to go without you.” A smirk appeared Fergus’ face. “We went somewhere with class. You wouldn’t have been allowed in.”

***

A shadow descended—the crane lowered a new container straight for Koning. “Pun! Help! My foot’s trapped!”

Pun dashed forward and jumped. The unit shuddered to a halt in its resting place.

A thick smear of red trickled beneath the container, oozing down the side. Luigi and several others rushed to the scene. Suspended between containers, two men clung to a rope—

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Last night, I finished reading When the Tree is Dry by Alice Hill. Set in Zimbabwe, we delve into the stories of three women during a tumultuous period in the country’s recent history–2008. Claire, an English woman, leaves her shattered life behind, seeking to find a new beginning as a journalist. Florence, a Zimbabwean trying to make a new life for herself in England, decides to return to her homeland. Sekai, married to a political activist.

Forget hanging pieces of chad from a ballot in an American election or unverified rumors of people voting twice. Depending on which political party you supported during the 2008 Zimbabwean election, your very life could hang in the balance. Alice creates a haunting look into the horrors people faced as they hoped to elect a new government, one that would perhaps make their lives better. Follow Claire, Florence, and Sekai as they recount the stories of kidnapping, torture, rape, and death. A work of fiction, based on reality, and definitely worth a read. I look forward to reading more of Alice’s upcoming work.

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. Here’s a couple to check out when you have a moment or two:

Logical Quotes – a compilation of quotes by various writers, authors, and philosophers. Forgive the advertising; it’s part of the site.

Keith Garrett Poetry – the title says it all. Enjoy Keith’s poetry.

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.

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

The Kurdish Connection

Have you read my debut novel yet?

untitledPerhaps these comments by Amazon reviewers might tempt you:

Exciting New Author – When Kurdish scavengers uncover a deadly hoard left over from Saddam Hussein’s armoury, they see the chance to fight against oppression of their people. Unfortunately, the stash includes canisters of deadly sarin gas, which, in the wrong hands, can unleash unspeakable suffering on innocent people. Bedlam Alpha, an international team formed to prevent conflict, must recover the cylinders which are now hidden in multiple locations throughout politically tense Syria and Turkey.

Randall Krzak’s debut novel contains all the elements of a powerful thriller. A crack international team. An impossible mission. Terrifying stakes. But this is not just another thriller; Randall’s intimate knowledge of the Middle East makes this a fascinating read. He has a talent for bringing people and places to life, and has left me with a better understanding of the mentality that fuels conflict in this troubled region. This is an author to watch, and I look forward to his next novel. Jill Thornhill

An Excellent Read – I enjoyed the characters and fast pace. I look forward to reading the sequel. The author did a great job. Gestalt

A Must Read! – This is one of the best foreign thrillers I’ve read. This fast paced thriller set in the Middle East, it’s an awakening of the cruelty bestowed upon the Kurdish people, who survived the Halabja Chemical Attack ordered by Saddam Hussein in 1988. Many years later, the emotional scars flowed deeper than the physical. It provides an understanding why they demand a rebellion. Some will find this well written book one of terrorism, I appreciated the humanistic approach and how the special operators diligently tracked them down to stop a civil war to realize these men want what the rest of us have. Freedom. Lone360

Please to Finally … – had the opportunity to read this before it came out, and I thought, well Brad Thor, move over. The headlines of late certainly make me think RK has a wide understanding of the conflicts and put them forth quite well. Pleased to finally get it into my cart so I can read it again. Cmahoney

A Great Read – This book had lots of action and plenty of twists and turns. The author has great details that put you right into the culture. It shows differing perspectives that shed light on humanity. Nicely done! Callie

Outstanding Debut! – Very apropos to today & Randy really knows his stuff. Well-written and thought-provoking. Worth every second of reading time. Get your copy today! This is an outstanding debut. I hope to read more from this author. mom5kidz

Great Book – Outstanding book. I read this with interest from from the first page. The characters are completely believable and the setting can only be described as “war torn”. Once you start it, you can’t put it down. Bill D. Slack

C’mon, grab a copy! You’ll be glad you did.:)

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Rambling, March 12, 2017

Aah! First cup of the morning! I don’t want to offend tea drinkers, but I definitely prefer coffee. Hot, black, no sugar.  Perfect!

I almost missed the clocks going forward last night. Happened to check the calendar on the computer last night–there it was–Daylight Saving Time. I always think of the clock changing in March as a sign we getting toward the end of winter. Never mind forecasters are predicting four to eight inches of the white stuff beginning Monday afternoon. We can whine, complain, or gripe (choose your favorite) but not much we can do about it.

Did you celebrate a birthday over the past week? If so, you might have shared it with one of these people from the writing world. How many do you recognize? Hope you had a happy birthday and many more to follow.

Richard Hooker, English theologian (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity); Adolph Simon Ochs, publisher of The New York Times;  Jack Kerouac, American novelist (On the Road; Edward Albee, American dramatist (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf); Patricia Hampl, poet and memoirist (A Romantic Education, Virgin Time); Douglas Adams, British writer, (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy); Friedrich Von Schlegel, German romantic poet and critic (Philosophy of History, History of Literature); Kathryn McLean (Forbes), author (Mama’s Bank Account); James Herriot, Scottish writer and country veterinarian (All Creatures Great and Small); Vita Sackville-West, writer; Keri Hulme, New Zealand novelist (The Bone People); Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows); John McPhee, writer (Oranges, A Sense of Where You Are); Rolf Jacobsen, Norwegian poet; Elizabeth Barret Browning, poet (Sonnets from the Portuguese); Ring Lardner, writer (You Know Me, Al); Richard Leo Simon, publisher; he was the partner of Max Schuster; and Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Columbian-born novelist (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera).

My Work in Progress

Marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection continued this week and will become part of my regular writing program. I now have a regular routine for getting the word out via social media.

Writing continued on Dangerous Alliance, with chapters thirteen and fourteen posted for review to the two subscription writing sites I use. Chapter fifteen is now underway. I hope to keep finished drafts for two chapters a week, aiming to complete the first draft by July. Will see. Life has a tendency to get in the way of writing.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Eyes closed, humming a Korean ballad, Soo never noticed a short, stocky man step in front of him.

“Psst.”

Soo opened his eyes and stared at the man. Darkness descended over Soo as an individual behind the bench shoved a black bag over his head. Despite his struggles, he couldn’t break free. Two quick punches to his head knocked him out.

When Kim returned with the food, he scanned the area for Soo. Not finding him, he dashed back and forth, looking in shop fronts and along the shaded paths.

No sign. The ambassador had disappeared.

Kim returned to the bench where he left Soo. He sat and pulled his feet back. He heard a clatter. He tipped his head to check under the bench—he had kicked a pair of crushed Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses.

Books I’m Reading

I competed  a novel by Carolyn Arnold over the past week. More in the next section about when my review will be posted. I’m also reading When the Tree is Dry by Alice Hill. I’ll have my thoughts on this excellent insight into the strife surrounding Zimbabwe next time.

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’m going to expand on one I briefly mentioned last week:

Reader’s Abode -As I mentioned, this is a new site started by a group of writers spread across four continents. I’m please to say I was asked to join them and readily accepted. Our members will be sharing their short stories and poetry with you, along with a bi-weekly blog. Our first post came out today, written by Alison McBain. She provides an interesting insight into speculative poetry. Don’t miss it!

On March 26th, I’ll post my review of Carolyn Arnold’s Tie That Binds, along with my interview with her. I’ll also provide a hint at the next post. Hope you’ll join us!

 

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.