Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 13, 2019

Gone are the early sunrises and dusk not happening until late at night. Dark is rolling in by seven p.m. and it’s not getting light until after seven a.m. The leaves are changing and falling. Autumn is definitely upon us!

The daytime temperature is still in the 50s so we’re scurrying to get as much outdoor work completed before the colder weather sets in. The backyard/garden is finally taking shape. One last project for this year is underway and should be completed within the next week, barring any unforeseen disruptions.

The cats are still heading outside each day, but they’re wanting back in after shorter periods. With the shifting sun, their favorite suntraps near the birch trees have diminished. The seasons keep marching on!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, English statesman and writer; William Motherwell, Scottish civil servant and poet; Sasha Chorny [Alexander Mikhailovich Glikberg], Russian poet; George Bacovia [Vasiliu], Romanian poet and composer (Plumb); Conrad Richter, American writer (Light in the Forest); Arna Bontemps, American poet (100 years of negro freedom); Jutta Hecker, German writer; Werner Reinowski, German writer; Robert Walker, American actor and writer (Strangers on a Train, Bataan, Madame Curie); Frank D. Gilroy, American writer (Subject Was Roses); Janice Elliott, English novelist; John Menzies, Scottish publisher; Hugo Young, British journalist (The Guardian); Mike Barnicle, American broadcast journalist and newspaper columnist; Claude Ribbe, French historian and writer; Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian progressive journalist, author, and editor in chief (Al-Arab News Channel); and Colin Channer, Jamaican writer (often referred as “Bob Marley” with a pen).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although there are some familiar names. 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 Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty-three. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The action is speeding up as we head toward the story’s climax.

The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 448, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

A four-vehicle convoy approached the compound’s outer gates a few minutes past four p.m. Ramon stood on the veranda, following the procession’s approach. When the trucks stopped, he stepped down as armed men jumped from two troop carriers and created a cordon from the lead jeep to the veranda’s steps.

A tall, emaciated man, wearing crossed bandoliers and brass-handled pistols, stepped from the vehicle. Hands on his hips, he stood waiting.

Ramírez García Días removed his sunglasses and pushed them into a pocket. Ramon approached and extended his hand. Días glanced at it for a moment before shaking.

“Señor Días, welcome. I am Ramon Cristobal Alvarez, Señora Moreno’s chief of security. She is waiting for you.” He led Días to Olivia’s den. When they arrived, he knocked before opening the door.

Olivia stood as Días walked forward.

Ramon made the introductions. “Señora Moreno, may I introduce Ramírez García Días, our regional commander in Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.”

“Welcome to my home, Señor Días. This is my son, Alonzo.”

A waiter served refreshments as the four sat at a circular table placed in the room for the meeting.

“Señor Días, we require your assistance.”

“Señora, how may I help?”

“Call me Olivia, por favor. We require additional manpower to improve efficiency at our coca plants.”

“How many men?”

Olivia glanced at Alonzo, motioning him to speak.

“Señor Días, we require two hundred men, split among our five plants.”

Días laughed. “Be realistic. I don’t have access to that much manpower to assist your drug trade.”

“We are producing more product than your small plants.” Alonzo stared at Días. “I researched your production processes, and you are in a position to assist us. We offer a five percent return for your help.”

“Are you sampling your product or drinking too much?” Días tapped his fingers in a drum roll on the table and shook his head. “One hundred men for twenty-five percent.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

In Into Summer: Dawn of a New Age, Larry Landgraf pulls out all the stops as he completes his Four Seasons series. With a riveting plot and characters we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on their position in the story), get ready for a whirlwind of emotions as the story comes to its conclusion.

Bringing people together at the best of times can be a daunting experience. Imagine having the world you know thrown into chaos where principles no longer exist and it becomes a free-for-all as those who are stronger prey on the weaker ones. But what if someone figures out how to make positive changes? I don’t want to be a spoiler, but the Lindgren twins set out to do just that.

This is a real pager turner, full of larger-than-life characters. Once you start reading, you’ll find yourself immersed in the story and rooting for the good guys (and gals). It’s too bad there aren’t more than four seasons, as I’d certainly like to read more!

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 6, 2019

It’s been a busy week. When the rain permitted, we continued getting the backyard/garden into shape. The kidney-shaped bricked feature, which was filled with gravel and weeds has had the clay removed, drainage installed, and is now covered with sod/turf. On the outside of the bricks and between the inner stone wall, additional drainage has been added and the area has been covered with white, red, brown, and blue stone chips.

We removed most of one ‘gravel’ bed’s clay and gravel, but the rain yesterday stopped completion of this area. If it’s dry enough today, although right now it’s pretty damp, the last of the clay will be removed. Afterward, a layer of sand will be added, with the remainder of the hole filled with topsoil for planting of shrubs and flowers.

Still plenty more to do, but will take it a day at a time.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 6th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giuseppe Cesare Abba, Italian patriot and writer; Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, American politician/author (Progressive); Mikhail Kuzmin, Russian writer; MartinLuis Guzman, Mexican novelist (Eagle & the Serpent); Maria Dabrowska, Polish writer (Noce I Dnie); Caroline Gordon, Kentucky, writer (Green Centuries); Horst Lange, German writer (The Long Lament); Meret Oppenheim, writer; Yaşar Kemal, Turkish writer (Memed, My Hawk); Gloria Lane, educator/author/founder (Women’s International Center); David Brin, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Nebula, Sundiver, Postman); Ayten Mutlu, Turkish poet and writer; and Joseph Finder, American novelist.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although David Brin’s work stands out. 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

Dangerous Alliance with CIBA award(1)I mentioned last time about The new Big Thrill book giveaway, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, which will take place on October 25th. I’m pleased to announce that my award-winning novel, Dangerous Alliance, is part of October’s giveaway. Two lucky winners will each receive ten novels, all written by ITW members and released by publishers recognized by the organization.

If you’re interested in entering the draw, there’s still time. Click here: contest.  Good luck!

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty-two. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 436, an increase of ten in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Giggles greeted him as he approached the dining room.

“Oh, Ramon, will you teach me to shoot?” Silvina maintained a straight face until Maria nudged her. Both girls burst into laughter.

“I’m glad you both recovered from yesterday’s scare. Did you ask your mother about learning to shoot?”

“Sí. She said I must be older.” Silvina pouted.

“Jefe is the boss. When she gives her permission, I’ll teach you. Maria, what about you?”

She shook her head. “The noise scares me.”

He chuckled and continued along the corridor. When Olivia called his name, he sipped his coffee and waited as she approached.

“Dona, everything is arranged. Días will arrive late this afternoon.”

“Excellent. Alonzo will join us.”

“As you wish.”

Ramon caught a whiff of cigar smoke as he stepped onto the veranda where Pedro was reading El Heraldo as he puffed on his daily cigar.

“Jefe, how is your head this morning?”

Pedro set the newspaper aside. “Buenos Días, Ramon. My head is fine—a couple of cuts, a few stitches, but no permanent damage. Nothing on the x-rays and the doctor’s pills handled the pain. I’m in excellent shape and will go for my ride today since I missed my exercise yesterday.”

“Do you want a guard to accompany you?”

Pedro shrugged. “No, unnecessary.” He patted his shoulder. “I’m prepared.”

***

A free morning, Olivia met with the girls in the living room. Maria and Silvina curled on each side of her as she read from the fairy tale, “The Poor Old Lady.” One of Olivia’s favorite childhood treasures, the story was written by Colombian poet Rafael Pombo in 1854. Her mother had read Pombo’s tale to her for years, and she never grew tired of the message.

“Mamá, why does the rich lady become poor?” Maria, hands clasped to either side of her face, waited for an answer.

“There must be a reason. Mamá will share when the time is right.”

“Girls, let me continue and what happens will be clear.” Olivia finished the story and closed the book. “What did you learn?”

“I don’t want to be poor.” Maria wailed, her arms crossed.

“The lady became greedy. She never had enough.” Silvina wore a smirk as she rendered her opinion.

Olivia smiled at her daughter’s comments and squeezed them closer to her.

“Maria, we won’t be poor. But if we become greedy, bad things might happen. The moral of this story is material possessions don’t make us rich.”

“What does, Mamá?”

“What we do with our lives and the people we love.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

M.D. Neu has done it again with his latest novel, TAD. Doug, a fun-loving drama queen finds TAD down on his luck and needing a friend. While Doug doesn’t believe his new friend’s story of being a former angel of death, he gives him his new name, an acronym for The Angel of Death.

This is a riveting story of lasting friendship between two people who couldn’t be more different, but it teaches us to be tolerant of others and their lifestyles. Doug and TAD are well-developed characters and are the main focus of the story. This novel will make you smile, laugh, and perhaps even cry by the time you turn the last page. I won’t spoil the story for anyone who wants to read without know what happens, but M.D. has done a brilliant job of putting together an excellent plot and well-written story about life, friends, and death. Grab yourself a copy now!

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 29, 2019

As we march on to the end of another month, we’re beginning to see some seasonal changes. Sporadic rain, mixed with bouts of sunshine are the daily norm. Leaves are beginning to change colors and drop to the ground in the endless cycle we experience each year. Morning temperatures are in the upper 40s/lower 50s, with daytime temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to mid 60s. So begins autumn!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, Spanish author (Don Quixote); Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, English novelist; Stan Berenstain, American children’s author (The Berenstain Bears); Ankie [Johanna A Hoving-]Peypers, Dutch author/poet; Colin Dexter, English crime writer (Inspector Morse); Andrés Caicedo, Colombian writer; Stephen Platt, editor (New Statesman & Society); and Gwen Ifill, journalist and writer.

September 29th doesn’t appear to be a popular birth date among writers. Was anyone familiar to you? Even with the small listing, I still recognized a couple of works, even if I couldn’t remember the authors: Don Quixote and Inspector Morse. 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

Dangerous Alliance with CIBA award(1)The new Big Thrill book giveaway, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, will take place on October 25th. I’m pleased to announce that my award-winning novel, Dangerous Alliance, is part of October’s giveaway. Two lucky winners will each receive ten novels, all written by ITW members and released by publishers recognized by the organization.

If you’re interested in entering the draw, click here: contest.  Good luck!

 

carnage in singapore-001(1)Today is also the last day you can obtain a free download of the Kindle version of Carnage in Singapore. It’s available across the Amazon network. Here’s the U.S. link. Carnage in Singapore has already reached #4 in the U.S. for political thrillers and suspense and #2 in the UK. Help make it number one!

 

 

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 426, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After dinner, Olivia kissed her young children goodnight. “Mamá is meeting with Ramon, now. He’s placed a guard on each of your rooms. I’ll peek in before I go to bed.”

“Yes, Mamá.” Both girls hugged her and ran to Pedro, who led them out of the dining room and upstairs.

Olivia took her coffee onto the veranda. Ramon sat in a white wicker swing, waiting for her. She seated herself opposite him.

“Ramon, last night my papa visited me.” Olivia grasped Ramon’s hand as she spoke. “In my dreams. He gave me a way forward if I’m brave enough to follow through.”

Ramon remained quiet, giving her time to decide.

“We must increase our sphere of influence, provide more security for our plants, and provide new methods to improve our growing, harvesting, and refining.” Olivia turned away from Ramon and gazed across the compound as if the answer lay beyond the lights from the house.

Her focus swung back to Ramon—her decision made.

“Arrange a meeting with Ramírez García Días.”

Ramon’s eyes widened, and he blinked. “Are you certain, Olivia? He’s a dangerous man.”

“We’re in a dangerous business.” Olivia stood in front of Ramon, pulled him to his feet, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders drawing him close. “We must succeed, for my family’s future.”

 Olivia kissed him goodnight before heading into the house.

***

Ramon grinned as he watched her go. “One day … I’ll rule this family—no one will stand in my way.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished reading Finding Billy Battles – Book One by Ronald Yates. We’re taken on a historic journey as Billy’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s journals. The story takes us back to Billy’s time as a young man caught between his mother’s wishes for him to attend university and his desire to strike out on his own. Offered an opportunity to work on a newspaper opening in Dodge City, Billy jumps at the chance.

Ronald’s characters are well-defined and larger-than-life. With a super plot and great attention to detail, readers are treated to Billy’s connections of many of the frontier names we’ve all heard of. The story will keep you spellbound and turning the pages late into the evening. This was the first book of Ronald’s that I’ve read and I can’t wait to begin reading book two.

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 22, 2018

We took a cruise to the island of Inchcolm on Friday. Armed with a picnic lunch, we landed on the island and wandered around before finding an unoccupied table. 100_4732.JPGWith clear blue skies and moderate temperatures, it was a great day out. Originally inhabited by a hermit  and his cow, Alexander I sheltered on the island during a storm in 1123. Alexander I promised to build a monastery on the island but passed away the following year. However, his brother, David I, kept the promise. For more details, please check out the following link: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/inchcolm-abbey/history/

We took advantage of the last evening trip of the season on the Maid of the Forth, this time a cabaret cruise, complete with champagne and canapes. With a cloudless sky and a slight breeze it was a grand evening, with music from the ’50s to today. The biggest surprise was sailing as close as a police boat allowed (about 300 meters) from the recently launched HMS Prince of Wales, Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, which as assembled in the nearby port of Rosyth. The ship entered the waters of the Firth of Forth for the first time on Thursday and will begin sea trials soon, so it was a great experience!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 22nd . (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bilbo Baggins, Fictional main character of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit (in Shire Reckoning); Philipp Nikodemus Frischlin, German philologist and poet; Barthold Heinrich Brockes, German poet; Lord Chesterfield, letter writer; introduced Gregorian calendar; John Home, Scottish writer; Quintin Craufurd, British author; Theodore Edward Hook, English author; Louis Van Deyssel, writer (Small Republic, One Love); Babette Deutsch, American poet (Animal vegetable mineral); F R Boschvogel, [French LJ Ramon], Flemish writer (War of Worlds); Phyllis Hartnoll, writer/editor; Dannie Abse, Welsh poet and writer; Rosamunde Pilcher, English novelist (The Shell Seekers); Robert Morace, American writer; Jim Keith, American conspiracy theorist and author; Geoff Gilpin, American author; and Diogo Mainardi, Brazilian writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit, I didn’t know most of this group. 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

39375-270The photo to the left of my three novels is compliments of AllAuthor’s new Magic Tool, released on September 20th. There are loads of options available, but I went with this one, which I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  As I continue to spread the word about my stories, I’ll be using additional options.

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 407, an increase of  thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

One of the guards inched the door open, and Ramon slid inside. Pedro lay on the bed groaning, blood spread across his face, the pillowcase, and splattered upon the blanket and the wall. Stench from the blood permeated the air.

Ramon held his breath and knelt to check for a pulse—weak and irregular. “Call for an ambulance—he’s alive!” A quick check revealed no other injuries.

Pedro struggled to sit. His face screwed in agony, he gasped and collapsed onto the sheets.

Ramon took in a sharp breath. Unfortunate he lives—but for how long? Ramon pointed to one of the guards. “Stay with him. Did you find the girls—where are they?”

The two guards remained silent. Ramon shoved them aside and rushed to Maria’s room, cursing under his breath.

Yanking a pistol from its holster, he eased the unlocked door open. In the middle of the tile floor, a pool of blood created a Rorschach pattern. He glanced around. No Maria, no body. Where is she?

As he scanned the room, a quiet whimper emanated from one of the walk-in closets. Ramon motioned with his weapon for a guard to enter the room and approach the closet. In position, he gestured for the man to open the door.

On the floor, a child lay curled in a ball. Tears trickled down her cheeks.

Ramon’s eyes ran along the rack of clothes before kneeling. He spoke in a soft voice, “Maria, it’s me, Ramon. You’re safe now. Please, come out.”

“I-I’m afraid.”

“Maria, no one will hurt you. I won’t allow any harm to come to you.”

A tiny hand appeared, clasping the edge of the doorframe. From within, eyes filled with fright peered at Ramon.

“Ramon!” Maria jumped up and lunged at him, grasping his legs as she burst into tears.

“Shhh. You’re safe now.” He examined her for injuries before patting her on the shoulder. “Tell me what happened.”

“I-I, heard a loud bang, like shooting but louder than Mamá’s gun. The noise woke me. Someone stood in my room, staring at me. A man—he wore an evil mask. He held a coatimundi and slit its throat. I screamed, and he ran, taking the raccoon with him.”

“Okay, Maria. Stay with the guard. I must check on Silvina.” He signaled for a female guard to remain behind. He raised his hand, beckoning the other two to follow.

In Silvina’s room, they found a similar pool of blood on the floor. Silvina sat on her bed, a tennis racket in her hand, the other end balanced on her knee. She scooted off the bed and raced to Ramon when she spotted him.

“Ramon, a bad man came into my room. He killed a coati and let the blood seep out. I hit him with my racket. Twice. He ran out.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished the third novel of the Four Seasons series, Into Winter: The Armed Invasion, by Larry Landgraf. With Sandra Hawkins, the ruthless leader of Corpus Christi out for revenge, those living in Peaceful Valley prepare for an onslaught. Larry has cranked up the tension in this novel, as we follow Robbie and Sean, as well as the other residents of Peaceful Valley as they take the war to Sandra.

With a superb plot and plenty of action, those seeking an outstanding thriller have come to the right place. I kept rooting for Robbie and Sean’s success, staying up late as it was so hard to put this one down. Look forward to the series finale!

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 15, 2019

We’ve been puppy sitting since Friday morning. First time Frankie has been with us overtime. He’s done well considering he’s only four months old.  Two of our cats have been venturing closer and closer, but the others are still very wary of this bundle of energy bouncing through the house.

Frankie’s just has his breakfast after a quick trip to the back yard/garden. He’s worrying one of my slippers just now, so I’ll need to get him out for soon his first excursion of the day.

We’ve had intermittent rain throughout the week, making work on a drainage project a bit problematic but hopefully the forecast of decent weather (no rain) for the next week will allow me to get things wrapped up.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer of maxims and memoirs; James Fenimore Cooper, 1st major American novelist (Last of Mohicans); Willem Josephus van Zeggelen, Dutch author; Heinrich von Treitschke, German historian and political writer; Frank E Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett); Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Indian novelist; Agatha Christie, English crime writer (Murder on the Orient Express); Claude McKaye, Jamaica/American author (Songs of Jamaica, Banjo); John J Slauerhoff, Dutch ship’s doctor/writer/poet (El Dorado); Gerd Gaiser, German writer (Ship in the Mountain); Richard Baerlein, racing writer; Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentine writer; Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet/painter; Norman [Richard] Spinrad, American sci-fi author (Child of Fortune); Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, American sci-fi author (Hotel Transylvania); Howard Waldrop, American sci-fi author; Jim Curtiss, American writer; Sophie Dahl, English model and author; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer (Half of a Yellow Sun).

Was anyone familiar to you? There’s three names which stand out for me: James Fenimore Cooper, Frank E. Gannett, and Agatha Christie. 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

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

The action in this novel never lets up, and it’s made all the better by fully developed and believable characters. One of the strongest openings I’ve ever read. It pulls you to read farther, and you’ll be happy you did. You gotta love a character named Evelyn Evinrude, leader of the good guys, a group named Bedlam Charlie vice Alpha.

Evelyn and her team rush to defeat the terrorists, who have headquartered themselves in the nation of Singapore. They have already kidnapped the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. To show their horribly serious intent, the terrorists have amputated a finger digit from each of the ambassadors and threaten to remove more body parts if their demands aren’t met.

You think you know where it’s all going when the plot twists and does backflips. “Page-turner” may be a cliché, but there is no way to describe this book without those words.

This book will pull you far into the night. I read it in one sitting, and I’m hoping for the sequel. Five stars for a fabulous job well done!

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-nine. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 394, an increase of twenty in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

With Frankie getting more excited, so it’s best I skip the weekly snippet before he wrecks something. Watch for a longer snippet next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Zach’s Gold by Frank Kelso. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this type of novel and I’m glad I did. Frank created an interesting plot with larger-than-life characters, particularly Zach.  Follow his exploits as he hunts for gold, helps others to form a consolidated mining corporation to fight off claim jumpers, with any apparent need to be compensated, just doing what he thinks is right.

A real page turner and fans of Westerns will truly enjoy this story. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Frank and won’t be the last!

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 8, 2019

Friday evening we had a super time on a nighttime cruise on the River Forth. While most of the attendees remained in the main cabin, we spent the trip on the upper deck, taking advantage of the unimpeded views of the various islands, the shorelines and the three bridges spanning the river.

Although a bit chilly, we were well-prepared. With live folk music from the main cabin being piped up to the upper deck, it was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning scenery, especially with the superb view of Edinburgh Castle.

We didn’t have to worry about being hungry as a ribeye steak sandwich and salad was included in the cost of the trip. While we want to do this again some time, we’ll have to wait until next year as the final trip of the season is sold out.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ludovico Ariosto, Italian poet (Orlando Furioso); François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud, French sentimental writer (Les Épreuves du sentiment); August Wilhelm Schlegel, German poet, translator and critic; Clemens Brentano, German poet and author (The Story of the Just Casper and Fair Annie); N. F. S. Grundtvig, Danish writer and philosopher; Eduard Friedrich Mörike, German poet; Charles-Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, French writer and historian; Frederic Mistral, French Provencal poet (Nobel 1904); Wilhelm Raabe [Jakob Corvinus], German author (Der Hungerpastor); Adolfo Albertazzi, Italian writer (Amore & Amore, Top); Alfred Jarry, French writer (Ubu Roi); Siegfried Sassoon, English poet and writer (Counterattack); Nico Donkersloot, Dutch literary and writer; Gianni Brera, Italian sports journalist and writer; Robert W. Firestone, American author and clinical psychologist; Ansen [Nancy Ann] Dibble, Dutch sci-fi author (Summerfair); Ann Beattie, American novelist and short story writer (Chilly Scenes of Winter); Lynn [Lorraine] Abbey, American sci-fi author (Black Flame); and Christopher Klim, American novelist (Jesus Lives in Trenton).

Was anyone familiar to you? I must admit this was an unknown group to me. 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

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following four and five-star reviews this past week:

Carnage in Singapore is the third book in Krzak’s Bedlam series, however like the other two novels this works well as a standalone story. What Krzak does well is developing a story that grabs you right from the start. I’m not a big military fan or mystery fan, but I’ve enjoyed both of Krzak’s other novels and wanted to continue on. This time the story takes place in Singapore and I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that carnage is an understatement of events. The story felt very real to me and it was as if you were reading a historical account of what happened before, during, and after a series of terrorist attacks in Singapore. I loved getting to meet new characters and having some old favorites pop in even if just briefly.

There were slower parts of the book, but that is not the authors fault, it is the nature of the story itself, it’s easy to say he could have cut or edited them, but if he did that needed and necessary information would have been taken out which would have lessened the story. I akin it to some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s writing there are parts that are dry, but you need them in order to make the exciting parts that much more exciting.

If you are looking for a good military mystery by a writer that is making quite the name for himself then this novel is for you. (****)

This is the third book of the Bedlam Team series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. If you love well-layered thrillers with engaging characters and a few twists, this book is for you!

I particularly loved Natalee’s story, and it was great to see some of the characters of the previous books too.(*****)

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-eight. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 374, an increase of sixteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

After the last guest departed, Olivia, Pedro, and Alonzo sauntered to the veranda for a nightcap. While they sat sipping single malt whiskey, a myriad of night creatures serenaded them.

“So, Alonzo. What do you think about the lovely ladies who visited tonight?” Pedro drained his glass. “Did any stand out?”

“Pedro, it’s not a cattle market,” Alonzo grinned, glancing upwards. “But, one or two caught my attention.”

“Make sure you marry for money and power. Love can wait.”

Olivia rolled her eyes at Pedro’s guidance but held her tongue. Sounds like his personal creed.

Arm in arm, Pedro and Olivia ascended the grand staircase. Midway down the corridor, they kissed and separated, each going to their own bedroom.

Olivia tossed and turned. At last, sleep took her. Two hours into an uneasy slumber, she sensed someone’s presence. Her eyes shot open, searching the darkness for any hint of an intruder. Her hand slid over to the nightstand as a voice distracted her.

“Olivia.” A familiar voice whispered.

“Yes, Papa?”

“You must build new alliances. Our business is suffering. Americans consume less product, and foreign competitors are encroaching upon our territories, stealing our fields, and our workers. More security is required—tougher measures. You may not want to go to war, but you must or lose all I built. Reach out to Días. He will help you.”

The voice faded. Olivia waited, but she remained alone. She drifted off to sleep, a smile on her face. She understood her dead father’s edict.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Vanished by Mark Bierman. This is a thought-provoking story, which is very relevant given the global push to end modern-day slavery. It’s easy to become immersed in the helpless situation of those finding themselves alone and subjected to all kinds of brutality. Mark’s characters, John and Tyler, head to Haiti to assist with the construction of an orphanage but before long, find themselves involved in the hunt for a missing child, Chantale.

Mark has done an excellent job in creating realistic characters and an intense plot. Readers will find themselves cheering on Tyler and John in the hopes they can rescue Chantale before it’s too late. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Mark and it won’t be the last!

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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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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