Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 12, 2018

As the sun began setting last night, a pinkish glow reflected off the cumulus clouds etched across the sky. A perfect ending to a fabulous day. In the field, a doe and her two fawns nibbled at the grass, with mom alert for any suspecting danger. The daily visits by the deer are always a gentle reminder of what’s around us.

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

Johann Heinrich Acker, German writer; Robert Southey, English writer (The Story of the Three Bears), Poet Laureate (1813-43) and biographer (Nelson); Macellus Emants, Dutch writer/poet (Along the Nile); Katharine Lee Bates, American author (America the Beautiful);  Edith Hamilton, American writer (Mythology); Mary Roberts Rinehart, American mystery writer ( The Circular Staircase); Marguerite “John” Radclyffe-Hall, author; Frank Arthur Swinnerton, English novelist (Summer Storm, Sanctuary); Sir Keith Murdoch, Australian journalist and newspaper owner; Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane); Alfred Kantorowicz, German historian (Spanish Diary); Samuel Fuller, American actor and writer (The Steel Helmet, Return to Salem’s Lot); [Hendrik] Jan Bakker, Dutch resistance fighter/journalist (Parool); Norris McWhirter, author (Guinness Book of World Records); Ross McWhirter, author (Guinness Book of World Records); Wallace Markfield, American writer; William Goldman, author; Karl Mickel, German writer; Geoff Hamilton, gardener/journalist; Walter Dean Myers, African-American author; Réjean Ducharme, Quebec novelist and playwright; Jim Beaver, American actor and writer; Ann M. Martin, American author; and Anthony Swofford, American novelist.

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

News About My Published Work

My debut novel, The Kurdish Connection, moved up another notch to 54th on Goodreads’ Political Thrillers list! There are some well-known names on the list ahead of me, so I feel I’m in good company.

BREAKING NEWS: My second novel, Dangerous Alliance, will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. Stay tuned for more information.

Dangerous Alliance-001United 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.  North Korean Supreme Leader Wook Sung holds the family of Soo Khan Chin, Ambassador to China, hostage until he can formulate a workable plan.

Cargo and tourist ships are disappearing along the Somali and Kenyan coastline at an alarming rate. Speeches abound, but inaction emboldens al-Shabaab to seek their next prize: Kenya. The terror organization controls land but requires weapons. Soo Khan Chin approaches the pirate leader, Dacar Khadaafi, and works out a trade: oil tankers for weapons.

A recently-formed organization, referred to as Bedlam, obtains intelligence regarding the North Korean-Somali pirate plans. Bedlam Bravo team leader Colonel Trevor Franklin (Ret.) 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.

Meanwhile, al-Shabaab leader Tahliil Wardi tasks his lieutenants to attack targets in Kenya and Somalia. One of them seizes two foreigners from a refugee camp in Kenya, George and Silvia. Although unknown at the time, George is an heir to the British throne. Tahliil Wardi is also more than he seems. Appearing to be a semi-illiterate who struggles to make even simple sentences, his family was originally part of the Somali ruling government before being deposed. While manipulating his forces for what seems to be appropriate actions against the current Somali and Kenyan governments, he’s also an informant for MI-6.

Bedlam informs Colonel Franklin about George’s kidnapping and instructs him to split his small team to rescue the prince while continuing to stop the axis. Additional forces are tossed into the mix so Colonel Franklin can achieve both missions.

Will Bedlam Bravo break up the weapons-for-oil deal and at the same time, recover Prince George?

My Work in Progress

Efforts continue with Carnage in Singapore, albeit at a much slower pace. External events and the need to spend additional research time meant I was limited in putting words to paper. One chapter was completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Carnage in Singapore received another thirty-one chapter reviews over the past week, bringing the total to 294. Watch for another snippet in next week’s post.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week my evening reading time was devoted to an upcoming novel by Preston Holtry. You’ll have to wait for its release before I can share my thoughts, but I will say it’s another great story!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. While I spent hours reading through various links doing research, I didn’t have time to find anything to include here.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Rambling, July 29, 2018

As we approach the end of another month, I’ve noticed the gradually shrinking of daylight, with dawn coming a bit later and dusk a bit earlier. Nothing we can do about it except enjoy the days as they come along. At least our temperatures continue to be a bit cooler than what we began the month with, with the occasional rain to keep things watered.

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

Simon Dach, Prussian German poet; George Bradshaw, British publisher; Alexis de Tocqueville, French statesman/writer (Democracy in America); Max Nordau, Austrian author; Georg Kerschensteiner, German educator (Theory of Education); Booth Tarkington, American novelist (17, Magnificent Ambersons); August Stramm, German poet and playwright; Don Marquis, Ill, journalist/poet (archy & mehitabel); Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Colombian poet and writer; Henri Liebrecht, Belgian playwright/journalist; Karl Otten, German Expressionist writer; Eyvind Johnson, Swedish novelist (Return to Ithaca); Diana Vreeland, French-American fashion editor (Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue); Stanley Kunitz, American poet; Henry Brian Boyne, journalist; Bruce R. McConkie, LDS apostle and author; Vladimir Dudentzev, Russian writer; Miltos Sachtouris, Greek poet; Harry K V Mulisch, writer (Message to King Rat); Marilyn Tucker Quayle, novelist/wife of Vice President Dan Quayle; Ruud Janssen, Dutch writer and artist; and Chang-Rae Lee, Korean-born author.

I particularly enjoy this search as I never know who I’ll meet. Recognize anyone? I certainly did, but not as many as in past weeks. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more.

My Work in Progress

I continue to make good progress on Carnage in Singapore while I’m waiting for my publisher to finish going through Dangerous Alliance. As with the previous couple of weeks, I’ve managed to complete another three chapters (fifteen through seventeen) despite a fair bit of required research to make the content as realistic as possible.

A further thirty-five chapter reviews were sent to me this week, bringing the total for Carnage in Singapore to 237. I greatly appreciate everyone’s input to improve my writing. Perhaps next week I’ll include another snippet.

Books I’m Reading

Despite my best efforts, I ran out of time to complete a couple more book reviews. Stand by for further 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.

Fleeting Muse – Check out this site filled with inspiring poetry, thoughts, and creative writing.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 17, 2018

To those who are fathers or soon-to-be, Happy Father’s Day! Hope you have a great day.

Any fathers with a birthday today? Here are some folks from the writing world who were born on June 17th (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Everhardus J Potgieter, Dutch writer/publisher (The Guide);Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian author; Ferdinand Freiligrath, German poet and translator; Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya/Chatterjee, Bengali writer and poet (Vande Mataram); Henry Lawson, Australian poet; James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, leader of the NAACP and Harlem Renaissance poet; Nicolae Iorga, writer/poet/literature historian/President of Romania; Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (Red, Nigger Heaven); Michail Swetlow, writer; Jacob “Jimmy” Herman Huizinga, journalist/writer; Viktor P Nekrasov, Ukrainian author (Vokopach Stalingrada); Felix Hartlaub, writer; John R Hersey, author (Hiroshima, Bell for Adano, Wall); Max Dendermonde, [Henk Hazelhoff], Dutch literary; Gotthold Gloger, writer; Harry Browne, American free-market libertarian writer, politician, and investment analyst; Hanna Johansen, writer; Peter Rosei, Austrian writer; Gail Jones, Australian author; and Will Forte, American writer, actor and comedian.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

FINALIST - 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards

On June 15th, the winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards was announced. Amy J. Markstahler’s Life Happens on the Stairs grabbed the top prize.

The other finalists were: Mari Clark for The Road to Dusty Death, Barbara Kline’s Inside the Enemy, your’s truly for Dangerous Alliance, and Chio Ojukwu’s To Cross a Blade and a Dagger.

  • Many congraDangerous Alliancets to all as the competition was stiff. I hope to have another novel ready for next year’s competition. I suspect many of the finalists are already hard at work on their next stories. Watch for publication of these novels and support these rising writing stars.

This week I concentrated on reviews for people who had helped out with Dangerous Alliance. Without their support, I wouldn’t have ended up as a finalist. Many thanks to all of my supporters!

I should be back to writing as normal next week. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from Carnage in Singapore, the follow-on story to Dangerous Alliance:

The woman gasped for breath, her slight figure paused against a tree. Her head snapped from right to left, a whimper whipped away in the wind. Covered in slime and blood, her clothes in tatters, she lunged into the middle of the path.

The gnarled roots of a monkey pod tree remained hidden beneath a layer of mud. A perfect trap to catch any unsuspecting creature, they waited for someone to approach.

Unsure if wild creatures or savage humans created the path, she didn’t care. All she wanted was to escape.

The pain in her chest easing, she staggered away. She struggled in the mud and stumbled, her foot caught in the roots of a nearby tree. She fell to the ground, her hands sinking into the thick ooze.

“Help!”

Who would save her in the middle of nowhere? She kicked at the root and twisted her leg until her foot popped free. She pulled herself to the edge of the mud pit and onto hard ground.

Craack!

Back on her feet, she pumped her knees to escape the sludge, her heart rate accelerating as panic skyrocketed.

A bolt of lightning lit the sky, striking a nearby tree. Shadows slithered in front of her, blocking her way forward.

She turned, searching for an escape route.

Rough hands grabbed her by the shoulders in a vise-like grip and threw her to the ground.

 

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading two books this week, the second one at almost midnight last night. I haven’t finished my reviews yet, so I’ll post them 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. Since I mentioned the rising stars who were finalists in the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards, it’s only fitting I include several up and coming authors:

Sideways Eight Series – Join author AJ Wallace as she spins the tales of Charley and Murphy, two FBI agents. Two novels have been published so far (Mindfield and Devil’s Door), with two more to follow. Well worth the read!

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. He’s also released The Calling, an excellent sci-fi story, plus several others.

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. Follow their story in You Only Love Twice.

Michael Kent – If you love crime stories, Michael has a great selection for you to read!

End of The Lime; The Beginning – a website dedicated to poetry by J.S.T. Louise.

Texas Outlaw Poet – check out this site by poet/author Jeff Callaway.

Alan Kemister – Follow Alan’s blog to learn more about him and his writing adventures.

That brings us to a close for another week. 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, June 3, 2018

Another month has passed us by. Hard to believe how fast times speeds by. The end of May brought us superb temperatures, reaching up to 88F/31C. However, the hot weather didn’t last long. Yesterday was only 59F/15C. While this would have been fine back in April, with a drop of twenty-nine degrees in just a day or so required the use of a sweatshirt to keep warm outdoors. Oh well–Michigan weather!

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Sydney Smith, preacher/reformer/author; William Hone, author/bookseller (Every-Day Book); Eugeen van Oye, Flemish writer/poet (Morning Twilight); Detlev [Freiherr Friedrich A von] Liliencron, German poet; Rosa Chacel, spanish novelist; Gerard den Brabander, [Jan G Jofriet], poet (Nothing New); Louis Simmonds, bookseller; Wilfred Thesiger, explorer/writer; Pedro Mir, Dominican Poet Laureate; David Richard Holloway, literary editor; Gerhard Zwerenz, writer; Allen Ginsberg, American beat poet (Howl);  Marion Zimmer Bradley, American sci-fi author (Storm Queen); Larry McMurtry, US scriptwriter (Lonesome Dove, Pulitzer 1986); Melissa Mathison, American screenwriter (E.T.); and Lawrence Lessig, American lawyer and author.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

My plans to finish the cast of characters for Dangerous Alliance this week didn’t work out as planned. Once again, too many external requirements meant I did very little with my works in progress. Hopefully, the next week will be more promising and I can get back to writing. I also plan to bring another snippet or two.

Books I’m Reading

Even my evening reading and reviewing suffered this past week. All being well, I’ll be back to normal and continue providing my thoughts on the various works I’ve been reading.

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.

Michael Kent – check out Michael’s crime novels–well worth a read.

That brings us to a close for another week. 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, April 15, 2018

You know the phrase, ‘April showers bring May flowers?’ Do you suppose the same holds true for ‘April ice storms bring May flowers?’ 

I thought the harshness of the winter was over when we had a beautiful 71F/21C temperature with blazing sunshine on Thursday. Friday was almost as warm, but plenty of clouds. The weather forecasters predict rain for Friday night, turning to sleet and a wintry mix with winds up to forty-five mph through Sunday at noon.

They were correct. The rain came as predicted, and beginning about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the sleet began. Hours later, it stopped, only to begin again this morning. The winter storm warning has been extended until 4 p.m.

When I look toward the lake, all I see is blurry patterns as every window and deck door are iced over. The good news–no outside work. The bad–yesterday’s Tigers’ baseball game was cancelled and rescheduled for today as part of a double-header. It appears both games today will be cancelled, too. Oh well!

My Work in Progress

I finished my first edit of Dangerous Alliance. It’s currently at 102,425 words and yesterday I began reading a paper copy of the story, going word by word and making changes and corrections, which will be transferred to the manuscript when I finish. With the storm and cancelled ball games, no guessing what I’ll be doing today.

Here’s a bit more from New World Revolution:

Sails dropped as the Wester rocked on the gentle waves. After seven weeks crammed into the hold, surviving on foul water and inedible hard tack and salt pork, dozens of immigrants from throughout England and Scotland pushed onto the deck, hopeful for a glimpse of their new land.

Hannah ducked beneath outstretched arms and reached the railing. She gazed at the spectacle as her mother joined her.

“Mama, ‘tis so different from home. So many people and buildings—how will we find our way?”

***

A tall, black man stood to the side, his hand blocking the sun’s rays as he watched the stream of humanity, hugging a few possessions to their chests, making their way down the narrow gangplank. Jostled by two new arrivals, he bowed his head, and stepped out of their way, as they shoved past. William and his sons hurried up to him. He stared at the man before putting out his hand. “You must be Abraham. My name’s William, and these are my sons, Thomas and George. Master Sutton described you in a letter to his brother.”

Abraham removed his hat and shook his head. “No offense to you, but ‘tis better not to shake my hand in public. I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Why is that?”

“Der’s a law in Boston dat says if a black man hits a white man, he receives a severe whipping. I don’t touch white folks so der’s no mistake. I keep myself to myself, don’t need no trouble.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Shark Bait, the eight novel in the Aristotle Socarides series by Paul Kemprecos. As with his previous stories, Paul has created another fast-paced plot. “Soc” finds himself in trouble with criminals through no fault of his own. After he loses his vehicle and his boat is already down due to engine problems, he answers a call for a boat captain to work on a film set.

What could go wrong driving a boat while a movie is being made? As always, problems seem to escalate when Soc is around. I won’t spoil the story, so no more about what happens. However, I must say, once again Pauls’ larger-than-life characters and riveting plot had me turning the pages far into the night. I look forward to reading Soc’s next adventure.

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.

Charlie De Luca – check out Charlie’s blog and learn more about life, his writing, and horses!

Michael Kent – If you love crime stories, Michael has a great selection for you to read!

That brings us to the end for another week. I hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading.  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, April 2, 2017

While the first day of spring passed us by on the calendar on the 20th of March, we’re beginning to see glimpses it might really be here in our little patch on Lake Huron. Migratory birds, such as the red-winged blackbird and the robin are returning. Ducks and geese are now heading north instead of south.

Several neighbors, cooped up for weeks, are smiling as they skim across the grass on their riding lawn mowers. While this seems a bit optimistic at this early stage, these are all signs winter might be over.  Needless to say, we have brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and the lake is like glass.

My Work in Progress

Why do I keep writing? Why not–I’m enjoying the journey. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when a reviewer of Dangerous Alliance, my main work-in-progress, compares my writing to Steve Berry, a New York Times and international best-selling author, with over 21,000,000 copies of his books in print.  I know my work isn’t to this type of standard, perhaps one day, but I’ll take whatever comparisons people want to make, especially if it helps sell books!

Once again, almost everything, except some marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection, took a back seat to everyday requirements. I hope things settle down so I can resume writing on a daily basis.

I doubled my word count on the next chapter of Dangerous Alliance, and hope to have it posted for review this week. The overall number of chapter reviews for the fifteen chapters posted on the two subscription writing sites I use increased from 245 to 268. Plenty of useful feedback, which will aid me when I enter the editing phase.

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

A gaunt Somali woman, dressed in a stained guntiino, garbasaar, and shash (dress, shawl, and scarf) with two children in tow, reached the gates. She leaned on a post, struggling to remain upright. The children, covered in tattered Western clothing, slumped to the ground.

The three men dashed forward, David carrying water bottles. “Give them small sips of water. They’ll be dehydrated and thirsty. Too dangerous to let them drink fast and it might kill them.”

***

Two hours later, George woke with a start. What woke me? Total quiet engulfed the camp. Not a sound ventured forward to break the calm.

Sounds like several cars backfiring disturbed the night.

Gunfire!

Adults screamed children cried. George and Alf dove off their cots, hugging the floor. The gunfire and screams intensified.

“Alf. Stay down. I’m going to check this out.”

“George, are you crazy? Keep on the floor until Ian or David contact us.”

“But what if the camp is under attack? Perhaps, I can do something.”

“Are you insane?” Alf grabbed George’s arm. “Stay put. We’ll find out soon enough what’s happened.”

Perhaps a bit more next week.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Angelina’s Secret (Jeweled Dagger Series), the debut novel of Diane Merrill Wigginton. This is an interesting story of opposites–a strong-willed English woman of aristocratic birth who abandons societal norms and lives life as she sees fit. Add a Frenchman who can’t decide if he’s a pirate or a duke and sparks fly.

Set in the 18th Century, Lady Stewart and Captain Deveraux first cross paths when the ship she’s on is captured by pirates, continues in London, eventually leading to a mansion in France. A great glimpse into the openness of their relationship as they carve a niche in society. Full of adventure, excitement, intrigue, and love, this is an easy and enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the sequel.

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.

Blogging 101

Blogging 101 -The End Has Come

We’ve had a great journey over these past three weeks.  Many thanks to the following for great support:

@michelleweber
@chrissiepollock
@chrisrudzki
@susanrnet

There is also someone else who needs to be thanked:  YOU! 

Without your interest in learning and sharing, as well as helping others, a course like this would not be successful.  You have made it a success and I will be checking on your blogs to find out about the latest writings, travels, cooking, make-up (not so much for me, but you might be hearing from my son for an interview for his blog), general musings, and great inspiration.  Thank you!

Now, as I look out to the water, I can hardly see–must be getting some offshoots of the East Coast Storm! 

Time for a coffee–until we meet again.