Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 14, 2019

It’s been sunny the past few days, although still a bit chilly. However, this gave an opportunity to get some weeding done in the back yard, which hadn’t been tackled yet. Things are looking better, but plenty more to do!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Abraham Elsevier, Dutch book publisher; James Branch Cabell, American novelist and essayist (Restless Heads); Ernst Robert Curtius, German literature historian; Arnold J. Toynbee, English historian (A Study of History); Martin Kessel, German writer; Frank Daniel, Czech-born writer, director and teacher; Bob Grant [Robert St Clair Grant], British actor, comedian and writer (on the Buses); Tom Monteleone, American writer (Dark Star & Illumination); Bruce Sterling, American sci-fi author (Involution Ocean, Schismatrix); Vebjørn Selbekk, Norwegian journalist; and Peter Gibson, American writer.

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Although I’ve completed four edit passes through the manuscript of my third novel, Carnage in Singapore I did some skimming this week and caught a couple of things I wanted to improve before submission. Here’s another snippet:

Gesang Anwari jumped to his feet. “I disagree! We should remain in a Muslim country and not cower among the infidels.”

“Sit down.” Kali seized Gesang’s arm. “Who are you to disagree? How long since your group last carried out an operation? Years ago.” 1539534550

He lashed out at Kali, striking him in the face. Two men stepped between them before further blows were thrown. They grabbed Gesang and Kali, pushing them back into their chairs.

“Enough!” Abu Zeze slammed a fist on an end table next to him. He stared at the two men. “Save your hatred for the enemy. We are brothers in arms. We do not fight among ourselves like the infidel dogs.”

***

After the others departed, Abu Zeze and Isagani moved to more comfortable chairs. A servant wheeled in a small cart with tea and an assortment of pastries and fruit. He served the two men and departed, closing the inner doors to ensure privacy.

Isagani sipped from his cup and placed it on a table near him. “I must speak my mind. I don’t trust Gesang. I’m not sure what it is about him, but something isn’t right.”

“I agree, my friend. Once efforts are underway, we plan to tip off the Indonesian authorities about Gesang being the mastermind behind the attacks. We’ll ensure he no longer poses a threat.” Even if I must take action myself.

***

In another part of the city, one of the attendees at Abu Zeze’s home dialed a number. He waited for two rings before disconnecting. Moments later, the man’s phone rang.

“You called?”

“Yes. The meeting went as expected. They identified several targets. If they aren’t stopped, the streets will be stained with blood.”

“Protect yourself but keep me informed. We cannot allow them to succeed.”

Perhaps more next week.

I’ve halted work on the next novel in the series, Ultimate Escalation. Originally, I planned for this to be the final in the series. However, upon reflection, I believe there is scope to extend the series. Just have to make a decision on this before continuing.

1541181671In the meantime, I’ve dusted off another WIP, A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. It’s been awhile since I posted the synopsis, so here it is:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she forms an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin, and will post my review shortly. I just finished book one of The Northminster Mysteries by Harriet Smart and will provide my comments as well.

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.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 7, 2019

Since last Sunday, we’ve only had one day with plenty of sunshine and no rain. They say April showers bring May flowers. Hopefully the snow, sleet, and hail hasn’t damaged too many of the flowers that are already blooming. Looks like we’re in for another day of overcast skies and misting rain.

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

William Wordsworth, English poet laureate (The Prelude); Flora Tristan, French writer and social activist; J. P. [Jens Peter] Jacobsen, Danish writer (Niels Lyhne); Gerald Brenan, English writer; Robert Charroux, French writer; Henry Kuttner, American sci-fi author (Dark World, As You Were); Johannes Mario Simmel, Austrian writer; James White, UK, sci-fi author (Star Surgeon, Star Healer); Donald Barthelme, American writer (Snow White, Sadness); Megas, Icelandic singer, songwriter and writer; and Artemis Gounaki, composer, writer and music producer.

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

The initial editing phase on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore is now complete, at least for now. I finished the fourth edit pass this week, with perhaps one more to follow before submitting the manuscript. Here’s another snippet:

“Wait.” She held a hand in the air. “I remember another man. His name was Omar or Umar, something like that. Deep scars covered both sides of his face as if he’d been in a bad accident.”

1539534550Goh turned to Natalee. “What kind of scars? Recent? Old? Deep? Shallow?”

She pursed her lips. “They seemed recent. They were shallow like someone raked their hands along his face.”

“Anything else?” Aiden leaned forward as if his movement would help coax more information from Natalee.

“No, that’s all I remember. Will this help?”

Aiden stood, followed by Goh. “Yes, it will. So would a sketch artist to draw the faces and a hypnotherapist to help you remember your dreams. Too bad we didn’t think of these ideas sooner. We’ll take this new information back to our inspector. I’ll come by in another day or so to check how you’re doing.”

Natalee nodded. “Please catch them, Aiden.”

A grim expression crossed his face. “I will.”

***

Later in the day, a man dialed a long-memorized number. He let the phone ring twice and hung up. Five minutes later he received a call.

“Trouble. The girl is regaining her memory and revealed more information. She identified Musa and gave a description. She mentioned your name and the scars. What should I do?”

A sigh came from the handset. “Keep me apprised of the situation. If she remembers anything more, I don’t have to tell you what must be done.”

Perhaps more next week.

I also continued working on the fourth chapter of my next work-in-progress, Ultimate Escalation. All being well, the chapter will be completed over the following week and posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. So far, there have been forty-one chapter reviews, all assisting me in improving my writing. Here’s the draft synopsis:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache. 1539535798

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandr Nikolai, a disgraced Spetnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading A Kingdom’s Cost: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 1) by J.R. Tomlin. This is a fascinating blend of historical facts and riveting fiction making for a fantastic portrayal of events during the time of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Follow eighteen-year-old James Douglas as he pledges his allegiance to Robert despite his family’s castle having been seized by the English.

With life-like characters and a realistic plot, Tomlin weaves an interesting story of what might have been. Will Robert the Bruce and Douglas survive the war with England or succumb to infighting among the Scots? If you like historical fiction, this one is for you. I’ve already purchased the second story in the trilogy and look forward to more adventures.

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.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 31, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating in the UK. Hope you have a great day!

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans for making it into this year’s NCAA Elite 8 and commiserations to the Michigan Wolverines as their campaign came to an end. Go MSU!

Mother Nature has brought a chill back into the area, but at least there’s plenty of sunshine. The grass was trimmed yesterday and the front yard is shaping up. Still plenty of things to do, but it’s on the right road.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 31st. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Andrew Marvell, English poet (To His Coy Mistress); Edward FitzGerald, English writer (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam); Nikolai Gogol [Nikolay], Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist (Dead Souls, The Inspector-General); Leon Dierx, French poet; Andrew Lang, Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and anthropologist (Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books); Borisav “Bora” Stanković, Serbian writer; Ion Pillat, Romanian poet/senator (Umbra timpului); Vardis Fisher, American author (Darkness & Deep); Pieter Jongeling, Dutch author (under Piet Prins) and politician; Robert Brasillach, French author; Octavio Paz, Mexican writer/diplomat (Salamandra, Topoemas); Marga [Sara Voeten-] Minco, Dutch writer (Bitter Herb); John Fowles, English novelist (Collector, French Leiutenent’s Woman);  John Jakes, writer (Sir Scoundrel, Great Women Reporters); Nichita Stănescu, Romanian poet; Judith Rossner, American writer (August); and Marge Piercy, author (Small Changes, Gone for Soldiers).

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

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I received the final official notification this morning that The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance  have progressed from the Slushpile to the Long List onward to the Short List and are now official SEMI-FINALISTs  for the GLOBAL THRILLER Book Awards for Lab Lit, Thriller, & Int’l Suspense Fiction,  a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs). As I previously mentioned, my novels are two of the thirteen semi-finalists for the awards, which will be announced on April 30th. Stay tuned.

 

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Both novels are available across the Amazon Network, through Barnes&Noble, and other outlets.

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I’m eighty-two percent through the third edit pass, with perhaps one more to follow before the manuscript is ready for submission. Here’s another snippet:

A gentle breeze through the open windows of the third-floor apartment brought a slight chill, causing Natalee to close the nearest one. Anxious at being alone at the moment, she wished her parents would return soon from their morning stroll through the neighborhood.

1539534550A knock on the door startled her.

She glanced through the peephole. Two uniformed police officers stood in the hallway. Recognizing them, she slid the deadbolt and opened the door.

“Sergeant Ang and Constable Goh. What a surprise! Please, come in.”

Aiden beamed. “How are you today, Miss Natalee?” He held out a handful of flowers. “These are for you.”

“Thank you so much!” She gave Aiden a wide smile as she sniffed the different colored tulips arranged in a slim, clear cut-glass vase. “You don’t have to bring me something every time you visit.” She set the vase on the coffee table.

“The gifts are worth every penny to see your face light up.”

Natalee and Aiden perched on the sofa the cushion groaning from Aiden’s weight. He glanced at Natalee and shrugged.

Both laughed.

Goh, his face wearing its usual frown, rolled his eyes as he sat in a nearby chair.

“Right now we’re on official business.” Aiden patted Natalee’s hand. “Have you remembered anything more about where you were held?”

Goh opened his laptop ready to capture her statement.

She shook her head and pulled her hand from Aiden’s grasp. “Images, but nothing definite. I remember several huts, one larger than the others. Lots of trees, too.” “She pressed her hands against her ears. “I keep hearing the screams of the other prisoners when they were being tortured.” She licked her lips and squirmed.

“Anything about the other captives?”

“Four men and two women—our kidnappers took the women away once.” Tears streamed down Natalee’s face. “When they came back, their faces were covered in cuts and bruises. Fear and panic were etched on their faces and they smelled as if someone had soiled their clothing. They said ….”

More next time.

Due to concentrating on editing, I didn’t have a chance to work on Ultimate Escalation, the next book in the series. Perhaps this week.

Books I’m Reading

This week Conviction (A New World Book 2), the latest gripping story by M.D. Neu, was released. He’s done it again with his latest release. Follow Todd Landon and various members of the Nentraee as they deal constant issues with merging Earth with an alien race. With an engaging plot and realistic characters, this story has something for everyone: love, passion, action, betrayal, just to name a few. Well done!

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, March 24, 2019

We’re officially in spring–let’s hope the winter storms stay away!  Locally, our weather’s been decent this week, with plenty of sunshine and little rain. However, the wind is still making things feel cold, but an extra layer of clothing takes care of that.

The flower bed in the front yard is now ready for its influx of new plants. Most of the perennials are already back out with fresh leaves and some even have flowers. It’s all taking the winter bareness away.

It’s also been a good week because the NCAA March Madness is underway. I always look forward to seeing this championship. I record all of the games shown in my area, and so far I’ve watched the First Four and the First Round games. As always, some upsets, but it’s all part of the game. At least my two favorite teams, Michigan and Michigan State, made it into the second round. Will check out Round Two tonight.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 24th. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Arai Hakuseki, Japanese writer and politician; Jose F de Isla, [Francisco de Salazar], Spanish Jesuit/writer; Jacob van Lennep, Dutch poet and novelist; Robert Hamerling, Austrian poet ; William Morris, English designer/craftsman/poet/socialist; Honoré Beaugrand, Quebec journalist and newspaper publisher (La Patrie); Silas Hocking, British novelist and preacher; Olive Schreiner, South African writer (Portrait of a South African Woman); Top Naeff, [Anthonetta van Rhijn-N-Naeff], Dutch writer; Gianna Manzini, writer; Malcolm Muggeridge, English writer (Observer of Life); Andre Christiaens, Flemish writer (Unfindable Country); Pura Santillan-Castrence, Filipino writer and diplomat; Janet Harmon Bragg, US pilot/columnist (Chicago Defender); Lydia Korneevna Chukovskaya, writer; Donald Hamilton, Swedish-American novelist; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind); Sir Wilson Harris, Guyanese author (Palace of the Peacock, Jonestown, The Ghost of Memory); Martin Walser, German writer; and Peter Bichsel, Swiss writer (Gruppe Olten).

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I’m finished the second pass through the manuscript this week and a third of the way through the next. Here’s another snippet:

Koh glanced at Noah. “Any further questions for the doctor?”

1539534550Noah shook his head, pushing the mask closer to his face.

“Doctor, thank you for your time. We’ll leave now but might need to make another visit.” Koh and Noah both shook hands with the ME and left.

Outside, Noah took several deep breaths. “No matter how often one visits the morgue, it’s always a gruesome sight.”

“I agree. Something I avoid whenever possible.” Koh glanced at Noah. “Ready for lunch?”

A chuckle escaped Noah’s mouth. “Best to skip food for now. What about visiting the English girl?”

They jumped into the BMW and departed with a squeal of the tires. Koh whipped the car to the right and headed along Outram Road.

Noah glanced in the side mirror before turning and looking over his shoulder. “Two black cars pulled away when you made the turn. Think they’re following us?”

Koh checked the rearview mirror. “Let’s find out.” He skidded through a left turn at the next intersection, cutting off a car. The driver shook his fist and blew his horn.

The two cars followed, gaining ground.

Koh rocketed along the narrow street, and whipped the wheel to the right, the vehicle rocketing past two pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

Pop. Pop.

Noah glanced over his shoulder at the sound of glass cracking, a spider-like web formed around the holes. The spent bullets thudded into the back of his seat. “Holy shit!”

“Hang on!” Koh floored the accelerator, shooting past a car and avoiding an oncoming truck.

“Is this car bulletproof?”

Koh shook his head. “Some of ISD’s vehicles are but not this one. But there’s armor in the back of the cushions in case of attacks like this.” He reached under his seat, pulled out a SIG Sauer P226, and handed the pistol to Noah. “I trust you know how to use this. Return fire and see if they back off.”

“Where’d you get this?”

“All ISD vehicles carry spare pistols under the drivers’ seats.”

“Good thing. Couldn’t bring mine on the flight.” Noah took the weapon and leaned out the window, shooting at their attackers. His first shot missed. “Keep the car steady!”

“I’ll try.”

Noah took a deep breath, exhaled, and fired again. The bullet went through their pursuer’s windshield, causing the driver to swerve and crash into a parked truck.

Koh turned into an empty parking lot, spun the wheel and yanked on the hand brake, sliding along the asphalt so the BMW faced the approaching threat. He pulled out another pistol from a shoulder holster.

Bullets flew through the air as both windshields collapsed. Shots echoed off the adjacent buildings as the assailants ramped up their attack.

“I’m hit!”

More next time.  Due to concentrating on editing, I didn’t have a chance to work on the next book in the series. Perhaps this week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Oath of Office (a Luke Stone Thriller–Book #2) by Jack Miller. The plot is interesting, but Luke’s superhuman-like qualities seem a bit overdone, at least for me. Nevertheless, Luke is able to take on those intent on the overthrow of the American government. The results–you’ll have to get a copy and find out for yourself. Plenty of intrigue throughout and is fast-paced, so it’s worthy of a read.

My Favorite Authors

Next week I’ll reveal another of my favorite authors, adding yet another piece into the mix of my writing style.

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, March 17, 2019

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all the Irish!

Mother Nature had another laugh yesterday, throwing rain, sleet, and snow at us. Eventually, it turned back to rain and the snow disappeared, at least at the lower elevations. This morning, when I went to get the daily paper, snow still graced the higher elevations. 

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 17th. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ebenezer Elliott, British Poet. Know as the “Corn Law Rhymer'”; Jean Ingelow, English poet; Oskar Peschel, German journalist/geography (Volkerkunder); Kristian Elster, Norwegian author (Less bror Harris); Urmuz, Romanian writer; Paul Green, American novelist/playwright (In Abraham’s Bosom); Boris N Poveloi, [Kampov], Russian journalist/writer; Siegfried Lenz, German writer (Ein Kriegsende); Nancy Sheehan, writer; James Morrow, American author; William [Ford] Gibson, Canadian sci-fi author (Neuromancer, Count Zero); Rory McGrath, British comedian, television personality, and writer (Who Dares Wins, They Think It’s All Over);

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I’m almost done with my second pass through the manuscript this week. Here’s another snippet:

“Uncle, this is Noah Appleman from Australia. DG Robertson sent him. Noah, this is my favorite uncle from my mother’s side of the family, Feng Lee.”

“An honor to meet you, sir. DG Robertson sends his regards and hopes we can provide some assistance.” 1539534550

Feng Lee nodded and waved the men to seats. “What do you know of ISD, Mr. Appleman?”

“Please, call me Noah. I admit not much, a bit from the Internet. Whatever you guys do here, you sure know how to keep it under wraps.”

His host nodded. “We are a secretive organization, so we share little information. We address various threats to the security of the Republic of Singapore. Of most importance are domestic terrorism, apprehension of suspected militants, and protection of our national borders. Most of our personnel come from the Singapore National Police.”

“A complex portfolio. How might I assist?”

“Over the past few weeks, nine bodies have washed up on our shores. All appear to be foreigners. The identities of three are known.” Feng Lee crossed his legs and sighed. “What disturbs me is they did not enter Singapore in any legal manner, so where did they come from? I’m receiving pressure from the Prime Minister’s office to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

“What are their nationalities? Is someone targeting a specific country?” If so, why? Noah pursed his lips. “Are you certain the bodies were washed ashore or did someone put them there to create that impression?”

Feng Lee glanced at Koh and nodded.

“We believe they are from Australia, England or the United States, where most of our Caucasian tourists originate.” Koh lifted a single sheet of paper from the desk. “The first two identified themselves but succumbed to their injuries. The one from England, a woman, is still alive. We’ll meet with her later.”

“Any idea about the cause of death?”

More next time.

I’ve also continued working on the next chapter of Ultimate Escalation. Hopefully, it’ll be finished over the next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Aftermath by Blair Howard. The fourteenth book in the Harry Starke series, it’s even more riveting than its predecessors. Blair never ceases to amaze me with his intricate plots and life-like characters.

What’s Harry up to this time? It’s become personal–saving members of his family and protecting those who work for him. There’s even a stunning revelation from Bob, but you’ll have to buy the book to find out more as I don’t like to spoil the fun. I hope Harry continues with more exploits for us to follow. This has been an excellent series!

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, March 10, 2019

We’re off to a chilly and gloomy start to the day. With temperatures at 34F/1C and cloudy skies as far as one can see, the hint of moisture in the air will likely dampen things before too long. Even with this, it’s reported March temperatures are above normal and this is borne out by the abundance of buds and flowers appearing. Hopefully, the weather won’t take a turn for the worse, although the forecast is for some snow today.

Oops–spoke too soon. The rain’s coming down!  Could be worse–I saw there were thousands of people without power in Michigan. Hope it’s restored soon.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 10th. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Constantine Huygens Jr, Dutch poet/painter/cartoonist; Georg F Creuzer, German philological/historian (Idea und Probe); Friedrich von Schlegel, German romantic writer/critic (Lucinde); Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, German poet (Das Marmorbild); Samuel Ferguson, Irish poet; Ina Donna Coolbrith, American poet laureate of California; Mary Mills Patrick, American author and 1st President of Istanbul Woman’s College; Pim [Willem JH] Mulier, Dutch journalist/writer/sport-organizer; Jakob Wassermann, German novelist (My Life as German & Jew); David M Chumaceiro, poet; Karel van de Woestijne, Flemish writer/poet (God at Sea); Nancy Cunard, British writer and activist; Pamela Mason [Ostrer], British actress, author and talk-show host (Lady Possessed); Boris Vian, French writer and musician; Adam Kennedy, American actor, screenwriter, novelist and painter (The Californians, Just Like Humphrey Bogart); Manolis Anagnostakis, Greek poet; Laurie Langenbach, Dutch author; Omer Tarin [Omer Salim Khan], Pakistani poet, scholar and activist; and Felice Arena, Australian children’s author.

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I completed my first pass through the manuscript this week. Here’s another snippet:

Back in the team office, Barbara reached out to her former colleagues at the Security 1539534550Intelligence Service in Wellington, New Zealand. She picked up the receiver of a secure telephone on her desk and dialed a number from memory. A woman answered on the first ring.

“Research. How may I help?”

“Harper, is that you? Barbara Battersea here.”

A squeal of delight forced Barbara to pull the phone away from her ear. “Babs! How the hell are you? Been ages since we last spoke.”

“I’m cooking with gas. Busy finding a place to live and settling into the new job.”

“Any opening for a primo researcher? I could sure use a change of pace.”

“None right now, but send me your resume and I’ll pass it to our team leader.”

“Right. So, other than a chat, what did you call for?”

Barbara glanced at the ceiling. “Almost forgot.” She gave a breathy laugh. “I’m working up a profile about Jemaah Anshorut Daulah. Would you mind sending over whatever’s available?”

“I’ll check with my supervisor, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. There isn’t much. Since they haven’t made any attacks against New Zealand, they’re not on our radar.”

“Whatever you can provide will be fine. I’m reaching out to the Brits, America, Singapore, and Malaysia, too.”

***

Back in the lab, Alf checked the output of the mass spectrometer that analyzed the effluent from the HPLC. The graph showed two peaks. The smaller one was identified as acetone, which he’d expected since he used this to prepare the sample. His eyes widened as his gaze rested on the label above the larger spike, which almost reached the top of the graph. “I’ll be ….”

More next time.

1539535798I didn’t have much time left over to work on the final book of the series, Ultimate Escalation. However, I did manage to complete and post chapter three to the two subscription writing sites I use. So far, there’s been thirty-seven chapter reviews, all helping me improve the story and my writing.

I also continued assisting a fellow writer with paring down his first book, a memoir based on his father’s life as a hobo during the Great Depression. A fascinating read!

Books I’m Reading

I’m currently doing two beta reads, so I won’t be able to post my reviews until they’re published.  I should have one or two over reviews for you next time.

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, March 3, 2019

Here we are in another month. Seems like only yesterday we celebrated New Year’s! It’s great to have more daylight, even if the weather’s still a bit unsettled. The plants seem to think spring is on the way as more and more buds are popping out each day. Hope there’s no sudden dip in the temperature to cause them harm.

The painting moved from the hallway to the living room. Things appear to be completed for now, although when the doors and windows can be left open, it’ll be time to paint the trims.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 3rd. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Edmund Waller, England, poet (Penshust); Thomas Otway, England, playwright/poet (Venice Preserved); William Godwin, philosopher/political writer (Caleb Williams); Charles Sealsfield [Carl Anton Postl], Austrian-American writer; Vissarion Belinsky, Russian author (Literary Review); Alexandros Papadiamantis, Greek author; Arthur Machen, Welsh-born author; Alain, [Emile-Auguste Chartier], French philosopher/writer; Tore Ørjasæter, Norwegian poet; Beatrice Wood, potter/artist/author; Yuri Olesha, Russian writer; Rabbe A Enckell, Fins author/poet (Lutad about Brunnen); Artur Lundkvist, Swedish writer/Swedish Academy (Agadir); Aar van de Werfhorst, [Pieter G Jansen], Dutch writer; Kenton Kilmer, American writer; Roger Caillois, French writer (Les Jeux et les Hommes); Bert van Aerschot, Flemish writer (Elevator, Women); James Ingram Merrill, US poet/author (Scripts for the Pageant); Gudrun Pausewang, German writer; Hans Pieter Verhagen, Dutch poet (Hoepla/Holland’s Hole); Germán Castro Caycedo, Colombian writer and journalist; Roger Swaybill, actor/writer (Porky’s II, Breaking Point); and Clifton Snider, American poet and writer.

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. So far I’m still on 1539534550track to submit the manuscript to my publisher in May/June. Here’s another snippet:

After sharing a breakfast of fresh-squeezed orange juice and a variety of sliced fruit, Musa bid farewell to his old friend. He stepped onto the veranda where the same armed men waited to escort him to the beach. They helped him onto the waiting speedboat, which pulled away and skipped over the calm waves.

Musa thought about the past twenty-four hours. So, it begins. We’ve created a path to join JI. Now, I must make things work.

Before long, the rhythmic rocking of the boat lulled Musa to sleep.

The next morning as he awoke, the boat pulled into the harbor of Tanjung Pinang, the largest town on Bintan Island. After he clambered up a ladder to the dock, he spotted Umar waiting for him. Umar took Musa’s single bag, and they walked to a nearby microlet, a battered, once-white, minibus.

They remained silent until they left the outskirts of Tanjung Pinag, heading toward Gunung Bintan. Umar glanced at Musa. “How did your visit go with Abu Zeze?”

Musa smiled. “Excellent. He supports us.”

“We will not let you down.” Umar released a pent-up sigh. “The men are waiting for us.”

***

Once they hid the van in a tight copse of trees, they climbed the hill. Dusk beckoned, and a few flickering lights could be seen through the foliage as they approached the camp.

Umar led Musa into the central hut. Ten men jumped to their feet. Musa sat in his self-appointed chair and grinned at his followers as they grabbed seats on the benches. “Abu Zeze agreed to our plan. We are now aligned with Jemaah Islamiyah. Our first strike will be within two weeks.”

The men whistled, stomped their feet and slapped each other on the back.

Musa waved for quiet. “We have one other issue to decide.” He stared at each man in turn. “What should we do with our remaining hostages?”

“Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!”

More next time.

1539535798I didn’t have much time left over to work on the final book of the series, Ultimate Escalation. However, I did manage to write a bit more on chapter three.

I’m also assisting a fellow writer with paring down his first book, a memoir based on his father’s life as a hobo during the Great Depression. A fascinating read!

Books I’m Reading

Over the past few days, I finished reading Five Light-Years to the Firesnake. Rayner Ye’s debut novel depicts what the future might hold for people of distant planets and galaxies. Those with power continue to prey on the powerless, forcing them into a life of misery. Follow Aedre as she deals with the death of her mother and eventually ends up as a slave. But the future holds some promise that things might change for her.

Rayner’s characters come across as vivid and believable as the plot unfolds. An excellent space fantasy story. Look forward to the next installment.

My Favorite Authors

In addition to Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Clive Cussler, another favorite author is Brad Thor. Like the others, Brad’s stories have an international flavor to them, are full of action and suspense, with life-like characters. It’s no wonder he’s on my list of favorites!

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