Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 14, 2021

The past week, our weather have been typical for autumn: clouds, rainy, sunny–even some fog. It’s been a bit warmer so no frost, although the highest temperature for the week was 58F/9C.  The leaves are falling fast and furious, so when things are dry enough, I’m busy raking them up and tossing them in the recycling bin. No leave burning here.

As I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I switched from buying supermarket milk to supporting a local dairy who delivers to the house in glass bottles! It definitely has a superior taste and worth the extra cost. It’s now on the doorstep every Tuesday and Friday.

I had the opportunity to watch the Michigan-Penn State football game last night on television. What a nail biter! It wasn’t until the last three minutes of the game before Michigan pulled ahead for the final time, and clenched the victory, 21-17.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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

Janus Secundus, neo latin poet (Basia); Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger, Danish poet; Charles Lyell, Scottish geologist (Principles of Geology); Jacob Abbott, American writer; Robert J Fruin, historian (80 year war); Isaac Wistar, American lawyer, author, and Brigadier General (Union Army); August Senoa, Croatian author (Zlatarevo zlato); Jakob Schaffner, Swiss writer: Conrad Pilater; René de Clerq, Flemish poet/author (Emergency Horn); Leopold Staff, Polish poet; Carlo E Gadda, Italian engineer/writer (Madonna dei filosofi); Evert S J Kruythoff, Ned Antillean author (conservation flora); Carlo Emilio Gadda, Italian writer; Benjamin Fondane, Romanian-French writer and filmmaker; Marya Mannes, American author (The Reporter); Sanoesi Pane, Indonesian author; Astrid Lindgren, Swedish children book author (Pipi Longstocking); William Steig, American cartoonist and children’s author (Shrek!, Doctor De Soto); Harrison E Salisbury, journalist/author (50th Anniv of Soviet Union); Eric Lawson Malpass, writer; Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet; Gilbert Rogin, American journalist and author (The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated); Ornelio Martina, Antillian author/governor of Curacao; and Michael J Fitzgerald, American writer.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–Astrid Lindgren. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are seventy-five novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. But hurry–this promotion ends tomorrow, November 15th!

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

As soon as the paperback cover is ready, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of nine chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 388. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

The doctor stepped back from Nicolai and removed his nitrile gloves. “I think you are fit enough to continue your journey.” His head wobbled from side to side as he spoke. “I recommend seeing your own doctor when you return to Canada.”

A slight smile appeared on Vladimir’s face. “Thank you, Doctor. I do want to see more of your beautiful country before we head home.”

“Well, no more stunts—you might not be so lucky next time.” The doctor picked up his bag.

Ajit handed a small envelope to the doctor as he escorted him out of the room.

Vladimir turned to Vasily. “What stunts?”

“We told him you were rock climbing and fell, hitting your head.” Vasily laughed. “Imagine what he would have done if he knew what really happened. He’d run straight to the authorities.”

“Better than the truth.” Vladimir yawned. “So, when are we leaving? I want to return to the house in Peshawar.”

Ajit stepped back into the room. “It is seven hundred and fifty kilometers to Peshawar using the motorway system. A friend is taking a load of brass and copper to the market on the road to the Khyber Pass.” He chuckled. “It has an appropriate name—Smuggler’s Bazaar. My friend makes a trip every week. Tomorrow he will hide both of you inside a special container on the back of his truck. His wares surround the container and protect it from prying eyes.”

“What about checkpoints?” Vasily glanced at Vladimir.

Ajit waved a hand in the air. “Nothing to worry about—my friend has greased the palms of the authorities along the route for years. If they turn him in, they’ll lose their stipends.” He laughed. “They make more in one week from him than they do from their regular jobs in a month. Trust me, my friends—this is the safest way for you to return to Peshawar.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Noble Traitor: A Historical Novel of Scotland (Son of Scotland Book 1) by J R Tomlin.  If you enjoy Scottish history, this one’s for you. An excellent blend of fact and fiction, with historical characters brought to life. Explore the period through the excellent background presented by J R Tomlin and experience what life might have been like. An excellent read and I look forward to the next installment in the series.

I received an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. I’m not quite finished, so I’ll post my review next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 31, 2021

To those who are getting into the spirit of things, Happy Halloween! Will you be trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, participating in divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, or watching horror films? Or will you let the night pass you by? Whatever is on your agenda, have a safe time!

After almost a week of constant rain, it’s great to wake up to dry conditions. Of course, I forgot the clocks went back last night. It didn’t matter, though. We’re still on ‘cat’ time–they were waiting for their breakfast.

Being from Michigan, I had quite an interest in the Michigan-Michigan State American football game played yesterday. It wasn’t available for viewing here, but a friend kept me updated with the scores. Must have been a fantastic game as it went down to the end, with Michigan State coming out on top!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.” ~ Napoleon Hill

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 31st, the fifth and last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Philippe de Vitry, French composer and poet; Caesar Baronius, Italian cardinal and historian; Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer; John Evelyn, English writer and diarist (Life of Mrs Godolphin); Christopher Anstey, English poet (The New Bath Guide); John Keats, English Romantic poet (Ode to a Grecian Urn); Hugh Boyle Ewing, American diplomat, author, attorney, and Brevet Major General (Union Army); Krišjānis Barons, Latvian writer; Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, American writer (Revolt of Mother); Seerp Anema, Dutch poet and writer (Dutch Coasts); Napoleon Lapathiotis, Greek poet; B. H. Liddell Hart, English military historian and publicist (The Rommel Papers); Charles Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet (Claro Enigma); William H. McNeill, Canadian-born historian (Rise of the West); Dick Francis, British jockey and detective writer (Whip Hand, High Stakes); Charles Moore, British editor-in-chief (Sunday Telegraph); Neal Stephenson, American author; Arnaud Desplechin, French film director and screenwriter; and Joseph Boyden, Canadian novelist (Three Day Road).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: John Keats and Dick Francis. 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 Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter seventeen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of thirty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 360. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

Before daybreak the following morning, a small, motorized boat hugged the Pakistani shoreline and entered the Indus River Delta. A half-moon cast eerie shadows on the area notorious for its mix of swamps, streams, and mangrove forests. Vladimir, Vasily, Ajit, and four men armed with AK-47s remained alert for naval and army patrols. They cleared the delta and followed the twists and turns of the mighty waterway.

Vladimir swatted at a swarm of pesky mosquitos. “Explain again why we’re going to the meeting this way?”

“Ah.” Ajit grinned. “This is easier way. Many obstacles for the military. They don’t like crawling through swamps, streams, and mangrove forests.”

Easier for who?  “If you say so.” He raised his brows as he glanced at Vasily.

With a tilt of his head, Vasily shrugged.

Hour after hour passed as they motored upriver. Once the sun rose, the temperature climbed, burning off the early-morning chill. The travelers remained silent, the peacefulness disturbed by the occasional calls of pigeons and parakeets and the continued putt-putt of the small engine.

As they approached Hyderabad, the pilot guided the boat toward a disused pier. Broken plants and tilted posts rocked as waves bounced against it. Two men dressed in brown shawal kameez and wearing multi-colored Sindhi caps waited on the small wharf.

After they secured the boat, Ajit was the first to step onto the dock. Sharing greetings with the two men, he pointed at the Russians. “This is Colonel Vladimir and Sergeant Vasily. They’ve come to meet with the council.”

Both men nodded before assisting the others out of the boat. Once the pilot departed, the eight men walked along a path trampled in the grass to a white pickup truck with a tarp stretched on a high frame across the cargo area. An armed guard sat next to the driver.

Ajit, Vasily, and Vladimir climbed under the tarp into the truck bed, followed by the others.

Once the vehicle began its journey, Ajit handed small packages to Vladimir and Vasily. “False Canadian passports with your current photos. It’ll be easier to pass through checkpoints with these instead of Russian documents.” He handed each of them a larger envelope. “Letters of appointment to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Will help explain why foreigners are running around the country with armed escorts.”

Vladimir opened the document to the photo page. Staring back at him, a picture taken over a year ago. He chuckled when he checked out his new name. “John Smith from Toronto, eh?  Good thing my English doesn’t have a thick accent.” He doesn’t suspect we have access to multiple identities, but we’ll use these.

“We thought about European passports but didn’t have any blank ones.” Ajit shrugged. “I’ll introduce you to the council as Vladimir and Vasily, not the names on your new passports. It’ll be several hours yet before we meet with them. The trip to Bahawalpur will take at least ten hours. It’s six hundred seventy-seven kilometers, and I’m sure there will be additional military and police roadblocks after the recent uprising over Kashmir.”

“What about patrol boats?” Vladimir glanced at Vasily.

Ajit shrugged. “Sometimes. But we have a surprise for them.”

“What?”

Ajit tapped the side of his nose and grinned. “It’ll be a surprise for you, too. If it’s not needed, I don’t want to share.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Extreme Prejudice: If you fear trouble, don’t get into trouble (A Lambeth Group Group Thriller Book 9) by Gordon Bickerstaff. As with all of Gordon’s thrillers, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat as you keep turning the pages to find out what happens. Join Zoe Tampsin and her compatriots as they try to squash a terrorist plot. Who will succeed? With a riveting plot, filled with plenty of twists and turns, as well as larger-than-life, if you’re a thriller aficionado, this one’s for you!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 24, 2021

The nights are quickly drawing in and daylight is also taking its time appearing each morning. Such is the autumn! Leaves continue to fall and there’s rain most days. Fortunately, there were a couple of dry spells, thanks to the wind, where I was able to rake up most of the leaves and deposit them in the recycling container–no burning here!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” ~ Robert Brault

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

Alban Butler, English Catholic priest and writer; Dorothea von Schlegel, German novelist (Florentin); Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (Mary Had a Little Lamb); August von Platen, German poet; Alexandra David-Néel, Belgian-French explorer and writer; Ernest Claes, Belgian author (Saints from Zichem); Delmira Agustini, Uruguayan poet (El Libro Blanco); Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay, Bengali author; Moss Hart, American playwright (You Can’t Take it With You, Act 1); Marghanita Laski, English journalist and author (Victorian chaise-lounge); Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist (Joy Beneath the Skin); Gabriel Laub, Polish writer; Yordan Radichkov, Bulgarian writer and playwright (The Tied Up Balloon); Hubert Aquin, French Canadian novelist, political activist and editor; Norman Rush, American writer (Mating); and Dale Maharidge, American author (And Their Children After Them).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this time. 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 Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Despite a myriad of non-writing events to take care of this week, I still managed to complete and post chapter sixteen Ultimate Escalation.  A total of twenty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 330.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Blakely scanned the faces of those sitting around the table or against the back wall, smiling as he watched the mounds of food disappearing from plates almost as if by magic. Hungry group, but they did well. He cleared his throat. “As some of you surmised, we designed this exercise to test how the three full teams would function as a single unit.”

“Aye, Admiral. Trevor, Evelyn, and I expected you would try something during our conference.” He made air quotes as he said conference. “However, we didn’t expect it to happen on the first day.”

“What better way to test your abilities to work together than calling a drill right away?” He raised a finger and pointed at Gerhard and Willie. “Some of you might have been under the impression this would be a drinking competition.”

Laughter broke out as Gerhard and Willie blushed.

“An excellent lesson to show we’re never off duty, so everything in moderation.” The admiral raised his brows. “Saying that, your performance today met our expectations.”

Every team member grinned.

“We wanted a somewhat realistic scenario to test your response as well as personnel here at Bedlam. Georgia and her folks surpassed themselves in making this exercise reasonable.”

“Aye, Admiral.” CC glanced at Trevor and Evelyn. “Sir, it’s an interesting scenario, but as soon as we entered the District of Columbia, it became apparent this was an exercise. If it had been real, Bedlam-One, Hunter-One, Hunter-Two would have been challenged. Our pilot didn’t mention it, so I think we relaxed a bit. Even so, our chopper’s brush with a fake missile and the simulated crash were realistic. So was the response by the emergency personnel.”

“If I might add, Admiral, the alert notification and departure from the conference site went as one would expect.” Trevor rubbed the scar on his temple. “I won our bet—CC and Evelyn expected some type of drill tomorrow, while I thought you’d try to be clever and arrange for one today.”

“We debated over which day to proceed, knowing you’d be anticipating something. Anyway—”

Someone knocked on the door and entered. A young man handed single sheets of paper to the admiral, Sir Alex, and Harrison and departed.

The three advisors read the brief note. Sir Alex and Harrison tilted their heads toward the admiral.

“Good thing we didn’t have any injuries during your training session. Two independent sources provided the Intelligence Community with limited details of a meeting held in Dubai yesterday. Seems several former Spetsnaz personnel are expanding their private business operations.” The admiral turned to the Bedlam team leaders. “CC, Trevor, and Evelyn. Pick an individual from your respective teams—they’re heading to Dubai. Their assignment—find out what mischief former Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev and his band of misfits are planning, so we can disrupt their activity.”

He gazed at the operatives. “Keep in mind, this is a recon mission. Your rules of engagement will not include a strike against Nikolaev and his men—at least until we find out what they’re up to.”

The admiral pushed back his chair and stood while everyone jumped to their feet. “I’ll expect those names in an hour. We’ll be in my office. In the meantime, everyone else enjoy your remaining downtime. The conference is hereby cancelled. See Georgia for billeting information. That is all.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman. Nick and Selena are embroiled in another battle to preserve relics from the past, this time the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.  Since I haven’t read the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this nonstop action-packed adventure. If you haven’t read any of Alex’s books, here’s another author to check out. I’ll be heading back to the beginning of the series to find out how it all began!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved