Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 27, 2020

As another months rolls toward the end, leaves are changing color and growth spurts from plants and the lawn are slowing down. Chilly evenings are upon us, with heavy dew most mornings.

At least we’ve gone from rainy August to a more settled September. As Mother Nature continues her never-ending cycle, we’re once again reminded of the miracles which abound around us. Try to take time to enjoy the wonders–you’ll be glad you did.

Do you know who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Galle, Flemish engraver and printer; Jacques-Benigne bossuet, French bishop and writer (Louis XIV court preacher); Michael Denis, Austrian poet, bibliographer and lepidopterist; Maria Versfelt [Ida Saint-Elme], Dutch writer, stage actress, and mistress (General Moreau & Marshal Ney); Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Swiss writer (Grains de Mil); Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Swiss writer (Grains de Mil); Alexander Cohen, Dutch anarchist and author; Tryggve Andersen, Norwegian writer (Fra Cancelliraadens Dage; Grazia Deledda, Italian author (Nobel 1926); Cyril Scott, English composer and author (Heroic Suite); Joannes Cornelissen, Dutch historian (Hooft & Tacitus); Vjekoslav Kaleb, Croatian writer (Splendor of the Fabric); William Empson, English poet and critic (Milton’s God); Jim Thompson, American author (The Killer Inside Me); Giles Playfair, English writer; Louis Auchincloss, Lawrence NY, lawyer/novelist (Watchfires); Bernard Waber, American author; Josef Skvorecky, Czechoslovakia, writer and publisher (End of the Nylon Age, The Cowards); Dick Schaap, sportscaster/author (Bo Knows Bo, Instant Replay); Carol Lynn Pearson, American poet and writer; Kay Ryan, American poet (Hide and Seek); and Irvine Welsh, Scottish writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t spot any names I know. 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

I found out this week Carnage in Singapore was selected as one of six First in Category winners in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category.  What an honor and needless to say, I’m thrilled!

If you’d like to check out the  First in Category winners and the Grand Prize winners for all of the categories , head to: Chanticleer.

So what is Carnage in Singapore about?

Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them and ISIS-affiliates at an alarming rate. Blended operations by various Asian countries have forced the groups to work together to identify a new operational base.

They seek an island nation to call home, one where they can plot against countries who oppose their ideals. They found a target, a small nation-state, perfect for their needs: The Republic of Singapore.

Before anyone can respond, the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia are kidnapped from their residences in Singapore. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning. Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

Bedlam Charlie team leader, Evelyn Evinrude, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

My Work in Progress

This week, I’ve spent most of my writing time with editing. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

I’ve only finished the first ten chapters so far, but they’ve received 169 reviews on the two subscription writing sites I use. Plenty of support as I continue my writing journey!

In case you missed an earlier posting of the synopsis, here you go:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

Next time, I’ll begin including snippets.

That’s all for this week as I didn’t get a chance to write down my thoughts about recent books I read. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 20, 2020

When I woke up this morning, it was dark and I was pinned to the bed. Was a having a dream? No. Very simple explanations.

Why was it dark? The blinds were pulled to block the morning sunshine–except there wasn’t any. Glancing through the cracks in the blinds, I  could see there wasn’t a glimpse of sunshine, but plenty of dark clouds.

Why couldn’t I move? Another easy answer. A fourteen-pound cat named Tommy was sprawled across one of my shoulders, his head on my pillow. A smaller cat name Flora (or more formally, Lady Flora Fluffbottom), decided my calf was a good prop.

The are just two of the four cats we have with us at the moment. Joining them is Charlie and Hope. Tommy and Charlie were feral, and both are still very skittish. Flora was destined for euthanasia, while Hope came from a no-kill shelter. They’re all part of the family!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Sergey Aksakov, Russian writer (Semejnaja chronika); Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Italian journalist, soldier and pacifist (Nobel Peace Prize 1907); Upton Beall Sinclair, American writer (Jungle); Maxwell Perkins, American editor and publisher; Charles Williams, British poet and writer; Rachel Bluwstein, Hebrew poet; Fjodor Panfjorov, Russian author (Volga); Cesare Zavattini, Italian screenwriter (Ladri di Biciclette); Stevie [Florence Margaret] Smith, English poet and novelist (Not Waving but Drowning); Geraldine Clinton Little, Irish poet (A Little Bouquet); Donald Hall, American writer, literary critic and Poet Laureate of the United States; Keith Roberts, English writer (Irish Encounter, Ladies from Hell); George R. R. Martin, American fantasy and sci-fi author (A Song of Ice and Fire); James P[aul] Blaylock, American sci-fi author (Elfin Ship, Homunculus); Javier Marías, Spanish translator and novelist (Corazón tan blanco); and David Allen, American composer and writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t spot any names I know. 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

This week, I continued to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 511 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of four in the past week. However, all of my regular reviewers have finished the story, so now I’m just seeing new readers pop in.

I’ve now updated half of the chapters as I move through the editing process. Here’s the final snippet before publication:

After their brotherly embrace, Abilio turned to the others. “Senhor João, and Baba Theo, this is my cousin, Soba Ngenda. He’s very brave and will help us find Peter.”

João and Theo shook hands with the grinning Soba before returning to the aircraft, where Nito was unloading their weapons and supplies.

“I will wait here for your return, Theo. The plane will be ready for immediate departure.” He crossed his heart.

“Thank you, Nito.” Theo clasped Nito’s shoulder before helping move their equipment.

Once they stowed everything in the back of the van, they climbed inside. João and Theo squeezed into the back while Abilio sat up front with his cousin.

Theo tapped the back of Soba’s seat. “We’re ready. Let’s go.”

“Yes, Minister Theo.” Soba turned the key.

Click. Click.

Soba pursed his lips and tried again.

Vroom!

A cloud of black smoke blew over the vehicle in the stiff breeze. After it cleared, Soba drove past the single-story terminal building and out the airport’s exit. He gunned the engine as he pulled onto the two-lane road heading toward the city. “While you wait for your friends to arrive, I arranged rooms at the Hotel Kawissa—the finest hotel in the city.”

“Thank you, Soba.” Theo tapped his fingers on his knee. Hang on, Peter. We’re coming!

Soba weaved through the traffic, leaning on the horn whenever he approached a slow-moving vehicle.

Theo closed his eyes as Soba squeezed shot past a truck and squeezed in front of an oncoming bus. May God protect us!

João and Theo rocked forward when Soba slammed on the brakes.

He pointed to an immense open-sided building with a red corrugated roof. “This is one of Saurimo’s markets.” He grinned. “My brothers are there now—we have four stalls.”

“What do they sell?” João tilted his head to gaze inside the building.

“Many things—cassava, beans, potatoes, corn, and yams.” Soba glanced in the rearview mirror at Theo and lowered his voice. “Other things, too, if the price is right.” He put a finger over his lips. “Five minutes, and we will be at the hotel.”

True to Soba’s prediction, they pulled up in front of a yellow two-story building with gray trim, with a brick and wrought-iron fence surrounding the property. Emblazoned across the front of the building in large blue script was Hotel Kawissa.

Soba stopped the van on the street next to block paving outside the fence.

As the others began to open the doors, Soba shouted, “Wait!” He jerked the wheel, cut across the road and down a side street.

***

They jumped out of the vehicle as the outer door slammed shut. Soba introduced his brothers before gesturing to a tan Casspir mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle.

“Couldn’t you find anything less conspicuous?” João laughed.

Soba shrugged. “We will need the space—my brothers are going to help free Minister Theo’s son.”

“Okay, Soba. But, no more surprises.” Theo suppressed a grin. “Let’s transfer everything and head back to the hotel. We depart for the rendezvous point early.”

“Yes, Minister. I will spend the night with my brothers. Abilio will drive you to the hotel.”

Theo nodded. We’ll be safer with Abilio driving.

After the men transferred everything into the MRAP, Abilio climbed into the van’s driver seat while João and Theo sat in the back. They headed back the way they came.

Before Abilio turned the corner, the darkened sky lit up as if it was midday.

Boom!

A concussion wave rolled over the vehicle. Abilio lost control, and smashed into a parked car.

Theo’s head cracked against the side of the van. Holding his head, he glanced back at the warehouse. Yellow-orange flames and thick, black smoke billowed upward near the building. Who? How? He slumped toward João as he lost consciousness.

This week I also finished and posted chapter ten of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. As with all of my works-in-progress, the chapters are posted to the two subscription writing sites. As of this morning, there’s been fifty-seven chapter reviews. I’ve picked up some new reviewers, which is always a good sign my work is picking up some interest. Great support to help me improve my writing!

In case you missed the synopsis, in an earlier post here it is:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

I’ll probably start posting snippets of this one next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Clean Cut Kid by Michael Maxwell. Follow the adventures of Logan Connor as he seeks to re-create himself, changing his boring life into one with a sharp focus, even if it means running toward danger. A loner, he’ll have to learn to trust, even if it’s against his nature.

Michael has created a super story, filled with realistic characters and enough twists and turns to keep even the most avid action-adventure aficionado turning the pages. Unlike so many stories nowadays, he’s also done this without relying on sex and profanity–a great departure from the norm! I look forward to reading more of Logan’s adventures.

I also finished Blair Howard’s latest novel, The Last Straw, which bridges the gap between Harry Starke’s job as a homicide detective and his creation of a private eye business. But what cause Harry to give up a career as a police officer? Was it his latest case, involving the death of a female teenager or something else? You’ll have to grab a copy as I don’t like to spoil anyone’s reading pleasure.

As with all of Blair’s books, this is another well-written novel, with a spell-binding plot, realistic characters and enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. So go on, pick up a copy–you know you want to–and you won’t be disappointed!

Finally, I completed my reading of Yufu’s Run by Rayner Ye. Yufu has a lucrative job fishing for diamonds on behalf of a government organization. Before long, he’s embroiled in a conspiracy which results in him being accused of a terrorist attack. All he wants to do is retirement with his wife and children? Will he be able to do so or will he be on the run for the rest of his life?

Rayner has created a futuristic plot pitting good versus evil. Packed with plenty of action and intrigue, this one will have you turning the pages.

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 13, 2020

The nights are closing in, dawn sleeps in each morning, clouds and rain are a constant companion, and leaves are beginning to turn color. No doubt about it–fall is approaching. And fast!

Despite the changing weather, roses are still budding, new flowers have popped out on our clematis vines, and several new hydranga blooms are threatening to burst from the shelter of their leaves. It’s always interesting to watch how Mother Nature changes the landscape in a never-ending cycle.

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

Alexander Neckam, English theologist and encyclopedist; John Leland, English poet and antiquarian; Daniel Defoe, English novelist (Robinson Crusoe); Arnold Ruge, German political philosopher and writer; Nicolas Beets [Hildebrand], Dutch writer (Camera Obscura) and theologian; Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (The Child of the Parish); Johannes de Koo, Dutch journalist and playwright; Sherwood Anderson, American author and publisher (Winesburg Ohio); Alain LeRoy Locke, African-American writer and philosopher “Father of the Harlem Renaissance”; Pierre Reverdy, French poet (Nord-Sud); J. B. Priestly, English novelist and scriptwriter (The Good Companions, An Inspector Calls); Julian Tuwim, Polish poet and lyricist; Anton Constandse, Dutch anarchist and writer; Hermine Heijermans, Dutch actress, politician and author (Grote Klaas en kleine Klaas); Ray Green, American composer and publisher; Roy Engle, American writer and actor (The Man from Planet X, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian); Roald Dahl, British author (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG); George Weidenfeld, British publisher (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Reninca [Renée Lauwers], Flemish author (Seed in the Wind); Judith Martin, American author, journalist and columnist (Miss Manners); Noël Godin, Belgian writer and humorist; and Tõnu Õnnepalu, Estonian poet and author.

I’d also like to extend belated happy birthday wishes to America’s oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks. He turned 111 yesterday! Click here for his story!

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Daniel Defoe and Roald Dahl. 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

This week, I continued to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 507 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-three in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t. Not only does this impact on my current work-in-progress, it also helps to improve my future stories.

Here’s another snippet:

Hours passed. Namali’s contractions continued about every twenty minutes. Each one was accompanied by a piercing scream as she wrenched the replaced sheet.

Fimi wiped Namali’s forehead after every event, singing a local song in a soft voice. During a break in the contractions, Fimi helped Namali change into somewhat cleaner clothes.

Peter tried to rest on a chair, his head leaning against the tent’s central pole. However, he jumped every time Namali screamed.

“Doc … tor. Help me!” Namali raised her head. “Make the pain go away.”

Peter stepped to the side of the cot and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Soon. Once the contractions become more frequent, it will be time.” He gestured at Fimi. “Together, we will bring your baby into this world.”

“Thank … you, Doc … tor.” Namali gasped and collapsed back on the pillow.

Moments later, she screamed again—louder than before. “It hurts! Make it go away!”

Peter rushed to Namali’s side. With Fimi’s help, they moved Namali into a birthing position. He examined her again.

Blood.

“Doctor?” Fimi held a small bag in her hand. “Should we give some medicine to help?”

“What is it?”

She shrugged. “I do not remember. My mother was a doula, and she made this mixture. It is a herbal remedy she learned from her mother.”

Peter waved a hand. “Not now.” He pointed at the blood. “It will be time soon.”

“Ieeeeeah!”

“The contractions are stronger and quicker. Won’t be long. Help her push.”

A liquid saturated the cot as Namali screamed again.

Fimi grabbed a clean towel and wiped up the fluid.

“The membrane ruptured!” Peter peered at Namali. “I can see the head! Push, Namali, push!”

Namali dug her fingernails into Fimi’s arm.

The doula grimaced and encouraged Namali to push with each contraction.

“It’s coming!”

“Waaaah!

Peter held the tiny baby in his hands. He nodded at Fimi, who wrapped the child in a piece of blanket.

After Peter snipped the umbilical cord, he stepped to Namali’s side. He glanced at her now-peaceful looking face. “Congratulations. You have a healthy child.”

More next time.

I also managed several more hours of research and finally completed chapter seven of New World Revolution this week. To date, there have been 137 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen since I last mentioned this WIP.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible. While I have a specific time frame for this novel, the first of six planned for the series, several reviewers are reminding me about events they are familiar with. They’ll all receive an appropriate mention when it’s time. Of course, it’s always difficult to blend real events and people with the lives of fictional characters, but that’s part of the thrill of creating this series.

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 6, 2020

It’s been a busy week getting things finished outside. I finally tackled the block-paved driveway. What was once gray is more or less restored to its regular color of red and brown bricks. It’ll need a second wash so I can clean the spots I missed, but it looks so much better, if I do say so myself.

For those celebrating the traditional but unofficial ‘end of summer’ Labor Day weekend, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable time!

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

Emanuel van Meteren, Flemish merchant and historian; Moses Mendelssohn, German Jewish enlightenment philosopher (Haksalah); Anton Diabelli, Austria publisher and composer; Frances Wright, Scottish writer and lecturer; Horatio Greenough, American neo-classical sculptor and writer (Form & Function); Johanna D Courtmans-Berchmans, Flemish author (Rozeken Pot); Nicolae Filimon, Romanian writer and critic (Ciocoii Vechi Si Noi); Zelia Nuttall, American archeologist and historian; Rodolfo Lenz, German-Chilian linguist (El Papiamento); Felix Salten [Siegmund Salzmann], Austrian author (Bambi, a Life in the Woods); Willem Adriaan Bonger, Dutch criminologist (Race & Crime); Franz Theodor Csokor, Austrian author (Writings on the Wall); Mario Praz, Italian literary critic and scholar (La carne, la morte, e il diavolo); Julien Green, American-French writer (Frere Francois); Arvi Kivimaa, Finnish writer (Groenende Cross); John Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher; Elizabeth Ferrars, British crime writer; Carmen Laforet, Spanish author; Andrea Camilleri, Italian author (Inspector Montalbano novels; Robert M. Pirsig, American author (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance); Dan Cragg, American soldier and author; Gordon DeMarco, American writer and activist; Alice Sebold, American novelist (The Almost Moon); Christopher Brookmyre, Scottish writer (Quite Ugly One Morning); and China Miéville, English fantasy fiction writer (Perdido Street Station).

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t find any names I’m familiar with. 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

This week, I began the editing process for Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 484 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of nineteen in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear raced toward the shore. Chest heaving, he waded in the shallows before dragging himself up the embankment. Collapsing in the grass, he propped himself up on an arm and gazed at the ferry as it approached its docking station.

Guzman and Kruger stood next to the vehicles, grins plastered on their faces.

Kruger cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hey, Sear! Watch out for the Nile crocs!”

Eyes wide, Sear jumped to his feet. “Where?” Not finding anything coming after him, he walked over to the dirt road, water dripping from his clothes. He waited as the gate dropped on the ferry.

Kruger and Guzman drove the cargo vehicles onto land, stopping by Sear and jumping out.

“You going to train for the next Olympics?” Guzman punched Sear in the shoulder. “Your dive from the boat would be a medal winner off the high platform.”

“Ha, ha.” He glared at his friends. “So, why didn’t you jump when the mortar came at us?”

“What mortar?” Kruger pointed to the far shore where the locals stood laughing and waving. “Just a prank by the villagers to catch unsuspecting travelers. The ferry owner has a speaker rigged up and cranks it up when the boat’s about halfway across.” He shaded his eyes from the bright sunlight as he glanced at the river. “At least there weren’t any crocs—today.”

“Okay, you’ve had your fun. Let’s move.” Sear shook his head, showering Guzman and Kruger with water.

“Hey! Cut it out. I had nothing to do with it.” Guzman raised his hands in the air and laughed.

“Just remember—paybacks are hell.”

***

They continued on in silence, the drone of the engine making it difficult to stay awake.

Sear’s head nodded, his chin dropping to his chest. Before long, snores filled the cabin.

Two hours later, Kruger jabbed Sear’s shoulder. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty!”

With a start, Sear jumped, pulling his SIG Sauer P320 from its holster.

“Whoa, kemosabe!” Kruger raised a hand.

“Why’d you wake me? I was just enjoying myself.”

Kruger rolled his eyes. Spare me the details, boss. According to my friends in Lusaka, we’ll pass by a couple of villages on the way to our rendezvous point. Do you want to stop for lunch?” He laughed.

Sear raised his brows. “Uh. No. There are plenty of MREs in the shipment.”

“Oh, yes. American Meals Rarely Edible. I remember them.” He pantomimed shoving two fingers down his throat. “If I can’t catch something to eat and cook, I supposed I’ll have to struggle with them.”

***

In no time at all, the cargo was stowed away, except for a large item. Together, they grabbed the Zodiac and manhandled it on top of the other cargo. As they turned around, ten men stepped forward.

“Now what?” Sear stared at a tall, thick-chested man who stood forward of the others. A shakedown or worse?

“Hands up. We take cargo.” The apparent leader grinned. “We take you too—maybe someone pay ransom.” He raised an arm.

Several men ran forward, grabbing Sear, Kruger, and Guzman. They clubbed the men to the ground before binding their hands and feet with rope.

“Wait!” Sear struggled against two men trying to tie his feet. “What do you want? We’ll pay—”

Darkness descended as Sear blacked out from the blow to the back of his head.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder. This is the fourth novel in Tony’s DI Bliss series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite recovering from a road collision, Bliss is whisked from the hospital to the scene of a vicious assault. Was the victim being stalked or was this a random murder?

Tony keeps his readers guessing with a superb plot, filled with enough twists and twists to keep you turning the pages to find out what happened. We also learn more about Bliss and how his past comes back to haunt him. For those of you who enjoy intense crime and mystery thrillers, this one’s for you!

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 30, 2020

The past week or so has had an autumnal feeling to it, with rain most days and the daytime temperature not going above 61F (16C). The light nights have rapidly dwindled and nighttime temperatures are dropping to 45F (7C).

Hope this isn’t a sign summer is already over! I realize it’s the end of August, but would definitely like more summer weather–at least into the middle of September!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bonifacio Asioli, Italian composer and music writer; Mary Shelley, English author (Frankenstein); Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Friedrich Ratzel, German social-geographer (Lebensraum); J. M. Dent, British publisher; Paul Hazard [Paul-Gustave-Marie-Camille Hazard], French critic and literature historian; Meijer de Hond, Dutch rabbi and writer; Adam Kuckhoff, German writer and resistance fighter; John Gunther, American author and host (John Gunther’s High Road); Donald Bisset, British children book writer, illustrator (Upside Down Stories); Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Protestant theologist; Ben Cami, Flemish writer and poet (Rose from Mud); Charmian Clift, Australian writer and essayist; Laurent de Brunhoff, French writer and illustrator (Babar the Elephant); Warren Burger, American author (The Midas Touch); Fabrizia Ramondino, Italian author; Robert Crumb, American cartoonist (Father Time, Fritz Cat); and Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author. 

This week I certainly recognized one name: Mary Shelley. I’d also like to mention today is my step-son’s birthday. He might not be famous, but he does write a fashion-related blog, which is available at https://theculturalomnivore.co.uk/.

Anyone familiar to you? 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

This week, I continued on a roll with my writing, having completed the final chapters of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 465 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of thirty-nine in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

A hint of dawn appeared on the horizon. Two black SUVs with false license plates pulled out of Theo and Shantae’s residence. The dogs followed until Shantae whistled.

After a final glance at the departing vehicles, the dogs gave a short bark and turned back toward Shantae, tails wagging. “Now don’t you worry about Baba. He’ll return soon with Peter.” I pray to God. She waved a final time. The smile plastered on her face as Theo and João soon disappeared, replaced by a frown. May God look after all of them.

***

Abilio drove the lead Jeep Cherokee, with João and Theo sitting in the back seat. Three hand-picked guards rode in the second vehicle.

The two-vehicle convoy weaved through the streets of Luanda until they turned onto the highway leading east. Abilio hummed a series of out-of-tune songs as the miles passed by. They encountered little traffic.

“How far we go today, Baba Theo? Should I drive fast?”

Theo shook his head. “Obey all posted signs and don’t drive too fast. We want to find out if anyone is following us.”

“If someone’s after you, why didn’t we fly?” João glanced over his shoulder.

A thin smile creased Theo’s face. “There are spies everywhere, my friend. They want information about where I go and who I meet.”

“Why would anyone want to do this? Haven’t you been a champion of the people?”

“My views aren’t held by everyone in the government.”

***

Theo and João sat in the rear seats of the Cessna. Once everything was loaded onto the aircraft, the three guards waved and headed toward the vehicles.

“Are we ready, Abilio?”

“Yes, Baba. They will take both vehicles and continue on the road to Saurimo in case anyone follows.”

“Excellent.” Theo shouted over the noise of the engine as Nito ran through his checklist before departure. “We’ll be in Saurimo in about four hours.”

João leaned toward Theo. “What happens when we arrive?”

“Abilio’s cousin lived there. He will meet our plane and take us to the rendezvous point with Senhor Sear.” Theo leaned back in his seat. “As you told me long ago, soldiers should sleep whenever the chance arose. I suggest we do so now.” Who knows what will happen when we arrive? I hope Abilio’s cousin is as trustworthy as he believes.

“We are ready.” Nito glanced at his passengers. “We go now.” He turned the aircraft around and increased speed as they bounced through the grass. Before they reached a distant line of trees, he pulled back on the yoke, and the plane clawed its way skyward.

***

João gazed out the window, watching mile after mile of dense jungle pass beneath them. In the distance, occasional breaks indicated small villages. I hope Sear makes it. We’ll need his expertise to extract Peter. His eyes began to close as the drone of the engine lulled him asleep.

A sound, not unlike a cough, broke the smooth noise of the engine.

João jerked, wide awake. He glanced at Nito, who struggled with the controls. “What’s wrong?”

“Hang on! We’re going down!”

A whistling sound replaced the engine noise as the nose of the aircraft tipped toward the ground.

João tightened his seat belt and closed his eyes. Catarina! I love you!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished another novel from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts, so I’ll provide my reviews next time.

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 23, 2020

We’ve had a week of unsettled weather, with plenty of clouds, multiple showers–even a thunderstorm. There were occasional outbreaks of sunshine, but the temperatures were more like what we expect in late September or early October, not in August. At least today began with plenty of brilliant sunshine. Nor sure how long it will last, but we’ll take what Mother Nature dishes out.

I had to laugh at an article I scanned in this morning’s paper. Apparently, there’s a group of people (referred to as snowflakes in the article), who are offended by the use of a period to end a text message. They say this indicates the sender is insincere.

Huh? Since when did proper punctuation become offensive? How long will it take before there’s a push to ban teaching of punctuation and capitalization in the schools?  I’ve seen a few books available for sale where the authors clearly don’t care. In fact, I read a post somewhere where one of these authors mentioned it doesn’t matter if a book is full of improper grammar, poor punctuation, incorrect capitalization, etc., as long as it’s a good story. 

I tried reading one of these books during the past week. Fortunately, I didn’t pay a penny for it. Good thing, as I couldn’t get past the first chapter. I’m not expert on these things, but I do try hard to use what I do know.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Fulvio Testi, Italian poet (Pianto d’Italia); Moritz B. Cantor, German historian of mathematics; William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher; William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor; Marcel Schwob, French writer and journalist (Le Croisade des Enfants); Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology); Alexander Grin, Russian novelist (Jessie and Morgiana); Will Cuppy, American humorist (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody); Jo Sternheim, Dutch actor and playwright (Fatherland); Alfred Lichtenstein, German writer; Cecil Rolph Hewitt, English journalist and policeman; Mauritius van Haegendoren, Flemish historian and senator; Arthur Adamov, Russian-French playwright (Paolo Paoli); Albert Alberts, Dutch writer and journalist (French battle); Jara Ribnikar, Serbian writer; Ephraim Kishon, Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and Oscar-nominated film director; Clifford Geertz, American anthropologist (symbolic anthropology); Roy Strong, English writer, art historian and director (Victoria & Albert Museum); Nelson DeMille, American action adventure and suspense novels author (Plum Island); Andrei Pleşu, Romanian writer and essayist; John Bauldie, British music journalist; Charles Busch, American actor, screenwriter, playwright and drag queen (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife); Roger Avary, Canadian-American screenwriter, director, and producer (Pulp Fiction); and Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor.

This week I certainly recognized one name: Nelson DeMille. Anyone familiar to you? 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

This week, I was on a roll with my writing, having completed chapters 34-36 of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 426 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of seventeen in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The maître d‘ greeted him and escorted him to a table sheltered by an awning. “Are you expecting anyone to join you, Doctor Okonjo?”

“Yes, Clifford. One man. He’ll ask for my table.”

“Very good, Doctor.” Clifford snapped his fingers and a waiter hurried to the table, a tray perched on one hand. “ I took the liberty of ordering your favorite drink—a Mongozo beer.”

“Excellent. Leave me until my guest arrives.”

Clifford nodded as he backed away from the table.

Okonjo sipped his beer, savoring the flavor of the palm nuts used to make the brew. He glanced at the beach and smiled as two couples strolled through the sand, arm-in-arm. I’m tired of the games. I hope this contact brings usable information.

Twenty minutes later, Clifford reappeared, leading a short slender man, wearing a Western-style suit. Scars crisscrossed his face.

After seating Okonjo’s guest, he placed a beer in front of him and departed.

“So. You requested this meeting. I hope you bring me what I want.”

The man sipped his drink, his gaze focused on Okonjo. “My leader sends his greetings. Are his words what you want to hear?” He shrugged. “That is up to you to decide. He instructed to tell me he had to relocate his camp, so he requires additional funds to pay off the other groups who allowed him to move without interference.”

Okonjo pursed his lips. “How much this time?”

“The usual—all in diamonds.”

“He’ll have to wait. I won’t receive more until the weekend.” Assuming Buhari is successful. “What about Mwanga’s son? Does he still live?”

The man grinned. “For now. He is useful as my leader’s woman is with child.”

“When will he be dealt with?” Okonjo drained his glass. “His departure will provide me with the leverage I require.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You are not as important as you think. My leader is an equal partner with you in creating the new Africa.” He waved a finger in front of Okonjo. “Do not be impatient.”

“Is that so?” Okonjo arched his brows and aimed the pistol in his lap at his guest. “You are nothing but a messenger. Be careful, or you will meet whatever idol you worship sooner than you expect.”

“Are you threatening me?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Our business is finished.”

Okonjo raised his arm, showing his pistol. “Sit down, or I’ll blow a hole through you. This is my restaurant, so I could kill you without any interference.”

The man gulped and leaned over the table, his hands supporting him. “I’ll return in two days. You better have the payment.”

“Here’s a reminder for you.” Okonjo raised his left hand. The dagger flashed in the light as he jabbed the blade downward.

“Yeeeah!”

The man grabbed his hand, blood spurting from the hole.

Okonjo stood and glared across the table. He turned when Clifford rushed forward. “Show my guest out the back door. My driver will take care of him.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I received an advanced copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Nicolette, which will formally hit the streets on August 30th. If you’re a fan of Blair’s writing like I am, you’ll appreciate how Lt. Kate Gazzara digs into another case to find a killer.

Who killed Nicolette, and why? After all, she was just a young woman searching for true love. Follow Lt. Gazzara and her team as they unravel the threads they come across to finally solve the case. But at what expense? Clearly Lt. Gazzara is overworked and under enormous pressure. However, with her guiding hand, the team follows their leads, piecing together the clues. No spoiler alert here–you’ll need to grab a copy to find out what happens.

I will say this is another excellent plot from a master storyteller. With plenty of twists and turns, and loads of realistic characters, you’ll enjoy the ride. I know I did!

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 16, 2020

Here we are at the middle of August–another month sailing by!  We just had the roof tiles cleaned and repainted. Gone is the twenty plus years build-up of lichen. It took several days to clean the roof and have its new black-blue coating added.

Of course, it didn’t help any when it began raining just as the second coat was finished.  What a mess! The blue dye splattered everywhere. The company must have been familiar with this type of occurrence as they were on the phone to us before we could call them. After a good clean-up the next day when it wasn’t raining, they waited for another dry day and redid the second coat. Looks fantastic!

This week also brought more intrigue into the genealogy research, when we found one ancestor had been a servant to a particular “titled” person. Nothing to get excited about for most people, but it was really interesting to find someone other than farmers, blacksmiths, and a few teachers.  The oldest record we’ve been able to find (and could actually read) was from 1678. Still a bit more research to do, but it’s getting harder now to fill in the blanks.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German countess and poet; Jean de La Bruyère, French writer (The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus); Emile A. H. Seipgens, Dutch priest, writer and beer brewer; Justus van Maurik, Dutch author and cigar manufacturer; Arthur Achleitner, German writer; Jules Laforgue, French poet (Les Complaintas); Ferdinand C. S. Schiller, German-British philosopher (Riddles of the Sphinx); Antonio Nobre, Portuguese poet (Só); Pierre H. Ritter Jr, Dutch literary, writer and journalist; Albert Cohen, Greek-born Swiss novelist (Belle du Seigneur); Georgette Heyer, English novelist (Friday’s Child); William Maxwell, American novelist and editor (The New Yorker); Charles Bukowski, German-born American columnist (Notes of a Dirty Old Man) and writer (Hollywood: A Novel) who was described as a “laureate of American lowlife”; Louis Lomax, African-American author and journalist; Millôr Fernandes, Brazilian writer and playwright; Jan van Ginkel, graphic artist/publisher (Perscombinatie); Reiner Kunze, German writer (The Lovely Years); Diana Wynne Jones, UK, sci-fi author (Drowned Ammet, Witch Week); Andrew J[efferson V] Offutt, American sci-fi author (Undying Wizard); and James Cameron, Canadian film director and writer (Titanic, Avatar).

I didn’t find any names I’m familiar, did you? 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

Three of my novels are participating in various promotions during August: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited Mystery and Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/mysterythrilleronku/c1lk5urbla

Serial Killer Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/serialkillerthrillers/kavh64sncq

Happy End of Summer:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Revenge:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Please help an author or two by dropping in and taking a look at what’s on offer. All of us thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week, I completed chapter thirty-three of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-four. As of today, there’s been 409 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-one in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

***

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished two more novels from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. The first was The Scent of Guilt.

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation. Teamed up once again with his partner, DS Penny Chandler, they pull out all the stops to solve the mystery which appears to have similarities to crimes committed in California.

Tony has written another superb thriller, with plenty of twists and turns for Bliss and Chandler to negotiate as they work on this investigation. Tony’s characters are very realistic and you love them or hate them, depending upon which side of the law they appear. This one will have you burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens next!

If Fear Wins is another fantastic ‘who done it’ story when DI Bliss and DS Chandler are handed a case involving a torched body and a separate missing person. Who burned the body, and why? Is the missing person linked to the grisly remains?

If you enjoy crime and mystery stories, this is another page-turner for you. No spoiler alert–you’ll have to grab a copy and immerse yourself in this superb story!

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 9, 2020

When we bought our current house, there was a conservatory attached to it. It has an opaque roof, which allows for heat to build up inside in the summer and can be quite cool in the winter. There’s also an intense glare when the sun hits it.

Fortunately, having experienced this before, we knew what to do. There are inserts which slide into the the layer of channels in the roof panels. So, this past few week (around intermittent showers) I installed the inserts. Not a difficult task, but definitely time consuming.

As a result, our opaque roof now has a blueish tint to it, which is interesting since the inserts are silver on both sides. Anyway, the glare has disappeared and the conservatory is cooler, without having to open the doors and all of the windows. Hopefully, we’ll see less heat loss in the winter, too.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Izaak Walton, English biographer and author (The Compleat Angler); John Oldham, English satirical poet; Jacob Campo Weyerman, Dutch painter and writer during Dutch Enlightenment; Bruno Dalberg [Petrus the Wacker van Zon], Dutch writer and lawyer; David de Jong, Dutch writer (Mutiny on the Canal); Armand Salacrou, French playwright; P.L. [Pamela Lyndon] Travers, Australian British writer (Mary Poppins); Berta Waterstradt, German writer and actress; John Baur, American museum director and author (American Paintings in 19th Century); Robert van Gulik, Dutch diplomat and writer (Judge Dee); Tove Jansson, Finnish author and illustrator (Moomins); Enzo Biagi, Italian journalist and writer; Philip Larkin, English poet and writer (North Ship, Jill); Gerrit Kouwenaar, Dutch journalist and poet; Robert Shaw, British actor, novelist, and playwright (Deep, Jaws, Sting, Black Sunday); Daniel Keyes, American author (Flowers for Algernon); and Jonathan Kellerman, American writer.

Recognize anyone? I did–Robert Shaw and Jonathan Kellerman. 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

This week, I completed chapter thirty-two of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-three. As of today, there’s been 388 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

An hour later, the road widened as they near the village. Children ran alongside the vehicles, laughing and shouting. Older people peeked out of the various huts, staring at the trucks as they passed through the village center.

Ahead, three trucks waited, their cargo areas stacked high with various goods, including bags of grain, bolts of cloth, and crates of live chickens.

Sear and Guzman hopped out of their vehicle and walked toward the water.

Kruger joined them. He exchanged a few words with one of the locals and turned to Sear. “He wants to know what white men are doing in this part of Africa?”

The man said something else to Kruger, who laughed. “He wants to know if we’re lost?”

“What’s the problem?”

“He didn’t say there was a problem. We’re an oddity in this area, that’s all.”

The local tapped Kruger on the shoulder and conversed for a couple of minutes. Afterward, the man smiled and walked away.

“Now what?”

“The locals are letting us go on the ferry first.”

The vehicles ahead of them backed up, clearing the way for Sear and his companions.

“Guess we better get in position.” Kruger turned toward his truck. “Oh, yeah. He said one other thing—we’ll be on the boat by ourselves. They believe we are bad luck.”

***

Once Kruger and Guzman drove their cargo vehicles onto the flat-bottom ferry, the trucks were locked in place. The ferry moved into the brown water, heading toward Angola.

Sear leaned against the back of a truck and gazed at the locals standing along the Zambian shoreline waving at him.

He lifted his hand to return the gesture.

Fweet! Fweet!

Sear waved at Kruger and Guzman. “Incoming!” He dove into the murky water.

More next time.

I managed several more hours of research for chapter seven of New World Revolution this week and should begin writing soon. To date, there have been 120 chapter reviews.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible.

Here’s the initial snippet from the opening chapter:

Last night, after two days of blue skies and brilliant sunshine, which hadn’t dried out his sodden crop, he sensed moisture in the air again. In the distance, banks of dark clouds gathered, threatening another deluge. They had no choice, but to bring in the harvest and salvage what they could. He called to Thomas and George. “‘Tis time for a break, lads. Fetch the water bucket and we shall rest for awhile.”

They leaned against a pile of rocks removed over the winter from a new plot Sir Percy’s factor arranged for them. After taking his turn with the ladle for a drink of cool water, Thomas knowing eyes met his father’s. “Most of it is spoiled.”

“Yes. I pray we can salvage enough to pay our rent. The crop is worse than five years ago when we almost lost everything.”

“What will happen to us, Father, if we can’t?” George, thirteen on his last birthday, tossed a small stone across the field.

“I don’t know, lad. I don’t know.” I should tell Mary the bad news tonight. But I can’t—what are we to do? A false smile on his face, William struggled to his feet. “Time’s passing. Won’t be long afore the sun is overhead.”

They picked up their scythes and returned to work. After his sons had gone to the other end of the field, William’s smile withered, his eyebrows knitted in a frown.

He swung his scythe, working his way along the field. Left. Pull back. Left. Pull back. Tears brimmed as he worried about what the future held for him and his family.

The sun had arced westward before William squinted at the sky. Glad the storm was still a good way off, he called for another break. “Lads, dinner.”

Thomas and George hurried to his side. Next to the water bucket, a second contained their dinner: an apple, a chunk of two-day-old bread, and a small piece of hard cheese each. They devoured their meal, leaned back against the rocks, and dozed.

Twenty minutes later, William tapped his sons’ knees. “Back to work. Several more hours to go afore the day is finished.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been reading more from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder and should have reviews of book two and three next time.

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 21, 2020

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers around the world! Hope you have an excellent day! My son called yesterday for his weekly chat and wished me a good day. His card arrived the day before–it’s not always easy for him to judge how long it might take to reach Scotland from the States as so many things can cause a delay.

Are you a thriller aficionado? If so, there’s still time to sign up!  If your interested, here’s the link to register: https://thrillerwriters.org/virtual-thrillerfest-2020/. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 21st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Hendrik van Wijn, Dutch histrorian and archivist (Algemeen Rijksarchief); Wolfgang Menzel, German writer; Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian writer (Epitaph of a small winner); Daniel Carter Beard, American author, social reformer and founder of the Boy Scouts of America; Johannes Schlaf, German writer and translator; H. M. Tomlinson, British writer (Sea & Jungle); Feodor Gladkov, Russian socialist writer (Cement); Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (Nature & Destiny of Man); Milward Kennedy, British public servant and mystery writer; Donald C. Peattie, American botanist and writer; Jean-Paul Sartre, French existentialist philosopher and writer (Le Mur, Nobel 1964; declined); Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Russian poet and editor in chief (Novyj Mir); Mary McCarthy, American novelist (Group); Irving Shulman, American author and screenwriter; Wulf Kirsten, German writer; Françoise Sagan [Quoirez], French novelist (Bonjour Trieste); Henry S. Taylor, American writer and poet (Pulitzer 1986 for Poetry); Adam Zagajewski, Polish philosopher and poet; Ian McEwan, English writer (Atonement); Andrzej Sapkowski, Polish writer (The Witcher); Anne Carson, Canadian poet (Autobiography of Red); and Robert Menasse, Austrian writer (Die Vertreibung aus der Hölle).

Recognize anyone? They all stumped me 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

This week I received fantastic news! Carnage in Singapore is now a finalist in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. It’ll now compete for one of the limited First in Category winner positions, hopefully joining Dangerous Alliance from last year’s competition.

Or perhaps, it’ll go even further, and be identified as the category Grand Prize winner!  Due to the pandemic, the results of this year’s competition have been delayed, so we won’t find out the end results until September. Good luck to all the finalists in all of the genre!

 

Three of my novels are participating in Kindle Unlimited promotions during June: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited New Readers Promo (includes Dangerous Alliance and Colombian Betrayal):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/kindleunlimitednewreaders/mnj2g8jagf

Beat the Summer Heat with Kindle Unlimited (all three are included):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/beatthesummerheat/epsn0gvpzr

Action packed romantic suspense in Kindle Unlimited (Colombian Betrayal):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/actionpackedromsus/2mczee4n7c

Colombian Betrayal is also participating in a Kindle Dark, Addictive Summer Thrillers bundle. This is for downloads only:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/darkthrillers/h1qbunoakq

Why not stop by and see if any of your favorites are hanging around. Or, you might find new authors to check out. I know everyone will appreciate you support!

My Work in Progress

Another positive regarding the weather is more time to write. This week I finished chapter Xavier Sear: Angola chapter twenty-five and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 310 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

I don’t remember if I mentioned before, but the snippets I post are all first drafts, so things likely change a bit by the time the final edit is completed.

I’ll be providing another snippet next time.

This week I also completed the ninth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of 108 so far, an increase of nine over the past week.

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to work on two novels simultaneously, but as long as the words continue to flow, I’ll capture them. I can always make changes during the editing phase. With the progress I’ve made thus far on Angola, I’m thinking of concentrating on it until the entire first draft is completed.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading The Coelho Medallion: A Dan Kotler Archeological Thriller by Kevin Tumlinson is an action-packed story which will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Will Dan be successful in solving the mystery surrounding the medallion before it’s too late for a kidnapped colleague? Or will others wade in to create more mayhem as the story unfolds?

Kevin’s plot is full of twists and turns, making this a fantastic read. With a bevy of larger-than-life characters, who will end up on the right side of the law? This is the first of Kevin’s novels I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last, as I’ve already downloaded the second volume in the Dan Kotler series.

I also completed Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke, which is another page turner, with an exciting plot and real-life characters. Who is killing men, and why? Follow FBI Agent Mike Matheson as he attempts to unravel the clues and put the puzzle together before another body surfaces. This is also the first novel by Suzanne that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 7, 2020

It’s been a somewhat cooler week. Still plenty of sunshine to keep spirits up.  We managed to buy the extra plants we wanted at the local garden center (nursery) and Mother Nature has helped out with the watering by provided much-need gentle rain almost on a daily basis.

Businesses are slowly opening. but there’s definitely a change. I ordered some topsoil and crushed decorative stone (a metric ton of each) from my regular supplier. Prior to the pandemic, I would have received my delivery in 2-3 days. However, my order won’t be delivered until the 16th. At least I’m able to get what I need.

Are you a thriller aficionado? If so, this is for you!  If your interested, here’s the link to register: https://thrillerwriters.org/virtual-thrillerfest-2020/. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

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

Étienne Pasquier, French lawyer and man of letters; Paulus Voet, Dutch jurist and historian; R. D. Blackmore, English novelist (Norie, Lorna Doone); Amelia Edwards, English author (The Phantom Coach) and Egyptologist; Julius P. Hoste, Belgium minister and daily newspaper publisher (Last News); William Walraven, Dutch journalist and writer (Indian Daily); Elizabeth Bowen, Anglo-Irish novelist (The Death of the Heart, Encounters); Jan Engelman, Dutch poet, translator and critic (Garden of Eros); Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet (Bean Eaters, Annie Allen, Pulitzer 1950); Martin Carter, Guyanese poet and political activist; Anthony Nicholas Maria Wahl, American historian; David Malcolm Lewis, English historian, expert in Greek Epigraphy; Harry Crews, American writer and actor (Indian Runner); Bert Sugar, American sports writer (Sting like a Bee); Judy Ann Scott-Fox, English literary agent; Nikki Giovanni, American poet (LHJ Woman of the Year 1973); and Louise Erdrich, American author (Love Medicine, The Bingo Palace).

Recognize anyone? I didn’t recognize anyone 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

Three of my novels continue to participate in Kindle Unlimited promotions: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited New Readers Promo (includes Dangerous Alliance and Colombian Betrayal):

Beat the Summer Heat with Kindle Unlimited (all three are included):

 

Action packed romantic suspense in Kindle Unlimited (Colombian Betrayal):

 

Why not stop by and see if any of your favorites are hanging around. Or, you might find new authors to check out. I know everyone will appreciate you support!

My Work in Progress

When I wasn’t working in the yard (garden), I continued progress on Xavier Sear: Angola. This week I finished chapter twenty-three and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 279 chapter reviews, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

Armed with his coffee and a bolo de Mel da Madeira, he made himself comfortable after adjusting the sun umbrella overlooking his table. He savored the warm honey cake and sipped on his drink as he turned on his laptop. Once he checked his regular email account, he glanced around to ensure no one paid any attention to him.

Sear slid a USB stick from his pocket and shoved it into the appropriate slot. Once he typed in his password, he activated the Tor software. Moments later, he accessed his first Dark Web .onion link. After entering his desired search parameters, he leaned back and finished his coffee.

What has João gotten himself into this time? Well-meaning, but still doesn’t understand the world’s a dangerous place. He sighed. We need to recover Peter and leave Africa as soon as possible. He pulled up a text file containing a list of requirements he previously identified:

Weapons – LAWs, pistols, assault rifles, knives, grenades (concussion, smoke), ammunition, night-vision goggles, binoculars

Supplies – MREs, water purification tablets, med kit, mosquito netting/repellent, air mattresses, zip ties

Comms Gear – Sat phones, tactical comms

Documentation – Passports, ID cards, visa

In-country Contacts/Support Team – Angola, DRC. Who?

Recovery Team – Me, João, Theo. Who else?

Kickoff – ASAP

Infil – Coastal insertion or Via Zambia?

Rendezvous Point – TBD

Exfil – TBD

Something cast a shadow over his table. He shoved the laptop cover down before glancing up.

More next time.

This week I also completed the seventth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of eighty-four so far, an increase of sixteen over the past week.

I’ve reached out to my newsletter subscribers to see if anyone would like their first name used for one of the characters. A few people responded, and I’ll be including them in the character cast as the story progresses.

Perhaps next time, I’ll provide a short snippet.

 

Books I’m Reading

I finished two novels this week, and was working on my reviews when a four-legged member of the family jumped up on the workspace and promptly decided the keyboard would be a good place for a snooze. Can’t blame it on the dog–we don’t have one! However, Tommy, the latest feline addition to our family, loves to push in front of me when I’m typing. Unfortunately, he wiped out my reviews, so I’ll provide them next time.

This brings us to a close for this 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved