Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 19, 2020

We’re finally getting some respite from the constant rain and dreary skies. It’s still coming down each day or evening, but the dry, sunny spells are more frequent and lasting longer. This morning, though, we began with a bit of ground frost.

With temperatures getting into the upper 40s F (upper single digits C) and even occasionally hitting the mid 50s F (low double digits C) it won’t be long before outdoor spring cleaning will be upon us. Yesterday, when I was getting our favorite newspaper, there was a customer walking out of the store with a brand new rake!

I also understand my blog has been nominated by D.L. Finn for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’ll provide my input for this award next week, but many thanks to D.L.!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 19th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Noel Alexandre, French theologian/historian; Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, French writer (Paul et Virgin); Isaiah Thomas, American printer/editor/publisher/historian; Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish historian/poet (Blommorna); Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet and critic (The Pit and the Pendulum) considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre (Murders in the Rue Morgue); Gustav Meyrink, writer; Hans Erich Blaich [Dr. Owlglass], German writer (Simplicissimus); Marie Koenen, author/wife of Felix Rutten (Wassend Cereal); Boris Savinkov, Russian writer; Alexander Woollcott, American critic and short story writer (The Man Who Came to Dinner); Heinrich Schmist-Barrien, German author (Moorkeerl); Phyllis Flowerdew, school Reading text author; Rex Ingamells, Australian poet; Patricia Highsmith, [Plangman], US/Swiss writer (Strangers on a Train); Jean Francois Revel, French journalist/author (Ni Marx ni Jesus); Nina [Mary] Bawden, English author (Afternoon of a Good Woman); Libera Carlier, Flemish author (Action Station Go!); Julian Barnes, England, writer (Before She Met Me); and Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American author.

Were any names familiar to you? I’m sure most people will have heard of Edgar Allan Poe, even if you haven’t read any of his work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Thus far this year, I’m still concentrating on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass should be completed this upcoming week. So far, I’ve added over 5,000 words to the story. I now have nine committed beta readers. They’ll receive a copy by the end of the month, so I can adjust the story based on their feedback. Things appear to be on track for submission in early March, but they could still slip.

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

Most of the men fired AK-47s, but the squad leaders used M4 and SA-80 assault rifles stolen from various military base arsenals across Europe. Each man began with a stack of magazines, replacing the empty ones as if their lives depended upon it. Before long, Michael and Alberto’s last shots faded away while the surrounding thirty men finished their practice.

The aroma of breakfast replaced the smell of discharged weapons. Días’ men dragged out metal containers filled with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and bacon. The students filed past, filling plates. Most skipped the bacon, but a few glanced around before sneaking a piece or two.

Alberto and Michael joined Días at a folding table while the others found areas to sit on the ground under the trees.

Días shoveled food into his mouth, not bothering to swallow before speaking. “I have an unusual treat for your training.”

“Your facilities are excellent, both for target shooting and the obstacle course.” Michael smiled. “I assume you’ve held sufficient training sessions.”

Días nodded. “Yes, when FARC was busy fighting the government, we had plenty of recruits join us. Most of them learned their skills here.” He pointed to his right. “My present to you.”

A dozen guards led six men toward the table. Their arms were tied in front of them. Heads cast down, they bore numerous cuts and bruises.

He glared at them. “You know the punishment.” Días turned to Michael and Alberto. “Government troops could have raided us at any time. These men betrayed me by sleeping on guard duty. They’ll help your men sharpen their skills.”

Alberto rubbed his chin. “How?”

“Your men will face fierce opposition from the Norte Americanos. Why not train against real targets?”

“What do you propose?” Michael’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I suggest you break your men into six groups.” Días gestured to the distant hills. “Each of the prisoners will be given a weapon or two, and a ten-minute head start. If they can reach the perimeter fence, they shall live.” He shrugged. “However, your teams will be free to hunt them down—and kill them.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading When Can I stop Running by John Podlaski. Follow the incredible story of two Detroit teenagers as they spend a haunting night in a listening post outside their new firebase. All around them were the enemy and they had no idea if they would make it through the night.

John has created a very realistic plot and characters. I kept turning the pages, wanting to find out if they survived the night. Flashbacks to their earlier lives enhances the realism and makes you feel as if you’re there with them. Only someone who has lived through this type of event can apply the realism needed to convey what the teenagers experienced. This is the first novel of John’s 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 12, 2020

With each tick of the calendar, the sun is rising earlier and staying around a bit longer each day. If there was only a control for the rain! At least the white stuff has stayed away thus far. Won’t be long and we’ll begin preparing the flower beds for planting!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 12th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Andreas Alicatus, Italian author; Charles Perrault, French author and fairy tale writer (Tales of Mother Goose); Edmund Burke, British author (Philosophy & Inquiry); Jacob M R Lenz, writer (Das Leidende Weib); Erik Gustaf Geijer, Swedish historian/poet (Natthimmelen); Louise Sophie Blussé, Dutch author; Francois Coppee, French poet; Marika Stiernstedt, Swedish author (Ulla Bella); Jack London, American writer/socialist (Call of the Wild); Paul Jarrico, American writer; Jennifer Johnston, Irish author (Fool’s sanctuary); Alain Teister, Dutch writer; Helmut Eisendle, Austrian writer; Jacques Hamelink, Dutch writer & poet (Cold Unrest); William Nicholson, English writer; Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer (Norwegian Wood); Charles Faulkner, American motivational speaker & author; Walter Mosley, American novelist; and Lasana M. Sekou, Caribbean poet & author (The Salt Reaper).

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group, except for Charles Perrault. Who has heard of Mother Goose? 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

1541181671Thus far this year, I’ve concentrated on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass is almost completed, and I’ve added around 3,000 words to the story. I’ve lined up seven beta readers, too. They’ll receive a copy as soon as the first edit is completed so I can adjust the story based on their feedback.

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

A police officer stopped the traffic as the back end of a white Hyundai came level with the road.

Javier swallowed and closed his eyes. AJ’s rental—I’m sure that’s the license plate number she mentioned when we last spoke. He opened his eyes and stared at the car.

The police officer blew a whistle, motioning for traffic to continue.

Javier pulled onto the side of the road after he cleared the emergency vehicles. Jumping out, he rushed toward the damaged vehicle.

“Alto, señor.” The police officer grabbed Javier’s arm.

“My wife—that’s her car.” He took in a deep breath. “Is she—”

“Relax, señor. They found her outside the vehicle.”

“Is she—”

The police officer smiled and waved in the direction of Colon “She’s alive. The first ambulance took her to the Manuel Amador Guerrero Hospital. Take Highway 3 toward Nuevo Cristobal and turn right on Calle 11.”

***

Javier picked up a spoon and sampled the dish. He chewed for a moment before swallowing.

“Well?”

“Needs salt.” He helped himself to more.

AJ yawned. “Enjoy. So what’s the plan?”

“When I drove back to the port, I saw the Barwal underway. I pretended to be a nosy gringo and asked someone where the ship was headed. The guy shrugged and glanced at a clipboard hanging on the wall of his shed.”

“What did he say?”

Javier grinned.

“Okay. You’re forgiven for abandoning me. Did he tell you the ship’s next destination?”

He nodded. “Turbo.”

“Yes!” AJ punched the air. “Ow!” She grimaced.

“I suggest we call in additional help. Recommend bringing some of my guys here while we head to Colombia as soon as you’re released.”

“Agreed.” AJ yawned again. “I’m going to rest.” She switched off the light above her bed.

“Sweet dreams.” Javier settled back in his chair and pulled a tablet from his shoulder bag. He used a special cable to connect the device to his satellite phone and composed a message.

To: Jararaca

From: Cobra

Mission progressing as planned. Request immediate dispatch of four-person team to take over surveillance duties as we continue following the Barwal.

Javier hit transmit and put away his SAT phone and iPad. He stepped to the window and tilted the blinds to block the late afternoon sun streaming in before returning to his seat.

He glanced at the now-sleeping AJ and smiled. Am I falling for this woman? She looks like an angel—so beautiful when she’s asleep. He shook his head. Focus on the mission. Must find out who did this … and eliminate them.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard’s Two For The Money is a riveting who-done-it story. Follow the realistic characters portrayed by Harry Starke and Lieutenant Kate Gazzara as they try to unravel who stole 350 million dollars from an investment firm and killed one of the owners.

You’ll be turning the pages as fast as you can to find out who might be involved. Could it be one of the other owners or someone else? Every time I thought I knew who was responsible, Harry and Kate would uncover another piece of the puzzle pointing to someone else.

If you enjoy mystery and crime stories with riveting plots and unexpected twists, this one is 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 15, 2019

Yesterday, I made an important trip to Edinburgh Airport. Our son arrived from Washington, D.C. for a two-week holiday visit. Need to say, it’s fantastic to see him.

Earlier this year, we joined Historic Scotland–an excellent way to learn about the history, culture, and the people. One of our first events is today, when we’re heading to Edinburgh Castle for lunch. We’ve been to the castle a couple of times before to see the exhibits and also for the Military Tattoo, but this will be our fine time dining there. More next week on how things went.

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

Charles Cowden Clarke, English editor and Shakespearean critic; Henry Charles Carey, American economist (Principles of Poli Economy); Edmond Picard, French-Belgian lawyer and writer (La forge Roussel); Emilio Jacinto, Filipino poet and revolutionary; Ferdinand Hardekopf, German writer and journalist; Hans Carossa, German writer; Pieter Geyl, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch Tribe); Artturi Leinonen, Finnish journalist and writer (Kati); Maxwell Anderson, American dramatist (Winter Set, High Tor); Betty Smith, American novelist (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn); Muriel Rukeyser, American poet (The Book of the Dead); Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee, Pakistani Urdu linguist and writer; Ida Haendel, Polish-British violinist and author (Woman with Violin); Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer (Girl with Green Eyes, Casualties of Peace); Donald Woods, South African journalist, anti-apartheid activist and author (Biko, Asking for Trouble); John Sladek, American sci-fi author (Tik-Tok, Bugs);and Michael King, New Zealand historian and author (Penguin History of New Zealand).

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

1541181671Editing of A Cartel’s Revenge continues. Plenty still to do as I continue to move forward. I’m also working my way through a myriad of potential covers, but I still have time to make a decision.

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

The light of dawn filtered through barred windows. It captured a pitiful creature curled in a ball on a dirty mattress, covered by a threadbare gray blanket. Clumps of aged straw held together by the sweat of countless residents served as a pillow. The stench of vomit and stale urine filled the air.

A rooster crowed once, twice, three times. The hapless inmate stirred, moaning as he pulled the blanket over his head as if this would reduce the racket.

Two guards walked between the rows of cells, banging their batons against the bars. “Wake up, you lazy peasants. Inspection time.” One guard, a ragged red scar running from his right eye to his chin, stopped at Alonzo’s cell. “Out of bed. This isn’t a hotel. On your feet.”

***

What’s going on? Something’s wrong. I need help. Alonzo groaned as he shifted his weight to ease the pain in his lower back and upper legs. Why did they beat me? Do they understand who I am?

“Hurry up, or I’ll give you more bruises.”

Alonzo did as instructed. The guard slapped cuffs on him so he couldn’t move. The man grinned at him. “You have a visitor. He’ll be here soon.” The guard chuckled as he walked away.

Perhaps Ramon? Pedro?

A commotion took place at the entrance to the cellblock. Moments later, Colonel Santiago and three soldiers approached. Grim-faced, the colonel stared at Alonzo, not saying a word.

He hung his head. “Colonel—”

“Silence.” The single word uttered by Colonel Santiago echoed throughout the cells. All conversations ceased.

“Had it not been for my daughter you would rot here.” The colonel continued to glare at him. “I ignored the rumors about your family, but can’t believe your involvement in—in drug running.”

More next time.

Whenever I need an editing break, I continue to work on Ultimate Escalation. The draftsSlide1 of the first five chapters have been completed. To date, they’ve received fifty-six reviews on the two online subscription writing sites I use. Excellent suggestions as always to enhance my stories.

For those who enjoy the twists and turns I include in my novels, there will be more appearing in this one.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard’s, The Assassin, the third book in the Harry Starke Genesis series, ranks right up there with his best work. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as I kept turning the pages to follow Harry and Kate Gazzara as they deal with someone trying to kill Senator Hawke. With a thrilling plot, plenty of realistic characters and loads of twists and turns Blair doesn’t disappoint with this story. As with all of Harry’s exploits, I kept turning the pages late into the evening. My only regret is I have to wait for the next installment in the series! Well done!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 1, 2019

As we begin the final month of 2019, Mother Nature is certainly hard at work. Locally, the continued frosty mornings has now resulted in the grass having the appearance of being snow-covered. However, a quick check revealed this is indeed frost. So far, no white flakes have appeared. In fact, it’s a bit warmer this morning at 28F (-2C).

Yesterday we attended the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. While a chilly day as it’s held in a covered walkway, the organizers ensured all vendors kept warm by supplying free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. I was delighted to sign copies of my novels for four customers!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 1st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Anna Comnena, Byzantine historian; Anna Louisa Karsch “Die Karschin”, German poet; Eggert Olafsson, Icelandic writer; Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin, Russian writer; Valery Bryusov, Russian poet; Pierre Kemp, Dutch poet (Fugitives & Constants); Rex Stout, American mystery writer (Nero Wolf novels); Willem E Crown, Antillian writer; Henry Williamson, English author; Manuel A Neat, Curacaos author (Nobleza di Coerazon); Charles Finney, American author (Circus of Dr Lao); Jan Koplowitz, German writer; Joachim Hoffmann, German historian; John Crowley, American sci-fi author (Deep, Beasts, Novelty); Tahar Ben Jelloun, French writer of Moroccan origin; Daniel Pennac, French writer; and John Schlimm, American author.

Were any names familiar to you? There were a couple for me, including Rex Stout and John Crowley. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverYesterday was the final day for submissions to the 2019 Chanticleer International Books Awards for the global thrillers category. Since there are sixteen categories, they close at different times during the year.

I submitted Carnage in Singapore in early September to ensure I made the deadline. Now, it’s a case of waiting for the results. The first notification will be in late December/early January when the move from the slush pile to the long list is announced. This will be followed by the short list, semi-finals, etc, until the first in category winners and the grand prize division winners are announced on April 18th.

DA-3D-coverAs a reminder, Dangerous Alliance was one of the seven Global Thrillers category winners for the 2018 competition. It would be fantastic to have Carnage in Singapore match or exceed this result, but as always, the competition will be stiff. Of course, even getting to the semi-finals like The Kurdish Connection did would be a thrill. Good luck to all who entered!

Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.

My Work in Progress

1541181671Editing of A Cartel’s Revenge is well underway. Plenty still to do as I continue to move forward. I’m still working my way through a myriad of potential covers, but I still have time to make a decision.

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

AJ and Javier found Tex’s office empty and made themselves comfortable.

“I don’t think Bill’s too happy with us being here.” Javier stared at the ceiling as if he suspected there might be listening devices.

“We informed him about our mission before we departed.” AJ shrugged. “Most station chiefs dislike encroachment on their territory, so his comments didn’t bother me. I could tell you some stories—”

“Sorry, I stepped out.” Tex entered the office and handed over cold Cokes, popping the top on his. “Been checking over the vehicle I requisitioned. Nondescript. Dented. Local plates. Should fit right in.”

“Is there someplace we can crash for a few hours?” Javier nodded toward AJ. “I think we should rest.”

“Sure, the embassy maintains a few Conex boxes set up for visitors. Nothing fancy: bed, TV, fridge, shower, and toilet. We’ll stop by the commissary so you can grab a few things.”

After a quick trip for some provisions, Tex took them to their sleeping quarters. “What time do you want to meet this evening?”

“About six p.m.” AJ stuck out her hand. “Thanks for your help.”

***

“Get ready … go.”

Javier and AJ bailed out of the vehicle as Tex slowed, weapon pouches attached to a belt below their vests. A waterproof black bag containing a breathing apparatus and swim fins was secured to the back of their belts. They rolled, came to their feet, and scurried to the ten-foot-high chain link fence.

Javier knelt by the mesh while AJ grabbed wire cutters from her belt. She snipped through the rusted fence, creating a hole to slide through. After pushing the wire back in place, they hugged the ground while Javier used night vision goggles to scope out the ship.

Quiet, no guards in sight. Two lights onboard, one fore, one aft. No traffic on the street, so they dashed to the ship’s side. A metal gangplank led from the dock to the ship toward the bow. Near the stern, the ship’s accommodation ladder was lowered to form a second access point.

Weapons in hand, AJ and Javier stole up the stern walkway, their heads swiveling left to right.

Silent as a tomb.

More next time.

1539535798Whenever I need an editing break, I continue to work on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter four is currently underway. To date, the first three chapters have received thirty reviews on the two online subscription writing sites I use. Excellent suggestions as always to enhance my stories.

For those who enjoy the twists and turns I include in my novels, there will be more appearing in this one.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished The Power of Three, the second novel in JC Ryan’s Rex Dalton Thriller series.

Rex was sent on a mission to Afghanistan to gather information about the opium trade. His mission brief was to find out who were the key players, the trade routes, and to follow the money trail from the producers, distributors into the coffers of Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Before long he had opened a can of worms revealing spine chilling deceit and corruption that reached into the highest hallways of power in Afghanistan, America, and Europe.

Once again JC has created realistic characters to augment Rex. Stand by for a whirlwind tour through various locations, as Rex fights for his survival while still helping those who have are mired in helplessness by unfortunate circumstances. A fantastic story, which will keep you up late at night turning the pages!

I also thoroughly enjoyed Tabula Rasa by Gordon Bickerstaff. Join Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, as they try to unravel mystery surrounding the unusual death of a government scientist. Once again, Gordon has developed an exciting plot with plenty of twists and turns as the story unfolds.

For those who enjoy non-stop action, this one is for you! With realistic characters, several intriguing settings and a group of visionaries trying to recreate the world as they want it to be, you’ll find yourself burning the midnight oil as you won’t want to put it down!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 17, 2019

We noticed the two hedgehog houses we provided for our wildlife friends last year are now occupied. Some straw has been dragged out and replaced with leaves we piled near the structures for their use. We put two containers with hedgehog food and another with water in close proximity. Our cats don’t like this food, so we’re fairly confident the hedgehogs are still grazing during the evening.

Since we’ve seen three hedgehogs at the same occasion during the summer, we decided to purchase another home, as the ‘hogs’ appear to like solitary residences. The new house is ready, in what we’re now referring to as ‘The Village.’

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

Johan van Beverwijck, Dutch physician/writer (Treasure of Health); George Grote, British historian (History of Greece); Petko Slavejkov, Bulgarian writer; Crane Wilbur, American director and writer (Bat, Canon City, Yellow Cargo); Gregorio López y Fuentes, Mexican author; Roger Vitrac, French poet/dramatist (Coup of Trafalgar); Salomėja Nėris [Salomėja Bačinskaitė – Bučienė], Lithuanian poet; Wazyk, [Adam Wagman], Polish poet/author (Eyes & Mouth); Dahlia Ravikovitch, Israeli poet;  Auberon Waugh, British author; Lorne Michaels [Lipowitz], Canadian producer, actor and comedy writer (Saturday Night Live); Steven E. de Souza, American scriptwriter; Mark “Chopper” Read, Australian criminal and crime author (Chopper: From the Inside); and Christopher Paolini, American novelist.

Were any names familiar to you? None stood out for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

1541181671I began editing A Cartel’s Revenge this week, taking advantage of the many chapter reviews posted on the two subscription writing sites I use. The number of reviews increased during the past week by thirty-three, reading 555. I’ll keep the later chapters posted for now, but the earlier ones will be deleted from the sites as I select suggestions I want to use.

Over the next few days, I’ll begin looking for another photo to use as the cover. Once I have picked a number of pictures, I’ll solicit input from my reviews on what they think is top five to use–my publisher will make the final selection.

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

Días helped himself to a cerveza and directed the men to the seating area. Once everyone settled into the plush leather sofas, chitchat ceased.

“Alberto, when we met last month, you mentioned working as a recruiter for an organization wanting an out-of-the-way place to train new personnel.”

“Si. My—our organization has a special mission. We must convert everyone to the one true religion.”

“Weren’t you raised Catholic?”

“Yes.” Alberto raised a finger in the air. “But no longer. My new brothers call me Abdul.”

“And what about you, Michael?”

“I grew up in the Church of England. Disillusioned, I studied several religions until I settled on Islam. Now I go by Mahmood.”

“If you don’t mind, while you’re in Colombia I’ll keep referring to you as Alberto and Michael.”

“No problem.” Alberto pointed at Michael. “We use our original names for traveling—makes it easier to cross borders.”

“During our training in al-Raqqah, our instructors singled us out,” Michael paused before whispering. “As non-Arab members of the Islamic State, we’re able to move about easier than our Middle Eastern brethren.”

“What do you hope to achieve in Colombia?” Días switched his gaze between the two men.

“We want to establish a foothold so we can train recruits.” Michael stroked his reddish-brown beard. “These men will be from various countries. Once they arrive in Colombia, I’ll be their commander. After their training, their Western features will allow them to infiltrate America with ease.”

***

“When will you require the camp?”

“In about two weeks.” Alberto deferred to Michael, who gave a slight shrug and took over.

“What about payment? We can handle this via bearer bonds, diamonds, gold, or electronic transfer through a dummy corporation.”

Días gave them an evil smile. “Money isn’t necessary. But, I’ll ask a favor for my help. Once your men are trained, I want their assistance in taking over a drug cartel.”

He paused before voicing his desire. “I also want them to capture or kill the cartel’s leader: Olivia Perfecta Moreno.”

More next time.

While I was working on this manuscript, I was also tinkering with the opening chapters 1539535798of the fourth novel in my Bedlam series, Ultimate Escalation. Three chapters were posted to the two subscription writing sites, and I received forty-four very helpful reviews.

I’ve started editing these chapters and once I finish, I’ll begin posting the revisions and continuing to work on this story.

In case you missed it in a previous post or would like a refresher, here’s the synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Fulcrum, the first novel in JC Ryan’s Rex Dalton Thriller series. Rex’s life is turned upside down when quite by chance he escaped a horrible terrorist attack in Madrid. Despite a loving girlfriend, the loss of his family is too much for him. He pushes his girlfriend aside as he searches for a way to avenge their deaths.

With a riveting plot and larger-than-life characters, JC takes readers on a whirlwind tour of exotic locations. But first, we find out how Rex will carry out his plan. The story is well-written and you’ll find it hard to put down. I don’t like to spoil stories for others, so you’ll have to get a copy, but this is a fantastic story. I’ve already become a fan of JC’s work and will definitely be continuing to read more!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 10, 2019

As the first week of November draws to a close, the temperatures have dropped and there’s been plenty of rain. Nothing like what has hit part of the UK as there hasn’t been any local flooding.

Outdoor chores are more or less completed for this year, so we’ve turned to some interior decorating before our son flies over from D.C. next month. Always something to do to keep things neat and tidy. Of course, there are plenty of NCAA football games to watch in the evening (recorded) and basketball will be starting soon.

A couple of hedgehogs are still making an occasional nocturnal visit but it won’t be long before they go into hibernation. Their homes have been cleaned out and filled with fresh straw with a pile of leaves nearby if they want additional padding. Will be interesting to see if they use them again this year. Will have to get the camera set up to find out.

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

Jacob Cats [Father Cats], Dutch grand pensionary and poet (Houwelyck); Anne “Ninon” de l’Enclos, French patron of the arts, courtesan and writer; Oliver Goldsmith, Irish novelist and dramatist (She Stoops to Conquer); Frederich von Schiller, German poet and lyricist (Ode to Joy); Dobri Voynikov, Bulgarian teacher, playwright and journalist (The Phoney Civilization); Jose Hernandez, Argentine poet (MartinFierro); Winston Churchill, American author (Crisis, Crossing) (not to be confused with Sir Winston Churchill, a former British Prime Minister); Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, American poet (Gen William Booth enters Heaven); Patrick Pearse, Irish poet, nationalist and political activist; Max Mell, Austria artillery officer and literary (Donauweibchen); an van Nijlen, Flemish poet and author (Bird Phoenix); Arnold Zweig, German antifascist and author (Erziehung vor Verdun); John P. Marquand, American writer (The Late George Apley); John Moore, English author (Portrait of Elmbury, Brensham Village and The Blue Field); Alvaro Cunhal, Portuguese politician and writer; W. E. B. Griffin [William Edmund Butterworth], American best-selling author (Clandestine Operations, The Lieutenants); Russell Means, Native American activist, actor, writer, and musician; Jack Ketchum [Dallas William Mayr], American horror fiction author (Off Season, Red, The Woman); James Chapman, American novelist (Stet); Magnús Scheving, Icelandic athlete, writer and producer (LazyTown); and Sean Hughes, Irish stand-up comedian, writer and actor.

Were any names familiar to you? Two stood out for me: W.E.B. Griffin and Jack Ketchum. 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

With the change in the weather, I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed the final five chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 522, an increase of twenty-eight in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing as I shift into my editing phase.

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

They touched down at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport on time, accompanied by puffs of white smoke as the tires accelerated to match the speed of the huge aircraft.

Michael and Alberto cleared customs without any difficulty and shifted their carry-on luggage to an empty baggage cart. They stepped through the barricades to the interior of the terminal where Alberto spotted their contact—a short, thin man in Western clothing and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap.

He nodded as the men walked past. In the parking lot they slowed down, waiting for the man to catch up.

Hola, que pasa, amigos?” Pepe waved them to a dark blue Toyota Land Cruiser parked at the curb.

“Hola. This is Michael.” After tossing their luggage in the back, the two men shook hands, then everyone climbed into the vehicle.

Pepe ground gears as he shifted, the SUV shuddering before the engine belched a plume of black smoke. He grinned at the others and punched the pedal to the floor, flinging Alberto and Michael back in their seats.

“Sorry. We’re running late.”

“I’d rather be late than end up in an accident.” Michael shook his head. “Give us a little warning next time, okay?”

***

Alberto and Michael grabbed their packs from the rear of the vehicle and headed toward the bar’s entrance. A warped wooden door, once painted red, rested against a brick exterior, allowing patrons access.

Alberto slipped his hand into the space between the frame and the door and yanked. The door opened with a loud squeal as the rusted hinges gave way.

The men stepped inside and waited for their vision to adjust to the dark interior. A myriad of faded advertising posters adorned Nicotine-stained cinder block walls. A dozen rickety tables with mismatched chairs were strewn around the room.

A long bar, made from old planks laid across a wooden framework, ran the width of the cantina in the back of the single room. A large mirror covered in spider web cracks seemed appropriate for the once-proud watering hole.

At the bar they ordered beer. Without a word, the bartender grabbed two bottles of Cerveza Aguila from a cooler, popped the caps against the edge of the bar, and slid them across.

Michael glanced up and spotted two beady eyes staring back at him. A small rodent peered through a hole in a ceiling beam. “There’s a rat up there.” He pointed as the scavenger scooted away.

The bartender smiled. “Sí—that’s Miguel. He cleans up after messy customers.”

More next time.

thriller-roundtable-logo6This coming week I’ll also be participating in a roundtable discussion sponsored by the International Thriller Writers.  The topic: What are the advantages of the new media to bridge readers with authors? The link will go active tomorrow, November 11th, for this discussion, but you can catch earlier discussions at: http://www.thebigthrill.org/thriller-roundtable/

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t get a chance to complete any reviews this week, so I’ll have a couple next time.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 3, 2019

The months continue to march forward. Seems like it wasn’t long ago we were looking forward to summer, yet now we’re in November. Gone are the long hours of daylight as the sun rises earlier and sets sooner each day.

A couple of days ago, we watched a gray squirrel taking care of its winter food requirements, running back and forth with hazel nuts, which had fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, the local hedgehogs continue to fatten themselves up for their winter nap.

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

Lucan, Latin poet (Bellum Civile); Renatus Rapinus [René Rapin], French Jesuit theologian and poet (Hortorum libri IV); August Gottlieb Meißner, German Enlightenment author who helped develop the detective story genre in German literature; William Cullen Bryant, American poet (Thanatopsis); John Esten Cooke, American novelist (The Virginia Comedians) and Confederate States Army; Apie [Adrian P] Prince, Dutch author (Me Own Way); Samuil Marshak, Russian-Soviet writer, translator and children’s poem poet; Nat Fleischer, American boxing writer (established Ring Magazine); André Malraux [Berger], French novelist and art historian (La Condition Humaine); James Reston, American journalist (New York Times); Hallgrímur Helgason, Icelandic novelist (Höfundur Íslands); Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (Cuto); Dieter Wellershoff, German author (Minotaur); Anna Wintour, English-American editor (Editor of US Vogue); Joe Queenan, American writer; Massimo Mongai, Italian writer; Felix R de Rooy, Curacaos poet/sculptor; and Hal Hartley, American film director and writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know anyone in today’s group. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

With the change in the weather, outdoor activities are coming to a halt, so I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight. The action continues to accelerate as we head toward the story’s climax. Another tweak to my outline was also needed as the story heads towards its conclusion. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 494, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The twenty-two-year-old twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads.

“Now I realize why I don’t invite you to meetings with Lintstone,” AJ smiled at the twins’ antics. “Anything else?”

“No, boss lady,” the twins sang as they left AJ’s office, followed by Phil and Walter.

“What a team.” Javier shook his head as he laughed.

“Their shenanigans can be a bit much at times, but they always come through with relevant information.” AJ glanced at the clock and stood. “We better head for our meeting.”

A few moments later, AJ knocked on Lintstone’s door before entering.

Feet propped on the edge of his desk, a phone pressed to an ear, he motioned them toward chairs while he completed the call.

“Fill me in.”

AJ nodded. “We’ve confirmed the sea route of an Liberian-flagged container ship called Barwal, the same freighter shown in the imagery you provided earlier. After leaving Haiti, it’s scheduled to drop four containers in Colon and six in Turbo. According to the manifests, the cargo is machine parts.”

Lintstone laughed. “The terrorists haven’t realized we’ve caught on to their euphemism for weapons. So what’s your plan?”

“The colonel and I are flying to Haiti tomorrow. We’ve made arrangements to meet with the station chief, so we don’t disrupt any of his operations. We hope to board the ship, plant trackers on the containers in question, and follow them to their destination.”

AJ paused. “We might require additional assistance to track them.”

“Four additional people. Either from the colonel’s group or some of your friends.”

“Perfect, boss. We’ll set up the usual contact arrangements. Anything else?”

“AJ, this is an off-the-books recon mission, nothing more—no kidnapping, no killing.” Lintstone ground his teeth. “Am I clear? These countries are our friends.”

“Yes, boss.” Like I go around killing everyone. Although I can think of a couple of people the world could do without.

“Your mission is sanctioned.” He waved a hand in dismissal.

After they left the office, Javier turned to AJ. “What did he mean about no killing or kidnapping?”

“Well, sometimes shit happens. I grabbed a person or two in the past and tapped some others.” She shrugged. “No problemo—they got what they deserved.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Genevieve, Blair Howard’s latest story in the Lt. Kate Gazarra series, will have you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds. Far from being a simple murder case, the situation is exacerbated by Genevieve having married into one of the area’s most influential business families, who want to keep their secrets from prying eyes.

As always, we catch a glimpse of the Kate behind the badge. One who enjoys a glass of wine, tries to keep physically fit, and seems to survive on good coffee. The comparison between the private and professional Kate makes her more realistic as she leads her small team through the morass surrounding Genevieve’s murder.

I don’t like to spoil the ending of any story, so you’ll have to grab a copy to finds out what happens. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I can’t wait for the next installment!

I also finished Deadly Secrets, the first in the Lambeth Group Series by Gordon Bickerstaff, is a well-written story which will keep action-adventure aficionados. He’s created an intricate plot, which if successful, could potentially doom countless numbers of people to death as they unknowingly ingest harmful protease enzymes.

Follow Gavin Shawlins, a dedicated scientist and a member of the secret Lambeth Group, as he unravels the sinister plot. There is something for everyone in this exciting thriller, even a bit of rekindled romance. With plenty of twists and turns, Gordon has forged the opening novel of what should be an exciting series. I look forward to reading more!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved