Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 24, 2018

The occasional shower over the past few days brought welcome relief from the temperatures in the 90s. Yesterday, we had a high of 73, which was very pleasant and still meant we could run around with shorts and t-shirts. The forecast is supposed to be similar for the next few days, so we’re beginning summer with mild weather. Wonder how long it will last?

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here are some folks from the writing world who were born on June 24th (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic, saint, priest and poet; Samuel Ampzing, poet (Taelbericht der Neth Spellinge); Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens, French writer; Ambrose Bierce, American writer and satirist (Devil’s Dictionary, Nuggets & Dust); Aleksei M Remizov, Russian writer (Iveren); Bruce Marshall, writer; Kurt Kusenberg, German writer (Wein Auf Lebenszeit); Arseny Tarkovsky, Russian poet; Ernesto Sábato, Argentinian writer; Norman Cousins, editor (Saturday Review); John Ciardi, poet/critic (translated Dante); William B. Ziff, Jr., American publishing executive; Pete Hamill, journalist (NY Post); Lawrence Block, American writer; Julia Kristeva, Bulgarian-French philosopher, psychoanalyst, and novelist; Gerhart Roth, Austrian writer; Mercedes R Lackey, American sci-fi author (Arrow’s Fall, Magic’s Pawn); Anatoly Borisovich Jurkin, Russian writer; Louisa Leaman, English author; and Brian Fitzgerald, American writer.

Did you recognize anyone? Even if you didn’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

 

My Work in Progress

FINALIST - 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards

In case you missed last week’s post, on June 15th, the winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards was announced. Amy J. Markstahler’s Life Happens on the Stairs grabbed the top prize.

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

I sent out several Dangerous Alliance submissions over the past week. Now that things have settled down with this novel, I can concentrate on the follow-on, Carnage in Singapore. I completed chapter four and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Since I’m less familiar with the settings for this novel, I also spent a great deal of time doing online research. I’m finding plenty of useful material so I can create the appropriate scenes. 

Here’s another snippet from Carnage in Singapore:

Semi-conscious, she listened to two people examining her. Through half-closed eyelids, she watched the two white-coated medical personnel until the agony increased. She closed her eyes and continued to listen to the conversation.

“Must be in terrible pain.”

Did a male doctor say this? Yes, I’m in agony … but the nightmares are worse.

“Yes, doctor.”

A female nurse?

“Shall I increase the morphine? It might ease her situation until the swelling subsides. Poor thing—I wonder what attacked her?”

“Yes, increase her medication—one unit. We’re both aware of the rumors about strange occurrences taking place on one of the smaller islands. Perhaps, she came from there.” The doctor cleared his throat. “How many is this now? Four? Five? The authorities must investigate before we’re overrun.”

***

They tied her arms to rings chained to the wall. Someone shoved a wad of material in her mouth so she couldn’t scream.

A rough hand grabbed her shoulder. Heat seared her arm. She smelled something acrid—burning flesh!

She spat out the wad. “Ieeee!”

The woman struggled against her bonds. A hand grabbed her hair and yanked her head back. A face appeared—sallow complexion, long, stringy black hair, hazel eyes. A knife came into focus, aimed at her right eye.

She closed her eyes and tried to twist away. The hand gripped tighter—pain, so intense as if her hair had been ripped from her head by the roots.

“Noooo!”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Rising Sea, by one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. Another fascinating read in The Numa Files series, I couldn’t put it down. With Kurt and Joe and the other members of their scientific team trying to find a cause of increasing sea levels, it was another plot with plenty of action and suspected reasons. I won’t do a spoiler alert, but suffice it to say, Clive and Graham have once again created a masterful thread of twists and turns, and plenty of intrigue. I’m looking forward to Kurt and Joe’s next adventure.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. However, this week I had too much research related to real-world writing requirements and therefore didn’t spend any time browsing for new authors. Perhaps 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 1, 2018

Last night I watched a thrilling Final Four basketball game between one of my favorite, the University of Michigan, and Loyola Chicago. Although Michigan jumped out to a lead, Loyola quickly fought back and twice led by ten points. However, the Michigan team proved too tough and eventually clawed back, winning by a twelve-point margin. Commiserations to Loyola and congratulation to Michigan!

The final game of the 2017-2018 NCAA men’s basketball season will determine this year’s national champion. Will it be Michigan or Villanova, who blew past Kansas? It should be an exciting finish to the season.

This past Thursday was supposed to be the season opening for the Detroit Tigers. However, Mother Nature had something to say about baseball being played in March in Michigan. The game was delayed until Friday. Although the Pittsburgh Pirates were the victors 13-10, it was a great game.

Mother Nature came back yesterday, delaying the game until today, when the two teams will play a double-header to close out their only meeting of 2018. I hope she lets them play!

My Work in Progress

Not much to say about Dangerous Alliance as I continue to edit. My current plan is to complete the editing process by the middle of May and begin submitting to a number of publishers.

As promised last week, here’s a snippet from one of my other works in progress, New World Revolution:

“Mary, I—” William placed his hands on the table’s patterned woodgrain surface and lowered his head.

“What is the matter?” Mary’s eyes widened. “Has something happened?”

“The crops—I don’t know what we will do.” He lifted his head, tears brimming. “We work hard on our land each year to provide our due to Tobias Sutton, and still have enough left for us to live on and perhaps sell a bit to buy what we might need. This year, we can’t even pay Tobias.”

Mary gathered her apron in her hands, twisting the stained cloth into knots. “There must be something. Talk with Sir Percy’s agent. We’ve been faithful tenants. Perhaps he’ll help.”

“Yes. I’ll seek him on the morrow at the castle and explain our problem. I must make him understand.”

Mary stood and walked over to William, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Husband, you’re a good man. This must be a test from the Lord. You’ll see us through.”

***

“William, what can I do for you today? Is this Thomas? He’s growing into a fine young man, your double.”

“Thank you, Master Sutton. I’ve come because, er, ah well, I have a problem.”

“Most of the tenants have troubles this year. A blight or whatever pestilence is causing payment shortages.” Tobias stared at William. “’Tis the same for you?”

He nodded, ashamed to look Tobias in the face. “Yes, most of the wheat and turnips are spoiled.”

“An issue for everyone. In normal times, I can help out the better tenant farmers, but this year … I can’t make any promises.”

“I—I understand, Master Sutton. I wanted you to know. The boy and I will bring you the best of the crops and try to sell the rest at the market. I hope we can meet our due.”

“Bring what you can in three days’ time. If suitable, they will be used in the castle. Otherwise, I’ll be at the market with you.”

Perhaps more next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Stoddard’s Gold by John Rose Putnam. Set during the mid-1880s, we join John’s well-crafted characters in the California mountains, searching for the elusive shiny metal–gold.

This novella has everything–good guys, bad guys, a possible budding romance, with plenty of intense drama. For me personally, the story was too short, but John could easily make this into a full novel and create even more intrigue. This was the first story I’ve read of John’s and it won’t be the last.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Moran Communications – The Write Stuff – the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works, check out his blog, books, and his suggestions for writers.

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

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Blogging 101

Blogging 101 – Day Fourteen

Extending Your Brand

Social media is something I’ve never had a desire to use.  However, as it becomes more and more the norm, even dinosaurs like myself must change with the ages or become extinct. Since I want to write and one day have a work published, extending my brand will play a key role in advertising what I’m offering.

A few years ago, I lived on the East Coast of Scotland. Craft fairs were everywhere, within an easy reach.  Since I do pyrography (wood burning) and make a variety of candles, I joined the circuit.  After the first show, I knew I needed a banner for the table announcing who I was and business cards to add to purchases or provide to those requesting one. 

This is when I first started in social media–someone convinced me to join Facebook.  I did and had 44 crafting followers.  But since returning back to the U.S., I haven’t done much with crafting or FB.  I decided to revive my account after prompting from several authors and writers.  That didn’t go over so well.  My account had been labeled “grey” by FB and despite our joint efforts we were unable to overcome this label, so I made the decision to have the account deleted.  That’s in-progress now, so I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks before I can create a new account.  Then as this lesson suggests, I’ll set up a fan page.

For now, my custom site icon will be my face.  Okay, I may need to get an updated photo, but many of the authors I know use their face as a brand.  So it’s been set up, I hope.

As so aptly put by https://fleetingmuse.wordpress.com there are plenty of social media networks to explore. I recently set up an account on Twitter–seems to be working as I have 51 followers and the account is less than a month old.  I also have one on Linkedin, but not sure how useful that will be in the long run.  A dozen connections there so far, but I haven’t worked to much on it yet. 

I think this blog, along with Twitter and FB (when it gets sorted out) will be my primary social media networking tools for expanding my brand.  Hope it works, but only time will tell.