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, July 28, 2019

After a week of unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, Mother Nature cooled things off yesterday with a day filled with rain. We’re back to more normal weather, with a light breeze and scattered clouds.

Instead of doing outdoor tasks, things were concentrated on indoor jobs which were waiting for the right time, particularly painting of new skirting boards, which were installed earlier this year. With windows and doors wide open, plenty of fresh air kept the paint fumes at bay. Still a bit more to do, but will see how things pan out over the next few days.

Even our cats sought shelter in the heat, lounging in whatever cool locations they could find. Hope is still on the mend. While she seems to be returning to her normal self, she’s still not eating as we would like. It could be because of the weather, as the others are eating less too, just like we humans sometimes do. Hope goes back to the vet in the morning for another check-up and blood tests. She’s been really great taking her five pills each day!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 28th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian poet (Arcadia); Fabre d’Églantine French dramatist and politician, creator of the French Republican calendar; Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (Windhover); Beatrix Potter, English children’s author and illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit); Thomas P. Krag, Norwegian author and novelist (Jon Graeff, Ulf Ran); Ernst Cassirer, German philosopher and educator (Essay on Man); Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher (Logic of Forschung); Kenneth F. Fearing, American poet (Dead Reckoning); Malcolm Lowry, English novelist (Under the Volcano); John Ashbery, American poet (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror); Remco [Wouter] Campert, Dutch literary/poet/son of Jan Campert; Jean Roba, Belgian comics author (Boule et Bill); Natalie Babbitt, American children’s writer (Tuck Everlasting); Robert Hughes, Australian art critic and writer (Barcelona); Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani writer and feminist; and Shahyar Ghanbari, Iranian poet.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. 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

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this past week. I haven’t tallied the results yet, but I know the number of followers across social media increased, as did the number of people marking my novels to read. Many thanks to all who participated in my tour. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The edits have now carnage in singapore-001(1)been completed. I’m just going through the formatted pdf file checking for any typos, missing words and punctuation before it continues through the publication process.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Kali walked among the waking men, touching an arm here, a shoulder there. Satisfied each man was alert, he returned to his sleeping area and placed his personal possessions in a backpack. The pillows and blankets can remain. Nothing to identify us.

He turned to the others and coughed into a closed fist to get their attention. “I shall accompany each team but will remain in the shadows. I’ll report your courage and conviction for our cause to Abu Zeze.” And shoot anyone who falters. “Allahu Akbar!”

“Allahu Akbar!” Eleven voices responded in unison.

“First two men, it is time.”

A tall man wearing black-rimmed glasses stooped to pick up a blue and white tennis bag. Next to him, a man three inches shorter with a scar running across his right cheek grabbed a green and white bag. Unlike others in the group, these men were lighter skinned and exhibited Caucasian features. They followed Kali out to a battered gray Mitsubishi Xpander.

The men piled in the back seats, placing their bags on the floor.

Kali hopped behind the wheel and turned the key, but the engine failed to start. Is this an omen? He climbed out, opened the hood, and jiggled the battery cables. Back in the driver’s seat, he tried again. Black smoke poured out of the exhaust as the engine started.

The vehicle weaved through traffic, smoke continuing to mark their journey. Before long, Kali pulled over to the curb and stopped.

“Your target awaits.” Kali tilted his head toward a two-story white colonial-style building with deep-yellow shutters. “A symbol of Indonesia’s former ties to Britain and Japan, and where our declaration of independence was announced. You appear to be infidels, so the outrage caused by your mission should sour relations between Indonesia and Western societies.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “May Allah share in your triumph.”

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, but at a slow pace. Chapter nineteen is almost finished but completion was delayed with editing of Carnage in Singapore. As soon as the chapter is completed, I’ll post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews increased slightly to 249, providing plenty of excellent recommendation to choose from.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola.angolan cole-revised3 I sent him chapter six on Friday, and he’s comes back with a few suggestions which will enhance the chapter. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication.

We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin. As with the first book in the series, this was a another excellent blend of historical facts and fiction, making for an excellent read.

James, the Black Douglas, refuses to give in to the English conquerors and takes the was to them, utilizing guerilla tactics against superior-numbered forces. Follow James and his band of courageous men as they strive to free Scotland from the clutches of King Edward. I look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.

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,July 21, 2019

One of our cats, Hope, isn’t well. She’s spent the majority of Tuesday through Friday at the vet, receiving IVs and a variety of drugs. Her liver enzymes were highly elevated, so they’ve been giving her things to help her liver and fight what they suspect might be a bacterial injection.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

She’s been at home over the weekend, but goes back to the vet on Monday morning, Anyone who has given their pets pills will know what we’ve gone through, trying to give Hope five pills a day. Overall, she’s done well with the pills. One of the biggest concerns is getting her to eat. She’s been grazing, but we would like her to ‘dig in’ to a meal. We’ve been giving her sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, whipped raw egg (all for humans), along with some cat food (chicken, duck, beef). If anyone has any ideas about something which might tempt her, please let me know.

Hope’s alert, and this morning she was at the top of the stairs before she headed to one of her favorite places in the house. Hopefully, we can get things turned around.

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

Matthew Prior, English poet and diplomat; Anthony Collins, English philosopher (A discourse on free-thinking); Paul Julius Baron von Reuter, German-born founder of Reuters news service; Vasile Alecsandri, Romanian foreign minister, diplomat and poet; A S C Wallis, [Adele SC von Antal-Opzoomer], Dutch writer; Frances Parkinson Keyes, American novelist (Dinner at Antoine’s); Anton Schnack, German writer and poet; Hans Fallada [Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen], German writer; Ernest Hemmingway, American author (The Old Man and the Sea, Nobel 1954); Hart Crane, American poet (The Bridge); Diana Trilling, writer; Marshall McLuhan, Canadian writer (Medium is the Massage); Brigitte Reimann, German writer (Franziska Linkerhand); John C Gardner, scholar/writer (Grendel, Sunlight Dialogues); Buchi Emecheta, Nigerian English writer (Price of Bride); and Michael Connelly, American author.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. 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

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this coming week on the 25th. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out but would like to do so, please click on: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/the-bedlam-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The first edit pass was completed this week; just waiting to receive it back to go through the manuscript again.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Gesang picked up a backpack from a table near the door, rushed down the stairs to the ground floor, and stepped outside. He climbed into the rear of the vehicle, placing the pack between his feet. He grinned and gazed at the driver. “Today we make our statement. Musa Rahmet’s men gave the signal. Now we must do as Abu Zeze instructed.”

Wira, a slender man in his mid-twenties, nodded. “Did you make the final decision on the targets?”

“Yes. I’ll explain when we join the others.”

***

Two hours later, Gesang nudged Wira’s shoulder. “Time to dress.”

Wira stood, and Gesang helped him into the suicide vest. Covered with sticks of dynamite, packets of nails and ball bearings, wires led to an electronic switch.

After he put on his outer clothing, Wira glanced at Gesang, a look of bewilderment etched on his face.

“Don’t worry. You’ll live up to the meaning of your name.” Gesang patted him on the arm. “You’ll be a hero and martyr in Allah’s eyes and will live forever.” And if you don’t hit the switch, I’ll use the cell phone as a remote detonator.

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, although still at a slow pace. Chapter eighteen was posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. To date, the novel has received 240 chapter reviews. Plenty of excellent recommendations to choose from! I’ve also started working on chapter nineteen.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola. He sent me the first draft of chapter five last night, and I’m busy working on chapter six. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication. We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

Books I’m Reading

With outdoor chores and the trips with Hope to the vet, I didn’t get a chance to put my thoughts together regarding books I’ve recently read. I plan to bring you two or three reviews next time, so stay tuned.

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, May 5, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo day!  

Things are slowing taking shape in the back yard (garden) after years of neglect before we purchased the property. It’ll probably take all summer to get things to the state we want, but we’ll get there in the end.

KODAK Digital Still CameraMeet Oliver. He’s fifteen and loves to go outdoors. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks he’s been to the vet’s office four times. He’s not well–the vet has narrowed it down to a tumor or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). We don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us, but he’s getting plenty of treats and affection. Oliver still loves his spot on the front step, moving just inside the vestibule if it becomes too chilly. He’s sleeping just now.

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

Louis Christophe François Hachette, French publisher (Librairie Hachette); Jacob Kats, Flemish writer (Earthly Paradise); Hubert Howe Bancroft, American historian, ethnologist (History of Pacific States); Henryk Sienkiewicz, Polish author (Quo Vadis, Nobel 1905); Max Elskamp, Belgian author and poet (Lesson Joies Blondes, Maya); Nellie Bly [Elizabeth Cochran Seaman], American journalist and writer (Ten Days in a Mad House); Christopher Morley, American author (Kitty Foil); Freeman Gosden, American writer; James Beard, American culinary expert and author (Delights & Prejudices); Miklós Radnóti, Hungarian poet (Clouded Sky); Richard Rovere, American political journalist (Goldwater Caper); Rob Van Gennep, Dutch publisher; and Naomi Klein, Canadian author (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate);.

How many did you recognize? There’s two or three who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

I finished the query letter for Carnage in Singapore, and he manuscript has been submitted. Here’s another snippet:

1539534550Bullets ripped through the air as more sirens joined the growing sound of emergency vehicles. Koh and Noah hunkered down behind the BMW, bullets pinging off metal. Rounds shredded tires and glass fragments from the shattered windows fell on them. Koh and Noah returned fire, ducking as bullets ricocheted off the vehicle. An ear-piercing scream erupted from one of the attackers as projectiles smashed their way through what remained of the black car shielding them.

***

“You okay, Noah?” Koh coughed. “I took—” He yelped and coughed again. “I took a round through my right shoulder. Appears to be through and through. Hurts like anak haram.”

“Not sure what it means, but I agree.”

“It’s bastard in Malay.” Koh cocked his head. “Hear that?”

“I don’t hear anything but the sirens.”

“Exactly. If they were reloading, they should have done it by now.”

Noah nodded. “They’ve stopped shooting. I wonder if the sirens scared them away?”

“They either ran, or we took care of them.”

Noah inched upward to peer over the hood.

Koh yanked him back. “Not yet. We don’t know if they’ve gone. I suggest—“

Both men heard footsteps rushing away from them.

Noah slumped to the ground and leaned against the vehicle. “It might be a good idea to stay put until the police arrive.”

“Okay with me. Put your weapon on the ground near you. If you’re holding it when the police arrive, they’ll shoot first and ask questions later.”

Noah began to laugh and jerked his arm. “Ow! This isn’t a laughing matter.”

Perhaps more next time.

1541181671I’ve also continue to edit the original chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. So far, I’ve revised the first eight chapters, with fifty-nine new chapter reviews from the two subscription writing sites I use.  I’ll provide a new snippet next week.

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

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, August 19, 2018

As summer winds down, families are doing their final thrills with their kids before they head back to school. Stores are pushing ‘back to school’ sales. At least Mother Nature keeps reminding us it’s summer, with plenty of heat, humidity, and showers (and sometimes, thunderstorms). We also began today with fog!

Anyone out there celebrating a birthday today? Here’s a few people from the writing world who share today with you. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Marqués de Santillana, Castilian politician and poet (serranillas); Lodovico Guicciardini, Italian historian (Descrittione di Tutti); Paulus Merula, Dutch lawyer and historian (Historia Belgica); John Dryden, English poet (1st Poet Laureate 1668-1700); Eustace Budgell, English writer; Samuel Richardson, English novelist (Pamela); Pierre-Jean de Béranger, French poet and songwriter; Arnoldt Bronnen, writer; Ogden Nash, humorous poet (I’m a Stranger Here Myself); James Gould Cozzens, American novelist (1949 Pulitzer-Guard of Honor); Jerzy Andrzejewski, Polish writer (Ashes & Diamonds); Quentin Bell, artist, author/teacher; Ring Lardner Jr, American journalist and screenwriter (Woman of the Year, M A S H);  Malcom Forbes, American publisher of Forbes Magazine; D[avid] G[uy] Compton, UK, sci-fi author (Synthajoy, Radio Plays); Bodil Malmsten, Swedish writer; Jennie Bond, British journalist; and Li-Young Lee, Indonesia-born American poet.

Recognize anyone? I certainly did. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more.

My Work in Progress

Once again external pressures meant I had to forego my normal writing periods this week. However, I still managed to complete and post another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. I also refined my outline to reflect recent changes in how some chapters are plotted.

Despite my unplanned slowdown, reviewers added another nineteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 313. Here a bit more from Carnage in Singapore:

“Please take a seat.” A secretary gestured toward several chairs. “Mr. Robertson will be with you in a few minutes.”

Before Evelyn skipped through the ads in a magazine to the first article, the inner office door opened. Framed in the doorway stood a tall, gray-haired man. His chiseled jawline and deep brown eyes commanded attention.

Harrison Robertson, the Director-General of Security for ASIO, stepped forward, his arm outstretched, a grin plastered on his face. “Lady Evelyn, thank you for stopping by.”

“Please, Harrison, drop the title. Given my background and the Australian culture, it doesn’t fit.”

Harrison chuckled. “Come in.” He leaned toward his secretary. “Margaret, would you rustle up a pot of tea and biscuits? Thank you.”

Evelyn and Harrison entered his austere office. An immense oak desk, devoid of papers but holding three telephones and an Apple computer, stood in front of the windows. A safe in the corner, three easy chairs, a coffee table, and photographs of beach scenes completed the furnishings.

***

“How is your hip? I spotted a slight limp.” Harrison handed a cup to Evelyn and offered her the biscuits.

She nibbled on a Tim Tam. “The doctors say the limp might remain forever but is less noticeable every week. The joint is healthy—they believe some nerves might be damaged beyond repair.”

Harrison nodded. “Good to hear the joint is sound. How is your new team shaping up? I suspect it won’t be long before there’s a suitable mission for you.”

“Alfie—how he hates his nickname—is running them through their paces at our training facility. We’re ready for whatever you throw at us.”

“Excellent.” He nodded. “Islamic State affiliates are popping up around the world. I think Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah still pose significant threats in our region. With the apparent death of Abu Sayyaf’s leader, I fear AS will be more dangerous than ever.”

***

Evelyn entered her office. About the size of a standard living room, a red cedar desk and chair, two five-drawer safes, and four easy chairs crammed the space. On the wall opposite her desk, two photographs.

One was of the Queen. She walked over to the other one and read the inscription.

Lady Evelyn,

Thank you for your endeavors in retrieving me from a rather sticky situation. I shall assist you whenever it’s possible. George.

At her desk, she booted her computer and thought about her previous mission to recover Prince George. Never would have thought my crowning achievement with MI6 was to serve in a liaison role with a Somali terrorist. Now, I’m running my own covert team.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading several novels in the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey and one by Nick Thacker.

Mark for Blood (Mason Dixon Thrillers Book 1) by Nick Thacker was a riveting story. Bartender Mason Dixon has a secret—an on-demand secondary job, which leaves victims out in the cold. Assisted by his short-order cook and occasional fill-in bartender, they take care of the latest mark. Except there was a problem. The person didn’t provide the standard token confirming their identity. Troubles abound as Mason becomes a target himself—who is after him?

This is the first novel by Nick that I’ve read and I guarantee it won’t be the last. With excellent characters, a laid-back manner of presenting the plot, and twists and turns galore, this is an excellent thriller!

The Last Chamber by Ernest Dempsey was set up by the first two novels in the Sean Wyatt series. Sean, along with his long-time friend Tommy Schultz, set out on their continuing quest to find the Lost Chambers. Danger lurks around every corner as they are joined by Adriana Villa, something of an enigma in her own way.  Join the as the trail lead to the Caucasus Mountains not far from Armenia as they seek a treasure thought to be hidden forever.

Just when I think I’ve been there before, Ernest adds a new twist or additional characters pop up to take the story on a separate tangent. His life-like characters, attention to detail, and superb blend of historical facts and his splendid plots means I’m always in for a treat. Highly recommended for action-adventure thriller seekers!

The Grecian Manifesto, also by Ernest Dempsey, takes us on a new adventure with Sean Wyatt and his sidekick, Tommy Shultz. Adriana Villa goes missing during her search for the Eye of Zeus and the President of the United States requests Sean’s help to find her.

However, an unknown player also seeks the Eye of Zeus and doesn’t seem to care whether Europe and the rest of the world falls into economic ruin. Will Sean and Tommy locate Adriana and recover the ancient device in time?  With new thrills on almost every page, this story will delight those who love non-stop action. I can’t say enough about Ernest’s ability to create fast-paced scenes carried out by believable characters stuck in impossible situations. Grab a copy and find out what it’s all about!

An Interview With ???

This is a new section for my blog where I’ll be interviewing various authors I’ve recently read. I hope to have the first interview posted next Sunday or the following week.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I ran out of time this week and didn’t come across anything new to share.

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, March 19, 2017

A reddish glimmer lined the horizon, the beginning of a new day. A noise had disturbed me, not time to get up. What caused the disturbance? Someone running in the hallway, crashing into a door. More footsteps–fast approaching. A thud, followed by scampering.

I eased the bedroom door open. Something hit my legs. I looked down and who should I find? Lady Flora, playing with a blue plastic ring from the top of a milk container. She had my attention. Rushing by, Flora dashed to the door, wanting outside. Another day, time to play!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Lady Flora Fluffbum

 

Who had a birthday this week? Go ahead, raise your hand. Here are a few people from the writing world with birthdays this past week:

Sarah Gertrude Millina, South African writer (The Dark River, God’s Stepchildren); Phillip Roth, American novelist and short-story writer (Portnoy’s Complaint); Stephane Mallarme, French symbolist poet; Wilfred Owen, World War I poet; John Updike, American poet and novelist; Daniel Conway Moncure, U.S. clergyman, author, abolitionist; Janet Flanner, writer (Letter from Paris); and George Seferis, Greek poet.

Hope you enjoyed your special day.

My Work in Progress

Once again, marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection continued during the past week. A district library contacted me, wanting to purchase ten copies of my debut novel for a monthly reading group. The group will receive the copies at the next session on Tuesday. Next month, I’ll join them for a question and answer session, followed by signing each book. Exciting time!

Writing continued on Dangerous Alliance, with chapters fifteen posted for review to the two subscription writing sites I use. The total number of reviews thus far is 229, or an average per chapter of fifteen. I’ve received plenty of positive feedback to help me improve my latest story.

Chapter sixteen is underway, but real-life requirements stopped me from completed two chapters this week.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Dawn broke, promising to be a pleasant day. No clouds lingered above. Oranges and reds gave way to a deep azure.

The B&B’s door swung open. Out stepped Bedlam Bravo, dressed in jeans, short-sleeved work shirts, and wearing steel-toed boots.

“Fergus, did you learn anything last night on your stroll with Nate?” Koning laughed and elbowed him.

“Oi, I learned it’s better to go without you.” A smirk appeared Fergus’ face. “We went somewhere with class. You wouldn’t have been allowed in.”

***

A shadow descended—the crane lowered a new container straight for Koning. “Pun! Help! My foot’s trapped!”

Pun dashed forward and jumped. The unit shuddered to a halt in its resting place.

A thick smear of red trickled beneath the container, oozing down the side. Luigi and several others rushed to the scene. Suspended between containers, two men clung to a rope—

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Last night, I finished reading When the Tree is Dry by Alice Hill. Set in Zimbabwe, we delve into the stories of three women during a tumultuous period in the country’s recent history–2008. Claire, an English woman, leaves her shattered life behind, seeking to find a new beginning as a journalist. Florence, a Zimbabwean trying to make a new life for herself in England, decides to return to her homeland. Sekai, married to a political activist.

Forget hanging pieces of chad from a ballot in an American election or unverified rumors of people voting twice. Depending on which political party you supported during the 2008 Zimbabwean election, your very life could hang in the balance. Alice creates a haunting look into the horrors people faced as they hoped to elect a new government, one that would perhaps make their lives better. Follow Claire, Florence, and Sekai as they recount the stories of kidnapping, torture, rape, and death. A work of fiction, based on reality, and definitely worth a read. I look forward to reading more of Alice’s upcoming work.

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. Here’s a couple to check out when you have a moment or two:

Logical Quotes – a compilation of quotes by various writers, authors, and philosophers. Forgive the advertising; it’s part of the site.

Keith Garrett Poetry – the title says it all. Enjoy Keith’s poetry.

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, November 27, 2016

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this on Thursday had an enjoyable time with friends and family. Even if this wasn’t one of your holidays, I hope every reader is having a great weekend. Our son, who lives in Washington, D.C., couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving, but we did have a whirlwind visit from him last weekend. His next visit–Christmas.

Birthdays come and go and it’s always nice to find out who shares your birthday. One of my favorite authors, Brad Thor, shares the same day with me, although I’m a bit older.

Here are some noteworthy birthdays during the past week: Charles M. Shultz, American cartoonist who created “Peanuts” starring Charlie Brown; Charles A. Beard, American historian (History of the United States); James Agee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (A Death in the Family); Virgil Thompson, American composer (Four Saints in Three Acts, The Mother of Us All); Shelagh Delaney, playwright (A Taste of Honey); Gail Collins, journalist; first woman to serve as editorial page editor of The New York Times; Carlo Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio; Margaret Anderson, editor, founder of The Little Review; Dale Carnegie, author (How to Win Friends and Influence People); Garson Kanin, writer and director (Born Yesterday); William F. Buckley, Jr., journalist, founder of National Review; and, Spider Robinson, Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction author (Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon; Melancholy Elephants).

Happy birthday to all and may you have many more.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

As I continue to work on my regular writing projects, concentrating on my novels, I decided to branch out. Although I’m writing modern-day action thrillers, I’ve taken a step back in time. My newest project, tentatively called New World Revolution, will be a historical thriller, following the lives of an English family uprooted from their tenant farm due to massive crop failures. Where do they end up? America, just in time for the Boston Tea Party. 

This story will require extensive research. Not just for an accurate setting, but even the everyday words used at the time. I’ve already written a draft first chapter and fans of historical fiction have pointed out things that I’ve taken for granted. The first, the word okay, was introduced into writing until the 1830s, several decades after my story. The second was my reference to spitting image, which apparently originates from the 19th century.  This will be an interesting story to put together and I look forward to the challenge.

My Work in Progress

Of course, I can’t let my progress on my other novels diminish. Chapter six of Dangerous Alliance is nearing completion, as if chapter eight of A Cartel’s Revenge. Both should be posted this week to the two subscription writing sites I use.

In the short time the first chapter of New World Revolution has been posted (posted on Thursday), it’s received twelve reviews. Almost everyone seemed to think it has great potential, which is encouraging.  More to follow on this as my research continues.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Twice Dead by Michael Kent. Part of the Lieutenant Beaudry series, it’s another great story, full of action, with a fast pace.  We find Lt. Robert Beaudry embroiled in a mix of murder, narcotics, and even on a hit list. Someone is killing gays in Montreal and Robert’s boss gives him the task to find the killer.

Once again Michael works his magic and Robert works with a narcotics detective named Nico to sort out the pieces to this puzzle. Every time you think you’ve uncovered the identity of the killer, a twist will reveal new information pointing elsewhere. An excellent read!

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. Today, though, I have links to two sites about pets. The photographs are fantastic and I thought worthy of sharing.

Flawless Animals – a great compilation of animals doing their thing.

The Cute Pet – more outstanding photos of pets.

Writing Resources

Time didn’t provide an opportunity to delve into more writing resources. However, someone recently suggested a book I’d like to share with you:

Getting The Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Theodore A Reed Cheney.

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween to all who enjoy tricks or treats, young and old.

I’m afraid this will be a very short ramble this week as I’ve spent less than an hour on writing. 

On Thursday, our seven-year-old boxer, Tyson, began chemotherapy after several weeks of illness and multiple trips to the vet to determine what was wrong. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but the prognosis isn’t good–three to six months with the chemo, a matter of weeks if he doesn’t have the treatment.

Also on Thursday, our beloved FIV positive feline, Shadow, was euthanized. Since he joined us almost two years ago, we’ve made plenty of trips to our vet so he could receive the care he needed. Thursday marked the end of his fight; he was in severe pain and there was no other option but to let him go. 

Earlier this year while I was taking an online blogging course, I posted photographs of our entire four-legged family. If you want to take a peek Tyson, Shadow and all the others, here’s the link:  Shadow’s Family.

I hope to be back to my regular posts next Sunday. Regards to all.

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 26, 2016

The summer solstice passed by this week. Seems like it wasn’t that long ago we were in the middle of winter. The longest day of the year, marking the beginning of summer, was on Monday, June 20.

This year the solstice coincided with Strawberry Moon, something that hasn’t happened since 1948 and apparently it will be 2062 before the next double occurrence. What exactly is the Strawberry Moon? I had no idea.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the name originates from the collection of strawberries by Native American Algonquin tribes, who took the changing color of the moon to be the ideal time to pick the fruit. There are plenty of articles regarding the Strawberry Moon, so if you’re interested in reading more, have a Google.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Last week I introduced readers to my first venture into a futuristic/alternate world as I prepare a short story as a contest submission. I dubbed this, ‘Countdown to Extinction’. Here’s a bit more:

Ten hours later, Sam awoke with a jolt. A portion of his monitor flashed red. He silenced the alarm and scanned the data to determine the cause. By his calculations, the drill should be at a depth of six hundred meters.

Incorrect—six hundred fifty meters.

“What’s causing the inaccuracy? The machine stopped as programmed. Why has it cleared another twenty-five meters? Very strange.”

Malfunction identified. Damaged drill head.

Adding a replacement part to his backpack, Sam left the shelter and strode to the tunnel’s entrance. Glancing around, he headed inside, trudging through the residue thrown back by the MUA.

When he reached the drill, he came to a halt and glanced down … at what appeared to be a footprint. Sam whipped around, a feeling of dread rising in his conscious. Nothing. He used the built-in photo-mod to capture the image.

“Maybe I need to change the oxygen mixture. Must be causing me to hallucinate.”

He tapped his helmet, closed his eyes, and shook his head. Opening his eyes, he glanced back down. The footprint remained.

Final installment next week.

My Work in Progress

It’s been a busy week with my works in progress. ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ is on hold for the next week or so, pending critiques from a group called Round Table Pals, where we take turns reviewing three chapters written by the six participants. Once the group finishes, I’ll be making edits and continuing to write.

About two-thirds of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ is complete, at least in the first draft stage. Hope to finish the draft in the next few days.

I’ve written most of the first chapter for the second book in the Bedlam Series, ‘A Malicious Affiliation.’ Perhaps in a couple of weeks I’ll begin including some snippets in my ramblings.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past two weeks, I read ‘The Piedersen Conspiracy: An Ed Vandera and Marti Ellis Series Thriller Book One‘ by Christian Dane. I’ll begin my comments by stating I can’t wait to read book two.  Uncovering a possible cyber crime leads Ed and Marti on an exciting and dangerous adventure. The crime is much more than it seems, with a group plotting the demise of three generations of the Vandera family.

As the story moves through it paces, we uncover more clues to the group after the Vandera family. They set a seventy-two hour window in which Ed and Marti must appear or deadly events will unfold. They pick up help along the way, but a forcibly removed finger and a kidnapping makes the situation seem dire for Ed’s family. It’s not until the end of the story that we learn to what extent the criminals went to in order to extract their revenge.  A great read from a new author. Well worth the read.

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Sideways Eight Series – Meet series author, AJ Wallace, and learn more about her first novel, Mindfield and her works in progress.

I came across two blogs in the past few days dedicated to our feline friends and can’t resist sharing them:

Cat Lady Lives On – Pictures tell us a thousand words and the cats show us how.

My Cat Can Blog – More cat antics.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something new for next week as my research increases. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Once again, we’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

Blogging 101

Our Four-Legged Family

Early this morning one of our cats was very ill.  As soon as I could call the vet for an appointment, I did so.  Digging the vehicle from beneath a snowdrift, we ventured out in the cold, traveling thirty-five miles. 

A check-up, an IV, and three injections later, we returned home.  Two hours after receiving his treatment our feline family member began squeaking for food.  Fantastic–another recovery.  Why is the so special?  Most people would have put him to sleep when they received the news we did when we first gave Shadow a home.  Initial blood tests showed that he is FIV-positive, similar to HIV in humans. We brought him home, read up on FIV felines and discovered he could still live a long and happy life, given proper care.  So he is here to stay.

Let my introduce you to our current family of four-legged creatures:

Oliver (AKA Ollie)

Oliver is from England, twelve years old and a loner.  He probably was a feral kitten that someone couldn’t handle and passed him to us, knowing we had experience raising feral felines.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Oliver

Hope (AKA Dosy)

Hope is about six now.  She came to us a couple of years ago from a no-kill shelter.  Always seems to be off in a world of her own, but a very loving addition to the family.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Hope

 

Lola (AKA Little One)

Lola came to us from a vet.  She had been found in a dumpster, with a bloody ear and a dislocated hip.  The vet took care of her medical needs and we took care of her home.  Of out current crop of felines, she gets bored easily and will pick on the others for amusement.  Sometimes that works and other times, fur flies! Lola is around four.

lola.jpg
Lola

 

Shadow (AKA Squeaky)

Destined for the pound, a friend who already has five cats told us about Shadow (unnamed at the time). He joined us December 2014.  Other information about him begins this post.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Shadow

 

Flora (AKA Lady Flora Fluff Bum)

Flora apparently accompanied Shadow to the pound.  Couldn’t leave her behind to a sad fate, so she’s part of out family, too.  Both are around two years old.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Flora

 

Charley (AKA Pumpkin Boy

The end of January 2014 was bitter, with nearly two feet of snow on the ground.  We heard a commotion at one of the deck doors.  Outside, clawing to come indoors, was a handsome stray cat.  We hadn’t seem him before and living where we do, there was no possibility of him belonging to a neighbor, unless he traveled a long distance to find us.  Never saw a “missing” poster and he’s now one of the family.  Very skittish, hates loud noises, but plays well with others. According to the vet, he’ll be around two years old.

charlie.jpg
Charlie

Tyson

Tyson is the only canine in our family.  He joined us in October 2013, a few weeks after our thirteen-year old German Shepherd, Minnie, passed away.

Tyson had been turned over to the same no-kill shelter as Hope.  He apparently wasn’t good with young children, but we don’t know for sure.  Tyson, who brought his name with him, celebrated his seventh birthday earlier this month, on the sixth.  A great addition to the family, he breaks up any quarrels between the others, but is soft as anything.  Saying that, there is no way a stranger would get in the house, but once he knows someone, they’re good to go!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Tyson

Hope you’ve enjoyed meeting out family!