Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 26, 2021

We had a good Christmas market, with plenty of books and poetry sheets sold, as well as some knitwear. Our next small business market will be on 7-9 January. In the meantime, we’re taking a rest and catching up on things with our son.

On Christmas Eve we went to a nearby hotel for dinner. As with the first two times we did this (2018 and 2019) it was another excellent meal. We spent a quiet Christmas Day at home–no snow in our area but the weather maps showed snow to the north and south of us. Today, we heading out on the Firth of Forth for a cream tea cruise under the three bridges, stopping at Blackness Castle, the backdrop for the Outlander series and the Outlaw King.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 26th, the fourth and last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Peter Schenck, German/Neth engraver/publisher; Thomas Gray, English poet (Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard); Jean François de Saint-Lambert, French poet; Friedrich Melchior, baron von Grimm, German writer; Heinrich J von Collin, Austria dramatist/poet (Regulus); E. D. E. N. Southworth, American novelist; Dion Boucicault [Dionysus Lardner Boursiquot], Irish actor and playwright (Rip van Winkle, London Assurance); Martinus Nijhoff, Dutch publisher (Van Dale) and founder (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers); René Bazin, French novelist; Alexander Amfiteatrov, Russian-Italian journalist, newspaper editor, novelist, and historian; Harry Redman, American composer, writer, and artist; Isaiah Bowman, American geography/co-founder (Geographical Review); Henry Miller, American author (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Sexus); Jean Toomer, American writer; Willie Corsari [Wilhelmina A Schmidt], Dutch writer; Alenjo Carpentier, Cuban/French writer (Guerra del Tiempo); H. A. Gomperts, Dutch writer (Duck on Attic); Steve Allen, American comedian, composer, writer and TV host (Tonight Show, Steve Allen Show); Elizabeth Kostova, American author (The Historian); and Robert Muchamore, English children’s author.

Any names familiar to you? The only name I know is Steve Allen. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I didn’t get a chance to do any writing this week, but a short break doesn’t hurt. Ultimate Escalation received another seven chapter reviews, bringing the total to 449. Plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After eating a dinner of chicken chili dry and masala fried rice, Vladimir and Mishka waited for their final guest of the day. They sat on the rear balcony, sipping on child vodka as they enjoyed a slight breeze, cooling the warm air.

“May I join you?”

Vladimir and Mishka pulled pistols from the pockets as they turned, relaxing when they recognize their visitor.

“Major Bangash—please join us. Would you care for some vodka? Vladimir lifted a bottle from an ice bucket.

“Just tea for me.”

“Of course.” Vladimir gestured toward a chair. “Please have a seat. Yusuuf brought a pot of tea for you.” He stood, picked up a teapot, and filled a cup before handing it to Bangash.

“Thank you.” He sipped the warm drink. “I have two pieces of information to share with you.”

“Please go ahead.”

“My contact in Dubai said three Westerners asked bout you.”

“Anything we should be concerned about?”

Bangash shook his head. “No. These men will soon be in Karachi. They will be followed, and when the time is right, they will meet with an untimely accident.”

“Do you know their names?’

“No. But my contact said they are native English speakers, if that helps.”

Vladimir tilted his head. “It does.” Which Western intelligence agency do they represent? “Don’t do anything to them until I give the word. They might be useful.”

“As you wish.” Bangash took another sip of his tea. “The other information will be of more interest to you. ISI captured two Russian agents over the weekend. They wanted to know your whereabouts. There’s a price of two hundred fifty thousand euros on your head—dead or alive, but dead is the preferred option.”

“Is that all?” Vladimir chuckled. “Must be Putin who set the price. He’s always been a miser. Where are these agents? I assume they work for the GRU?”

“I believe so.” Bangash nodded.

“Where are they?”

“Yesterday, I arranged for their departure.” Bangash grinned. “I told them if they didn’t leave Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within twenty-four hours, they’d be taken to Afghanistan and turned over to the Taliban.” He finished his tea. “Last I heard, they’re on tonight’s flight to Dubai.”

“Excellent.” Vladimir handed an envelope to Bangash. “Here’s your monthly retainer.”

“Thank you, Colonel. Your generosity allows me to keep my wife in the style she has become accustomed to.”

A smile creased Vladimir’s face before his eyes hardened like lumps of coal. “As long as you don’t double-cross me, you’ll be able to continue doing so. Otherwise, you’ll learn firsthand about Spetsnaz retribution.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for the river cruise. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again. See you again in 2022!

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 19, 2021

It’s been a busy week with the Xmas market still underway. We’ll be participating through Monday, while some of the vendors will remain through Christmas Eve.

We received a fantastic Christmas present on Thursday–Craig arrived from Washington, D.C., for three weeks! It’s great to have him with us.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “In Life, it’s not where you go. It’s who you travel with.”

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

Su Tung-p’o, China, poet/essayist/painter/calligrapher; William Bowyer, English printer; Manuel Breton de los Herreros, Quel Spain, poet/comic playwright; Italo Svevo, Trieste Austria, Italian novelist (La Coscienza di Zeno); F S Flint, translator/poet (imagist movement); Ingeborg Refling-Hagen, Norwegian author/poet (Loke Saar Havre); Maurice Roelants, Flemish novelist and poet (Komen en gaan, Prayer for a Good End); Oliver [Hazard Perry] La Farge, American anthropologist and novelist; Theo Harych, German writer; H Allen Smith, Ill, humorist/author (Low Man on Totem Pole); Jean Genet, French novelist (The Thief’s Journal, Our Lady of the Flowers) and playwright (The Balcony, The Maids); Jose Lezama Lima, poet/novelist; Adriaan van der Veen, Dutch writer (Sister at Sea); Benedict Freedman, novelist and mathematician (Mrs Mike); Michel Tournier, French writer (Friday, or, The Other Island); Tankred Dorst, German playwright; James Booth [David Geeves], British actor and screenwriter (Zulu, Keeping Mum); Howard Sackler, American screenwriter; Salvador Elizondo, Mexican writer; Jean-Patrick Manchette, French thriller writer (3 to Kill, The Prone Gunman); Michelangelo Signorile, American writer; Jon Smith, British writer; and Patrick Casey, American screenwriter and actor.

Any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t find anyone I knew. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself, but you’ll have to hurry!

My Work in Progress

Slide1With all of the time at the Christmas market, I haven’t had much time to write. However, I began working on a new manuscript for Frozen Conquest. More about this one in the future. A total of bube chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 442. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Yusuuf escorted Ajit and Imran into the living room, returning moments later with a plate of sliced fruit and cups of tea.

After exchanging pleasantries, Vladimir motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for your today?”

Ajit sipped his tea and set the cup down. “First, our apologies for the incident during our meeting by Bahawalpur. We thought it best to come to you here to continue our discussions.”

“The council agreed we would speak on their behalf, and they would accept whatever arrangements we make.” Imran picked up a mango slice and took a bite. “We are uncertain how the attackers found out about our meeting, but we shall find out. Even if it was one of our own, he will be dealt with.”

Vladimir waved a hand in dismissal. “In our line of work, there are always interruptions. Nothing to be concerned about.” He stared at Ajit and Imran in turn. “I believe there might be a way to bring India and Pakistan together to resolve the Punjabi situation. However, there will be bloodshed.”

Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”

“First, we begin with peaceful protests on either side of the border. These will become more intense as time passes. Minor attacks will take place, escalating until the military forces of each country are involved.” Vladimir stared at the ceiling. “We’ll need someone to organize peace talks between India and Pakistan, but this can be arranged later.”

“India and Pakistan are always talking and making threats.” Ajit pursed his lips. “Why should this be any different? Kashmir is still a disputed territory without a resolution in sight. Why should they agree to resolve the Punjab situation?”

Mishka tapped the side of his nose. “We’ll make them.”

“How?” A puzzled expression creased Imran’s face. “I don’t understand.”

“We have a weapon which will wreak havoc on Pakistan and India’s financial centers. If they do not agree to our terms, we will destroy their economies.”

Imran glanced at Ajit. “What is this weapon?”

“It will be revealed to you only if the situation requires its use.” Vladimir crossed his arms and leaned back on the sofa.

Ajit nodded. “This is agreeable to us. When shall we begin?”

“Mishka will take a team into India. Please provide the name of a contact in Chandigarh, so we can coordinate the protests. I will lead the team here—we’ll set up in Lahore.”

“We have such a contact—Vedant Mohdi. He works in Chandigarh’s civic administration but believes in uniting Punjab.” Ajit smiled. “He is one of my wife’s cousins and can be trusted.”

“Excellent.” Vladimir tilted his head. As if any of them can be trusted—we’ll have to be alert for treachery. “I think we’re in agreement. We’ll move our teams into position within ten days.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again. Merry Christmas to all!

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 12, 2021

We’ve had mixed weather this week but fortunately, no snow. Today it even feels mild at 46F/7C. Not sure how long it’ll last, but we’ll take what we can get.

It’s been a busy week with the Christmas market in full swing. So far, I’ve sold thirty-two signed copies of my novels. Sylvia’s done well too, with around twenty-five of her laminated poetry sheets sold and six of her debut poetry book, Colours of My Life. We’re back at it again today and hope to have another good day as Christmas keeps approaching.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Honesty is a very expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 12th, the second  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Olof Rudbeck, Swedish scientist, writer and composer; Peter Rabus, Dutch poet and translator (Liberated Britanje); Erasmus Darwin, influential English physician, poet, philosopher, and botanist (grandfather of Charles Darwin); Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (Madame Bovary); Maurice Donnay, French playwright (Lovers); Paul Elmer More, American critic and essayist; Volter Kilpi, Finnish writer (Alastalon salissa); Howard Koch, American playwright and screenwriter; Manès Sperber, Austrian-French writer (Like a Tear in the Ocean: A Trilogy); Armand Boni, Flemish poet and writer; Nilda Pinto, Curacao writer (Nanzi); Ahmad Shamlou, Iranian poet (The Book of Alley); Chinghiz Aitmatov, Soviet-Kyrgyz author and best-known figure in Kyrgyzstan’s literature (Jamila); John Osborne, English playwright (Entertainer, Look Back in Anger, Luther); Ali-Akbar Sa’idi Sirjani, Iranian writer and journalist; Bengt Emil Johnson, Swedish author and composer; Karl Edward Wagner, American sci-fi author (Bloodstone, Night Winds); Robert Lepage, French Canadian playwright; and Sophie Kinsella, English author (Confessions of a Shopaholic).

Any names familiar to you? I know two: Charles Darwin and Gustave Flaubert. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself!

My Work in Progress

Slide1With all of the time at the Christmas market, I haven’t had much time to write. However, I do have drafts of chapters twenty-one and twenty-two.  A total of eight chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 433. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Mishka approached the door. “Da? Who is it?”

“Is that you, Mishka? Open up—it’s Grigori.”

Mishka slid the deadbolts and lifted the metal retaining bar stretching across the frame. Aiming his pistol toward the entrance, he pulled the door open. He spotted his old friend and relaxed. “Come in.”

After Grigori stepped inside, he hooked a thumb toward the Loud music, bright lights, and gunfire coming from behind the property. “What’s with the party?”

“A wedding celebration.” Mishka laughed. “Vladimir thought we were under attack. Don’t tell him I said this, but I think he’s getting too old to keep up with us.”

“Where is our comrade colonel?”

“Upstairs. He was pacing the balcony, watching for intruders when you pounded on the door.”

Grigori chuckled. “I’m sure his recent injury is accounting for some of his apprehension. Why don’t—”

“Welcome, Grigori!” Vladimir’s voice boomed as he descended the marble stairs, an AK-47 nestled in his arms. “Come in. Sorry about the noise, but they should be finishing soon.” He gestured toward a barred window where early morning sunlight lightened the sky. “These parties last all night, but everyone disappears by sunup—just like vampires and werewolves in European folklore.”

“Mishka said you were watching for intruders?”

“Da. Can’t be too careful.” Vladimir dismissed Grigori’s comment with a wave of his hand. “Is it too early for vodka? Yusuuf should be here soon to make breakfast, but nothing like a good drink to wake you up.”

Mishka resecured the door. “Yusuuf arrived about an hour ago, laden with fresh fruit. He’s making sharlotka.”

Grigori’s stomach rumbled. “I haven’t had sharlotka for a long time. My mother’s was the best. She always said the secret was slicing the apples so you could almost see through them and adding plenty of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.”

“Breakfast first, then the vodka.” Vladimir led them through the swinging doors into the dining room. The aroma from the breakfast cooking wafted through the air. “Take a seat and fill us in, Grigori.”

After taking a chair facing Vladimir and Mishka, Grigori eased back and crossed his arms. “As you requested, I spread the word throughout the former Spetsnaz community. Several are already committed to other endeavors, but there are twelve willing and able to support you.” He grinned.” The number doesn’t include Captains 3rd Rank Karol Pushkin and Stepan Gennadi and their crews, who will support you should it be necessary.”

Vladimir rubbed his chin and smiled. “Ah, yes. The Lyre class submarines—decommissioned in 1990 and designated for scrapping. I believe NATO referred to them as the Alfa class.”

“Da.” Grigori uncrossed his arms and leaned forward. “No one questioned Colonel General Kutzenov’s order to keep two of them from going on the scrapheap. Even the NATO inspectors were clueless.”

Vladimir tapped his fingers on the edge of his chair. “Would it be possible to arrange a short trip on one of them?”

“Da. I believe one of them will be in the Gulf of Hormuz soon so the crew can practice their targeting and evasion techniques. Do you want me to set up a visit?”

Vladimir glanced at Mishka. “Make the arrangements—we’ll both go.”

“Not counting Puskin and Gennadi, there will be seventeen of us.” Mishka rubbed a hand over his head. “Will that be enough, Vova?”

“Da. I shall lead eight here in Pakistan, and you’ll take the remainder and cause disruption in India.”

Mishka nodded. “It will be a pleasure to be back in the field again.”

Yusuuf stepped into the room and approached Vladimir. “Shall I serve breakfast, sir?”

“Da.”

***

Yusuuf escorted Ajit and Imran into the living room, returning moments later with a plate of sliced fruit and cups of tea.

After exchanging pleasantries, Vladimir motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for your today?”

Ajit sipped his tea and set the cup down. “First, our apologies for the incident during our meeting by Bahawalpur. We thought it best to come to you here to continue our discussions.”

“The council agreed we would speak on their behalf, and they would accept whatever arrangements we make.” Imran picked up a mango slice and took a bite. “We are uncertain how the attackers found out about our meeting, but we shall find out. Even if it was one of our own, he will be dealt with.”

Vladimir waved a hand in dismissal. “In our line of work, there are always interruptions. Nothing to be concerned about.” He stared at Ajit and Imran in turn. “I believe there might be a way to bring India and Pakistan together to resolve the Punjabi situation. However, there will be bloodshed.”

Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”

“First, we begin with peaceful protests on either side of the border. These will become more intense as time passes. Minor attacks will take place, escalating until the military forces of each country are involved.” Vladimir stared at the ceiling. “We’ll need someone to organize peace talks between India and Pakistan, but this can be arranged later.”

“India and Pakistan are always talking and making threats.” Ajit pursed his lips. “Why should this be any different? Kashmir is still a disputed territory without a resolution in sight. Why should they agree to resolve the Punjab situation?”

Mishka tapped the side of his nose. “We’ll make them.”

“How?” A puzzled expression creased Imran’s face. “I don’t understand.”

“We have a weapon which will wreak havoc on Pakistan and India’s financial centers. If they do not agree to our terms, we will destroy their economies.”

Imran glanced at Ajit. “What is this weapon?”

“It will be revealed to you only if the situation requires its use.” Vladimir crossed his arms and leaned back on the sofa.

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 5, 2021

Rain, Wind, sunshine, snow, ice–we’ve had them all in the past week. With morning temperatures hovering around freezing, the days have struggled to climb above 44F/7C. At least there hasn’t been any accumulation of snow–from flurries to a light dusting.

We had the opportunity to join a Christmas market on Friday in a nearby village. It was there first one. While it was slow, we did manage a few book and poetry sheet sales. The big Christmas market sponsored by the small business market, begins tomorrow in the local mall and runs through the 24th. Looking forward to this!

Although the game wasn’t televised locally, I was delighted to find out Michigan (2) beat Iowa (13) convincingly, 42-3, to take their first Big Ten Football Conference title since 2003. Now we’re just waiting to see if they make it into the College Football Championship.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges makes you strong.” Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, there is only today. Be fearless. Listen to your heart. Envision your perfect day and go out there and live it. You have many smiles to share with those around you–and they with you. Radiate your love and feel that loving energy return to you. ~ Creig Crippen © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 5th, the first  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Nicolas Cleynaerts, Flemish grammarian; Ubbo Emmius [van Embden], Dutch-Frisian humanist and historian; Fyodor Tyutchev, Russian poet and statesman; Afanasy Fet, Russian poet; Christina Rossetti, English poet (Winter Rain, Passing Away); Ellis Parker Butler, American author (Pigs is Pigs); Fritz Lang, Austrian-German-American filmmaker and screenwriter (Metropolis); Lady Huxley [Marie Juliette Baillot], Swiss sculptor and author; Nunnally Johnson, American screenwriter and producer; Josh Malihabadi, Urdu poet of India and Pakistan; Abraham Polonsky, American writer and director (Tell them Willie Boy is Here); Maisie Fitter, editor and conservationist; Hans Hellmut Kirst, German author (The Lieutenant Must Be Mad); Simone Gallimard, French editor and publisher; Vladimir Tendryakov, Russian writer (Three, Seven, Ace); Fazu Aliyeva, Russian poet, novelist and journalist who helped develop Dagestani in Russian literature; Joan Didion, American author and journalist (The year of Magical Thinking); Calvin Trillin, American author (New Yorker); Yury Vlasov, Soviet weightlifter and writer; James Lee Burke, American writer (Dave Robicheaux series); Horst Bastian, German writer and screenwriter; Peter Pohl, Swedish writer; and Neil Druckmann, Israeli-American writer & co-president Naughty Dog.

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

New Release

ComL-8c(1)Sylvia Grace’s debut book, Colours Of My Life, has now been released. If you enjoy poetry, prose, and short stories, there’s bound to be something you can relate to.

This is from the intro:

The time has come to share my writing after many years of hiding my light under a bushel. Enjoy!

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself!

My Work in Progress

Slide1When time permitted, work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter twenty-one is almost completed.  A total of thirteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 425. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Willie glanced around and spoke in a low voice. “Anything from the Russians?” He raised his sunglasses as two foreign women passed.

Alfie chuckled. “Yeah, mate. Seems like we missed Nikolaev and an associate.”

Nate nodded. “That’s what we found out through Dakila. Could have saved our money.”

Willie rubbed the side of his face. “Did you get the names of the two guys who were by the pool?”

“Only the first names—Fedor and Eduard.”

Willie pulled an iPad out of his pack and connected to the internet. He typed and sent an encrypted message.

To: Bedlam, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

From: Rebel

Target departed before our arrival. Two of his associates are leaving this evening for Pakistan. Please advise whether we follow them or return to Conus.

***

As dusk deepened, spotlights snapped on. CC, Trevor, and Evelyn stood in adjacent firing lanes and aimed their SIG Sauers downrange.

Blam! Blam! Blam!

They fired in unison, mimicking one another’s actions—left-handed, righted-handed, and both hands.

Emptying their magazines, they hit the eject buttons, dropping canisters to the ground. As they slapped new ones into place, they edged forward, shots rattling against their targets with each step.

Once again, they emptied their magazines. After reloading, CC, Trevor, and Evelyn resumed firing, moving backward with each step.

“Clear! Clear! Clear!”

CC glanced toward Evelyn on his left and nodded. He turned to his right. Time to police our lines.”

After they finished, the three Bedlam team leaders met at the loading table and began filling their magazines.

Trevor slotted a round on top of the magazine’s spring and pushed. “So, CC. When are you heading back to Scotland for a holiday?”

“If things remain quiet, it’ll be later this year. The clan’s having a ceilidh at Loch Lomond—plenty of music, food, and drink—not necessarily in that order.”

“A grand place to go—at least when it’s not raining.”

“Aye.” CC shoved the last round into a magazine and reached for another.

“When you come over, pop down to London, CC. Sir Alex and I would love to have you stay with us.”

“Aye, Evelyn. I’ll do that.” He grinned at her.

Once they reloaded, CC, Trevor, and Evelyn repeated their runs on the firing line.

After they cleaned up, Trevor slapped CC and Evelyn on the shoulder. “Enough work for today. Care to join me in the manor house for a nightcap?”

Evelyn nodded. “I’ll be there, but I want to eat first. I understand the cooks are serving ribeyes cooked to order, baked potatoes, and mixed salad tonight.”

‘Aye. I could go for a good steak. As long as the Murphy’s is flowing, I’ll join you, Trevor. Of course, a wee dram or two of a good single malt would suffice.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 20, 2020

Mother Nature decided we needed more rain over the past week, so it’s been damp and gloomy. One bright spot has been the myriad of Christmas lights strung along the fronts and windows of homes in the area, bringing some cheer to everyone. While it would be nice to have a white Christmas, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

Beginning next week, I’ll be adding a section to my blog to introduce different authors to you. Hopefully, you will find this of interest. I plan on just one a week, although to kick this a few moments ago:

“The best feeling in the world is knowing that you actually mean something to someone.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Paulus Melissus, humanist Neo-Latin writer, translator, and composer; John Fletcher, Jacobean playwright; Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Dutch poet, classicist, and mystic (Voices, Carmina); Kan’ichi Asakawa, Japanese author & historian; T. F. Powys, British novelist & short-story writer (Captain Patch, Goat Green); J. Van Oudshoorn [Jan Koos Feylbrief], Dutch writer (Maze of Senses); Hortense Calisher, American novelist (Arts & Letters 1967); Aziz Nesin, Turkish writer & humorist; Errol John, Trinidadian actor & playwright (A Man from the Sun, The Nun’s Story, Assault on a Queen); Jean Carnahan, US politician and writer ; Gernot Wolfgruber, Austrian writer; Peter May, Scottish novelist and scriptwriter; Sandra Cisneros, American writer; and Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaican-born Canadian writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I’m afraid I struck out. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are thirty-eight books choose from, so why not drop in?

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter seventeen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another eleven new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 282!

Here’s another snippet:

When Javier entered Virtue Feed & Grain at four p.m., he found the Snakes sipping beers at the regular table. Tucked under his arm, his laptop, which he had retrieved from his condo.

As he sat, someone shoved a beer at him. “Better hurry up, Javier. You’re a beer down, and it’s your round.”

He placed his laptop on the table, took a sip of his drink, and smacked his lips. “Just what I needed after last night.” He provided details of the break-in. “Anyway, I’ve started the ball rolling to set up my agency. A friend of mine will be expediting as much of the paperwork as possible.”

“Wouldn’t be AJ, by any chance?” Charlie nudged Javier’s shoulder. “I’m sure she’d help.”

“Didn’t ask her—she has enough going on, so I contacted an old buddy. We played football together at West Point. Now he’s a captain in the Virginia State Police.”

Charlie leaned back in his chair. “Oh, friends in high places!”

“Well, I got enough friends in low places.” Javier maintained a straight face as he glanced at each of the Snakes.

Everyone laughed.

“On a more serious note, remember that photographer from last night? He sent an email with attachments to the address I gave him.” Javier opened his laptop and booted. When it was ready, he pulled up the email:

Enjoy your remaining days on this earth. Check out the attachments and meet your new friends.

“There are six photos of beheadings—five men and a woman.” Javier ground his teeth. “I’m gonna need your help—AJ’s, too. We need to find out who’s behind this and turn the tables.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently started reading a British crime series by Wes Markin. This is a dark and compelling series, pitting the police against serial killers.

The first in the series is One Last Prayer for the Rays. What turns an entire family into one steeped in violence? DCI Michael Yorke and his team are certainly put to the test to find out who is behind a series of evil crimes. Wes has created a fast-paced plot that has the police questioning their own beliefs as they search for clues.

This series isn’t for the faint-hearted as the gruesome details might seem over the top. However, they work well with the story. This is definitely one which will keep you turning the pages as you urge the police to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

On a different note, I also finished reading The Atlantis Stone (The Stone Collection Book 1) by Nick Hawkes. Set in Australia, the story involves Felicity, who is researching the ‘mahogany ship,’ a wreck sighted on the beach by early white Australians. Before long, she meets Benjamin, an indigenous Australian, through their joint love of diving. Together, and with help from others, they begin a quest to solve historic mysteries.

Nick has created an excellent plot and the story is filled with colorful characters and it won’t take long for you to find yourself wrapped up in the tale as it unfolds. This is the first of Nick’s stories I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last!

That’s all 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

December 6, 2020

During the past week, our temperatures have hovered in the 30s (F) (1-4C). Plenty of rain and very little sunshine.  We even had a couple of nights where the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Probably about three inches of snow altogether, but as soon as the temperature rose just a bit, the snow went back to rain. Before long, we ended up with mushy messes, but at least the day is starting out dry today.

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

Baldassare Castiglione, Italian diplomat and author; Claude Fleury, French priest and historian; Sophie von Laroche, German writer (History of Lady Sophia Sternheim); Johan Michiel Dautzenberg, Flemish author (Future); Hara Prasad Shastri, Indian academic, Sanskrit scholar, archivist and historian of Bengali literature; Evelyn Underhill, British Anglo-Catholic poet; Albrecht Schaeffer, German writer (The General); Joyce Kilmer, American poet (Trees); Rudolf Schlichter, German artist and writer; Osbert Sitwell, English poet, writer (Out of the Flame); Oscar Walter Cisek, Romanian writer and diplomat; Ève Curie, French author and daughter of Madame Curie; Paul de Man, Belgian literary critic; David Ossman, American writer and comedian (The Firesign Theatre); Peter Handke, Austrian writer (A Sorrow Beyond Dreams), 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature; Karl Ove Knausgård, Norwegian author (My Struggle); and Noel Clarke, English actor and writer.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognized was Joyce Kilmer. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are forty books in this promotion, so why not drop in?

This week I finished chapter sixteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. The number of chapter reviews increased by ten to 263! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

Here’s another snippet:

Javier raised his glass. “To friends and the establishment of The Brusch Agency.” He chugged the remains of his beer.

The others raised their glasses and repeated Javier’s toast.

Over the next two hours, beer and laughter continued to flow, until at last, Javier and AJ were alone.

“Guess I better pay the bill.” Javier stood, leaned over, and kissed AJ’s forehead. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” AJ rose and squeezed Javier’s arm. “Don’t suppose you can escort me home? Just to the door—I have an early start tomorrow.”

Javier dropped the black leather bill holder on the counter as they walked past. “Keep the change.”

Outside, they turned left and strolled arm-in-arm the four blocks to AJ’s condo. They held each other and kissed before she pushed him back. “Down, boy. I’m an old-fashioned girl.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m an old-fashioned guy, but I think our meanings are different.”

She leaned toward him, allowing her lips to brush his. “Good night, Javier. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Night. I’ll wait until you’re inside before I leave. No telling what scumbags might be lurking around.”

AJ laughed as she stuck her key in the door. “My hero!” She entered the building, turned back, and blew him a kiss.

Twenty minutes later, a taxi dropped Javier off at home. He nodded to a couple coming out of the building. The man held the door for Javier.

“Many thanks. Enjoy the evening.” Javier strode across the foyer and entered the elevator. He pulled his keys out as he walked along the hallway to his apartment.

And stopped.

Alarm bells signaled as Javier inspected the door, open a fraction. Someone’s here or been here. Wish I had a weapon.

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

Everything on the walls now rested on the floor. Frames torn apart, and glass covers broken. Cushion sliced open, contents spewed out.

Out of the corner of an eye, Javier caught a moving shadow.

He lunged and crashed into the remnants of his coffee table.

The shadow dashed out the door.

By the time Javier rushed into the corridor, it was empty.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Aleutian Portal (Sam Reilly Book 8) by Christopher Cartwright. Once again we find Sam caught in a situation not of his choosing. What should have been a relatively straightforward task–find the remains of a ship which just sank and for which coordinates were available–became a race from the Arctic Ocean to the Colorado Plateau Desert. Christopher has done an excellent job in creating a riveting plot, which will keep you turning the pages. Sam and his sidekick Tom live up to their reputations as they hunt for the Death Stone. What is it? You’ll have to grab a copy of the book as I don’t like giving too much away. Look for the next one in the series!

I also finished Donna Teresa (A Rex Dalton Thriller Book 9) by JC Ryan and Laurie Vermillion. Rex and Digger team up with a host of characters to take on an important challenge–involving terrorist, Russian thugs, and members of an Italian crime family. The authors have outdone themselves with the multi-layered plot and real-life characters–even Digger seems to have expanded his ability to understand humans!

As with all of the Rex Dalton thrillers, this is another page turner which will keep you busy long into the night as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

That’s all 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