Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 12, 2021

It’s been a quiet week, with mixed weather conditions but nothing earth-shattering. We are excited about this coming week, though. Due to Covid restrictions, we haven’t seen our son since Christmas 2019. He’ll finally be arriving on Tuesday for a two-week visit!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.”

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

Johann Heinrich Jung, German author (Heinrich Stillings Leben); Benjamin Carr, American organist, composer, choirmaster, teacher, music publisher, and co-founder of Philadelphia’s Music Fund Society; James Hall, American geologist and paleontologist (Natural history of NY); Charles Dudley Warner, American novelist (Being a Boy); Jacobus of Looy, Dutch writer and painter (Death of My Cat); Henry Louis Mencken, American newspaperman and critic (Prejudices); Daniel Jones, English phoneticist (English pronouncing dictionary); Alfred A Knopf, American publisher (1966 Alexander Hamilton Medal); Giuseppe Zoppi, Swiss writer (Il Libro Dell’Alpe); oe Lederer, Austrian actress and writer (Drei Tage Liebe); Louis MacNeice, Irish poet and playwright; Kenneth Lo, cookery writer and restaurateur; Rais Amrohvi, Pakistani poet and psychoanalyst; Jan W. Schulte Nordholt, Dutch poet and historian (Blossoming Stone); Stanislaw Lem, Polish sci-fi author (Solaris, Invincible); Jackson Mac Low, American poet and composer; Kristin Hunter, African-American author (God Bless the Child); Michael Ondaatje, Sri Lankan-Canadian poet and writer; Jeff Jarvis, American journalist (This Week in Google) and advocate for the Open Web; and James Frey, American writer (Bright Shiny Morning).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. 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

 

Until the 15th of September, all of my novels are participating in a chilling reads promotion. There are fifty-six novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

MA PAGER TURNER FINALS PROMOTI’m also thrilled to announce Mission: Angola is a finalist in the 2021 Page Turner Book Awards!

My writing journey thus far has been absolutely incredible and I feel humbled by how my books have been received thus far:

The Kurdish Connection – Semi-finalist, 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs), Global Thrillers Category.

Dangerous Alliance – First in Category winner, 2018 CIBAs.

Carnage in Singapore – First in Category winner, 2019 CIBAs.

Colombian Betrayal – First in Category winners, 2020 CIBAs.

Mission: Angola – Finalist (so far), 2021 Page Turner Book Awards.

If you’d like to find out more about my novels, click on any of the titles and you’ll be taken to a universal link.  Many thanks to everyone for your support!

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the third micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

I send Revenge to my advanced reader team this week, with their feedback do back to me by the end of the month. While I’m waiting, I’ll be doing two more micro edit passes. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

In case you missed the synopsis, 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.

Slide1In addition to my editing work on Revenge, I continued working on my next novel, Ultimate Escalation. Chapter thirteen was posted to the two subscription sites I belong to. To date, there has been a total of 251 chapter reviews. Plenty of excellent feedback. I greatly appreciate my reviewers sticking with me!

Here’s another snippet:

Vladimir thrashed in the king-sized bed shook as Vladimir flung his arms and legs from side to side, tearing at the bedsheets until he woke. He gasped and struggled to sit. Perspiration poured down his face, soaking his bedclothes. Struggling to sit, he swung his legs over the side and ensured he established a firm footing before pushing himself off the bed and zigzagging into the bathroom.

He filled a glass from a plastic bottle and gulped the room-temperature water without pausing for a breath. He caught his reflection in the mirror.

A drawn face stared back at him, with a beard more gray than black and bags under the eyes. Vladimir shook his head before stripping off his clothes and turning on the shower. 

He let the lukewarm water splash over his head and body as he tried to wash away his haunting dream, a regular nighttime visitor. When will these nightmares end? Afghanistan was so long ago, but the screams still haunt me. Once the water turned cold, he switched it off. He flung the curtain aside in search of a warm towel. Shivering and wide-awake, he rubbed himself until he was dry and dressed in khaki pants and a red T-shirt.

The aroma of strong coffee greeted him when he stepped into the hallway. He rushed down the marble staircase and into the formal dining room.

“About time you woke up.” Vasily raised his cup in a salute. “Better hurry before the others arrive. Yuusuf is at the market getting mangos for breakfast.”

“Ugh.” Vladimir poured a cup of coffee from the carafe on the polished rosewood credenza and dropped into a chair on the opposite side of the matching rosewood table from his friend. Taking a sip of his coffee, he grimaced at the bitter flavor.

“Another dream? I heard you yelling.”

Vladimir nodded. “More of a nightmare, but, yes, the same one.”

“You must face reality, Voya.” Vasily shook his head. “You never became a hero of the Rodina. You are ….” He snapped his fingers. “I think the American words are a slimeball and scum—just like me.”

A weak smile creased Vladimir’s face. “I can always count on you to put things in perspective.” He thumped his chest, generating a coughing fit.

“Stop the theatrics.” Vasily rolled his eyes. “We were lucky to escape from prison. At least the GRU never recovered the money and weapons we stole.”

More next time.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 5, 2021

After several days of cool temperatures and endless clouds, we’ve had a reprieve. This morning it was still on the cool side at 52F (11C) but there’s hardly a cloud in the sky, making for a pleasant start to the day.

We’ve reworked the front border of our property, putting in several pansies and cyclamens. Fantastic colours–reds, yellows, and purples. Now, if we could just keep the slugs and snails away! We read something about putting sharp grit down, so we bought some horticultural alpine grit around the plants. Looks great, but the slugs didn’t get the memo as they’re still attacking the plants, particularly the yellows. We don’t want to put down any poison as we have at least two hedgehogs living on our property and they like to eat the snails. A constant battle!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett

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

Tommaso Campanella, Italian theologian, philosopher, and poet; Gottfried Arnold, German theologist, historian and songwriter; Juan Martín Díez, El Empecinado (The Undaunted), Spanish guerrillero; Lukas Fencer, Dutch poet (Fight of Kings & Mice); Robert Fergusson, Scottish poet (Scottish poems); Aleksei K. Tolstoi, Russian poet and writer; Goffredo Mameli, Italian poet and writer; Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-British writer (Arrow in Blue); Semjon I Kirsanov, Ukrainian poet (Semj Dnej Nedeli); Nicanor Parra, Chilean poet, mathematician, and physicist (Defense of Violeta Parra); Frank Yerby, American novelist (The Foxes of Harrow); Margaretha D. Ferguson-Wigerink, Dutch author (Anna & her Father); Jos Vandeloo, Flemish journalist and playwright (Cola Drinkers); Justin Kaplan, American editor and biographer (Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain – Pulitzer Prize, 1967); Werner Erhard, American author and lecturer (founded EST); Jonathan Kozol, American writer and sociologist; Dario Bellezza, Italian poet; Paul William Roberts, Canadian writer; Frederick Kempe, American author, journalist, and executive; and Christopher Nolan, Irish handicapped writer (Under Eye of Clock).

Any names familiar to you? There was only one for me–Aleksei K. Tolstoi. 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

Until the 15th of September, all of my novels are participating in a chilling reads promotion. There are fifty-six novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the second micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

Today marks the final day Revenge will still be posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Throughout the period when Revenge was available for review, it received 779 chapter reviews. Many thanks to all who provided their feedback!

I’m on track to send Revenge to my advanced reader team. Still going to do two more micro edit passes between now and the end of September. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

With all of my work on Revenge this week, I didn’t get a chance to finish chapter thirteen of Ultimate Escalation.  Once Revenge is sent out to the team, I hope to establish a regular writing regime for Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Breakthrough  by Michael C. Grumley.  What’s happening underneath the Caribbean Sea and in Antarctica? Are they linked? Join Alison Shaw, a marine biologist, and John Clay, a naval investigator as they become an unlikely duo trying to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

This is the first book by Michael I’ve read and it won’t be the last. I always enjoy an excellent plot filled with twists and turns, as well as realistic characters, and plenty of action. Breakthrough contains all of this and more! Look forward to reading more of Michael’s work.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 29, 2021

After a sunshine-filled day yesterday, we’re off to a cloudy and damp start for Sunday. The ground is dry, so a bit of help from Mother Nature won’t go amiss.

Yesterday was another artisan-market day. Seven of my novels sold, as did seven of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. In addition, people were starting to buy Christmas gifts (based on their comments) and eight pieces of my pyrography also sold. All-in-all, a great day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Worry is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 29th, the fifth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Janus Pannonius, Hungarian poet and translator; John Locke, English empiricist philosopher; influential Enlightenment thinker and “Father of Liberalism” (Two Treatises of Government); Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and author (Old Ironsides); Juan Bautista Alberdi, Argentina political theorist and writer (Crime of War); Anna Ella Carroll, American politician and civil war writer (Reconstruction); Edward Carpenter, English poet and philosopher (Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure); Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet (Blue Bird, Nobel 1911); Valery-Nicolas Larbaud, French novelist and translator (Enfantines); Ehm Welk [Thomas Trimm], German writer; E. Franklin Frazier, American sociologist and author (The Negro Family in the United States); Preston Sturges [Edmund Biden], American director and screenwriter (Sullivan’s Travels); Ernst Kreuder, German writer (The Attic Pretenders); Joseph Wechsberg, Jewish-Czech writer (Looking For a Bluebird); Denys Hay, British historian; Emile Habibi, Palestinian Israeli writer (The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist); Thom Gunn, British poet (The Wound); Lise Payette, Quebec politician, writer and columnist; Hugo Brandt Corstius, Dutch essayist and mathematician; William Friedkin, American director, producer, writer (The Exorcist, The French Connection); Karen Hesse, American children’s book writer (Out of the Dust); and Michael P. Kube-McDowell, American sci-fi author (Enigma, Empery).

Any names familiar to you? I recognized John Locke and Oliver Wendell Holmes. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the first micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

I’m on track to send Revenge to my advance reader team around September 10th. They’ll have until the end of the month to provide feedback on anything that might still need an adjustment. All being well, Revenge will be release in October! There are already several people who purchased Colombian Betrayal at the markets I’ve attended who are waiting for its release.

With my concentration on Revenge, I didn’t get much opportunity to continue working on Ultimate Escalation. I hope to pick up speed on it during the next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles, Book 1) by Tim Tigner. Blamed for multiple murders he didn’t commit, Kyle is on the run with his dead brother’s girlfriend. Will they be able to prove who the culprits were before they end up with lengthy prison sentences or worse?

Tim created a riveting plot with plenty of twists and turns, which will keep you guessing who is behind the murders. This is definitely a page turner and highly recommended!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 22, 2021

The Bell’s Daisies and violas we planted in mid-March have finally reached their end of their life. They provided loads of brilliant color to the front border and were greatly admired by passersby. This week, we replaced them with a batch of purple and yellow pansies. Depending upon the weather, they should be suitable replacements and continue to be a talking point.

While the weather continues to act more like Autumn than August, we did have short bursts of sunshine and warmth throughout the week. Of course, rain was dominate once again, but I guess that’s to be expected. At least Mother Nature is helping the new plants!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But its your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 22nd, the fourth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Georges de Scudéry, French writer and dramatist (L’Amour tyrannique); Jean Renaud de Segrais, French writer and poet; James Kirke Paulding, American author (The Dutchman’s Fireside); Amalie Skram, Norwegian author (Hellemyrsfolket); Melville E. Stone, American newspaper publisher (Founder of Chicago Daily News); Alfredo Oriani, Italian writer (Political Struggle in Italy); Gorch Fock [Johann Wilhelm Kinau], German author and poet; Dorothy Parker, American short story writer (1958 Marjorie Peabody Award); Jack Roy Armstrong, English historian (History of Sussex); René Wellek, Czech-American writer (Concepts of Criticism); Stojan Daskalov, Bulgarian writer (A Farm); Julius J. Epstein, American screenwriter (Casablanca); Somerset de Chair, British writer, MP and poet; Mary McGrory, American journalist and columnist; Pierre A. Lauffer, Antillian poet (Patria); Ray Bradbury, American sci-fi author (Fahrenheit 451); Wolfdietrich Schnurre, German writer; ames Kirkwood, American actor, author and playwright (A Chorus Line, P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!); Irmtraud Morgner, German writer; E. Annie Proulx, American author (Postcards); Antony Crosthwaite-Eyre, English publisher; Uğur Mumcu, Turkish journalist and writer (Cumhuriyet Murder); Þórarinn Eldjárn, Icelandic writer (The Blue Tower); Will Shetterly, American writer (Dogland); Alfred Gough, American screenwriter and producer; Rich Lowry, American magazine editor and columnist; Charlie Connelly, English writer (Attention All Shipping); and Steve Kornacki, American political journalist, writer and TV presenter (NBC).

Any names familiar to you? I recognized Ray Bradury. In fact, his Fahrenheit 451 novel was required reading in one of my high school English classes. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

I’m absolutely thrilled to share the recent five-star editorial review  Carnage in SIngapore received from Chanticleer Reviews. Please click on the title to check it out.

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

I completed final macro edit passes of Revenge this week. Now the in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I post all of my chapters to two online subscription writing sites. I’d like to thank all of my reviewers for taking the time to read and let me know what worked and what needed adjustment. Revenge received over 760 chapter reviews, and hopefully this will be a suitable sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

In case you missed the synopsis, 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.

Slide1In addition to my editing work on Revenge, I went through a sixty-five thousand word novel for a colleague to help him prepare his manuscript for submission. As a result, I didn’t get a change to work on Ultimate Escalation, but will be back to it during the coming week. In the meantime, there were another five chapter reviews, bringing the total to 229. I greatly appreciate my reviewers sticking with me!

Here’s the initial snippet:

In the distance, gunfire echoed off the mountains. The prisoner flinched with each rip. Water dripped from the tap, splashing into the clogged and rusted sink. Scratching claws marking its passage, a furry rat scurried across the cold, concrete floor.  Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev shook his head as ghostly images of fallen comrades flashed before his eyes. Just like the ambush along the Argun River in Chechnya. How many men lost their lives?

Footsteps thundered in the hallway, became louder until they stopped outside his cell. Metal clanged against the lock, screeching as a key entered the slot of the heavy steel door.  He swung his feet from the bare cot onto the floor.

“Comrade Colonel, you are to come with us.” A burly, hawk-nosed senior sergeant stepped forward and held out a pair of handcuffs. “I’m sorry, Colonel.”

Vladimir smiled as he tilted his head. “Nyet. I’ve expected this since they arrested me six months ago, Vasily.” The colonel straightened his tunic and held out his hands. “Do what you must.”

Sergeant Vasily Zolotov clicked his heels before slapping the cuffs around Vladimir’s wrists.

“Do I get a final smoke?” He laughed. “Perhaps a meal for a condemned man?”

“Comrade Colonel, please do not make jokes.” Vasily stared at his prisoner before ushering him out of the cell. “This is no laughing matter.”

Two privates jumped to attention in the corridor, their AK-74s held at port arms. Vasily took the lead, followed by the towering Vladimir, the privates flanking their prisoner. They walked past several empty cells, which no longer housed prisoners from the previous day.

“Vasily, what happened to the men in the other cages?”

The sergeant stopped and faced Vladimir. “I’m sorry, Colonel. They received their sentences earlier today.”

“I hope the colonel general showed leniency.” Vladimir gazed at the floor. “They followed orders.” As did I, which meant nothing at the court-martial.

Vasily turned and marched toward a door at the end of the corridor without responding.

When they reached the door, another guard saluted before shoving it open.

Vladimir stepped outside and raised his shackled hands to his brown eyes to block the blazing sun. He stumbled, but a private steadied him.

A drummer beat a four-flam cadence as Vasily led Vladimir toward his fate. Rows of Spetsnaz soldiers in woodland camouflage uniforms and maroon berets stood at parade rest, coming to attention as the colonel walked past.

The colonel and his escorts stopped in front of a man wearing epaulets with three stars—Colonel General Boris Kutzenov, commanding officer of the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye (GRU) training facility.

Vasily saluted the aging colonel general before stepping to the left of Vladimir. The drum roll ceased, leaving an eerie silence.

Russian national and armed forces flags flapped in the breeze, sharp snaps signaling their movement. A flock of black kites flew overhead, the air filled with screeches and calls.

Vladimir glanced at the passing legion. Moving to warmer climes? Wish I was with them.

Colonel General Kutzenov stepped forward and spoke to Vladimir in a soft voice. “Well, Voya, here we are.” He smiled at his longtime friend. “It’s unfortunate they caught you, but I can’t admit my part, so the responsibility falls on your shoulders.”

Vladimir chuckled. “I’ll trade places if you like.” He glanced around, studying the mountains and forests. “This seems like a nice retirement position.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Cameron, the latest novel in Blair Howard’s Lt. Kate Gazzara series. Now a captain, Kate tries to keep a crack in her personal life from spilling outward while she goes on the hunt to find the killer or killers of Cameron. Who wanted to end his life? There certainly seems to be plenty of suspects, but will Kate and her team find the actual culprit?

As with all of Blair’s novels, the riveting plot, with its twists and turns, coupled with an array of larger-than-life characters, makes this another story you won’t want to put down. As you read, will you be able to figure out who was responsible for the murder or will you have to wait to the end to find out? I’m sure it’ll be the latter. I highly recommend Blair’s novels to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, well-written stories. I can’t wait for the next one!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved