Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 28, 2021

Imagine my surprise when I looked outside this morning-snow! Everything was covered and it was still coming down. Since then it’s tapered off and is already starting to melt on the roads sidewalks. With the horrible winds over the past two days (hitting 100 MPH, although we were fortunate with only 55 MPH winds), Mother Nature has let everyone know she’s still around. Is this a sign of what’s in store for winter?

We were supposed to attend a monthly Artisan market in a nearby town yesterday. However, the wind storm resulted in its cancellation. Today, we’re supposed to be at a small craft event in a local hotel. First time, so we’re not sure what to expect.

Yesterday, the 10-1 University of Michigan (ranked 5th) football team played 10-1 Ohio State (ranked 2nd). Ohio State had won the previous eight games between the two teams. Michigan came out on top, 42-27. Unfortunately, I could watch the game–my sports provider elected to show the Florida-Florida State game (both teams were 5-6). At least the highlights were provided!

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 November 28th, the fourth and final  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Francesco Sforza Pallavicino, Italian theologist and historian (Istoria del Concilio di Trento); John Bunyan, English minister and author (The Pilgrim’s Progress); William Blake, English poet and artist (Songs of Innocence & Experience); Friedrich Engels, German social philosopher and revolutionary socialist who co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” with Karl Marx; James Allen, English writer (As a Man Thinketh); Jozef van Mierlo, Belgian Jesuit and literary (Hadewych); Alexander Block, Russian poet (Dvenatsat); Stefan Zweig, Austrian poet, essayist and dramatist (Beware of Pity); Brooks Atkinson, American drama critic (The New York Times); Dawn Powell, American writer (Turn, Magic Wheel); Uno Chiyo, Japanese writer (Confessions of Love); Nancy Mitford, English author (Love in a Cold Climate); Alberto Moravia [Pincherle], Italian author (Indifferent Ones); Václav Renč, Czech poet, dramatist and translator; Hugo Pos, Surinamese-Dutch poet and writer; Helen Copley, American newspaper publisher (The San Diego Union-Tribune); Dervla Murphy, Irish travel author (Full Tilt, In Ethiopia with a Mule); Rinus Ferdinandusse, Dutch editor and author (Nude on Fence); Randolph Stow, author/poet (Suburbs of Hell); Rita Mae Brown, American poet, novelist (Rubyfruit Jungle), screenwriter (Long Hot Summer), and mystery writer (Mrs. Murphy); Erwin Mortier, Belgian author; and Eka Kurniawan, Indonesian writer.

Any names familiar to you? I knew three–John Bunyan, William Blake, and Friedrich Engels. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

Mission Angola ebookI recently found out that Mission-Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has moved from the slush pile to the long list for the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. A long way to go yet in the competition, which will be stiff as always.

Earlier this year, Mission: Angola ended its run in the 2021 Page Turner Awards as a finalist.

Fingers crossed, it will continue to move forward in the CIBAs. Stay tuned for more updates as they happen.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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.

As soon as a few technical glitches are sorted out, Colours of My Life will be uploaded and available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats. Hope you’ll check it out.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter twenty was posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of ten chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 412. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

The Bedlam operatives stepped out of the black Mercedes taxi and gazed at the opulence of the five-star Le Méridien Dubai Hotel. Palm trees stood guard over the entrance and throughout the manicured gardens. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, and Bentley GTs filled the nearby parking spots. Through the hotel entrance, gold chandeliers competed with white marble columns and floor tiles.

“Ahem.” The taxi driver stood at the rear of the vehicle, placing their luggage on the ground.

Will approached and paid the fare, picking up his roll-around and a backpack.

The drive glanced at the payment and frowned before climbing behind the wheel and departing.

A member of the hotel staff rushed forward, pushing a trolley. “So, sorry, gentlemen. Let me take your luggage.”

Willie handed his suitcase to the man and turned to Nate and Alfie. “Don’t know about y’all, but I could go for something to eat.

“Sir, there is an all-day buffet available on the ground floor. I’ll show you the way when we enter.”

“Fantastic. You’re the man.”

The stocky staff member led them to the check-in desk and pointed to the opposite end of the lobby. “The buffet is to your right. I’ll take the luggage to your rooms.”

“Thanks. I’ll keep this.” Willie shouldered his backpack. “Do y’all take American money for tips?”

“Of course, sir.”

Willie pulled a twenty-dollar note from his wallet and handed it to the staff member.

“Thank you, sir. If there is anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant, ask for Dakila at the concierge desk.”

Willie nodded and led Nate and Alfie toward the buffet.

After they filled their plates, they claimed a table in the corner.

Nate glanced around. “Do you think Nikolaev is still in Dubai?”

Willie shrugged. “Only one way to find out. After we eat, we’ll ask at the front desk. They might not tell us anything, but we’ll give Dakila something to do.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Alfie scooped another forkful of eggs into his mouth. “When we entered the hotel, I thought I heard two men speaking in Russian. I couldn’t make everything out, but they were heading to the pool.”

“Find out what you can. Nate and I will go on an excursion and check out the hotel. Perhaps we’ll learn more.” Willie glanced at his watch. “We’ll join you poolside in an hour.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman. I’ll share my thoughts about this story 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, November 21, 2021

After a week of mild temperatures and wind, clouds, and rain, with only the occasional glimpse of the sun, we woke up to a bit of frost on the car this morning. Clear skies with a temperature of 40F/4C should make it a pleasant day overall–hope to clear up some of the fallen leaves before we get more rain or worse.

I watched the Michigan State-Ohio State game last night. Both teams had 9-1 records going into the game. What a crushing defeat for Michigan State, 56-7. All I can ask is: how did Ohio State lose a game earlier in the year? Next weekend, it’ll be Michigan vs. Ohio State. I’ll still back Michigan, but who knows what will happen?

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

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

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, Flemish jesuit and author; Catharina Questiers, Dutch poet (Friend of Abandoned Child); Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet; Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet], French writer, philosopher and playwright (Candide); Petrus Augustus de Génestet, Dutch vicar and poet; Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900); Franz Hessel, German writer; Harold Nicolson, English diplomat and author (Good Behaviour); Jim Bishop, American journalist and author (The Day Lincoln was Shot); Elizabeth George Speare, American author (The Witch of Blackbird Pond); Christopher Tolkien, British author and son of J. R. R. Tolkien; Marilyn French, American author (The Women’s Room); Richard Marcinko, American author; Tina Brown, British journalist (New Yorker, Tattler); and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from. Today is the final day of the promotion, so if you don’t hurry, you’ll miss out.

I found out this week that Mission Angola: Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1 has moved from the slush pile to the long list in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Twenty novels are vying to make the short list. Will keep you posted.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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.

The paperback cover is now ready. As soon as Sylvia does a couple more content tweaks, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m still not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of fourteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 402. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

“Good morning!” A heavy-set man dressed in a stained shalwar kameez and black sandals struggled to his feet under the Arabic gum tree and lumbered toward them. “Are you ready for our journey?”

“Umar, this is Vladimir and Mishka.” Ajit motioned toward the Russians. “They will be your passengers. Will you explain how they will be hidden?”

“But of course.” Umar waddled toward the vehicle. “I will drive the truck while you will remain in a space above the cab.” He walked to an area behind the driver’s compartment and reached into a small slot. With a click, a panel opened, revealing a ladder. Grabbing a rung, he turned and grinned. “Follow me to your temporary home.”

One by one, Umar, Vladimir, and Mishka climbed the ladder and squeezed into the dark compartment.

Umar flicked a small switch, bathing the area in a dim glow. There was sufficient height to sit, but they wouldn’t be able to stand. “All the comforts of home—plenty of blankets to cushion you during the trip.” He pointed to four small holes in the ceiling. “Air vents.” He twisted around and gestured to a funnel taped to a hose. “For urination. It will fall onto the road. There are plastic bags in the corner for defecation, but these will have to remain inside with you.”

Ajit stuck his head in the opening. “Here is food and water.” He pushed in two small bags. “When you are ready, we will close the compartment and move Umar’s cargo to keep you hidden.”

“If there is an emergency, how do we escape?” Vladimir rubbed his chin.

“I forgot.” Umar twisted his body again, so he faced the far side of the compartment. “There are four latches. Pull them toward you to unlock them. Use your feet and push—a panel will open so you can get out. Use this only as a last resort. Hidden and scared is much better than revealing yourselves and being killed.”

“How do we communicate with you?” Mishka glanced around. “I see a small speaker, but nothing else.”

Umar nodded. “When you speak in a loud voice, your voice will come through. Do not do this if we are stopped. Others will be able to hear you, too.”

Vladimir nodded. “We are ready to go.”

“Excellent. It will take us about fifteen minutes to move the cargo into position. There will be two planned stops for fuel and pay tolls. Tonight, you will be in Peshawar.”

Vladimir and Mishka placed their pistols and ammunition in handy access positions and used the blankets to create makeshift beds.

“Well, Mishka. Our journey continues.”

“Da. As the American soldiers say in the war movies, ‘Hurry up and wait.’ We might as well get comfortable.”

“Agreed. I just wish we had some vodka, black bread, and dumplings.” Vladimir dug into the food bag Ajit provided. He pulled out a samosa. “Want one?”

Mishka laughed. “Da.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one will keep you guessing until the final page. It was great to see Harry and Kate head to Florida for this one, even if the case began thirty-five years ago. Will there be anyone left to know what really happened?

There are plenty of suspects to go around, but who really killed three bicyclists and severely injured another one? What was the motive? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out as I don’t like to give plots away. However, this one will have you staying up late and turning the pages to find out if Harry and Kate can solve the mystery. Another superb story from a master storyteller!

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, November 7, 2021

Welcome to November! With the clocks rolling back, the days definitely seem shorter. There’s also an autumnal feeling in the air. This past week I had to scrape some light frost off the windshield.

Sylvia and I have always tried to do our bit regarding the environment. Whether it be putting things directly into recycling centers or taking things no longer needed but still in good condition to charity. This week, we’re adding another small thing to our efforts. We’re switching to bottled milk, delivered by a local dairy. Not only are we reducing our use of plastic, no matter how small, the glass bottles are reused. We’ll be helping a small business while at the same time not relying on milk supplies coming from who knows where.

This weekend is another small business market in the local mall. On Friday and Saturday, I sold ten autographed books on each day, while Sylvia sold a total of sixteen laminated poetry sheets. Today’s the final day for this month–hopefully we’ll both have good days!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 7th the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Muhammad ibn Hazm, Andalusian historian, jurist and author of Islamic Spain; Jami [Mowlanā Nūr Od-dīn ʿabd Or-raḥmān Ebn Aḥmad], Persian poet (Lava’iḥ); Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux, French writer (Historiettes); Johannes Gottfried Schnabel, German author (Insel Felsenburg); Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg, German poet, lawyer and translator; Fritz Reuter, German novelist; Karel Jaromír Erben, Czech poet (Bouquet); Andrew Dickson White, American historian and educator, 1st President of Cornell University; Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, French writer (Contes cruels); Esdras Minville, Quebec writer, economist and sociologist; Ruth Pitter, British poet and 1st woman to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955; Albert Helman [Lou Lichtveld], Suriname politician and novelist; Jan Vercammen, Flemish author and chief inspector LO (Primary Education); Margaret Barbara Lambert, British historian (Saar); Maurits Mok, Dutch author and poet (Cheese & Bread Game); Albert Camus, French author (The Just-Nobel 1957); R. A. Lafferty, American sci-fi author (Devil is Dead); Wolf Mankowitz, English playwright and writer (A Kid for Two Farthings); Willibrordus S. Rendra, Indonesian poet (Ballad orang-orang tertjina); Stephen Greenblatt, American literary historian and author (The Swerve: How the World Became Modern); and Anthony Moffat, Scottish musician, writer and filmmaker.

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 had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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

All being well, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network by the end of November.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter eighteen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of nineteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 379. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

“Today is the beginning of our push to reunite Punjab.” Ajit paused and gazed into each man’s face. “For too long, our families have been separated by a border, not of our choosing. We’ve faced persecution and personal sorrows. No more!” He slammed his fist on the table.

The men echoed Ajit’s last words.

“We will nev—”

Rat-a-tat-tat!

Gunshots sounded from outside as heavy thuds pounded against the building’s doors.

The eight men jumped to their feet, pulling pistols and knives from under their vests.

Ajit turned to Vasily and Vladimir. “Under the table—quick!”

 Three gunmen burst through the door and ran into the dining room, firing their weapons.

One of the eight screamed as a bullet pierced his upper left side. He clutched his chest as he fell.

The others with pistols returned fire, while another threw his knife, catching one of the attackers in the throat.

Ajit grabbed Vladimir’s arm. “Come! We must flee. Hurry, before we are doomed.”

“What about the others?” Vladimir shouted over the onslaught, crawling out of the room.

Ajit rushed through a small living area, forced open a reinforced outer door, and ran for the back wall, the others a step behind.

Vladimir helped Ajit and Vasily climb, cutting himself on the shards of glass embedded along the top of the wall. Blood streaked down his hand as Vladimir pulled a PPS pistol from under his jacket. As he aimed at a gunman exiting the building, he felt a blow to his right shoulder.

He swayed and fell onto the far side and collapsed in a heap on the ground.

Vasily and Ajit rushed to Vladimir’s side and tried to lift Vladimir to his feet, but his weight too much from them.

Ajit turned to Vasily. “We better save ourselves.” He stood.

“Nyet. Go if you must, but I won’t abandon my friend.”

Ajit raced away, sporadic gunfire chasing him.

A pistol in his hand, Vasily knelt beside Vladimir. “We’ll make it through this—we always do.” He fired at a shadow approaching before yanking the magazine from the pistol and checking the number of bullets remaining.

“Five left—hope they’re enough.”

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, October 3, 2021

As we move into a new month, there’s no doubt autumn is upon us. Morning temperatures are in the low 40s (6-8C) with plenty of dew. So far, the leaves haven’t started to change, but it probably won’t be long before they start.

We’ve been at the monthly small business market the past two days. Plenty of lookers, but few buyers. Perhaps today will be better! Still, we can’t complain; I’ve sold another eight books and fifteen sheets of Sylvia’s poetry.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “You can only let someone throw so many stones at you before you pick them all up, put them together and build a wall to keep them from doing it again.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 3rd, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Johann Peter Uz, German poet (Lyrische Poem); George Bancroft, American historian (History of the United States); Allan Kardec, French author and founder of Spiritism; Mikhail Lermontov, Russian poet and writer (Demon & other poems); Timothy Thomas Fortune, American orator, civil rights leader, writer and publisher; Stijn Streuvels [Frank Lateur], Flemish writer (De Valschaard); Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist; Henri Alain-Fournier, French novelist (Le Grand Meaulnes); Gerardo Diego, Spanish poet (Versos humanos); Louis Aragon, French poet and writer (Les Lettres françaises, Pour un réalisme socialiste); Thomas Wolfe, American novelist (Look Homeward Angel); David Herbert, British writer and raconteur; James Herriot [Alfred Wight], English veterinarian and novelist (All Creatures Great and Small); Harvey Kurtzman, American cartoonist and founding editor of Mad magazine; Gore Vidal, American author (Myra Breckinridge, Lincoln); Bernard Cooper, American novelist and short story writer; Dan Goldie, American tennis player and author (“The Investment Answer”, #1 NY Times bestselling book); and Rob Liefeld, American comic book writer and artist.

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me: Thomas Wolfe, James Herriot, and Gore Vidal. 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 october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are also participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRThe final edit of Revenge is almost complete.

Six members of my Advanced Reader Team provided feedback, and everything’s on track. Just waiting for the paperback cover. 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.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Although our son’s visit ended on Tuesday, writing and editing is still on the back burner. However, twelve chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 286.

Here’s another snippet:

Members of the three Bedlam teams descended upon Camp Powell from their respective facilities in the U.S., UK, and Australia for their initial two-day conference. Comprised of former military and intelligence personnel from around the world, they perform high-stress missions behind the scenes in conflict areas when their services are needed.

“Cheers! Slangevar!”

Glasses clinked as the advisors of the three Bedlam teams shared a bottle of Talisker eighteen-year-old single malt whiskey. Sir Alexander Jackson and Harrison Robertson sipped their unadulterated drinks while Admiral Richard Blakely dropped an ice cube into his five-sided tumbler.

“Ah.” Sir Alex smacked his lips. “The perfect libation to open our conference.”

Harrison stood and gazed over the stone veranda at the rolling hills, covered with forests, fields, and pastures. “Richard, thank you for setting this up in such a splendid venue. How did you manage such a feat?”

“Not a problem when you know the right people.” Richard laughed. “While many organizations can use the camp’s facilities, the use of the manor house is hard to arrange. Our recent successes opened the doors for us, so I took advantage of the opportunity. Of course, it didn’t hurt the building wasn’t being used this weekend.”

“I’m sure the teams will enjoy the friendly competitions you’ve arranged.” Sir Alex refreshed their drinks. “No one will be shooting back at them.”

Richard waved a hand. “With our current threat boards empty, I thought it was time to bring everyone together in one location. We’re less than an hour from Dulles Airport, so we can spring into action if needed. Besides, it won’t be long before my stint as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff come to an end.”

“I, for one, hope it remains quiet.” Sir Alex loosened his navy-blue tie and slipped off the jacket of his Savile Row suit. “We all need the opportunity to relax.” He glanced at Richard. “Perhaps your president will allow you to remain as Alpha’s advisor?”

“It’s been discussed, but nothing finalized yet. He also mentioned he wanted to talk with your prime ministers regarding the establishment of a fourth team, stationed in Africa.”

“Hear, hear. I agree with Sir Alex. Your president must be convinced to keep you as an advisor. After all, the Bedlam organization was your dreamchild.” Harrison finished his drink and set the glass down. “Even more important, as nice as it is for us to relax, the teams need a chance to unwind and recharge.”

“We can discuss the creation of a fourth team later and make our recommendations.” Richard glanced at his watch. “C’mon. There’s time before dinner for a stroll through the gardens.”

There’ll be another snippet next week.

That 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, September 26, 2021

It’s been a busy week as our son is still here (until Tuesday). Plenty to catch up on!  Overall, the weather has cooperated, making it easier to get out and do a few things.  Yesterday, we did another one-day artisan event, selling six copies of my novels and nine sheets of poetry. It started out slow because it looked like the heavens would dump on us, but when the sun poked its way through, the street filled with pedestrians!

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 26th, the fourth and last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

William Hobson, first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi; Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, father of Bengali prose (Exile of Sita); Petko Todorov, Bulgarian writer (Fairy, Samodiva Fee); Edwin Keppel Bennett, English writer (Built in Jerusalem’s Wall: A Book in praise of Jerusalem); T. S. Eliot, American poet (The Waste Land), dramatist and critic (Nobel Prize 1948); J. Frank Dobie, American folklorist and newspaper columnist; Martin Heidegger, German philosopher (Being & Time); Victor Otto Stomps, German writer and publisher; Gerhard Nebel, German writer; Ernst Schnabel, German writer and pioneer of the radio documentary; Matilde Camus, Spanish poet and researcher; Buland al-Haidary, Iraqi poet (Passages to Exile); Vladimir Voinovich, Russian writer and dissident (Moscow 2042); Judith Appelbaum, American magazine & newspaper editor and educator; Jane Smiley, American novelist (Pulitzer 1991-A Thousand Acres); Minette Walters, English novelist (The Ice House); Will Self, English author; Jill Soloway, American writer and director (Afternoon Delight); and Anthony Shadid, New York Times foreign correspondent and two time Pulitzer winner. 

Any names familiar to you? T.S. Eliot is the only one 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 Published Work

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

This week I received notification about a five-star editorial review for The Kurdish Connection from Chanticleer Book Reviews. Needless to say, I’m thriller. Click on the title to check it out!

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRThis week I uploaded Revenge to my Kindle,  and completed the first check on what readers will see–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

Three members of my Advanced Reader Team provided feedback, and everything’s coming together. I’ll be sending the final pieces my cover design needs this week for the paperback cover. 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.

My Work in Progress

Slide1With our son’s visit, writing and editing is still on the back burner. However, seventeen chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 274.

Here’s another snippet:

The Emirates flight touched down in Dubai with screeching tires and taxied to an open gate. As soon as the purser opened the door, Vladimir and Vasily hurried up the ramp, each carrying a single piece of luggage. They paused at customs, showing their passports to a somber agent.

A tall, muscular man with short gray hair waited for them on the other side of the barrier, holding a white sign with NV in red block letters. He smiled when he spotted his friends. “Welcome to Dubai! Everything’s ready.”

Vladimir shook the proffered hand. “How long’s it been, Grigori? Seems a lifetime ago when we fought together in Chechnya.”

Grigori laughed as he took their bags. “Not so long ago, Colonel.” He gestured toward the exit. “I parked as close as possible and managed to get a bay within walking distance for men as fit as you.”

Vladimir rolled his eyes. “You’d be as fit as us if you tried.”

“Da. But relaxing between contracts is more fun.”

They stepped into the brilliant sunshine and sweltering midday heat and approached a gleaming black Mercedes. After placing their luggage in the trunk, Grigori donned a chauffeur’s cap and opened the back door. “Shall we go? It’s only a four-minute drive.”

Vasily wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and turned to Vladimir. “I thought it was warm in Peshawar, but this is worse.”

“Agreed. Almost like a banya.”

True to his promise, Grigori pulled into the palm-tree-lined grounds of the five-start Le Méridien Dubai Hotel. He halted in a reserved parking spot near the entrance and jumped out, once again opening the rear door for his friends. His voice seemed to resonate from his shoes. “Welcome to Le Méridien. Your suite is booked and paid for. I’ll take you there later. Right now, we’ll go through the lobby and out the pool door.”

“Where are you taking us?” Vasily glanced around the impressive marble-floored lobby, packed with tourists.

“We’re going to a secluded bar to meet with the others.” Grigori pointed to the yellow cobblestones. “We’ll follow this path.”

More next time.

That 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, September 19, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

We’re delighted our son finally made it over from the States this week. We took an excursion on the Firth of Forth on Thursday. Hoping for a dry day so we could enjoy the boat ride, the island, and the abbey, we were pleasantly surprised when we had brilliant sunshine throughout the trip. It made for a thoroughly enjoyable visit! If the weather’s good next weekend, we plan another excursion on the Firth of Forth, but in the opposite direction.

Today is day three of the monthly small business market in the Kingsgate shopping mall. Sylvia’s done well with her poetry thus far, selling eighteen sheets, while another ten of my books were sold. All being well, a few more things will sell today!

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 19th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Leo VI Sophos, Byzantine Emperor (886-912) and writer (Problematica); Hartley Coleridge, English poet; Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, American author and teacher; Kees Rijnsdorp, Dutch writer (Kings Children); Karen Aabye, Danish author (Less bedstemor there jomfru); Mika Waltari, Finnish novelist (Egyptian); William Golding, English novelist (Lord of the Flies, Nobel Prize for Literature 1983); Damon Francis Knight, American sci-fi author (CV, Beyond the Barrier); James Lipton, American actor, writer and host of Inside the Actors Studio; Jean-Claude Carrière, French screenwriter and actor, who frequently collaborated with Luis Buñuel on his screen plays (Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty); Bra Willie [Keorapetse Kgositsile], South African poet and political activist (When the Clouds Clear; My Name Is Afrika); Tanith Lee, British sci-fi author (Don’t Bite the Sun); and Patrick Marber, British playwright (Closer) and comedian.

Any names familiar to you? William Golding is the only one 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 Published Work

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

My Work in Progress

Slide1With our son’s visit, writing and editing is on the back burner this week. However, six chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 257.

Here’s another snippet:

“I understand from Major Bangash you have a proposition for us.” Vladimir bit into a samosa, a triangle-shaped pastry. “Ah, just the right amount of spice to enhance the potato and onion.”

“How much do you know about the dissolution of British India?” Ajit helped himself to a samosa. “Hmm. My favorite—lentils.”

Vladimir swallowed and took a sip of his tea. “Not a great deal. I know it happened around nineteen forty-five or so.”

Ajit tilted his head. “To be precise, nineteen forty-seven. The Punjab region was split, part remaining with India and the remainder becoming a province in Pakistan. No one took into consideration the Punjabi people, many of whom are no longer able to maintain regular contact with family members residing on opposite sides of the border.”

Vladimir nodded.

“For many years, there has been a resurgence of Punjabi nationalism. We want to be reunited with our brethren in India, but neither country will allow this. They don’t want to lose territory.”

“What do you want from me?” Vladimir rubbed his thumb and forefinger on his bearded chin.

Ajit gestured toward Bangash. “I understand you were involved in several, shall I say, illicit operations which brought warring parties to the negotiating table in other countries.” A trace of a smile crossed his face. “We’d like you to do whatever is necessary to bring India and Pakistan together to create a unified Punjab, belonging to neither country, but an independent one.”

“Hmm.” Vladimir pursed his lips, letting the silence build. “I suppose we might be able to help. However, it will cost a lot of money.”

Ajit laughed. “Since nineteen forty-seven, Punjabis on both sides of the border donate whatever they can spare. I believe we will be able to meet your requirements.”

Vladimir remained stoic. “To begin with, we require a down payment the equivalent of twenty million American dollars.” He snapped his fingers, and Vasily handed him a sheet of paper. He glanced at the document before giving it to Ajit. “Transfer equal amounts into each of these accounts. After we confirm our access to the funds, we’ll begin our preparations.” Once the money is stuffed in our secret offshore accounts.

“That’s a lot of money without any guarantee of success. Perhaps we can negotiate a lower price. How long will it take for something to happen? How will we know you’ve begun working on our behalf?” Ajit rubbed his chin. “I think ten million would be a better price.”

“Ajit, I know it’s in our blood to haggle and never pay full price.” Major Bangash studied Vladimir’s face. “But do you think I would waste my time with people who are failures? They will deliver.” He pointed at Vladimir and Vasily. “I remember when they first came to Peshawar. If it weren’t for their intervention, I wouldn’t be here today. Despite being outnumbered by the Pakistani Taliban, they snuck into the Taliban encampment in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, killed everyone, and rescued my family and me.”

Vladimir laughed. “Thank you for the vote of confidence, Major.” He turned to Ajit. “Fifteen million and no less. We must buy weapons, supplies, hire men, and pay bribes. In response to your questions, it will take no longer than eight weeks for our initial wake-up call. I’m sure our message will be in all of the papers.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Tom Galvin’s debut novel, The Auction. Join Sasha Cross, an a typical twenty-two-year-old in 2050. Or is she? Will she be one of the top prospects, referred to as a Series A, in the upcoming auction? Will her future be set and her family’s future secured? Or will she forge her own way forward and help the downtrodden categorized as Series D, who futures are bleak at best?

Tom has created a captivating plot which will keep you guessing on the outcome. Depending upon your own background, you’ll love or hate the myriad of characters in Sasha’s life. This is a real page turner and will keep you entertained until you finish the final page. I can’t wait to get my hands on Tom’s next novel!

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 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

 

 

 

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