Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 15, 2019

We’ve been puppy sitting since Friday morning. First time Frankie has been with us overtime. He’s done well considering he’s only four months old.  Two of our cats have been venturing closer and closer, but the others are still very wary of this bundle of energy bouncing through the house.

Frankie’s just has his breakfast after a quick trip to the back yard/garden. He’s worrying one of my slippers just now, so I’ll need to get him out for soon his first excursion of the day.

We’ve had intermittent rain throughout the week, making work on a drainage project a bit problematic but hopefully the forecast of decent weather (no rain) for the next week will allow me to get things wrapped up.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer of maxims and memoirs; James Fenimore Cooper, 1st major American novelist (Last of Mohicans); Willem Josephus van Zeggelen, Dutch author; Heinrich von Treitschke, German historian and political writer; Frank E Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett); Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Indian novelist; Agatha Christie, English crime writer (Murder on the Orient Express); Claude McKaye, Jamaica/American author (Songs of Jamaica, Banjo); John J Slauerhoff, Dutch ship’s doctor/writer/poet (El Dorado); Gerd Gaiser, German writer (Ship in the Mountain); Richard Baerlein, racing writer; Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentine writer; Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet/painter; Norman [Richard] Spinrad, American sci-fi author (Child of Fortune); Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, American sci-fi author (Hotel Transylvania); Howard Waldrop, American sci-fi author; Jim Curtiss, American writer; Sophie Dahl, English model and author; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer (Half of a Yellow Sun).

Was anyone familiar to you? There’s three names which stand out for me: James Fenimore Cooper, Frank E. Gannett, and Agatha Christie. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

The action in this novel never lets up, and it’s made all the better by fully developed and believable characters. One of the strongest openings I’ve ever read. It pulls you to read farther, and you’ll be happy you did. You gotta love a character named Evelyn Evinrude, leader of the good guys, a group named Bedlam Charlie vice Alpha.

Evelyn and her team rush to defeat the terrorists, who have headquartered themselves in the nation of Singapore. They have already kidnapped the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. To show their horribly serious intent, the terrorists have amputated a finger digit from each of the ambassadors and threaten to remove more body parts if their demands aren’t met.

You think you know where it’s all going when the plot twists and does backflips. “Page-turner” may be a cliché, but there is no way to describe this book without those words.

This book will pull you far into the night. I read it in one sitting, and I’m hoping for the sequel. Five stars for a fabulous job well done!

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-nine. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 394, an increase of twenty in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

With Frankie getting more excited, so it’s best I skip the weekly snippet before he wrecks something. Watch for a longer snippet next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Zach’s Gold by Frank Kelso. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this type of novel and I’m glad I did. Frank created an interesting plot with larger-than-life characters, particularly Zach.  Follow his exploits as he hunts for gold, helps others to form a consolidated mining corporation to fight off claim jumpers, with any apparent need to be compensated, just doing what he thinks is right.

A real page turner and fans of Westerns will truly enjoy this story. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Frank and won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 8, 2019

Friday evening we had a super time on a nighttime cruise on the River Forth. While most of the attendees remained in the main cabin, we spent the trip on the upper deck, taking advantage of the unimpeded views of the various islands, the shorelines and the three bridges spanning the river.

Although a bit chilly, we were well-prepared. With live folk music from the main cabin being piped up to the upper deck, it was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning scenery, especially with the superb view of Edinburgh Castle.

We didn’t have to worry about being hungry as a ribeye steak sandwich and salad was included in the cost of the trip. While we want to do this again some time, we’ll have to wait until next year as the final trip of the season is sold out.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ludovico Ariosto, Italian poet (Orlando Furioso); François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud, French sentimental writer (Les Épreuves du sentiment); August Wilhelm Schlegel, German poet, translator and critic; Clemens Brentano, German poet and author (The Story of the Just Casper and Fair Annie); N. F. S. Grundtvig, Danish writer and philosopher; Eduard Friedrich Mörike, German poet; Charles-Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, French writer and historian; Frederic Mistral, French Provencal poet (Nobel 1904); Wilhelm Raabe [Jakob Corvinus], German author (Der Hungerpastor); Adolfo Albertazzi, Italian writer (Amore & Amore, Top); Alfred Jarry, French writer (Ubu Roi); Siegfried Sassoon, English poet and writer (Counterattack); Nico Donkersloot, Dutch literary and writer; Gianni Brera, Italian sports journalist and writer; Robert W. Firestone, American author and clinical psychologist; Ansen [Nancy Ann] Dibble, Dutch sci-fi author (Summerfair); Ann Beattie, American novelist and short story writer (Chilly Scenes of Winter); Lynn [Lorraine] Abbey, American sci-fi author (Black Flame); and Christopher Klim, American novelist (Jesus Lives in Trenton).

Was anyone familiar to you? I must admit this was an unknown group to me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following four and five-star reviews this past week:

Carnage in Singapore is the third book in Krzak’s Bedlam series, however like the other two novels this works well as a standalone story. What Krzak does well is developing a story that grabs you right from the start. I’m not a big military fan or mystery fan, but I’ve enjoyed both of Krzak’s other novels and wanted to continue on. This time the story takes place in Singapore and I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that carnage is an understatement of events. The story felt very real to me and it was as if you were reading a historical account of what happened before, during, and after a series of terrorist attacks in Singapore. I loved getting to meet new characters and having some old favorites pop in even if just briefly.

There were slower parts of the book, but that is not the authors fault, it is the nature of the story itself, it’s easy to say he could have cut or edited them, but if he did that needed and necessary information would have been taken out which would have lessened the story. I akin it to some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s writing there are parts that are dry, but you need them in order to make the exciting parts that much more exciting.

If you are looking for a good military mystery by a writer that is making quite the name for himself then this novel is for you. (****)

This is the third book of the Bedlam Team series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. If you love well-layered thrillers with engaging characters and a few twists, this book is for you!

I particularly loved Natalee’s story, and it was great to see some of the characters of the previous books too.(*****)

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-eight. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 374, an increase of sixteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

After the last guest departed, Olivia, Pedro, and Alonzo sauntered to the veranda for a nightcap. While they sat sipping single malt whiskey, a myriad of night creatures serenaded them.

“So, Alonzo. What do you think about the lovely ladies who visited tonight?” Pedro drained his glass. “Did any stand out?”

“Pedro, it’s not a cattle market,” Alonzo grinned, glancing upwards. “But, one or two caught my attention.”

“Make sure you marry for money and power. Love can wait.”

Olivia rolled her eyes at Pedro’s guidance but held her tongue. Sounds like his personal creed.

Arm in arm, Pedro and Olivia ascended the grand staircase. Midway down the corridor, they kissed and separated, each going to their own bedroom.

Olivia tossed and turned. At last, sleep took her. Two hours into an uneasy slumber, she sensed someone’s presence. Her eyes shot open, searching the darkness for any hint of an intruder. Her hand slid over to the nightstand as a voice distracted her.

“Olivia.” A familiar voice whispered.

“Yes, Papa?”

“You must build new alliances. Our business is suffering. Americans consume less product, and foreign competitors are encroaching upon our territories, stealing our fields, and our workers. More security is required—tougher measures. You may not want to go to war, but you must or lose all I built. Reach out to Días. He will help you.”

The voice faded. Olivia waited, but she remained alone. She drifted off to sleep, a smile on her face. She understood her dead father’s edict.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Vanished by Mark Bierman. This is a thought-provoking story, which is very relevant given the global push to end modern-day slavery. It’s easy to become immersed in the helpless situation of those finding themselves alone and subjected to all kinds of brutality. Mark’s characters, John and Tyler, head to Haiti to assist with the construction of an orphanage but before long, find themselves involved in the hunt for a missing child, Chantale.

Mark has done an excellent job in creating realistic characters and an intense plot. Readers will find themselves cheering on Tyler and John in the hopes they can rescue Chantale before it’s too late. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Mark and it won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 1, 2019

It’s hard to believe today is the 1st of September. Where did the summer go? The weeks have certainly sailed past. We’re off to a sunny but chilly start at 49F/9C.

Yesterday, we participated in a Maker’s Market at the Olympia Shopping Arcade in Kirkcaldy. Built in 1898, the arcade was originally part of a three-story linen mill. There are currently nine independent businesses in the arcade. The fees for setting up a table at the market go toward rejuvenation of the facility.

While it was quiet, depending upon footfall traffic, we did manage to sell two signed copies of The Kurdish Connection. Some of my candles and several sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets also went to happy customers who ventured out in the mixed weather.

Best of all, one of the coordinators of the market, who also has a shop in the arcade, offered me shelf space to sell my novels, receiving a small commission in return, which will go into the rejuvenation fund.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 1st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Wilhelmus Kist, writer/director of Dutch Staatscourant; Lydia Sigourney, American religious author (How to Be Happy); James Gordon Bennett, Sr., American newspaper publisher (New York Herald); Jacobus J Cremer, painter/author (Overbetuwsche Novellen); Innokenty Annensky, Russian Empire, poet, critic and interpreter (poètes maudits); Henri Bourassa, French Canadian politician and publisher; Edgar Rice Burroughs, American author (Tarzan of the Apes, Mars Saga); Blaise Cendrars, [Frederic Sauser-Hall], Swiss poet/writer; Hubert Lampo, Flemish writer/essayist (Coming of Joachim Stiller); Willem Frederik Hermans, Dutch writer (Mandarins on Sulfuric Acid); Theo Joekes, Dutch journalist, writer, and politician (VVD); C[arolyn] J[anice] Cherryh, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Faded Sun Trilogy); Mustafa Balel, Turkish writer; and Timothy Zahn, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Cobra Strike).

Was anyone familiar to you? There were several I recognized, including Edgar Rice Burroughs and Timothy Zahn. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

1541181671Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter twenty-seven. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 358, an increase of eighteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Throughout the afternoon, trucks delivered the necessities for the Morenos’ party, including flower arrangements, tables, chairs, and linens. As the day wore on, the caterers appeared, bringing their own special implements for creating sensational regional and local dishes for the buffet. The staggering menu included Valluna cutlets, milanesa, arroz de lisa, mamona, lechona, and tamales. Others brought cases of champagne, whiskey, vodka, and rum. In the corner of the mansion’s ballroom, a twelve-piece orchestra worked through their repertoire, selecting pieces designed to awe their audience.

Everything and everyone was in position by seven thirty in the evening.

Eight p.m. Still no guests. Olivia’s outward calm crumbled, a frown replaced her smile. She paced back and forth from the entranceway to the ballroom, her grimace deepening with each circuit.

Eight fifteen. A taxi arrived—false alarm, a waiter, late for work.

Eight thirty. Pedro strolled toward his over-anxious wife and smiled.

“A long string of fancy cars passed through the perimeter gate. Your guests are sticking to an old-fashioned belief—arriving late.” He sighed. At least I hope they’ll come—for Olivia’s sake.

“As long as they come, that’s the important thing. For Alonzo. And us.”

More next time.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Together, we’ve completed chapter seven and are moving along nicely with the story.

It’s always interesting to see how our minds interact and create the way forward for our characters. It’s a truly collaborate effort and I’m enjoying every minute of the experience!

Books I’m Reading

The Lt. Kate Gazarra Series 1-3 has been released in a box set by Blair Howard. Some of you might have already read my reviews of Jasmine, Cassandra, and Saffron, but in case you haven’t here’s a recap:

JasmineBased on the adventures Harry’s friend and police partner, Lieutenant Kate Gazzara, this is an excellent beginning to this series.

Harry left the police force to begin life anew as a private investigator, leaving Kate to solve new homicides while building up her own network of contacts. Harry’s still in the background, assisting when needed but Kate is now the primary character. Already molded in the Harry Starke series, Kate takes readers on a whirlwind ride as another body appears.

An excellent cast of characters, a riveting plot, and almost more excitement than one can handle in a single evening (I read the entire novel in four nights), its another one for thriller aficionados to add to their collection. I’m already looking forward to the release of the next one!

Cassandraanother excellent read, given to us by a master storyteller. Lt. Kate Gazzara is up to her ears with internal police department issues when she’s instructed to update the assistant police chief on the cases she’s working on, including a twenty-three-year-old murder of a young woman named Cassandra.

I enjoy how Blair blends his larger-than-life characters together with an excellent plot, which keeps readers guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime. This is well-written and moves at a fast pace. Highly recommended for those you enjoy crime stories.

SaffronBlair has created another excellent thriller with his latest Lt. Kate Gazzara novel, Saffron. More bodies keep popping up, but Kate is hard on the case, trying to determine who the killer or killers might be. When the bodies begin appearing in other jurisdictional areas, since Kate had the first one, she became the overall coordinator since they were all killed in the same manner.

Things become more difficult for Kate as her long-time partner makes a surprise announcement and the assistant chief is creating personal problems for her. Blair weaves everything together into a realistic plot. You won’t want to put this one down until you’ve ready every page! I’m personally looking forward to the next one in the series.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings,August 25, 2019

We’ve had decent weather over the past week. As a result, we put some of the outdoor chores aside and made three trips to Aberdour beach. Since it’s a bank holiday here this weekend, we made the most of our excursions before the crowds came in.

The first time we went, we took Frankie, the puppy we help look after. It was his first time to the beach. Every time he saw a bird or dog, he’d sit and watch. We didn’t let him off the lead as he’s still young, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Tommy, one of our male cats, decided this week he wanted to use the laptop. Several times he would push my hand away from the keyboard. He was very persistent and at one point, he actually powered it down. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything I was working on!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 25th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann G von Herder, German philosopher, theologist and poet; Antoine Louis Léon de Saint-Just, French revolutionary and writer; Bret Harte, American author (Outcasts of Poker Flat); Judith Gautier, French poetess, novelist (Le Dragon Impérial); Mollie Panter-Downes, British writer and columnist (The Shoreless Sea); Desmond Flower, English publisher; J. B. Charles [Willem H. Nagel], Dutch criminologist and writer; Brian Moore, Irish novelist (Catholics, Doctor’s Wife); Thea Astley, Australian novelist and short-story writer; Charles Wright, American poet (Black Zodiac); Frederick Forsyth, British author (Day of the Jackal, Deceiver, Odessa File); Sherley Anne Williams, American poet and novelist (Dessa Rose); Conrad Black, Canadian-born British newspaper magnate; Charles Ghigna (Father Goose), American poet and children’s books author (Tickle Day: Poems from Father Goose); Martin Amis, English novelist (London Fields); and Noxon, American television writer and producer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew except for one of my favorites: Frederick Forsyth. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

1541181671This week, I was on a writing roll, finishing chapters twenty-three through twenty-six of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 339, an increase of twenty-nine in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Pushing through the doors, she slid around the corner, squatted, and fired three times without aiming. An incoming round smashed into the wall in front of her. She leaned into the stone for cover as rough-edged shards whirled toward her face. Startled, Olivia dropped the pistol. Blood trickled from a cut above her right eye. She sucked in her breath and wiped it away as anger replaced her fear.

Alto.” A huge man climbed over the railing from the patio. Piercing dark eyes shone beneath a mop of black hair as he plopped into a chair at the small bistro table, and helped himself to a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Diablo.” Olivia spat the word as the behemoth stood and helped her into the other chair. “Ramon, one day you’ll cause my death. The training becomes more intense every day.” She grabbed his goblet. “Salud.” She drained the glass.

***

Bam! Bam!

Ramon rose. His movements panther-like, he approached the door. He turned the knob in minor increments while the thudding continued.

“Shhh.” Someone outside the room cautioned and received a snigger in response.

Ramon yanked the door open. Caught off guard, two girls tumbled into the room. Laughing and giggling, they fell into a disheveled stack of limbs. He grabbed an arm of each child and helped them to their feet.

“Ramon, be careful! You’ll wrinkle my pretty dress.” Olivia’s ten-year-old daughter, Maria, stomped her foot and straightened the folds of her pink frock.

“Maria, stop it.” Silvina, her eight-year-old sister, dressed in blue, squirmed out of Ramon’s clutches.

Together, the two girls darted across the Spanish tile, color-coordinated ribbons holding their long hair in place as they melted into Olivia’s embrace for a much-needed hug.

More next week.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Most of my time this week was spent on various pieces of research for chapter seven, but it’s coming along nicely.

I’m really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Michael. Between us, I believe we’re coming up with some great ideas, bouncing things off each other across the world as we are eight time zone apart. So far, the arrangement is working well and I’m learning a lot from Michael.  Eventually, we’ll fine-tune our synopsis and I’ll include it in one of my weekly posts.

Books I’m Reading

I recently had the opportunity to read Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless Legal Thriller Book 1) by Melissa F. Miller.  What a fantastic story! From the offset I became immersed in my reading, following Sasha as she works in a Pittsburgh law firm.  Working on a case for one of the firm’s largest clients, things go awry. Not only is the client embroiled in the aftermath of one of their planes crashing, killing everyone on board, people close to the case begin dying.

Irreparable Harm is a light-hearted story with an excellent plot and realistic characters, which kept me turning the pages. When Sasha joins forces with Connolly, an air marshal, to investigate the crash, the action and tension continues to increase, and I stayed up late to finish reading. This is the first novel of Melissa’s I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 18, 2019

We’ve had a few more glimpses of summer this past week, but plenty of showers and a couple of thunderstorms to drive the summer-time feeling away. Yesterday, we had a glorious day for the most part, just one brief shower around lunchtime.

With yesterday’s sunshine and pleasant temperatures, I was able to get some additional external chores completed. After six hours of steady effort, I declared my workday finished. Shortly afterward, Mother Nature ensured I didn’t do any more work with a ninety-minute shower.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Marko Marulic/Marulus/Splichanin/Pechinich, Croatian poet; Jean Bolland, Flemish Jesuit writer and historian (Acta Sanctorum); Charles Francis Adams Snr., American writer and diplomat, US Minister to the UK, son of President John Quincy Adams; Johan E. Elias, Dutch historian (Amsterdam’s regency); Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and essayist (Henry Handel Richardson: A Study); Armijn Pane, Indonesian writer (Belenggu); Elsa Morante, Italian writer; Alain Robbe-Grillet, French novelist (Voyeur); Brian W[ilson] Aldiss, UK, sci-fi author (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, Helliconia Trilogy); Vincent Bugliosi, American attorney and author (Helter-Skelter); William George Rushton, English actor, author and cartoonist (TW3); Umberto Guidoni, Italian astrophysicist and writer (STS 75); and Brian Michael Bendis, American comic book writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

“I enjoyed reading, “Carnage in Singapore” by Randall Krzak, who in my opinion, is a brilliant writer who has a unique ability of immediately capturing attention with a very intense opening scene which was extremely riveting. As I read on, the action, twists and turns, and the whole story got even more intense and exciting.

I am a big fan of this author and read his previous book, “The Kurdish Connection,” which showed to me his highly sophisticated knowledge of the military and his high intelligence and experience about what really goes on in the background.

His writing style is excellent, and I thought he described each scene extremely well bringing out ever-increasing and amazing exciting action, thrills, suspense, bravery, and selflessness on the topical subject of terrorism.

The story, in my view, is thought-provoking and very fast-paced with great action and suspense as the Bedlam Team struggles and combats international terrorism.

I felt this author is highly creative, gifted and very extraordinary and, in my view, as more people read his work his fan base will grow. I believe his works are not to be missed as after I read “Kurdish Connection” I became a lifelong fan of this author’s talent.

Very well done and I give this book five stars plus and highly recommend it!”

Hopefully, similar reviews will be forthcoming.

My Work in Progress

1541181671This week, I finished chapters twenty-one and twenty-two of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count has now climbed to to 310, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the first snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Zapata screamed, “Get us out of here! Hurry, before it’s too late!”

Men wearing white coveralls jumped out of the blocking vehicles, aiming light anti-tank weapons at the front and rear escort vehicles.

Weapons fired, the escort vehicles soared into the air, plummeting back to earth, now burning hulks. Zapata’s guards returned fire, but their response couldn’t match the overwhelming firepower of the attacking force.

One-by-one, the defenders succumbed to the withering fire as the remaining escort vehicles met the same fate as the others. Gunfire waned, as moans of the injured and crackling of burning vehicles grew in intensity.

The assailants approached Zapata’s SUV through the thickening smoke. They lined up along the driver’s side and stared at Zapata and his son.

Defiant stares greeted them.

Two men shouldered LAWs and aimed.

Zapata’s reign died as he and his son were immolated.

***

Francisco Tomas Kruz, Zapata’s longtime friend and confidant, replaced the receiver without a word. He rubbed his hand through his dyed black hair as he walked to the windows and gazed across the mountainous expanse. A brief smile etched across his face, not reaching his cold, hazel eyes.

He returned to his desk, grabbed the phone, and placed a call. “This is Kruz. Give her the phone.” He spoke for a moment.

Olivia screamed.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

As I mentioned last time, I had received a copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, The Raven (Harry Starke Genesis Book 2).

Here’s my thoughts: Blair has done it again. Someone knocked off a wealthy woman, leaving behind a distraught husband. A friend of Harry’s father, the husband, who is a judge, turned to Harry and his new private investigation service to find the killer. Things become complicated with the addition of Russian mobsters into the story.

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one is fast-paced with plenty of twists to keep readers guessing who might have killed the judge’s wife. Realistic characters help Harry in his quest for the truth. Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading, different suspects crept forward, muddying the water. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so you’ll have to grab yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 4, 2019

As we move into August, the past week has been a busy one. We puppy sat for three days. Frankie, a cockapoo, loves the various nooks and crannies he finds to explore. He still thinks the doorstop shaped like a dog is someone to play with, but he seems to be growing out of that, perhaps a shoe or two instead.

With some decent weather, we managed to get some branches trimmed, painted the front porch, and spruced up some decorative trim. Still plenty more to do but things are taking shape.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Paulus Adrianus Daum, Dutch writer, founder and editor (Batavian Newspaper); Vernon Louis Parrington, American author (Romantic Revolution, Pulitzer 1928); Eugène Baie, Belgian author (Sub rosa et sub umbra); Rupert Brooke, British WW I poet (Lithuania, The Soldier); Clifford D. Simak, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Empire, Way Station); Leonhard Huizinga, Dutch journalist and writer (Adriaan & Olivier); Sal Santen, Dutch writer (You Are Jewish People); Shakeel Badayuni, Indian poet and lyricist; James MacGregor Burns, American political writer (The Lion & the Fox); P. D. James [Phyllis Dorothy], Baroness James of Holland Park, English crime writer (Cover Her Face); Hayden Carruth, American poet (The Crow and the Heart); Robert Sumner, American evangelist and author; Roger Foulon, Belgian writer (Un été dans la Fagne); Leon Uris, American novelist (Exodus, QB VII, Battle Cry); Cécile Aubry, French actress (The Black Rose), author (Belle et Sébastien); James Komack, American writer, director and actor (Courtship of Eddie’s Father); Diane Wakoski, American poet (Motorcycle Betrayal); Reed Waller, American comic book author (Omaha the Cat Dancer); and Frank Schaeffer, American author (Crazy for God).

Was anyone familiar to you? There was one who clearly stood out for me: Uris. 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!

Coming Soon!

carnage in singapore-001(1)We’re in the home stretch with Carnage in Singapore, which will soon be released by Solstice Publishing. Over the past week I’ve gone through a formatted .pdf file of the manuscript, checking for any missing/misspelled words and fixing any punctuation needing some attention. I’ll be sending it back to Solstice’s editor-in-chief tomorrow so it can continue toward publication.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

“It worked.” Kali chuckled. “The sole casualty was Gesang’s suicide bomber.”

“Two options to consider about him.” Abu Zeze gazed into Isagani’s face, followed by Kali’s. “Either we kill him ourselves or report him to the Indonesian authorities.”

Kali ran a hand across his mouth as he stared into the flames. “If we kill him, we’re rid of a problem. However, if we notify the authorities, he’ll end up with Detachment 88. This could lessen their search efforts.”

“Hand me the satellite phone, Kali. “Abu Zeze pointed. “On top of the mantle.”

After receiving the phone, Abu Zeze punched in a number from memory. Once someone answered, he said, “A man named Gesang is responsible for the attacks in Surabaya.”

“Who? What is your—”

Abu Zeze broke the connection and gazed at the others. “One issue resolved. Gesang is no longer a man of action. He’s become old and feeble and deserves to die.”

***

After Kali left to catch the speedboat, Abu Zeze and Isagani shared a forbidden glass of sherry. Isagani tossed another log on the fire to ward off the evening chill and poured a second round of drinks.

“My friend, Kali is a well-educated man.” Isagani raised his eyebrows. “Perhaps, too competent for his own good. I would be cautious in giving him too much free rein. He’ll be thinking of replacing you.”

Abu Zeze nodded. “I thought the same myself. For now, he provides results and seems to be supportive.” His eyes hardened into a distant stare. “Once he outgrows his usefulness, or gains too many followers, he’ll be eliminated.”

“A wise decision. I would also have someone keep a close eye on him.”

“How long have you known him?”

“About six years. He’s a friend of a friend.”

“You realize a friend might still be an enemy?”

“I may be aging, but I still keep my wits about me.” Abu Zeze chortled. “I had someone begin following Kali weeks ago. If he oversteps himself or fails in his tasks, we’ll deal with him.”

“Do you trust this person?”

“Yes. Sakti’s already taken the heads of two traitors—a third won’t matter. My daughter will act as necessary to defend our ways.” Abu Zeze stared at Isagani. “To her last breath.”

Perhaps more next time.

Work in Progress:

Despite the non-writing activities and work on Carnage in Singapore, I still managed to 1541181484finish and post chapter nineteen of A Cartel’s Revenge to the two subscription writing sites I use. The number of chapter reviews continues to climb, now reaching 256. Many thanks to all who continue to support my writing journey!

 

 

 

angolan cole-revised3Last week I mentioned that chapter six of Xavier Sear: Angola, had been completed. We’ve come up with several enhancements to the chapter, which will impact on later chapters. I’ll have this updated in the next few days. Collaboration is a great exercise and very fulfilling working with another author.

 

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been a bit behind on this category and will try to catch up. One of the novels I read earlier this year is ICE (Dr. Leah Andrews and Jack Hobson Thrillers Book 1) by Kevin Tinto. This is Kevin’s debut novel and it won’t disappoint action-adventure enthusiasts. After Dr. Leah discovers an abandoned Native American cliff dwelling deep in a cavern, who knew there would be a startling discovery. How did granite crystals found only in Antarctica end up in the dwelling of a people believed to have existed 800 years before?

Dr. Leah knows only her former husband, Jack, has the wherewithal to help her find the source of the crystals. With realistic characters and a riveting plot, this is a super read which will keep you turning the pages. I can’t wait to read the next on in the series!

I also finished reading Templar by Paul Bannister. I enjoy novels which combine a bit of history with fiction, particularly those leaning toward action-adventure. With the death of King John, his nine-year-old son is left as heir. Too young to rule, who will be a guiding hand for Henry when plotters would like to steal his throne?

Alaric, a new Templar knight, travels with his father, Banastre, to France to bring Count Ramon of  Toulouse back to England to serve as regent before the country is ripped apart by a holy crusade. With a good plot supported by plenty of research and believable characters, I enjoyed the story and would continue to read more works by Paul.

To close this section for this week, I’ll finish with my thoughts on The Dead Songbird (The Northminister Mysteries Book 2) by Harriet Smart. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploits of Chief Constable Major Giles Vernon and Police Surgeon Felix Carswell in the first novel of the series and wasn’t disappointed to follow them as they try to identify the killer of a talented singer. Set in the Victorian era, it’s easy to immerse oneself into the rigors of life during this period.

I thoroughly enjoyed following Giles and Felix as they unravel the mystery they’re faced with. With an excellent blend of historical facts and well-written fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to the next installment in the series.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

The Kurdish Connection

Randall’s Ramblings, June 16, 2019

Happy Father’s Day wherever you are! 

Hope you have a great one!

It’s been a busy week. Between dashing outdoors to get some yard work in during the brief sunshine interludes, to writing on two works-in-progress, the week sailed past.

A pair of seagulls decided the cat munchies we have outside for our four-legged family were very tasty. They make regular appearances, stealing a few pieces before flying away, usually chased by Lola, Hope, or Tommy. Charlie’s too timid and runs away, while Flora is always busy visiting the neighbors, particularly their children.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): John Cleveland, English poet; Adam Smith, Scottish economist (Wealth of Nations) and moral philosopher (date of baptism); Mary Katharine Goddard, American printer and publisher; Salawat Yulayev, Bashkir national hero, poet; Scato Gocko de Vries, Dutch paleographer/librarian; Fritz Schulz, German law historian (Classical Novel Law); Theo[dorus J] Thijssen, Dutch writer (Kees the boy); William Fitzgerald Jenkins, author (Time Tunnel, Land of Giants); Murray Leinster, American author; Nelson Doubleday, American publisher (Doubleday); John Hadfield, author/publisher (Love on a Branch Line); Katharine Graham, American newspaper publisher (Washington Post); ohn Howard Griffin, American photographer, journalist and author (Black Like Me); Joachim Nowotny, writer; August Willemsen, Dutch poet/translator; Erich Segal, author (Love Story, Oliver’s Story); Joyce Carol Oates, novelist (Garden of Earthly Delights); Torgny Lindgren, Swedish writer; Hans-Peter Hammel, Swiss columnist and writer; Doane Perry, American musician, composer, and author (Jethro Tull); Scott Alexander, American screenwriter; and Ann Shoket, American magazine editor.

Was anyone familiar to you? There might be at least a couple familiar ones. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

It’s not too late to sign up for my online book tour, which begins on June 25th. Click on the following link for more information and to sign up: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/the-bedlam-series-tour-sign-ups

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)The new cover for Carnage in Singapore, which will be released soon by Solstice Publishing, is now ready. Here’s the synopsis: Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them and ISIS-affiliates at an alarming rate. Blended operations by various Asian countries have forced the groups to work together to identify a new operational base.

They seek an island nation to call home, one where they can plot against countries who oppose their ideals. They found a target, a small nation-state, perfect for their needs: The Republic of Singapore.

Before anyone can respond, the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia are kidnapped from their residences in Singapore. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning. Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

Bedlam Charlie team leader, Evelyn Evinrude, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

Evelyn gulped water, trying to cool off after her stint in the Weapons Training Simulator System. She wiped the back of her neck with a damp cloth and relaxed at one of the weapon-laden tables.

Barbara, dressed in a black tank top and matching cargo pants, slid into an adjacent chair to wait for her turn in the simulator. “Hey Ev, the baddie almost killed you in your last round.” She chuckled as pointed an imaginary pistol at her boss.

“Almost is the operative word.” Evelyn grinned. “This new simulator is superior to our old one, providing better scenarios.”

“Don’t forget the use of our own weapons rather than the unrealistic tethered ones.”

Evelyn nodded. “I must thank Harrison for coordinating with the other Bedlam units to acquire this for us.” She pulled the magazine from her SIG Sauer P226 and stood. “I better reload my mags. The CO2 gas provides an excellent recoil feel, even though they’re only lasers.”

“Doesn’t replace an outdoor range, but you’ve made it easy for us to train every day without making the trip to Wagga Wagga.” Barbara rubbed her stomach. “Not sure I care about the impulse device we’re wearing to simulate being hit. Hurts like the bloody dickens. If it happens again, I’ll throw a wobbly.”

“We wanted as much realism as possible.” Evelyn laughed. “Beats someone using a paintball gun to shoot at us. Those things hurt and can injure without protective gear. You end up with huge red welts and bruises.” She gestured toward the simulator. “One more go for each of us and back to the office. I’m sure last night’s attack is generating plenty of questions, and someone will be waiting for us to provide answers.”

More next week.

Despite another week packed with external stuff, I managed to complete chapter fourteen of A 1541181671Cartel’s Revenge and post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. There’s been 169 chapter reviews thus far. Plenty of excellent suggestions to choose from!

Here’s the synopsis:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

I’ll start including snippets once Carnage in Singapore is published.

angolan cole-revised3I mentioned last time I was collaborating with Michael Maxwell, the author of the Cole Sage mystery series and other novels. The cover is now ready for our first novel: Xavier Sear: Angola. The first two chapters have now been completed. When the task is impossible, Xavier Sear is your only hope!  Join Sear as he reunites with Joao, a former Portuguese Army commander as they attempt to rescue the son of a prominent Angolan politician.

More to follow, including a complete synopsis, as we continue to progress with this adventure. 

 

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading Five Weeks last night, another gripping true story novel by David P. Perlmutter, the award-winning author of Wrong Place Wrong Time–soon to be a movie.

Follow the adventures of a London real estate agent as he switches careers in preparation for settling down with his fiancé. As part of his training, he’s sent to Pennsylvania for five weeks. Things begin going downhill as soon as he arrives and meets his temporary new boss.

This is another well-written true story, with characters you’ll love or hate. While a few readers found some of the language to be a bit strong, it fits reality. Once you begin reading, you’ll become immersed in the story and won’t want to put this one down!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved