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

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 9, 2019

Well, the rain has done it again, causing the cancellation of a street party as no one wanted to get soaked. At least everything has greened up nicely. Now, for a bit of sunshine for more than a couple of hours at a time and perhaps I could get some more outdoor work done–this year!

I’ve been doing a bit of tweaking of some of the pages on my website. If you get a chance, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Henricus Hondius, Dutch etcher/publisher; John Howard Payne, American actor, playwright (Fair Warning), author and creator of the hit song “Home! Sweet Home!”; Bertha von Suttner, Austrian novelist/pacifist (Nobel 1905); Rudolf Borchardt, writer; Samuel N Behrman, American screenwriter (Tale of 2 Cities, Daddy Long Legs); sobel June Braybrooke, English novellist; John Gillespie Magee, Jr., American poet and aviator; George Axelrod, playwright (Breakfast at Tiffany, Bus Stop); Keith Laumer [Anthony LeBaron], American sci-fi author (Retief’s War); Lin[wood] [Vrooman] Carter, American sci-fi author (Thongor of Lemuria); Charles Webb, American writer (The Graduate); Joe Haldeman, American sci-fi author (The Forever War); Gregory Maguire, American fantasy writer; Patricia Cornwell, American author ( Kay Scarpetta crime novels); Aaron Sorkin, American screenwriter and playwright (A Few Good Men, The West Wing); and Gilad Atzmon, Israeli jazz musician and author.

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

1539534550Things are moving forward with Carnage in Singapore. My publisher should be providing a new cover shortly, which I’ll proudly display. In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

They weaved their way along the twisting road, lost in their thoughts. Ahead, a small clearing was tucked among the trees.

When Umar stopped, Joko jumped out of the cab and inspected the chosen site. “Perfect. Let’s unpack the largest crate and set up.”

Umar pointed to the smaller crate. “What about them?”

“Not now.” Joko shook his head. “Those contain the Qassams.”

The seven men made short work of the task. Crowbars in hand, they pried off the lid, revealing packing material and an assortment of small electrical components. After they had scooped out the items, a plywood platform appeared. Underneath the wood, three Grad rockets were nestled in protective wrapping.

The workmen carried the bases and launch tubes to a spot where Joko waited beside three locations etched into the sand —one for each rocket. Under Joko’s guidance, the men set up the stands and retrieved the Grads from their resting place.

Satisfied with the set-up, Joko wiped the sweat from his brow and glanced at his wrist. “Allah willing, we shall strike in his name.”

***

The three projectiles screamed across the water in a high arc. At the starting line, the drivers waited for the flashing lights to indicate the beginning of the race.

In one of the spectator stands, an elderly English woman frowned at a faint sound in the distance, hard to hear over the revving of the engines. She squinted at something streaking through the sky and losing its trajectory. “Oh, darling. Look!” She tugged at her husband’s sleeve to gain his attention.

“What is it, Dorothy? The race’s about to start.”

“Fireworks. How lovely. A fabulous way to celebrate the occasion.”

Her husband shaded his eyes with a hand. His mouth dropped open and snapped shut. “Jesus Christ! Those aren’t fireworks. Run! Someone’s attacking the—”

A Grad plunged into the grandstand, erupting with a massive explosion. Spectators screamed in terror, their cries cut short when they were blown apart or became engulfed in flames.

Two other missiles smashed into the marina, sending enormous plumes of water, splintered boats, and body parts into the air.

Pandemonium erupted as people fled for their lives.

More next time.

Despite another week packed with external stuff, I managed to complete chapter thirteen of A 1541181671Cartel’s Revenge and post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. There’s been 145 chapter reviews thus far. Plenty of excellent suggestions to choose from!

I recently requested some blurbs for Carnage in Singapore to use in promoting the story. Michael Maxwell, the author of thirteen novels, including nine in his Cole Sage mystery series, contacted me after reading the third chapter. He told me, “This is good stuff!” and asked if I would consider co-authoring a book with him.

After reading through his proposal, I agreed. We’re currently writing the first novel in a new series with an international setting, Phillip Sear: Angola.  Watch for the cover and synopsis in an upcoming post.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Into Spring: The Next Generation, by Larry Landgraf.

The sequel to Into Autumn continues the daunting efforts of those living in Peaceful Valley. With a disparity between the number of single man and women, Sean and Robbie leave the valley, determined to find spouses. Meanwhile, a new family permitted to move into the valley, attempts to push for a place of worship causing issues when the earlier residents rebuff the proposal in favoring of more pressing requirements.

Larry provides another plot full of twists and turns with realistic characters showing how to survive their ordeals. Despite challenge after challenge, the Peaceful Valley inhabitants deal with what’s thrown at them. Several late nights as I couldn’t put it down until I finished. Now that I have, I can’t wait to read the third installment. Well done!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 26, 2019

This is Memorial Day weekend. While for many it means the unofficial beginning of summer, with vacation homes being aired out, family gatherings, and sporting events, such as the Indy 500, there is another side to the holiday.

Memorial Day is also a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Flags are placed on the graves of those who died in military service. Many communities also hold parades, culminating in ceremonies at designated points in cemeteries and at memorials.

No matter how you spend the weekend, please take a moment to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day. Enjoy the weekend.

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

Edmond de Goncourt, French writer, wrote with his brother Jules de Goncourt; Robert W. Chambers, American artist and fiction writer; John Eigenhuis, Dutch writer (Tough Workers); Jean Schlumberger, French writer (La Mort de Sparte); Moondog, American composer, musician and poet; Phyllis Gotlieb, Canadian author; Hugo Raes, Flemish writer (Horses Jump & Fresh Sea); Piers Gray, critic/writer; Alan Hollinghurst, British novelist; Phil Doyle, Australian writer; and David Reed, British writer and comedian.

Not many today. Was anyone familiar to you? 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

1541181671With all of the outdoor activity, I didn’t have much time to sit in front of the computer and write. Chapter eleven of A Cartel’s Revenge is almost finished. So far, the novel has received ninety-eight chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use. Plenty of good suggestions for improving my writing.

Things are on hold with Carnage in Singapore as I await the results of my submission. In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

When they arrived, Noah paid the driver and entered the hotel. He waited at the counter to collect his key. “Welcome back, Mr. Noah. A man asked for you last night.”

“What did he look like? Did you ask his name?”

“Asian.” The clerk shrugged. “No name but he said he was a friend and wanted to leave a gift in your room. A porter let him in. We suggested he put the package in our safe until you returned, but he was very persuasive.”

Noah’s forehead creased as he frowned. “How long did he remain in my room?” And what was he looking for?

“Ten, perhaps fifteen minutes. The porter remained in the hallway and locked the door when the man left.”

“Do you have security cameras?”

“Not in the rooms, but in the common areas and the elevators.”

“I’m going upstairs. Please bring me the tapes from last night. I’ll review them later with my colleagues from the Internal Security Department.”

The clerk swallowed, a look of panic of his face. “Of course.”

Noah waited for an empty elevator. Taking forever. He spotted a sign for the stairs and rushed up the steps. Out of breath by the time he reached the sixth floor, he paused before heading down the carpeted hallway to room 602.

His room.

The thread he left on the lock lay on the floor. He tried the handle. Locked.

Noah pulled his SIG Sauer from its holster and shoved his key card in the slot. After the light turned green, he pushed the door open.

The mattress hung over the edge of the bed, his single bag dumped in a heap. The drawers from the bedside tables and the chest of drawers sat in a haphazard pile in a corner. Pictures were ripped from the wall and slashed. The glass coffee table top was smashed into tiny pieces, a testament to the fury of whoever did this.

What were they looking for? Nothing here but some clothes. My Bedlam laptop remained with me.

A noise from the bathroom caught his attention.

He turned and caught a shadowy figure emerging from a corner. The assailant screamed and threw a lamp at Noah’s head before he could get an idea of who it was.

Noah crashed to the floor, his gun skittering away.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

 I recently finished reading The Butchered Man, book one of The Northminster Mysteries by Harriet Smart. Set in Victorian England in the 1840s, a mutilated corpse sets events in motion. With a well-written plot and characters exhibiting traits associated with the time period, it’s easy to become immersed in the combined efforts of Chief Constable Major Vernon and police surgeon Felix Carswell to solve the mystery. Will they find the villain? Grab a copy and find out! I look forward to moving onto the second book of 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, May 19, 2019

The past week began with great weather and temperatures hovering around 70F/21C. This all changed when Friday evening rolled around, bringing almost constant drizzle or light rain. Of course, things dry out quickly, so the rain gave things a much-needed drink.

The rain also delayed further work in the back yard. We’re painting the fence, re-arranging the flower beds, and removing gravel from areas where the previous owners thought it should be. It might takes all summer and into the fall, but eventually we’ll have our stamp on the area,

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

Rahel Varnhagen von Ense-Levin, German literary hostess; Henricus WJM Keuls, Dutch lawyer/poet (Dancing Lamp); Konstatin G Paustovski, Russian author (Povestj Zjizni); Paul Erdman, American economist and author; Ruskin Bond, Indian author; Jane Brody, writer/nutritionist; Nora Ephron, novelist/screenwriter/director (Michael, Heartburn); and James Topping, author of CP/M.

Not many today. Was anyone familiar to you? 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 results of the 2018 Chanticleer International Books Awards (CIBAs) have been announced.  This year, there were fourteen fiction categories and two non-fiction. The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance participated in the Global Thrillers genre. Both moved from the slush pile, through the long list, the short list, and the semi-finals. The Kurdish Connection finished its run as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance went a step further and was one of seven 2018 Global Thriller Book Awards for Lab Lit & High Stakes Thriller Novels First in Category Winners.  Needless to say, I’m thrilled!

TKC

DA-3D-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Work in Progress

1541181671With all of the outdoor activity, I didn’t have much time to sit in front of the computer and write. Chapter ten of A Cartel’s Revenge is almost finished. So far, the novel has received eighty-three chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use. Plenty of good suggestions for improving my writing.

Things are on hold with Carnage in Singapore as I await the results of my submission. In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

The nurse escorted Noah to Koh’s room. Three men dressed in blue police uniforms with maroon berets tucked in their belts sat on a bench in the hallway, watching the nurse and Noah’s progress. One, who appeared older than the others, stood as they approached.

“Stop.” The man raised a hand. “Please show identification.” 1539534112

The nurse ignored the man and continued toward the door. “This patient will be staying here. He’s a friend of the man inside.”

The man nodded. “Go ahead. In the future, show your picture badge, and we won’t bother you.”

“I’m sure Feng Lee will be pleased with your diligence.” The nurse scanned the man from head to toe. “He will visit later, so remain alert. I’ll provide a list of hospital employees who should be authorized admittance to look after these patients.”

When Noah entered the room, he spotted Koh in the far bed, sound asleep. Rhythmic beeping came from the attached monitor displaying his vital signs.

The nurse turned down the sound on the machine. “The noise will keep you awake. There are hospital gowns in the bathroom. Slip one on and put your clothes in the empty locker.” She pointed to two cabinets, one with an open door. “Afterward, climb into bed. I’ll bring you something to drink in a few minutes.”

Noah did as instructed and replayed each sequence of the attack in his mind. Should have spotted a tail sooner. First sign of action and all training went out the window. He glanced at Koh. We’ll catch them.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

 I recently finished reading A Sea of Fear by Russell Moran. This is book three of the Harry and Meg time travel series and like the first two, it’s another easy read with plenty of action from start to finish.

Harry and Meg are very likeable characters and once again use their combined strengths to deal with a former president trying to undermine the American way of life and take over the White House. I won’t spoil the ending for any readers, but suffice it to say, this is a tough assignment, necessitating some time travel both into the past and the future. If you enjoy plenty of action and a riveting plot, this one’s for you.

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, April 14, 2019

It’s been sunny the past few days, although still a bit chilly. However, this gave an opportunity to get some weeding done in the back yard, which hadn’t been tackled yet. Things are looking better, but plenty more to do!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Abraham Elsevier, Dutch book publisher; James Branch Cabell, American novelist and essayist (Restless Heads); Ernst Robert Curtius, German literature historian; Arnold J. Toynbee, English historian (A Study of History); Martin Kessel, German writer; Frank Daniel, Czech-born writer, director and teacher; Bob Grant [Robert St Clair Grant], British actor, comedian and writer (on the Buses); Tom Monteleone, American writer (Dark Star & Illumination); Bruce Sterling, American sci-fi author (Involution Ocean, Schismatrix); Vebjørn Selbekk, Norwegian journalist; and Peter Gibson, American writer.

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

My Work in Progress

Although I’ve completed four edit passes through the manuscript of my third novel, Carnage in Singapore I did some skimming this week and caught a couple of things I wanted to improve before submission. Here’s another snippet:

Gesang Anwari jumped to his feet. “I disagree! We should remain in a Muslim country and not cower among the infidels.”

“Sit down.” Kali seized Gesang’s arm. “Who are you to disagree? How long since your group last carried out an operation? Years ago.” 1539534550

He lashed out at Kali, striking him in the face. Two men stepped between them before further blows were thrown. They grabbed Gesang and Kali, pushing them back into their chairs.

“Enough!” Abu Zeze slammed a fist on an end table next to him. He stared at the two men. “Save your hatred for the enemy. We are brothers in arms. We do not fight among ourselves like the infidel dogs.”

***

After the others departed, Abu Zeze and Isagani moved to more comfortable chairs. A servant wheeled in a small cart with tea and an assortment of pastries and fruit. He served the two men and departed, closing the inner doors to ensure privacy.

Isagani sipped from his cup and placed it on a table near him. “I must speak my mind. I don’t trust Gesang. I’m not sure what it is about him, but something isn’t right.”

“I agree, my friend. Once efforts are underway, we plan to tip off the Indonesian authorities about Gesang being the mastermind behind the attacks. We’ll ensure he no longer poses a threat.” Even if I must take action myself.

***

In another part of the city, one of the attendees at Abu Zeze’s home dialed a number. He waited for two rings before disconnecting. Moments later, the man’s phone rang.

“You called?”

“Yes. The meeting went as expected. They identified several targets. If they aren’t stopped, the streets will be stained with blood.”

“Protect yourself but keep me informed. We cannot allow them to succeed.”

Perhaps more next week.

I’ve halted work on the next novel in the series, Ultimate Escalation. Originally, I planned for this to be the final in the series. However, upon reflection, I believe there is scope to extend the series. Just have to make a decision on this before continuing.

1541181671In the meantime, I’ve dusted off another WIP, A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. It’s been awhile since I posted the synopsis, so here it is:

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 forms 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?

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin, and will post my review shortly. I just finished book one of The Northminster Mysteries by Harriet Smart and will provide my comments as well.

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.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 31, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating in the UK. Hope you have a great day!

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans for making it into this year’s NCAA Elite 8 and commiserations to the Michigan Wolverines as their campaign came to an end. Go MSU!

Mother Nature has brought a chill back into the area, but at least there’s plenty of sunshine. The grass was trimmed yesterday and the front yard is shaping up. Still plenty of things to do, but it’s on the right road.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 31st. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Andrew Marvell, English poet (To His Coy Mistress); Edward FitzGerald, English writer (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam); Nikolai Gogol [Nikolay], Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist (Dead Souls, The Inspector-General); Leon Dierx, French poet; Andrew Lang, Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and anthropologist (Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books); Borisav “Bora” Stanković, Serbian writer; Ion Pillat, Romanian poet/senator (Umbra timpului); Vardis Fisher, American author (Darkness & Deep); Pieter Jongeling, Dutch author (under Piet Prins) and politician; Robert Brasillach, French author; Octavio Paz, Mexican writer/diplomat (Salamandra, Topoemas); Marga [Sara Voeten-] Minco, Dutch writer (Bitter Herb); John Fowles, English novelist (Collector, French Leiutenent’s Woman);  John Jakes, writer (Sir Scoundrel, Great Women Reporters); Nichita Stănescu, Romanian poet; Judith Rossner, American writer (August); and Marge Piercy, author (Small Changes, Gone for Soldiers).

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

News About My Published Work

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I received the final official notification this morning that The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance  have progressed from the Slushpile to the Long List onward to the Short List and are now official SEMI-FINALISTs  for the GLOBAL THRILLER Book Awards for Lab Lit, Thriller, & Int’l Suspense Fiction,  a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs). As I previously mentioned, my novels are two of the thirteen semi-finalists for the awards, which will be announced on April 30th. Stay tuned.

 

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Both novels are available across the Amazon Network, through Barnes&Noble, and other outlets.

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I’m eighty-two percent through the third edit pass, with perhaps one more to follow before the manuscript is ready for submission. Here’s another snippet:

A gentle breeze through the open windows of the third-floor apartment brought a slight chill, causing Natalee to close the nearest one. Anxious at being alone at the moment, she wished her parents would return soon from their morning stroll through the neighborhood.

1539534550A knock on the door startled her.

She glanced through the peephole. Two uniformed police officers stood in the hallway. Recognizing them, she slid the deadbolt and opened the door.

“Sergeant Ang and Constable Goh. What a surprise! Please, come in.”

Aiden beamed. “How are you today, Miss Natalee?” He held out a handful of flowers. “These are for you.”

“Thank you so much!” She gave Aiden a wide smile as she sniffed the different colored tulips arranged in a slim, clear cut-glass vase. “You don’t have to bring me something every time you visit.” She set the vase on the coffee table.

“The gifts are worth every penny to see your face light up.”

Natalee and Aiden perched on the sofa the cushion groaning from Aiden’s weight. He glanced at Natalee and shrugged.

Both laughed.

Goh, his face wearing its usual frown, rolled his eyes as he sat in a nearby chair.

“Right now we’re on official business.” Aiden patted Natalee’s hand. “Have you remembered anything more about where you were held?”

Goh opened his laptop ready to capture her statement.

She shook her head and pulled her hand from Aiden’s grasp. “Images, but nothing definite. I remember several huts, one larger than the others. Lots of trees, too.” “She pressed her hands against her ears. “I keep hearing the screams of the other prisoners when they were being tortured.” She licked her lips and squirmed.

“Anything about the other captives?”

“Four men and two women—our kidnappers took the women away once.” Tears streamed down Natalee’s face. “When they came back, their faces were covered in cuts and bruises. Fear and panic were etched on their faces and they smelled as if someone had soiled their clothing. They said ….”

More next time.

Due to concentrating on editing, I didn’t have a chance to work on Ultimate Escalation, the next book in the series. Perhaps this week.

Books I’m Reading

This week Conviction (A New World Book 2), the latest gripping story by M.D. Neu, was released. He’s done it again with his latest release. Follow Todd Landon and various members of the Nentraee as they deal constant issues with merging Earth with an alien race. With an engaging plot and realistic characters, this story has something for everyone: love, passion, action, betrayal, just to name a few. Well done!

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