Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 9, 2020

Heavy winds and lashing rain hit us last night. It went on for hours, making it difficult to hear the television with the constant beating on the conservatory roof next to the living room.

While it calm at the moment, the sky is laden with thick, dark clouds. The upcoming projection is for continued rain and gusting wind up 60 MPH throughout the day, with that dreaded white stuff due to hit us between Monday and Wednesday. If the forecast is accurate, we’ll only receive a dusting but the higher elevations could see as much as eight inches!

With trees, bushes, and shrubs beginning to bud, and early flowers starting to pop out, we certainly don’t need any of this. Mother Nature has been kind to us so far this winter, with just a few flurries one evening, but she might have more in store for us yet!

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

Ali Sjir Neva’i [Fani], Turkish poet/author (Mahbub al-kulub); Vasily Zhukovsky, Russian poet; Felix Dahn, German Historian, jurist and poet; Anthony Hope [Hopkins], English novelist; George Ade, American journalist/playwright/humorist (Fables in Slang); Fran Saleški Finžgar, Slovene folk writer (Our Blood, Service Girls); Amy Lowell, American poet and critic (Patterns, Sword Blades & Poppy Seed); Frederik Gerretson, [Geerten Gossaert], Dutch poet/politician); Vital Celen, Flemish writer (Puppy Love); Max Manus, Norwegian resistance fighter and author who specialized in sabotage during World War II; Charles Montgomery Monteith, publisher; Brendan Behan, Irish author and poet (Borstal Boy, The Hostage); J.M. Coetzee, South African novelist; Alice Walker, American novelist (The Color Purple, Meridian); and Janet Issaca Ashford, writer.

Recognize anyone? There was only one notable name for me this week: Alice Walker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, also became a movie. 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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Both of these novels will be participating in an Amazon Countdown Special on Valentine’s Day starting at 12:00 a.m. PST. They’ll start $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read them yet, what better time to pick up a copy or gift them to someone you know.

As previously mentioned, Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First in Category winners in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category. Meanwhile, Carnage in Singapore is currently a semi-finalist in the 2019 competition, with the final results due in late April. Hope you’ll check them out!

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

The fifth edit pass was completed last night–a few word changes and some adjustments to the punctuation. Once the last couple of beta readers provide their comments, I’ll update the manuscript as needed and begin the final edit pass.

I have a bit of a conundrum–what to work on next? Should it be Ultimate Escalation, the next novel after Carnage in Singapore? Or should it be Genesis (tentative title), the sequel to Colombian Betrayal? What about New World Revolution: A New Home or Xavier Sears:  Angola?  Both of these are the first novels in their respective series.

See what I mean? I’ll eventually sort it out, I’m sure.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

At last, the final condemned man was brought to the table to choose his weapons. He fingered the remaining knives and one of the pistols before falling to his knees. “Please. Forgive me. My family—they won’t survive without me.”

Días kicked the man in the side. “Quit sniveling and take your punishment like a man. Grab a weapon and run.”

Dejected, the man stood and walked away, his head hung low.

The last team leader glanced at his men. They each gave a slight nod before they strolled after their target.

With the slow pursuit, the prisoner approached the fence unharmed. He glanced around—no one. He placed a foot on the first plank and began to climb.

Snap!

His head jerked around at the sound of a branch breaking.

Five men stepped from the trees, their weapons by their sides.

The team leader stepped forward and motioned for the man to continue climbing.

“Why would you let me go?” He made the sign of the cross. “Are you Christians?”

“No. However, you were the only prisoner to mention a family. We do this for them, not you.”

* * * *

When the last team returned to the hacienda, Días glared at them. “We heard no shots. Where is the prisoner?”

The team leader shook his head. “He was too fast for us and was over the fence when we arrived.” He shrugged. “You said any prisoner who made it over the barrier was free.”

“I-I ….” Días’ face turned purple with rage. “I wanted them all dead.”

“You should have done your own dirty work.” As one, the team turned and headed to their billeting.

Días slammed a fist on the table. “Michael, Alberto—these are your men. Control them.”

Alberto grinned. “He’s right—you said if anyone made it to the outer boundary, they would live.”

“So, I lied.” Días laughed.

Alberto ignored the comment and gestured at Michael. “We depart tomorrow for Panama to oversee the training there. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Not long ago, I finished reading Unchained: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. This is the third novel in the series. Join Rex and his trusty canine friend, Digger, as they flee from Afghanistan and head to India. Before long, they’re embroiled in a new adventure, while Rex tries to uphold the myth he died in an attack in Afghanistan.

With a riveting plot and a bevy of new characters, Rex shows his ‘human’ side regarding the welfare of others when he and Digger try to locate the missing daughter of an Indian couple. The trail eventually leads to Saudi Arabia. What happens there will be up to you to explore, as I don’t like to give away the full story. Suffice to say, you’ll be in for another nail-biting journey, so grab yourself a copy and prepare for late nights as you keep turning the pages!  I can’t wait for the next one in the series!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 2, 2020

Here we are, already in February. As dawn breaks earlier and daylight hangs around a bit longer, winter is passing by. Only a few snow flurries thus far–hope I haven’t jinxed things by making a mention of this!

This past week, the writing world lost an icon: Mary Higgins Clark. Every one of her suspense novels (over 50 of them!!) have been best sellers in the U.S. and various European countries. She’ll definitely be missed by her family and fans!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess; Hans E Schack, Danish politician/writer (Phantasterne); Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Slovak poet; Christian Gauss, educator/writer (Phi Beta Kappa award namesake); James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (Dubliners, Ulysses, Finnigan’s Wake); James Stephens, Irish poet (Crock of Gold); Aldo Palazzeschi, [Giurlani], Italian writer (I cavalli bianchi); Carroll Righter, American columnist and astrologer to the stars; Ayn Rand [Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum], Russian-American author, screenwriter and philosopher who developed the philosophical system of “Objectivism” (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead); Bernardas Brazdzionis, Lithuania, poet/editor/critic; Evert Werkman, Dutch journalist (Het Parool); Xuân Diệu, Vietnamese poet; Hella [S Lelyveld-]Haasse, Dutch author (Cider for Poor People); James Dickey, American poet, novelist and lecturer (Deliverance, Buckdancer’s Choice); Liz Smith [Mary Elizabeth], American journalist and gossip columnist known as “The Grand Dame of Dish” (WNBC, NY Daily News); Nydia Ecury, celebrated Afro-Dutch writer, translator and actress (Kantika pa Mama Tera); Judith Viorst, American author; Thomas M[ichael] Disch, American sci-fi author (Genocides, 102 H-Bombs); and Ina Garten, American author and TV cooking show host (Barefoot Contessa, Food Network).

Recognize anyone? Two stood out for me: James Joyce and James Dickey. 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

39375-96

I was mistaken last Sunday when I mentioned the countdown specials for Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore. These will actually begin on Valentine’s Day at 12:00 a.m. PST beginning at $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. I hope you’ll check them out!

Global-Thriller-semiA bit more news about Carnage in Singapore. It is now on the official semi-finalist list for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards, competing in the global thriller category.

This is a super thrill for me as it joins my other novels in being recognized in this prestigious competition. The Kurdish Connection finished its run in 2018 as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was selected as one of seven first in category winners. It’s so hard to believe!

I won’t learn until Chanticleer’s annual conference in April whether Carnage in Singapore has moved forward in the competition. Fingers crossed it does!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge, although I mentioned last time the title would be adjusted. It’s now called Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1) which is more fitting for how the story has actually turned out.

I’m midway through by fourth edit pass, having added over 12,000 words to the story. Feedback continues to come in from my beta readers, not just about the manuscript but ideas for the cover. Stayed tuned for more about this.

In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

Días glanced at Ramon. “What is with all of the threats? I feel like I am unwanted in this hacienda.”

Olivia shoved her chair back and stood, eyes burning with hatred. “Get out! Now!”

Alonzo jumped to his feet, pointing the shogun at Días, his finger tightening on the trigger.

Ramon pulled his second pistol from its holster. He motioned Días toward the door.

He grinned and addressed Olivia. “I shall keep Ramon informed of any information that I might come across.” He tipped an imaginary hat. “I bid you a somewhat pleasant day, given the circumstances. You have my deepest condolences during this stressful time.”

Días and Ramon left the room and headed outside. After shaking hands, Días climbed in his vehicle and waved for the driver to depart.

As his car left the compound, a smile caressed Días’ cheeks. Who is behind the kidnapping? An inside job or is someone else making a move on the Moreno cartel? He shook his head. Whoever it is, this is not good for business. I know just the person to speak to.

* * * *

The thick foliage from a copse of rosy trumpet trees hid a brown Jeep Cherokee. Inside, a man focused his binoculars on Días’s vehicle. He watched the car grow smaller as it continued along the driveway from the hacienda toward the distant gate. He chuckled. Perfect!

Watch for another snippet next time.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adjust the format of my posts and website. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 26, 2020

The last couple of days we’ve been busy. On Friday night, we attended a black tie Burns Supper in honor of the Scottish national poet, Robert “Rabbie” Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759. The event was held on the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is docked in the Leith area of Edinburgh. We couldn’t get tickets for the event on his actual birthday, but this was close enough.

The evening began with being piped onto the ship using the same stairs/gangway the Queen and the Royal Family used. After boarding, we were escorted to the drawing room, where champagne, spiced apple juice, and canapés were served. Those who wanted a mini-tour broke into small groups. We were taken to the officer wardroom and dining room, followed by a visit to the admiral’s quarters. Anyone who needed a champagne refill never had to look far as there were plenty of staff standing by with fresh drinks.

Afterward, we were taken into the Royal Family’s quarters. While we could enter most of the rooms, sections of the walls had been cut away and replaced with glass so we could see inside. We were able to examine the Queen’s bedroom, Prince Philips’, and the honeymoon suite, used by Prince Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. We also viewed the areas where the Queen and Prince Phillip spent their working hours aboard the ship. 

After returning to the drawing room, we were entertained by a pianist until we were piped into the State Dining Room. Once seated, we were treated to a six-course meal, including the traditional haggis, neeps, and tatties, after the piping in of the haggis. For those who were not adventurous enough to try the haggis, the following course provided fillet mignon and seasonal vegetables.

Throughout dinner, two musicians provided background music, using a harp and flute. There were also three brief interludes where a guitarist sang some of Rabbie Burns’ poems and music, including “Auld Lang Syne.” After dinner we were further entertained by a captivating rendition of “Tam O’Shanter,” another of the bard’s well-known poems. This was performed in the Scots’ tongue from the time period when it was written.

The evening ended with a whiskey tasting back in the drawing room. We headed home at the point, but had an excellent evening celebrating Rabbie Burns’ birthday.

Yesterday was the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. With an overcast sky threatened to rain on the day and a cold win, there wasn’t a great deal of activity. However, I did sell four of my novels, three to the same individual. He had checked out my work back in November wheb we last attended but didn’t buy any at the time. Today, he decided to get all three of my published novels.

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

Florent Chrestien, French writer; Ugo Foscolo, Italian poet (Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis); Ludwig Joachim “Achim” von Arnim, German poet (Des Knaben Wunderhorn); Mary Mapes Dodge, American writer (Hans Brinker & the Silver Skates); Warner Fabian, [Samuel H Adams], American journalist/writer (Average Jones); Ludovicus H [Lode] Baekelmans, Flemish (stage) author (Tille); Ilya G Ehrenburg, writer (Fall of Paris, The Thaw); Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer/essayist (Carnaval of the Citizens); Romney Brent, Mexican-American actor and writer (Dinner at the Ritz); Kaye Webb, English writer/publisher (Puffin Club); Philip José Farmer, American sci-fi novelist (Riverworld); Michael Bentine, English author/comedian (Reluctant Jester); José María Valverde, Spanish philosopher, poet and translator (La espera, Historia de la literatura universal); Farman Fatehpuri [Syed Dildar Ali], Urdu scholar, linguist, critic and author; Ronald Allison, British author/broadcaster; Jonathan Carroll, American author; and Shannon Hale, American author.

Recognize anyone? I admit I’m not familiar with anyone on today’s list. 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

39375-96With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, there will be two specials regarding Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore coming up over the next week.  The first will be a Kindle countdown for Dangerous Alliance beginning on January 29th. There will also be a Kindle countdown for Carnage in Singapore beginning on February 1st.

Both are scheduled to run across the Amazon network, so don’t miss out, as this might not be offered again! What better time to grab yourself a global thriller novel for that special someone!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge. I’m midway through by second edit pass, having added over 7,000 words to the story. Over the past week, copies were sent to my team of ten beta readers. So far, two have already gone through the manuscript and responded with some good points. It’s likely the name may be adjusted before submission, but I’ll have to wait and see what my other beta readers have to say.  Things still appear to be on track for submission in early March or early April.

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

“Olivia, someone must want to chase you from the cartel.” Kruz rubbed his chin. “Will you leave?”

“No.” She hesitated before shaking her head. “Never.” She turned to Alonzo. “Get Ramon. We must find out who took my girls and get them back—at all costs.” If they’ve harmed my precious daughters, I’ll kill the bastardos.

* * * *

“Good evening.” A synthesized voice echoed throughout the room. “I believe everyone is present— Señor Kruz, Pedro, Alonzo, and Ramon. Of course, la jefa de la señora is with you, too.”

“Where are my children, you bastardo?” Olivia squeezed her fists into her lap, her face turning red. “How do you know who is here?”

The voice chuckled. “I have my ways, my dear.” The sounds of fingers snapping popped through the speaker. “Almost forgot. There’s someone who wants to speak with you.”

Silence.

“Mamá? Are you there?”

“Silvina! Are you okay? Where’s Maria?”

“Beside me, but she’s too frightened to speak.” Silvina lowered her voice. “The man—he’s the one who came into the—”

The sounds of a struggle came through the speaker.

“Ow! You’re hurting me.”

The synthesized voice returned. “Remember—leave Barranquilla … or your children will die!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Between editing, the Burns Supper, and the ‘makers’ market,’ I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts and provide another book review this time. Hopefully, I’ll have a couple of them for you next week.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 19, 2020

We’re finally getting some respite from the constant rain and dreary skies. It’s still coming down each day or evening, but the dry, sunny spells are more frequent and lasting longer. This morning, though, we began with a bit of ground frost.

With temperatures getting into the upper 40s F (upper single digits C) and even occasionally hitting the mid 50s F (low double digits C) it won’t be long before outdoor spring cleaning will be upon us. Yesterday, when I was getting our favorite newspaper, there was a customer walking out of the store with a brand new rake!

I also understand my blog has been nominated by D.L. Finn for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’ll provide my input for this award next week, but many thanks to D.L.!

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

Noel Alexandre, French theologian/historian; Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, French writer (Paul et Virgin); Isaiah Thomas, American printer/editor/publisher/historian; Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish historian/poet (Blommorna); Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet and critic (The Pit and the Pendulum) considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre (Murders in the Rue Morgue); Gustav Meyrink, writer; Hans Erich Blaich [Dr. Owlglass], German writer (Simplicissimus); Marie Koenen, author/wife of Felix Rutten (Wassend Cereal); Boris Savinkov, Russian writer; Alexander Woollcott, American critic and short story writer (The Man Who Came to Dinner); Heinrich Schmist-Barrien, German author (Moorkeerl); Phyllis Flowerdew, school Reading text author; Rex Ingamells, Australian poet; Patricia Highsmith, [Plangman], US/Swiss writer (Strangers on a Train); Jean Francois Revel, French journalist/author (Ni Marx ni Jesus); Nina [Mary] Bawden, English author (Afternoon of a Good Woman); Libera Carlier, Flemish author (Action Station Go!); Julian Barnes, England, writer (Before She Met Me); and Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American author.

Were any names familiar to you? I’m sure most people will have heard of Edgar Allan Poe, even if you haven’t read any of his 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

Slide1Thus far this year, I’m still concentrating on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass should be completed this upcoming week. So far, I’ve added over 5,000 words to the story. I now have nine committed beta readers. They’ll receive a copy by the end of the month, so I can adjust the story based on their feedback. Things appear to be on track for submission in early March, but they could still slip.

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

Most of the men fired AK-47s, but the squad leaders used M4 and SA-80 assault rifles stolen from various military base arsenals across Europe. Each man began with a stack of magazines, replacing the empty ones as if their lives depended upon it. Before long, Michael and Alberto’s last shots faded away while the surrounding thirty men finished their practice.

The aroma of breakfast replaced the smell of discharged weapons. Días’ men dragged out metal containers filled with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and bacon. The students filed past, filling plates. Most skipped the bacon, but a few glanced around before sneaking a piece or two.

Alberto and Michael joined Días at a folding table while the others found areas to sit on the ground under the trees.

Días shoveled food into his mouth, not bothering to swallow before speaking. “I have an unusual treat for your training.”

“Your facilities are excellent, both for target shooting and the obstacle course.” Michael smiled. “I assume you’ve held sufficient training sessions.”

Días nodded. “Yes, when FARC was busy fighting the government, we had plenty of recruits join us. Most of them learned their skills here.” He pointed to his right. “My present to you.”

A dozen guards led six men toward the table. Their arms were tied in front of them. Heads cast down, they bore numerous cuts and bruises.

He glared at them. “You know the punishment.” Días turned to Michael and Alberto. “Government troops could have raided us at any time. These men betrayed me by sleeping on guard duty. They’ll help your men sharpen their skills.”

Alberto rubbed his chin. “How?”

“Your men will face fierce opposition from the Norte Americanos. Why not train against real targets?”

“What do you propose?” Michael’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I suggest you break your men into six groups.” Días gestured to the distant hills. “Each of the prisoners will be given a weapon or two, and a ten-minute head start. If they can reach the perimeter fence, they shall live.” He shrugged. “However, your teams will be free to hunt them down—and kill them.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading When Can I stop Running by John Podlaski. Follow the incredible story of two Detroit teenagers as they spend a haunting night in a listening post outside their new firebase. All around them were the enemy and they had no idea if they would make it through the night.

John has created a very realistic plot and characters. I kept turning the pages, wanting to find out if they survived the night. Flashbacks to their earlier lives enhances the realism and makes you feel as if you’re there with them. Only someone who has lived through this type of event can apply the realism needed to convey what the teenagers experienced. This is the first novel of John’s that I’ve read and it won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 12, 2020

With each tick of the calendar, the sun is rising earlier and staying around a bit longer each day. If there was only a control for the rain! At least the white stuff has stayed away thus far. Won’t be long and we’ll begin preparing the flower beds for planting!

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

Andreas Alicatus, Italian author; Charles Perrault, French author and fairy tale writer (Tales of Mother Goose); Edmund Burke, British author (Philosophy & Inquiry); Jacob M R Lenz, writer (Das Leidende Weib); Erik Gustaf Geijer, Swedish historian/poet (Natthimmelen); Louise Sophie Blussé, Dutch author; Francois Coppee, French poet; Marika Stiernstedt, Swedish author (Ulla Bella); Jack London, American writer/socialist (Call of the Wild); Paul Jarrico, American writer; Jennifer Johnston, Irish author (Fool’s sanctuary); Alain Teister, Dutch writer; Helmut Eisendle, Austrian writer; Jacques Hamelink, Dutch writer & poet (Cold Unrest); William Nicholson, English writer; Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer (Norwegian Wood); Charles Faulkner, American motivational speaker & author; Walter Mosley, American novelist; and Lasana M. Sekou, Caribbean poet & author (The Salt Reaper).

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group, except for Charles Perrault. Who has heard of Mother Goose? 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

1541181671Thus far this year, I’ve concentrated on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass is almost completed, and I’ve added around 3,000 words to the story. I’ve lined up seven beta readers, too. They’ll receive a copy as soon as the first edit is completed so I can adjust the story based on their feedback.

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

A police officer stopped the traffic as the back end of a white Hyundai came level with the road.

Javier swallowed and closed his eyes. AJ’s rental—I’m sure that’s the license plate number she mentioned when we last spoke. He opened his eyes and stared at the car.

The police officer blew a whistle, motioning for traffic to continue.

Javier pulled onto the side of the road after he cleared the emergency vehicles. Jumping out, he rushed toward the damaged vehicle.

“Alto, señor.” The police officer grabbed Javier’s arm.

“My wife—that’s her car.” He took in a deep breath. “Is she—”

“Relax, señor. They found her outside the vehicle.”

“Is she—”

The police officer smiled and waved in the direction of Colon “She’s alive. The first ambulance took her to the Manuel Amador Guerrero Hospital. Take Highway 3 toward Nuevo Cristobal and turn right on Calle 11.”

***

Javier picked up a spoon and sampled the dish. He chewed for a moment before swallowing.

“Well?”

“Needs salt.” He helped himself to more.

AJ yawned. “Enjoy. So what’s the plan?”

“When I drove back to the port, I saw the Barwal underway. I pretended to be a nosy gringo and asked someone where the ship was headed. The guy shrugged and glanced at a clipboard hanging on the wall of his shed.”

“What did he say?”

Javier grinned.

“Okay. You’re forgiven for abandoning me. Did he tell you the ship’s next destination?”

He nodded. “Turbo.”

“Yes!” AJ punched the air. “Ow!” She grimaced.

“I suggest we call in additional help. Recommend bringing some of my guys here while we head to Colombia as soon as you’re released.”

“Agreed.” AJ yawned again. “I’m going to rest.” She switched off the light above her bed.

“Sweet dreams.” Javier settled back in his chair and pulled a tablet from his shoulder bag. He used a special cable to connect the device to his satellite phone and composed a message.

To: Jararaca

From: Cobra

Mission progressing as planned. Request immediate dispatch of four-person team to take over surveillance duties as we continue following the Barwal.

Javier hit transmit and put away his SAT phone and iPad. He stepped to the window and tilted the blinds to block the late afternoon sun streaming in before returning to his seat.

He glanced at the now-sleeping AJ and smiled. Am I falling for this woman? She looks like an angel—so beautiful when she’s asleep. He shook his head. Focus on the mission. Must find out who did this … and eliminate them.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard’s Two For The Money is a riveting who-done-it story. Follow the realistic characters portrayed by Harry Starke and Lieutenant Kate Gazzara as they try to unravel who stole 350 million dollars from an investment firm and killed one of the owners.

You’ll be turning the pages as fast as you can to find out who might be involved. Could it be one of the other owners or someone else? Every time I thought I knew who was responsible, Harry and Kate would uncover another piece of the puzzle pointing to someone else.

If you enjoy mystery and crime stories with riveting plots and unexpected twists, this one is for you!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 5, 2020

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The holidays are behind us and the decorations are packed away for another year. Now we’re getting plenty of advice on television and in the newspapers on how to lose the extra pounds we might have gained during the holidays and where to go for this year’s vacation.

So far the white stuff has stayed away, at least in our area. Of course, something had to replace it. Rather than crisp and sunny days, we’re greeted with mild temperatures and rain. Too bad we can’t shift some of that water to areas fighting fires!

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

André Henri Constant van Hasselt, Belgian poet (La Belgium); Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet & writer; Khristo Botev, Bulgarian poet & nationalist revolutionary; Gustaf af Geijerstam, Swedish author (Boken om Lillebror); Herbert Bayard Swope, U.S. journalist who coined the term “Cold War”; Humbert Wolfe, Italian-born British poet; Paula Ludwig, Austrian-German poet; Dorothea “Stella” Gibbons, English author (Cold Comfort Farm); Anton Ingolic, Slavic author (After Splavih, After Prelomu); Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Swiss playwright and novelist (The Physicists, The Visit); Robert L. Bernstein, American publisher (Random House); William De Witt Snodgrass, American poet; Umberto Eco, Italian philosopher and author (Name of the Rose); Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Kenyan writer; Michael O’Donoghue, American writer and performer (Saturday Night Live, Scrooged); and Terenci Moix, Spanish writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group. 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 is competing in the 2019 Chanticleer International Books Awards for the global thrillers category. Since there are sixteen categories, they closed at different times during the year and progression through the various stages to the finals happen at different times.

I found out this week Carnage in Singapore has move from the slush pile to the long list. Now it’s competing with seventeen other novels to find out who will make the semi-final list. More to follow as the results are revealed.

My Work in Progress

1541181671Over the holidays and this first part of 2020, I’ve concentrated on editing A Cartel’s Revenge is well underway. Plenty still to do as I continue to move forward. I’m also working my way through a myriad of potential covers, but I still have time to make a decision.

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

Their American Airlines flight touched down on a patched runway Steve Day at Tocumen International Airport outside Panama City as scheduled. They cleared customs and exited the terminal. Arms linked, they strolled to a nearby taxi rank and approached the first cab.

“Excuse me, would you take my husband and me to our hotel?” AJ stared at Javier as she squeezed his uninjured arm. “We got married this morning in Miami and came here for our honeymoon.”

“Si, señora. What is the name of your hotel?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea. John, do you remember?”

“Why I sure do, pumpkin. The Hotel Coral Suites.”

The driver opened the rear door for the newlyweds to enter. “An excellent hotel. The journey will take about thirty minutes. I can also show you the scenic route along the water. Perhaps an extra twenty minutes.”

AJ glanced at her new husband and fluttered her eyelids. “What do you think, darling?”

“Let’s go straight to the hotel, pumpkin. I’m bushed.”

“No way!” AJ shook her head. “Not tonight!”

Javier laughed and helped AJ inside the taxi.

The taxi pushed through the heavy evening traffic, as the driver alternated between his horn and the brakes.

AJ snuggled into Javier. “Oh, darling, what a brilliant idea to surprise me with this trip.”

She caught the driver watching in the rearview mirror, so she gave Javier a sloppy kiss on his cheek. “I thought we’d go to the Smokey Mountains or something. Why, we didn’t even have time to pack our bags.”

“Sweetheart, we can always go to the mountains. This trip came up at the last moment, and I couldn’t resist. You can buy whatever you need.” Javier returned AJ’s kiss, causing the driver to swerve as a car stopped in front of them. “We’ll fish on Gatun Lake, take a tour boat from one end of the canal to the other, and try our luck at the casino.”

Once they arrived at the hotel, Javier paid the driver, giving him a generous tip to remember them by, and escorted his bride inside. Javier took care of the formalities at the check-in desk, while AJ headed to a small boutique she spotted as they entered.

A bellboy led them to their suite, pushing a cart with AJ’s various purchases. After he unlocked the door, Javier scooped AJ in his arms and carried her across the threshold.

Alone at last, secured in their room, they scrutinized their surroundings.

AJ tossed her bags on one of the king-sized beds. “I claim this one—closest to the bathroom.” She raised her eyebrows at Javier. “I hope you don’t snore.”

“From time to time.” Javier chuckled. “You can always crawl in next to me so you can nudge me without having to leave your bed.” He patted the covers.

“I think our arrival charade is over for now, darling.” AJ laughed. “Don’t think anyone will expect a new bride and groom to be here with an ulterior motive.”

“Whatever you think is best, pumpkin. Who gets the bathroom first?”

“Why darling, haven’t you learned anything? Ladies are always first.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang is a riveting story set during the period when Rome controlled Britannia. Follow the trials and tribulations of Adelbhert after he and his sister are taken by the Romans from their mother. They eventually end up as slaves in what is modern-day London. Adelbhert performs a nightly ritual to remind himself of the suffering he and his sister have endured, beginning with the crucifixion of their father. He vows to escape and punish those who have wronged him.

V.M. has created a moving story which will keep you turning the pages to find out how Adelbhert and his sister handle their new life. Experience their sorrow, anguish, and finally hope as they adapt to their changing situation. This is the first novel I’ve red of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

I also completed Gordon Bickerstaff’s The Black Fox. This will keep you on the edge as you turn the pages to find out what happens next. Follow special forces-trained Zoe Tampsin and bumbling scientist Gavin Shawlens as they are plunged into the abyss. Why does the CIA want Gavin killed? You’ll burn the midnight oil as this engaging story will keep you wanting to know more.

As with all of Gordon’s works, he’s created another excellent plot with a superb twist. I won’t share the ending–you’ll have to grab a copy of Black Knight, but it’s a spell-binding winner! Can’t wait to read more of Gordon’s stories.

This brings us to a close for the first weekend of 202. 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 15, 2019

Yesterday, I made an important trip to Edinburgh Airport. Our son arrived from Washington, D.C. for a two-week holiday visit. Need to say, it’s fantastic to see him.

Earlier this year, we joined Historic Scotland–an excellent way to learn about the history, culture, and the people. One of our first events is today, when we’re heading to Edinburgh Castle for lunch. We’ve been to the castle a couple of times before to see the exhibits and also for the Military Tattoo, but this will be our fine time dining there. More next week on how things went.

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

Charles Cowden Clarke, English editor and Shakespearean critic; Henry Charles Carey, American economist (Principles of Poli Economy); Edmond Picard, French-Belgian lawyer and writer (La forge Roussel); Emilio Jacinto, Filipino poet and revolutionary; Ferdinand Hardekopf, German writer and journalist; Hans Carossa, German writer; Pieter Geyl, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch Tribe); Artturi Leinonen, Finnish journalist and writer (Kati); Maxwell Anderson, American dramatist (Winter Set, High Tor); Betty Smith, American novelist (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn); Muriel Rukeyser, American poet (The Book of the Dead); Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee, Pakistani Urdu linguist and writer; Ida Haendel, Polish-British violinist and author (Woman with Violin); Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer (Girl with Green Eyes, Casualties of Peace); Donald Woods, South African journalist, anti-apartheid activist and author (Biko, Asking for Trouble); John Sladek, American sci-fi author (Tik-Tok, Bugs);and Michael King, New Zealand historian and author (Penguin History of New Zealand).

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group. 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

1541181671Editing of A Cartel’s Revenge continues. Plenty still to do as I continue to move forward. I’m also working my way through a myriad of potential covers, but I still have time to make a decision.

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

The light of dawn filtered through barred windows. It captured a pitiful creature curled in a ball on a dirty mattress, covered by a threadbare gray blanket. Clumps of aged straw held together by the sweat of countless residents served as a pillow. The stench of vomit and stale urine filled the air.

A rooster crowed once, twice, three times. The hapless inmate stirred, moaning as he pulled the blanket over his head as if this would reduce the racket.

Two guards walked between the rows of cells, banging their batons against the bars. “Wake up, you lazy peasants. Inspection time.” One guard, a ragged red scar running from his right eye to his chin, stopped at Alonzo’s cell. “Out of bed. This isn’t a hotel. On your feet.”

***

What’s going on? Something’s wrong. I need help. Alonzo groaned as he shifted his weight to ease the pain in his lower back and upper legs. Why did they beat me? Do they understand who I am?

“Hurry up, or I’ll give you more bruises.”

Alonzo did as instructed. The guard slapped cuffs on him so he couldn’t move. The man grinned at him. “You have a visitor. He’ll be here soon.” The guard chuckled as he walked away.

Perhaps Ramon? Pedro?

A commotion took place at the entrance to the cellblock. Moments later, Colonel Santiago and three soldiers approached. Grim-faced, the colonel stared at Alonzo, not saying a word.

He hung his head. “Colonel—”

“Silence.” The single word uttered by Colonel Santiago echoed throughout the cells. All conversations ceased.

“Had it not been for my daughter you would rot here.” The colonel continued to glare at him. “I ignored the rumors about your family, but can’t believe your involvement in—in drug running.”

More next time.

Whenever I need an editing break, I continue to work on Ultimate Escalation. The draftsSlide1 of the first five chapters have been completed. To date, they’ve received fifty-six reviews on the two online subscription writing sites I use. Excellent suggestions as always to enhance my stories.

For those who enjoy the twists and turns I include in my novels, there will be more appearing in this one.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard’s, The Assassin, the third book in the Harry Starke Genesis series, ranks right up there with his best work. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as I kept turning the pages to follow Harry and Kate Gazzara as they deal with someone trying to kill Senator Hawke. With a thrilling plot, plenty of realistic characters and loads of twists and turns Blair doesn’t disappoint with this story. As with all of Harry’s exploits, I kept turning the pages late into the evening. My only regret is I have to wait for the next installment in the series! 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, December 1, 2019

As we begin the final month of 2019, Mother Nature is certainly hard at work. Locally, the continued frosty mornings has now resulted in the grass having the appearance of being snow-covered. However, a quick check revealed this is indeed frost. So far, no white flakes have appeared. In fact, it’s a bit warmer this morning at 28F (-2C).

Yesterday we attended the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. While a chilly day as it’s held in a covered walkway, the organizers ensured all vendors kept warm by supplying free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. I was delighted to sign copies of my novels for four customers!

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

Anna Comnena, Byzantine historian; Anna Louisa Karsch “Die Karschin”, German poet; Eggert Olafsson, Icelandic writer; Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin, Russian writer; Valery Bryusov, Russian poet; Pierre Kemp, Dutch poet (Fugitives & Constants); Rex Stout, American mystery writer (Nero Wolf novels); Willem E Crown, Antillian writer; Henry Williamson, English author; Manuel A Neat, Curacaos author (Nobleza di Coerazon); Charles Finney, American author (Circus of Dr Lao); Jan Koplowitz, German writer; Joachim Hoffmann, German historian; John Crowley, American sci-fi author (Deep, Beasts, Novelty); Tahar Ben Jelloun, French writer of Moroccan origin; Daniel Pennac, French writer; and John Schlimm, American author.

Were any names familiar to you? There were a couple for me, including Rex Stout and John Crowley. 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 CoverYesterday was the final day for submissions to the 2019 Chanticleer International Books Awards for the global thrillers category. Since there are sixteen categories, they close at different times during the year.

I submitted Carnage in Singapore in early September to ensure I made the deadline. Now, it’s a case of waiting for the results. The first notification will be in late December/early January when the move from the slush pile to the long list is announced. This will be followed by the short list, semi-finals, etc, until the first in category winners and the grand prize division winners are announced on April 18th.

DA-3D-coverAs a reminder, Dangerous Alliance was one of the seven Global Thrillers category winners for the 2018 competition. It would be fantastic to have Carnage in Singapore match or exceed this result, but as always, the competition will be stiff. Of course, even getting to the semi-finals like The Kurdish Connection did would be a thrill. Good luck to all who entered!

Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.

My Work in Progress

1541181671Editing of A Cartel’s Revenge is well underway. Plenty still to do as I continue to move forward. I’m still working my way through a myriad of potential covers, but I still have time to make a decision.

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

AJ and Javier found Tex’s office empty and made themselves comfortable.

“I don’t think Bill’s too happy with us being here.” Javier stared at the ceiling as if he suspected there might be listening devices.

“We informed him about our mission before we departed.” AJ shrugged. “Most station chiefs dislike encroachment on their territory, so his comments didn’t bother me. I could tell you some stories—”

“Sorry, I stepped out.” Tex entered the office and handed over cold Cokes, popping the top on his. “Been checking over the vehicle I requisitioned. Nondescript. Dented. Local plates. Should fit right in.”

“Is there someplace we can crash for a few hours?” Javier nodded toward AJ. “I think we should rest.”

“Sure, the embassy maintains a few Conex boxes set up for visitors. Nothing fancy: bed, TV, fridge, shower, and toilet. We’ll stop by the commissary so you can grab a few things.”

After a quick trip for some provisions, Tex took them to their sleeping quarters. “What time do you want to meet this evening?”

“About six p.m.” AJ stuck out her hand. “Thanks for your help.”

***

“Get ready … go.”

Javier and AJ bailed out of the vehicle as Tex slowed, weapon pouches attached to a belt below their vests. A waterproof black bag containing a breathing apparatus and swim fins was secured to the back of their belts. They rolled, came to their feet, and scurried to the ten-foot-high chain link fence.

Javier knelt by the mesh while AJ grabbed wire cutters from her belt. She snipped through the rusted fence, creating a hole to slide through. After pushing the wire back in place, they hugged the ground while Javier used night vision goggles to scope out the ship.

Quiet, no guards in sight. Two lights onboard, one fore, one aft. No traffic on the street, so they dashed to the ship’s side. A metal gangplank led from the dock to the ship toward the bow. Near the stern, the ship’s accommodation ladder was lowered to form a second access point.

Weapons in hand, AJ and Javier stole up the stern walkway, their heads swiveling left to right.

Silent as a tomb.

More next time.

1539535798Whenever I need an editing break, I continue to work on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter four is currently underway. To date, the first three chapters have received thirty reviews on the two online subscription writing sites I use. Excellent suggestions as always to enhance my stories.

For those who enjoy the twists and turns I include in my novels, there will be more appearing in this one.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished The Power of Three, the second novel in JC Ryan’s Rex Dalton Thriller series.

Rex was sent on a mission to Afghanistan to gather information about the opium trade. His mission brief was to find out who were the key players, the trade routes, and to follow the money trail from the producers, distributors into the coffers of Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Before long he had opened a can of worms revealing spine chilling deceit and corruption that reached into the highest hallways of power in Afghanistan, America, and Europe.

Once again JC has created realistic characters to augment Rex. Stand by for a whirlwind tour through various locations, as Rex fights for his survival while still helping those who have are mired in helplessness by unfortunate circumstances. A fantastic story, which will keep you up late at night turning the pages!

I also thoroughly enjoyed Tabula Rasa by Gordon Bickerstaff. Join Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, as they try to unravel mystery surrounding the unusual death of a government scientist. Once again, Gordon has developed an exciting plot with plenty of twists and turns as the story unfolds.

For those who enjoy non-stop action, this one is for you! With realistic characters, several intriguing settings and a group of visionaries trying to recreate the world as they want it to be, you’ll find yourself burning the midnight oil as you won’t want to put it 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, November 24, 2019

With the late sunrises and early sunsets, we’ve turned to a few indoor chores as the weather is too unsettled do continue outside. Armed with a few decorating devices, new paint has been added to walls in the living and dining rooms, along with the stairwell providing access to the four levels of the house. We’re slowly putting our stamp on the property.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 24th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Charles, Duke of Orléans, French poet; Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar, Spanish poet; Laurence Sterne, Irish novelist/satirist (Tristram Shandy); Thomas Dick, Scottish scientific teacher and writer; Ludwig Bechstein, German poet; Collodi, [Carlo Lorenzini], Italian author (Pinocchio); Frances Hodgson Burnett, British-American playwright and children’s author (“The Secret Garden”); oão da Cruz, Brazilian poet; Dale Carnegie, author (How to Win Friends & Influence People); Cissy van Marxfield, [Setske Beek-de Haan], Dutch author; Ward Morehouse, American theater critic and newspaper columnist; Harry Kemelman, US detective author (rabbi-omnibus); Hotze de Roos, Dutch youth book author (Chameleon); Captain Stubby [Tom Fouts], American author and comedian (Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers); Alun Owen, North Wales, writer (Hard Days Night)/actor (Servant); William F. Buckley Jr, American conservative author and commentator (National Review, Firing Line); Ahmadou Kourouma, Ivorian writer; Spencer Johnson, American author (Who Moved My Cheese?); Eric Wilson, Canadian children’s author; Claudia Dreifus, interviewer/author (7 Stories); Jules Deelder, Dutch poet (T of Vondel); Spider Robinson, Canadian sci-fi author (3 Hugo, Callahan’s Secret); and Arundhati Roy, Indian activist and writer (The God of Small Things).

Were any names familiar to you? There were a couple for me, including William F. Buckley Jr and Dale Carnegie. 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

DAcoveraward

Two of my novels participated in the 2019 Cover Contest sponsored by http://www.authorsdb.com. I’m delighted to say both were recognized!

TKCcoveraward

My Work in Progress

1541181671Editing continues on A Cartel’s Revenge when time permits. Over the past week, additional chapter reviews were posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The total now stands at 572, and increase of seventeen over the past week. As always, plenty of good advice for improving my writing.

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

Shocked by the unexpected activity, Alonzo stood still.

“Jefe, you must come. Now. The federales are raiding.” A hunchbacked man grabbed Alonzo’s arm and tugged him into motion.

They stumbled into the trees at a distant point from the commotion and stopped. Ahead of them, a ragged line of government troops, weapons held in front, weaved their way forward.

“Alto! Down on your knees. Hands behind your back. Now!”

Alonzo and his companion sank to their knees. Soldiers yanked on their arms, forcing them together while others clamped on handcuffs. Once secured, each man received a rifle butt to the back, knocking him flat.

More troops piled into the compound, shooting four workers holding weapons. Their bodies collapsed to the ground and lay still.

Those who put their hands in the air didn’t escape punishment. Rifles, pistols, even a whip, were used to subdue them.

Three aging military transport vehicles pulled into the center of the grassy courtyard. One truck contained the bodies of the four guards killed at the entrance. Those captured were forced to climb over the bodies into the transports. Soldiers jumped up beside them.

Other soldiers set the buildings on fire. Red and orange flames reached for the sky as thick black smoke spiraled upward.

“What is the meaning of this? These are my people, and this is private—” A pistol slammed against the back of his head and silenced Alonzo’s protest.

Two men tossed him into a truck. The remainder of the troops boarded the vehicles and soon departed, leaving behind death and destruction.

***

A man watching the commotion from a distant ridge lowered his binoculars after they dragged Alonzo away. He chuckled as he picked up a backpack and disappeared into the brush.

“Olivia, this is only the beginning. Soon you’ll beg for mercy.”

More next time.

1539535798Work also continued on my fourth novel in the Bedlam series, Ultimate Escalation. The first two chapters have been edited based on the original reviews and reposted. It’s already received sixteen chapter reviews!

In case you missed it in a previous post or would like a refresher, here’s the synopsis:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandr Nikolai, a disgraced Spetsnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t get a chance to finish my review of The Power of Three, the second novel in JC Ryan’s Rex Dalton Thriller series, so I’ll have it for you next time.

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, November 17, 2019

We noticed the two hedgehog houses we provided for our wildlife friends last year are now occupied. Some straw has been dragged out and replaced with leaves we piled near the structures for their use. We put two containers with hedgehog food and another with water in close proximity. Our cats don’t like this food, so we’re fairly confident the hedgehogs are still grazing during the evening.

Since we’ve seen three hedgehogs at the same occasion during the summer, we decided to purchase another home, as the ‘hogs’ appear to like solitary residences. The new house is ready, in what we’re now referring to as ‘The Village.’

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 17th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johan van Beverwijck, Dutch physician/writer (Treasure of Health); George Grote, British historian (History of Greece); Petko Slavejkov, Bulgarian writer; Crane Wilbur, American director and writer (Bat, Canon City, Yellow Cargo); Gregorio López y Fuentes, Mexican author; Roger Vitrac, French poet/dramatist (Coup of Trafalgar); Salomėja Nėris [Salomėja Bačinskaitė – Bučienė], Lithuanian poet; Wazyk, [Adam Wagman], Polish poet/author (Eyes & Mouth); Dahlia Ravikovitch, Israeli poet;  Auberon Waugh, British author; Lorne Michaels [Lipowitz], Canadian producer, actor and comedy writer (Saturday Night Live); Steven E. de Souza, American scriptwriter; Mark “Chopper” Read, Australian criminal and crime author (Chopper: From the Inside); and Christopher Paolini, American novelist.

Were any names familiar to you? None stood out for 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!

My Work in Progress

1541181671I began editing A Cartel’s Revenge this week, taking advantage of the many chapter reviews posted on the two subscription writing sites I use. The number of reviews increased during the past week by thirty-three, reading 555. I’ll keep the later chapters posted for now, but the earlier ones will be deleted from the sites as I select suggestions I want to use.

Over the next few days, I’ll begin looking for another photo to use as the cover. Once I have picked a number of pictures, I’ll solicit input from my reviews on what they think is top five to use–my publisher will make the final selection.

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

Días helped himself to a cerveza and directed the men to the seating area. Once everyone settled into the plush leather sofas, chitchat ceased.

“Alberto, when we met last month, you mentioned working as a recruiter for an organization wanting an out-of-the-way place to train new personnel.”

“Si. My—our organization has a special mission. We must convert everyone to the one true religion.”

“Weren’t you raised Catholic?”

“Yes.” Alberto raised a finger in the air. “But no longer. My new brothers call me Abdul.”

“And what about you, Michael?”

“I grew up in the Church of England. Disillusioned, I studied several religions until I settled on Islam. Now I go by Mahmood.”

“If you don’t mind, while you’re in Colombia I’ll keep referring to you as Alberto and Michael.”

“No problem.” Alberto pointed at Michael. “We use our original names for traveling—makes it easier to cross borders.”

“During our training in al-Raqqah, our instructors singled us out,” Michael paused before whispering. “As non-Arab members of the Islamic State, we’re able to move about easier than our Middle Eastern brethren.”

“What do you hope to achieve in Colombia?” Días switched his gaze between the two men.

“We want to establish a foothold so we can train recruits.” Michael stroked his reddish-brown beard. “These men will be from various countries. Once they arrive in Colombia, I’ll be their commander. After their training, their Western features will allow them to infiltrate America with ease.”

***

“When will you require the camp?”

“In about two weeks.” Alberto deferred to Michael, who gave a slight shrug and took over.

“What about payment? We can handle this via bearer bonds, diamonds, gold, or electronic transfer through a dummy corporation.”

Días gave them an evil smile. “Money isn’t necessary. But, I’ll ask a favor for my help. Once your men are trained, I want their assistance in taking over a drug cartel.”

He paused before voicing his desire. “I also want them to capture or kill the cartel’s leader: Olivia Perfecta Moreno.”

More next time.

While I was working on this manuscript, I was also tinkering with the opening chapters 1539535798of the fourth novel in my Bedlam series, Ultimate Escalation. Three chapters were posted to the two subscription writing sites, and I received forty-four very helpful reviews.

I’ve started editing these chapters and once I finish, I’ll begin posting the revisions and continuing to work on this story.

In case you missed it in a previous post or would like a refresher, here’s the synopsis:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandr Nikolai, a disgraced Spetsnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Fulcrum, the first novel in JC Ryan’s Rex Dalton Thriller series. Rex’s life is turned upside down when quite by chance he escaped a horrible terrorist attack in Madrid. Despite a loving girlfriend, the loss of his family is too much for him. He pushes his girlfriend aside as he searches for a way to avenge their deaths.

With a riveting plot and larger-than-life characters, JC takes readers on a whirlwind tour of exotic locations. But first, we find out how Rex will carry out his plan. The story is well-written and you’ll find it hard to put down. I don’t like to spoil stories for others, so you’ll have to get a copy, but this is a fantastic story. I’ve already become a fan of JC’s work and will definitely be continuing to read more!

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.

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