Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – May 22, 2016

Dare I tempt fate? Shh. We’ve had sunshine for the past week with temperatures ranging from 58 to 70.  Being on one of the Great Lakes, that’s good enough for this time of year. We continue to host a bevy of visitors in our apple tree, from blue jays, cardinals, to Baltimore orioles, rose-breast grosbeaks, and a pair of hummingbirds. Even a small squirrel partakes of the culinary delights waiting for our friends.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

It’s been quiet on the writing front this week–no publishing house rejections (or offers). In the meantime, writing continues as and when external requirements allow.

Last week I mentioned joining channillo.com and posting chapters. I now have fourteen followers and three subscriptions. Off to a good start!

A bit more from ‘The Kurdish Connection’:

“We always anticipated something like this.” Afran rubbed at the patch over an eye lost in a Turkish attack the previous year.

“I agree—back home too much talk but no action.” Dersim continued in a whisper. “This is why some of the money from selling our goods will be given to help them.”

This was the first of many discussions regarding their support of the PKK freedom fighters, or as the Turkish government referred to them–terrorist.

An elderly woman approached Dersim as he returned to his vehicle. She held out her wrinkled, arthritic hands. “This is all I own of value. My husband’s—the Turks killed him.” On one palm lay a gold watch; on the other, six small gold coins, still attached to red ribbons, customary gifts given to couples on their wedding day.

Shades of ebony, crimson, and gold gave way to a deepening cobalt sky as the sun’s rays burned away the night. A lone golden eagle circled high above, scanning the ground in search of food.

“I used to sell brass, copper, carpets, other tourist things. Foreigners said my prices too cheap. Someone called me Charlie—I thought good name for business—Cheap Charlie’s.”

“What happened to your store?”

“Sold stuff too cheap, go out of business.”

More next week. If you’d like to read compete chapters, check out channillo.com.

My Work in Progress

I continued reviewing critiques and the “Sunset Thrillers” beta group feedback of ‘The Kurdish Connection’. As always, I found excellent recommendations to improve the story.  My review is now complete through chapter seventeen. This past week I finished editing chapters thirteen and fourteen, and they’re re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Work on chapter fifteen is well underway and I hope to have it completed and posted this evening.

I also continued editing my submission for a Strongest Start Book Competition, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’. Chapter one is now completed and posted.

Books I’m Reading

During the past week I finish reading ‘Levant Mirage‘ by Oliver F. Chase. This is a fast-pace and exciting read.  U.S. Army Major Adam Michaels‘ life is a roller-coaster ride, wealthy, divorced, a promising career shattered because of a battlefield mistake. On the brink of being forced out of the military, terrorists have Adam in their sights. The terrorists figured a way to use technology developed by Adam and two others in a forgotten life to threaten billions of people. Even the two who helped develop the technology aren’t what they seem. A riveting story that’s hard to put down once you begin reading.

I’m also reading a book written by one of the “Sunset Thrillers’ beta group. Since this is unpublished material, I won’t be providing any public feedback, but once the story’s available to everyone, I’ll be happy to do so.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Sideways Eight Series – by AJ Wallace. I introduced AJ and her first novel, ‘Mindfield‘ a few weeks ago, but want to remind readers of this up and coming author.

James Radcliffe – Check out the blog of James Radcliffe–musician, writer, and spoken word artist. He donates a percentage of his profits to a charity helping orphaned children in Nepal.

Writing Resources

A writing colleague suggested two books to me this week:

The Scene Book – by Sandra Scofield. The author provides advice on creating more effective scenes.

Making a Scene – by Jordan Rosenfeld. Learn the fundamentals of constructing a strong scene and how character, plot, and dramatic tension function without the overall framework.

Once again, we’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – May 8, 2016

First and foremost:  Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and mothers-to-be.  Hope your men are taking good care of you on your special day.  The weather’s been great all week here and we’ve started Mother’s Day with brilliant sunshine.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

This is the second time I’ve tried to write my ramblings today.  I was about to hit save when Shadow, one of our cats, decided to jump from the floor and landed on the keyboard. Despite every possible effort to recover what I wrote, whatever combination of keys he landed on ensured that nothing was found.  So, here we are, thirty minutes later, and I’ll begin again. Shadow’s outside in the sunshine, which is what he wanted.

I completed my final submission to a publishing house, at least for now.  I’m concentrating on editing and fine-tuning my manuscript.  Later this week I’ll be attending an online conference meeting with the other members of my group to receive their assessment of my writing. I’m looking forward to the session.

During the past week I also received feedback from three editors who reviewed the first 4,500 words of my manuscript. I received some good advice, which is always helpful, but also disagreed with some recommendations as I felt they changed the context of the story. I’m sure all writers go through this and it’s part of the journey.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

When he entered the canteen, Jürgen sat at a table in the corner, remnants of three boiled eggs center stage on his plate as he spread jam on his toast. He wiped a hand across his beard to shake loose any crumbs as CC approached. Guten morgen. Are you ready for another exciting day?”

Jürgen worked on what turned out to be a T-pillar, believed to be near the center of the structure, about fifteen feet high, with a circumference of twelve feet. As Jürgen cleared away soil and debris from the sides of the pillar, he spotted a figure. “Gott im Himmel! Might be a lizard.”

As the men climbed back up the hill, CC spotted a slender, dark-haired man. Dressed in baggy pants, loose-fitting shirt, and floppy hat, he appeared to be another Turkish worker, but the backpack slung over his shoulder seemed out of place. He turned in a circle as if trying to gather his bearings, and rushed away. CC kept an eye on the man until he disappeared.

Once they arrived in Al-Bab, Dave drove around to show Ben various areas of the flourishing city of 150,000 inhabitants. Leaving the M4 and entering the city, the streets became narrow, crammed with trucks, buses, cars, with occasional donkey-drawn carts and wandering pedestrians. Whitewashed buildings jostled for space, with small stores embedded among apartment blocks

Across the street, a short, thin man dressed in a black didashah, with a red and white shumaq huddled in the shadows, watching and waiting. He adjusted the shumaq around his neck to keep the evening chill at bay. Where are the foreigners?

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I continued reviewing critiques of ‘The Kurdish Connection’. As always, I found excellent recommendations to improve the story.  My review is now complete through chapter fifteen. This past week I finished editing chapters nine and ten, and they’re re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Work on chapter eleven is underway and I hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

Editing of the first three chapters of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ began this week, as this will be my submission for a Strongest Start Competition being held by one of my writing sites.

Books I’m Reading

This week I began reading ‘The Jungle (The Oregon Files Book 8)’ by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, two of my favorite authors.  As with their previous book, I’m looking to read a good thriller and also analyze the plot, characters, and scene, so I can improve my writing.

Next week I’ll provide a review of this book. I’ll also resume reading lesser-known authors, and have three books waiting for my attention.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

The Porcupine Quill – An excellent article by publisher Tim Inkster providing advice to writers. The article is under the About Us tab.

Creative Indie with Derek Murphy – Derek provides a wealth of information based on his own experiences to help writers.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week as time ran out and I was unable to devote and research efforts.  I hope to have something new for next week.

Once again, we’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – May 1, 2016

Happy May Day!  To celebrate turning another page on the calendar, yesterday seemed a good day to rake the beach and remove winter’s flotsam. By the time I finished, the pile of burnable material was waist high, about ten feet long, and six feet wide. Fortunately, Mother Nature cooperated with minimal breeze and a hot fire took care of the rest. Good thing, too, as it rained last night and more is forecast for today.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Undeterred by my lack of success in obtaining a contract from a publishing house, writing and life continue.  I’m a member of forty different groups on one writing site. One group is about sharing completed works and getting reader feedback. I’m excited about this, as new eyes will provide their assessment of my writing.

It will be interesting to compare their observations with those I received from a publishing house, even if the focus could be different.  One area suggested by the editors was to improve the dialogue through the use of contractions, and that’s been taken care of. Now, what will these new readers think of the pace, tension, and plot? I’ll let you know when I find out.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

Mufti Tanreverdi raised his hands. Everyone followed his lead as he quoted from the Qur’an.

After a moment of silence, the mufti walked over to Dersim. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, Mufti Tanreverdi,” Dersim whispered. “He couldn’t live with the constant pain any longer. He took his own life.”

The police officer, eyes wide, froze in place for precious seconds as the vehicle veered toward him. Dersim tightened his hold on the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. He pumped the brakes and downshifted. The truck’s tires gripped the asphalt and came to a stop inches from the petrified man.

“C’mon, ya big Canuck. Remember? The ticket place advertised in Turkish, German, French, and English, about private tours. They cover the main churches and caves, and some of the closed-off areas. We’ll sign up and check ’em out. Like a tourist but smarter.”

Later, when Willie and Aiden finished their beer and snacks provided by the manager and returned to their rooms, Beady Eyes folded the paper, shuffled to his feet, and went outside, his job done for the evening.

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I continued reviewing critiques of ‘The Kurdish Connection’, and once again found excellent recommendations to improve the story.  My review is now complete through chapter fourteen. This past week I finished editing chapters seven and eight, and they’re re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Work on chapter nine is underway and I hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

Last year I wrote a short story called ‘Postal Man’ about an average person we might know in real life.  Despite a job that doesn’t stimulate him situations arise where he becomes a hero, at least to those involved.  I brought ‘Postal Man’ out of the electronic filing cabinet and dusted it off.  I’ve submitted this story for potential inclusion in an anthology. 

Research continues for publishing houses accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Found two more but submissions must include an annotated outline, so I’ve been busy fulfilling this requirement.

With my concentration on ‘The Kurdish Connection’, work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ continues its holding pattern.  Perhaps I’ll be able to do a bit more this coming week.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading ‘Dark Watch (The Oregon Files Book 3)’ by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, two of my favorite authors.  I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Juan Cabrillo’s Corporation taking their command post, disguised as a rusting, derelict freighter into harm’s way.  Contracted by a Japanese shipping magnate to find the pirates who are stealing ships, surprises abound. The Corporation finds itself a new mystery as a container dumped by the pirates contains dead bodies–Chinese.

What happened to this human cargo? How did they tie in with the theft of ships on the high seas? The Corporation learns the answer when a team member follows the route of Chinese workers seeking passage to America and ends up on the Russian coast mining gold at the base of an active volcano.

In this particular read, I wasn’t just looking to enjoy a story but also analyze how it was crafted and sealed together, so that I might improve my own work.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

The Fictional Cafe – writing, art, podcasts, and book reviews. Well worth a check.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week as time ran out and I was unable to devote and research efforts.  I hope to have something new for next week.

Once again, we’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 24 Apr 2016

What do 46 and 79 have in common? We found out over the past week. They were the daytime temperature extremes in our little corner of the world. At least it’s been a week of brilliant sunshine. Hopefully the temperatures will settle, closer to 79 than 46. Oh well, spring is well underway.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

During the past week I picked up some valuable feedback on my writing from a publishing house.  While not successful in obtaining a contract, the feedback will help me further improve on my writing. I’m sharing what I learned as it might help those working on their first manuscript.

The good points: Powerful story, topical subject, excellent characters, good sense of place, credible background.  Perfectly publishable but could be improved by working with an editor. Areas for improvement: pick up the pace, increase the tension, dialogue needs some attention (particularly with the use of contractions).

Bottom line:  Overall, very encouraging, as this is my first work of fiction. I’ll be generous and give myself a grade of C.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

“Excellent.” Admiral Blakely nodded. “Before you proceed, I want to cover a few things. First, the Intelligence Community is out of the loop regarding your operation. Few people are aware you exist. Once you deploy, you’ll be on your own, but we’ll try to obtain additional local support.”

“Admiral, any recognized events of historical or religious significance in nine days?” Jake’s eyebrows pointed toward the ceiling as he listened to the briefing.

“March Sixteenth—Halabja Day, the day all Kurds commemorate Saddam’s bombardment of the city with chemical weapons.”

“Well, shut my mouth.” Willie blushed at his outburst. “Sorry, Admiral.”

Everyone chuckled as the tension eased. Even the admiral cracked a brief smile.

As Ben closed his computer, a huge explosion shattered windows and rocked the building. The lights dimmed, and glowed so bright he thought they would explode before everything went dark.

“What the hell was that?”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Reviewing the myriad critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ continued, with several recommendations added into my manuscript, at least those in line with the recent feedback to help those areas. Chapter five and six were completed and re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Editing of chapter seven is now underway and I hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

My research of publishing houses accepting unsolicited manuscripts also continued this week. I found several requiring a query or cover letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters or ten thousand words. Five submissions went out this week, with possible response dates ranging from eight to sixteen weeks. Plenty of time to continue editing and preparing the full manuscript.  I’ve also identified several other publishing houses I’m interested in but they request the entire manuscript, so I’m not ready for them–yet.

With all of the concentration on ‘The Kurdish Connection’, work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ continues its holding pattern.  Perhaps I’ll be able to do a bit more this coming week.

Books I’m Reading

This week I’m reading ‘Dark Watch (The Oregon Files Book 3)’ by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, two of my favorite authors.  I’ve read about three quarters of the book so I’ll wait until I finish before posting my thoughts.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Writers in The Storm – an excellent blog by several published writers regarding various aspects of writing.

Writing Resources

A fellow writer sent me this link, which I’d like to share.  It come’s from the Writers in the Storm blog, but because it deals with a very important element in a story, body language, I thought it worth a special mention.

Body Language: An Artistic Writing Tool – by Sharla Rae.

Once again, we’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 17 Apr 2016

At last spring has arrived. We’ve had brilliant sunshine for the past three days with more anticipated. The temperatures climbed into the lower 60s.  About time! Despite the change of weather, yard work was put on temporary hold yesterday. The wireless keyboard for our Mac stopped working. Despite changing batteries the times in a twenty-four-hour period, it continued to stop.  So we took a trip to Best Buy, fifty miles away, to pick up a replacement.  Now we’re back in business!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

My journey into the world of writing continues.  This week I received some feedback on my writing in an area that I never realized there was a problem.  In my expository writing it was never an issue, or at least it was never pointed out.  What’s the issue? Contractions. Or rather, the lack of them.  Someone pointed out that my dialogue would be smoother if I reduced more I am, he will, they would, etc., to their more important contractions. Yep, using I’m, he’ll, and they’d certainly made a difference and the dialogue seems more natural. Something new learned to help me along the way.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

They entered an old three-story structure with broken windows, covered with peeling paint and graffiti sprayed by local soccer team supporters. As they made their way to a large back room, they maneuvered around stacks of damaged furniture and litter.  Inside, a long varnished table, with polished wood resembling glass, took center stage.  Ten men, including the three Iraqi mullahs, sat at the table.  Mullah Mala, the firebrand speaker from Zakho, greeted Dersim. “Welcome. Join us and I’ll introduce you.”

Mufti Tanreverdi’s eyes narrowed as he studied each man in the room. “Our first task is to free Öcalan.  Under his guidance, we can proceed to our final objective, a united Kurdistan, even if that means war.”

He followed the road to a faded gray, three-story brick warehouse hidden in the trees near the rear of the base. He exited the car and began the second round of security. Damn, why can’t they embed a chip in my ass and skip the repetitive shit? One zap with a scanner and done.

The admiral paused before giving the team their orders. “Bedlam Alpha’s objective is to locate and recover the chemical weapons and disrupt the Kurdish plots without either the Turkish or Syrian governments realizing the threats. I don’t need to describe the ensuing catastrophe should the Kurds use their arsenal in either of those countries, Iraq, or Iran.” 

CC heaved a big sigh. Well, I wanted out of the day-to-day grind. I got my wish!

More next week.

My Work in Progress

The ongoing process of reviewing various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ continued, with several recommendations added into my manuscript. Chapter four was completed and re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Editing of chapter five is underway and hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

My research of publishing houses accepting unsolicited manuscripts continued this week. I now have the beginnings of a list where I’ll send submissions once I complete the current round of editing.  While there are similarities in requirements, they vary enough that each submission must be carefully crafted to meet the preliminary demands.

With all of the concentration on ‘The Kurdish Connection’, work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ continues its holding pattern.  Perhaps I’ll be able to do a bit more this coming week.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished ‘Blanket of Blood‘ by Eileen Wharton and published by Bloodhound Books at the beginning of April.  A chilling tale about a serial killer with fingers pointing at several possible candidates. Detective Inspector Blood, an apt name given the circumstance surrounding the victims’ deaths, leads his team in a desperate race to find the killer. A fast pace with plenty of unsuspecting characters being checked out by DI Blood as potential suspects. Throughout the story, glimpses of the dark secrets leading to the killer’s rampage emerge, but never enough to identify the person. A great suspense that will keep you reading on. As with many crime stories, the killer is eventually caught, but the identity of the perpetrator will keep you guessing right to the end. Well done!

A special thanks to Fred Freeman at Bloodhound Books for giving me a copy of ‘Blanket of Blood’ in return for my unbiased review.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Scott Hastie – A writer, artist, and poet who uses his gifts to inspire others.

Writing Resources

As I continue to edit ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and work on my cover letter and synopsis, I’ve found three resources:

Write and Revise for Publication – by Jack Smith. A six-month plan for crafting an exceptional novel.

How to Write the Cover Letter for Your Submission to a Publisher – written by an editor.

Rock Your Query – A Simple System for Writing Query Letters and Synopses by Cathy Yardley.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 10 Apr 2016

Baseball season’s underway again.  I’m sure there are plenty of players and fans wishing the weather would catch up!  I know we have 2-5 inches of sleet and snow predicted for today and flurries are falling as I type.  Go Tigers!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Who said writing was easy? Unless you naturally gifted, it takes a lot of effort to create a plot that grabs the reader, realistic characters you can love or hate, exciting dialogue, a smooth pace, and a fantastic ending.

That’s just the first draft. The real work begins later, as the writer starts from the beginning to craft a work of art. No easy task, but vital in the current age of traditional and self-publishing.  A handful will be a huge success and reap the rewards, some will find a niche and make a living from their efforts, while many will have to dig deeper.

Above all, writing is a journey, plenty of new friends to make, roads to discover, places to visit, and astounding experiences.  Enjoy the ride!

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

The bazaar bustled; horns blared, vendors hawked their wares, radios played a variety of songs. Bright-colored canopies created shade for the stalls, while along the edge of the bazaar, old wood buildings stood like sentries. Freshly painted buildings of pastel colors mingled with those needing repair.

 “I love the bazaar.” Dersim inhaled, sucking in the smells.  “Always an adventure. The whiff of roasting chestnuts and cooking meats always sets my mouth watering, even after I’ve eaten.”

Aram nodded. “Yes, everything’s available, from sweet dates to hand grenades. Whatever you want can be acquired here for the right price.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Work continues on reviewing various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and adding recommendations into my manuscript. Editing of chapter four continues and will be posted over the next few days on the two subscription writing sites I use.

Between editing, reading and providing reviews and researching publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts, there hasn’t been any time to work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.  At least I prepared a cover letter and synopsis, both of which can be used as a basis to prepare a submission package. 

I’ve been researching publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts and figuring out how to prepare my cover letter and a good synopsis.  My time spent researching meant I didn’t have a chance to work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ as there are so many hours in the week I can devote to writing and the associated tasks.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished ‘How Little We Know’ by John L. DeBoer. I wish I’d spent less time with some of my research and more time reading this story.  John’s crafted a real winner, with realistic characters, a plot that’ll keep the reader wanting more, with Luke Elliot, a reformed hit man leading the way. But every time you think you have it figured out, one of John’s characters will take you on a tangent, sometimes with unexpected results. A riveting story from a great storyteller. I personally he does a sequel with Luke.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Writers Network Club – Established for writers to help writers.  Free to join.  Post your own work, advertise your publications in the bookstore, enter quarterly writing contests (multiple categories), and meet new people.  Search for publishers, literary agents, and more. 

Sideways Eight Series – Meet series author, AJ Wallace, and learn more about her first novel, Mindfield and her work in progress.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any specific writing resources to share this week.  I’m still searching for something to capitalize on the use of the senses and to help me prepare the “dreaded” cover letter. Hope to have an update for next time.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 3 Apr 2016

Okay, who stole the message sent to Mother Nature? Or was it deleted from the inbox? I’m sure I had a nice day this week and began cleaning up from winter’s ravages.  Even though spring is here, snow continues to bless (or curse) us.  Not as much accumulation over the past two days as expected, but it appears it’s been stored up for a final push.

We have a winter storm warning beginning later today, with an estimated 5-8 inches of snow forecast by tomorrow morning.  At least we’ve started the day with blazing sunshine. Someone, please resend the note about spring’s arrival.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I’m writing a thriller. But I never realized how many sub-genres follow.  I located a good article on http://bookcountry.com, which explains the differences. Eleven different categories, and after giving each one a careful examination, I believe ‘The Kurdish Connection’ calls under techno thriller although military comes a close second.

The article described this genre as, “a type of fiction with a plot reliant upon the heavy use of modern technology, and focused on the dangers of that technology falling into the wrong hands. The narrative is often global in scope and can share elements with military thrillers.”

‘The Kurdish Connection” begins with the discovery of WMD by three scavengers who believe in an united Kurdistan but a small group wants to use them to force their desires. A small international team is tasked to recover the weapons before they are used. Although caught up in their cause, the scavengers realize they made a mistake offering the weapons.

Here’s a bit more from my story:

“You must swear by Allah never to say a word of what I’m going to tell you. If you promise, come to me. Now. At my house. Swear by Allah, disaster might occur. This is the most important secret.”

A once-impressive parade ground now housed the rusted hulks of forgotten vehicles. Miniature sand dunes stretched from the trucks, like fingers, with a random shriveled weed where some forgotten plant once achieved a foothold. Only the occasional call of a passing crow interrupted the silence.

The squeak of nails forced out of their holes and labored breathing filled the air. An odor of mildew mixed with the tang of lubricants and aged pine created a heady bouquet, making breathing difficult. When he finished, he counted ten crates filled with grenades, while another ten contained plastic explosives.

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Work continues on reviewing various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and adding recommendations into my manuscript. Chapter three is edited and now posted on the two subscription writings sites I use.

I’ve been researching publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts and figuring out how to prepare my cover letter and a good synopsis.  My time spent researching meant I didn’t have a chance to work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ as there are so many hours in the week I can devote to writing and the associated tasks.

I’m hoping to send my first submission next month, if I can meld the requirements into a cohesive package.  I don’t want to rush, no point in doing that and waste a possible opportunity due to sloppy writing.  If anyone has any suggestions to aid this endeavor, please send them my way.

Books I’m Reading

With my current efforts on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ as well as completing reviews of various novels for those who provided me with critiques, I didn’t finish reading ‘How Little We Know’ by John L. DeBoer. I will say at this point that it’s well worth a read and will provide my full feedback next week.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

When time permits I skim through dozens of blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes and stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blogs with you. Both provide inspirational thought through prose and/or poetry. I hope you’ll find something of interest.

Rebecca Jolie – well worth a read if you’re stuck for inspiration or reflection.

Piper’s Writing – a college student and aspiring novelist who loves to write and share her work with others.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any specific writing resources to share this week.  I’m still searching for something to capitalize on the use of the senses and to help me prepare the “dreaded” cover letter. Hope to have an update for next time.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings 27 Mar 2016

According to the calendar, spring is with us.  Since the official date, we’ve had snow, rain, fog, wind, and finally sunshine. Plenty of winter birds twittering and I noticed quite a few robins have returned.  What’s this all mean? Time to start clearing up after Mother Nature. Plenty of yard/garden work to do, some before the ground completing thaws while other endeavors will have to wait for the full thaw.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Over the past few weeks I think I’ve covered why I want to write and the journey that I’ve taken.  Now, it’s time to share a few morsels from my stories. 

The first morsel is from ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and ideally should have been released last week, closer to the March 16 anniversary of the attack on Halabja twenty-eight years ago, the backdrop for this novel. Here we go:

The ground shook with each artillery barrage; the screams of the injured mingled with the putrid stench of death and the billowing, acrid smoke. Breathing became difficult and many suffocated in the toxic air. Cries of grief over the mangled bodies of loved ones rose everywhere.

An aroma, not unlike sweet apples, and the pungent odor of rotten eggs spread across the city. Birds fell from the sky; small animals and later larger ones sank to the ground. Nothing and no one was spared—humans collapsed, never to move again.

My Work in Progress

Over the past week, I continued reviewing the various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and adding recommendations into my manuscript. Chapter two is edited and now posted on the two subscription writings sites I use.

Work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ moved along at a snail’s pace as I worked on the above chapter. Hopefully, I’ll finish the prologue and chapter four this week and post them.

As I mentioned before, I’ve created plots for three new stories and given them working titles. These will be follow-on stories in the Bedlam series, with ‘The Kurdish Connection’ being the first.  Here’s the initial information regarding ‘Ultimate Escalation’:

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

Over the past week I completed reading ‘Mindfield‘ by A. Wallace. The first book in the ‘Sideways Eight’ series, it is quite simply, a must read for all thriller affenciendos.  Someone’s kidnapping and murdering little girls. Charley, a FBI behavioral analyst is teamed with Special Agent Murphy, and they take us on a wild ride chasing an unknown villain. This story contains everything you’d want in a thriller: intensity, intrigue, twists and turns, and even a hint of a potential romance. Every time I thought I knew the identity of the killer, a new clue pointed elsewhere.  Unlike many “who done it” plots, this one will keep you guessing to the very end.  Well done and A. Wallace is now one of my favorite authors.

Next week I’ll give my views of ‘How Little We Know’ by John L. DeBoer.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

Every week I continue to skim through dozens of blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes and other times to help stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blogs with you. Both provide inspirational thought through prose and/or poetry. I hope you’ll find something of interest.

Jennifer Novotney – Jennifer is an English teacher and author, who shares her journey with us.

Kosmogonic – a variety of poems, with something for everyone.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share with you this week.  I’m still searching for something that will allow me to capitalize on the use of the senses.  Hope to have an update for next time.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 20 Mar 2016

An utter shock occurred this week–my beloved Michigan State Spartans were knocked out of the NCAA tournament.  I thought they would at least make it to the Final Four. Guess there’s always next year.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Someone once recognized I could write–now it’s up to me to take on the challenge and show whether I possess what is required to master my raw talent and create something people would like to read. No easy task, but one I hope to achieve. The journey has been a fruitful one thus far. On occasion, I look back at my original start to my first novel. Today’s work is strides ahead, almost hard to believe it came from the same person.

What do I credit for this change? Simple. Readers. Those individuals who’ve taken the time to read what I wrote and offer suggestions and observations to improve my writing.  There’s nothing to rest my laurels upon at this stage. Plenty left to learn and apply, but that’s half the fun.

My Work in Progress

Over the past week, I continued reviewing the various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and adding recommendations into my manuscript.  I’ve now done this for the first eleven chapters.  The revised prologue and chapter one were to re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Good feedback thus far.

I also posted chapter three for ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’. Based on feedback for the first two chapters, I’m also working on a prologue and on chapter four. Both should be posted over the coming week.

As I mentioned last time, I’ve created plots for three new stories and given them working titles.  Here’s the initial information regarding ‘Carnage in Singapore’:

Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them 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, Amiri “Joshua” Tahu, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week, I completed ‘Secret Assault’ by Don Helin. A fast-moving story filled with action, suspense, and intrigue. Who is killing retired senior military personnel and why?  Colonel Zach Kelly tries to find out and nearly loses his own life. His daughter is also kidnapped. Is her kidnapping tied to his investigation or a sub-plot woven into the main event? Meanwhile, more retired personnel lose their lives before Colonel Kelly’s compatriots uncovered a common thread leading to the killers. Don’s created a ‘must read’ thriller, filled with heroes, heroines, and villains, converging together. Don’t miss this one!

I’ve also started reading ‘Mindfield‘ by A. Wallace. My thoughts will be provided next week.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

Every week I continue to skim through various blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes and other times to help stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blog with you. I hope you’ll find something of interest.

Darkland Poetry – the author expresses her life’s journey through the use of poetry.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share with you this week.  I’m currently looking for something that will allow me to capitalize on the use of the senses.  Hope to have an update for next time.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 13 Mar 2016

The clocks went ahead early this morning as we switched to Daylight Saving Time. As always, the spring transition hits harder than the autumn one.  The loss of an hour should be easy to overcome, but the Tylenol PM I took during the middle of the night isn’t helping.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I’m on a constant search for new and better ways to convey my thoughts into interesting characters, scenes, and dialogue. It’s an everyday adventure as I travel along my writing journey.

Since I ramped up my writing in June 2015, I find myself examining everything for possible inclusion in my stories.  My expository writing rarely, if ever, required the use of the five senses. Vital components of fictions writing, to help readers immerse themselves in the story, I’m now examining sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Am I using all of them in my writing? Not yet, but I believe my use of the senses grows every day.

My Work in Progress

Over the past week, I continued reviewing the various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection, and adding recommendations into my manuscript.  I’ve now done this for the first eight chapters.  I’ve already edited the prologue and most of chapter one and hope to re-post those this week to the two subscription writing sites I use.

I also completed the draft of chapter three for ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’. Based on feedback for the first two chapters, I’m also working on a prologue. Both should be posted over the coming week.

As I mentioned last time, I’ve created plots for three new stories and given them working titles.  Here’s the initial information regarding ‘A Malicious Affiliation’:

United Nations’ sanctions are crippling North Korea. China has turned her back on her malevolent partner. The North Korean military machine is crumbling, unable to function. Oil reserves are minimal and the government seeks new alliances.

Cargo and tourist ships are disappearing along the Somali and Kenyan coastline at an alarming rate. Speeches abound in the United Nations, but inaction emboldens Al-Shabab to seek their next prize: Kenya. The terror organization controls land but requires weapons.

Soon after Bedlam Bravo is called upon to disrupt their plans, a VIP’s son is kidnapped while on a Peace Corps mission. Can they manage to disrupt the North Korean-al-Shabab axis and save the kidnapped son?

Team leader Colonel (retired) Trevor Franklin leads the small international team into East Africa. Tempers flare as the team is embroiled in a political quagmire. The axis must be stopped to avert an international crisis but will it be at the expense of the VIP’s son?

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week, I finished reading ‘DeathByte’, the sequel to ‘Bloodridge‘ a novel by D.S. Kane.  It’s a great story, as we follow some of Kane’s characters through another action-packed race to recover the plans for Bug-Lok, a potential devastating piece of technology.  If this technology falls into the wrong hands (and it might) and is manufactured, the results could be catastrophic. The American, Israelis, Chinese, and a terrorist organization are chasing the elusive technology. Which one created Bug-Lok, and where is it now? Kane’s written another exciting thriller.

I’m now reading ‘Secret Assault’ by Don Helin and will provide my thoughts next week.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

Every week I continue to skim through dozens of blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes and other times to help stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blogs with you. Both provide inspirational thought through prose and/or poetry. I hope you’ll find something of interest.

Kunal Rane – a mixture of memories and experience conveyed through prose and poetry.

A Holistic Journey – prose and poetry immersing the reader in everyday events and the author’s own works.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share with you this week.  I’m currently looking for something that will allow me to capitalize on the use of the senses.  Hope to have an update for next time.

We’ve come to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.