Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 31, 2016

As another month draws to a close, this one has gone out with a bang, or at least plenty of thunder, lightning, and wind-driven rain.  The storm began just after one a.m. and finally ceased before six a.m., with a few pauses during the period. Right now, it’s 63F/17C, which feels pretty good after the heat and high humidity of the past few days.

Time for birthday connections to the famous and not so famous. If your special day occurred yesterday or today, Happy Birthday to you. Here are the folks from the writing world who share July 30th and 31st:

Emily Bronte, author; William H. Gass, writer; C. Northcote Parkinson, historian and author; Primo Levi, Italian writer and scientist; and one everyone is sure to recognize: J.K. Rowling, author (Harry Potter). Congratulations to all.

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

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Malicious Affiliation’:

Khan Soo Chin paced back and forth in the Zhongnanhai waiting room. He glanced at his watch a second time.

He sat, added sugar to the tea provided by a servant and stirred. Soo dropped the spoon and pushed the tea and dim sum across the table. Despite the delectable aromas wafting from the dishes, which caused his empty stomach to rumble, he resisted the urge to partake.

Did they add something to the tea or food?

The ambassador stood and resumed pacing. His thoughts swirled as he searched for a way out of his current dilemma, which began two days ago.

“I realize there is a food shortage. Our factories no longer produce because there is no oil to keep them running. Our military might is teetering toward disaster. This is not my fault. The problem lies with our sworn enemy—America and their puppets in Seoul. We are peaceful, but America wishes for our death.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“Return to Beijing and request an immediate audience with that fat goat, Huang Fen. Get us oil.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“And, Soo, just because we grew up together, doesn’t mean I will accept failure. What will become of your family if something happens to you?”

From ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Grabbing their drinks, they strolled toward AJ’s office. She shared the space with the other people in Lintstone’s meeting but had a coveted perk—her own office, not a cubicle.

 “Cozy office.” Javier glanced around the room—desk and chair, four-drawer safe, along with a small conference table and six chairs. A computer and three different-colored phones occupied the desk. A few framed certificates and diplomas, but no photographs or trinkets.  Efficient and impersonal.

“Taken years before I earned one. But I spend more time overseas each year than I do here.”

“I’m with you. Name a hotspot over the past fifteen years and I’ve been involved. Want to slow down a bit but still be active.”

Will be in your AOR within forty-eight hours. Request meeting for myself plus one to discuss possibility of Iranian freighter being used to transport Islamic State personnel to training camps in Panama and Colombia. Any local intel appreciated.

“Perhaps modify local to local/regional as they might possess additional data we can use. I assume the regional chiefs share knowledge on a regular basis.”

“Agree. Will make the change.” AJ’s brown eyes appraised Javier. “For a grunt, you’re alright.”

“For a civvie, you’re not bad, either.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I finally completed and posted the second chapter of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’. Within a short span of time, four reviews were completed and helping me with my journey.

Editing continued on my novel, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, as well as short stories ‘Countdown to Extinction’, and ‘Trek for Survival.’ Hope to complete at least one of the short stories this week and try to complete chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.’

Books I’m Reading

This week I completed reading ‘Darius Odenkirk‘ by Rikon Gates. What happens when you combine a filthy-rich eccentric, a wannabe journalist, and a proper butler? You end up with a recipe for action, intrigue, and plenty of twists and turns.

Darius, the eccentric owner of Crecy House, is dying. Before leaving this world, he wants to share his story. A young, freelance journalist, trying to make a name for himself, is selected. Follow the journey back in time to when Darius first committed a crime (I won’t tell you what it was, you’ll have to buy the book) and why. Learn the real reason Joshua Wishaw was chosen to hear this incredible story. What about the butler? How does he fit in and what crime might he have committed? A gripping murder-mystery story worthy of your time.

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

I’ve 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 – Check out AJ Wallace’s website, learn about the author of ‘Mindfield‘ and other upcoming stories.

Oliver Chase – Learn about author Oliver Chase’s take on life.

Writing Resources

As I’m constantly seeking to improve my writing, this week I’d like to share a link for those who are writing, trying to publish, or market your work. While it’s a blog, it’s full of useful information to help writers. It’s now part of my online resources. Where do you find it? Check out The Creative Penn.

This brings us 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, July 10, 2016

Was your birthday yesterday or today? If so, according to historynet.com yesterday you shared a birthday with Ann Radcliffe, an English novelist; Dorothy Thompson, journalist; Oliver Sachs, author; and June Jordan, poet and author.

Notables born on July 10 include: Marcel Proust, French novelist; Saul Bellow, writer; Alice Munro, Canadian writer; Jeremy Herman, songwriter; and Arlo Guthrie, folk singer.

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

Last week, I mentioned I’d begin including snippets of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, the second novel in my Bedlam Series. The story begins in Port Rashid, Dubai:

Intelligence indicated at least ten terrorists kidnapped seven people, threatening to kill them if the ship’s owners didn’t meet their demands. The ship was in port between cruises, with most crewmembers enjoying time with their family and friends.

Trevor moved forward, flipped him over, and secured his wrists with plastic zip ties.

“Where are the hostages?

“Go to hell.”

The guy tried to spit on Trevor, who shove a gag into his mouth, and secured his ankles.

“Don’t go away, mate.”

The assailant kicked at Koning’s head but missed. A paralyzing blow to the man’s thigh dropped him. Koning grabbed the assailant in a chokehold, pressing on the carotid artery until he collapsed.

After securing his hands and feet, Koning prodded the man until he regained consciousness.

“No dossing (sleeping). Where are the hostages?”

“Huh?” The man shook his head.

Ag man (oh man). Are you dof (stupid)? Where are the hostages?”

Koning grabbed the man and propelled him into the wall, knocking him out.

Lekker dux (sweet dreams).”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Another busy week with yard work taking priority over writing. No further progress on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, although the three chapters I’ve posted on my two subscription writing sites have received a total of sixty-four reviews for me to sift through.

Editing of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ continued. It will be submitted to a contest next month. Didn’t have any time left over to work on ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but hope to be back at the manuscript next week.

I did begin a short story, ‘Trek For Survival’, which will be submitted for consideration in an anthology being organized through http://writers-net.club.  The club is always looking for new members, so click on the link and check them out.

Books I’m Reading

Two weeks ago, I returned to one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler. I use his novels not only for reading pleasure but also as a sort of classroom text, where I analyze how certain scenes were designed. Mr. Cussler teamed with Boyd Morrison to create ‘The Emperor’s Revenge (The Oregon Files).

Another masterful stroke by Mr. Cussler, as the story leaps through history to modern times and an attempt by a Russian man and his daughter to make billions by electronic robbery. The story begins with an arranged escape from an island prison and an unplanned death. Prior to his imprisonment on the island, the man escaped from Russia with a massive treasure, apparently lost through the years.

The Corporation, led by Juan Cabrillo, is quickly mired in events as the Russian woman siphons their funds from a bank account. I enjoyed the tension and fast pace of this story, and like most of Mr. Cussler’s works, the ‘good guys and gals’ win, although they paid a heavy price, the death of one of their own.  If you’re a Cussler fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one, too.

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

I’ve 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!

Kevin Brown Poetry – A Northern Irish poet in Belfast, Mr. Brown writes romantic poetry. Enjoy the journey.

Her Dog’s Blog – Over the past couple of weeks I introduced blogs related to cats. It’s only fair I share something with our canine lovers.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something as soon as I resume my research. Have an enjoyable weekend.

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, June 19, 2016

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and fathers-to-be! Hope everyone has a great day.  I received a fantastic card from my son regarding Dad-speak, what they say and what they mean.  He knows I spend a lot of time reading, so I also received an Amazon gift card, which will be used to add more to my e-book collection.

This week’s ramble is a bit short as real-life activities are taking me away from the computer. I’ll try to make up for the shortfall next time.

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

As I announced last week, my first novel, ‘The Kurdish Connection’ is now under contract. Last week I submitted a short story, ‘Lakeside Retreat’ for possible inclusion in an anthology through http://writers-network.club. It’s in the hands of the editor now.

In an effort to expand my writing capabilities, I’m entering a short story contest through one of the subscription writing sites I used. The theme is futuristic/alternate world.  I don’t recall ever attempting some in the genre, so it will be a stretch to come up with something I think is worthwhile to submit. 

I’m tentatively calling this story, “Countdown to Extinction. Here’s a blurb:

Sam recognized the voice, but was surprised by the call. “Who’s calling?”

A chuckle passed through the air to Sam’s audio implant. “I’m sure you recognize my voice. For the record, I am Jesus Ali, Supreme Leader of the Earth Confederation.”

“Yeah, I remember you. You’re the one who scoffed at my idea about the center of Mars being a block of ice. I lost my job because of you and haven’t worked since.”

“Uh … yes. Can we put that aside?”

“Why should I? You ruined our lives. Tasha and I were happy, until you ….”

“Dr. Rogers. I’m sorry for what happened. Your theories were too outlandish to be considered viable. But now … you might be our only hope. Earth’s water is contaminated. Our scientists estimate we’ll run out of usable water in six months.”

“Beg.”

Perhaps more next week.

My Work in Progress

I finished the prologue for ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ this week. However, rather than posting, I’m putting it aside. After reading the reviews for the first three chapters, I’m going to remove a couple of scenes from the first chapter and move them into the second and third. I’ll also expand upon other scenes. Once that’s finished, I’ll be ready to re-post.

I did manage some additional research and added a bit more to my outline for the second book in the Bedlam Series, ‘A Malicious Affiliation.’ All being well, by the end of June I hope to begin a draft of chapter one.

Books I’m Reading

I’m back to my norm book review after participating in the ‘Sunset Thriller’s beta review. Only finished fifty percent of the book I’m currently reading, so it’ll be next week before I provide my comments.

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

I’ve 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!

Suigeneris_Shahili – a unique perspective presented by blogger, Shaili Mitra.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something new for next week as my research increases. Have an enjoyable weekend.

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 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.