Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 22, 2021

The Bell’s Daisies and violas we planted in mid-March have finally reached their end of their life. They provided loads of brilliant color to the front border and were greatly admired by passersby. This week, we replaced them with a batch of purple and yellow pansies. Depending upon the weather, they should be suitable replacements and continue to be a talking point.

While the weather continues to act more like Autumn than August, we did have short bursts of sunshine and warmth throughout the week. Of course, rain was dominate once again, but I guess that’s to be expected. At least Mother Nature is helping the new plants!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But its your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 22nd, the fourth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Georges de Scudéry, French writer and dramatist (L’Amour tyrannique); Jean Renaud de Segrais, French writer and poet; James Kirke Paulding, American author (The Dutchman’s Fireside); Amalie Skram, Norwegian author (Hellemyrsfolket); Melville E. Stone, American newspaper publisher (Founder of Chicago Daily News); Alfredo Oriani, Italian writer (Political Struggle in Italy); Gorch Fock [Johann Wilhelm Kinau], German author and poet; Dorothy Parker, American short story writer (1958 Marjorie Peabody Award); Jack Roy Armstrong, English historian (History of Sussex); René Wellek, Czech-American writer (Concepts of Criticism); Stojan Daskalov, Bulgarian writer (A Farm); Julius J. Epstein, American screenwriter (Casablanca); Somerset de Chair, British writer, MP and poet; Mary McGrory, American journalist and columnist; Pierre A. Lauffer, Antillian poet (Patria); Ray Bradbury, American sci-fi author (Fahrenheit 451); Wolfdietrich Schnurre, German writer; ames Kirkwood, American actor, author and playwright (A Chorus Line, P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!); Irmtraud Morgner, German writer; E. Annie Proulx, American author (Postcards); Antony Crosthwaite-Eyre, English publisher; Uğur Mumcu, Turkish journalist and writer (Cumhuriyet Murder); Þórarinn Eldjárn, Icelandic writer (The Blue Tower); Will Shetterly, American writer (Dogland); Alfred Gough, American screenwriter and producer; Rich Lowry, American magazine editor and columnist; Charlie Connelly, English writer (Attention All Shipping); and Steve Kornacki, American political journalist, writer and TV presenter (NBC).

Any names familiar to you? I recognized Ray Bradury. In fact, his Fahrenheit 451 novel was required reading in one of my high school English classes. 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 Published Work

I’m absolutely thrilled to share the recent five-star editorial review  Carnage in SIngapore received from Chanticleer Reviews. Please click on the title to check it out.

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

I completed final macro edit passes of Revenge this week. Now the in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I post all of my chapters to two online subscription writing sites. I’d like to thank all of my reviewers for taking the time to read and let me know what worked and what needed adjustment. Revenge received over 760 chapter reviews, and hopefully this will be a suitable sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers.  He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

Slide1In addition to my editing work on Revenge, I went through a sixty-five thousand word novel for a colleague to help him prepare his manuscript for submission. As a result, I didn’t get a change to work on Ultimate Escalation, but will be back to it during the coming week. In the meantime, there were another five chapter reviews, bringing the total to 229. I greatly appreciate my reviewers sticking with me!

Here’s the initial snippet:

In the distance, gunfire echoed off the mountains. The prisoner flinched with each rip. Water dripped from the tap, splashing into the clogged and rusted sink. Scratching claws marking its passage, a furry rat scurried across the cold, concrete floor.  Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev shook his head as ghostly images of fallen comrades flashed before his eyes. Just like the ambush along the Argun River in Chechnya. How many men lost their lives?

Footsteps thundered in the hallway, became louder until they stopped outside his cell. Metal clanged against the lock, screeching as a key entered the slot of the heavy steel door.  He swung his feet from the bare cot onto the floor.

“Comrade Colonel, you are to come with us.” A burly, hawk-nosed senior sergeant stepped forward and held out a pair of handcuffs. “I’m sorry, Colonel.”

Vladimir smiled as he tilted his head. “Nyet. I’ve expected this since they arrested me six months ago, Vasily.” The colonel straightened his tunic and held out his hands. “Do what you must.”

Sergeant Vasily Zolotov clicked his heels before slapping the cuffs around Vladimir’s wrists.

“Do I get a final smoke?” He laughed. “Perhaps a meal for a condemned man?”

“Comrade Colonel, please do not make jokes.” Vasily stared at his prisoner before ushering him out of the cell. “This is no laughing matter.”

Two privates jumped to attention in the corridor, their AK-74s held at port arms. Vasily took the lead, followed by the towering Vladimir, the privates flanking their prisoner. They walked past several empty cells, which no longer housed prisoners from the previous day.

“Vasily, what happened to the men in the other cages?”

The sergeant stopped and faced Vladimir. “I’m sorry, Colonel. They received their sentences earlier today.”

“I hope the colonel general showed leniency.” Vladimir gazed at the floor. “They followed orders.” As did I, which meant nothing at the court-martial.

Vasily turned and marched toward a door at the end of the corridor without responding.

When they reached the door, another guard saluted before shoving it open.

Vladimir stepped outside and raised his shackled hands to his brown eyes to block the blazing sun. He stumbled, but a private steadied him.

A drummer beat a four-flam cadence as Vasily led Vladimir toward his fate. Rows of Spetsnaz soldiers in woodland camouflage uniforms and maroon berets stood at parade rest, coming to attention as the colonel walked past.

The colonel and his escorts stopped in front of a man wearing epaulets with three stars—Colonel General Boris Kutzenov, commanding officer of the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye (GRU) training facility.

Vasily saluted the aging colonel general before stepping to the left of Vladimir. The drum roll ceased, leaving an eerie silence.

Russian national and armed forces flags flapped in the breeze, sharp snaps signaling their movement. A flock of black kites flew overhead, the air filled with screeches and calls.

Vladimir glanced at the passing legion. Moving to warmer climes? Wish I was with them.

Colonel General Kutzenov stepped forward and spoke to Vladimir in a soft voice. “Well, Voya, here we are.” He smiled at his longtime friend. “It’s unfortunate they caught you, but I can’t admit my part, so the responsibility falls on your shoulders.”

Vladimir chuckled. “I’ll trade places if you like.” He glanced around, studying the mountains and forests. “This seems like a nice retirement position.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Cameron, the latest novel in Blair Howard’s Lt. Kate Gazzara series. Now a captain, Kate tries to keep a crack in her personal life from spilling outward while she goes on the hunt to find the killer or killers of Cameron. Who wanted to end his life? There certainly seems to be plenty of suspects, but will Kate and her team find the actual culprit?

As with all of Blair’s novels, the riveting plot, with its twists and turns, coupled with an array of larger-than-life characters, makes this another story you won’t want to put down. As you read, will you be able to figure out who was responsible for the murder or will you have to wait to the end to find out? I’m sure it’ll be the latter. I highly recommend Blair’s novels to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, well-written stories. I can’t wait for the next one!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 8, 2021

Ever since the hot spell we had last month, the temperatures have returned to normal but make it seem like we’re already in autumn. The rain’s back, too; we’ve had heavy downpours the past three days.

On Friday and Saturday, We participated in another small business market at the local mall. There’s been as many as eighteen vendors. Things have been quiet thus far, perhaps because of the rain, as foot traffic is less than last month. Even so, I sold ten autographed copies of my novels, eighteen sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry, and several pieces of pyrography. Today’s the final day of the event for this month. Hopefully, we’ll have a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Don’t place your mistakes on your head, their weight may crush you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view your horizons.”

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

Conrad Lycosthenes, French-born German humanist and encyclopedist; Adriaan W “Joris” van Geel, Flemish missionary (Bantu Dictionary); Johann C Adelung, German linguist/librarian; Hieronymus van Alphen, Dutch attorney/poet (church songs); Emilie Flygare-Carlén, Swedish novelist; Henry Osborn, Conn, paleontologist/author (52 Years of Research); Sara Teasdale, American poet (1st Pulitzer Prize-1918-“Love Songs”); Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer (Yearling); Wachtang Ananjan, writer; Andre Demedts, Flemish writer (Rainfall of the Days); Daan Wildschut, painter/glazenier/author; Gertrude Himmelfarb, American historian; Elis Juliana, Antillian writer/poet (Lady of the Night: A flower); Yuri Kasakow, Russian writer; Joan Mondale (née Adams;), American artist, author, and wife of US vice-president Walter Mondale; Terry Nation, writer (Dr Who, Blake 7); Randy Shilts, American journalist and author; Jostein Gaarder, Norwegian author; and Anastasia Ashman, American writer and digital strategist (GlobalNiche).

Any names familiar to you? I do recognize Joan Mondale and the  works of Randy Shilts. 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 Published Work

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the second edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 751. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

Retired CIA analyst Phil Price leaned back in his custom-built ergonomic chair and grinned. You can run, but I’ll always find you! He popped the top of his Diet Coke and took a swig. Just like old times—except the pay’s much better!

He swiped a hand through his thinning gray hair and typed a note to himself before turning back to the details he had uncovered. I have to be certain. Placing the tip of his index finger on the computer screen, he scanned the last report. He slapped a hand on the desk. You’re mine!

Phil jumped out of his chair, dashed out of the room, and ran down the hall. Pausing to catch his breath, he knocked on a closed door.

“Come in.”

Phil opened the door and stepped inside. “Sir, I … uh … have … some—”

“Take a deep breath and relax.” Javier grinned as he gestured to a chair. “Take a load off and stop calling me sir.”

“Yes, sir. I mean, Javier.” Phil sat. “I uncovered some information you might find interesting.”

“Go ahead.”

“I was researching the connections with the Islamic State trainers named Michael and Alberto. As you know, Michael died in the warehouse attack in Mexico, but no one knows what happened to Alberto.”

“What are your sources of the connections?”

“Uh…well…I forgot to tell the IT office I retired.” Phil gave a slight smile.

“Seems I still have access to several databases—at least through some backdoors I left. Not anything supersensitive, but enough for me to investigate these men.”

Javier struggled to maintain aa straight face. “I see.” He rubbed his chin and pursed his lips. “Can anything come back on you? I’d prefer we not end up in a cell together.”

Phil shook his head. “Unless the security guys are specifically looking for me, I doubt anyone will notice. Besides, I told AJ I was doing this.”

“What did she say?”

“She just rolled her eyes and told me to stay out of trouble.”

“I agree with her. Don’t tell me any more about your methods, so I have some plausible deniability if the authorities begin an investigation.”

Phil placed an index finger over his lips. “My lips are sealed. Shall I tell you what I found out?”

Javier nodded. “Take a seat and fill me in.”

“Okay.” Phil perched on the edge of a chair. “Before I retired, we learned Islamic State referred to Alberto as Abdul Rahman. He’s from Argentina.”

“What about Michael?”

“This is where it gets interesting. Michael was known as Mahmood. They also called him the Cockney.”

“From London?”

Phil nodded. “Yes. We knew the phone numbers used by both men. They’ve been silent since the warehouse attack. But…”

“But?” Javier raised a brow.

“Both men were in routine contact with a number in Madrid. The user of the Spanish number was confirmed as a recruiter for Islamic State.”

“I seem to recall some of this from AJ.”

Phil grinned. “Yes, but I wanted to bring you up to speed before I give you the latest information.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense. What’d you find out?”

“Calls between the Madrid number and the one in Virginia began a few days before you retired. Not often, but once or twice every ten days or so.”

“Who owns the Virginia number?”

“I’m still working on it. Perhaps Alberto is here looking for you?”

“A good guess.”  Javier sipped from a cold cup of coffee on his desk and grimaced. “I should have finished this earlier.”

“Do you want me to get you another one?”

Javier shook his head. “No thanks, Phil. My own fault.”

“There’s also something else.”

Next week will probably be the last snippet.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to almost complete chapter eleven of Ultimate Escalation. Just some things I need to verify before posting.Slide1

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 214 reviews, and increase of fourover the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advance copy of End Game (The Harry Starke Novels Book 16) by Blair Howard. This is without a doubt my favorite Harry Starke story. With plenty of twists and turns in a well scripted plot, and larger-than-life things made worse when Harry finds out he has a doppelganger?

I won’t give anything away, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out what happens. Needless to say, you’ll be turning the pages to find out how things end. A fantastic thrill to the last page!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 18, 2021

It’s been the hottest week of the summer thus far, with historical average temperatures being beaten by twenty degrees (F) on a daily basis. Today we’re off to a bit cooler start, with a slight chance of a later afternoon shower. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts!

small business marketAs I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I participated in a small business market at the local mall, along with around twenty vendors, although we were the only authors. While last Sunday was quiet for everyone, overall we did quite well, with fourteen autographed copies of my novels being sold and eighteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. We were absolutely delighted!

On the first day of the event, a customer bought Mission: Angola. He came back Sunday afternoon to tell me my writing was as good as, if not better, than one of his favorite authors, Clive Cussler. What a compliment!

I’ve also been contact by a couple of people who picked up business cards and wanted to know when we’ll be back as they want to purchase some books. The next small business market will be 6-8 August at the Kinsgate mall, Dunfermline (same location as last time). The photo above was taken by one of our stall’s customers and posted on Twitter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley

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

Zacharias Ursinus, German theologist (Heidelberger Catechism); Saverio Bettinelli, Italian Jesuit writer; Gilbert White, English naturalist (Natural History and Antiquities of Selborn); William Makepeace Thackeray, British novelist (Vanity Fair); Tristan Corbière, French poet; Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer; Ricarda Huch, German writer and historian “First Lady of German humanism”; Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina); Manuel Gálvez, Argentine novelist (La maestra normal); Sydney Horler, English detective writer (Checkmate); Nathalie Sarraute [Tcherniak], French writer (Childhood, Portrait of a Man Unknown, The Golden Fruits); Clifford Odets, American dramatist (1961 Award of Merit-Golden Boy); Harry Levin, American literary scholar; Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (paradigm shift); Robert Sloman, English screenwriter; Margaret Laurence, Canadian writer (The Stone Angel); Ludwig Harig, German writer; Simon Vinkenoog, Dutch writer and poet; Aad Nuis, Dutch writer and political scientist; Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station); Edward Bond, English playwright and director (Blow-up); and Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. 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

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Charlie and Sam donned their Ray-Bans and walked through the terminal’s exit into the intense sunlight.  They headed to a nearby taxi rank, choosing a silver Hyundai van, and handed the driver their luggage.

The driver turned to Charlie. “Welcome to Bermy. First time here? Do you need a hotel?”

Charlie glanced back at the building. “Thank you. Yes, our first time here, but we are waiting for two more people.” He pointed. “Here they come.”

Wild and TJ approached the taxi and tossed their luggage in the back.

After closing the rear of the vehicle, everyone climbed inside.

As they pulled away, the driver tapped his horn and cut off an empty taxi. “Arryone, I am Felix. Wopnin?”

Charlie and the others glanced at one another before he turned to Felix. “Is that anything like what’s happenin’?”

Felix laughed. “You’re too smart for me. Most tourists don’t have a clue what I’m saying when I use our island slang.” A grin spread across his face. “All de onions will try it on you.”

“Onions?”

“At one time, onions were a major export from Bermuda, so those born and bred here became known as onions. What hotel?”

“The Oxford House in Hamilton. How long will it take?”

Felix nodded. “An excellent bed and breakfast. Since there is only one road from de airport, traffic is always slow. Today? Perhaps twenty minutes, but maybe forty.” He shrugged. “We find out.”

They left the airport, merging toward the exit. At the first roundabout, the van lurched to a stop. “Sorry. Must be a tourist in front of us.” Felix laughed. “Once we get on De Causeway, we will pass him.”

When an opening appeared in the traffic, Felix gunned the engine, taking the first left onto The Causeway and whipping past the slow-moving car. He tapped his horn and waved. “De water we are passing is called Castle Harbour.  We will take de North Shore Road to Hamilton.”

Charlie glanced at the pastel-colored buildings interspersed with small copses hugging the road. As they continued toward Hamilton, various businesses dotted the landscape.

The van swayed as Felix alternated between braking for vehicles in their way to dashing into oncoming traffic to pass anything in his way. After a series of turns in Hamilton, the van screeched to a halt in front of The Oxford House. He checked the clock on the dash. “Twenty-eight minutes. An excellent time.”

Everyone climbed out of the taxi and converged at the rear of the vehicle to collect their belongings.

“How much?” Charlie pulled out his wallet.

 “Let’s see. Ten miles from the airport, so that is thirty-two dollars and sixty-five cents.” Felix raised a hand and pointed at their roll-around suitcases and backpacks. “Plus, one dollar for every piece of luggage.” He grinned. “Because I like you, make it forty dollars.”

Charlie raised a brow, pulled out two twenties and a five-dollar note, and handed the money to Felix.

Chingas!” Felix pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. “If you need a taxi or a guided tour while you are in Bermy, give me a call, and I give you de business rate.” He shook their hands. “Enjoy!”

More next time.

Slide1Work is also progressing with Ultimate Escalation. Chapters eight and nine were completed this week and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 191 reviews.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently reread, The Fulcrum: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. If you’ve read any of JC’s work you know how good it is. The Fulcrum is the first book in the series, and is an excellent introduction to Rex’s character and what makes him tick. While some readers might not like the main character for a variety of reasons, it’s important to the series to know how Rex became the man he now is. Well worth the read!

I also read by Wired Secret: Vigilante Justice Thrillers Series (Paradise Crime Thrillers Book 7) by Toby Neal. An intricate plot and realistic characters make for an exciting read as Sophie Ang deals with personal demons while assisting the U.S. Marshall’s Service in protecting a witness. Before long, Sophie is also in the sights of the same person after the witness.

She also finds out more about her mother and tries to decide which man is best for her. There’s plenty of action and great twists to keep the story moving forward. Look forward to reading more of Toby’s work.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 27, 2021

After a long hiatus due to Covid, we finally secured a craft table yesterday at an event which has resumed with the lifting of most restrictions. My novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets took center stage, with our candles and pyrography filled up our allocation.

Nine of Sylvia’s poetry sheets sold, along with eight of my novels, as well as some of the candles and pyrography. All-in-all, a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” 

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Indian novelist (Anandamath); Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (Under the Yoke); Lafcadio Hearn, American author (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan); Emma Goldman, American anarchist and publisher (Mother Earth); Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet and novelist (Oak & Ivory); Helen Keller, American political activist, author (The Story of My Life) and lecturer, who was the 1st deaf-blind person to earn a BA; Lewis Bernstein Namier, English historian; Ajla Rachmanova, Russian-Austrian author (Students); Catherine Cookson, English novelist (Bannaman Legacy); Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet (Ballad of Mari Lwyd); João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands); Alexander Pola [Abraham Polak], Dutch actor and writer (Cassata); Robert Aickman, English writer and conservationist (co-founding the Inland Waterways Association); Herbert Ziergiebel, German writer; Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian writer (Nyamekye); Joachim Wohlgemuth, German writer; Lucille Clifton, American poet (Two-Headed Woman); James P. Hogan, British sci-fi author (Giants’ Star); and J. J. Abrams, American writer, producer and director (Lost, Star Wars: the Force Awakens).

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly familiar with Catherine Cookson.  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

This week, I started the editing process of Revenge. Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 705. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ hoisted their beer bottles before taking a sip. A waiter slid a bowl of hot, salty popcorn on the table, winding his way through the tables and dropping off additional servings.

Wild took a long swig of his beer. “Man, I needed that. What a day! Those driving instructors are crazy!”

Sam laughed. “I know what you mean. When I went to the first test, I stopped as requested by the two armed guards at the checkpoint. One came up to the window and tapped on the glass with his AK-47. He spoke in the worst Spanish I’ve ever heard.” She grabbed a handful of popcorn and tossed a couple of kernels into her mouth. “He wanted my identification. I ended up shoving it through the window vent. After he glanced at it, he gave it back through the vent and waved us through.”

“So, what happened?”

“After we drove away, the instructor said I came up with a great way to provide what the guard wanted without rolling the window down.” Sam grinned. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him I did that because the main window wouldn’t come down.”

Everyone laughed and drained their bottles as full ones were set on the table.

“That’s nothing.” Wild chewed some popcorn before washing it down. “My instructor asked me why I sped toward a vehicle trying to back onto the road. A guy stood with his hand in the air for me to stop. I was going to when another stepped out with an AK-47. I was too close to back up, so I gunned it. The instructor finally agreed with my decision, although he said I should be more cautious.” He turned to TJ. “Anything exciting?”

“Not really. My instructor got mad when I swore. We came across a roadblock that I couldn’t bust through—two vehicles blocked the way, with a third one behind. When I began to reverse, the engine cut out. I hollered, ‘Shit!’ and started to climb out of the car when the instructor said the exercise was over. He then admonished me for swearing because he didn’t think the situation warranted it, although he did have a grin plastered across his face. He used the engine kill switch to disable the vehicle to see how I would respond.”

“Well, we survived our day of driving.” Sam stood. “I’m looking forward to the weapons stuff tomorrow.” She pointed to the sign for the restrooms. “Be right back.”

When Sam returned, they drained their glasses. “Pizza?” Sam pointed to the Pizza Hut sign down the street.

“Sure, but I want one to myself.” TJ rubbed his stomach. “What I don’t eat now I’ll have later or for breakfast.”

“Works for me.” Wild yawned. “After we eat, I’m heading back to the hotel to crash. Be another busy day tomorrow.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

With all of the editing and external events this week, I didn’t finish the novel I’m currently reading. All being well, I’ll present my review next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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

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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