Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 10, 2019

As the first week of November draws to a close, the temperatures have dropped and there’s been plenty of rain. Nothing like what has hit part of the UK as there hasn’t been any local flooding.

Outdoor chores are more or less completed for this year, so we’ve turned to some interior decorating before our son flies over from D.C. next month. Always something to do to keep things neat and tidy. Of course, there are plenty of NCAA football games to watch in the evening (recorded) and basketball will be starting soon.

A couple of hedgehogs are still making an occasional nocturnal visit but it won’t be long before they go into hibernation. Their homes have been cleaned out and filled with fresh straw with a pile of leaves nearby if they want additional padding. Will be interesting to see if they use them again this year. Will have to get the camera set up to find out.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 10th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jacob Cats [Father Cats], Dutch grand pensionary and poet (Houwelyck); Anne “Ninon” de l’Enclos, French patron of the arts, courtesan and writer; Oliver Goldsmith, Irish novelist and dramatist (She Stoops to Conquer); Frederich von Schiller, German poet and lyricist (Ode to Joy); Dobri Voynikov, Bulgarian teacher, playwright and journalist (The Phoney Civilization); Jose Hernandez, Argentine poet (MartinFierro); Winston Churchill, American author (Crisis, Crossing) (not to be confused with Sir Winston Churchill, a former British Prime Minister); Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, American poet (Gen William Booth enters Heaven); Patrick Pearse, Irish poet, nationalist and political activist; Max Mell, Austria artillery officer and literary (Donauweibchen); an van Nijlen, Flemish poet and author (Bird Phoenix); Arnold Zweig, German antifascist and author (Erziehung vor Verdun); John P. Marquand, American writer (The Late George Apley); John Moore, English author (Portrait of Elmbury, Brensham Village and The Blue Field); Alvaro Cunhal, Portuguese politician and writer; W. E. B. Griffin [William Edmund Butterworth], American best-selling author (Clandestine Operations, The Lieutenants); Russell Means, Native American activist, actor, writer, and musician; Jack Ketchum [Dallas William Mayr], American horror fiction author (Off Season, Red, The Woman); James Chapman, American novelist (Stet); Magnús Scheving, Icelandic athlete, writer and producer (LazyTown); and Sean Hughes, Irish stand-up comedian, writer and actor.

Were any names familiar to you? Two stood out for me: W.E.B. Griffin and Jack Ketchum. 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

With the change in the weather, I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed the final five chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 522, an increase of twenty-eight in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing as I shift into my editing phase.

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

They touched down at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport on time, accompanied by puffs of white smoke as the tires accelerated to match the speed of the huge aircraft.

Michael and Alberto cleared customs without any difficulty and shifted their carry-on luggage to an empty baggage cart. They stepped through the barricades to the interior of the terminal where Alberto spotted their contact—a short, thin man in Western clothing and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap.

He nodded as the men walked past. In the parking lot they slowed down, waiting for the man to catch up.

Hola, que pasa, amigos?” Pepe waved them to a dark blue Toyota Land Cruiser parked at the curb.

“Hola. This is Michael.” After tossing their luggage in the back, the two men shook hands, then everyone climbed into the vehicle.

Pepe ground gears as he shifted, the SUV shuddering before the engine belched a plume of black smoke. He grinned at the others and punched the pedal to the floor, flinging Alberto and Michael back in their seats.

“Sorry. We’re running late.”

“I’d rather be late than end up in an accident.” Michael shook his head. “Give us a little warning next time, okay?”

***

Alberto and Michael grabbed their packs from the rear of the vehicle and headed toward the bar’s entrance. A warped wooden door, once painted red, rested against a brick exterior, allowing patrons access.

Alberto slipped his hand into the space between the frame and the door and yanked. The door opened with a loud squeal as the rusted hinges gave way.

The men stepped inside and waited for their vision to adjust to the dark interior. A myriad of faded advertising posters adorned Nicotine-stained cinder block walls. A dozen rickety tables with mismatched chairs were strewn around the room.

A long bar, made from old planks laid across a wooden framework, ran the width of the cantina in the back of the single room. A large mirror covered in spider web cracks seemed appropriate for the once-proud watering hole.

At the bar they ordered beer. Without a word, the bartender grabbed two bottles of Cerveza Aguila from a cooler, popped the caps against the edge of the bar, and slid them across.

Michael glanced up and spotted two beady eyes staring back at him. A small rodent peered through a hole in a ceiling beam. “There’s a rat up there.” He pointed as the scavenger scooted away.

The bartender smiled. “Sí—that’s Miguel. He cleans up after messy customers.”

More next time.

thriller-roundtable-logo6This coming week I’ll also be participating in a roundtable discussion sponsored by the International Thriller Writers.  The topic: What are the advantages of the new media to bridge readers with authors? The link will go active tomorrow, November 11th, for this discussion, but you can catch earlier discussions at: http://www.thebigthrill.org/thriller-roundtable/

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t get a chance to complete any reviews this week, so I’ll have a couple next time.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 3, 2019

The months continue to march forward. Seems like it wasn’t long ago we were looking forward to summer, yet now we’re in November. Gone are the long hours of daylight as the sun rises earlier and sets sooner each day.

A couple of days ago, we watched a gray squirrel taking care of its winter food requirements, running back and forth with hazel nuts, which had fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, the local hedgehogs continue to fatten themselves up for their winter nap.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Lucan, Latin poet (Bellum Civile); Renatus Rapinus [René Rapin], French Jesuit theologian and poet (Hortorum libri IV); August Gottlieb Meißner, German Enlightenment author who helped develop the detective story genre in German literature; William Cullen Bryant, American poet (Thanatopsis); John Esten Cooke, American novelist (The Virginia Comedians) and Confederate States Army; Apie [Adrian P] Prince, Dutch author (Me Own Way); Samuil Marshak, Russian-Soviet writer, translator and children’s poem poet; Nat Fleischer, American boxing writer (established Ring Magazine); André Malraux [Berger], French novelist and art historian (La Condition Humaine); James Reston, American journalist (New York Times); Hallgrímur Helgason, Icelandic novelist (Höfundur Íslands); Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (Cuto); Dieter Wellershoff, German author (Minotaur); Anna Wintour, English-American editor (Editor of US Vogue); Joe Queenan, American writer; Massimo Mongai, Italian writer; Felix R de Rooy, Curacaos poet/sculptor; and Hal Hartley, American film director and writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know anyone in today’s group. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

With the change in the weather, outdoor activities are coming to a halt, so I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight. The action continues to accelerate as we head toward the story’s climax. Another tweak to my outline was also needed as the story heads towards its conclusion. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 494, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The twenty-two-year-old twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads.

“Now I realize why I don’t invite you to meetings with Lintstone,” AJ smiled at the twins’ antics. “Anything else?”

“No, boss lady,” the twins sang as they left AJ’s office, followed by Phil and Walter.

“What a team.” Javier shook his head as he laughed.

“Their shenanigans can be a bit much at times, but they always come through with relevant information.” AJ glanced at the clock and stood. “We better head for our meeting.”

A few moments later, AJ knocked on Lintstone’s door before entering.

Feet propped on the edge of his desk, a phone pressed to an ear, he motioned them toward chairs while he completed the call.

“Fill me in.”

AJ nodded. “We’ve confirmed the sea route of an Liberian-flagged container ship called Barwal, the same freighter shown in the imagery you provided earlier. After leaving Haiti, it’s scheduled to drop four containers in Colon and six in Turbo. According to the manifests, the cargo is machine parts.”

Lintstone laughed. “The terrorists haven’t realized we’ve caught on to their euphemism for weapons. So what’s your plan?”

“The colonel and I are flying to Haiti tomorrow. We’ve made arrangements to meet with the station chief, so we don’t disrupt any of his operations. We hope to board the ship, plant trackers on the containers in question, and follow them to their destination.”

AJ paused. “We might require additional assistance to track them.”

“Four additional people. Either from the colonel’s group or some of your friends.”

“Perfect, boss. We’ll set up the usual contact arrangements. Anything else?”

“AJ, this is an off-the-books recon mission, nothing more—no kidnapping, no killing.” Lintstone ground his teeth. “Am I clear? These countries are our friends.”

“Yes, boss.” Like I go around killing everyone. Although I can think of a couple of people the world could do without.

“Your mission is sanctioned.” He waved a hand in dismissal.

After they left the office, Javier turned to AJ. “What did he mean about no killing or kidnapping?”

“Well, sometimes shit happens. I grabbed a person or two in the past and tapped some others.” She shrugged. “No problemo—they got what they deserved.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Genevieve, Blair Howard’s latest story in the Lt. Kate Gazarra series, will have you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds. Far from being a simple murder case, the situation is exacerbated by Genevieve having married into one of the area’s most influential business families, who want to keep their secrets from prying eyes.

As always, we catch a glimpse of the Kate behind the badge. One who enjoys a glass of wine, tries to keep physically fit, and seems to survive on good coffee. The comparison between the private and professional Kate makes her more realistic as she leads her small team through the morass surrounding Genevieve’s murder.

I don’t like to spoil the ending of any story, so you’ll have to grab a copy to finds out what happens. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I can’t wait for the next installment!

I also finished Deadly Secrets, the first in the Lambeth Group Series by Gordon Bickerstaff, is a well-written story which will keep action-adventure aficionados. He’s created an intricate plot, which if successful, could potentially doom countless numbers of people to death as they unknowingly ingest harmful protease enzymes.

Follow Gavin Shawlins, a dedicated scientist and a member of the secret Lambeth Group, as he unravels the sinister plot. There is something for everyone in this exciting thriller, even a bit of rekindled romance. With plenty of twists and turns, Gordon has forged the opening novel of what should be an exciting series. I look forward to reading more!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 20, 2019

The last of the topsoil was delivered on Friday–three metric tons. The hole where I had removed clay and stone has been filled with the new earth and the turf (sod) has been laid. That’s two areas sorted out. What a transformation from the previous stone and gravel-covered areas.

Reddish-colored bricks in sort of a kidney-shaped design were filled in first, with the perimeter filled in with chipped stones in different colors, giving a great contrast. Sandstone slabs now surround the section section, with the border between the slabs and the wooden fence also covered with the chipped stones.

KODAK Digital Still CameraThere’s a few bushes/shrubs to move and some cleanup to do. Otherwise, it’s almost ready for the addition of color through a variety of plants, but that’ll have to wait for the spring.

Here’s a photo of a couple of my helpers. Tommy is on the left and Charlie is on the right.

 

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giovanni Rucellai, Italian poet (Le Api); Belle van Zuylen, Dutch-Swiss writer (Three Women); George Ormerod, English historian and antiquarian; Karl [Theodor] Andree, German geographer/journalist (Globus); Thomas Hughes, English politician and author (Tom Brown’s School Days); Alphonse Allais, French author/humorist (Pass the Bile); Arthur Rimbaud, French poet and adventurer (Illuminations); John Dewey, American philosopher, educational theorist and writer (learn by doing); Marnix Gijsen, [baron Jan-Albert Goris], Flemish writer (Grote God Pan); Will Rogers Jr, American politician (D-Representative 1943-44) writer, political commentator, and actor (Down to Earth); Hans Warren, Dutch writer/poet/critic (Secret Diary); Pierre Laporte, Canadian journalist/statesman (Revolution Script); Robert Craft, American conductor, writer and friend of Stravinsky; Art Buchwald, columnist and author (Have I Ever Lied to You); Oskar Pastior, Romanian-born German writer (Oulipo); Emma Tennant, English writer (Pemberley: Or, Pride and Prejudice Continued); Robert Pinsky, American poet and Poet Laureate of the United States; Elfriede Jelinek, writer; David Profumo, English novelist; Lynn Flewelling, American fantasy author; and Michelle Malkin, American political commentator and author.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although there are some familiar names. 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

I continued working on A Cartel’s Revenge when time permitted. Chapter thirty-four 1541181671is now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The action is speeding up as we head toward the story’s climax. I also made a few tweaks to the order of the remaining chapters.

The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 459, an increase of eleven in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Alonzo arrived at the plant accompanied by a single guard, who also doubled as his driver. Workers stepped aside and bowed as he strode across the compound.

Two naked men hung from x-shaped poles stretching their arms and legs spread as far apart as possible. Forbidden any food or drink and left to the elements for almost thirty-six hours, they were close to death.

Alonzo covered his nose to ward off the foul air and turned to his driver. “Summon everyone. They must bear witness.” He strolled to a nearby campstool and sat. Once the entire workforce gathered around Alonzo and the two men, he rose to his feet, a slight tremble in his hands. I don’t want to do this, but I must.

“These men.” He turned and glared at them as onlookers hissed. “These cabrones defiled one of our women, dishonored her husband. Not satisfied, they butchered them like sheep.”

Madre de Dios. Clemencia, por favor.” Both men struggled against their bonds and begged for their lives.

Their pleas for mercy were ignored as people who knew the murdered couple hurled insults at them, calling for their execution. The crowd grew quiet, waiting for Alonzo’s response.

“I will give you mercy. Unlike the dull blades used to kill our friends, I sharpened this one.” Alonzo ran his forefinger down the blade, before rubbing the tip of his finger over his bottom lip. Ready, he raised the machete and sidled toward the man on his right.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Russell Moran has done it again with Puzzles: A Detective Love Story. With New York City reeling from a severe scandal within the police department, the mayor reaches out to Bobbie Nelson, a top-notch detective working in Chicago. After wooing her away from Chicago, she’s teamed up with NYPD detective Bob Lawton. Before long, the become an inseparable team, both professionally and personally.

The NYPD Commission begins sending the most difficult crimes to the couple, eventually referred to as the BBs, to solve. Treating each daunting case like a puzzle, they connect the pieces until they complete their mission and capture the culprits. Russell has done an excellent job in creating larger-than-life characters for this new series, and by bringing in some of his characters from different series, blends them together in a smooth manner.

Each case builds upon earlier ones, with the BBs fine-tuning their puzzle-solving techniques to such a degree it’s not long before the FBI and CIA reach out them to piece together more complicated scenarios impacting on society. Russell has created an easy-to-read and fast-paced story, which will keep you turning the pages late into the evening to find out what happens next. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 13, 2019

Gone are the early sunrises and dusk not happening until late at night. Dark is rolling in by seven p.m. and it’s not getting light until after seven a.m. The leaves are changing and falling. Autumn is definitely upon us!

The daytime temperature is still in the 50s so we’re scurrying to get as much outdoor work completed before the colder weather sets in. The backyard/garden is finally taking shape. One last project for this year is underway and should be completed within the next week, barring any unforeseen disruptions.

The cats are still heading outside each day, but they’re wanting back in after shorter periods. With the shifting sun, their favorite suntraps near the birch trees have diminished. The seasons keep marching on!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, English statesman and writer; William Motherwell, Scottish civil servant and poet; Sasha Chorny [Alexander Mikhailovich Glikberg], Russian poet; George Bacovia [Vasiliu], Romanian poet and composer (Plumb); Conrad Richter, American writer (Light in the Forest); Arna Bontemps, American poet (100 years of negro freedom); Jutta Hecker, German writer; Werner Reinowski, German writer; Robert Walker, American actor and writer (Strangers on a Train, Bataan, Madame Curie); Frank D. Gilroy, American writer (Subject Was Roses); Janice Elliott, English novelist; John Menzies, Scottish publisher; Hugo Young, British journalist (The Guardian); Mike Barnicle, American broadcast journalist and newspaper columnist; Claude Ribbe, French historian and writer; Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian progressive journalist, author, and editor in chief (Al-Arab News Channel); and Colin Channer, Jamaican writer (often referred as “Bob Marley” with a pen).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although there are some familiar names. 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

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty-three. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The action is speeding up as we head toward the story’s climax.

The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 448, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

A four-vehicle convoy approached the compound’s outer gates a few minutes past four p.m. Ramon stood on the veranda, following the procession’s approach. When the trucks stopped, he stepped down as armed men jumped from two troop carriers and created a cordon from the lead jeep to the veranda’s steps.

A tall, emaciated man, wearing crossed bandoliers and brass-handled pistols, stepped from the vehicle. Hands on his hips, he stood waiting.

Ramírez García Días removed his sunglasses and pushed them into a pocket. Ramon approached and extended his hand. Días glanced at it for a moment before shaking.

“Señor Días, welcome. I am Ramon Cristobal Alvarez, Señora Moreno’s chief of security. She is waiting for you.” He led Días to Olivia’s den. When they arrived, he knocked before opening the door.

Olivia stood as Días walked forward.

Ramon made the introductions. “Señora Moreno, may I introduce Ramírez García Días, our regional commander in Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.”

“Welcome to my home, Señor Días. This is my son, Alonzo.”

A waiter served refreshments as the four sat at a circular table placed in the room for the meeting.

“Señor Días, we require your assistance.”

“Señora, how may I help?”

“Call me Olivia, por favor. We require additional manpower to improve efficiency at our coca plants.”

“How many men?”

Olivia glanced at Alonzo, motioning him to speak.

“Señor Días, we require two hundred men, split among our five plants.”

Días laughed. “Be realistic. I don’t have access to that much manpower to assist your drug trade.”

“We are producing more product than your small plants.” Alonzo stared at Días. “I researched your production processes, and you are in a position to assist us. We offer a five percent return for your help.”

“Are you sampling your product or drinking too much?” Días tapped his fingers in a drum roll on the table and shook his head. “One hundred men for twenty-five percent.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

In Into Summer: Dawn of a New Age, Larry Landgraf pulls out all the stops as he completes his Four Seasons series. With a riveting plot and characters we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on their position in the story), get ready for a whirlwind of emotions as the story comes to its conclusion.

Bringing people together at the best of times can be a daunting experience. Imagine having the world you know thrown into chaos where principles no longer exist and it becomes a free-for-all as those who are stronger prey on the weaker ones. But what if someone figures out how to make positive changes? I don’t want to be a spoiler, but the Lindgren twins set out to do just that.

This is a real pager turner, full of larger-than-life characters. Once you start reading, you’ll find yourself immersed in the story and rooting for the good guys (and gals). It’s too bad there aren’t more than four seasons, as I’d certainly like to read more!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 6, 2019

It’s been a busy week. When the rain permitted, we continued getting the backyard/garden into shape. The kidney-shaped bricked feature, which was filled with gravel and weeds has had the clay removed, drainage installed, and is now covered with sod/turf. On the outside of the bricks and between the inner stone wall, additional drainage has been added and the area has been covered with white, red, brown, and blue stone chips.

We removed most of one ‘gravel’ bed’s clay and gravel, but the rain yesterday stopped completion of this area. If it’s dry enough today, although right now it’s pretty damp, the last of the clay will be removed. Afterward, a layer of sand will be added, with the remainder of the hole filled with topsoil for planting of shrubs and flowers.

Still plenty more to do, but will take it a day at a time.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 6th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giuseppe Cesare Abba, Italian patriot and writer; Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, American politician/author (Progressive); Mikhail Kuzmin, Russian writer; MartinLuis Guzman, Mexican novelist (Eagle & the Serpent); Maria Dabrowska, Polish writer (Noce I Dnie); Caroline Gordon, Kentucky, writer (Green Centuries); Horst Lange, German writer (The Long Lament); Meret Oppenheim, writer; Yaşar Kemal, Turkish writer (Memed, My Hawk); Gloria Lane, educator/author/founder (Women’s International Center); David Brin, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Nebula, Sundiver, Postman); Ayten Mutlu, Turkish poet and writer; and Joseph Finder, American novelist.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although David Brin’s work stands out. 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

Dangerous Alliance with CIBA award(1)I mentioned last time about The new Big Thrill book giveaway, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, which will take place on October 25th. I’m pleased to announce that my award-winning novel, Dangerous Alliance, is part of October’s giveaway. Two lucky winners will each receive ten novels, all written by ITW members and released by publishers recognized by the organization.

If you’re interested in entering the draw, there’s still time. Click here: contest.  Good luck!

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty-two. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 436, an increase of ten in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Giggles greeted him as he approached the dining room.

“Oh, Ramon, will you teach me to shoot?” Silvina maintained a straight face until Maria nudged her. Both girls burst into laughter.

“I’m glad you both recovered from yesterday’s scare. Did you ask your mother about learning to shoot?”

“Sí. She said I must be older.” Silvina pouted.

“Jefe is the boss. When she gives her permission, I’ll teach you. Maria, what about you?”

She shook her head. “The noise scares me.”

He chuckled and continued along the corridor. When Olivia called his name, he sipped his coffee and waited as she approached.

“Dona, everything is arranged. Días will arrive late this afternoon.”

“Excellent. Alonzo will join us.”

“As you wish.”

Ramon caught a whiff of cigar smoke as he stepped onto the veranda where Pedro was reading El Heraldo as he puffed on his daily cigar.

“Jefe, how is your head this morning?”

Pedro set the newspaper aside. “Buenos Días, Ramon. My head is fine—a couple of cuts, a few stitches, but no permanent damage. Nothing on the x-rays and the doctor’s pills handled the pain. I’m in excellent shape and will go for my ride today since I missed my exercise yesterday.”

“Do you want a guard to accompany you?”

Pedro shrugged. “No, unnecessary.” He patted his shoulder. “I’m prepared.”

***

A free morning, Olivia met with the girls in the living room. Maria and Silvina curled on each side of her as she read from the fairy tale, “The Poor Old Lady.” One of Olivia’s favorite childhood treasures, the story was written by Colombian poet Rafael Pombo in 1854. Her mother had read Pombo’s tale to her for years, and she never grew tired of the message.

“Mamá, why does the rich lady become poor?” Maria, hands clasped to either side of her face, waited for an answer.

“There must be a reason. Mamá will share when the time is right.”

“Girls, let me continue and what happens will be clear.” Olivia finished the story and closed the book. “What did you learn?”

“I don’t want to be poor.” Maria wailed, her arms crossed.

“The lady became greedy. She never had enough.” Silvina wore a smirk as she rendered her opinion.

Olivia smiled at her daughter’s comments and squeezed them closer to her.

“Maria, we won’t be poor. But if we become greedy, bad things might happen. The moral of this story is material possessions don’t make us rich.”

“What does, Mamá?”

“What we do with our lives and the people we love.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

M.D. Neu has done it again with his latest novel, TAD. Doug, a fun-loving drama queen finds TAD down on his luck and needing a friend. While Doug doesn’t believe his new friend’s story of being a former angel of death, he gives him his new name, an acronym for The Angel of Death.

This is a riveting story of lasting friendship between two people who couldn’t be more different, but it teaches us to be tolerant of others and their lifestyles. Doug and TAD are well-developed characters and are the main focus of the story. This novel will make you smile, laugh, and perhaps even cry by the time you turn the last page. I won’t spoil the story for anyone who wants to read without know what happens, but M.D. has done a brilliant job of putting together an excellent plot and well-written story about life, friends, and death. Grab yourself a copy now!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 29, 2019

As we march on to the end of another month, we’re beginning to see some seasonal changes. Sporadic rain, mixed with bouts of sunshine are the daily norm. Leaves are beginning to change colors and drop to the ground in the endless cycle we experience each year. Morning temperatures are in the upper 40s/lower 50s, with daytime temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to mid 60s. So begins autumn!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, Spanish author (Don Quixote); Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, English novelist; Stan Berenstain, American children’s author (The Berenstain Bears); Ankie [Johanna A Hoving-]Peypers, Dutch author/poet; Colin Dexter, English crime writer (Inspector Morse); Andrés Caicedo, Colombian writer; Stephen Platt, editor (New Statesman & Society); and Gwen Ifill, journalist and writer.

September 29th doesn’t appear to be a popular birth date among writers. Was anyone familiar to you? Even with the small listing, I still recognized a couple of works, even if I couldn’t remember the authors: Don Quixote and Inspector Morse. 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

Dangerous Alliance with CIBA award(1)The new Big Thrill book giveaway, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, will take place on October 25th. I’m pleased to announce that my award-winning novel, Dangerous Alliance, is part of October’s giveaway. Two lucky winners will each receive ten novels, all written by ITW members and released by publishers recognized by the organization.

If you’re interested in entering the draw, click here: contest.  Good luck!

 

carnage in singapore-001(1)Today is also the last day you can obtain a free download of the Kindle version of Carnage in Singapore. It’s available across the Amazon network. Here’s the U.S. link. Carnage in Singapore has already reached #4 in the U.S. for political thrillers and suspense and #2 in the UK. Help make it number one!

 

 

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 426, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After dinner, Olivia kissed her young children goodnight. “Mamá is meeting with Ramon, now. He’s placed a guard on each of your rooms. I’ll peek in before I go to bed.”

“Yes, Mamá.” Both girls hugged her and ran to Pedro, who led them out of the dining room and upstairs.

Olivia took her coffee onto the veranda. Ramon sat in a white wicker swing, waiting for her. She seated herself opposite him.

“Ramon, last night my papa visited me.” Olivia grasped Ramon’s hand as she spoke. “In my dreams. He gave me a way forward if I’m brave enough to follow through.”

Ramon remained quiet, giving her time to decide.

“We must increase our sphere of influence, provide more security for our plants, and provide new methods to improve our growing, harvesting, and refining.” Olivia turned away from Ramon and gazed across the compound as if the answer lay beyond the lights from the house.

Her focus swung back to Ramon—her decision made.

“Arrange a meeting with Ramírez García Días.”

Ramon’s eyes widened, and he blinked. “Are you certain, Olivia? He’s a dangerous man.”

“We’re in a dangerous business.” Olivia stood in front of Ramon, pulled him to his feet, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders drawing him close. “We must succeed, for my family’s future.”

 Olivia kissed him goodnight before heading into the house.

***

Ramon grinned as he watched her go. “One day … I’ll rule this family—no one will stand in my way.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished reading Finding Billy Battles – Book One by Ronald Yates. We’re taken on a historic journey as Billy’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s journals. The story takes us back to Billy’s time as a young man caught between his mother’s wishes for him to attend university and his desire to strike out on his own. Offered an opportunity to work on a newspaper opening in Dodge City, Billy jumps at the chance.

Ronald’s characters are well-defined and larger-than-life. With a super plot and great attention to detail, readers are treated to Billy’s connections of many of the frontier names we’ve all heard of. The story will keep you spellbound and turning the pages late into the evening. This was the first book of Ronald’s that I’ve read and I can’t wait to begin reading book two.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 22, 2018

We took a cruise to the island of Inchcolm on Friday. Armed with a picnic lunch, we landed on the island and wandered around before finding an unoccupied table. 100_4732.JPGWith clear blue skies and moderate temperatures, it was a great day out. Originally inhabited by a hermit  and his cow, Alexander I sheltered on the island during a storm in 1123. Alexander I promised to build a monastery on the island but passed away the following year. However, his brother, David I, kept the promise. For more details, please check out the following link: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/inchcolm-abbey/history/

We took advantage of the last evening trip of the season on the Maid of the Forth, this time a cabaret cruise, complete with champagne and canapes. With a cloudless sky and a slight breeze it was a grand evening, with music from the ’50s to today. The biggest surprise was sailing as close as a police boat allowed (about 300 meters) from the recently launched HMS Prince of Wales, Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, which as assembled in the nearby port of Rosyth. The ship entered the waters of the Firth of Forth for the first time on Thursday and will begin sea trials soon, so it was a great experience!

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

Bilbo Baggins, Fictional main character of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit (in Shire Reckoning); Philipp Nikodemus Frischlin, German philologist and poet; Barthold Heinrich Brockes, German poet; Lord Chesterfield, letter writer; introduced Gregorian calendar; John Home, Scottish writer; Quintin Craufurd, British author; Theodore Edward Hook, English author; Louis Van Deyssel, writer (Small Republic, One Love); Babette Deutsch, American poet (Animal vegetable mineral); F R Boschvogel, [French LJ Ramon], Flemish writer (War of Worlds); Phyllis Hartnoll, writer/editor; Dannie Abse, Welsh poet and writer; Rosamunde Pilcher, English novelist (The Shell Seekers); Robert Morace, American writer; Jim Keith, American conspiracy theorist and author; Geoff Gilpin, American author; and Diogo Mainardi, Brazilian writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit, I didn’t know most of this 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

39375-270The photo to the left of my three novels is compliments of AllAuthor’s new Magic Tool, released on September 20th. There are loads of options available, but I went with this one, which I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  As I continue to spread the word about my stories, I’ll be using additional options.

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 407, an increase of  thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

One of the guards inched the door open, and Ramon slid inside. Pedro lay on the bed groaning, blood spread across his face, the pillowcase, and splattered upon the blanket and the wall. Stench from the blood permeated the air.

Ramon held his breath and knelt to check for a pulse—weak and irregular. “Call for an ambulance—he’s alive!” A quick check revealed no other injuries.

Pedro struggled to sit. His face screwed in agony, he gasped and collapsed onto the sheets.

Ramon took in a sharp breath. Unfortunate he lives—but for how long? Ramon pointed to one of the guards. “Stay with him. Did you find the girls—where are they?”

The two guards remained silent. Ramon shoved them aside and rushed to Maria’s room, cursing under his breath.

Yanking a pistol from its holster, he eased the unlocked door open. In the middle of the tile floor, a pool of blood created a Rorschach pattern. He glanced around. No Maria, no body. Where is she?

As he scanned the room, a quiet whimper emanated from one of the walk-in closets. Ramon motioned with his weapon for a guard to enter the room and approach the closet. In position, he gestured for the man to open the door.

On the floor, a child lay curled in a ball. Tears trickled down her cheeks.

Ramon’s eyes ran along the rack of clothes before kneeling. He spoke in a soft voice, “Maria, it’s me, Ramon. You’re safe now. Please, come out.”

“I-I’m afraid.”

“Maria, no one will hurt you. I won’t allow any harm to come to you.”

A tiny hand appeared, clasping the edge of the doorframe. From within, eyes filled with fright peered at Ramon.

“Ramon!” Maria jumped up and lunged at him, grasping his legs as she burst into tears.

“Shhh. You’re safe now.” He examined her for injuries before patting her on the shoulder. “Tell me what happened.”

“I-I, heard a loud bang, like shooting but louder than Mamá’s gun. The noise woke me. Someone stood in my room, staring at me. A man—he wore an evil mask. He held a coatimundi and slit its throat. I screamed, and he ran, taking the raccoon with him.”

“Okay, Maria. Stay with the guard. I must check on Silvina.” He signaled for a female guard to remain behind. He raised his hand, beckoning the other two to follow.

In Silvina’s room, they found a similar pool of blood on the floor. Silvina sat on her bed, a tennis racket in her hand, the other end balanced on her knee. She scooted off the bed and raced to Ramon when she spotted him.

“Ramon, a bad man came into my room. He killed a coati and let the blood seep out. I hit him with my racket. Twice. He ran out.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished the third novel of the Four Seasons series, Into Winter: The Armed Invasion, by Larry Landgraf. With Sandra Hawkins, the ruthless leader of Corpus Christi out for revenge, those living in Peaceful Valley prepare for an onslaught. Larry has cranked up the tension in this novel, as we follow Robbie and Sean, as well as the other residents of Peaceful Valley as they take the war to Sandra.

With a superb plot and plenty of action, those seeking an outstanding thriller have come to the right place. I kept rooting for Robbie and Sean’s success, staying up late as it was so hard to put this one down. Look forward to the series finale!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved