Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 21, 2021

After a week of mild temperatures and wind, clouds, and rain, with only the occasional glimpse of the sun, we woke up to a bit of frost on the car this morning. Clear skies with a temperature of 40F/4C should make it a pleasant day overall–hope to clear up some of the fallen leaves before we get more rain or worse.

I watched the Michigan State-Ohio State game last night. Both teams had 9-1 records going into the game. What a crushing defeat for Michigan State, 56-7. All I can ask is: how did Ohio State lose a game earlier in the year? Next weekend, it’ll be Michigan vs. Ohio State. I’ll still back Michigan, but who knows what will happen?

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 21st, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, Flemish jesuit and author; Catharina Questiers, Dutch poet (Friend of Abandoned Child); Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet; Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet], French writer, philosopher and playwright (Candide); Petrus Augustus de Génestet, Dutch vicar and poet; Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900); Franz Hessel, German writer; Harold Nicolson, English diplomat and author (Good Behaviour); Jim Bishop, American journalist and author (The Day Lincoln was Shot); Elizabeth George Speare, American author (The Witch of Blackbird Pond); Christopher Tolkien, British author and son of J. R. R. Tolkien; Marilyn French, American author (The Women’s Room); Richard Marcinko, American author; Tina Brown, British journalist (New Yorker, Tattler); and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–Voltaire. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from. Today is the final day of the promotion, so if you don’t hurry, you’ll miss out.

I found out this week that Mission Angola: Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1 has moved from the slush pile to the long list in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Twenty novels are vying to make the short list. Will keep you posted.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

The paperback cover is now ready. As soon as Sylvia does a couple more content tweaks, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m still not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of fourteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 402. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

“Good morning!” A heavy-set man dressed in a stained shalwar kameez and black sandals struggled to his feet under the Arabic gum tree and lumbered toward them. “Are you ready for our journey?”

“Umar, this is Vladimir and Mishka.” Ajit motioned toward the Russians. “They will be your passengers. Will you explain how they will be hidden?”

“But of course.” Umar waddled toward the vehicle. “I will drive the truck while you will remain in a space above the cab.” He walked to an area behind the driver’s compartment and reached into a small slot. With a click, a panel opened, revealing a ladder. Grabbing a rung, he turned and grinned. “Follow me to your temporary home.”

One by one, Umar, Vladimir, and Mishka climbed the ladder and squeezed into the dark compartment.

Umar flicked a small switch, bathing the area in a dim glow. There was sufficient height to sit, but they wouldn’t be able to stand. “All the comforts of home—plenty of blankets to cushion you during the trip.” He pointed to four small holes in the ceiling. “Air vents.” He twisted around and gestured to a funnel taped to a hose. “For urination. It will fall onto the road. There are plastic bags in the corner for defecation, but these will have to remain inside with you.”

Ajit stuck his head in the opening. “Here is food and water.” He pushed in two small bags. “When you are ready, we will close the compartment and move Umar’s cargo to keep you hidden.”

“If there is an emergency, how do we escape?” Vladimir rubbed his chin.

“I forgot.” Umar twisted his body again, so he faced the far side of the compartment. “There are four latches. Pull them toward you to unlock them. Use your feet and push—a panel will open so you can get out. Use this only as a last resort. Hidden and scared is much better than revealing yourselves and being killed.”

“How do we communicate with you?” Mishka glanced around. “I see a small speaker, but nothing else.”

Umar nodded. “When you speak in a loud voice, your voice will come through. Do not do this if we are stopped. Others will be able to hear you, too.”

Vladimir nodded. “We are ready to go.”

“Excellent. It will take us about fifteen minutes to move the cargo into position. There will be two planned stops for fuel and pay tolls. Tonight, you will be in Peshawar.”

Vladimir and Mishka placed their pistols and ammunition in handy access positions and used the blankets to create makeshift beds.

“Well, Mishka. Our journey continues.”

“Da. As the American soldiers say in the war movies, ‘Hurry up and wait.’ We might as well get comfortable.”

“Agreed. I just wish we had some vodka, black bread, and dumplings.” Vladimir dug into the food bag Ajit provided. He pulled out a samosa. “Want one?”

Mishka laughed. “Da.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one will keep you guessing until the final page. It was great to see Harry and Kate head to Florida for this one, even if the case began thirty-five years ago. Will there be anyone left to know what really happened?

There are plenty of suspects to go around, but who really killed three bicyclists and severely injured another one? What was the motive? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out as I don’t like to give plots away. However, this one will have you staying up late and turning the pages to find out if Harry and Kate can solve the mystery. Another superb story from a master storyteller!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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, April 18, 2021

We’re finally seeing an end to the morning frosts (I hope) and temperatures are climbing back into normal springtime ranges. There’s been plenty of sunshine each day, and with sunrise and sunset earlier and later, respectively, things are brightening up.

All of the plants and flowers we put in the flowerbeds have survived the frost, although the tips of our existing hydrangeas had some damage. The grass has been treated to its semi-annual weed and feed mixture. Plenty of color to make things more appealing.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you. Not because they are nice, but because you are.”

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

Thomas Middleton, English playwright (A Game at Chess); George Colman the Elder, English dramatist; Pieter ‘t Hoen, Dutch journalist and patriot (Neder-Rhijn); George Henry Lewes, English philosophical writer (Life of Goethe); Henry Clarence Kendall, Australian poet (Bell Birds); Antero Tarquínio de Quental, Portuguese poet (Beatrice); Richard Harding Davis, American journalist and author (Soldiers of Fortune, The King’s Jackal); Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, German author (In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message); Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Croatian writer (The Brave Adventures of Lapitch); Vicente Sotto, Filipino politician and author (Sotto Law, Republic Act No. 53); Clara Eggink, Dutch poet (Life with J C Bloem); Stephen Longstreet, American writer (All or Nothing); Joy Davidman, American poet, writer and wife of C. S. Lewis; Cliff Hillegass, American publisher (Cliffsnotes); Leif Panduro, Danish writer (‘k Have varnish on traditions); Raf de Linde [Raphael van Hecke], author (Vaarwel on Gertrude); Samuel P. Huntington, American political scientist (The Clash of Civilizations); Kathy Acker, American experimental novelist (Blood and Guts in High School); and Keith DeCandido, American sci-fi author (Star Trek).

Were any names familiar to you? While Cliff Hillegass’ name wasn’t familiar, I certainly used his Cliffnotes in a variety of classes when I was a student.  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 received great news last week. Colombian Betrayal is now a semi-finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Colombian Betrayal will now compete with thirteen other novels for the finalist positions. There’s been a slight change in the progress to the final announcements. The finalists of the sixteen categories will be announced over three days, April 22nd-24th. The Global Thrillers will be announced the evening of April 22nd, so hopefully, I’ll have good news to share next week.

This year, there will be five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will now be announced on June 5th. Fingers crossed my novel becomes one of the finalists and continues its journey!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 472. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Many thanks, AJ. Let’s hope they find Heidi soon.” Alive.  “While everyone’s getting settled in, I want to establish some routine. Every Monday and Friday, we’ll meet here for about an hour or so. Monday’s will be to discuss any new business and events from the weekend, while Friday will be used to catch up on what’s happened during the week. Any questions?”

“Yes.” Sam glanced at the others before directing her attention toward Javier. “What if something urgent comes up?”

Javier nodded. “Good point. We can always hold impromptu meetings when they’re needed. As we progress and become a more cohesive team, we can make adjustments.”

He opened the iPad and read for a few moments. “Okay, team. We have our first overseas client, compliments of the DEA.”

“Who gets the assignment?” Wilder “Wild” Harris swiped his hands through his thick, brown hair.

“There’ll be four. The team lead will be one of the Snakes, but I don’t know which one yet—depends on who can break away from their normal duties and use some of their accumulated leave.” Javier gazed at the eager faces. “Sam, Wild, and TJ—you’re up. Cesar, I’ll talk to you later—something separate for you.”

“All right!” Sam and Wild high-fived.

TJ pursed his lips and focused an intense stare on Javier. “So, what’s the job? I assume the mission is drug-related, but where?”

Javier grinned. “Have any of you been to Bermuda? Your contact will be a Doctor Cedric Yates. He’s aware of an American drug smuggler using the island as a transit point to push his produce into Florida and would prefer the U.S. deal with him. Not enough volume to interest DEA since they’re stretched to breaking point, so they contacted us.”

“The team leader will be here tonight.” Javier turned to Sindee. “Set up flights, hotels, and two rentals for three days from now. Plan everything for a ten-day vacation—things will be adjusted based on what the team uncovers.”

Sindee nodded. “What about visas? Can we get them in time?”

Javier shook his head. “I checked last night. Not needed for visits of less than six months.”

“I’ve arranged a specialist training program for you. Not long—two days at the Farm.” AJ glanced at Sam, Wild, and TJ. “You’ll get a day of personal security and a day on the pistol and rifle ranges.” AJ chuckled. “Rest up—you’ll need it as the instructors will try to grind you down.”

“Any questions?” Javier surveyed his team. When no one spoke up, he nodded. “Back to work.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Legend: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. Imagine searching for a relic surrounded by a legend, only to find out the item is real and protected by a living beast!

David’s story contains vivid descriptions, multiple subplots, and plenty of characters, including the formidable Major Jack Collins and his deputy, Lieutenant Commander Robbie Everett. Will they encounter the beast and rescue a missing archeological team? There’s plenty of action in this one, so get ready for a real page turner!

That’s all 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved