Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 25, 2020

The clocks went back this morning–another hour in bed! The cats seemed okay with the extra time, too, as they didn’t start making noise to go outside until the extra hour had passed.

Fall is definitely upon us as more and more leaves change and drop to the ground. The cycle keeps moving forward, following Mother Nature’s path!

Each time I drive out of the street, I chuckle when I see one house. They have two small children, and despite current lockdown procedures, the parents have put up a few Halloween decorations with pumpkins lit by electric lights. The outside decoration is what gets me. They have a huge spider web running from a window on the upped floor down to the ground. Just on its own it’s fantastic, but you should see the three-foot spider making its way up the web!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 25th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose “the Great Montrose”, Scottish general and poet; James Beattie, Scottish poet and philosopher (Essay on Truth); Thomas Babington Macaulay, English poet and historian (Ivry, Naaseby); Maria van Ackere-Doolaeghe, Flemish poet (Daisies, Avondlamp); Pavel Melnikov, Russian historian and author (In the Forests); Gleb Uspensky, Russian author (Power of the Soil); Hélène Swarth, Dutch author (Lonely Flowers); Nico van Suchtelen, Dutch writer and publisher; Eduardo Barrios, Chilean novelist (The Love-Crazed Boy); François Pauwels, Dutch writer and attorney; Henry Steele Commager, American historian (Atlas of Civil War); Edmond Pidoux, Swiss writer (L’histoire de Jonas); John Berryman, American poet (The Dream Songs); Peter Rohmkorf, German writer; Sir Martin Gilbert, British historian (Winston Churchill biography); Anne Tyler, American writer (Accidental Tourist); Selly Fernandes, Curacao poetess (Winking with Selly); Daniel Mark Epstein, American poet and biographer (Abraham Lincoln); and Zadie Smith, British novelist (White Teeth, On Beauty, Swing Time).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. However, I’d like to mention Les Stahl, whose birthday is on the 26th. Les was the driving force behind me even attempting to write a novel. Without his suggestion and encouragement, I never would have given it a try. Now, I have three award-winning novels.

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

Although I had planned to take a week off from editing Xavier Sear: Angola, I’m halfway through my second edit pass. I caught a few words which didn’t fit and made some changes to original wording.

One of my beta readers binged on the story, completing the novel in two days. In addition to really enjoying the plot, she’s already waiting for the next one!

In case you’ve missed the synopsis for Angola, here it is:

Joao and Caterina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwelewe, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Caterina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

This week I continued working on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

I managed to complete chapters twelve and thirteen and post them to the two subscription writing sites I use. Feedback is rolling in, with 205 chapter reviews so far. 

Here’s the synopsis:

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.

I also completed chapter eight of New World Revolution. This one is slowly coming along, mainly due to the extensive amount of research required to blend my fictional characters and their lives with real people and events. It’s quite a challenge, but I’m enjoying it!

Even with the small number of chapters posted, Revolution has already received 158 chapter reviews.

Here’s another glimpse at the synopsis if you haven’t seen it:

The members of the Alexander family are hard-working tenant farmers in northern England. In 1770, massive crop failures threatened the very existence of the farmers. William Alexander and his two sons, sell what they can of their crops, but are unable to pay their debt, forcing them into a difficult situation.

The landowner’s factor takes pity on the Alexander family since they always paid their debts and never caused any problems. Since they could pay their way to the New World, the factor arranges their passage. They work off the costs as indentured servants to his brother, a wealthy tea merchant in Boston.

Little does anyone know, the Boston Tea Party and other events leads the colonies into a fight for their survival. What will become of the Alexander family?

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 13, 2020

The nights are closing in, dawn sleeps in each morning, clouds and rain are a constant companion, and leaves are beginning to turn color. No doubt about it–fall is approaching. And fast!

Despite the changing weather, roses are still budding, new flowers have popped out on our clematis vines, and several new hydranga blooms are threatening to burst from the shelter of their leaves. It’s always interesting to watch how Mother Nature changes the landscape in a never-ending cycle.

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

Alexander Neckam, English theologist and encyclopedist; John Leland, English poet and antiquarian; Daniel Defoe, English novelist (Robinson Crusoe); Arnold Ruge, German political philosopher and writer; Nicolas Beets [Hildebrand], Dutch writer (Camera Obscura) and theologian; Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (The Child of the Parish); Johannes de Koo, Dutch journalist and playwright; Sherwood Anderson, American author and publisher (Winesburg Ohio); Alain LeRoy Locke, African-American writer and philosopher “Father of the Harlem Renaissance”; Pierre Reverdy, French poet (Nord-Sud); J. B. Priestly, English novelist and scriptwriter (The Good Companions, An Inspector Calls); Julian Tuwim, Polish poet and lyricist; Anton Constandse, Dutch anarchist and writer; Hermine Heijermans, Dutch actress, politician and author (Grote Klaas en kleine Klaas); Ray Green, American composer and publisher; Roy Engle, American writer and actor (The Man from Planet X, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian); Roald Dahl, British author (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG); George Weidenfeld, British publisher (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Reninca [Renée Lauwers], Flemish author (Seed in the Wind); Judith Martin, American author, journalist and columnist (Miss Manners); Noël Godin, Belgian writer and humorist; and Tõnu Õnnepalu, Estonian poet and author.

I’d also like to extend belated happy birthday wishes to America’s oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks. He turned 111 yesterday! Click here for his story!

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Daniel Defoe and Roald Dahl. 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 continued to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 507 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-three in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t. Not only does this impact on my current work-in-progress, it also helps to improve my future stories.

Here’s another snippet:

Hours passed. Namali’s contractions continued about every twenty minutes. Each one was accompanied by a piercing scream as she wrenched the replaced sheet.

Fimi wiped Namali’s forehead after every event, singing a local song in a soft voice. During a break in the contractions, Fimi helped Namali change into somewhat cleaner clothes.

Peter tried to rest on a chair, his head leaning against the tent’s central pole. However, he jumped every time Namali screamed.

“Doc … tor. Help me!” Namali raised her head. “Make the pain go away.”

Peter stepped to the side of the cot and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Soon. Once the contractions become more frequent, it will be time.” He gestured at Fimi. “Together, we will bring your baby into this world.”

“Thank … you, Doc … tor.” Namali gasped and collapsed back on the pillow.

Moments later, she screamed again—louder than before. “It hurts! Make it go away!”

Peter rushed to Namali’s side. With Fimi’s help, they moved Namali into a birthing position. He examined her again.

Blood.

“Doctor?” Fimi held a small bag in her hand. “Should we give some medicine to help?”

“What is it?”

She shrugged. “I do not remember. My mother was a doula, and she made this mixture. It is a herbal remedy she learned from her mother.”

Peter waved a hand. “Not now.” He pointed at the blood. “It will be time soon.”

“Ieeeeeah!”

“The contractions are stronger and quicker. Won’t be long. Help her push.”

A liquid saturated the cot as Namali screamed again.

Fimi grabbed a clean towel and wiped up the fluid.

“The membrane ruptured!” Peter peered at Namali. “I can see the head! Push, Namali, push!”

Namali dug her fingernails into Fimi’s arm.

The doula grimaced and encouraged Namali to push with each contraction.

“It’s coming!”

“Waaaah!

Peter held the tiny baby in his hands. He nodded at Fimi, who wrapped the child in a piece of blanket.

After Peter snipped the umbilical cord, he stepped to Namali’s side. He glanced at her now-peaceful looking face. “Congratulations. You have a healthy child.”

More next time.

I also managed several more hours of research and finally completed chapter seven of New World Revolution this week. To date, there have been 137 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen since I last mentioned this WIP.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible. While I have a specific time frame for this novel, the first of six planned for the series, several reviewers are reminding me about events they are familiar with. They’ll all receive an appropriate mention when it’s time. Of course, it’s always difficult to blend real events and people with the lives of fictional characters, but that’s part of the thrill of creating this 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 9, 2020

When we bought our current house, there was a conservatory attached to it. It has an opaque roof, which allows for heat to build up inside in the summer and can be quite cool in the winter. There’s also an intense glare when the sun hits it.

Fortunately, having experienced this before, we knew what to do. There are inserts which slide into the the layer of channels in the roof panels. So, this past few week (around intermittent showers) I installed the inserts. Not a difficult task, but definitely time consuming.

As a result, our opaque roof now has a blueish tint to it, which is interesting since the inserts are silver on both sides. Anyway, the glare has disappeared and the conservatory is cooler, without having to open the doors and all of the windows. Hopefully, we’ll see less heat loss in the winter, too.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Izaak Walton, English biographer and author (The Compleat Angler); John Oldham, English satirical poet; Jacob Campo Weyerman, Dutch painter and writer during Dutch Enlightenment; Bruno Dalberg [Petrus the Wacker van Zon], Dutch writer and lawyer; David de Jong, Dutch writer (Mutiny on the Canal); Armand Salacrou, French playwright; P.L. [Pamela Lyndon] Travers, Australian British writer (Mary Poppins); Berta Waterstradt, German writer and actress; John Baur, American museum director and author (American Paintings in 19th Century); Robert van Gulik, Dutch diplomat and writer (Judge Dee); Tove Jansson, Finnish author and illustrator (Moomins); Enzo Biagi, Italian journalist and writer; Philip Larkin, English poet and writer (North Ship, Jill); Gerrit Kouwenaar, Dutch journalist and poet; Robert Shaw, British actor, novelist, and playwright (Deep, Jaws, Sting, Black Sunday); Daniel Keyes, American author (Flowers for Algernon); and Jonathan Kellerman, American writer.

Recognize anyone? I did–Robert Shaw and Jonathan Kellerman. 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 completed chapter thirty-two of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-three. As of today, there’s been 388 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

An hour later, the road widened as they near the village. Children ran alongside the vehicles, laughing and shouting. Older people peeked out of the various huts, staring at the trucks as they passed through the village center.

Ahead, three trucks waited, their cargo areas stacked high with various goods, including bags of grain, bolts of cloth, and crates of live chickens.

Sear and Guzman hopped out of their vehicle and walked toward the water.

Kruger joined them. He exchanged a few words with one of the locals and turned to Sear. “He wants to know what white men are doing in this part of Africa?”

The man said something else to Kruger, who laughed. “He wants to know if we’re lost?”

“What’s the problem?”

“He didn’t say there was a problem. We’re an oddity in this area, that’s all.”

The local tapped Kruger on the shoulder and conversed for a couple of minutes. Afterward, the man smiled and walked away.

“Now what?”

“The locals are letting us go on the ferry first.”

The vehicles ahead of them backed up, clearing the way for Sear and his companions.

“Guess we better get in position.” Kruger turned toward his truck. “Oh, yeah. He said one other thing—we’ll be on the boat by ourselves. They believe we are bad luck.”

***

Once Kruger and Guzman drove their cargo vehicles onto the flat-bottom ferry, the trucks were locked in place. The ferry moved into the brown water, heading toward Angola.

Sear leaned against the back of a truck and gazed at the locals standing along the Zambian shoreline waving at him.

He lifted his hand to return the gesture.

Fweet! Fweet!

Sear waved at Kruger and Guzman. “Incoming!” He dove into the murky water.

More next time.

I managed several more hours of research for chapter seven of New World Revolution this week and should begin writing soon. To date, there have been 120 chapter reviews.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible.

Here’s the initial snippet from the opening chapter:

Last night, after two days of blue skies and brilliant sunshine, which hadn’t dried out his sodden crop, he sensed moisture in the air again. In the distance, banks of dark clouds gathered, threatening another deluge. They had no choice, but to bring in the harvest and salvage what they could. He called to Thomas and George. “‘Tis time for a break, lads. Fetch the water bucket and we shall rest for awhile.”

They leaned against a pile of rocks removed over the winter from a new plot Sir Percy’s factor arranged for them. After taking his turn with the ladle for a drink of cool water, Thomas knowing eyes met his father’s. “Most of it is spoiled.”

“Yes. I pray we can salvage enough to pay our rent. The crop is worse than five years ago when we almost lost everything.”

“What will happen to us, Father, if we can’t?” George, thirteen on his last birthday, tossed a small stone across the field.

“I don’t know, lad. I don’t know.” I should tell Mary the bad news tonight. But I can’t—what are we to do? A false smile on his face, William struggled to his feet. “Time’s passing. Won’t be long afore the sun is overhead.”

They picked up their scythes and returned to work. After his sons had gone to the other end of the field, William’s smile withered, his eyebrows knitted in a frown.

He swung his scythe, working his way along the field. Left. Pull back. Left. Pull back. Tears brimmed as he worried about what the future held for him and his family.

The sun had arced westward before William squinted at the sky. Glad the storm was still a good way off, he called for another break. “Lads, dinner.”

Thomas and George hurried to his side. Next to the water bucket, a second contained their dinner: an apple, a chunk of two-day-old bread, and a small piece of hard cheese each. They devoured their meal, leaned back against the rocks, and dozed.

Twenty minutes later, William tapped his sons’ knees. “Back to work. Several more hours to go afore the day is finished.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been reading more from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder and should have reviews of book two and three next time.

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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 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

39375-96

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

39375-96

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

th

 

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

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Rambling, December 22, 2019

Last Sunday we had a fantastic three-course lunch in the Queen Anne Building at Edinburgh Castle. It was built 1703-08 and is to the west of Crown Square. After a delightful meal and excellent conversation, our taxi took us along the Royal Mile before we headed home.

Last night we had the pleasure of attending “A Christmas Carol” performed by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. It was held in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle. The cast gave a stunning performance of this Charles Dickens’ classic. A glass of mulled apple helped keep the slight chill at bay in this building which dates back to 1503.

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

Hermann Samuel Reimarus, German philosopher and writer; Jean Racine, French dramatist (Phèdre); Johann Sebastian Welhaven, Norwegian poet; Justin M’Carthy, Irish politician and novelist (Miss Misanthrope); Mark Rutherford [Hale White], English writer; František Xaver Šalda, Czechoslovakian literary critic; Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet (Richard Corey); Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Italian-French prose writer, novelist, poet, and dramatist (Futurism e Futurista); Nikolay Semyonovich Tikhonov, Russian poet; Kenneth Rexroth, American poet & translator & critical essayist (Birds in the Bush); Calder Willingham, American novelist and scriptwriter; Lee Salk, Russian-American child psychologist and author; Piero Angela, Italian television host & writer (Control); Brian C. Daley, American sci-fi author (Exploits of Han Solo, Tron); Charles de Lint, Canadian sci-fi author (Moonhear, Mulengro, Yarrow); Heather Donahue, American writer & actress; and Chris Adler, American writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group, except for Lee Salk. 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

1541181671Editing of A Cartel’s Revenge continues but a bit slower this week. Since our son arrived last Saturday for a two-week visit, we’ve been spending time with him.

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

She jumped to her feet and paced liked a trapped tiger, relentless. Her features became like ice. “No! I don’t believe it. He’s trying to cover up his incompetence.”

Alonzo repeated the description provided by the principal.

“I only know one man who this might be.” Olivia shook her head in disbelief. “But … he wouldn’t do this. He was my father’s friend. Francisco Kruz. It can’t be him.” She shook her head again. “He does have a speech impediment ….”

“I don’t understand, Mamá. Where’s Pedro? I still haven’t seen him.”

“He doesn’t answer his phone. I have no idea where he is.” Olivia poured a glass of whiskey, taking a gulp before offering one to Alonzo, who declined.

“Mamá, we must contact Señor Kruz. Perhaps he knows where Pedro went.”

Olivia dialed Kruz’s telephone number. No answer. She let the phone slip from her fingers, as seeping tears became a torrent. She fell to the floor, grabbing her chest as if in pain. “Oh, my babies. Someone find them!”

Alonzo bent down, picked up the phone, and replaced the receiver in the cradle. He knelt beside his mother, trying to console her. His arms around her, they rocked, his shirt soaked from her heartbroken and scared tears.

“You should have been waiting for them, Alonzo.” She beat on his chest with her fists. “Your duty demanded this. I can’t trust you—can’t trust anyone!”

They descended into silence—waiting.

After what felt like several hours, the shrill ring of the phone shattered the quiet. Olivia picked up the instrument, putting it on speaker.

A raspy voice came on the line. “Your daughters are safe. For now. Leave Barranquilla, and they will be unharmed. Otherwise ….”

“Noooo!”

More next time.

Despite our son’s visit, I did manage to do some work on Ultimate Escalation. The draftsSlide1 of the first six chapters have been completed. To date, they’ve received sixty-six reviews on the two online subscription writing sites I use. Excellent suggestions as always to enhance my stories.

For those who enjoy the twists and turns I include in my novels, there will be plenty more appearing in this one.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

While I did some reading this past week, I didn’t get all of my thoughts in order. Time permitting, I’ll have a review of a book or two 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