Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 30, 2020

The past week or so has had an autumnal feeling to it, with rain most days and the daytime temperature not going above 61F (16C). The light nights have rapidly dwindled and nighttime temperatures are dropping to 45F (7C).

Hope this isn’t a sign summer is already over! I realize it’s the end of August, but would definitely like more summer weather–at least into the middle of September!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bonifacio Asioli, Italian composer and music writer; Mary Shelley, English author (Frankenstein); Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Friedrich Ratzel, German social-geographer (Lebensraum); J. M. Dent, British publisher; Paul Hazard [Paul-Gustave-Marie-Camille Hazard], French critic and literature historian; Meijer de Hond, Dutch rabbi and writer; Adam Kuckhoff, German writer and resistance fighter; John Gunther, American author and host (John Gunther’s High Road); Donald Bisset, British children book writer, illustrator (Upside Down Stories); Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Protestant theologist; Ben Cami, Flemish writer and poet (Rose from Mud); Charmian Clift, Australian writer and essayist; Laurent de Brunhoff, French writer and illustrator (Babar the Elephant); Warren Burger, American author (The Midas Touch); Fabrizia Ramondino, Italian author; Robert Crumb, American cartoonist (Father Time, Fritz Cat); and Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author. 

This week I certainly recognized one name: Mary Shelley. I’d also like to mention today is my step-son’s birthday. He might not be famous, but he does write a fashion-related blog, which is available at https://theculturalomnivore.co.uk/.

Anyone familiar to you? 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 on a roll with my writing, having completed the final chapters of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 465 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of thirty-nine in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

A hint of dawn appeared on the horizon. Two black SUVs with false license plates pulled out of Theo and Shantae’s residence. The dogs followed until Shantae whistled.

After a final glance at the departing vehicles, the dogs gave a short bark and turned back toward Shantae, tails wagging. “Now don’t you worry about Baba. He’ll return soon with Peter.” I pray to God. She waved a final time. The smile plastered on her face as Theo and João soon disappeared, replaced by a frown. May God look after all of them.

***

Abilio drove the lead Jeep Cherokee, with João and Theo sitting in the back seat. Three hand-picked guards rode in the second vehicle.

The two-vehicle convoy weaved through the streets of Luanda until they turned onto the highway leading east. Abilio hummed a series of out-of-tune songs as the miles passed by. They encountered little traffic.

“How far we go today, Baba Theo? Should I drive fast?”

Theo shook his head. “Obey all posted signs and don’t drive too fast. We want to find out if anyone is following us.”

“If someone’s after you, why didn’t we fly?” João glanced over his shoulder.

A thin smile creased Theo’s face. “There are spies everywhere, my friend. They want information about where I go and who I meet.”

“Why would anyone want to do this? Haven’t you been a champion of the people?”

“My views aren’t held by everyone in the government.”

***

Theo and João sat in the rear seats of the Cessna. Once everything was loaded onto the aircraft, the three guards waved and headed toward the vehicles.

“Are we ready, Abilio?”

“Yes, Baba. They will take both vehicles and continue on the road to Saurimo in case anyone follows.”

“Excellent.” Theo shouted over the noise of the engine as Nito ran through his checklist before departure. “We’ll be in Saurimo in about four hours.”

João leaned toward Theo. “What happens when we arrive?”

“Abilio’s cousin lived there. He will meet our plane and take us to the rendezvous point with Senhor Sear.” Theo leaned back in his seat. “As you told me long ago, soldiers should sleep whenever the chance arose. I suggest we do so now.” Who knows what will happen when we arrive? I hope Abilio’s cousin is as trustworthy as he believes.

“We are ready.” Nito glanced at his passengers. “We go now.” He turned the aircraft around and increased speed as they bounced through the grass. Before they reached a distant line of trees, he pulled back on the yoke, and the plane clawed its way skyward.

***

João gazed out the window, watching mile after mile of dense jungle pass beneath them. In the distance, occasional breaks indicated small villages. I hope Sear makes it. We’ll need his expertise to extract Peter. His eyes began to close as the drone of the engine lulled him asleep.

A sound, not unlike a cough, broke the smooth noise of the engine.

João jerked, wide awake. He glanced at Nito, who struggled with the controls. “What’s wrong?”

“Hang on! We’re going down!”

A whistling sound replaced the engine noise as the nose of the aircraft tipped toward the ground.

João tightened his seat belt and closed his eyes. Catarina! I love you!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished another novel from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts, so I’ll provide my reviews 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, August 2, 2020

It’s hard to believe how fast July sailed by. It seemed just a blink since we were in June. We’ve been busy with a variety of outdoor tasks which needed done, but not so much we couldn’t stop and enjoy the colorful array of flowers which our efforts (and Mother Nature) produced this year. Absolutely fabulous!

This week, we continued doing some more Scottish genealogy. It took four eyes, a magnifying glass, and a bit of patience to decipher some of the documents we uncovered. However, we were successful in sorting through the loops, scrolls, and faded areas to identify the births of several ancestors dating back as far as 1692! It’s always a thrill when we uncovered a new piece of information.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Kaspar von Stieler, German poet (Teutsche Wolredner); Joan Lucaz, Dutch journalist and patriot; Adolf Friedrich von Schack, German poet; F. Marion Crawford, American author (Mr. Isaacs); William Watson, British poet (Prince’s Quest, Father of Forest); Irving Babbitt, American writer (Rousseau & Romanticism); Ernest Dowson, British poet (Decorations in Verse and Prose); Aino Kallas, Finnish writer (White Ship, Estonian Tales); Ethel M. Dell, English author (Storm Drift); Johannes Tralow, German writer (Ottoman tetralogy); Viktor Maksimovich Zhirmunsky, Russian literary historian and linguist; John Kieran, American columnist and author (Natural History of NYC); Charles Bennett, English screenwriter; Mary Hamman, American writer and editor (Pictorial Review, Good Housekeeping); Lou Zara, American writer (Stump the Authors); Roger MacDougall, Scottish playwright and screenwriter (The Man in the White Suit); Louis Pauwels, French writer and editor; James Baldwin, American novelist (Go Tell it on Mountain, Another Country) and playwright (The Amen Corner); Isabel Allende, Chilean-American author (The House of the Spirits, City of the Beasts); Rose Tremain, British novelist and playwright (Restoration); Robert Holdstock, English sci-fi author (Ghost Dance, Labyrinth); James Fallows, American writer and journalist; and Caleb Carr, American novelist and military historian.

One name stood out for me this week: James Baldwin. Did you recognize anyone? 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

When I first released Colombian Betrayal in late March 2020, it was at the introductory price of $2.99 for the Kindle version. I had planned to keep it at this price for thirty days before raising it. However, due to the global pandemic, I’ve kept it at this price.

However, all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow, August 3rd, the price will increase to $4.99. So, if you want a copy but haven’t taken the steps to grab one, now is your chance. Here the universal link for Amazon: books2read.com/u/4Az0j0

Many thanks for your support!

My Work in Progress

This week, I completed chapter thirty-one of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-two. As of today, there’s been 376 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear gripped the arms of his seat as the Emirates flight began its descent into Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. His eyes closed as the knuckles on his hands turned white from his exertion.

“Ease up, man. You’ll rip your seat apart.” Guzman gave a soft chuckle.

Sear glared at him. “Easy for you to say. I hate flying.”

“Flying isn’t an issue.” Guzman gave Sear a sideways glance. “It’s the abrupt landings which cause a problem.”

“Whatever. We’ll be on the ground soon, so take a few breaths and relax.”

* * *

Kruger continued toward Mongu, the sounds of snoring filling the vehicle. After coming around a bend in the road, he slowed. “Wake up, guys. Checkpoint ahead. Hand over your passports.”

Sear and Guzman passed their documents to Kruger before pulling out their weapons ad tucking them out of sight under their legs.

“Here we go.” Kruger pulled to a stop as three armed police officers pointed their AK-47s at the vehicle.

A fourth officer, with a Heckler and Koch G3 rifle slung over his shoulder, lowered a barricade he stepped forward. “Papers.”

Kruger handed over their passports. Inside his, four one-hundred-dollar bills were folded in half.

The officer glanced through the documents before handing them back. He smiled and waved for the others to raise the barrier.

Kruger pulled ahead, gaining speed as they left the checkpoint behind. “Check my passport. I put four hundred dollars in mine, and I didn’t see him take the money.”

Sear rifled through Kruger’s passport. “No dough—pretty adept at making things disappear.”

More next time.

I managed several hours of research for chapter seven of New World Revolution this week and should begin writing soon. To date, there have been 116 chapter reviews.

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

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading three novels from the Will Finch Mystery Thriller series by D.F. Baily. In the opening novel, Bone Maker, we meet Will Finch, a crime reporter trying to put his life together after a family tragedy. Before long, Will is hot on the trail of a new story, with some gruesome results. Did a bear eat the sole witness to a multi-million dollar fraud or was it murder?

With a story filled with plenty of twists and turns, along with characters who could come from any part of the country, you’ll be turning the pages to find out what happens next!

It didn’t take me long to move into the next novel, Stone Eater. Once again Will Finch is on the trail of another story. However, this time, he teams up with a former police officer, Eve Noon, as they attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of a daughter of a U.S. senator.

If anything, D.F. Bailey, has amped-up the tension and excitement in this one, with even more twists and turns. Will Finch and Noon be able to solve the mystery before someone knocks them off? If you enjoy a fast-paced and well-written story, this one’s for you.

The third novel in the trilogy, Lone Hunter, was just as exciting to read as the first two. This time, Will teams up with Noon and a new player, Sochi. This one is another roller coaster ride as we meet new high-powered individuals who think nothing of taking a life to get what they want. I’m pleased to say each story in the series outdoes the previous ones. I just found out the thrills don’t end as there are now at least two more novels 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 19, 2020

It’s been a busy week. I finally managed to clear out an area in the back yard (garden) which had been neglected by the previous owner for eight years. Several shrubs had grown out of control, with some of them reaching tree proportions, requiring the use of a ladder so I could remove the higher branches.

Now the brick steps leading between two areas are dry–they used to remain wet several days after a rain and were a tripping/sliding hazard. A stunted maple tree is finally getting the sunshine it deserves!

Most of the verbenas which were planted in the front borders or in pots are now flowering, adding a mass of color which was sorely lacking. Once they’re all blooming, I’ll get the camera out and grab a few photos.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 19th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Heinrich Christian Boie, German author and editor; Gottfried Keller, German-Swiss poet and novelist; Ferdinand Brunetière, French writer and critic; Hermann Bahr, Austrian writer (Concert); Dwijendralal Ray, Bengali poet, playwright and lyricist (Dwijendrageeti); Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet (Ode to Revolution); A. J. Cronin, Scottish writer (Citadel, Shining Victory); Marc Turfkruijer, Flemish movie journalist and writer; Edgar Snow, American author and journalist (Red star over China); Robert Pinget, French novelist (The Interrogation) and playwright; Max Sordam, Suriname warden and writer (Dictionary Sranantongo); Jan Myrdal, Swedish writer and journalist (Albania Defiant); and John Bratby, English painter and writer (Breakdown).

Recognize anyone? This was an unknown group for me. 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 twenty-nine of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty. As of today, there’s been 366 chapter reviews, an increase of twenty-one.

Here’s another snippet:

As the sun began to set, the vehicles pulled into a small clearing. A dilapidated building, constructed of wood and sheet metal, stood inside a cluster of trees.

Hearing others climbing down from the vehicles, Peter and Namali approached the tailgate. He jumped down, offering her his hand to help her to the ground.

A faint sheen of perspiration covered her face, and she wobbled on her feet.

“What is wrong with her, Doctor?” Alimasi grabbed Peter’s arm. “What is it?”

“I—I am not sure. Perhaps the journey was too much for her.”

Alimasi pointed to the hut. “Take her inside. There should be something to sit on. My men will bring whatever you require.”

Peter nodded. “I need fresh water, clean cloths—and my medical bag—the one your men took when you captured me.”

“Anything else?” Alimasi rubbed his hands toward, his forehead wrinkled with concern.

“Yes. Start a fire. Very hot.”

“What for?”

“In case …. Peter stared into Alimasi’s face. “To sterilize my tools, in case I need to operate.”

“What?” He grabbed Peter by the shoulder. “What did you do?”

Peter shook his head. “I didn’t do anything. When we were traveling here, Namali groaned a couple of times and clutched her stomach. There are several possible causes.”

“Such as?”

“In this part of the world, food poisoning, parasite infection, indigestion, dengue fever, cholera, or hemorrhagic fever are common. I should have something in my bag to help with these.” Peter swallowed. “However, I might need to operate if Namali has appendicitis, or if the baby is ready to join us.”

Alimasi yelled in the dialect Peter couldn’t understand.

Three men rushed forward.

Alimasi pointed at two of them and switched to Lingala. “Take my woman and the doctor inside the building. Get him whatever he requests.” He turned to the third man. “Go find everything taken from the hospital when we captured the doctor. Bring everything here. Hurry!”

The men each took one of Namali’s arms and led her toward the hut. Peter began to follow.

“Wait, Doctor.”

Peter stopped and turned.

“If anything happens to Namali or my unborn child, I will hold you responsible.” Alimasi stared into Peter’s eyes. “If either of them dies, so will you.”

More next time.

I didn’t get too far working on the next chapter of New World Revolution. The groundwork is laid for chapter six, with almost half of the chapter written. So far, there’s been over 140 chapter review, with plenty of sound advice.

I’ve struggled with a decision whether to have the characters speaking with contractions as I’m trying to keep the voice in the past. Fortunately, the Massachusetts Historical Society has provided some excellent information to help me. I’ll be going back to the original chapters and will begin changing things like do not to don’t, as contractions with n’t were some of the first to be used. Definitely plenty of research going into this one!

Speaking of research, I took somewhat of a break in research for my novels this week to concentrate on some geneaology research, working on my wife’s Scottish family history. I’ve been working on this occasionally for several years, but something sparked a return to the Scottish government website I use to trace records related to birth, marriage, death, census, and valuation rolls. The oldest ancestor confirmed with an online copy of a document, was a birth from 1692!

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed The Atlantis Riddle: A Dan Kotler Archaeological Thriller by Kevin Tumlinson. This is the second book in the series as was equally as good as the first one, with an excellent plot surrounding archaeologist Dan Kotler and his FBI friend, Special Agent Roland Denzel. Dan’s interest in a new project is stirred when a wealthy woman brings him an ancient stone. Before long, Dan’s on the hunt, with able assistance from Roland.

Will they be successful in rewriting history? Or will there be unsuspecting dangers lurking in the background? I don’t like to spoil things, so you’ll have to grab a copy and find out. With plenty of twists and turns, along with a bevy of interesting characters, it’s easy to immerse yourself in this story. If you enjoy action-adventure stories with some historical facts thrown into the mix, this one’s for you!

I also completed Bad to the Bone, the first book in Tony J. Forder’s DI Bliss series. Follow the exploits of Detective Inspector James Bliss as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a dead body. Examination indicates the woman had been killed several years ago but had been dumped in a new location.

With a riveting plot and well-defined characters, this story is guaranteed to keep you turning the pages. Not only do we follow DI Bliss through the tangled details the victim, we also learn about his personal life and what makes him the person he is today. This was the first book I’ve read by Tony and it’s definitely not the last as I’ve just downloaded books two through five!

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, July 5, 2020

Happy 4th of July weekend to all who celebrate! Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

We’ve had a wet week, with showers every day. It’s been great for all of the plants, many of which were late getting into the ground because of non-availability during the spring. Many of them are now beginning to flower, adding an array of colors. Unfortunately, the rain is also helping the weeds to grow, too. However, we’re tag-teaming against them and seem to be on the winning side.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 5th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Mandell Creighton, British historian and a bishop of the Church of England; William T. Stead, British newspaper editor (The Pall Mall Gazette – exposed child prostitution); Jean Cocteau, French poet and writer (Les Enfants Terribles); Frederick Lewis Allen, American social historian and editor of Harper’s Magazine; Tin Ujević, Croatian poet (Žedan kamen na studencu); Frank Waters, American writer; W. M. Diggelmann, Swiss writer (appeared in The self-destruction of W. M. Diggelmann); John Gilmore, American true crime author (Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder); Brooke Hayward, American author (Haywire); Barbara Frischmuth, Austrian writer; Julie Nixon Eisenhower, American author and the youngest daughter of Richard Nixon; Meredith Ann Pierce, American sci-fi author (Darkangel); and Veronica Guerin, Irish crime journalist.

Recognize anyone? I didn’t. 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!

Are you a thriller aficionado? If so, Thrillerfest XV begins tomorrow!  If your interested, here’s the link to register: https://thrillerwriters.org/virtual-thrillerfest-2020/. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

My Work in Progress

I changed tack with my writing over the past few days, reaching back to a novel I began in 2017 but haven’t finished. This historical series will be called New World Revolution, with the title of book one tentatively being: A New Home. Here’s the synopsis:

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?

This story requires an extensive amount of research so I can balance real events and people with my fictional characters. Just this past week I spend conducted over fifteen hours of research. I completed chapter five yesterday. So far, the story has received seventy-three chapter reviews from the two subscription writing sites I use. To aid my online research, I’ve also purchased ten non-fiction books related to the time period. More to come as the story unfolds.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh Book 1) by Michelle Kidd. I was drawn to the story after reading the synopsis. There’s no doubt the plot is fantastic, with plenty of twists and turns. Many of the characters come across as realistic. Follow DI MaCintosh as he attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding The Phoenix Project and an organization referred to as PRISM. Will he solve the puzzle before everyone who is involved ends up dead?

This would have been a fantastic read if the manuscript had been subjected to an intensive editing regime. As a result, my rating is lower than it would otherwise have been.

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