Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although David Brin’s work stands out. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

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

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

 

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

Giggles greeted him as he approached the dining room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Excellent. Alonzo will join us.”

“As you wish.”

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

“Jefe, how is your head this morning?”

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

“Do you want a guard to accompany you?”

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What does, Mamá?”

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 24, 2018

The occasional shower over the past few days brought welcome relief from the temperatures in the 90s. Yesterday, we had a high of 73, which was very pleasant and still meant we could run around with shorts and t-shirts. The forecast is supposed to be similar for the next few days, so we’re beginning summer with mild weather. Wonder how long it will last?

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here are some folks from the writing world who were born on June 24th (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic, saint, priest and poet; Samuel Ampzing, poet (Taelbericht der Neth Spellinge); Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens, French writer; Ambrose Bierce, American writer and satirist (Devil’s Dictionary, Nuggets & Dust); Aleksei M Remizov, Russian writer (Iveren); Bruce Marshall, writer; Kurt Kusenberg, German writer (Wein Auf Lebenszeit); Arseny Tarkovsky, Russian poet; Ernesto Sábato, Argentinian writer; Norman Cousins, editor (Saturday Review); John Ciardi, poet/critic (translated Dante); William B. Ziff, Jr., American publishing executive; Pete Hamill, journalist (NY Post); Lawrence Block, American writer; Julia Kristeva, Bulgarian-French philosopher, psychoanalyst, and novelist; Gerhart Roth, Austrian writer; Mercedes R Lackey, American sci-fi author (Arrow’s Fall, Magic’s Pawn); Anatoly Borisovich Jurkin, Russian writer; Louisa Leaman, English author; and Brian Fitzgerald, American writer.

Did you recognize anyone? Even if you didn’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

 

My Work in Progress

FINALIST - 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards

In case you missed last week’s post, on June 15th, the winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards was announced. Amy J. Markstahler’s Life Happens on the Stairs grabbed the top prize.

The other finalists were: Mari Clark for The Road to Dusty Death, Barbara Kline’s Inside the Enemy, yours truly for Dangerous Alliance, and Chio Ojukwu’s To Cross a Blade and a Dagger.

I sent out several Dangerous Alliance submissions over the past week. Now that things have settled down with this novel, I can concentrate on the follow-on, Carnage in Singapore. I completed chapter four and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Since I’m less familiar with the settings for this novel, I also spent a great deal of time doing online research. I’m finding plenty of useful material so I can create the appropriate scenes. 

Here’s another snippet from Carnage in Singapore:

Semi-conscious, she listened to two people examining her. Through half-closed eyelids, she watched the two white-coated medical personnel until the agony increased. She closed her eyes and continued to listen to the conversation.

“Must be in terrible pain.”

Did a male doctor say this? Yes, I’m in agony … but the nightmares are worse.

“Yes, doctor.”

A female nurse?

“Shall I increase the morphine? It might ease her situation until the swelling subsides. Poor thing—I wonder what attacked her?”

“Yes, increase her medication—one unit. We’re both aware of the rumors about strange occurrences taking place on one of the smaller islands. Perhaps, she came from there.” The doctor cleared his throat. “How many is this now? Four? Five? The authorities must investigate before we’re overrun.”

***

They tied her arms to rings chained to the wall. Someone shoved a wad of material in her mouth so she couldn’t scream.

A rough hand grabbed her shoulder. Heat seared her arm. She smelled something acrid—burning flesh!

She spat out the wad. “Ieeee!”

The woman struggled against her bonds. A hand grabbed her hair and yanked her head back. A face appeared—sallow complexion, long, stringy black hair, hazel eyes. A knife came into focus, aimed at her right eye.

She closed her eyes and tried to twist away. The hand gripped tighter—pain, so intense as if her hair had been ripped from her head by the roots.

“Noooo!”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Rising Sea, by one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. Another fascinating read in The Numa Files series, I couldn’t put it down. With Kurt and Joe and the other members of their scientific team trying to find a cause of increasing sea levels, it was another plot with plenty of action and suspected reasons. I won’t do a spoiler alert, but suffice it to say, Clive and Graham have once again created a masterful thread of twists and turns, and plenty of intrigue. I’m looking forward to Kurt and Joe’s next adventure.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. However, this week I had too much research related to real-world writing requirements and therefore didn’t spend any time browsing for new authors. Perhaps 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Blogging 101, Cultural Omnivore

Are You a Fashion Afficionado?

I know a lot of my fellow blogger 101 classmates are very interested in several aspects of the fashion industry. So is my son, Craig, who’s taken his interest to new heights, publishing a blog called The Cultural Omnivore.

Over the past four years, Craig has interviewed 102 individuals associated with the fashion industry, including models (male & female) and those who work behind the scenes.

Learn how careers were established, what made them successful, how they’ve branched into related areas, and more.  Check out The Cultural Omnivore at:

http://theculturalomnivore.wordpress.com