Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 8, 2020

The weather cooperated enough for the builder to finally tackle the plans for the front porch. Everything has now had 3-4 days to cure and is covered under heavy plastic to protect it from the frost we’ve had a couple of mornings. I’ll be removing the covering today, and the builder will be back tomorrow (weather permitting) to do the top step leading into the house and the pointing.

In the meantime, I was able to remove the top soil (only six inches) and a foot of clay and rubble from two of the flower beds in front of the house. They’ve been refilled with new top soil. This week, I’ll replant everything I moved and we’ll begin adding new things.

On to better things. Who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann von Rist, German composer and poet known for his hymns; Wilhelm Bleek, German linguist (Father of Bantu Philology); oão de Deus [Sao Bartolomeu de Messines], Portuguese poet (Flores do Campo); Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows); Mechtilde Lichnowsky, German writer; Stuart Chase, American writer and economist (The Tragedy of Waste); Eric Linklater, British novelist and poet (Blue Swallows); Elmer Keith, American firearms enthusiast and author (Guns & Ammo); Robert Wolfgang Schnell, German writer; A Marja, [ATE Mooy], Dutch literary (Shreds on the River; Heinar Kipphardt, German writer and playwright (In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer); Sembene Ousmane, Senegalese author/novelist/director (Doctor Noir); Victor “Toby” Neuberg, teacher/writer; John McPhee, American author; Richard Farina, American writer and folk rocker (Reflections in a Crystal Wind); George William Reed, astronomy writer/cartoonist (Dark Sky Legacy); and Jim Bouton, American baseball pitcher, author, broadcaster (NY Yankees, MLB All Star 1968, “Ball Four”).

Recognize anyone? No one stood out for me this time. 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!

New Release!

I mentioned last week the release of Colombian Betrayal, the first novel in my Bruce & Smith thriller series.

To celebrate its release, I’ve teamed with other thriller authors to bring you a bevy of reading material. Some authors you might recognize, while others could very well be new to you.

To find out more, click on BookFunnel and explore the options available! I hope you find something of interest!

 

My Work in Progress

When I’m not working on marketing/promoting Colombian Betrayal, I’m continuing to move forward with my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapters seven through nine were posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received sixty-five chapter reviews, an increase of twenty-six in the past week. Plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s the first snippet from Angola:

The young doctor paused outside the hospital tent and glanced at the clear blue sky. The pain and suffering are like a kick in the stomach. It’s worse when I see the children. Doctor Peter Mwanga gritted his teeth before grabbing the tent flap and entering.

With a smile plastered across his face, he stopped at the first bed. “Good morning, little one.”

There was no answer from the emaciated child lying motionless on the cot of the once snow-white sheets, now a dingy gray.

“Let me examine your dressings.” He pushed a three-legged camp chair closer. With gentle motions, he touched the bandage covering the right side of her face.

The little girl turned away. Tomorrow would start her third week at the makeshift hospital.

She understands what’s to follow will be unpleasant and even painful. The doctor blinked as he helped her roll back over. “Mathy, I will be as gentle as possible. I must see how your cheek is doing, okay?”

After she gave a slight nod, the doctor peeled back the tape.

Mathy whimpered, tears streaking her chocolate brown skin.

“I’m sorry. I’m trying to be careful.”

She winced when he pulled the tape from her forehead, yanking out a few hairs.

“Almost done.” He loosened the adhesive and removed the bandage hiding the stitches and discolored flesh. “Finished. You’ve been a brave girl.” He leaned closer to examine the wound, and steeled himself against the pain he knew he would inflict on her. “We’ll give this a clean, and you’ll feel better.”

Mathy gave him a brief smile and squeezed his hand.

“Doctor Mwanga?”

He glanced over his shoulder. A nurse stood nearby, accompanied by a stranger. The doctor patted Mathy on the arm and stood. “Yes?”

“Doctor Mwanga, this is Pastor Eric Marker from Australia. He brought a group to work with us for the next two weeks.”

Mwanga tried his best to make his smile look sincere, but he was pretty sure it didn’t. Great. Another foreign do-gooder who shows up for two weeks before returning to their normal lives. “Nice to meet you, Pastor. This is Mathy Mahlangu. She is a very brave girl. We examined her stitches this morning. I am happy to report she is doing just fine.”

Standing and facing the newcomer, Dr. Peter Mwanga called to a nurse at the far end of the open-air tent. “You can clean her face and put on fresh bandages. Our little one will be going home tomorrow.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Marker squinted as he stared at the girl.

“Cancrum oris. Heard of it?”

The preacher shook his head.

“I thought not. It is a strange, horrible disease. It is born of malnutrition, poor hygiene, and one of a million African bacteria that attack a weakened vessel. You see, the mucous membranes of the mouth develop ulcers, then a rapid transformation occurs.” Mwanga turned, grabbed a clipboard from the end of Mathy’s bed before resuming his explanation.

“Painless tissue degeneration begins. Without treatment, which I may say, is in nearly all cases, it attacks the tissue around the bones in the face. By the time we see the child, substantial portions of the cheek and jaws are degraded to the point the teeth, gums, and often the tongue are exposed.”

The pastor glanced from Mwanga to the bed next to Mathy. “Like him?”

A boy of about twelve sat on the bed playing with a small plastic car. The right side of his cheek was completely eaten away, exposing his top and bottom teeth, and far into his lower jaw.

“Yes. We operate on him tomorrow.”

Boom! Rat-a-tat! Blam! Boom!

“What was that?” Marker’s eyes flitted toward the exit, wild with fear.

Explosions filled the air. Screams shattered the morning’s tranquility.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I just finished reading Nothing New Under The Sun, the first novel in the Carter Devereux mystery series by JC Ryan. I didn’t get a chance to compile my thoughts, so I’ll provide my review 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 15, 2018

You know the phrase, ‘April showers bring May flowers?’ Do you suppose the same holds true for ‘April ice storms bring May flowers?’ 

I thought the harshness of the winter was over when we had a beautiful 71F/21C temperature with blazing sunshine on Thursday. Friday was almost as warm, but plenty of clouds. The weather forecasters predict rain for Friday night, turning to sleet and a wintry mix with winds up to forty-five mph through Sunday at noon.

They were correct. The rain came as predicted, and beginning about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the sleet began. Hours later, it stopped, only to begin again this morning. The winter storm warning has been extended until 4 p.m.

When I look toward the lake, all I see is blurry patterns as every window and deck door are iced over. The good news–no outside work. The bad–yesterday’s Tigers’ baseball game was cancelled and rescheduled for today as part of a double-header. It appears both games today will be cancelled, too. Oh well!

My Work in Progress

I finished my first edit of Dangerous Alliance. It’s currently at 102,425 words and yesterday I began reading a paper copy of the story, going word by word and making changes and corrections, which will be transferred to the manuscript when I finish. With the storm and cancelled ball games, no guessing what I’ll be doing today.

Here’s a bit more from New World Revolution:

Sails dropped as the Wester rocked on the gentle waves. After seven weeks crammed into the hold, surviving on foul water and inedible hard tack and salt pork, dozens of immigrants from throughout England and Scotland pushed onto the deck, hopeful for a glimpse of their new land.

Hannah ducked beneath outstretched arms and reached the railing. She gazed at the spectacle as her mother joined her.

“Mama, ‘tis so different from home. So many people and buildings—how will we find our way?”

***

A tall, black man stood to the side, his hand blocking the sun’s rays as he watched the stream of humanity, hugging a few possessions to their chests, making their way down the narrow gangplank. Jostled by two new arrivals, he bowed his head, and stepped out of their way, as they shoved past. William and his sons hurried up to him. He stared at the man before putting out his hand. “You must be Abraham. My name’s William, and these are my sons, Thomas and George. Master Sutton described you in a letter to his brother.”

Abraham removed his hat and shook his head. “No offense to you, but ‘tis better not to shake my hand in public. I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Why is that?”

“Der’s a law in Boston dat says if a black man hits a white man, he receives a severe whipping. I don’t touch white folks so der’s no mistake. I keep myself to myself, don’t need no trouble.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Shark Bait, the eight novel in the Aristotle Socarides series by Paul Kemprecos. As with his previous stories, Paul has created another fast-paced plot. “Soc” finds himself in trouble with criminals through no fault of his own. After he loses his vehicle and his boat is already down due to engine problems, he answers a call for a boat captain to work on a film set.

What could go wrong driving a boat while a movie is being made? As always, problems seem to escalate when Soc is around. I won’t spoil the story, so no more about what happens. However, I must say, once again Pauls’ larger-than-life characters and riveting plot had me turning the pages far into the night. I look forward to reading Soc’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.

Charlie De Luca – check out Charlie’s blog and learn more about life, his writing, and horses!

Michael Kent – If you love crime stories, Michael has a great selection for you to read!

That brings us to the end for another week. I hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading.  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