Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 14, 2021

The past week, our weather have been typical for autumn: clouds, rainy, sunny–even some fog. It’s been a bit warmer so no frost, although the highest temperature for the week was 58F/9C.  The leaves are falling fast and furious, so when things are dry enough, I’m busy raking them up and tossing them in the recycling bin. No leave burning here.

As I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I switched from buying supermarket milk to supporting a local dairy who delivers to the house in glass bottles! It definitely has a superior taste and worth the extra cost. It’s now on the doorstep every Tuesday and Friday.

I had the opportunity to watch the Michigan-Penn State football game last night on television. What a nail biter! It wasn’t until the last three minutes of the game before Michigan pulled ahead for the final time, and clenched the victory, 21-17.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 14th the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Janus Secundus, neo latin poet (Basia); Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger, Danish poet; Charles Lyell, Scottish geologist (Principles of Geology); Jacob Abbott, American writer; Robert J Fruin, historian (80 year war); Isaac Wistar, American lawyer, author, and Brigadier General (Union Army); August Senoa, Croatian author (Zlatarevo zlato); Jakob Schaffner, Swiss writer: Conrad Pilater; René de Clerq, Flemish poet/author (Emergency Horn); Leopold Staff, Polish poet; Carlo E Gadda, Italian engineer/writer (Madonna dei filosofi); Evert S J Kruythoff, Ned Antillean author (conservation flora); Carlo Emilio Gadda, Italian writer; Benjamin Fondane, Romanian-French writer and filmmaker; Marya Mannes, American author (The Reporter); Sanoesi Pane, Indonesian author; Astrid Lindgren, Swedish children book author (Pipi Longstocking); William Steig, American cartoonist and children’s author (Shrek!, Doctor De Soto); Harrison E Salisbury, journalist/author (50th Anniv of Soviet Union); Eric Lawson Malpass, writer; Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet; Gilbert Rogin, American journalist and author (The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated); Ornelio Martina, Antillian author/governor of Curacao; and Michael J Fitzgerald, American writer.

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are seventy-five novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. But hurry–this promotion ends tomorrow, November 15th!

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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

As soon as the paperback cover is ready, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of nine chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 388. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

The doctor stepped back from Nicolai and removed his nitrile gloves. “I think you are fit enough to continue your journey.” His head wobbled from side to side as he spoke. “I recommend seeing your own doctor when you return to Canada.”

A slight smile appeared on Vladimir’s face. “Thank you, Doctor. I do want to see more of your beautiful country before we head home.”

“Well, no more stunts—you might not be so lucky next time.” The doctor picked up his bag.

Ajit handed a small envelope to the doctor as he escorted him out of the room.

Vladimir turned to Vasily. “What stunts?”

“We told him you were rock climbing and fell, hitting your head.” Vasily laughed. “Imagine what he would have done if he knew what really happened. He’d run straight to the authorities.”

“Better than the truth.” Vladimir yawned. “So, when are we leaving? I want to return to the house in Peshawar.”

Ajit stepped back into the room. “It is seven hundred and fifty kilometers to Peshawar using the motorway system. A friend is taking a load of brass and copper to the market on the road to the Khyber Pass.” He chuckled. “It has an appropriate name—Smuggler’s Bazaar. My friend makes a trip every week. Tomorrow he will hide both of you inside a special container on the back of his truck. His wares surround the container and protect it from prying eyes.”

“What about checkpoints?” Vasily glanced at Vladimir.

Ajit waved a hand in the air. “Nothing to worry about—my friend has greased the palms of the authorities along the route for years. If they turn him in, they’ll lose their stipends.” He laughed. “They make more in one week from him than they do from their regular jobs in a month. Trust me, my friends—this is the safest way for you to return to Peshawar.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Noble Traitor: A Historical Novel of Scotland (Son of Scotland Book 1) by J R Tomlin.  If you enjoy Scottish history, this one’s for you. An excellent blend of fact and fiction, with historical characters brought to life. Explore the period through the excellent background presented by J R Tomlin and experience what life might have been like. An excellent read and I look forward to the next installment in the series.

I received an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. I’m not quite finished, so I’ll post my review next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 7, 2021

Welcome to November! With the clocks rolling back, the days definitely seem shorter. There’s also an autumnal feeling in the air. This past week I had to scrape some light frost off the windshield.

Sylvia and I have always tried to do our bit regarding the environment. Whether it be putting things directly into recycling centers or taking things no longer needed but still in good condition to charity. This week, we’re adding another small thing to our efforts. We’re switching to bottled milk, delivered by a local dairy. Not only are we reducing our use of plastic, no matter how small, the glass bottles are reused. We’ll be helping a small business while at the same time not relying on milk supplies coming from who knows where.

This weekend is another small business market in the local mall. On Friday and Saturday, I sold ten autographed books on each day, while Sylvia sold a total of sixteen laminated poetry sheets. Today’s the final day for this month–hopefully we’ll both have good days!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 7th the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Muhammad ibn Hazm, Andalusian historian, jurist and author of Islamic Spain; Jami [Mowlanā Nūr Od-dīn ʿabd Or-raḥmān Ebn Aḥmad], Persian poet (Lava’iḥ); Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux, French writer (Historiettes); Johannes Gottfried Schnabel, German author (Insel Felsenburg); Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg, German poet, lawyer and translator; Fritz Reuter, German novelist; Karel Jaromír Erben, Czech poet (Bouquet); Andrew Dickson White, American historian and educator, 1st President of Cornell University; Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, French writer (Contes cruels); Esdras Minville, Quebec writer, economist and sociologist; Ruth Pitter, British poet and 1st woman to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955; Albert Helman [Lou Lichtveld], Suriname politician and novelist; Jan Vercammen, Flemish author and chief inspector LO (Primary Education); Margaret Barbara Lambert, British historian (Saar); Maurits Mok, Dutch author and poet (Cheese & Bread Game); Albert Camus, French author (The Just-Nobel 1957); R. A. Lafferty, American sci-fi author (Devil is Dead); Wolf Mankowitz, English playwright and writer (A Kid for Two Farthings); Willibrordus S. Rendra, Indonesian poet (Ballad orang-orang tertjina); Stephen Greenblatt, American literary historian and author (The Swerve: How the World Became Modern); and Anthony Moffat, Scottish musician, writer and filmmaker.

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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

All being well, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network by the end of November.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter eighteen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of nineteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 379. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

“Today is the beginning of our push to reunite Punjab.” Ajit paused and gazed into each man’s face. “For too long, our families have been separated by a border, not of our choosing. We’ve faced persecution and personal sorrows. No more!” He slammed his fist on the table.

The men echoed Ajit’s last words.

“We will nev—”

Rat-a-tat-tat!

Gunshots sounded from outside as heavy thuds pounded against the building’s doors.

The eight men jumped to their feet, pulling pistols and knives from under their vests.

Ajit turned to Vasily and Vladimir. “Under the table—quick!”

 Three gunmen burst through the door and ran into the dining room, firing their weapons.

One of the eight screamed as a bullet pierced his upper left side. He clutched his chest as he fell.

The others with pistols returned fire, while another threw his knife, catching one of the attackers in the throat.

Ajit grabbed Vladimir’s arm. “Come! We must flee. Hurry, before we are doomed.”

“What about the others?” Vladimir shouted over the onslaught, crawling out of the room.

Ajit rushed through a small living area, forced open a reinforced outer door, and ran for the back wall, the others a step behind.

Vladimir helped Ajit and Vasily climb, cutting himself on the shards of glass embedded along the top of the wall. Blood streaked down his hand as Vladimir pulled a PPS pistol from under his jacket. As he aimed at a gunman exiting the building, he felt a blow to his right shoulder.

He swayed and fell onto the far side and collapsed in a heap on the ground.

Vasily and Ajit rushed to Vladimir’s side and tried to lift Vladimir to his feet, but his weight too much from them.

Ajit turned to Vasily. “We better save ourselves.” He stood.

“Nyet. Go if you must, but I won’t abandon my friend.”

Ajit raced away, sporadic gunfire chasing him.

A pistol in his hand, Vasily knelt beside Vladimir. “We’ll make it through this—we always do.” He fired at a shadow approaching before yanking the magazine from the pistol and checking the number of bullets remaining.

“Five left—hope they’re enough.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 31, 2021

To those who are getting into the spirit of things, Happy Halloween! Will you be trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, participating in divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, or watching horror films? Or will you let the night pass you by? Whatever is on your agenda, have a safe time!

After almost a week of constant rain, it’s great to wake up to dry conditions. Of course, I forgot the clocks went back last night. It didn’t matter, though. We’re still on ‘cat’ time–they were waiting for their breakfast.

Being from Michigan, I had quite an interest in the Michigan-Michigan State American football game played yesterday. It wasn’t available for viewing here, but a friend kept me updated with the scores. Must have been a fantastic game as it went down to the end, with Michigan State coming out on top!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.” ~ Napoleon Hill

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 31st, the fifth and last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Philippe de Vitry, French composer and poet; Caesar Baronius, Italian cardinal and historian; Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer; John Evelyn, English writer and diarist (Life of Mrs Godolphin); Christopher Anstey, English poet (The New Bath Guide); John Keats, English Romantic poet (Ode to a Grecian Urn); Hugh Boyle Ewing, American diplomat, author, attorney, and Brevet Major General (Union Army); Krišjānis Barons, Latvian writer; Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, American writer (Revolt of Mother); Seerp Anema, Dutch poet and writer (Dutch Coasts); Napoleon Lapathiotis, Greek poet; B. H. Liddell Hart, English military historian and publicist (The Rommel Papers); Charles Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet (Claro Enigma); William H. McNeill, Canadian-born historian (Rise of the West); Dick Francis, British jockey and detective writer (Whip Hand, High Stakes); Charles Moore, British editor-in-chief (Sunday Telegraph); Neal Stephenson, American author; Arnaud Desplechin, French film director and screenwriter; and Joseph Boyden, Canadian novelist (Three Day Road).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: John Keats and Dick Francis. 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

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter seventeen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of thirty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 360. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

Before daybreak the following morning, a small, motorized boat hugged the Pakistani shoreline and entered the Indus River Delta. A half-moon cast eerie shadows on the area notorious for its mix of swamps, streams, and mangrove forests. Vladimir, Vasily, Ajit, and four men armed with AK-47s remained alert for naval and army patrols. They cleared the delta and followed the twists and turns of the mighty waterway.

Vladimir swatted at a swarm of pesky mosquitos. “Explain again why we’re going to the meeting this way?”

“Ah.” Ajit grinned. “This is easier way. Many obstacles for the military. They don’t like crawling through swamps, streams, and mangrove forests.”

Easier for who?  “If you say so.” He raised his brows as he glanced at Vasily.

With a tilt of his head, Vasily shrugged.

Hour after hour passed as they motored upriver. Once the sun rose, the temperature climbed, burning off the early-morning chill. The travelers remained silent, the peacefulness disturbed by the occasional calls of pigeons and parakeets and the continued putt-putt of the small engine.

As they approached Hyderabad, the pilot guided the boat toward a disused pier. Broken plants and tilted posts rocked as waves bounced against it. Two men dressed in brown shawal kameez and wearing multi-colored Sindhi caps waited on the small wharf.

After they secured the boat, Ajit was the first to step onto the dock. Sharing greetings with the two men, he pointed at the Russians. “This is Colonel Vladimir and Sergeant Vasily. They’ve come to meet with the council.”

Both men nodded before assisting the others out of the boat. Once the pilot departed, the eight men walked along a path trampled in the grass to a white pickup truck with a tarp stretched on a high frame across the cargo area. An armed guard sat next to the driver.

Ajit, Vasily, and Vladimir climbed under the tarp into the truck bed, followed by the others.

Once the vehicle began its journey, Ajit handed small packages to Vladimir and Vasily. “False Canadian passports with your current photos. It’ll be easier to pass through checkpoints with these instead of Russian documents.” He handed each of them a larger envelope. “Letters of appointment to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Will help explain why foreigners are running around the country with armed escorts.”

Vladimir opened the document to the photo page. Staring back at him, a picture taken over a year ago. He chuckled when he checked out his new name. “John Smith from Toronto, eh?  Good thing my English doesn’t have a thick accent.” He doesn’t suspect we have access to multiple identities, but we’ll use these.

“We thought about European passports but didn’t have any blank ones.” Ajit shrugged. “I’ll introduce you to the council as Vladimir and Vasily, not the names on your new passports. It’ll be several hours yet before we meet with them. The trip to Bahawalpur will take at least ten hours. It’s six hundred seventy-seven kilometers, and I’m sure there will be additional military and police roadblocks after the recent uprising over Kashmir.”

“What about patrol boats?” Vladimir glanced at Vasily.

Ajit shrugged. “Sometimes. But we have a surprise for them.”

“What?”

Ajit tapped the side of his nose and grinned. “It’ll be a surprise for you, too. If it’s not needed, I don’t want to share.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Extreme Prejudice: If you fear trouble, don’t get into trouble (A Lambeth Group Group Thriller Book 9) by Gordon Bickerstaff. As with all of Gordon’s thrillers, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat as you keep turning the pages to find out what happens. Join Zoe Tampsin and her compatriots as they try to squash a terrorist plot. Who will succeed? With a riveting plot, filled with plenty of twists and turns, as well as larger-than-life, if you’re a thriller aficionado, this one’s for you!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 24, 2021

The nights are quickly drawing in and daylight is also taking its time appearing each morning. Such is the autumn! Leaves continue to fall and there’s rain most days. Fortunately, there were a couple of dry spells, thanks to the wind, where I was able to rake up most of the leaves and deposit them in the recycling container–no burning here!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” ~ Robert Brault

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 24th, the fourth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Alban Butler, English Catholic priest and writer; Dorothea von Schlegel, German novelist (Florentin); Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (Mary Had a Little Lamb); August von Platen, German poet; Alexandra David-Néel, Belgian-French explorer and writer; Ernest Claes, Belgian author (Saints from Zichem); Delmira Agustini, Uruguayan poet (El Libro Blanco); Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay, Bengali author; Moss Hart, American playwright (You Can’t Take it With You, Act 1); Marghanita Laski, English journalist and author (Victorian chaise-lounge); Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist (Joy Beneath the Skin); Gabriel Laub, Polish writer; Yordan Radichkov, Bulgarian writer and playwright (The Tied Up Balloon); Hubert Aquin, French Canadian novelist, political activist and editor; Norman Rush, American writer (Mating); and Dale Maharidge, American author (And Their Children After Them).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out 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!

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Despite a myriad of non-writing events to take care of this week, I still managed to complete and post chapter sixteen Ultimate Escalation.  A total of twenty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 330.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Blakely scanned the faces of those sitting around the table or against the back wall, smiling as he watched the mounds of food disappearing from plates almost as if by magic. Hungry group, but they did well. He cleared his throat. “As some of you surmised, we designed this exercise to test how the three full teams would function as a single unit.”

“Aye, Admiral. Trevor, Evelyn, and I expected you would try something during our conference.” He made air quotes as he said conference. “However, we didn’t expect it to happen on the first day.”

“What better way to test your abilities to work together than calling a drill right away?” He raised a finger and pointed at Gerhard and Willie. “Some of you might have been under the impression this would be a drinking competition.”

Laughter broke out as Gerhard and Willie blushed.

“An excellent lesson to show we’re never off duty, so everything in moderation.” The admiral raised his brows. “Saying that, your performance today met our expectations.”

Every team member grinned.

“We wanted a somewhat realistic scenario to test your response as well as personnel here at Bedlam. Georgia and her folks surpassed themselves in making this exercise reasonable.”

“Aye, Admiral.” CC glanced at Trevor and Evelyn. “Sir, it’s an interesting scenario, but as soon as we entered the District of Columbia, it became apparent this was an exercise. If it had been real, Bedlam-One, Hunter-One, Hunter-Two would have been challenged. Our pilot didn’t mention it, so I think we relaxed a bit. Even so, our chopper’s brush with a fake missile and the simulated crash were realistic. So was the response by the emergency personnel.”

“If I might add, Admiral, the alert notification and departure from the conference site went as one would expect.” Trevor rubbed the scar on his temple. “I won our bet—CC and Evelyn expected some type of drill tomorrow, while I thought you’d try to be clever and arrange for one today.”

“We debated over which day to proceed, knowing you’d be anticipating something. Anyway—”

Someone knocked on the door and entered. A young man handed single sheets of paper to the admiral, Sir Alex, and Harrison and departed.

The three advisors read the brief note. Sir Alex and Harrison tilted their heads toward the admiral.

“Good thing we didn’t have any injuries during your training session. Two independent sources provided the Intelligence Community with limited details of a meeting held in Dubai yesterday. Seems several former Spetsnaz personnel are expanding their private business operations.” The admiral turned to the Bedlam team leaders. “CC, Trevor, and Evelyn. Pick an individual from your respective teams—they’re heading to Dubai. Their assignment—find out what mischief former Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev and his band of misfits are planning, so we can disrupt their activity.”

He gazed at the operatives. “Keep in mind, this is a recon mission. Your rules of engagement will not include a strike against Nikolaev and his men—at least until we find out what they’re up to.”

The admiral pushed back his chair and stood while everyone jumped to their feet. “I’ll expect those names in an hour. We’ll be in my office. In the meantime, everyone else enjoy your remaining downtime. The conference is hereby cancelled. See Georgia for billeting information. That is all.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman. Nick and Selena are embroiled in another battle to preserve relics from the past, this time the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.  Since I haven’t read the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this nonstop action-packed adventure. If you haven’t read any of Alex’s books, here’s another author to check out. I’ll be heading back to the beginning of the series to find out how it all began!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 17, 2021

Autumn continues its march forward. We’ve seen our lowest temperatures since last winter at 36F/3C. Plenty of overcast days, making things seem dreary. Yesterday, we had so much rain for several hours, Tommy, one of our rescued feral cats, wouldn’t go outside. Normally, a bit of rain doesn’t bother him, but yesterday it was just too much. He kept going from one external door to the other (we have three) hoping the weather would be better at a different one.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Humor is one of the most serious tools we have for dealing with impossible situations.” ~ Erica Jong

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 17th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Simon van Leeuwen, lawyer/historian (Roman-Holland regt); Jupiter Hammon, slave and poet, 1st African American to publish poetry; Jacques Cazotte, French writer; Georg Büchner, German playwright; Emanuel Geibel, writer; Elinor Glyn, British novelist (3 Weeks); Alfred Polgar, Austrian writer (Yes & No!); Simon Vestdijk, Dutch writer/poet (5th Seal); Nathanael West, American novelist (Day of the Locusts); Jerry Siegel, comic book writer (Superman); Arthur Miller, American playwright (Death of a Salesman, Crucible); Sumner Locke Elliott, Australian-born American novelist; Miguel Delibes, Spanish writer; George Mackey Brown, poet; Pricilla Lanford Buckly, editor/columnist (National Review); Jimmy Breslin, American author and columnist (NY Post, News, Newsday); Ernst Hinterberger, Austrian writer; Drusilla Modjeska, Australian writer and editor; Ron Drummond, American writer; Richard Roeper, American columnist and film critic; Norm MacDonald, Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor (Saturday Night Live, 1993-98; Dirty Work; The Norm Show); Mark Gatiss, English actor and writer; and Ariel Levy, American feminist writer.

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: Jerry Siegel and Arthur Miller. 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!

Revenge-Cover-HRI’m delighted to announce the release of the both the Kindle and paperback versions of Revenge. It’s also available through Kindle Unlimited.

For those who might have missed the synopsis, here it is:

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.

My Published Work

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My Work in Progress

Slide1I’m finally back to work on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter fifteen was posted in a couple of days to the two online subscription writing sites I use, and chapter sixteen is almost completed. A total of seventeen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 310.

Here’s another snippet:

Streetlights popped on as daylight faded and dusk approached. CC glanced out the window and watched the bumper-to-bumper Beltway traffic crawling along as people left work and headed home.

Ten minutes later, the Chinook dipped as it crossed the Potomac River in a rural area, and the pilot prepared to land. “All teams—prepare to—shit!”

The helicopter dove to the right. The teams rocked in their seats along both exterior walls as an automated voice sounded over the intercom, “Missile alert.”

The Bedlam teams hung onto their seats as the pilot continued to jink. The helicopter dropped a hundred feet and twisted to the left. “It missed. Holy shit—here’s another!”

Blam!

Several sharp bangs echoed through the shaking Chinook as shrapnel slammed into the helicopter’s metal shell.

“Hang on!” the pilot shouted as the aircraft began to autorotate. A severe vibration shook the helicopter. A loud whining from the twin rotors drowned out the whistling. His knuckles turned white as he jammed fought with the collective control.

“Mayday! Mayday! This is Bedlam-One. We’re going down!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Mark Iles’ latest novel, Gardens of Earth, and it’s a stunner. Plenty of twists and turns as we follow Seethan Bodell while he battles with internal demons and tries to save the earth from an alien race. Will Seethan overcome the effects of PTSD or will he succumb after using an Earth-changing weapon? This one will give you plenty of food for thought and will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. An excellent plot, riveting action, and a cast of characters where you’re bound to find someone who appeals to your senses. This is the first book of Mark’s I’ve read, and I can guarantee it won’t be the last!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 10, 2021

After a week of low morning temperatures (42-58F/6-14C) and predominantly overcast and/or rain, it was a delight to have plenty of sunshine to start today. Although still on the chilly side at 46F/8C, the sunshine makes up for it. Leaves are turning, but rather than fantastic autumn shades, most of what I see are a sickly yellow. Can’t be help.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Sometimes what you want isn’t always what you get, but in the end what you get is so much better than what you wanted.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 10th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jacob Aertsz Colom, Dutch publisher (Consolation of the Sea); Aleksis Kivi, Finnish writer and poet (Nummisuutarit); Louise Mack, Australian poet and novelist; Ferdinand Bordewijk, Dutch lawyer and writer (Bint); Rie Cramer, Dutch writer and illustrator; R.K. Narayan, Indian novelist (Malguidi Days); Mercè Rodoreda, Catalan novelist (La plaça del diamant); Luc van Brabant, Flemish writer and erotic poet; Charles Henry Madge, English poet and founder of Mass-Observation; Claude Simon, Malagasy-French writer (Nobel Prize Literature 1985); Jean Gimpel, French author and medievalist; Boeli van Leeuwen, Antillian writer (Vreemdeling Op Aarde); James Clavell, British-American author (The Asian Saga); Ivan Sviták, Czech philosopher and poet; Harold Pinter, British playwright (The Homecoming, Servant); Mustafa Zaidi, Pakistani Urdu poet; Gerald Masters, South African-British author (Pan Book of Dates); Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer and environmentalist; James Marshall, American illustrator and author (George and Martha, The Stupids); Frederick Barthelme, American author (There Must be Some Mistake); Mildred Grieveson, English writer (Leopard in the Snow); Nora Roberts, American novelist (Angels Fall); and Jonathan Littell, French-American writer (The Kindly Ones).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: James Clavell and Nora Roberts. 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!

Revenge-Cover-HRI’m delighted to announce the release of the Kindle version of Revenge. The paperback will be out in a couple of days.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

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.

My Published Work

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are also participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My Work in Progress

Slide1I’m finally back to work on Ultimate Escalation. All being well, chapter fifteen will be posted in a couple of days to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Meanwhile, seven chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 293.

Here’s another snippet:

The team leaders hoisted their drinks.

Evelyn gazed into CC’s eyes and smiled. “Here’s to—”

Ping. Ping. Ping.

CC grabbed his cellphone as the first bars of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” sounded.

Evelyn and Trevor yanked phones from their belts when their own Bedlam message tunes shrilled.

All received the same message.

To: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

From: Bedlam

EMERGENCY ALERT

Please be advised multiple drones have violated DC Flight Restricted Zone. Fighter aircraft are responding from Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Implement Directive X-ray immediately. A Chinook with two Apaches as escort inbound your location for extraction. Acknowledge.

Evelyn looked up. “CC, respond. Trevor and I’ll round up the teams and grab our kit—yours, too.”

CC nodded as Trevor and Evelyn rushed out of the room.

To: Bedlam, Bravo, Charlie

From: Alpha

Message received. Teams will be ready for extraction in ten minutes. When circumstances permit, please provide updates.

As CC hit send, Admiral Blakely approached, waving his phone. “Did you acknowledge?”

“Aye, sir. We’ll be at the rendezvous point when the birds arrive.”

“Excellent. Keep us posted.” He offered his hand to CC. “Godspeed.”

CC shook hands and raced outside.

Evelyn met him as he approached, her slight limp more noticeable.

He took his harness and weapons bag from her. “Your limp seems worse. Will you be alright for the mission?”

“Don’t stand in my way, CC.” A wry smile etched across her face. “I’ll always have this limp, according to the doctors who repaired the bullet damage, but it’ll never slow me down.”

The three teams crouched by the landing pad. Before long, a massive shadow descended.

After the Chinook touched down, fifteen operatives sprinted to the helicopter’s rear and up the ramp. The Apaches circled overhead as if daring anyone to approach.

A member from each team grabbed the handles of the CH-47E’s machine guns: two in the crew door on the starboard side and one window-mounted on the port side.

CC, Trevor, and Evelyn donned intercom headsets as they confirmed their respective team members were on board.

“Alpha, holler when you’re ready.” The pilot’s voice came through the headsets loud and clear.

CC glanced at the others before keying his mic. “Aye, Bedlam-One. We’re ready.”

With a lurch, the Chinook climbed into the late afternoon sky, an Apache on either side.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Blair Howard’s Extinction Protocol, the third novel in his Peacemaker series is better than ever. Join Nero, Lizette, and Casey Wu as they become embroiled in a Peacemaker plot to sterilize the world. A riveting plot filled with plenty of twists and turns, along with your favorite characters will keep you on the edge of your seat and flipping the pages to find out what happens next. Heartily recommended to those looking for an exciting series to sink their teeth into. Look forward to reading more of Blair’s work!

I also read an advanced copy of Michael Kent’s upcoming release, Deadly Storm, the latest adventure in the Lieutenant Beaudry series. This is another smooth and fast-paced read. With a plot filled with plenty of twists and turns and larger-than-life characters, Michael’s unique brand of storytelling will have you flipping the pages to find out what happens next. An excellent addition to the Lieutenant Beaudry series, and one not to miss.

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 3, 2021

As we move into a new month, there’s no doubt autumn is upon us. Morning temperatures are in the low 40s (6-8C) with plenty of dew. So far, the leaves haven’t started to change, but it probably won’t be long before they start.

We’ve been at the monthly small business market the past two days. Plenty of lookers, but few buyers. Perhaps today will be better! Still, we can’t complain; I’ve sold another eight books and fifteen sheets of Sylvia’s poetry.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “You can only let someone throw so many stones at you before you pick them all up, put them together and build a wall to keep them from doing it again.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 3rd, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Johann Peter Uz, German poet (Lyrische Poem); George Bancroft, American historian (History of the United States); Allan Kardec, French author and founder of Spiritism; Mikhail Lermontov, Russian poet and writer (Demon & other poems); Timothy Thomas Fortune, American orator, civil rights leader, writer and publisher; Stijn Streuvels [Frank Lateur], Flemish writer (De Valschaard); Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist; Henri Alain-Fournier, French novelist (Le Grand Meaulnes); Gerardo Diego, Spanish poet (Versos humanos); Louis Aragon, French poet and writer (Les Lettres françaises, Pour un réalisme socialiste); Thomas Wolfe, American novelist (Look Homeward Angel); David Herbert, British writer and raconteur; James Herriot [Alfred Wight], English veterinarian and novelist (All Creatures Great and Small); Harvey Kurtzman, American cartoonist and founding editor of Mad magazine; Gore Vidal, American author (Myra Breckinridge, Lincoln); Bernard Cooper, American novelist and short story writer; Dan Goldie, American tennis player and author (“The Investment Answer”, #1 NY Times bestselling book); and Rob Liefeld, American comic book writer and artist.

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me: Thomas Wolfe, James Herriot, and Gore Vidal. 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

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are also participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRThe final edit of Revenge is almost complete.

Six members of my Advanced Reader Team provided feedback, and everything’s on track. Just waiting for the paperback cover. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

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.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Although our son’s visit ended on Tuesday, writing and editing is still on the back burner. However, twelve chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 286.

Here’s another snippet:

Members of the three Bedlam teams descended upon Camp Powell from their respective facilities in the U.S., UK, and Australia for their initial two-day conference. Comprised of former military and intelligence personnel from around the world, they perform high-stress missions behind the scenes in conflict areas when their services are needed.

“Cheers! Slangevar!”

Glasses clinked as the advisors of the three Bedlam teams shared a bottle of Talisker eighteen-year-old single malt whiskey. Sir Alexander Jackson and Harrison Robertson sipped their unadulterated drinks while Admiral Richard Blakely dropped an ice cube into his five-sided tumbler.

“Ah.” Sir Alex smacked his lips. “The perfect libation to open our conference.”

Harrison stood and gazed over the stone veranda at the rolling hills, covered with forests, fields, and pastures. “Richard, thank you for setting this up in such a splendid venue. How did you manage such a feat?”

“Not a problem when you know the right people.” Richard laughed. “While many organizations can use the camp’s facilities, the use of the manor house is hard to arrange. Our recent successes opened the doors for us, so I took advantage of the opportunity. Of course, it didn’t hurt the building wasn’t being used this weekend.”

“I’m sure the teams will enjoy the friendly competitions you’ve arranged.” Sir Alex refreshed their drinks. “No one will be shooting back at them.”

Richard waved a hand. “With our current threat boards empty, I thought it was time to bring everyone together in one location. We’re less than an hour from Dulles Airport, so we can spring into action if needed. Besides, it won’t be long before my stint as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff come to an end.”

“I, for one, hope it remains quiet.” Sir Alex loosened his navy-blue tie and slipped off the jacket of his Savile Row suit. “We all need the opportunity to relax.” He glanced at Richard. “Perhaps your president will allow you to remain as Alpha’s advisor?”

“It’s been discussed, but nothing finalized yet. He also mentioned he wanted to talk with your prime ministers regarding the establishment of a fourth team, stationed in Africa.”

“Hear, hear. I agree with Sir Alex. Your president must be convinced to keep you as an advisor. After all, the Bedlam organization was your dreamchild.” Harrison finished his drink and set the glass down. “Even more important, as nice as it is for us to relax, the teams need a chance to unwind and recharge.”

“We can discuss the creation of a fourth team later and make our recommendations.” Richard glanced at his watch. “C’mon. There’s time before dinner for a stroll through the gardens.”

There’ll be another snippet next week.

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 26, 2021

It’s been a busy week as our son is still here (until Tuesday). Plenty to catch up on!  Overall, the weather has cooperated, making it easier to get out and do a few things.  Yesterday, we did another one-day artisan event, selling six copies of my novels and nine sheets of poetry. It started out slow because it looked like the heavens would dump on us, but when the sun poked its way through, the street filled with pedestrians!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 26th, the fourth and last Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

William Hobson, first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi; Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, father of Bengali prose (Exile of Sita); Petko Todorov, Bulgarian writer (Fairy, Samodiva Fee); Edwin Keppel Bennett, English writer (Built in Jerusalem’s Wall: A Book in praise of Jerusalem); T. S. Eliot, American poet (The Waste Land), dramatist and critic (Nobel Prize 1948); J. Frank Dobie, American folklorist and newspaper columnist; Martin Heidegger, German philosopher (Being & Time); Victor Otto Stomps, German writer and publisher; Gerhard Nebel, German writer; Ernst Schnabel, German writer and pioneer of the radio documentary; Matilde Camus, Spanish poet and researcher; Buland al-Haidary, Iraqi poet (Passages to Exile); Vladimir Voinovich, Russian writer and dissident (Moscow 2042); Judith Appelbaum, American magazine & newspaper editor and educator; Jane Smiley, American novelist (Pulitzer 1991-A Thousand Acres); Minette Walters, English novelist (The Ice House); Will Self, English author; Jill Soloway, American writer and director (Afternoon Delight); and Anthony Shadid, New York Times foreign correspondent and two time Pulitzer winner. 

Any names familiar to you? T.S. Eliot is the only one I know. 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

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

This week I received notification about a five-star editorial review for The Kurdish Connection from Chanticleer Book Reviews. Needless to say, I’m thriller. Click on the title to check it out!

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRThis week I uploaded Revenge to my Kindle,  and completed the first check on what readers will see–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

Three members of my Advanced Reader Team provided feedback, and everything’s coming together. I’ll be sending the final pieces my cover design needs this week for the paperback cover. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

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.

My Work in Progress

Slide1With our son’s visit, writing and editing is still on the back burner. However, seventeen chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 274.

Here’s another snippet:

The Emirates flight touched down in Dubai with screeching tires and taxied to an open gate. As soon as the purser opened the door, Vladimir and Vasily hurried up the ramp, each carrying a single piece of luggage. They paused at customs, showing their passports to a somber agent.

A tall, muscular man with short gray hair waited for them on the other side of the barrier, holding a white sign with NV in red block letters. He smiled when he spotted his friends. “Welcome to Dubai! Everything’s ready.”

Vladimir shook the proffered hand. “How long’s it been, Grigori? Seems a lifetime ago when we fought together in Chechnya.”

Grigori laughed as he took their bags. “Not so long ago, Colonel.” He gestured toward the exit. “I parked as close as possible and managed to get a bay within walking distance for men as fit as you.”

Vladimir rolled his eyes. “You’d be as fit as us if you tried.”

“Da. But relaxing between contracts is more fun.”

They stepped into the brilliant sunshine and sweltering midday heat and approached a gleaming black Mercedes. After placing their luggage in the trunk, Grigori donned a chauffeur’s cap and opened the back door. “Shall we go? It’s only a four-minute drive.”

Vasily wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and turned to Vladimir. “I thought it was warm in Peshawar, but this is worse.”

“Agreed. Almost like a banya.”

True to his promise, Grigori pulled into the palm-tree-lined grounds of the five-start Le Méridien Dubai Hotel. He halted in a reserved parking spot near the entrance and jumped out, once again opening the rear door for his friends. His voice seemed to resonate from his shoes. “Welcome to Le Méridien. Your suite is booked and paid for. I’ll take you there later. Right now, we’ll go through the lobby and out the pool door.”

“Where are you taking us?” Vasily glanced around the impressive marble-floored lobby, packed with tourists.

“We’re going to a secluded bar to meet with the others.” Grigori pointed to the yellow cobblestones. “We’ll follow this path.”

More next time.

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 19, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

We’re delighted our son finally made it over from the States this week. We took an excursion on the Firth of Forth on Thursday. Hoping for a dry day so we could enjoy the boat ride, the island, and the abbey, we were pleasantly surprised when we had brilliant sunshine throughout the trip. It made for a thoroughly enjoyable visit! If the weather’s good next weekend, we plan another excursion on the Firth of Forth, but in the opposite direction.

Today is day three of the monthly small business market in the Kingsgate shopping mall. Sylvia’s done well with her poetry thus far, selling eighteen sheets, while another ten of my books were sold. All being well, a few more things will sell today!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.”

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

Leo VI Sophos, Byzantine Emperor (886-912) and writer (Problematica); Hartley Coleridge, English poet; Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, American author and teacher; Kees Rijnsdorp, Dutch writer (Kings Children); Karen Aabye, Danish author (Less bedstemor there jomfru); Mika Waltari, Finnish novelist (Egyptian); William Golding, English novelist (Lord of the Flies, Nobel Prize for Literature 1983); Damon Francis Knight, American sci-fi author (CV, Beyond the Barrier); James Lipton, American actor, writer and host of Inside the Actors Studio; Jean-Claude Carrière, French screenwriter and actor, who frequently collaborated with Luis Buñuel on his screen plays (Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty); Bra Willie [Keorapetse Kgositsile], South African poet and political activist (When the Clouds Clear; My Name Is Afrika); Tanith Lee, British sci-fi author (Don’t Bite the Sun); and Patrick Marber, British playwright (Closer) and comedian.

Any names familiar to you? William Golding is the only one I know. 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

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

My Work in Progress

Slide1With our son’s visit, writing and editing is on the back burner this week. However, six chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 257.

Here’s another snippet:

“I understand from Major Bangash you have a proposition for us.” Vladimir bit into a samosa, a triangle-shaped pastry. “Ah, just the right amount of spice to enhance the potato and onion.”

“How much do you know about the dissolution of British India?” Ajit helped himself to a samosa. “Hmm. My favorite—lentils.”

Vladimir swallowed and took a sip of his tea. “Not a great deal. I know it happened around nineteen forty-five or so.”

Ajit tilted his head. “To be precise, nineteen forty-seven. The Punjab region was split, part remaining with India and the remainder becoming a province in Pakistan. No one took into consideration the Punjabi people, many of whom are no longer able to maintain regular contact with family members residing on opposite sides of the border.”

Vladimir nodded.

“For many years, there has been a resurgence of Punjabi nationalism. We want to be reunited with our brethren in India, but neither country will allow this. They don’t want to lose territory.”

“What do you want from me?” Vladimir rubbed his thumb and forefinger on his bearded chin.

Ajit gestured toward Bangash. “I understand you were involved in several, shall I say, illicit operations which brought warring parties to the negotiating table in other countries.” A trace of a smile crossed his face. “We’d like you to do whatever is necessary to bring India and Pakistan together to create a unified Punjab, belonging to neither country, but an independent one.”

“Hmm.” Vladimir pursed his lips, letting the silence build. “I suppose we might be able to help. However, it will cost a lot of money.”

Ajit laughed. “Since nineteen forty-seven, Punjabis on both sides of the border donate whatever they can spare. I believe we will be able to meet your requirements.”

Vladimir remained stoic. “To begin with, we require a down payment the equivalent of twenty million American dollars.” He snapped his fingers, and Vasily handed him a sheet of paper. He glanced at the document before giving it to Ajit. “Transfer equal amounts into each of these accounts. After we confirm our access to the funds, we’ll begin our preparations.” Once the money is stuffed in our secret offshore accounts.

“That’s a lot of money without any guarantee of success. Perhaps we can negotiate a lower price. How long will it take for something to happen? How will we know you’ve begun working on our behalf?” Ajit rubbed his chin. “I think ten million would be a better price.”

“Ajit, I know it’s in our blood to haggle and never pay full price.” Major Bangash studied Vladimir’s face. “But do you think I would waste my time with people who are failures? They will deliver.” He pointed at Vladimir and Vasily. “I remember when they first came to Peshawar. If it weren’t for their intervention, I wouldn’t be here today. Despite being outnumbered by the Pakistani Taliban, they snuck into the Taliban encampment in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, killed everyone, and rescued my family and me.”

Vladimir laughed. “Thank you for the vote of confidence, Major.” He turned to Ajit. “Fifteen million and no less. We must buy weapons, supplies, hire men, and pay bribes. In response to your questions, it will take no longer than eight weeks for our initial wake-up call. I’m sure our message will be in all of the papers.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Tom Galvin’s debut novel, The Auction. Join Sasha Cross, an a typical twenty-two-year-old in 2050. Or is she? Will she be one of the top prospects, referred to as a Series A, in the upcoming auction? Will her future be set and her family’s future secured? Or will she forge her own way forward and help the downtrodden categorized as Series D, who futures are bleak at best?

Tom has created a captivating plot which will keep you guessing on the outcome. Depending upon your own background, you’ll love or hate the myriad of characters in Sasha’s life. This is a real page turner and will keep you entertained until you finish the final page. I can’t wait to get my hands on Tom’s next novel!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 12, 2021

It’s been a quiet week, with mixed weather conditions but nothing earth-shattering. We are excited about this coming week, though. Due to Covid restrictions, we haven’t seen our son since Christmas 2019. He’ll finally be arriving on Tuesday for a two-week visit!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 12th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann Heinrich Jung, German author (Heinrich Stillings Leben); Benjamin Carr, American organist, composer, choirmaster, teacher, music publisher, and co-founder of Philadelphia’s Music Fund Society; James Hall, American geologist and paleontologist (Natural history of NY); Charles Dudley Warner, American novelist (Being a Boy); Jacobus of Looy, Dutch writer and painter (Death of My Cat); Henry Louis Mencken, American newspaperman and critic (Prejudices); Daniel Jones, English phoneticist (English pronouncing dictionary); Alfred A Knopf, American publisher (1966 Alexander Hamilton Medal); Giuseppe Zoppi, Swiss writer (Il Libro Dell’Alpe); oe Lederer, Austrian actress and writer (Drei Tage Liebe); Louis MacNeice, Irish poet and playwright; Kenneth Lo, cookery writer and restaurateur; Rais Amrohvi, Pakistani poet and psychoanalyst; Jan W. Schulte Nordholt, Dutch poet and historian (Blossoming Stone); Stanislaw Lem, Polish sci-fi author (Solaris, Invincible); Jackson Mac Low, American poet and composer; Kristin Hunter, African-American author (God Bless the Child); Michael Ondaatje, Sri Lankan-Canadian poet and writer; Jeff Jarvis, American journalist (This Week in Google) and advocate for the Open Web; and James Frey, American writer (Bright Shiny Morning).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. 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

 

Until the 15th of September, all of my novels are participating in a chilling reads promotion. There are fifty-six novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

MA PAGER TURNER FINALS PROMOTI’m also thrilled to announce Mission: Angola is a finalist in the 2021 Page Turner Book Awards!

My writing journey thus far has been absolutely incredible and I feel humbled by how my books have been received thus far:

The Kurdish Connection – Semi-finalist, 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs), Global Thrillers Category.

Dangerous Alliance – First in Category winner, 2018 CIBAs.

Carnage in Singapore – First in Category winner, 2019 CIBAs.

Colombian Betrayal – First in Category winners, 2020 CIBAs.

Mission: Angola – Finalist (so far), 2021 Page Turner Book Awards.

If you’d like to find out more about my novels, click on any of the titles and you’ll be taken to a universal link.  Many thanks to everyone for your support!

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the third micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

I send Revenge to my advanced reader team this week, with their feedback do back to me by the end of the month. While I’m waiting, I’ll be doing two more micro edit passes. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

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.

Slide1In addition to my editing work on Revenge, I continued working on my next novel, Ultimate Escalation. Chapter thirteen was posted to the two subscription sites I belong to. To date, there has been a total of 251 chapter reviews. Plenty of excellent feedback. I greatly appreciate my reviewers sticking with me!

Here’s another snippet:

Vladimir thrashed in the king-sized bed shook as Vladimir flung his arms and legs from side to side, tearing at the bedsheets until he woke. He gasped and struggled to sit. Perspiration poured down his face, soaking his bedclothes. Struggling to sit, he swung his legs over the side and ensured he established a firm footing before pushing himself off the bed and zigzagging into the bathroom.

He filled a glass from a plastic bottle and gulped the room-temperature water without pausing for a breath. He caught his reflection in the mirror.

A drawn face stared back at him, with a beard more gray than black and bags under the eyes. Vladimir shook his head before stripping off his clothes and turning on the shower. 

He let the lukewarm water splash over his head and body as he tried to wash away his haunting dream, a regular nighttime visitor. When will these nightmares end? Afghanistan was so long ago, but the screams still haunt me. Once the water turned cold, he switched it off. He flung the curtain aside in search of a warm towel. Shivering and wide-awake, he rubbed himself until he was dry and dressed in khaki pants and a red T-shirt.

The aroma of strong coffee greeted him when he stepped into the hallway. He rushed down the marble staircase and into the formal dining room.

“About time you woke up.” Vasily raised his cup in a salute. “Better hurry before the others arrive. Yuusuf is at the market getting mangos for breakfast.”

“Ugh.” Vladimir poured a cup of coffee from the carafe on the polished rosewood credenza and dropped into a chair on the opposite side of the matching rosewood table from his friend. Taking a sip of his coffee, he grimaced at the bitter flavor.

“Another dream? I heard you yelling.”

Vladimir nodded. “More of a nightmare, but, yes, the same one.”

“You must face reality, Voya.” Vasily shook his head. “You never became a hero of the Rodina. You are ….” He snapped his fingers. “I think the American words are a slimeball and scum—just like me.”

A weak smile creased Vladimir’s face. “I can always count on you to put things in perspective.” He thumped his chest, generating a coughing fit.

“Stop the theatrics.” Vasily rolled his eyes. “We were lucky to escape from prison. At least the GRU never recovered the money and weapons we stole.”

More next time.

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

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