Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the synopsis:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 18, 2020

Another weekend is upon us. The days keep rolling by. Unfortunately, some things are missing–American college football, being one of them. Yes, I know some universities have been playing (as well as the pros) but it just doesn’t feel the same. My favorite conference is the Big Ten, but so far there hasn’t been a single snap. Games are finally scheduled for next Saturday, but will they play? Only time will tell. Better the teams remain healthy than take risks.

In the meantime, I did manage to clean up some of the leaves. Everything looked great–for a few hours. Now, the ground’s covered again, but since it’s damp outside and it’s Sunday, I’ll leave any outdoor work until the next decent day. At least there’s plenty of writing to keep me going!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giambattista Marini, Italian poet; Lars Johnstown [Lasse Lucidor], Swedish poet; Adolf Muller, German dramatist and critic; Heinrich von Kleist, German dramatist/poet (Penthesilea); Thomas Love Peacock, English author (Headlong Hall); Logan Pearsall Smith, American essayist and critic; Ernst Didring, Swedish author; Fannie Hurst, novelist (Anatomy of Me); H. L. Davis, American author; Raymond Brulez, Flemish author (Appearance at Kallista); Frank Liedel [Leo van Assche], Flemish writer (Kaperbrief); Katherine Kurtz, UK, sci-fi author (Deryni Rising, Saint Camber); James Robert Baker, American novelist, screenwriter; Ntozake Shange, American author; Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright (The Heidi Chronicles); Terry McMillan, American author; and Bảo Ninh, Vietnamese novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

This week I used my writing time to concentrate on editing Xavier Sear: Angola. As all writers will know, once a manuscript is finished, that’s just the beginning of a novel’s journey.

The first edit pass is now complete. I’ve taken care of several spelling and punctuation errors, as well as choosing four of my foreign characters and gave their voice a bit of a change as they will never use contractions when they speak.

Yesterday I also sent the manuscript to my small cadre of beta readers to find out from those who weren’t involved in chapter reviews (of which I received 526) to see how the story goes. I’m looking forward to their response!

Now, I’ll take a week off from editing and return to other works in progress: Revenge and New World Revolution. Hopefully, I’ll get another chapter completed for each story before I begin the second edit pass.

The sequel to Xavier Sear: Angola will be Xavier Sear: Yemen. Here’s the synopsis:

Xavier Sear is thrust into a new adventure when he accepts an under-the-table assignment from a longtime friend, Ron Vincent. A former CIA operative, Sear takes on any and all missions, which appeal to his sense of justice.

Abudullah Bashari, a retired Yemeni geologist who dabbles in archeology is embroiled in the bitter struggle between the Houthis and the government. He reaches out for help to save his family. A wealthy man, he offers to reveal a damaging secret Saudi Arabia is trying to keep hidden.

Life-threatening danger abounds as Sear visits Yemen and creates a plan to help Bashari’s family escape. However, Hussien Khan al Mishari, a young Saudi prince, threatens to undo Sear’s intervention in pursuit of his own deadly game. Who will be victorious?

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Atlantis Stolen (Sam Reilly Book 3) by Christopher Cartwright. I knew I was in for another action-filled story, and I wasn’t disappointed. Will Sam and his friends be able to find out what really happened to Atlantis and stop another catastrophe? Or will they be too late? This is a well-constructed story and will take readers on a whirlwind ride and they try to unravel the mystery. I don’t like to give spoilers, so you’ll need to get a copy to find out what happens. I can’t wait for the next on in the series!

I also recently read Havoc (The Blackwell Files Book 4) by Steven F. Freeman. Is technology a boon for mankind or something to avoid? Follow cryptologist Alton Blackwell and his girlfriend, FBI Agent Mallory Wilson as they set out on an adventure of a lifetime to Italy. Before long, people they encounter are dying. Who is behind the deaths and why? Will Alton and Mallory be next?

Steven has created an excellent plot with plenty of twists and turns to delight readers who want more than a straightforward story. He definitely shows how to create realistic characters and you’ll be urging Alton and Mallory along as they story unfolds. This is a great page turner and I’ll continue to read more from this series.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 11, 2020

I had a goal this week to get all of the leaves that have fallen cleaned up. Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t too cooperative. If a day didn’t begin with rain, it seemed I was telegraphing my plans. Clear blue skies disappeared with clouds rolling in. Before long, there would be a steady downpour, soaking the leaves and making it too difficult to rake them up or use a leaf blower.

I caught a break on Thursday afternoon. Armed with my trusty expandable rake and a leaf blower, I tackled the leaves and managed to get them raked up. Just in time, too–another shower descended.  The lawn and flower beds looked great, at least for a few minutes.

Since Thursday, more rain, accompanied by gusts of wind, ensured my feeble attempt had been in vain. Although not as thick as before, the lawn and flower beds are covered once again. Such is life in the fall!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Melchior de Polignac, French diplomat, Cardinal and poet; Steen Steensen Blicher, Danish poet and short-story writer (E Binddstouw); Albartus Telting, Frisian poet (Frisianch Jierboeckjen); Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Swiss writer; Hans E. Kinck, Norwegian philological and writer (Mot Karnaval); Stefan Octavian Losif, Romanian poet (Beautiful Irine); Gertrud von Le Fort, German writer (The Eternal Woman); Stark Young, American writer (So Red the Rose); Will Vesper, German author (Vom grossen Krieg); Francois Mauriac, French novelist, poet and playwright (Nobel 1952); and R. H. W. Dillard, American poet (The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele and Other Poems).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Once again, most of my writing time was spent editing Xavier Sear: Angola. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. I finished chapter eleven this week. To date, Revenge has received 186 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

The doors to the conference room opened, and four men rolled in a cart, stopping next to Javier. On top, a massive cake with yellow and black frosting, with an inscription: Bon voyage to the head snake. Next to the cake, a bowl of punch.

The men stepped back and saluted.

Javier returned their salute. “The Snakes! I might have known you’d show up.”

“Someone had to ignore your requests. We couldn’t let your retirement come and go without a farewell.” Viper glanced around. “Where’s AJ?”

The smile on Javier’s face disappeared. “She couldn’t make it. Something to do with another terrorist threat.” He shook his head. “Never mind, she’ll join us later to celebrate.”

“Colonel, why don’t we wrap things up and dig into the cake and punch? I know from a reliable source the punch might contain an extra kick.” Brown pulled a small bottle of whiskey from a bag beneath the table and poured a generous amount into the bowl.

“Sounds great, General. Thank you.”

As the room erupted with applause, everyone formed a line to shake Javier’s hand.

Viper cut the cake, while Mamba dished out the punch.

The attendees scattered around the room into small clusters once General Brown departed. Before long, the Snakes returned to Javier’s side.

Viper held a wrapped package in his hand. “A small gesture of our appreciation, Cobra. Whatever your plans are, know we’ll follow you if you’ll have us.” He handed the parcel to Javier.

“Thanks, guys.” Javier unwrapped the package and burst into laughter. Inside, a framed collage of snakes: vipers, mambas, rattlers, adders, and cobras.

“Fantastic! I’d rather put photos of real snakes on my wall to admire than snapshots of your ugly mugs.”

The men laughed and clapped Javier on the shoulder.

“Well, old-timer, we need to get back to work. We have one final duty to perform.” Viper picked up the certificate and flag, while Adder grabbed the framed photos.

“What’s that?”

“Escort you out of the building.”

Viper led the way. They exited the conference room. Officer and enlisted personnel lined the hallway, saluting as Javier passed.

Once outside, he shook hands with his friends. “See you this evening for the celebration?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” The Snakes nodded a final farewell to their leader and returned inside.

Blinking back the tears threatening to form, Javier turned around and gazed at the Pentagon for a final time. He returned a salute from two non-commissioned officers as they passed on their way into America’s symbol of military might before heading to the parking lot. The end of a journey—what does the future hold for me now?

***

A man in the rear of a black van lowered his camera and grinned. Soon, el coronel, you will receive your punishment for what you did to my brethren. I’ll carve more scars on your face until you beg for death. He gestured for the driver to start the engine. But, you shall never receive mercy.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading the fifth installment of Tony J. Forder’s DI Bliss series, The Death of Justice. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, pitting my analytical skills again DI Bliss as he tries to end a killing spree by an unknown assailant. Who’s killing them and why? What links the victims together?

I’m definitely hooked on Tony’s twist-filled plots and larger-than-life characters. If you’re looking for a series you can sink your teeth into, I can definitely recommend DI Bliss. Can’t wait to read the next one!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 4, 2020

Back in late spring, I was moving a heavy flower pot from the driveway where it had just been watered back to its normal location on the edge of the front patio/porch. Unfortunately, it slipped from my hands!

No problem–my right foot was there to cushion the pot’s landing. If the plant could talk, I’m sure it would have said something about the poor treatment. Anyway, the pot was safe! Couldn’t say as much for my foot–my middle toe was no longer straight!

About three weeks ago, that offending appendage tried to move an immovable (at least very heavy) object. Once again, the middle toe bore the brunt of the onslaught. It anything there more of a crook to it than ever before!

I hoped that was the last of the punishment my poor toe was to receive, at least until it made a full recovery. No such luck–three nights ago, I dropped a handheld vacuum cleaner. Yep–it headed straight for the toe as if there was a bullseye painted on it! Now, its about twice the size it should be, but at least I’m still able to hobble about. If I ever needed an excuse to back off on some chore and just write, this was it!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 4th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Spanish playwright (Del Rey Abajo Ninguno); François Guizot, French historian and politician (17th Prime Minister of France); John Richardson, Canadian writer (Wacousta, or the prophecy); Juliette Adam, French author (Salon/Nouvelle Revue) and feminist; Edward Stratemeyer, American author (The Rover Boys); Hugh McCrae, Australian writer and poet (Satyrs and Sunlight: Sylvarum Libri); Damon Runyon, American journalist and writer (Guys & Dolls-based on his work); Francis Bull, Norwegian writer (Norsk literature historian); Sergei Yesenin, Russian lyric poet; Koos Schuur, Dutch journalist/poet (7 Curses); Alvin Toffler, author (Future Shock, Power Shift, The Third Wave); Sally Mary Caroline Belfrage, American-born, British-based writer; Jackie Collins, British-American author (The Stud, Lucky); Anne Rice, author (Interview with a Vampire); Roy Blount, Jr., American writer; Luis Sepúlveda, Chilean writer and political activist (The Old Man Who Read Love Stories); Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov, Kazakh poet; and Kazuki Takahashi, Japanese author.

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Jackie Collins and Anne Rice. I don’t remember reading any of their work, but I’m certainly familiar with them. 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

During October, Colombian Betrayal is participating in a Bookfunnel promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Crime, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller novels. If you have time, why not stop by and check out the varied selection of single novels (many part of a series) or even some of the boxed sets.

The authors will be very grateful, and who knows, you might just find a story you’ve been searching for!

Just click on Bookfunnel to get to the list. Many thanks!

My Work in Progress

This week, I continued using most of my writing time with editing Xavier Sear: Angola. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

Here’s a snippet:

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” General Douglas MacArthur, during his farewell speech at West Point Military Academy, 12 May 1962

***

Colonel Javier Smith woke to the strains of Born in the U.S.A. echoing in the room. He rolled over and grabbed his phone. “Yeah?”

“Are you up yet?” AJ Bruce chuckled. “It’s five a.m. You wanted me to make sure you were up for your big day.”

“You’re pretty cheerful this morning.” He glanced at the clock. Yep—five a.m. “How much coffee did you drink?”

“Just started my second cup.” She slurped her coffee. “See you tonight?”

“You betcha.” Javier broke the connection and shook the cobwebs from his head. He propelled his six-foot-four-inch muscular body from the bed and dashed into the bathroom for a quick shower. After drying himself and combing his black hair, he returned to the bedroom. Before he finished dressing, he glanced at the ribbon rack on his uniform. First and last time to wear all of them at once.

Javier ran a finger along the top decorations: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster). A dozen other ribbons followed.

Ten minutes later, he found a rare empty parking spot in front of the Pentagon. After climbing out of his Hummer, he adjusted his uniform and dashed inside the building. Once he cleared security, he walked through the corridors, nodding to a few military officers he recognized before arriving at his office.

An envelope lay on the center of Javier’s desk. He placed his cover on the credenza and sat in his executive-style chair. Curious, he picked up the plain white envelope with Colonel Javier Smith typed on the front in bold letters.

Inside, a single sheet of paper.

Colonel Smith,

Your presence is required in my office at 12:45. You are hereby ordered to attend a meeting afterward in the JCS Conference Room. Please be in full uniform.

General Gordon B. Brown

Chief of Staff of the Army

Javier dropped the note on the desk. “I told them no send-off. Why doesn’t anyone listen?” He shook his head and chuckled. “I wonder who’s behind this?”

More next time.

That’s all for this week as I still didn’t get a chance to write down my thoughts about recent books I read. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 6, 2020

It’s been a busy week getting things finished outside. I finally tackled the block-paved driveway. What was once gray is more or less restored to its regular color of red and brown bricks. It’ll need a second wash so I can clean the spots I missed, but it looks so much better, if I do say so myself.

For those celebrating the traditional but unofficial ‘end of summer’ Labor Day weekend, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable time!

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

Emanuel van Meteren, Flemish merchant and historian; Moses Mendelssohn, German Jewish enlightenment philosopher (Haksalah); Anton Diabelli, Austria publisher and composer; Frances Wright, Scottish writer and lecturer; Horatio Greenough, American neo-classical sculptor and writer (Form & Function); Johanna D Courtmans-Berchmans, Flemish author (Rozeken Pot); Nicolae Filimon, Romanian writer and critic (Ciocoii Vechi Si Noi); Zelia Nuttall, American archeologist and historian; Rodolfo Lenz, German-Chilian linguist (El Papiamento); Felix Salten [Siegmund Salzmann], Austrian author (Bambi, a Life in the Woods); Willem Adriaan Bonger, Dutch criminologist (Race & Crime); Franz Theodor Csokor, Austrian author (Writings on the Wall); Mario Praz, Italian literary critic and scholar (La carne, la morte, e il diavolo); Julien Green, American-French writer (Frere Francois); Arvi Kivimaa, Finnish writer (Groenende Cross); John Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher; Elizabeth Ferrars, British crime writer; Carmen Laforet, Spanish author; Andrea Camilleri, Italian author (Inspector Montalbano novels; Robert M. Pirsig, American author (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance); Dan Cragg, American soldier and author; Gordon DeMarco, American writer and activist; Alice Sebold, American novelist (The Almost Moon); Christopher Brookmyre, Scottish writer (Quite Ugly One Morning); and China Miéville, English fantasy fiction writer (Perdido Street Station).

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t find any names I’m familiar with. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

This week, I began the editing process for Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 484 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of nineteen in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear raced toward the shore. Chest heaving, he waded in the shallows before dragging himself up the embankment. Collapsing in the grass, he propped himself up on an arm and gazed at the ferry as it approached its docking station.

Guzman and Kruger stood next to the vehicles, grins plastered on their faces.

Kruger cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hey, Sear! Watch out for the Nile crocs!”

Eyes wide, Sear jumped to his feet. “Where?” Not finding anything coming after him, he walked over to the dirt road, water dripping from his clothes. He waited as the gate dropped on the ferry.

Kruger and Guzman drove the cargo vehicles onto land, stopping by Sear and jumping out.

“You going to train for the next Olympics?” Guzman punched Sear in the shoulder. “Your dive from the boat would be a medal winner off the high platform.”

“Ha, ha.” He glared at his friends. “So, why didn’t you jump when the mortar came at us?”

“What mortar?” Kruger pointed to the far shore where the locals stood laughing and waving. “Just a prank by the villagers to catch unsuspecting travelers. The ferry owner has a speaker rigged up and cranks it up when the boat’s about halfway across.” He shaded his eyes from the bright sunlight as he glanced at the river. “At least there weren’t any crocs—today.”

“Okay, you’ve had your fun. Let’s move.” Sear shook his head, showering Guzman and Kruger with water.

“Hey! Cut it out. I had nothing to do with it.” Guzman raised his hands in the air and laughed.

“Just remember—paybacks are hell.”

***

They continued on in silence, the drone of the engine making it difficult to stay awake.

Sear’s head nodded, his chin dropping to his chest. Before long, snores filled the cabin.

Two hours later, Kruger jabbed Sear’s shoulder. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty!”

With a start, Sear jumped, pulling his SIG Sauer P320 from its holster.

“Whoa, kemosabe!” Kruger raised a hand.

“Why’d you wake me? I was just enjoying myself.”

Kruger rolled his eyes. Spare me the details, boss. According to my friends in Lusaka, we’ll pass by a couple of villages on the way to our rendezvous point. Do you want to stop for lunch?” He laughed.

Sear raised his brows. “Uh. No. There are plenty of MREs in the shipment.”

“Oh, yes. American Meals Rarely Edible. I remember them.” He pantomimed shoving two fingers down his throat. “If I can’t catch something to eat and cook, I supposed I’ll have to struggle with them.”

***

In no time at all, the cargo was stowed away, except for a large item. Together, they grabbed the Zodiac and manhandled it on top of the other cargo. As they turned around, ten men stepped forward.

“Now what?” Sear stared at a tall, thick-chested man who stood forward of the others. A shakedown or worse?

“Hands up. We take cargo.” The apparent leader grinned. “We take you too—maybe someone pay ransom.” He raised an arm.

Several men ran forward, grabbing Sear, Kruger, and Guzman. They clubbed the men to the ground before binding their hands and feet with rope.

“Wait!” Sear struggled against two men trying to tie his feet. “What do you want? We’ll pay—”

Darkness descended as Sear blacked out from the blow to the back of his head.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder. This is the fourth novel in Tony’s DI Bliss series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite recovering from a road collision, Bliss is whisked from the hospital to the scene of a vicious assault. Was the victim being stalked or was this a random murder?

Tony keeps his readers guessing with a superb plot, filled with enough twists and twists to keep you turning the pages to find out what happened. We also learn more about Bliss and how his past comes back to haunt him. For those of you who enjoy intense crime and mystery thrillers, this one’s for you!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 23, 2020

We’ve had a week of unsettled weather, with plenty of clouds, multiple showers–even a thunderstorm. There were occasional outbreaks of sunshine, but the temperatures were more like what we expect in late September or early October, not in August. At least today began with plenty of brilliant sunshine. Nor sure how long it will last, but we’ll take what Mother Nature dishes out.

I had to laugh at an article I scanned in this morning’s paper. Apparently, there’s a group of people (referred to as snowflakes in the article), who are offended by the use of a period to end a text message. They say this indicates the sender is insincere.

Huh? Since when did proper punctuation become offensive? How long will it take before there’s a push to ban teaching of punctuation and capitalization in the schools?  I’ve seen a few books available for sale where the authors clearly don’t care. In fact, I read a post somewhere where one of these authors mentioned it doesn’t matter if a book is full of improper grammar, poor punctuation, incorrect capitalization, etc., as long as it’s a good story. 

I tried reading one of these books during the past week. Fortunately, I didn’t pay a penny for it. Good thing, as I couldn’t get past the first chapter. I’m not expert on these things, but I do try hard to use what I do know.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Fulvio Testi, Italian poet (Pianto d’Italia); Moritz B. Cantor, German historian of mathematics; William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher; William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor; Marcel Schwob, French writer and journalist (Le Croisade des Enfants); Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology); Alexander Grin, Russian novelist (Jessie and Morgiana); Will Cuppy, American humorist (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody); Jo Sternheim, Dutch actor and playwright (Fatherland); Alfred Lichtenstein, German writer; Cecil Rolph Hewitt, English journalist and policeman; Mauritius van Haegendoren, Flemish historian and senator; Arthur Adamov, Russian-French playwright (Paolo Paoli); Albert Alberts, Dutch writer and journalist (French battle); Jara Ribnikar, Serbian writer; Ephraim Kishon, Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and Oscar-nominated film director; Clifford Geertz, American anthropologist (symbolic anthropology); Roy Strong, English writer, art historian and director (Victoria & Albert Museum); Nelson DeMille, American action adventure and suspense novels author (Plum Island); Andrei Pleşu, Romanian writer and essayist; John Bauldie, British music journalist; Charles Busch, American actor, screenwriter, playwright and drag queen (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife); Roger Avary, Canadian-American screenwriter, director, and producer (Pulp Fiction); and Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor.

This week I certainly recognized one name: Nelson DeMille. Anyone familiar to you? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

This week, I was on a roll with my writing, having completed chapters 34-36 of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 426 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of seventeen in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The maître d‘ greeted him and escorted him to a table sheltered by an awning. “Are you expecting anyone to join you, Doctor Okonjo?”

“Yes, Clifford. One man. He’ll ask for my table.”

“Very good, Doctor.” Clifford snapped his fingers and a waiter hurried to the table, a tray perched on one hand. “ I took the liberty of ordering your favorite drink—a Mongozo beer.”

“Excellent. Leave me until my guest arrives.”

Clifford nodded as he backed away from the table.

Okonjo sipped his beer, savoring the flavor of the palm nuts used to make the brew. He glanced at the beach and smiled as two couples strolled through the sand, arm-in-arm. I’m tired of the games. I hope this contact brings usable information.

Twenty minutes later, Clifford reappeared, leading a short slender man, wearing a Western-style suit. Scars crisscrossed his face.

After seating Okonjo’s guest, he placed a beer in front of him and departed.

“So. You requested this meeting. I hope you bring me what I want.”

The man sipped his drink, his gaze focused on Okonjo. “My leader sends his greetings. Are his words what you want to hear?” He shrugged. “That is up to you to decide. He instructed to tell me he had to relocate his camp, so he requires additional funds to pay off the other groups who allowed him to move without interference.”

Okonjo pursed his lips. “How much this time?”

“The usual—all in diamonds.”

“He’ll have to wait. I won’t receive more until the weekend.” Assuming Buhari is successful. “What about Mwanga’s son? Does he still live?”

The man grinned. “For now. He is useful as my leader’s woman is with child.”

“When will he be dealt with?” Okonjo drained his glass. “His departure will provide me with the leverage I require.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You are not as important as you think. My leader is an equal partner with you in creating the new Africa.” He waved a finger in front of Okonjo. “Do not be impatient.”

“Is that so?” Okonjo arched his brows and aimed the pistol in his lap at his guest. “You are nothing but a messenger. Be careful, or you will meet whatever idol you worship sooner than you expect.”

“Are you threatening me?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Our business is finished.”

Okonjo raised his arm, showing his pistol. “Sit down, or I’ll blow a hole through you. This is my restaurant, so I could kill you without any interference.”

The man gulped and leaned over the table, his hands supporting him. “I’ll return in two days. You better have the payment.”

“Here’s a reminder for you.” Okonjo raised his left hand. The dagger flashed in the light as he jabbed the blade downward.

“Yeeeah!”

The man grabbed his hand, blood spurting from the hole.

Okonjo stood and glared across the table. He turned when Clifford rushed forward. “Show my guest out the back door. My driver will take care of him.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I received an advanced copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Nicolette, which will formally hit the streets on August 30th. If you’re a fan of Blair’s writing like I am, you’ll appreciate how Lt. Kate Gazzara digs into another case to find a killer.

Who killed Nicolette, and why? After all, she was just a young woman searching for true love. Follow Lt. Gazzara and her team as they unravel the threads they come across to finally solve the case. But at what expense? Clearly Lt. Gazzara is overworked and under enormous pressure. However, with her guiding hand, the team follows their leads, piecing together the clues. No spoiler alert here–you’ll need to grab a copy to find out what happens.

I will say this is another excellent plot from a master storyteller. With plenty of twists and turns, and loads of realistic characters, you’ll enjoy the ride. I know I did!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 16, 2020

Here we are at the middle of August–another month sailing by!  We just had the roof tiles cleaned and repainted. Gone is the twenty plus years build-up of lichen. It took several days to clean the roof and have its new black-blue coating added.

Of course, it didn’t help any when it began raining just as the second coat was finished.  What a mess! The blue dye splattered everywhere. The company must have been familiar with this type of occurrence as they were on the phone to us before we could call them. After a good clean-up the next day when it wasn’t raining, they waited for another dry day and redid the second coat. Looks fantastic!

This week also brought more intrigue into the genealogy research, when we found one ancestor had been a servant to a particular “titled” person. Nothing to get excited about for most people, but it was really interesting to find someone other than farmers, blacksmiths, and a few teachers.  The oldest record we’ve been able to find (and could actually read) was from 1678. Still a bit more research to do, but it’s getting harder now to fill in the blanks.

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

Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German countess and poet; Jean de La Bruyère, French writer (The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus); Emile A. H. Seipgens, Dutch priest, writer and beer brewer; Justus van Maurik, Dutch author and cigar manufacturer; Arthur Achleitner, German writer; Jules Laforgue, French poet (Les Complaintas); Ferdinand C. S. Schiller, German-British philosopher (Riddles of the Sphinx); Antonio Nobre, Portuguese poet (Só); Pierre H. Ritter Jr, Dutch literary, writer and journalist; Albert Cohen, Greek-born Swiss novelist (Belle du Seigneur); Georgette Heyer, English novelist (Friday’s Child); William Maxwell, American novelist and editor (The New Yorker); Charles Bukowski, German-born American columnist (Notes of a Dirty Old Man) and writer (Hollywood: A Novel) who was described as a “laureate of American lowlife”; Louis Lomax, African-American author and journalist; Millôr Fernandes, Brazilian writer and playwright; Jan van Ginkel, graphic artist/publisher (Perscombinatie); Reiner Kunze, German writer (The Lovely Years); Diana Wynne Jones, UK, sci-fi author (Drowned Ammet, Witch Week); Andrew J[efferson V] Offutt, American sci-fi author (Undying Wizard); and James Cameron, Canadian film director and writer (Titanic, Avatar).

I didn’t find any names I’m familiar, did you? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

Three of my novels are participating in various promotions during August: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited Mystery and Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/mysterythrilleronku/c1lk5urbla

Serial Killer Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/serialkillerthrillers/kavh64sncq

Happy End of Summer:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Revenge:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Please help an author or two by dropping in and taking a look at what’s on offer. All of us thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week, I completed chapter thirty-three of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-four. As of today, there’s been 409 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-one in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

***

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished two more novels from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. The first was The Scent of Guilt.

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation. Teamed up once again with his partner, DS Penny Chandler, they pull out all the stops to solve the mystery which appears to have similarities to crimes committed in California.

Tony has written another superb thriller, with plenty of twists and turns for Bliss and Chandler to negotiate as they work on this investigation. Tony’s characters are very realistic and you love them or hate them, depending upon which side of the law they appear. This one will have you burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens next!

If Fear Wins is another fantastic ‘who done it’ story when DI Bliss and DS Chandler are handed a case involving a torched body and a separate missing person. Who burned the body, and why? Is the missing person linked to the grisly remains?

If you enjoy crime and mystery stories, this is another page-turner for you. No spoiler alert–you’ll have to grab a copy and immerse yourself in this superb story!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 26, 2020

With the weather cooperating, it’s been a busy week in the yard (garden). Managed to do some pruning and shifted plants into better positions for sunlight or shade as we continue to pull everything out of the overgrowth.

Even with the current lockdown situation, there are some firms slowly re-opening, but at a very reduced staff level and maintaining social distancing. We would out we could finally have the dumpster (skip) removed, which had been full and sitting in our driveway for weeks. The company brought a new one, but no exchange of paperwork as normal, to ensure we maintained our distance.

This coming week, we’ll have two metric tons of topsoil delivered. This had been ordered right before the lockdown commenced. The company called late last week to confirm whether we still wanted the order.

Thanks again to all those who are putting themselves on the front lines. Stay safe!

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

Gian Paolo Lomazzo, Italian painter and poet (Trattato); David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian (A Treatise of Human Nature); Joan Melchior Kemper, Dutch lawyer (designed civil code law book); Ludwig Uhland, German writer; Martha Finley, American children’s book author (Elsie Dinsmore series); Alice Cary, American poet (Cincinnati Sentinel); Frederick Law Olmsted, American writer and landscape architect (designed Central Park); Wilhelm Scherer, German literature historian; Arno Holz, German writer (Phantasus); Otto zur Linde, German author (Charon); Ğabdulla Tuqay, Tatar poet (Oh My Mother Tongue!); Anita Loos, American screenwriter, novelist (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes); Vicente Aleixandre, Spanish writer (Ambito, Bird of Paper, Nobel 1977); Theun de Vries, Dutch writer (The Girl with the Red Hair); A. E. van Vogt, Canadian sci-fi author (Wizard of Linn); Bernard Malamud, American novelist (The Fixer, The Natural, Pulitzer 1967); H. L. Gold, American sci-fi writer and editor; Morris West, Australian novelist (Shoes of the Fisherman); Richard Mitchell, American professor and author (The Underground Grammarian); and Joanne Gobure, Nauruan poet.

Recognize anyone? The only name I was familiar with was David Hume. 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

Colombian Betrayal’s online book tour is still ongoing until the end of the month, sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours. Why not stop by and learn a bit more about me?

https://www.bewitchingbooktours.biz/2020/04/now-on-tour-colombian-betrayal-by.html

My novel continues to participate in two Bookfunnel promotions. If you’re interested in checking them out and perhaps finding new authors to read, here’s the schedule.

April 7th-30th:

https://dashboard.bookfunnel.com/bundles/board/a3k53rc4a2

April 11th-26th:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/2nd-quarter-mystery/tvyvcj2sx6

My Work in Progress

When I’m not working on marketing/promoting Colombian Betrayal, or working on my newsletter,  I’m continuing to move forward with my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapter seventeen posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received 199 chapter reviews, an increase of twenty-four in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear grabbed a lupini bean from the plate and bit into the salty snack. “Just like I remember. Great stuff!” He took another sip and helped himself to more beans. “On the phone, you hinted you might be taking a trip to hotter climates but didn’t want to discuss anything in detail. What’s up?”

“Do you remember Theo Mwanga?”

“Whoa! That’s a name from the past. Wasn’t he the rebel commander you had in your sights in Angola?”

João nodded. “You urged me to take the shot, but I couldn’t. I remembered his son gazing up at me—never knew why he did.” He shook his head. “I couldn’t take his father away from him. Now, he’s an important member of the Angolan government, we have worked on war reparations, and open trade agreements, and I now consider him a friend.”

“Oookay.” Sear rubbed a hand through his short, black hair. “What does he have to do with—you’re not planning a trip back to Angola, are you? Why?”

“Theo contacted me—twice. A DRC thug named Masudi kidnapped his son Peter. Theo can’t convince anyone in Angola to help, so he turned to me.”

“Always the do-gooder, aren’t you?” Sear smiled. “You aren’t serious about going?”

“I do have reservations about setting foot back in the area. I witnessed enough violence and bloodshed to last a lifetime. But, what if I—we could save Peter? Some women and older girls were kidnapped with him. Who knows what they’re experiencing now?”

“I’ve no desire to return to Angola either—for different reasons.”

João signaled for another round of drinks. “I tried to convince Theo I couldn’t do anything to help, but he kept insisting. In the end, I said I’d come, subject to two conditions.”

“And?”

“I told him I wouldn’t come unless Catarina agreed.” João gave a sheepish grin. “I thought for sure she’d want me to remain in Portugal. No—she insists I help Theo.”

“What’s the other condition?” Sear twirled the glass with his new drink in his hands.

“I told Theo I wouldn’t come unless you agreed to help.”

Sear pursed his lips. “João, you should understand me well enough to realize I don’t stick my neck out for anybody—at least for strangers. I’m not crazy about this idea.”

João glanced at his watch. “We better drink up. Catarina is making the meal for us this evening, and she’ll kill us if we’re late and ruin it.”

More next time.

I also finished the first chapter of Revenge, Book two of my Bruce & Smith thriller series. I don’t have a cover ready yet, but one will be coming as time passes. Despite this being early days for this novel, which is the sequel to Colombian Betrayal, it’s already received eleven reviews.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advanced copy of The Lolita Conspiracy by Blair Howard. Harry Starke and Lieutenant Kate Gazarra are embroiled in another mystery. A man is dead, but is it a suicide or a murder? This becomes personal for Harry as he becomes a suspect. But, is he being set up or did he commit the crime?

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one definitely does not disappoint. With a brilliant plot, filled with plenty of suspects and theories, combined with the romantic glimpses of Harry and Kate’s relationship, make this another page turner. As soon as I thought I knew what had happened to the dead guy, a new scenario surfaced. This one is out in paperback now, and available for Kindle pre-order until April 30th, when it goes live. Don’t miss out! Get your copy ordered now!

I also finished Never Die Twice by Mark Caldwell Jones. Join DIA/DARPA operative Natalie Nicks in this action-packed technothriller, as she embarks on a mission which has far-reaching implications. Who can she trust? Has her team been infiltrated?

There’s plenty of non-stop action in this story as Natalie searched for weapons of the future before they can be used. Prepare to burn the proverbial midnight oil as the action will keep you up late at night turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is the first book of Mark’s I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 
 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Meet The Author Gang

With the current situation keeping people from external pursuits, why not reach out and make some new friends through reading?

Author friends who write alone but come together from time to time to help each other and have fun.

Our stories will make you wonder, laugh, shake with fear or shed a few tears, but most of all, give you escape from the burdens of everyday life. Check out our books and find yourself whisked away to lands and places you’ve never been.

The Author Gang:

Erika M Szabo

https://www.authorerikamszabo.com

“The writing bug bit me on a rainy afternoon when I couldn’t find any new book to read. My daughter had enough of my moping around and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea and I’ve been writing stories, that I like to read, ever since.”

Erika loves to dance to her own tunes and follow her dreams, introduces her story writing skills and her books that are based on creative imagination with themes such as alternate history, urban fantasy, cozy mystery, sweet romance and supernatural stories. Her children’s stories are informative, educational, and deliver moral values in a non-preachy way.

“I followed my dream to become a writer. As an artist, I paint pretty pictures with my brushes, and as a writer, I paint vivid pictures with my words.”

Cindy J. Smith

https://cindysvoices.blogspot.com/

I was taught if I couldn’t say anything nice don’t say anything. Since biting my tongue was painful and soap tasted bad, I developed voices arguing inside my head. When I found writing my thoughts brought me some silence, I took up the pen. It was not long before I realized poetry was much easier than full sentences and I could say exactly what was in my heart.

Strangely, I soon noticed I could put myself in other’s shoes and empathize with their viewpoint.

It was my daughter who encouraged me to share my poems. She believed they would help others cope…letting them know they were not alone in their thoughts.

I write now about every aspect of life in hopes someone may be touched and be encouraged to keep trying.

Christina Weigand

http://www.weigandchris.com/

A writer, wife, and mother of four grown children. She is also Nana to five granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington. She has three published YA Christian Fantasy novels; Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. She also has a woman’s Bible study Women of the Bible: A Study published. Recently the first two books in a MG Fantasy series were published, Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully and Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective with the remaining four to be published the near future. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

Darlene Deluca

https://www.darlenedeluca.com/

“Books . . . chocolate . . . tea. These are a few of my favorite things. Combine them with a sunny summer day, and perhaps a beach or pool, and call me happy!”

Deluca writes women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and mainstream fiction with romantic elements. She likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.

And just so you know . . . she likes a happy, or at least a positive, ending.

Alan Zacher

https://www.amazon.com/Alan-Zacher/e/B00APQXPEW

Author of private investigator mysteries, humorous occult fiction, fantasy adventure fiction, and short stories. After many years of being a “struggling” actor in LA, Alan turned to writing.

“My writing has always been for entertainment–to put a smile on someone’s face who might be having a bad day. I write, mostly, light-horror and murder/mystery. I like these two genres because of the freedom they give me to explore man’s inner emotions, feelings and emotions–but it must always have humor! We must always laugh; mostly at ourselves. I have had MS for serval years now; I know physical and mental pain; so I need much laughter to endure it. Hopefully, my novels do just that–give you much laughter.”

Carol Ann Kauffman

https://visionandverse.blogspot.com/

Carol Ann’s books range from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels are classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and in the hardware and automotive industries. She was a Red Cross volunteer.

Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy, Aruba, and the American Southwest, which tend to show up in her novels.

“I also love to stay home. I get lost in my own little world, where I always have more than a few stories in progress. I grow orchids and African violets, and still like to play in the dirt!”

Suzi Albracht

https://www.amazon.com/Suzi-Albracht/e/B00PB1JNLK/

I am the author of Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers and Paranormal Romance/Ghost novels. My characters have full, normal lives that get twisted into something horrific or intensely strange. Whether they become a ghost and discover a new, undead world to roam or find themselves in pursuit of a dangerous madman with connections to the dark underworld, I want my readers to feel their pain, their joy, their fear… with every right or wrong turn they take along the way.

While I humbly submit that my main influences are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and William Faulkner, my style leans closer to that of early Stephen King. My twitter bio describes me to a T – Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.

You can find my books at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Randall Krzak

http://www.randallkrzak.com

A U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. His residency abroad qualifies him to build rich worlds in his action-adventure novels and short stories. Familiar with customs, laws, and social norms, he promotes these to create authentic characters and scenery.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and two master’s from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Randall and his Scottish wife, Sylvia, currently reside in Dunfermline, Scotland. His hobbies include hiking, reading, candle making, pyrography, and sightseeing.

Why did Randall become a writer? Someone suggested he give it a try, so Randall blames his friend. Randall ventured into fiction writing later in life, with his first novel being released at age 62. In just over three years, he’s published four novels. He enjoys reading and writing global thrillers and has three more underway.

Rebecca Tran

https://rtranbooks.net/

I am a mother, pharmacist and author. I love all things fantasy and sci-fi. Romance is always a welcome bonus. I have two little girls and I love dogs,I have two of those as well, a Boston Terrier and a Pittie mix. So technically some would say I have four kids. I am currently working on my blog as well as my romance and fantasy series. I am the ultimate nerd who can’t choose between Star Wars and Star Trek and thinks that Dr Who would figure out a way to beat all of them. I still read comic books and love watching anime. We can talk for hours if you know who Kirito, Naruto, or Goku are. If you’d like to read my blog or know more about me or my books, please check out my website.

A.L. Butcher

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

L.L. Thomsen

https://llthomsen.com/

Pick up one of L. L. Thomsen’s high fantasy books and you get treated to an explosion of immersive prose, complicated characters, mystery and plots. Her main world, Dallancea, is home to nine realms and a wealth of races – some known, some entirely new. You do not have to be familiar with fantasy to enjoy the books, but those who are will recognise her zest to spin you an epic tale of complexity and to explore her characters to the core.

“I invented my first character when I was around five years old,” L. L. laughs, “they lived in my head and took me on adventures at bedtime after ‘lights out’. These days I allow them onto paper. There’s not enough space in my head anymore.”

L. L. currently lives with her family + two cats and a dog, in the back-of-beyond near the Sherwood Forrest, U.K.

PJ Mann

https://pjmannauthor.com/

My name is Paula and I write novels. I live with my husband and a rabbit. I work as an engineering geologist at a construction firm in Finland, and only in my spare time, I sit down at my desk writing stories. You can consider me a sort of wandering writer, and I try, as much as possible, to be on the move. My stories are strongly influenced by what I experience and see during my travels around the world. I am a multi-genre author, but the red wire of my novels is the suspense/drama.

I love to walk in nature with my camera; photography is another of my passions. I believe it’s very closely connected to writing novels as every image tells a story, for those who stop to listen.

 

R.M. Garino

https://www.rmgarino.com/

How now, folks. I’m R.M. Garino, the author of the Chaos of Souls Series. Ever wish you could bring your D&D characters to life? Well, that’s exactly what we did. Although the overarching story of angels and demons is much older, our two main characters were fleshed out from a D&D game my wife and I played with friends ages ago. They’re introduced, along with their misfit squads, in The Gates of Golorath, and their adventures continue throughout the series. We’ve also released a standalone series, the Chaos of Souls Novellas, which capture separate side stories that enrich the main series. Requiem’s Reach is the first volume, and we continue from there. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, somewhat irreverent fantasy that puts the stories and character first, then come on over and give us a read.

 

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 15, 2020

As the saying goes, “Beware the Ides of March.” History tells us Julius Caesar was assassinated on this day in 44 BC, thereby ending an event in the Roman Empire, but triggering a civil war which ultimately gave power to his heir, Octavia (later called Augustus). Today, we face a new crisis–the coronavirus. Let’s hope people get through this latest pandemic unscathed.

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 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Charles Knight, English publisher; Aernout Drost, Dutch literary (Hermingard van de Eikenterpen); Branko Radicevic, Serbian poet (1st Serbian Uprising); Paul von Heyse, German writer (Nobel 1910); Alice Cunningham Fletcher, ethnologist (Stranger in Her Native Land); Augusta, Lady Gregory, Irish playwright, poet and patron of Yates; Lionel Pigot Johnson, British poet and critic (Ireland & Other Poems); Gerrit J Heering, Dutch theologist (Fall of Christianity); Gilberto Freye, Brazilian sociologist/writer; An Rutgers van der Loeff-Basenau, children book writer (Skating Race); Louis Paul Boon, Flemish writer (Kapellekensbaan); Geert Lubberhuizen, publisher (Busy Bee); Richard Ellmann, American literary scholar and biographer (Oscar Wilde); Lawrence Sanders, American novelist; Madelyn Pugh, American television writer; Yuri Bondarev, Russian writer (Silence); Cecil Percival Taylor, American pianist and poet (U of Wisconsin); Valentin Rasputin, Russian writer (To Live and Remember); Robert Nye, British novelist and poet (Facts of Life & other fiction); Jack Whyte, Scottish-Canadian author; Jacques Doillon director/writer (La Fille de Quinze Ans); Mark J Green, American lawyer/author (Closed Enterprise System); Kate Bornstein, American author; Lisa Holton, American writer; Fabio Lanzoni, romance novels model (Fabio After Dark); Jose Sanchez Zolliker, Mexican writer; and F.V.A. Morriello, Canadian author.

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 ten and eleven were posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received eigthy-three chapter reviews, an increase of eighteen 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 another snippet from Angola:

Joao walked the upper hall of his family’s nineteenth-century home, awarded to one of his ancestors for services rendered to King Manuel III. He worked his way down the spiraling grand staircase, pausing to gaze out the windows at the botanic gardens. I’m not sure whether Catarina fell in love with me first or the gardens. He chuckled as he reached the bottom of the stairs and pushed the library door open.

He walked across the polished oak floor and settled himself behind the ornate wooden desk, another gift to his aristocratic family.

A discreet knock signaled the arrival of his mid-morning snack: a bica and a pasties de natal. The servant placed his coffee and custard cup on the desk and departed.

Joao savored the aroma of the espresso as he leaned back in the padded oak swivel chair, reminiscing about how he came to lead the Regaleira family.

The second son of Donato and Gabriela, he followed in the footsteps of other men in his position in wealthy families—he joined the army. His elder brother, Fabio, took over control of the family’s varied interests, continuing to provide behind-the-scenes advice to the president and prime minister.

When Fabio died in a fiery crash in the Algarve after his Ferrari sailed over a cliff, Joao resigned his commission and assumed his current role.

 He shook his head, finished his snack, and logged onto his computer. He dealt with numerous business emails related to the family’s portfolio of banks, wineries, and energy companies. A personal email caught his attention.

My Dear Joao,

It’s been a year or more since we last spoke. Things have gotten worse here, at least for family and me. Marxist Rebels in the DRC kidnapped Peter and a group of women and young girls. Since qualifying as a doctor, he’s been working for the Christian Aid Mission in the DRC.

I’ve contacted other members of the Angolan government, but so far there’s been no assistance offered. We’re still waiting for specific demands from a Jonah Alimasi Masudi, who says he’s holding Peter and the others. I realize you no longer serve in the Portuguese Army, but you’re the only person I could think of who might be able to arrange Peter’s release.

Time is running out.

Your friend, Theo

Joao slapped a hand against his forehead. Peter! What happened! Joao typed up a response:

My dear Theo,

What tragic news! I want to help, but I’m tied up with work commitments and my upcoming marriage.  While I can delegate work to others, my charming Catarina must be involved in the decision on when I can travel to your region.

Please give me a call—the same number—when you can so we can discuss this more.

Best regards, Joao

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Nothing New Under The Sun, the first novel in the Carter Devereux mystery series by JC Ryan. This is a superb start to the archeological mystery which we find Carter embroiled in as he searches the world for new discoveries.

With a riveting plot, realistic characters, and the possibility of an alternate theory regarding the creation of the human species (don’t want to give anything else away), if you enjoy archeological mysteries, this is one for you. I thoroughly enjoyed Nothing New Under The Sun and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved