Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 18, 2022

As autumn descends upon us, so does the cooler weather, augmented by Arctic winds. Most morning temperatures (at 8 a.m.) struggled to reach 52F (11C) with daily highs rarely making it beyond 62F (17C). At least we’ve had plenty of sunshine this past week, making it feel warmer than the actual temperature.

Good news at the petrol (gasoline) pumps this week as the price of a liter dropped two pence to £1.64. This way above the £1.45 we saw in January, but at least it’s heading in the right direction. With this drop, coupled with the exchange rate dropping on Friday to its lowest in thirty-seven years (hit $1.137 before closing at $1.142) making the equivalent cost of a U.S. gallon $7.07.

Since returning to Scotland in 2018, it’s been rare to watch a Big Ten football conference game. Something has happened this year. BT Sports is now showing at least one Big Ten game each Saturday. I’ve watched both of my favorite teams (Michigan and Michigan State) play two games each, in addition to some of the other teams in the league. Happy days!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ~ Mother Teresa

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 18th, the third Sunday of the month:

Claudio Achillini, Italian lawyer and poet; Samuel Johnson, English scholar and lexicographer (A Dictionary of the English Language); Tomás de Iriarte, Spanish writer (Fabulas Literarias); Johann Anton Sulzer, Swiss writer and composer; Johannes Anker Larsen, Danish writer (Vises Sten); Milan Rakic, Serbian poet (Nove Pesme); William March, American writer (Company K); da Kamińska, Polish stage and screen actress, director, and writer (The Shop on Main Street; Mother Courage and Her Children); Semjon I Kirsanov, Ukrainian poet (Semj Dnej Nedeli); Helene Virginie Weijel, Dutch author (In the Street Without a Coat); and Chris Hedges, American journalist and author (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning).

Any names familiar to you? This week was a washout for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things are proceeding with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter fourteen was posted this week to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’ve also made a dent in chapter fifteen.

This week, there were another seventeen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 221, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. As always, plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

Carina Eklund, a tall blonde with deep blue eyes, leaned against the rail of the RV Aquavit as she studied Ushuaia. She smiled as she gazed at the snow-capped Martial mountain range surrounding the city. Reminds me of home. Wonder what it would be like to ski here? Perhaps when we return. Raising a hand to shelter her eyes from the intense sunlight, she continued to look around the city before their ship departed.

Two and three-story buildings lined the street running along the harbor, ranging from hotels to restaurants.

Other ships were docked near their research vessel. One was a cruise ship from the Holland America line headquartered in Seattle, Washington while the other was an Argentinian destroyer, allowing visitor tours.

Pleasure craft crisscrossed the water, laden rucks trundled along the streets to unknown  destinations, and tourists stopped and took photos of whatever caught their attention.

Carina jumped as two hands grabbed her shoulders. She turned and smiled when she realized who was behind her. “About time you got out of bed. I thought you were going to sleep away the morning before we depart.”

“No way I’d miss our departure from civilization.” Gunner Bengtsson chuckled. “Won’t be long before penguins and seals will be our neighbors.”

“Yes, but our mission for the Scandinavian Protection Agency is an important one. The data we collect will be shared with other countries throughout the world through the United Nations to show how Antarctica is being impacted by climate change.”

Gunner nodded. “Very true. However, everything needs to be examined in perspective. Most countries will probably agree there is something to the claim about climate change, but there are plenty who disagree on the severity of the situation or how to deal with it.”

“That’s why our mission is so important. We must convince every country to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses.” Carina sighed. “No one said this would be easy.”

“Hey, who are those guys?” Gunner pointed to two men approaching the gangway.

Both wore red and green boiler suits. After showing identification to the security officer, they were allowed to board.

I thought all crewmembers were already onboard and making preparations to depart.”

Carina shrugged. “Might be part of the crew we haven’t met. I guess if it’s important, we’ll find out later.”

“I—”

A shrill whistle pierced the air.

Crewmembers ran to the mooring stations to release the chains, freeing the ships from the dock. Others shifted the gangway before leaping back on the ship.

Gunner tugged on Carina’s arm. “C’mon. Let’s join the rest of the team in the ship’s mess.”

“Wait.” Carina jerked her arm free. “Remember, we agreed to keep our relationship secret from the others—at least until we return to Ushuaia.”

Gunner grimaced as he stepped away. “I remember. Don’t agree, but I understand your caution. We don’t want people to jump to conclusions.”

More next time.

Vendetta-Cover-1I also started work on Vendetta, which will follow Frozen Conquest in my Bedlam series.  Here’s the synopsis:

The Bedlam organization proceeded with their plans to create a fourth operational team, based in Pretoria, South Africa. The existing team leaders, Craig Cameron, Col Trevor Franklin ®, and Lady Evelyn Evinrude are sent to assist the designated advisor with team member selections.

What should be a routine deployment is anything but as they’re targeted by unknown assailants. Who or what organization is after them, and why?

While assisting with the creation of the new team and searching for those trying to eliminate them, Craig, Trevor, and Evelyn are given a new operational mission.

The Council of Vengeance, an extremist militant group seeks to overthrow the government of a country sympathetic to Western cultures and values. Extortion, bribery, kidnapping, and murder are part of the group’s modus operandi as they surge forward toward their objectives.

How will the Bedlam teams fare in the face of adversity? Or will the militants’ efforts be rewarded?

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, September 11, 2022

It was quite a shock to hear on the news Thursday afternoon that doctors were concerned about the Queen’s health and her children were on the way to Balmoral. This was especially unsettling as little information has ever been released regarding her health. A few hours later, the anticipated news was released: The Queen has died. Long live the King.

Today is the twenty-first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda. Do you remember where you were when this awful tragedy occurred and claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people? I do–I was posted to the American Consulate, in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Fall temperatures and rainy weather continue. At least most days we’re still getting some sunshine, but daylight hours are rapidly shrinking. It wasn’t long ago it was still light at 11 p.m. Now it’s dark by 8:30. At least I’m still able to continue with some outdoor work I want to complete before winter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Be Happy. Be Yourself. If others don’t like it then let them be. Everyone has their own choices. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 11th, the second Sunday of the month:

Bernardo Accolti [Unico Aretino], Italian writer (Virginia); Pierre de Ronsard, French poet; James Thomson, Scottish poet (Rule Britannia); Johann Jakob Engel, German author (Herr Lorenz Stark); Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and playwright; Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Erastus Flaval Beadle, American publisher (Beadle’s Dime Novels); Fitz Hugh Ludlow, American author (The Hasheesh Eater); Vjenceslav Novak, Croatian Realist writer (Pavao Šegota); Juhani Aho, Finnish journalist and writer (Panu, Tuomio); O. Henry [William Sydney Porter], American short story writer (Cabbages and Kings); Rainis [Jānis Pliekšāns], Latvian poet and playwright; D. H. Lawrence, English poet and writer (Lady Chatterley’s Lover); William Thomas Walsh, American author (Isabella of Spain); Jessica “Decca” Mitford, English author (American Way of Death), activist and one of the Mitford sisters; Alfred Slote, American children’s books author (Love & Tennis, Omega Station); David S. Broder, American journalist (Pulitzer 1973); William Luther Pierce, American author and activist; Phoef Sutton, American television writer and producer; and Philip Ardagh, English children’s books author (Eddie Dickens series).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: D. H. Lawrence.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things are proceeding with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter thirteen was posted this week to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I also updated my outline, increasing the number of chapters to at least forty-two.

This week, there were another seventeen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 204, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

A technical sergeant showed the Bedlam team leaders into the installation commander’s office. After a round of handshakes, they sat at a small conference table.

Brigadier General Frederick Rinehart, the Ramstein Air Base installation commander, puffed out his cheeks as he squirmed his rotund body into a chair. “I can give you ten minutes. I’m a very busy man, and a group of local leaders ais due to arrive soon for an important discussion.”

“Thank you for meeting with us, General Rhinehart. We greatly appreciate all of the assistance you’ve provided thus far. I’ll make sure to mention this to Admiral Blakely.” CC smiled. I think this guy is a big windbag and probably never served a day in a combat role.

Rhinehart nodded. “Not a problem. I’ve reviewed the memorandum of agreement.” He stared at CC and Trevor. “Colonels.” He dragged out the words as if it were a curse while tapping the single star on his shoulder board. “I understand your QRF leader is a mere sergeant. He should be staying with the rest of the single NCOs on base.”

“Actually, he was a master chief petty officer in the SEALs, equivalent to an air force chief master sergeant. Rank isn’t important to Bedlam—being able to do the job is what counts.” What a pompous ass!

“Well, you’ll have to replace him. I insist every organizational head on this installation be the equivalent of a field grade officer. This fits with what I project to the local communities. Until such time as he’s replaced, he’ll be required to attend all installation meetings. Furthermore, should we require his services in whatever capacity I choose, he’ll be required to comply.”

CC shook his head. “You might think you’re in control of everything on this base, but you’re not.” He turned to Trevor.

He opened the briefcase he brought to the meeting, extracted a folder, and handed it to CC.

Pulling out a multipage document, CC turned to the signature page before sliding it across the table. “Is that your signature under Brigadier General Frederick Rhinehart?”

The general scoffed. “Get to your point—I don’t have all day to waste with you on this nonsense.”

“Did you actually read the document before you signed it?”

Rhinehart stared at CC before giving a slight nod.

“Do you recognize the signatures of Admiral Blakely, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Claude Bouchet, the Air Force Chief of Staff?”

The general pursed his lips before tilting his head.

“Well, General. When did your one star outrank their four stars?”

Rhinehart crossed his arms but remained silent.

“Let me fill you in on some reality. You are instructed by this MOA, which you signed, to render all assistance to the Bedlam Quick Reaction Force while they are housed on this installation. Furthermore, you agreed not to interfere in any way with the operation of this organization.”

CC leaned forward. “There is absolutely nothing in the MOA indicating Bedlam is subordinate to you, nor is there a requirement for the QRF to participate in any installation meetings or events unless the QRF leaders choose to do so. Does this ring a bell?”

“Yes, but things missing from the MOA. I—”

“There are no buts, General. Details contained within an MOA are ironed out before the document is signed, not afterward. When I return to the Pentagon, should I inform Admiral Blakely and General Bouchet you agree to comply with the MOA? Or would you prefer a transfer to a weather station in Alaska?”

Rhinehart tossed the document at CC and struggled to stand. “Get out of my office—now!”

CC, Trevor, and Evelyn headed for the door. Before closing it behind him, CC turned back to Rhinehart. “By the way, General, as a member of the senior executive service, I hold an equivalent rank to you. So does Trevor in the British government. You might want to do a more thorough background check when you’re wasting taxpayers’ money conducting unauthorized investigations.” He closed the door.

Once out of the building, the Bedlam team leaders burst into laughter.

“CC, I thought he was going to have a heart attack or stroke.” Evelyn linked arms with both men. “He’s probably hasn’t been put in his position for a long time.” She glanced at CC. I bet you play a mean game of poker.”

He laughed. “Aye. But for a certain four-star warned me about Rhinehart and how he tries to intimidate people.”

“Well, CC.” Trevor smirked. “I think he just met his match.”

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 
Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 4, 2022

As we move into September, fall temperatures and rainy weather are upon us. Earlier in the week, it was mainly sunny and dry, so I was able to get some outdoor work done even in the cooler weather. Now the rain’s falling so everything I haven’t done outside will have to wait.

Today’s the final day of this month’s three-day small business market at the local mall. Overall, it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve sold nine of my novels, while thirteen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets and two of her poetry books went to new homes, as well as one of her knitted scarves.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“A beautiful expression of love is to want the best for someone whether it includes you or not.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 4, the first Sunday of the month:

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I knew.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I’m moving along nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter thirteen is almost ready to post. There were another nine chapter reviews, bringing the total to 187, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

CC and the others lounged in QRF-1’s new premises. Scattered sofas, chairs, and a variety of tables filled the break area. A large screen TV was suspended from the ceiling above a handcrafted teak bar sufficient to handle six stools. A fridge sat at either end of the bar. One held beer and wine, while the other was stocked with soft drinks, fruit juices, and water bottles.

Rufus glanced at the TV, currently showing a message from Admiral Blakely. “QRF-1 doesn’t have a network—yet. I hope we can establish one in the future.”

“Aye.” CC drank from a bottle of orange juice. “The admiral will always include QRF-1 on anything he sends to the teams, so you’re aware of our tasking.”

“Do you need to respond to him?”

“No. He knows we’re with you, and our second-in-commands will pass the word.”

Rufus nodded. “I see. So our order will come out the same way, and you, Trevor, and Evelyn will see them?”

“Aye. Keeps everyone in the loop.” CC frowned. “Of course, we don’t know what will happen toward the end of the year. The admiral’s status as chairman runs out. We’re hoping for one of two actions: the president extends the admiral’s role as chairman, which requires congressional approval, or he becomes the deputy National Security Advisor and retains control of the teams. This will also require approval from congress but might be easier.”

“Which one do you favor?”

“I think his appointment as the Deputy NSA would be best for us. However, the president won’t be asking for my opinion.”

Rufus glanced at a smiling face clock above the bar. Time to head to the terminal and pick up our new team members. Care to accompany me?”

“Aye.”

Fifteen minutes later, they stood by the taxi stand waiting for the C-37A aircraft to come to a halt. As soon as the steps descended and locked into place, three men and a woman disembarked and stood on the tarmac.

Rufus raised a hand, and the four headed toward him.

The first two stopped in front of Rufus. Well over six feet, bald, with bulging biceps, they looked as if they were carved from the same mold.

The one on the left extended a massive paw. “I’m Maverick Kingfisher. You must be Condor.”

“Call be Rufus.” He introduced CC.

Maverick grabbed CC’s hand and squeezed.

When CC extended his hand, he tried not to wince.

The second man stepped forward. “I’m Quincy Kingfisher. Maverick and I are cousins.”

The third man, short when standing next to Quincy and Maverick, but the same height as CC, grinned as he introduced himself. “Many thanks for this opportunity. I’m Gordon Russell. I won’t let you down.”

The woman, a tall African-American with close-cropped black hair and a scar on the left side of her chin, joined the others. “I’m Alexandria Steele, but I preferred to be called Alex.”

After a round of handshakes, Rufus gestured to the vehicle behind him. “Let’s store your gear, and we’ll head to our headquarters.”

When they arrived at the warehouse, August, Trevor, and Evelyn came out of the building and met them.

Rufus climbed out of the vehicle. “Leave your luggage in the van. After we’ve shown you around the facility, we’ll take you to quarters.”

They entered the warehouse and headed to the makeshift lounge area.

Rufus looked at his new team members. “Take a seat. What you’re about to listen to is classified top secret, so keep your ears open and your mouths shut.” He turned to CC.

“Welcome to the QRF. You beat out several well-qualified individuals to become part of this unit, so well done. I’m CC, also referred to as Haggis. I’m Alpha’s team leader. You’ll need to learn the callsigns of all team members since you’ll usually hear from us in this manner, as real names will not be used in any emails or text messages. Alpha team uses callsigns associated with our countries of origin, while Bravo uses colors, and Charlie relies on birds of prey.”

Maverick raised a hand. “How do we choose ours?”

“We’ll discuss this later, Maverick.” Rufus smiled. “Your name would be a good one, but you’ll need to choose something else.”

“Once the QRF is organized, we’ll arrange for meetings with the teams so you can learn how we operate.” CC gestured to Trevor.

“Good morning, lady and gentlemen. I’m Colonel Trevor Franklin, retired, a former member of the British paras. My callsign is Black. I would also like to extend my welcome to you. We’ll train hard and play hard.”

Evelyn stood. “I’m Lady Evelyn Evinrude, formerly from the British MI-6. I’m sure we’ll all get along famously.” She smiled. “However, don’t assume any of us are pushovers. We’ll expect a log out of you, but at the same time, we’ll help you in any way we can.”

“How many women are in the teams?” Alex frowned.

Evelyn chuckled. “An excellent question. With you, there are three of us in the teams but more in the support units. The other woman on my team is Barbara Battersea.”

“Just wondered how much competition I had.”

Everyone chuckled.

CC glanced at his watch. “I’m afraid we’ll have to cut the welcome short. Rufus, Trevor, Evelyn, and I have a meeting with the installation commander to iron out a few details. We’ll catch up later on the obstacle course.”

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 28, 2022

It’s been a fairly normal week with cooler temperatures, rain-filled days, and the occasional burst of brilliant sunshine. Fortunately, there were enough gaps in the rain to cut the grass, rake fallen leaves, and power wash the sandstone slabs making up our large patio area. Still more work to do but I’ll have to see what Mother Nature has in store for us.

There wasn’t any change this week at the gasoline (petrol) pumps, still at £1.66 a liter. However, homeowners were hit with another large increase in natural gas and electricity. In April, the combined price cap was raised by fifty-four percent to £1,971 ($2,313) for the year. This week, the regulator, Ofgem, raised the October cap by another eighty percent! It’ll now be £3,549 ($4,165) with some estimates indicating this could be raised in early 2023 up to £6,000 ($7,040). The chancellor is warning people earning up to £45,000 ($52,805) will be struggling to pay these bills in addition to the continuing increase in food costs. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back, it simply means that you are two steps ahead.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 28, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn, Dutch scholar; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and social philosopher (Faust); Sheridan Le Fanu, Irish writer (The House by the Churchyard); Vance Palmer, Australian author; Ivor Gurney, English composer and poet; Ludwig Turek, German writer; Cees Kelk, Dutch writer (Dance of Young Feet); John Betjeman, poet (Mount Zion) and English Poet Laureate (1972-1984); Roger Tory Peterson, American ornithologist and writer (How to Know Birds); Robertson Davies, Canadian novelist essayist/dramatist; Tasha Tudor, American illustrator and children’s books author (Pumpkin Moonshine, Corgiville Fair); C. Wright Mills, American sociologist and writer (The Power Elite); Jack [Holbrook] Vance, American sci-fi author (2 Hugo, Dirdir, Pnume); Janet Frame, New Zealand novelist (Intensive Care, Owls Do Cry); Carlene Polite, American dancer, activist and author (Sister X); Vonda N. McIntyre, American sci-fi author (Star Trek II, III, IV); Rita Dove, African-American poet (Thomas and Beulah); Frederick Kesner, Philippine-born Australian poet; and Sheryl Sandberg, American technology executive (COO Facebook) and author (Lean In).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Vonda N. McIntyre.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I’m moving along nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter twelve was posted this week. There were another eighteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 178, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story and I’m greatly appreciative of the support.

Here’s the next snippet:

The UN Security Council convened after an emergency request by the UK and France. Although Germany was not a permanent council member, they were included in the request.

The monthly revolving presidency belonged to the United States. Sylvia Green, the U.S. representative to the UN, banged the gavel. “The chair recognized the UK ambassador.”

Bethany Williams smiled. “Thank you, Madame President. I will be speaking on behalf of my French and German colleagues.” She sipped from a glass of water on the table in front of her. “Madame President, we are concerned that the unprecedented attacks on our bourses must be investigated. All countries with a stock market should be warned about the possibility of future attacks. We request the security council issue an appeal for any and all impacted countries or those who might be targeted to work together to identify the culprit or culprits behind these episodes.”

She nodded, signaling the end of her brief speech.

Sylvia glanced around the chamber. “Any other speakers?”

In a rare show of unity, no one challenged Bethany’s comments.

Sylvia banged her gavel. “The proposal is hereby passed and will be disseminated. We will reconvene with next week’s regularly scheduled meeting.”

* * *

Hortense Heathcliffe stared at the screen showing the other G7 members. She cleared her throat. “T-Thank you for joining me t-today. As you are aware, we are under attack.”

“Yes, Hortense.” The Japanese finance minister wiped a hand through his thinning black hair. “What do you propose?”

“I-I’m not sure. Somehow, we must increase the security of our markets and work together to ensure w-whoever is behind these warnings and attacks is brought to justice.”

“How do you propose to do this?” The Italian finance minister chuckled. “Even our intelligence services can’t identify who is doing this.”

“Gentlemen and lady, if I may.” The French finance minister smirked, showing his pearly whites. “I believe the Russian hacker group, the Chinese, or the North Koreans, are behind this.”

“But what do t-they want?”

“A greater hold over the rest of us,” the UK finance minister said.

“I-I hope we can—”

The screen blanked out.

More next time.

Book Promotions

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge continue to participate in a Bookfunnel promotion for the remainder of August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty novels available to choose from in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, August 21, 2022

We started the week with a couple of days filled with thunderstorms. Fortunately, the rainfall wasn’t heavy and the ground received a much-needed drink. Since then, we’ve had some rain every day, ranging from a few sprinkles to intermittent showers. Things that had started to dry out are looking healthy once again.

We had another nice surprise this week at the gasoline (petrol) pumps. The price dropped another six pence per liter this week, down to £1.66. Still a long way from the £1.45 we experienced in January but every bit helps. This week’s drop brought the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon down to $7.56, a drop of forty-five cents a gallon.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.” ~ Robert Brault

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 21st, the third Sunday of the month:

Francois de Sales, French bishop of Geneva, writer and saint; Hubert Gautier, French engineer, wrote 1st book on bridge building; Lucretia Wilhelmina van Merken, Dutch poet; Jernej Kopitar, Slovene philologist and linguist (Slovenian Grammar); Jules Michelet, French historian (History of France, L’Amour); Leonid Andreyev, Russian journalist and writer (Red Laugh, Seven Hangs); Raymond Herreman, Belgian poet, journalist and writer (Jericho’s Rose); Roark Bradford, American writer and humorist (Ol’ Man Adan an’ His Chillun); M. M. Kaye, British writer (The Far Pavilions); Victor Rosow, Russian dramatist; Mário Pinto de Andrade, Angolan poet and politician who founded the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA); X. J. Kennedy, American poet and author (Nude Descending a Staircase); Robert Stone, American novelist (Dog Soldiers, WUSA); Hugh Wilson, American director, writer and actor (Blast from the Past, Frank’s Place); Peter Weir, Australian director/writer (Witness, Dead Poets Society),; Ivan Stang, American writer and filmmaker (Church of the SubGenius); and Stéphane Charbonnier [Charb], French cartoonist and editor of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: M.M. Kaye. In addition, it’s my birthday, too. I might not be famous, but who knows what the future holds? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter eleven was posted this week. There were another twenty-one chapter reviews, bringing the total to 160, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story.

Here’s the next snippet:

Maddie climbed into the passenger seat of the Snocat next to Reginald. “With all these clothes, I now know what the Michelin Man feels like.”

“Better to wear multiple layers that you can easily remove if you’re getting too warm.” He smiled. “Ready for your first sojourn onto the ice?”

“What are we breaking chunks of the ice sheet off?” She studied the start beauty in front of them. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Reginald shrugged. “We do it because we’re following Mister Brown’s orders. He’s a brilliant man and knows what he’s doing.”

“But when the ice melts, won’t it raise sea levels? We should want more ice in Antarctica, no less.”

“This is part of Mister Brown’s master plan to promote the necessity for the world to make vital changes to stop the planet from overheating.”

Seems nuts to me. Maddie shook her head. “I have my doubts about this.”

Reginald glanced at her. “I suggest keeping your thoughts to yourself. Mist Brown’s nephew voice similar comments—look what happened to him.”

“What really happened to Harold?”

Reginald stopped the Snocat and pointed to the right. “See that ridgeline? Harold set up the charges to calve a huge section. He was always thorough and didn’t make mistakes. However, on the day he died, I spotted Sawyer Hudson, the head of security on the ice.” He shrugged. “I don’t know for sure, but Hudson doesn’t come out on the ice often. So, a word to the wise.” Reginald shifted gears, and the Snocat lurched forward.

“Why did you come to Antarctica? What was the big draw for you?”

“At first, it was the excitement of working in Antarctica. Of course, the money was twice what I would earn anywhere else in the world.’ He smiled. “I have a girl back home in Chicago. One day, I hope to save enough money and ask her to marry me. How about you?”

“Similar reasons. I’ve worked in all the corners of the world and many places in-between. When the opportunity to work in Antarctica came up, I leaped at it. I hope I haven’t made a mistake.” Should I be saying this to Reginald? He might report me.

Reginald chuckled. “Keep your nose clean and do what you’re told, and you’ll get along just fine.” He tapped a mittened hand on her knee. “If you ever have any questions or concerns, bring them to me. I’ll steer you clear of trouble—if I can.”

Maddie smiled. “Thank you, Reginald.”

Twenty-five minutes later, they traversed across a rise and down the other side. In front of them, a string of red flags—fifty yards apart—disappeared in the distance.

Reginald pointed to the flags and then the open sea. “This is the next section Mister Brown wants seeded and dropped into the sea.”

“Who placed the markers?”

“I did—yesterday. There are one hundred of them. I’ll begin drilling the holes. Each will be four feet deep. You can start placing your explosives and stringing them together once I dig a few holes.”

Maddie raised a hand to shield her eyes from the intense sunlight as she strode toward the string of flags. “Okay, Reginald. It will be the larger explosion I’ve ever done.”

“Not to worry.” He smiled. “You’ll be fine.”

“When will we set the explosives off?”

“Not until after lunch. With what happened to Harold, I don’t want to be anywhere near here when you set them off.” He gestured to the cargo area of the Snocat. “We better get started.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

A Five Star Sci-Fi Thriller! I recently had the opportunity to read M.D. Neu’s latest sci-fi thriller, Conspiracy-A New World (Book 3). If you enjoy stories with plenty of twists and turns, you’re in for a treat. Join Todd Landon, the Special Envoy for Terran Affairs as he continues to work with the Nentraee, a humanoid race, and impact on the growing interdependency between humans and the aliens. However, there’ s a group called Liberi Dei who wants to see the Nentraee destroyed and Earth left solely to the human race. One of Todd’s friends seemingly becomes a traitor and is assisting the Liberi Dei, while Todd’s relationship with Mi’cin falls apart. What will be the final outcome?

Treachery, deceit, and intrigue abound in this action-packed story.  With larger-than-life characters you’ll be drawn further into the story as events unfold. M.D. Neu has created a masterpiece which should appeal to all readers and will keep you burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens next. I know he’s caught my attention and I’ve added him to my list of favorite authors.

Book Promotions

My novels continue to participate in two Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty-one novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

Dinner and a Show! All Genres group promo. There are forty-eight novels to choose from in this one!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/dinnerandashow/yz3hvu1es8

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 14, 2022

With the exception of a few sprinkles scattered throughout the week, it’s been very dry and sunny. Our low daytime temperature was 72F (22C) while the high was 83F (29C), well above our normal temperatures. There’s a yellow warning for thunderstorms, beginning in a couple of hours and running through Tuesday afternoon. While it would be nice to see a couple of thunderstorms as they are rare here, we definitely don’t need a downpour but a light and steady rain for at least twenty-four hours. Guess we’ll find out what Mother Nature has in store for us.

The price of gasoline (petrol) dropped another two pence per liter this week, down to £1.72. Still a long way from the £1.45 we experienced in January. This week’s drop brought the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon down to $8.02, a drop of eight cents a gallon.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“The older I get, the less I care about what others think of me. Therefore, the older I get, the more I enjoy life.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 14th, the second Sunday of the month:

Robert Hayman, English poet; Daniel Elsevier, Dutch book publisher; Letitia Elizabeth Landon, English poet (Heath’s Book of Beauty); Walter Besant, English writer and philanthropist (Rebel Queen); Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Austro–German psychiatrist and author (Psychopathia Sexualis); Henry Duff Traill, British author and journalist (The Marquis of Salisbury); Ernest T. Seton, naturalist, painter and author (Buffalo Wind-1938); Ernest Thayer, American poet who wrote the famous baseball poem “Casey”; John Galsworthy, English author (Forsyte Saga-Nobel 1932); Sibilla Aleramo [Rina Faccio], Italian feminist and poet (Una Donna); Harald Kidde, Danish writer (Aage og Else); James Pitman, British educator and spelling reformer (Alphabets and Reading: The Initial Teaching Alphabet); Eva Strittmatter, German writer (Tinko); Russell Baker, American columnist, author and humorist (NY Times); Alice Adams, American author (Beautiful Girl); Thomas Meehan, American writer (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray); Frederic Raphael, American-British writer (After the War, California Time); Marylyn Roberts, librarian/founding member (WIC); Lee Hoffman, American author (The Valdez Horses); Bryce Courtenay, Australian novelist (The Power of One); Judith Kazantzis, English poet and feminist; Steve Martin, American comedian, banjo player, author and actor (Parenthood; The Jerk; Roxanne); Danielle Steel, American author (Rememberance, Zoya, Star, Daddy); and Brannon Braga, American scriptwriter.

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me: Ernest Thayer, Steve, Martin, and Danielle Steel. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter ten was posted this week. There were another eight chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 139, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story.

Here’s the next snippet:

When Admiral Blakely returned to his office, he found Matthew waiting for him.

Matthew jumped to his feet, but the admiral waved him back to his seat. “Nothing from the White House meeting—just as I expected. Tell me you have good news?”

Matthew shook his head. “I sent Chris a message, but not sure when I’ll hear back. I googled ‘Beware the Devil.’ There were over fifty-one million hits. I’ll build some algorithms to whittle things down.”

The admiral nodded. “I better notify the teams. Maybe someone has a contact they can reach out to and get some intel.”

After Matthew departed, the admiral turned to his computer and began his normal index finger typing.

To: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, QRF-1

From: Bedlam

Reach out to your contacts regarding strange events at the UK, French, and German bourses. Someone is attacking them and exhibits world-class hacking skills. This might be sponsored by one of the unfriendly countries. but no proof thus far. No specific demands yet, but we’ve been warned.

After he sent his message, the admiral leaned back in his chair and stared at the acoustic tiles covering the ceiling. What now? Whoever is behind this wants something big. I can feel it.

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels continue to participate in three Bookfunnel promotions during August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty-one novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

Dinner and a Show! All Genres group promo. There are forty-eight novels to choose from in this one!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/dinnerandashow/yz3hvu1es8

Heart Pounding Reads group promo. Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Forty-six more novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heart-pounding-reads/wl15j4pi5e

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

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Randall’s Ramblings, August 8, 2022

I didn’t get a chance yesterday to do my regular Sunday post as I was at the final day of the monthly three-day small business market event. It was a good weekend, with sixteen of my novels going to new homes. In addition, four of Sylvia’s poetry books sold, along with eleven of her laminated poetry sheets. It was also great to see a larger number of people visiting the event than in the past couple of months.

We had a surprise at the gasoline (petrol) pumps this week. The price dropped eleven pence per liter in one day! Now it’s £1.74 a liter. That brought the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon down to $8.10, a drop of fifty-eight cents a gallon.

I’m pleased to announce Ultimate Escalation is now under contract with Solstice Publishing. Once I have the new cover (assuming they will change from what I’ve been using) I’ll put it in the next available post, along with the blurb.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August eighth:

Conrad Lycosthenes, French-born German humanist and encyclopedist; Johann C Adelung, German linguist/librarian; Emilie Flygare-Carlén, Swedish novelist; Henry Osborn, Conn, paleontologist/author (52 Years of Research); Sara Teasdale, American poet (1st Pulitzer Prize-1918-“Love Songs”); Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer (Yearling); Wachtang Ananjan, writer; Andre Demedts, Flemish writer (Rainfall of the Days); Daan Wildschut, painter/glazenier/author; Elis Juliana, Antillian writer/poet (Lady of the Night: A flower); Yuri Kasakow, Russian writer; Joan Mondale (née Adams;), American artist, author, and wife of US vice-president Walter Mondale; Terry Nation, writer (Dr Who, Blake 7); Randy Shilts, American journalist and author; Jostein Gaarder, Norwegian author; and Anastasia Ashman, American writer and digital strategist (GlobalNiche).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Terry Nation. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter nine was posted this week. There were another eleven chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 131, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

Admiral Blakely hit a button on the telephone console on his desk. “Please send Matthew in.”

Moments later, someone knocked on the admiral’s door.

“Come in.”

Matthew entered, a folder tucked under one arm and Starbucks coffee cups in each hand. “Ready for a refill, Admiral?”

The admiral smiled as he took one of the cups. “Did you install a camera in my office, Matthew? You always seem to know when I’m ready for a fresh coffee.”

“I just figure when I’m ready, you will be too.” Matthew smiled.

“Did you read the warning the Fed shared with the intel community?”

Matthew nodded. “I admire whoever was behind it. Although several bourses were targeted, no one lost a penny.”

“In the world you live in, you would probably admire the culprits.” The admiral pried the cover off his coffee and sipped. “Anyway, what do you think?”

“These are world-class hackers—no doubt about it.” Matthew set his unopened coffee on a coaster on an end table and opened the folder he brought with him. I think they won’t have any problem carrying out their threats—their warnings should be heeded. Did they provide any specific demands?”

The admiral shook his head. “No. I’m attending a meeting at the White House regarding this warning. I’ll give them your brief assessment.”

“There’s something else, Admiral. When I attended MIT, my roommate and I used a simple number substitution code to keep our text messages secret from any prying eyes. We would arrange where to meet, who was dating who, things like that.” Matthew removed a sheet of paper from the folder and handed it to the admiral.”

“Aware of your love for numbers, I know you’re Numerologist. Who’s Knuckle Dragger?”

“He was my roommate. He sent this message a few days ago.”

“I assume you can still read this?”

Matthew nodded. “Yes, Admiral. His message reads, Beware the Devil. Attack imminent. I sent a response saying I’d get the word out.’ Matthew’s face reddened. “I forgot to tell you earlier.”

The admiral waved a hand. “Any idea what he’s warning us about?”

Matthew shook his head.  “Not yet. He sent it to me through the dark web. I suspect he’s trying to avoid detection.”

“What’s his name? Do you know where he is?”

“His name is Chris—Chris Handler. He had a bad habit of cracking his knuckles whenever he was nervous. We kept in contact for a long time after we left MIT, but this is the first I’ve heard from him in a couple of years.”

Matthew pulled another sheet of paper from his folder. “Here’s another one—he sent this yesterday.”

The admiral shook his head after he read the decrypted message.

Same source caused todays stock market interruptions. Prepare for more to come.

“Still no mention of who is behind these attacks. Nor does he give his location.”

“He did repeat his earlier reference to the Devil. I’m going to do some research to see if anything pops up that we can use.”

“Excellent idea.” The admiral pursed his lips. “Could you send him a message and ask for specifics about who is behind this? If he needs protection, tell him we can provide it.” The admiral glanced at the clock. “I better head to the White House. We’ll talk again when I return.”

“Yes, Admiral.” Matthew picked up his coffee cup and followed the admiral out the door, turning toward his office.

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions during August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty-one novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

Dinner and a Show! All Genres group promo. There are forty-eight novels to choose from in this one!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/dinnerandashow/yz3hvu1es8

Heart Pounding Reads group promo. Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Forty-six more novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heart-pounding-reads/wl15j4pi5e

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, July 31, 2022

While some parts of the UK are struggling with a lack of rain and hosepipe bans have been put in place, we continue to receive showers compliments of Mother Nature. Even though the rainfall is less than the average, it’s still persistent enough to keep things green, although potted plants still require watering. As I look outside, a light shower is now upon us.

Craig finished his visit this past week. We did two more outings: Callendar House, which has played host to many great historical figures over the centuries, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie. It dates from the 14th century. It is set in the nationally-important historic designed landscape of Callendar Park, which also contains a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. Permanent displays include the story of Callendar House, a history covering the 11th to the 19th centuries, the Antonine Wall, Rome’s Northern Frontier, and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850, which explains how the local area was transformed during the first century of the industrial era.

Our last stop was to the Culross Abbey. It was founded in 1217 by Malcolm I, Mormaer or Earl of Fife, and was first colonised by monks from Kinloss Abbey. Culross may have been chosen to establish an abbey because this was the birthplace of Saint Mungo. It is evident that the abbey was built over the earlier Pictish church supposedly founded by Saint Serf in the 6th century. During Craig’s next visit, we’ll be checking out places that were currently closed for safety checks.

At last we’re starting to see the upward trend of gasoline (petrol) prices retreat. During the past two weeks, prices have dropped from £1.92 a liter to £1.85. This make the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon at $8.68 based on the current exchange rate.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all others can’t stop you. The only one who stops you is yourself.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 31st, the fifth and final Sunday of the month:

Peter Rosegger, Austrian poet and Nobel Prize laureate; Harry Northrup [Henri N.], French-born American poet and actor (The Heart of Maryland, The Unchastened Woman); Munshi Premchand [Dhanpat Rai], Indian author; Grete Gulbransson, Austrian writer and poet (Geliebte Schatten); Arthur Daley, American sportswriter (NY Times-Pulitzer 1956); Brett Halliday, American writer (Dividend on Death); Louis De Funes, French actor and writer (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacobs); Sibte Hassan, Pakistani activist, journalist and writer; Norman Del Mar, British conductor and writer (Conducting Brahms); Primo Levi, Italian chemist and writer (Survival in Auschwitz); Walter Vogt, Swiss writer (Wüthrich) and psychiatrist; Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and writer; Lynne Reid Banks, British author (The Indian in the Cupboard); Cees Nooteboom, Dutch writer and journalist (Rituelen); Yvon Deschamps, French Canadian author and humorist; Mort Crim, American broadcast journalist, author, and inspiration for the Ron Burgundy character in the “Anchorman” films; João Barreiros, Portuguese writer (Um Dia com Júlia na Necrosfera); J. K. Rowling, English writer (Harry Potter novels);Elizabeth Wurtzel, American author (Prozac Nation); and Ahmad Akbarpour, Iranian writer (The Train of That Night).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: J. K. Rowling, who should be familiar to everyone. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter eight was posted this week. There were another sixteen chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 120, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

After a quick meal, they headed back to the off-base house and gathered once again in the living room. This time, August retrieved the drinks.

Rufus unlocked a cabinet, pulled out his laptop, and booted it. While they waited, he turned to the others. “I placed all the applications on here. Eight are prior military, while the other two are FBI agents looking for a career change.”

“Aye.” CC sipped his German beer. “We’ll give you our opinions, but in the end, the choice is yours.”

Rufus nodded. “Admiral Blakely said we should pick four people, for now, giving us a decent QRF staff as we could split into two three-man teams, if necessary, although I think eight would be better.”

Trevor glanced at CC. “Fully agree with you. However, in our recent team building, the admiral indicated changes would need to wait for additional funding.”

“Aye. If everything works out, we’ll get the necessary funding in the next budget.”

“I recommend picking four people you want right away.” Evelyn sipped her white wine. “Choose two others as alternates—they can be added to the team when the budget is sorted.” She smiled. “Of course, it depends on how many met the threshold for being offered positions.”

“Makes sense.” Rufus clicked on the first file and opened it. “I’ve blocked the names in case any of us know the applicants and might show inadvertent favoritism. For now, they’ll be known as one through ten.”

“Aye. Excellent idea.” CC scooted forward.

* * *

Over the next three hours, the five Bedlam personnel reviewed the files. Two were rejected outright due to a lack of operational experience. While well-trained, they were desk jockeys and never served in a high-tension environment.

They took a short restroom break and replaced their empty drinks.

Rufus led them outside for a breath of fresh air.

“Will you keep this place when you’ve assembled your teams?” Evelyn glanced at the other houses on the street.

Rufus nodded and pointed to two others, both larger than their current one. “Yes. Those houses over there each have three bedrooms. Each member will have their own bedroom but will have to share the common areas. Meanwhile, August and I will stay here. It’s only two bedrooms but plenty of space for us.” He yawned. “Shall we get back to it?”

Everyone agreed, and they returned inside.

After an additional two hours, they reached a decision: one, three, four, six, eight, and nine.

“Shall we uncover their names and faces to see if we know any of them?” Rufus unblocked the hidden information and stepped through the six applicants.

“Wait.” CC raised a hand. “Number nine—I recognize his photo and name. In my opinion, you don’t want him.”

“Any valid reason? He seems very qualified.” Rufus frowned.

“Aye. He’s qualified, but that’s not the problem. He resents authority from those he considers junior to his abilities. In Afghanistan, he killed an Afghan captain after a disagreement. Charges were never filed—I think the rest of his team didn’t want to deal with any repercussions as they could end up like the captain.” CC gazed into each of their faces. “He also trilled to kill an American army colonel looking into the Afghan captain’s death—me.”

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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Randall’s Ramblings, July 24, 2022

This past Monday and Tuesday were the hottest days of the year so far. The temperature reached 88F (31C) on both days. Now we’re back to more seasonable temperatures and rain.

Craig is still visiting from Washington, D.C. This week we went to Glenkinchie Distillery. It was a great visit with each person receiving three samples to try at the end, although drivers were given a takeaway pack. Glenkinchie whiskey is one of the single malts blended into Johnny Walker.

We also went to Rossyln Chapel, dating from 1446. If you’ve see the movie The Davinci Code, you’ve seen the chapel as both aerial and interior shots were used. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, it’s well worth it.

Our sightseeing continued with a trip to Scotland’s Secret Bunker. Built in the 1950s, the bunker is 100 feet below the ground and encased in fifteen feet of concrete. The central government and military commanders would have used the facility if the UK was attacked and nuclear war ensued. Now privately owned, it’s filled with rooms destined to show visitors how the facility looked when it was operational. Definitely worth a visit.

Our fourth trip of the week took us to the Kelpies, the largest equine sculpture in the world. Unveiled in April 2014, these 30-metre high horse-head sculptures are situated in Helix Park near the M9 Motorway and are a monument to Scotland’s horse-powered industrial heritage. A kelpie is a shape-changing aquatic spirit of Scottish legend. Its name may derive from the Scottish Gaelic words ‘cailpeach’ or ‘colpach’, meaning heifer or colt. Kelpies are said to haunt rivers and streams, usually in the shape of a horse.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” ~ Garrison Keillor

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 24th, the fourth Sunday of the month:

Elizabeth “Betje” Wolff-Bekker, Dutch author and poet (Sara Burgerhart); Alexandre Dumas, French author (The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo); Henrik Pontoppidan, Danish writer (Promised Country, Nobel 1917); Johan A de Sleeve [Adwaita], philosopher and poet (Brahman); Frank Wedekind, German actor and playwright (The “Lulu” plays); Edward Frederic Benson, English novelist; Vicente Acosta, Salvadoran poet; Junichiro Tanizaki, Japanese writer (Snow Dusting); Robert Graves, English writer and poet (I Claudius); Hermann Kasack, German writer (Die Stadt hinter dem Strom); Karl von Mechow, German writer (Auf Dem Wege, Vorsommer); Chief Dan George [Tes-wah-no], Canadian Indian author, poet and actor (Harry & Tonto, Little Big Man, Smith!); Zelda Fitzgerald [née Sayre], American writer (This Side of Paradise) and wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald; John D. MacDonald, American novelist (Deep Blue Goodbye); John Hillaby, English writer and traveller; Madeleine Ferron, French Canadian writer; Ignacio Aldecoa, Spanish writer (Gran Sol, Caballo the Pica); Hedda J. Garza, American writer and political activist; Barry [Norman] Malzberg, sci-fi author (Revelations, Beyond Apollo); Geoffrey McQueen, TV Writer; and Banana Yoshimoto, Japanese author.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Alexandre Dumas. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things are progressing nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter eight is almost finished and should be posted this coming week. So far, I’ve received 104, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

CC smiled. “Aye. Glad you’re aboard. First things first. We can’t keep using our callsigns. People might become suspicious. I’m Craig Cameron, although I prefer being called CC. I’m a former Army colonel who was also offered a job I couldn’t refuse.”

“Like CC, I was also offered a fantastic opportunity. I’m Colonel Trevor Franklin and retired a few years ago.”

“And I’m Lady Evelyn Evinrude, formerly of the British MI-6. So, we’ve revealed who we are. We know you’re both former SEALs, but what do we call you?”

Condor glanced at the floor. He whispered, “Rufus T. Chopin.”

“Aye. Nothing to be ashamed of—Rufus. CC struggled to smother a grin. He turned to Offender. “What about you?”

Offender stared straight into CC’s face. “August Lewis. I was born in August, and my folks thought that was a good name.”

“Do you have any siblings? Evelyn smiled. “Was there a name trend?”

“Yes, ma’am. Three sisters—April, May, and June. If I had a brother, I’m not sure what my parents would have called him.”

“What about you—Rufus? Any siblings?”

“Yes. Two brothers—Jasper and Festus.”

“Aye. Now that the secrets are out, I want to thank you for inviting us to participate in your team selection. It’s not easy to do.”

“Got that right. We could have used ZOOM to do this, but I thought it would be better in person, and we’ll show you our warehouse later.” Rufus tilted his beer and finished it in a single go. “We received ten applications. While I think I’m an excellent judge of people, I don’t know enough about Bedlam yet to make intelligent choices.” He stood. “Anyone want a refill?”

“Aye. One more for me.” CC tipped his bottle and finished the dregs.

Rufus came back with three beers. He handed one to CC, another to August, and kept the third.

“After we finish, shall we check out the warehouse the installation commander authorized for our use? Afterward, we’ll grab a bite to eat at one of the base’s dining facilities.”

Twenty-five minutes later, Rufus drove along a row of warehouses, stopping at the last one. The sign in front, usually used to identify the organization inside, was blank.

He pointed to the sin. “Any problem putting QRF on it? Lots of buildings on the base are identified by initials.”

“Aye. Great idea. Should help keep rumors down rather than having people trying to guess who’s inside.”

They climbed out of the AF vehicle and headed to a pedestrian door. After Rufus unlocked it, he stepped inside and flicked a light switch. “Welcome to QRF.” He smiled as he swung an arm to encompass the interior of the building.

Evelyn wrinkled her nose. “Needs a bit of housekeeping, don’t you think?”

“Yeah.” Rufus chuckled. I told August since he was number two, cleanup fell to him.”

“As soon as he said that I volunteered to quit.” August smirked. “The base is sending out some contract cleaners in the morning. In the afternoon, housing will deliver sofas, chairs, and other things we’ll need.”

CC nodded. “Aye. We brought a few items on the plane with us—computers and the comms gear you’ll need to stay in contact with Bedlam. There are a few things you’ll need to understand to make things work, but we’ll go over them before we leave.”

“Sounds good.” Rufus rolled his eyes. “Just what I need—more technology to learn. What can’t things be kept simple?”

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in four Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of the month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

Thriller, Mystery and Suspense: There are 70 novels in this one which finishes today.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thrillertime/ai0n57rurm

Who Dunnit Sale Promotion group promo. There are 29 novels to choose from in this promotion.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/who-dunnit-sale-promotion/wmunq702wf

Action Adventure Mysteries group promo – Another 21 novels to choose from here.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/actionadventuremysteries/sf56iydmmv

Hot Pirate Summer group promo – each of the 12 novels in this promotion have something to do with pirates.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/hot-pirate-summer/nx2e0p1cvm

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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Randall’s Ramblings, July 17, 2022

Over the past week we’ve had our hottest days of the year, with the thermometer reaching 81F (27C). Today, we’re suppose to get up to 78F (26C) but there is a light rain falling at the moment which could impact of the temperature.

Our son, Craig, arrived last weekend from Washington, D.C., for a 2.5 week visit. We’re delighted he made it over. This week, we visited Blackness Castle, a 15th century fortress which featured in a number of movies as well as the Outlander series. It was used as a location for the BBC Scotland historical series “Rise of the Clans”.

In addition, we took a trip through Dunfermline Abbey, which dates back at least to the 12th century. One of Scotland’s most important cultural sites, has received more of Scotland’s royal dead than any other place in the kingdom, excepting Iona. One of the most notable non-royal names to be associated with the abbey is the northern renaissance poet, Robert Henryson. This is the resting place of Robert the Bruce.

Our final trip of the week was to the grounds of Hopetoun House. We didn’t go inside the house this time, but spent a couple of hours in the grounds. Hopetoun House has been in the same family since 1699 when construction first began. It has been used in seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Outlander, to recreate scenes in Scotland, England and Paris.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 17th, the third Sunday of the month:

Isaac Watts, English writer, preacher and hymnist (Horae Lyrican); Luis Muñoz Rivera, Puerto Rican journalist (founded Federalist Party); Bart de Ligt, anti militarist theologist (Acting Peace); Shmuel Agnon, Israel, novelist (Day Before Yesterday-Nobel 1966); Erle Stanley Gardner, American detective writer (Perry Mason); Bruno Jasieński, Polish poet; Christina Stead, Australia, novelist (Man Who Loved Children); Yang Jiang, Chinese writer (Six Chapters From My Life ‘Downunder,’); James Purdy, American writer (The House of the Solitary Maggot); Donald Alfred Davie, poet/critic; Charles Champlin, American film critic and writer; Rainer Kisch, German writer; Jose Ignacio Cabrujas, writer; Robert R. McCammon, American sci-fi author (Baal, Mystery Walk); Susan Lindauer, American peace activist, accused spy, and author (Extreme Prejudice); and Cory Doctorow, Canadian author and activist.

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: Shmuel Agnon and Erle Stanley Gardner. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things are progressing nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The first seven chapters have been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use, and chapter seven should be posted this coming week. So far, I’ve received ninety-nine reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

Brown’s phone rang. Another interruption. Don’t these people realize I’m busy? “Yes, what is it?”

Sawyer Hudson, head of Brown’s security team, chuckled. “Sorry to bother you, Mister Brown, but you wanted to be notified when the new demolitions expert arrived.”

“Show him to my office in thirty minutes.” Brown glanced at the clock. “No, make it an hour.”

“Uh … sir, he’s a she. I mean, the bomb expert is a woman.”

“So? I still want to meet here.”

“Yes, sir.”

An hour later, Sawyer knocked on Brown’s door.

“Come in.”

Sawyer and a petite brunette with large brown eyes and shoulder-length hair stepped into Brown’s office. “Sir, this is Madelene Fingerhut.”

Brown remained seated and shook hands. He gestured toward the chair in front of his desk.

Sawyer leaned against the door.

She took the seat. “Please, call me Maddie.”

Brown nodded. “Is this your first time to Antarctica, Madeline—I mean Maddie?”

“Yes. It’s hauntingly beautiful.”

“I remember thinking something similar when I first came here. Just remember when you’re outside, Antarctica is also very dangerous, especially on the ice.”

“Yes, sir.” She smiled. “I’m looking forward to working here. If I may ask, what happened to your previous explosives expert? I understand his departure was rather abrupt.”

A thin smile creased Brown’s face. “I guess you could call it an abrupt departure—he blew himself up.”

“Oh!” Maddie’s right hand covered her mouth. “I am so sorry.”

Brown shrugged. “What are you sorry for? Did you know Harold?”

“Oh … well … no.” Her face reddened. “This is what people say at unexpected news.”

“Hmm.” Brown picked up a folder from his desk and extracted two sheets of paper. You have a very interesting resume, working in various exotic places around the world.”

“Yes, sir. For the past six years, I’ve spent most of my time outside the U.S.”

“I see.” Brown rubbed his chin. “Any boyfriends, a husband, or significant other?”

Maddie shook her head. “No, sir. Why do you ask?”

“Never mind—not important.” He waved a hand. “Just wondered who we should notify if something should happen to you.”

Maddie gulped. “I-I shall take all necessary precautions when I’m working.”

“It’s not just the ice which is dangerous.” Brown stared at her. “Danger comes in many forms.” He stood and extended a hand. “Welcome to Antarctica. Do a professional job, and we shall get along just fine.” He turned to Sawyer. “Escort her around the premises and to her quarters.”

“Yes, Mister Brown.” Sawyer opened the door to allow Maddie to leave first.

“One more thing, Maddie.”

“Yes, Mister Brown?”

“Sawyer will point out areas that are off-limits to all but a select few employees. These areas are marked with skull and crossbones signs. For your own safety, never venture inside unless you are summoned. If you require entrance, Sawyer will escort you.” He stared at her. “It could be very devastating—for you.”

Another snippet next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in four Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of the month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

Thriller, Mystery and Suspense: There are 70 novels in this one which finishes today.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thrillertime/ai0n57rurm

Who Dunnit Sale Promotion group promo. There are 29 novels to choose from in this promotion.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/who-dunnit-sale-promotion/wmunq702wf

Action Adventure Mysteries group promo – Another 21 novels to choose from here.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/actionadventuremysteries/sf56iydmmv

Hot Pirate Summer group promo – each of the 12 novels in this promotion have something to do with pirates.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/hot-pirate-summer/nx2e0p1cvm

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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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