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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

Recognize anyone? No one stood out for me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

New Release!

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

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

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

 

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s the first snippet from Angola:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mathy whimpered, tears streaking her chocolate brown skin.

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

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

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

Mathy gave him a brief smile and squeezed his hand.

“Doctor Mwanga?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Cancrum oris. Heard of it?”

The preacher shook his head.

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

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

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

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

“Yes. We operate on him tomorrow.”

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

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, February 16, 2020

Last weekend and the beginning part of the week, we had plenty of snow squalls, heavy winds, and rain, compliments of Storm Ciara. This storm caused severe flooding and damage, and winds apparently reached ninety-seven miles per hour in some places, but our area wasn’t hit hard. Since then, there’s been Storm Dennis. It seems to have been a pussycat in comparison–still bringing some wind and rain, but nothing like Ciara.

Hopefully, things will settle down. We’re supposed to have some building works done this coming week. Nothing major, but there’s an area leading to the front porch we want redesigned as it becomes a water trap. The porch concrete-slab flooring will be replaced and extended out over this area. First though, there are a few plants and soil I have to move.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ordericus Vitalis, French monk/historian/poet; Giambattista Bodoni, Saluzzo Italy, printer/typeface designer (Bodoni); Johann Heinse, German Sturm und Drang novelist/art critic; Joseph V von Scheffel, German writer (Gaudeamus); Nikolai Leskow, writer; Henry Adams, historian, writer (Education of Henry Adams); Octave Mirbeau, French writer (Journal of a Lady’s Maid); William Scarborough, Macon Ga, linguist/author (Birds of Aristophanes); Maurits H E Uyldert, Dutch poet/writer (Youth of a Poet); Elizabeth Craig, British writer; Van Wyck Brooks, NJ, literary historian/writer (Ordeal of Mark Twain); Albert Maurice Hackett, playwright/screenwriter; Hal Porter, Australia, writer (Tilted Cross, Paper Chase); Arthur Crook, British editor (Times Literary Supplement); Bob Tadema Sporry, Dutch (female) author; Hubert van Herreweghen, Flemish writer/journalist; Paul van ‘t Veer, Dutch journalist/writer (Het Vrije Volk); Peter NF Porter, Australian/British author/poet (Chair of Babel); Alfred Kolleritsch, Austrian writer; Aharon Appelfeld, Israeli writer; Paul Bailey, English novelist and biographer; Richard Ford, American author (Sportswriter); Eckhart Tolle, Author and spiritual teacher; Dorus Vrede, Surinam poet (Otobanda; the Other Bank); Iain [Menzies] Banks, UK, sci-fi author (Wasp Factory); and Guy Gallo, writer (Under the Volcano).

Recognize anyone? I admit I’m stumped this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

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The Amazon Kindle Countdown Special, which started on Valentine’s Day, finishes this evening at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read Dangerous Alliance or Carnage in Singapore yet, there’s still time to pick them up at a reduced price, for yourself or gift a copy to someone you know.

My Work in Progress

Editing is in its final stages on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

During the past week, I began the penultimate edit pass. This should go quickly as I’m not finding a great deal to change. However, I’m not going to rush. Here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

Javier sipped his coffee, glanced at his phone, and read the incoming text: New arrival—seems important based on activities. Will provide mug shot when we return—no app on this phone. Will stay in position longer to monitor the situation.

He concurred and turned to AJ, who was typing on her iPad. When she finished, Javier nodded and sent a response: Continue mission.

 “Wonder who arrived? Wish they had taken one of the SAT phones with them to send the photo right away.” AJ drained the last of her coffee, reached for the carafe, and refilled both cups. “I received an update from MacKenzie. She says they’ve picked up chatter about a training camp in Colombia.” She pursed her lips. “Wonder if this is related to the facility we’re interested in or if it’s something else?”

Javier shrugged. “If they can gather more intel, we should be able to check it out.”

AJ’s eyes widened as she reread MacKenzie’s message. “There’s an unclear reference to two young girls. Someone is speculating they were taken and sold into slavery.” She shook her head. “After discussing the camp with the caller, the called party mentioned the girls—both men seemed pleased.”

Heat flushed through Javier’s body. He pounded a fist into the palm of his other hand. “Perverts—they need to be eradicated.”

AJ nodded. “MacKenzie finished her note by saying Lintstone gave us the green light.” Her eyes lit up with excitement. “We’ll eliminate the kidnappers if they get in our way.”

More next time.

Last week, I mentioned I have a bit of a conundrum on what to work on next. The decision’s been made–I’ll work on Xavier Sear: Angola, the first in the Xavier Sear thriller series.

Synopsis:

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?

Over the past week, I’ve also started setting up my newsletter. A few people have signed up. Those who have will receive a link to my award-winning short story, “A Dangerous Occupation,” read by an author. They’ll also have the opportunity for their first name to feature as one of my characters in an upcoming novel.

If you’d like to sign up and the pop-up window didn’t appear when you opened today’s post, go back to the main page of my website and select Randall’s Newsletter. Thank you.

Books I’m Reading

Cassidy, the seventh novel in the Lt. Kate Gazzara series by Blair Howard, continues the great trended Blair has established with Kate. Another riveting plot with larger-than-life Kate trying to solve the latest mystery. It doesn’t take long before a ‘simple’ appearance of a stranger in a farmer’s vehicle quickly turns into another murder investigation.

Filled with suspense, Kate’s investigation will keep you burning the proverbial midnight oil as you won’t want to put this one down until you find out who the culprit is. As with all of Blair’s novels, there are plenty of twists and turns for you to explore. Hope for another book in the series soon!

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

All being well, things will settle down and remain calm for some time. We’re supposed to have some

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, September 25, 2016

The official beginning of autumn/fall passed by this week. Temperatures are also dropping, but still above the average for this time of year along the lake. Brilliant sunshine, clear blue skies have been the norm since my last ramble, with only the occasional drops of moisture. Long may it last, as I’m certainly in no hurry for the next season to descend upon us.

If you had a birthday this weekend, you’re in excellent company, beginning with our first celebrity:  William Faulkner, Nobel Prize-winning writer (The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!); Barbara Walters, television news personality and interviewer; Kim Thompson, editor, publisher; co-founder of Fantagraphics Books; Gerolamo Cardano, mathematician, author of Games of Chance, the first systematic computation of probabilities; and Horace Walpole, author, creator of the Gothic novel genre.

Happy birthday wishes to everyone!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Discipline continues to be an important part of my writing so that I continue to make regular progress. Unlike some writers, who believe in setting daily or weekly goals of a specific number of words to write, what works for me is getting something down on paper (okay, on the computer screen) each day. It might be fifty words or it might be one five hundred, I think continued progress is more important that having to write to a target.

Sometimes, I’m adding new words to one or more of my works in progress. In other endeavors, it might be editing something that doesn’t seem to work. The one area I do pay attention to on a weekly basis is the chapter outlines I use. Even if I don’t make any written changes, my reviews help to keep me focused on where the stories are going. If I’ve made a detour for whatever reason, then modifications are made to the outlines.

My Work in Progress

With discipline being an important part of my onward progression, I’m please to say that I posted A Cartel’s Revenge, chapter seven, to the two subscription writing groups I use. I also added 250 words to A Malicious Affiliation, chapter three, which I hope to complete over the coming week.

All work on my short stories is on hold but I still need to finish reading the reviews and selecting recommendations, which help improve them. Eventually, I’ll finish the editing process. At this time, I don’t have any new short stories underway, but that’s okay as I want to concentrate on my novels.

Of course, completing the various requirements I had received from my publisher regarding The Kurdish Connection is still a weekly goal. The first chapter of A Malicious Affiliation will be included in the back of this book. During the past week I made changes based on the original twenty-four reviews and re-posted for further feedback. It’s already received thirteen new reviews; all indicating the changes are enhancing the story.

Next week I’ll resume including snippets from the latest chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge and A Malicious Affiliation.

Books I’m Reading

Last week, I described my thoughts regarding The Fourth Crusade (The Crusades, Book 1) by Mark Butler, but neglected to include the link, so it’s now included.  I read another book over the past week, The Seventh Island (Stone & MacLeish Thriller Series of Stories Book 1) by Gregory Stenson. The story begins with a scam in New York involving a millionaire and transitions to the Carribean, where Stone and MacLeish become embroiled in murder, mayhem, and some magic.

Toss in a woman who appears to be suffering from a schizophrenia disorder, a couple of thugs, a corrupt mayor and a police chief who appears to do whatever works for him, and you have a recipe for intrigue, terror, and suspense as each chapter seems to take the story in a new direction, with a hook or two to keep readers engaged. Should Stone and MacLeish abandon their successful business and leave the islands before one of them is killed? You’ll have to grab a copy of the book to find out.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Kanudra’s Blog – learn about the writing of Dawn Chapman. Follow her through her writing journey.

Writing Resources

With continued work on my publisher’s requirements and full steam ahead on my novels, I didn’t have any time left this week to do any research designed to aid my progression. Perhaps next time I’ll have something to share.

That brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions on topics you’d like me to cover, just drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to do so. Until the next time, thank you for reading!

 

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, September 18, 2016

Another weekend is upon us. How fast the summer’s flown! Seems like it wasn’t that long ago the farmers were busy planting their fields. Now, they’re beginning to harvest their crops. An annual cycle, so vital to our survival.

Are there any birthday people out there this weekend? If so, you share your special day with the following:

William Carlos Williams, poet, playwright, essayist and writer who won a Pulitzer prize (Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems); Ken Kesey, author (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion); Samuel Johnson, English lexicographer, essayist, poet and moralist; John Knowles, writer; won first-ever William Faulkner Foundation Award (A Separate Peace, 1961); and James Alan McPherson, author; first African American to win Pulitzer Prize for fiction (Elbow Room, 1978).

Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I mentioned last week that discipline is required so I maintain my ongoing works. I thought the week went well until someone passed an idea to me to explore for another novel. Yep–it’ll work. A temporary title has been selected Without Raising Their Hands and the premise is underway, but it will be some time before anything is available to read.

Stay tuned for more sneak peaks into my wacky world of creativity. You’ll read it first here.

My Work in Progress

Most of my time this week was spent reviewing the final chapters of a fellow writer who is preparing his manuscript for submission to his publisher. When time permitted, I continued work on the book description and fine-tuned the first chapter of A Malicious Affiliation, which will be included in the back of A Kurdish Connection when it’s published next year. Suggestions from twenty-four reviews have been incorporated into the chapter, which I hope to post this week on the subscription writing sites I use.

That’s all of the progress I made this week, as non-writing events required my attention. Hopefully during the upcoming week I’ll be able to return to writing.

Books I’m Reading

I read an interesting book this week, The Fourth Crusade (The Crusades, Book 1) by Mark Butler. Set in Spain and Italy, the son of a hero from the Third crusade, Ruggiero de Merafiza becomes a priest rather than following in his father’s footsteps.

The story culminates in attacks against villages surrounding Constantinople, before this city also becomes a target. Merafiza flees after partaking in the savagery and returns to tell the tale of Christians fighting against Christians to King Peter of Spain. A good read and look forward to future works from Butler.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

J. I. Rogers – Author J.I. Rogers provides six-word story challenges for writers to explore.

Butterflies & Machineguns – Explore the musings of writer Tye Fields, a twenty-year-old college student.

Writing Resources

The first batch of homework requirements from my publisher were sent this week. Now, I’m working on the second have, things like dedications, acknowledgements, comments and blurbs. Here’s a couple of links to help you with writing dedications if you’re stuck:

https://www.scribendi.com/advice/dedication_examples.en.html

http://www.bpsbooks.com/BPS-Books-blog/bid/109450/How-to-Write-a-Dedication-A-Few-Pointers

That brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 11, 2016

It’s been fifteen years since the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. I won’t dwell on this and leave it to others, but suggest a thought or two for those who somehow were impacted by this tragedy.

On to happier thoughts. Who are the birthday people this weekend? Let’s find out who in the writing world had a birthday. On September 10th, we have:  Carl Van Doren, historian and critic who won a Pulitzer Prize for Benjamin Franklin; Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, biologist and writer of science books Time’s Cycle and The Panda’s Thumb; and Bill O’Reilly, TV host (The O’Reilly Factor), author.

If your birthday is on September 11th, you’re also in good company: James Thomson, Scottish poet; O. Henry, (William Sydney Porter), short story writer who wrote “The Gift of the Magi,” and “The Last Leaf; D.H. Lawrence, English novelist (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers); and Jessica Mitford, investigative journalist (The American Way of Death).

Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

As I sit here with brilliant sunshine bouncing off my computer screen, my mind’s buzzing with possibilities for furthering my stories. It’s too easy to become lost in the myriad scenes, characters, and descriptions whizzing by, so I need to capture as many as I can for later use. 

Discipline is now called for so I can continue with my ongoing works; otherwise, I’ll never get anything finished. Good thing that I have three subgroups within my two writing groups to keep me on point. It’s like a kaleidoscope–a single point of light when I’m focused and a rainbow of flashing colors when my thoughts run wild.

My Work in Progress

I’ve mentioned in the past about having homework from my publisher that I must complete before we get into editing of The Kurdish Connection. So this week, rather than spend any time on A Cartel’s Revenge, I focused my energies, with some able assistance, on creating my author bio (two versions), the story description (two versions) and a logline. Not quite satisfied yet, so I’ll be doing a bit more tinkering over the next week, but these sections are well under way.

I also finalized my review of the twenty-four reviews of chapter one from A Malicious Affiliation, which will be included in the back of The Kurdish Connection as an introduction to the second novel in the Bedlam series. Once I complete my editing based on the feedback, I’ll ask my contacts to take another look.

I’ll also be doing the same process with chapter one of A Cartel’s Revenge, hoping I might be able to squeeze the chapter into the back of the book. I’ll also be creating book descriptions to be added in the front under upcoming works. At least that’s my plan, but will have to discuss some of this with my publisher.

I found out yesterday that my first sci-fi short story writing attempt, ‘Countdown to Extinction,’ received second honorable mention in the contest it was submitted to in one of my writing groups. There were forty entries, all sci-fi/alternate world, so I’m very pleased with the result. In fact, this is another story that I plan to expand into a novel.

Books I’m Reading

During the past week I read The Covert Messiah (The Jesus Thief Series, Book 4) by J. R. Lankford. I hadn’t read the first three in the series and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect jumping in with book four. There was sufficient backstory to quickly put me in the know so I didn’t feel there was a lot missing, but I’ll likely go back and start at the beginning.

A cloned Jesus, who had died eight years earlier re-appears, first in Italy and then take his ‘mother’ to Tanzania, to a small village where he makes his appearance known. Lankford does an excellent job in blending Christian and African spiritualism together to create a well written story. There is plenty of action and thought-provoking scenes throughout.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Roderick Will’s Refreshing Writings – Join Roderick on his journey to write a short story every day for a year. Packed with something for all, and good photography, too.

Writing Resources

With my ongoing homework form my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards a couple of links to help you with writing book dedications. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://www.scribendi.com/advice/dedication_examples.en.html

http://www.bpsbooks.com/BPS-Books-blog/bid/109450/How-to-Write-a-Dedication-A-Few-Pointers

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 4, 2016

I hope you’re having an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

What’s the origin of Labor Day? Many states passed bills created a day to celebrate the social and economic successes of American workers. New York was the first state to make such a proposal, but in 1887, Oregon was the first to make it a law. The federal government finally became involved, and in 1894, Congress declared the first Monday in September as a national holiday. Enjoy the weekend!

If you’re birthday is this weekend, you’re in good company: Sarah Orne Jewett, author (Tales of New England, The Country of the Pointed Firs); Hugh Sidey, news correspondent and author (John F. Kennedy, President); Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand, French writer and chef (who gave his name to a style of steak); Mary Renault (Mary Challans), author who wrote about her wartime experiences (The Last of the Wine and The King Must Die); Richard Wright, novelist (Native Son); Craig Claiborne, food critic and cookbook author; Joan Delano Aiken, author of supernatural fiction and alternative history novels for children (The Whispering Mountain, Night Fall); Tommaso Campanella, Italian philosopher and poet (City of the Sun); and Arthur Koestler, Hungarian novelist and essayist( Darkness at Noon, The Ghost in the Machine).  Happy birthday everyone!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly successful with my writing, but I must say the journey thus far has been enlightening. A long-time friend and work colleague named Les suggested I try my hand at writing. I’m glad I listened to him!

Each week I learn something new to improve my stories, whether scene-related, characters, plot, and of course, applying the senses to everything. I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of writers and authors through the two subscription writing sites I use who have helped me further my meager abilities. Many thanks to all!

I think last week I said there would be another snippet from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Diego broke into a fit of laughter and grabbed the counter with both hands to stop himself from falling. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he asked, “Who did you hire to handle the attack?”

“My brother, Pedro. He either got carried away or paid me back for some previous slight. Olivia wants me to learn to shoot. I convinced here I was a rotten shot and might hurt someone.”

“What? You’re one of the best marksmen in Los Urabeños!”

“Sure, but I want to keep playing the bumbling husband to learn enough to take her down. In fact, I’m planning a little surprise.”

“What is the meaning of this? These are my people, and this is private—” A pistol slammed against the back of his head and silenced Alonzo’s protest. Someone tossed him into one of the trucks while soldiers set the buildings on fire. Red and orange flames reached for the sky as thick black smoke spiraled upward.

On a distant ridge, a man dressed in peasant clothes lowered expensive binoculars after Alonzo was led away. He chuckled as he picked up a backpack and disappeared into the brush.

Olivia, this is only the beginning. Soon you’ll beg for mercy.

Perhaps more next week.

My Work in Progress

Real-life requirements played an important part in my diminished writing time this week, yet I still made progress on the first draft of chapter seven of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.’ All being well, I’ll post the chapter to my writing sites by the middle of the coming week so my reviewers can have a shot at it.

I spent most of my available time fine-tuning my short story, ‘Trek For Survival,’ so I can submit it for consideration for an anthology. Hope to have this completed during the coming week as well.

Of utmost importance is my continued progress on the various items my publisher will need for ‘The Kurdish Connection.’ I’ve completed a draft tagline and selected seven search terms. Doesn’t sound like much progress, but I had plenty of reading and research to complete as I worked on these areas. My bio will be coming up next.

Books I’m Reading

I also managed to read ‘Diablo Nights (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 3’ by Carmen Amato. Not sure how I ended up with book three since I haven’t read the first two, but it’s an oversight that will be corrected.

Carmen has created a great detective with Emilia, caught between demands of her personal and professional life. In this latest story, body parts and a potent drug descend on the tourist city of Acapulco, Mexico. Toss in corrupt politicians and authorities and it’s a perfect recipe for trouble. 

Emilia is a tough detective and uses her kick-ass approach to solve the latest crimes. Her normal partner is given other duties while she’s saddled with someone who used their influence to not only become a police officer but a detective without a single day on the force. But is there something more about the trainee than meets the eye? ‘Diablo Nights’ is an exciting read and if you’re into detective stories, grab yourself a copy and get involved.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Opinionated Woman – an interesting blog by C L Terry, the editor for the Toledo Bend Review Literary Journal.

Writing Resources

With my ongoing homework form my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you create the all-important keyword search terms. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://writingbytheseatofmypants.com/2013/01/06/seo-keywords-for-fiction-authors/

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/02/28/keywords-metadata-discoverability/

https://ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/7-tips-for-amazon-keywords-and-best-selling-books/

https://kindlepreneur.com/how-to-choose-kindle-keywords/

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 28, 2016

As the end of another August rapidly approaches, we’ve seen the high humidity finally break but it seems we have a rain shower every day. It’s been so wet the grass in front of the house (or the back as I haven’t gotten used to calling the part of the house facing the lake the front. For me, the road side has always been the front) is now about nine inches tall. Good thing I cut it two weeks ago!

If you’re celebrating a birthday this weekend, you are in good company: Theodore Dreiser, novelist (Sister Carrie); C. S. Forester, novelist and author of the Horatio Hornblower series; Ira Leven, author (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys From Brazil); Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist (Faust); Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (War and Peace, Anna Karenina); Liam O’Flaherty, Irish novelist and short-story writer; and Roger Tory Peterson, author of the authoritative bird book (A Field Guide to Birds).

Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

A few weeks ago I stepped outside of the box again. This time, it was to see if I could take the opening chapter of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, approximately 2,500 words, and whittle it down to less than 400.  Why would I do this? To enter a monthly one-page short story contest held by Wildsound Writing and Film Festival Review.

I figured it would be a good lesson in cutting out unnecessary wording. It wasn’t easy ,as I still wanted to maintain the essence of the chapter.  I must have, because after I sent last Sunday’s ramblings out, I received notification that my short story called ‘A Dangerous Occupation’ had been selected as a winner.

My story was performed by an actor and can be viewed below:

Needless to say, I was thrilled to find this out!

Next week, I’ll include more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.

My Work in Progress

Over the past week, I continued to concentrate of providing reviews for those who’ve been reviewing my work. I’ve also been applying what I learned with the short story contest to help a new writer one of the subscription writing sites to condense a story from eighteen to fifteen pages.

Chapter six of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ was posted this past week, with six reviews received thus far. Work also continued on chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, but I didn’t make enough progress to be able to post.

I mentioned last tie that my sci-fi short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ was been entered in a contest held in memory of a novice sci-fi writer who passed away a week ago. She actually passed away over a year ago. The contest closed last weekend, but the winners haven’t been announced yet.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading ‘Blood Tail (Lieutenant Beaudry Novels Book 1)’ by Michael Kent. If you like murder mysteries, grab yourself a copy and enjoy a fantastic read set in Montreal. Beaudry has a bad reputation with his boss and Internal Affairs–it seems every time he’s involved in the investigation of a crime, more bodies appear.

Meet Beaudry’s unlikely new partner and his even stranger new friends as he takes on various cases, each with its own special twist.  Mr. Kent’s writing is superb and just when I had a case figured out, something new would pop up and keep me guessing.

The only problem I had with ‘Blood Tail’ was it ended too soon! I can’t wait to read the next installment. I’m definitely adding Michael Kent to my list of favorite authors.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I’m returning to two favorites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Cheeky Column – a great mixture of quotes and fantastic photography. Don’t forget to check the pull-down menu and read the author’s categories.

Quintessential Editor – writing tips for everyday writers.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write an author’s bio. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://litreactor.com/columns/no-one-cares-about-your-life-story-nine-tips-for-a-better-author-bio

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

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Randall’s Ramblings, August 21, 2016

Another weekend filled with brilliant sunshine and rain, occasionally at the same time. On Friday evening we were treated to a spectacular lightning display over the lake. Numerous bursts lit up the sky. No thunder or rain, but still a good show.

If your birthday is this weekend (I know someone who has one today), you’re in good company: H.P. Lovecraft, author of horror tales; Isaac Hayes, composer, musician, actor, co-wrote “Soul Man” and won an Academy Award for “The Theme From Shaft”; Jules Michelet, French historian, who wrote the 24-volume Historie de France; William “Count” Basie, American band leader and composer; Kenny Rogers, singer; Jackie DeShannon, also known as Sharon Lee Meyers, singer/songwriter, including “Lonely Girl” and “What the World Needs Now”; and Ivan Stang, writer.

Also this weekend, another first, back in 1667. John Milton published Paradise Lost, about the fall of Adam and Eve.

Happy Birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

As I continue researching information for homework from my publisher, I looked back on what I’ve been doing over the past year. In addition to completing my first novel, ‘The Kurdish Connection’, I’ve written four short stories. In some ways, I think writing a short story can be more difficult as the elements are the same as for a novel, but certainly compressed. Otherwise, you end up with a novella.

With two of my short stories, I stepped outside my normal action-adventure genre, with one suitable for children and another my first ever attempt at science fiction. Where will the next year take me? Hope you’ll join me for my continuing journey.

No excerpts from any of my works this time. Next week, I’ll include more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge. I might also have some news to share regarding a condensed version of the first chapter from this work.

My Work in Progress

It’s been another hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with. Once again, I spent more time returning critiques for those who’ve been reviewing my work than I did writing. It’s been time to catch up to lend my thoughts regarding their stories. After all, they’ve made the effort to read and comment on mine.

Chapter six of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ is almost finished and hope to have it posted to my writing groups over the next week. Work is also underway on chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, but it might be too difficult to post both chapters at the same time.

The last touches of my sci-fi short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ were completed this week. The story has been entered in a contest held in memory of a novice sci-fi writer who passed away a week ago. She was a member of one of my writing groups.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Savior (The Savior Series Book 1) by A. King Bradley. An exciting story about the struggles of a teenage superhero, I actually enjoyed it. I don’t remember why I chose this particular story, but I’m glad I did.

Adam Reaper, a sixteen-year old, has a secret. He knows he’s different, but not why. Constantly hounded by school bullies, he eventually learns he has super powers. He meets the girl of his dreams, who happens to be the principal’s daughter. Things begin to change for Adam after being invited to the principal’s house for dinner. Imagine his shock when Monica opens the door.

Joining forces with two friends, one a computer geek and the other, a magician with swords, they take on a group of thugs intent on causing murder and mayhem. When his brother is killed by the group, he swears to bring them to justice. He has no idea who’s behind the group but makes a startling discovery. In the meantime, the government tries to enlist his assistance to take on a villain referred to as The Righteous. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read the story yourself.  I do look forward to the next installment!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I’m returning to two favorites. Hope you’ll check out the links! 

Fleeting Muse – a great site for poetry with a punch.

Down Many Roads – novels and shorts stories, based on where life has taken the author.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write a description to draw readers to you. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

http://bookinabox.com/how-to-write-a-book-description-that-works/

5 Tips on How to Write The Best Book Description Ever

https://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/10/05/the-11-ingredients-of-a-sizzling-book-description/

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 14, 2016

Our cats have been finding cool spots to hide during the past week. One of their favorite locations is our basement, where they find plenty of boxes to curl up in and sleep during the continued heat and humidity.  That’s fine during daylight hours, but when it becomes cooler in the evening they want to venture outside. We would like to oblige, but there are coyotes in the area so we keep them in during the evening as much as possible.

A couple of firsts happened this weekend in history. In 1892, the first issue of the Afro American newspaper was published in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1457, the German astrologer Faust published the first book printed.

If your birthday was this weekend, you’ve shared it with a few noted writers and authors: Lucy Stone, woman’s rights activist and founder of Woman’s Journal; Ernest L. Thayer, poet; Russell Baker, author and columnist; Danielle Steele, fourth-best selling author of all time; and Gary Larson, cartoonist (The Far Side).

Other notables include: Alfred Hitchcock, who directed over fifty films; Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader and president; Don Ho, Hawaii’s musician and singer; Dan Fogelberg, singer-songwriter; Steve Martin, comedian, actor, musician, and screenwriter; and Halle Berry, actress.

Happy birthday to all!

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

I never thought at my age I’d be given homework. While not specifically called that, my publisher sent me a list of things to work on so they’re taken care of when editing of ‘The Kurdish Connection’ begins. 

I’ve read through the list for a couple of days and yesterday I began research so I can provide the best possible responses. Over the next two months, I need to provide the following:

  • An attention grabbing headline, also called a hook or logline
  • A short, to-the-point description
  • A longer, more detailed description
  • An author bio
  • An edited version of the bio for the back of the book
  • A list of search terms or tags people might use to find my book online
  • The genre of my books using BISAC categories
  • Comments – blurbs from authors or other notables
  • Also by – listing of previous or upcoming publications
  • Dedication
  • Forward
  • Acknowledgments
  • First chapter of a forthcoming book

There are several other items, many optional, that I’ll have to consider after I tackle this group. I never realized how much had to go into putting a book together!

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge:

An hour later, Pepe turned into a potholed parking lot at the rear of a seedy cantina called El Cerveza. “Go inside. Señor Días is waiting for you. I’ll be here when you finish your business.”

Alberto and Michael grabbed their packs from the rear of the vehicle and headed toward the bar’s entrance. A warped wooden door once painted red, rested against a brick, allowing patrons access without fighting through a barricade.

The three men hoisted their beer and drank a silent salute, not stopping until empty bottles landed on the table.

“One more cerveza and Pepe will drive us to my Bogota home so we might have our discussion in private. Too many ears are listening here.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

It’s been another hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with. I spent more time returning critiques for those who’ve been reviewing my work than I did writing. 

However, I did manage to complete chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ and it’s now posted on the two subscription writing sites I use. One reviewer calls it the best chapter I’ve ever written, so that will be the bar for the remainder of the story.

During the coming week, I hope to begin chapter six and continue my research for chapter seven. In addition, I want to post chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but as least for now, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ is my priority.  Editing is also ongoing on my short stories ‘Trek for Survival’ and ‘Lakeside Retreat,’ which I want to complete by the end of the month.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading an action-adventure story by Phillip Strang called ‘The Vane-Martin Conundrum.’ Non-stop action, intrigue, and plenty of backstabbing, set in Britain as Islamic State attempts to carve out areas of the country for themselves.

Two high-flying analysts, Vane and Martin, are called upon to anticipate upcoming targets after a series of explosions in easily accessible locations kill hundreds of people. This is only the first stage. A Royal Navy submarine is destroyed, but how? Vane and Martin work their magic as control of the political situation is in turmoil. An unlikely source, a killer in Belmarsh, becomes a pawn in the game as both sides try to overcome the over. Our analysts determine churches and police facilities will also be targeted, as the terrorists hone in on their ultimate target–the British prime minister. Get yourself a copy and have a roller-coaster ride through this exciting story.

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

Heartstring Eulogies – the writing of Sarah Doughty, who suffers from PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

Unmotivated Enthusiast – a different way to look at the world through the eyes of a high school student.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I now have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write an attention grabbing headline or tagline. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

Writing a Killer Logline

How to Easily Write a Great Logline – The Write Practice

Writing Loglines that Sell

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.