Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 7, 2016

We’re off to the races–racing against time to complete every outdoor task on this year’s agenda. The higher-than-normal humidity has made this a challenge. Good news though, two nearby empty lots were purchased last summer and the owners are planning to build this year.

We’ll be surrounded by building sites but with only two homes going up, the upheaval should be intense but brief. Their homes will complete the small cove we live on and bring new acquaintances, and one day, new friends.

Okay, who are the birthday people this weekend? If your special day was yesterday or today, you’ve joined a select few from the writing world: Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet laureate; Richard Hoftstadter, historian with two Pulitzer prizes; Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob, science fiction and fantasy author; and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author.

With a short list this weekend, I’ve added a few additional names which should be recognizable for their contributions to our lives: Alexander Flemming, Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin; Lucille Ball, actress and comedian; Andy Warhol, pop artist; Louis Leakey, and anthropologist who believed Africa was the cradle of mankind. Happy birthday to all!

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

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

The vehicle lurched forward as the man tried to reverse. Grinding the gears, he backed out of the parking spot, left the airport and headed away from the city on a winding, dusty two-lane road.

“Give me your passport. Forget Alberto. Your name is Abdul Rahman.”

Alberto handed over his Argentine passport. “Where are we going?”

“To the mountains. You will join other faithful traveling to al-Raqqah. No more questions.”

He leaned forward and whispered. “Good to see you, Abdul. Close call in Madrid, say what?”

“Call me Alberto here. We’ll save Abdul and Mahmood for other environs.”

“Gotcha. How many will we be recruiting this time?”

“None. We’re to organize training facilities for up to 150 men.”

“I don’t know anything about training. Why pick me?”

“I liked your style in al-Raqqah. You’re dedicated to the cause and with your European appearance and passport you’ll be able to travel easier than the others.”

From ‘Countdown to Extinction’:

“Three … two … one.”

The rocket sprang upward, inertia thrusting the red, white, and blue bullet into the sky. Slow at first, speed increased until the transport slipped through the exosphere into outer space.

Sam Rogers, better known to his friends as ‘Reckless Roger’ scrunched into his seat. Settled, he flipped the turbo switch, thrusting his chariot faster through the void toward his destination—Mars.

More next week.

My Work in Progress

It’s been a hectic week with plenty of life’s daily preoccupations to contend with but I finally completed editing of my short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction.’ I also wrote a short poem, my first, for a writing club. Look forward to reviews on ‘Ode to My Humans.’

Work also continued on chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge,’ but didn’t complete the chapter yet. Should be posted for review by the middle of this week. Editing is also ongoing on my other novel ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ and short stories ‘Trek for Survival’ and ‘Lakeside Retreat.’

Books I’m Reading

Late last week I began reading an action-adventure story by Phillip Strang called ‘The Vane-Martin Conundrum.’ My review won’t be posted until next week, but it’s a great story.

 I’ve identified a couple of more books to read. As soon as I finish, I’ll provide my thoughts to you.

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Musings of a Mad Woman – Although nothing’s been posted during the summer, this provides an interesting look at things from one person’s perspective.

Channillo.com – Looking for something different to read? Check out the varied works by numerous authors, covering multiple genres provided through novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something as soon as I resume my research, but it will likely be the end of August as I’m tying up various loose ends. Have an enjoyable weekend.

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, July 31, 2016

As another month draws to a close, this one has gone out with a bang, or at least plenty of thunder, lightning, and wind-driven rain.  The storm began just after one a.m. and finally ceased before six a.m., with a few pauses during the period. Right now, it’s 63F/17C, which feels pretty good after the heat and high humidity of the past few days.

Time for birthday connections to the famous and not so famous. If your special day occurred yesterday or today, Happy Birthday to you. Here are the folks from the writing world who share July 30th and 31st:

Emily Bronte, author; William H. Gass, writer; C. Northcote Parkinson, historian and author; Primo Levi, Italian writer and scientist; and one everyone is sure to recognize: J.K. Rowling, author (Harry Potter). Congratulations to all.

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

Here’s a bit more from ‘A Malicious Affiliation’:

Khan Soo Chin paced back and forth in the Zhongnanhai waiting room. He glanced at his watch a second time.

He sat, added sugar to the tea provided by a servant and stirred. Soo dropped the spoon and pushed the tea and dim sum across the table. Despite the delectable aromas wafting from the dishes, which caused his empty stomach to rumble, he resisted the urge to partake.

Did they add something to the tea or food?

The ambassador stood and resumed pacing. His thoughts swirled as he searched for a way out of his current dilemma, which began two days ago.

“I realize there is a food shortage. Our factories no longer produce because there is no oil to keep them running. Our military might is teetering toward disaster. This is not my fault. The problem lies with our sworn enemy—America and their puppets in Seoul. We are peaceful, but America wishes for our death.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“Return to Beijing and request an immediate audience with that fat goat, Huang Fen. Get us oil.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

“And, Soo, just because we grew up together, doesn’t mean I will accept failure. What will become of your family if something happens to you?”

From ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Grabbing their drinks, they strolled toward AJ’s office. She shared the space with the other people in Lintstone’s meeting but had a coveted perk—her own office, not a cubicle.

 “Cozy office.” Javier glanced around the room—desk and chair, four-drawer safe, along with a small conference table and six chairs. A computer and three different-colored phones occupied the desk. A few framed certificates and diplomas, but no photographs or trinkets.  Efficient and impersonal.

“Taken years before I earned one. But I spend more time overseas each year than I do here.”

“I’m with you. Name a hotspot over the past fifteen years and I’ve been involved. Want to slow down a bit but still be active.”

Will be in your AOR within forty-eight hours. Request meeting for myself plus one to discuss possibility of Iranian freighter being used to transport Islamic State personnel to training camps in Panama and Colombia. Any local intel appreciated.

“Perhaps modify local to local/regional as they might possess additional data we can use. I assume the regional chiefs share knowledge on a regular basis.”

“Agree. Will make the change.” AJ’s brown eyes appraised Javier. “For a grunt, you’re alright.”

“For a civvie, you’re not bad, either.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I finally completed and posted the second chapter of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’. Within a short span of time, four reviews were completed and helping me with my journey.

Editing continued on my novel, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, as well as short stories ‘Countdown to Extinction’, and ‘Trek for Survival.’ Hope to complete at least one of the short stories this week and try to complete chapter five of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.’

Books I’m Reading

This week I completed reading ‘Darius Odenkirk‘ by Rikon Gates. What happens when you combine a filthy-rich eccentric, a wannabe journalist, and a proper butler? You end up with a recipe for action, intrigue, and plenty of twists and turns.

Darius, the eccentric owner of Crecy House, is dying. Before leaving this world, he wants to share his story. A young, freelance journalist, trying to make a name for himself, is selected. Follow the journey back in time to when Darius first committed a crime (I won’t tell you what it was, you’ll have to buy the book) and why. Learn the real reason Joshua Wishaw was chosen to hear this incredible story. What about the butler? How does he fit in and what crime might he have committed? A gripping murder-mystery story worthy of your time.

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Sideways Eight Series – Check out AJ Wallace’s website, learn about the author of ‘Mindfield‘ and other upcoming stories.

Oliver Chase – Learn about author Oliver Chase’s take on life.

Writing Resources

As I’m constantly seeking to improve my writing, this week I’d like to share a link for those who are writing, trying to publish, or market your work. While it’s a blog, it’s full of useful information to help writers. It’s now part of my online resources. Where do you find it? Check out The Creative Penn.

This 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.

 

 

Uncategorized

If You Missed Your Copy of Mindfield …

If you missed last week’s opportunity to obtain a free copy of ‘Mindfield‘, by AJ Wallace, click on the title to obtain a free Kindle download. Today only!!

Displayed in a bizarre setting, the body of a little girl is discovered. Law Enforcement in Fairfax, County, Virginia, requests the assistance from the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI. A satellite facility under the direction of SAiC Simon Dubuclet, enlists the help of Special Agent Charley Faraday, an experienced behavioral analyst. Directed to work with Special Agent Sean Murphy, Charley sets aside personal grievances when she predicts the death of Robin Senters will not be the last. The killer has murder in mind. She turns to SA Murphy desperate to apprehend a child killer after a secretive trip to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Own it today!!

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 24, 2016

For the past week, the heat index hovered around 100. No big deal if you live in an area that has 100-degree temperatures on a regular basis. Our hottest day temperature-wise, was Friday with 91F/33C, but with high humidity, it’s been a scorcher. Even being on the lake and normally have a breeze didn’t help. When there was some wind, it wasn’t cooling as a wave of hot air pushed forward. By the way, our historical temperature for this week is a pleasant 80F/27C.

If your birthday was yesterday or today, congratulations and may you have many more. Notable personalities with birthdays on July 23rd and 24th include:Raymond Chandler, detective writer and creator of Philip Marlow; Marston Bates, author; Nicholas Gage, journalist and author; John Nichols, author; Lisa Alther, author; Alexandra Dumas, author (The Count of Mounte Cristo, The Three Musketeers); Robert Graves, poet and novelist; Zelda Sayre, writer; and John D. MacDonald, author.

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

I’ve been on a roll lately with my writing. This week, I’d like to share more snippets with you. From ‘Trek For Survival’, a short story:

With three injured men tucked into a safe location, she returned to the plane to gather whatever supplies she might find. Ten minutes later, she placed the last item on a blanket and dragged the stash to the shelter.

“What’d you find, Maddy?” her brother asked.

“A few things we need: four blankets, first aid kits, six energy bars, a flashlight with extra batteries, a box of matches, and a canteen. Also found ten bottles of water and some beef jerky. I brought everyone’s backpack, too.”

“Not beef, Miss Maddy. “Jomo shook his head. “Impala and zebra. Good for you.”

From ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Flicking her long, brown hair, AJ grabbed her chair and glanced around the table. Colleagues filled four of the seats. A stranger sat in the remaining one, across the table. Silver eagles adorned his uniform. Black hair, piercing green eyes, an olive complexion, and his nametag read Smith.

Both stood to shake hands across the table. The colonel dwarfed AJ’s five-foot-ten-inch frame by several inches. AJ noted a thin scar running from his left ear to his chin. After a firm squeeze, both returned to their seats.

“You’ll be working togeth—”

“Sir, I work alone.”

“Not this time. Orders from above.”

“Don’t worry, AJ, you won’t slow me down.” Colonel Smith smiled as his base voice resonated.

“Excuse me, Colonel, I don’t want you to be in the way.” AJ crossed her arms. A frown etched across her face.

“You two finished? Good. You’re working together—no debate.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Another busy week, but with the weather stopping some outdoor activities, I spent more time writing. I finally posted chapter four of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, on my two subscription writing sites. So far, favorable reviews overall, especially with the introduction of two new characters, AJ Bruce and Col Javier Smith.

My short story, ‘Trek For Survival’ was posted to the writing sites this week and received thirteen critiques. I’ll definitely be expanding this into a novella or a novel in the future.

Editing of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ continued, but at a slow pace. It will be submitted to a contest next month. Didn’t have much time left over to work on ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but hope to have a first draft of chapter two completed over the next week.

Books I’m Reading

I began reading ‘Darius Odenkirk‘ by Rikon Gates. My review won’t be posted until next week, but I will say it’s a great story and well worth a read. I’ve had the pleasure of providing reviews for the sequel, both they both standalone, too.

I’m also scurrying to finish reading two other novels, recently completed by fellow writers on one of the subscription sites before the stories go to editors. Once they’re available, I’ll provide my thoughts.

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Roderick Will’s 365 Short Stories – A very ambitious undertaking by Roderick Wills, who is writing a short story of about 1,000 words every day for a year. Check out his stories!

Writing Resources

As I’m constantly seeking to improve my writing, this week I’d like to share a link for those who like to blog and how to improve your posts. I’ll be making changes to my own work based on this information. The article is written by Robert Woods, a developmental editor for Standalone Books.

This 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.

 

 

Uncategorized

If You Don’t Have a Copy Of Mindfield …

If you don’t already own a copy of ‘Mindfield‘, by AJ Wallace, click on the title to obtain a free Kindle download. Today only!!

Displayed in a bizarre setting, the body of a little girl is discovered. Law Enforcement in Fairfax, County, Virginia, requests the assistance from the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI. A satellite facility under the direction of SAiC Simon Dubuclet, enlists the help of Special Agent Charley Faraday, an experienced behavioral analyst. Directed to work with Special Agent Sean Murphy, Charley sets aside personal grievances when she predicts the death of Robin Senters will not be the last. The killer has murder in mind. She turns to SA Murphy desperate to apprehend a child killer after a secretive trip to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Own it today!!

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Rambling’s, July 17, 2016

Yesterday afternoon, we were treated to a horizon filled with sailboats–the annual sailboat race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island. According to a note from the Associated Press, 214 boats were participating this year.  While we have a ringside seat, the boats were too far from shore to make much out other than the myriad sail colors. Still, it’s always a site to behold.

If your birthday was yesterday or today, congratulations and may you have many more. Notable personalities with birthdays on July 16th and 17th include: Ida Bell Wells, journalist; Anita Brookner, writer; Dag Solstad, Norwegian novelist and playwright; Eric Stanley Gardner, detective writer and creator of Perry Mason; Donald Davie, English poet and literary critic; James Purdy, writer; and Laszlo Nagy, Hungarian poet.

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

Last week, I provided snippets from my ongoing novel, ‘A Malicious Affiliation’. I’ll provide more next time, but today I’d like to share from my latest short story, ‘Trek For Survival’:

The Cessna 182 single engine plane circled around Mount Kilimanjaro. Jomo Matu, the owner of Matu Explorations, beamed with pride as he veered around the mountain while his three passengers snapped away.
 
As the aircraft began to rotate, Jomo worked the controls to return to a gentle glide, perspiration breaking out across his forehead as muscles tightened, his face in a grimace as he fought a losing battle. The plane pitched downward, throwing Jomo forward. His head met the windscreen, almost knocking him out.

“Our Father who ar—” Marc prayed while Maddison and Michael closed their eyes and held hands.

 
 The wing slammed against the side of the mountain, ripping away and putting the plane into an uncontrolled slide away from Jomo’s intended landing zone. Tail first, the craft shot over the edge of a small cliff and flipped over.
More next week.

My Work in Progress

Another busy week with work outdoors taking priority over writing. No further progress on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, although the three chapters I’ve posted on my two subscription writing sites have received a total of seventy-five reviews for me to sift through.

I completed the first draft of ‘Trek For Survival’ and will be editing for the remainder of the weekend before posting to the two writing sites for review.  Based on discussions with one of my stalwart reviewers, I’m also considering using the story as a basis for a longer work, either a novella or a novel.

‘Trek For Survival’ will be submitted for consideration in an anthology being organized through http://writers-net.club.  The club is always looking for new members, so click on the link and check them out.

Editing of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ continued, but at a slow pace. It will be submitted to a contest next month. Didn’t have any time left over to work on ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but hope to be back at the manuscript next week.

 

Books I’m Reading

I received a copy of ‘Camelot Games’ for an advanced read. Won’t spill the beans as the author is still working with his editor, but it’s a winner!

I’m also scurrying to finish reading two other novels, recently completed by fellow writers on one of the subscription sites before the stories go to editors.

Watch this space for upcoming news about these novels!

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Kerry J. Donovan – If you haven’t stopped by to read Kerry’s website, you’re missing out on some great works by a superb crime and thriller author. He recently released ‘The Collection’, a selection of dark stories and flash fiction.

Stellar Animals – who says pictures don’t tell a thousand words? Check out this collection of cats, dogs, and other animals.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something as soon as I resume my research, but it might be the end of August as I’m tying up various loose ends with the short stories. Have an enjoyable weekend.

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, July 10, 2016

Was your birthday yesterday or today? If so, according to historynet.com yesterday you shared a birthday with Ann Radcliffe, an English novelist; Dorothy Thompson, journalist; Oliver Sachs, author; and June Jordan, poet and author.

Notables born on July 10 include: Marcel Proust, French novelist; Saul Bellow, writer; Alice Munro, Canadian writer; Jeremy Herman, songwriter; and Arlo Guthrie, folk singer.

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

Last week, I mentioned I’d begin including snippets of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, the second novel in my Bedlam Series. The story begins in Port Rashid, Dubai:

Intelligence indicated at least ten terrorists kidnapped seven people, threatening to kill them if the ship’s owners didn’t meet their demands. The ship was in port between cruises, with most crewmembers enjoying time with their family and friends.

Trevor moved forward, flipped him over, and secured his wrists with plastic zip ties.

“Where are the hostages?

“Go to hell.”

The guy tried to spit on Trevor, who shove a gag into his mouth, and secured his ankles.

“Don’t go away, mate.”

The assailant kicked at Koning’s head but missed. A paralyzing blow to the man’s thigh dropped him. Koning grabbed the assailant in a chokehold, pressing on the carotid artery until he collapsed.

After securing his hands and feet, Koning prodded the man until he regained consciousness.

“No dossing (sleeping). Where are the hostages?”

“Huh?” The man shook his head.

Ag man (oh man). Are you dof (stupid)? Where are the hostages?”

Koning grabbed the man and propelled him into the wall, knocking him out.

Lekker dux (sweet dreams).”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Another busy week with yard work taking priority over writing. No further progress on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, although the three chapters I’ve posted on my two subscription writing sites have received a total of sixty-four reviews for me to sift through.

Editing of my short story ‘Countdown to Extinction’ continued. It will be submitted to a contest next month. Didn’t have any time left over to work on ‘A Malicious Affiliation’ but hope to be back at the manuscript next week.

I did begin a short story, ‘Trek For Survival’, which will be submitted for consideration in an anthology being organized through http://writers-net.club.  The club is always looking for new members, so click on the link and check them out.

Books I’m Reading

Two weeks ago, I returned to one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler. I use his novels not only for reading pleasure but also as a sort of classroom text, where I analyze how certain scenes were designed. Mr. Cussler teamed with Boyd Morrison to create ‘The Emperor’s Revenge (The Oregon Files).

Another masterful stroke by Mr. Cussler, as the story leaps through history to modern times and an attempt by a Russian man and his daughter to make billions by electronic robbery. The story begins with an arranged escape from an island prison and an unplanned death. Prior to his imprisonment on the island, the man escaped from Russia with a massive treasure, apparently lost through the years.

The Corporation, led by Juan Cabrillo, is quickly mired in events as the Russian woman siphons their funds from a bank account. I enjoyed the tension and fast pace of this story, and like most of Mr. Cussler’s works, the ‘good guys and gals’ win, although they paid a heavy price, the death of one of their own.  If you’re a Cussler fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one, too.

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. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Kevin Brown Poetry – A Northern Irish poet in Belfast, Mr. Brown writes romantic poetry. Enjoy the journey.

Her Dog’s Blog – Over the past couple of weeks I introduced blogs related to cats. It’s only fair I share something with our canine lovers.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week.  I hope to have something as soon as I resume my research. Have an enjoyable weekend.

Once again, we’ve come 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.