Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 5, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo day!  

Things are slowing taking shape in the back yard (garden) after years of neglect before we purchased the property. It’ll probably take all summer to get things to the state we want, but we’ll get there in the end.

KODAK Digital Still CameraMeet Oliver. He’s fifteen and loves to go outdoors. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks he’s been to the vet’s office four times. He’s not well–the vet has narrowed it down to a tumor or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). We don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us, but he’s getting plenty of treats and affection. Oliver still loves his spot on the front step, moving just inside the vestibule if it becomes too chilly. He’s sleeping just now.

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

Louis Christophe François Hachette, French publisher (Librairie Hachette); Jacob Kats, Flemish writer (Earthly Paradise); Hubert Howe Bancroft, American historian, ethnologist (History of Pacific States); Henryk Sienkiewicz, Polish author (Quo Vadis, Nobel 1905); Max Elskamp, Belgian author and poet (Lesson Joies Blondes, Maya); Nellie Bly [Elizabeth Cochran Seaman], American journalist and writer (Ten Days in a Mad House); Christopher Morley, American author (Kitty Foil); Freeman Gosden, American writer; James Beard, American culinary expert and author (Delights & Prejudices); Miklós Radnóti, Hungarian poet (Clouded Sky); Richard Rovere, American political journalist (Goldwater Caper); Rob Van Gennep, Dutch publisher; and Naomi Klein, Canadian author (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate);.

How many did you recognize? There’s two or three who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

I finished the query letter for Carnage in Singapore, and he manuscript has been submitted. Here’s another snippet:

1539534550Bullets ripped through the air as more sirens joined the growing sound of emergency vehicles. Koh and Noah hunkered down behind the BMW, bullets pinging off metal. Rounds shredded tires and glass fragments from the shattered windows fell on them. Koh and Noah returned fire, ducking as bullets ricocheted off the vehicle. An ear-piercing scream erupted from one of the attackers as projectiles smashed their way through what remained of the black car shielding them.

***

“You okay, Noah?” Koh coughed. “I took—” He yelped and coughed again. “I took a round through my right shoulder. Appears to be through and through. Hurts like anak haram.”

“Not sure what it means, but I agree.”

“It’s bastard in Malay.” Koh cocked his head. “Hear that?”

“I don’t hear anything but the sirens.”

“Exactly. If they were reloading, they should have done it by now.”

Noah nodded. “They’ve stopped shooting. I wonder if the sirens scared them away?”

“They either ran, or we took care of them.”

Noah inched upward to peer over the hood.

Koh yanked him back. “Not yet. We don’t know if they’ve gone. I suggest—“

Both men heard footsteps rushing away from them.

Noah slumped to the ground and leaned against the vehicle. “It might be a good idea to stay put until the police arrive.”

“Okay with me. Put your weapon on the ground near you. If you’re holding it when the police arrive, they’ll shoot first and ask questions later.”

Noah began to laugh and jerked his arm. “Ow! This isn’t a laughing matter.”

Perhaps more next time.

1541181671I’ve also continue to edit the original chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. So far, I’ve revised the first eight chapters, with fifty-nine new chapter reviews from the two subscription writing sites I use.  I’ll provide a new snippet next week.

This brings us to a close for another week as I need to spend some time with Ollie. 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.

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 29, 2018

As another month heads to its finale, the weather still hasn’t settled. While most of the past week wasn’t bad, the hour of snow flurries yesterday was definitely an unwanted addition. At least the temperature was warm enough the flurries melted almost as fast as they hit the ground.

Is your birthday today? If so, here’s a few people people from the writing world you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Taliesin, Welsh poet; John Arbuthnot, Scottish writer (Alexander Pope); Charles Nodier, French writer; Edouard Rod, France/Swiss writer (Mishel’ Tes’e); Louis William Stern, German/US philosopher (Intelligence of Children); Rafael Sabatini, Italian/British writer; Egon E Kisch, Czech writer/journalist (Rasende Reporter); Walter Mehring, writer; Bernard Verhoeven, Dutch poet (Pleidooi near een non); Jack [Stewart] Williamson, American sci-fi author (Cometeers); Terence de Vere White, novelist/critic; Walter Kempowski, German writer (German Chronicle); Rodney “Rod” McKuen, American poet; Jill Paton Walsh, English writer; David Icke, English writer; and Robert J. Sawyer, Canadian writer. Recognize any names?

My Work in Progress

Not much to mention regarding my work in progress. Editing of the paper copy of Dangerous Alliance is moving along, with about half of the 102,425 words completed. Some corrections and a few changes, but overall, things are still looking good!

In addition to editing, I’m also assisting a writer with a review of his 43K-work as well as providing reviews of those who have done the same for me on Dangerous Alliance.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve almost finished another novel from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series. My review will be posted next week.

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. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this week to find new sites to share with you. Perhaps next week.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 19, 2017

A reddish glimmer lined the horizon, the beginning of a new day. A noise had disturbed me, not time to get up. What caused the disturbance? Someone running in the hallway, crashing into a door. More footsteps–fast approaching. A thud, followed by scampering.

I eased the bedroom door open. Something hit my legs. I looked down and who should I find? Lady Flora, playing with a blue plastic ring from the top of a milk container. She had my attention. Rushing by, Flora dashed to the door, wanting outside. Another day, time to play!

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Lady Flora Fluffbum

 

Who had a birthday this week? Go ahead, raise your hand. Here are a few people from the writing world with birthdays this past week:

Sarah Gertrude Millina, South African writer (The Dark River, God’s Stepchildren); Phillip Roth, American novelist and short-story writer (Portnoy’s Complaint); Stephane Mallarme, French symbolist poet; Wilfred Owen, World War I poet; John Updike, American poet and novelist; Daniel Conway Moncure, U.S. clergyman, author, abolitionist; Janet Flanner, writer (Letter from Paris); and George Seferis, Greek poet.

Hope you enjoyed your special day.

My Work in Progress

Once again, marketing and publicity of The Kurdish Connection continued during the past week. A district library contacted me, wanting to purchase ten copies of my debut novel for a monthly reading group. The group will receive the copies at the next session on Tuesday. Next month, I’ll join them for a question and answer session, followed by signing each book. Exciting time!

Writing continued on Dangerous Alliance, with chapters fifteen posted for review to the two subscription writing sites I use. The total number of reviews thus far is 229, or an average per chapter of fifteen. I’ve received plenty of positive feedback to help me improve my latest story.

Chapter sixteen is underway, but real-life requirements stopped me from completed two chapters this week.

A bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Dawn broke, promising to be a pleasant day. No clouds lingered above. Oranges and reds gave way to a deep azure.

The B&B’s door swung open. Out stepped Bedlam Bravo, dressed in jeans, short-sleeved work shirts, and wearing steel-toed boots.

“Fergus, did you learn anything last night on your stroll with Nate?” Koning laughed and elbowed him.

“Oi, I learned it’s better to go without you.” A smirk appeared Fergus’ face. “We went somewhere with class. You wouldn’t have been allowed in.”

***

A shadow descended—the crane lowered a new container straight for Koning. “Pun! Help! My foot’s trapped!”

Pun dashed forward and jumped. The unit shuddered to a halt in its resting place.

A thick smear of red trickled beneath the container, oozing down the side. Luigi and several others rushed to the scene. Suspended between containers, two men clung to a rope—

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

Last night, I finished reading When the Tree is Dry by Alice Hill. Set in Zimbabwe, we delve into the stories of three women during a tumultuous period in the country’s recent history–2008. Claire, an English woman, leaves her shattered life behind, seeking to find a new beginning as a journalist. Florence, a Zimbabwean trying to make a new life for herself in England, decides to return to her homeland. Sekai, married to a political activist.

Forget hanging pieces of chad from a ballot in an American election or unverified rumors of people voting twice. Depending on which political party you supported during the 2008 Zimbabwean election, your very life could hang in the balance. Alice creates a haunting look into the horrors people faced as they hoped to elect a new government, one that would perhaps make their lives better. Follow Claire, Florence, and Sekai as they recount the stories of kidnapping, torture, rape, and death. A work of fiction, based on reality, and definitely worth a read. I look forward to reading more of Alice’s upcoming work.

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. Here’s a couple to check out when you have a moment or two:

Logical Quotes – a compilation of quotes by various writers, authors, and philosophers. Forgive the advertising; it’s part of the site.

Keith Garrett Poetry – the title says it all. Enjoy Keith’s poetry.

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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! May you find health, happiness, and good fortune!

For those with a birthday to end 2016 or have one today, happy birthday to you!  Here are some people associated with the writing world who’ve had one, too: E.M. [Edward Morgan] Forster, English novelist (A Passage to India, A Room With a View); J.D. [Jerome David] Salinger, U.S. novelist (The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey); Rudyard Kipling, British author (The Jungle Book, Soldiers Three); Hinton Helper, southern abolitionist who wrote The Impending Crisis; Thomas Gray, English poet; Henry Miller, American writer.

My Work in Progress

During the past week, I concentrated on research and drafting the second chapter of New World Revolution. I completed the draft yesterday, so now the next few days will be spent doing some editing before I post the chapter to the two subscription writing sites I use. This will be the ultimate litmus test–have I written a chapter that will appeal to writers from various genres? Time will tell.

During the upcoming week, I also hope to complete the next chapter of Dangerous Alliance and A Cartel’s Revenge. Ambitious plans so will see how things go. Here’s a bit more from A Cartel’s Revenge:

The man glared at them for several moments before speaking. “I don’t understand why you think you can descend on my territory without my permission.” His gaze rested on Javier and switched to AJ. “Well?”

“Mr. Brown, as you’re aware, my boss—”

“Lady, I don’t care who your boss thinks he is but he has no authority over what happens in Panama. That’s my job.”

“I understand, sir, b-but—”

“Don’t stutter, get to the point. I won’t waste all day on some wild guesswork by desk jockeys.”

“Mr. Brown, what AJ tried to say is we understand—”

“Listen, Colonel. I don’t care who either of you are nor do I care about your mission.”

“Whether you agree or not, we’re here. Now, should we go outside, whip it out, and determine who can piss farthest? Win or lose, we’re staying.”

Perhaps more next time or something from New World Revolution.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week, I finished Preston Holtry’s latest novel in his Morgan Westphal series, The Good Thief.  This is another spellbinding mystery by a master storyteller, and I hope it’s not the last!

Join Morgan as he investigates a murder on an Indian reservation, mixes business with pleasure when he joins his girlfriend on a trip to New York, almost getting killed several times before he solves the mystery. As with all of Preston’s novels, this one will keep you holding onto your seat as you try to identify the killer (or killers) before Morgan. Excellent work and needless to say, another five-star story!

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. With the beginning of a new year, I’d also like to include some lighthearted sites I stumble across, whether comedic or with animals.

Flawless Animals – An interesting mix of pets (and a few humans, too).

Kevin Brown Poetry – more poetry from a Northern Irish poet.

Writing Resources

With plenty of events to take care of as 2016 came to a close, I found I didn’t have much time to spend searching for new writing resources.

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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Randall’s Ramblings, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween to all who enjoy tricks or treats, young and old.

I’m afraid this will be a very short ramble this week as I’ve spent less than an hour on writing. 

On Thursday, our seven-year-old boxer, Tyson, began chemotherapy after several weeks of illness and multiple trips to the vet to determine what was wrong. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but the prognosis isn’t good–three to six months with the chemo, a matter of weeks if he doesn’t have the treatment.

Also on Thursday, our beloved FIV positive feline, Shadow, was euthanized. Since he joined us almost two years ago, we’ve made plenty of trips to our vet so he could receive the care he needed. Thursday marked the end of his fight; he was in severe pain and there was no other option but to let him go. 

Earlier this year while I was taking an online blogging course, I posted photographs of our entire four-legged family. If you want to take a peek Tyson, Shadow and all the others, here’s the link:  Shadow’s Family.

I hope to be back to my regular posts next Sunday. Regards to all.

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

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Our Four-Legged Family

Early this morning one of our cats was very ill.  As soon as I could call the vet for an appointment, I did so.  Digging the vehicle from beneath a snowdrift, we ventured out in the cold, traveling thirty-five miles. 

A check-up, an IV, and three injections later, we returned home.  Two hours after receiving his treatment our feline family member began squeaking for food.  Fantastic–another recovery.  Why is the so special?  Most people would have put him to sleep when they received the news we did when we first gave Shadow a home.  Initial blood tests showed that he is FIV-positive, similar to HIV in humans. We brought him home, read up on FIV felines and discovered he could still live a long and happy life, given proper care.  So he is here to stay.

Let my introduce you to our current family of four-legged creatures:

Oliver (AKA Ollie)

Oliver is from England, twelve years old and a loner.  He probably was a feral kitten that someone couldn’t handle and passed him to us, knowing we had experience raising feral felines.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Oliver

Hope (AKA Dosy)

Hope is about six now.  She came to us a couple of years ago from a no-kill shelter.  Always seems to be off in a world of her own, but a very loving addition to the family.

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Hope

 

Lola (AKA Little One)

Lola came to us from a vet.  She had been found in a dumpster, with a bloody ear and a dislocated hip.  The vet took care of her medical needs and we took care of her home.  Of out current crop of felines, she gets bored easily and will pick on the others for amusement.  Sometimes that works and other times, fur flies! Lola is around four.

lola.jpg
Lola

 

Shadow (AKA Squeaky)

Destined for the pound, a friend who already has five cats told us about Shadow (unnamed at the time). He joined us December 2014.  Other information about him begins this post.

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Shadow

 

Flora (AKA Lady Flora Fluff Bum)

Flora apparently accompanied Shadow to the pound.  Couldn’t leave her behind to a sad fate, so she’s part of out family, too.  Both are around two years old.

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Flora

 

Charley (AKA Pumpkin Boy

The end of January 2014 was bitter, with nearly two feet of snow on the ground.  We heard a commotion at one of the deck doors.  Outside, clawing to come indoors, was a handsome stray cat.  We hadn’t seem him before and living where we do, there was no possibility of him belonging to a neighbor, unless he traveled a long distance to find us.  Never saw a “missing” poster and he’s now one of the family.  Very skittish, hates loud noises, but plays well with others. According to the vet, he’ll be around two years old.

charlie.jpg
Charlie

Tyson

Tyson is the only canine in our family.  He joined us in October 2013, a few weeks after our thirteen-year old German Shepherd, Minnie, passed away.

Tyson had been turned over to the same no-kill shelter as Hope.  He apparently wasn’t good with young children, but we don’t know for sure.  Tyson, who brought his name with him, celebrated his seventh birthday earlier this month, on the sixth.  A great addition to the family, he breaks up any quarrels between the others, but is soft as anything.  Saying that, there is no way a stranger would get in the house, but once he knows someone, they’re good to go!

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Tyson

Hope you’ve enjoyed meeting out family!