Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 13, 2019

Gone are the early sunrises and dusk not happening until late at night. Dark is rolling in by seven p.m. and it’s not getting light until after seven a.m. The leaves are changing and falling. Autumn is definitely upon us!

The daytime temperature is still in the 50s so we’re scurrying to get as much outdoor work completed before the colder weather sets in. The backyard/garden is finally taking shape. One last project for this year is underway and should be completed within the next week, barring any unforeseen disruptions.

The cats are still heading outside each day, but they’re wanting back in after shorter periods. With the shifting sun, their favorite suntraps near the birch trees have diminished. The seasons keep marching on!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, English statesman and writer; William Motherwell, Scottish civil servant and poet; Sasha Chorny [Alexander Mikhailovich Glikberg], Russian poet; George Bacovia [Vasiliu], Romanian poet and composer (Plumb); Conrad Richter, American writer (Light in the Forest); Arna Bontemps, American poet (100 years of negro freedom); Jutta Hecker, German writer; Werner Reinowski, German writer; Robert Walker, American actor and writer (Strangers on a Train, Bataan, Madame Curie); Frank D. Gilroy, American writer (Subject Was Roses); Janice Elliott, English novelist; John Menzies, Scottish publisher; Hugo Young, British journalist (The Guardian); Mike Barnicle, American broadcast journalist and newspaper columnist; Claude Ribbe, French historian and writer; Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian progressive journalist, author, and editor in chief (Al-Arab News Channel); and Colin Channer, Jamaican writer (often referred as “Bob Marley” with a pen).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know most of this group, although there are some familiar names. 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

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty-three. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The action is speeding up as we head toward the story’s climax.

The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 448, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

A four-vehicle convoy approached the compound’s outer gates a few minutes past four p.m. Ramon stood on the veranda, following the procession’s approach. When the trucks stopped, he stepped down as armed men jumped from two troop carriers and created a cordon from the lead jeep to the veranda’s steps.

A tall, emaciated man, wearing crossed bandoliers and brass-handled pistols, stepped from the vehicle. Hands on his hips, he stood waiting.

Ramírez García Días removed his sunglasses and pushed them into a pocket. Ramon approached and extended his hand. Días glanced at it for a moment before shaking.

“Señor Días, welcome. I am Ramon Cristobal Alvarez, Señora Moreno’s chief of security. She is waiting for you.” He led Días to Olivia’s den. When they arrived, he knocked before opening the door.

Olivia stood as Días walked forward.

Ramon made the introductions. “Señora Moreno, may I introduce Ramírez García Días, our regional commander in Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.”

“Welcome to my home, Señor Días. This is my son, Alonzo.”

A waiter served refreshments as the four sat at a circular table placed in the room for the meeting.

“Señor Días, we require your assistance.”

“Señora, how may I help?”

“Call me Olivia, por favor. We require additional manpower to improve efficiency at our coca plants.”

“How many men?”

Olivia glanced at Alonzo, motioning him to speak.

“Señor Días, we require two hundred men, split among our five plants.”

Días laughed. “Be realistic. I don’t have access to that much manpower to assist your drug trade.”

“We are producing more product than your small plants.” Alonzo stared at Días. “I researched your production processes, and you are in a position to assist us. We offer a five percent return for your help.”

“Are you sampling your product or drinking too much?” Días tapped his fingers in a drum roll on the table and shook his head. “One hundred men for twenty-five percent.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

In Into Summer: Dawn of a New Age, Larry Landgraf pulls out all the stops as he completes his Four Seasons series. With a riveting plot and characters we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on their position in the story), get ready for a whirlwind of emotions as the story comes to its conclusion.

Bringing people together at the best of times can be a daunting experience. Imagine having the world you know thrown into chaos where principles no longer exist and it becomes a free-for-all as those who are stronger prey on the weaker ones. But what if someone figures out how to make positive changes? I don’t want to be a spoiler, but the Lindgren twins set out to do just that.

This is a real pager turner, full of larger-than-life characters. Once you start reading, you’ll find yourself immersed in the story and rooting for the good guys (and gals). It’s too bad there aren’t more than four seasons, as I’d certainly like to read more!

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 29, 2019

As we march on to the end of another month, we’re beginning to see some seasonal changes. Sporadic rain, mixed with bouts of sunshine are the daily norm. Leaves are beginning to change colors and drop to the ground in the endless cycle we experience each year. Morning temperatures are in the upper 40s/lower 50s, with daytime temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to mid 60s. So begins autumn!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, Spanish author (Don Quixote); Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, English novelist; Stan Berenstain, American children’s author (The Berenstain Bears); Ankie [Johanna A Hoving-]Peypers, Dutch author/poet; Colin Dexter, English crime writer (Inspector Morse); Andrés Caicedo, Colombian writer; Stephen Platt, editor (New Statesman & Society); and Gwen Ifill, journalist and writer.

September 29th doesn’t appear to be a popular birth date among writers. Was anyone familiar to you? Even with the small listing, I still recognized a couple of works, even if I couldn’t remember the authors: Don Quixote and Inspector Morse. 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

Dangerous Alliance with CIBA award(1)The new Big Thrill book giveaway, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, will take place on October 25th. I’m pleased to announce that my award-winning novel, Dangerous Alliance, is part of October’s giveaway. Two lucky winners will each receive ten novels, all written by ITW members and released by publishers recognized by the organization.

If you’re interested in entering the draw, click here: contest.  Good luck!

 

carnage in singapore-001(1)Today is also the last day you can obtain a free download of the Kindle version of Carnage in Singapore. It’s available across the Amazon network. Here’s the U.S. link. Carnage in Singapore has already reached #4 in the U.S. for political thrillers and suspense and #2 in the UK. Help make it number one!

 

 

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 426, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After dinner, Olivia kissed her young children goodnight. “Mamá is meeting with Ramon, now. He’s placed a guard on each of your rooms. I’ll peek in before I go to bed.”

“Yes, Mamá.” Both girls hugged her and ran to Pedro, who led them out of the dining room and upstairs.

Olivia took her coffee onto the veranda. Ramon sat in a white wicker swing, waiting for her. She seated herself opposite him.

“Ramon, last night my papa visited me.” Olivia grasped Ramon’s hand as she spoke. “In my dreams. He gave me a way forward if I’m brave enough to follow through.”

Ramon remained quiet, giving her time to decide.

“We must increase our sphere of influence, provide more security for our plants, and provide new methods to improve our growing, harvesting, and refining.” Olivia turned away from Ramon and gazed across the compound as if the answer lay beyond the lights from the house.

Her focus swung back to Ramon—her decision made.

“Arrange a meeting with Ramírez García Días.”

Ramon’s eyes widened, and he blinked. “Are you certain, Olivia? He’s a dangerous man.”

“We’re in a dangerous business.” Olivia stood in front of Ramon, pulled him to his feet, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders drawing him close. “We must succeed, for my family’s future.”

 Olivia kissed him goodnight before heading into the house.

***

Ramon grinned as he watched her go. “One day … I’ll rule this family—no one will stand in my way.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished reading Finding Billy Battles – Book One by Ronald Yates. We’re taken on a historic journey as Billy’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s journals. The story takes us back to Billy’s time as a young man caught between his mother’s wishes for him to attend university and his desire to strike out on his own. Offered an opportunity to work on a newspaper opening in Dodge City, Billy jumps at the chance.

Ronald’s characters are well-defined and larger-than-life. With a super plot and great attention to detail, readers are treated to Billy’s connections of many of the frontier names we’ve all heard of. The story will keep you spellbound and turning the pages late into the evening. This was the first book of Ronald’s that I’ve read and I can’t wait to begin reading book two.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 22, 2018

We took a cruise to the island of Inchcolm on Friday. Armed with a picnic lunch, we landed on the island and wandered around before finding an unoccupied table. 100_4732.JPGWith clear blue skies and moderate temperatures, it was a great day out. Originally inhabited by a hermit  and his cow, Alexander I sheltered on the island during a storm in 1123. Alexander I promised to build a monastery on the island but passed away the following year. However, his brother, David I, kept the promise. For more details, please check out the following link: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/inchcolm-abbey/history/

We took advantage of the last evening trip of the season on the Maid of the Forth, this time a cabaret cruise, complete with champagne and canapes. With a cloudless sky and a slight breeze it was a grand evening, with music from the ’50s to today. The biggest surprise was sailing as close as a police boat allowed (about 300 meters) from the recently launched HMS Prince of Wales, Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, which as assembled in the nearby port of Rosyth. The ship entered the waters of the Firth of Forth for the first time on Thursday and will begin sea trials soon, so it was a great experience!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 22nd . (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bilbo Baggins, Fictional main character of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit (in Shire Reckoning); Philipp Nikodemus Frischlin, German philologist and poet; Barthold Heinrich Brockes, German poet; Lord Chesterfield, letter writer; introduced Gregorian calendar; John Home, Scottish writer; Quintin Craufurd, British author; Theodore Edward Hook, English author; Louis Van Deyssel, writer (Small Republic, One Love); Babette Deutsch, American poet (Animal vegetable mineral); F R Boschvogel, [French LJ Ramon], Flemish writer (War of Worlds); Phyllis Hartnoll, writer/editor; Dannie Abse, Welsh poet and writer; Rosamunde Pilcher, English novelist (The Shell Seekers); Robert Morace, American writer; Jim Keith, American conspiracy theorist and author; Geoff Gilpin, American author; and Diogo Mainardi, Brazilian writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit, I didn’t know most of this group. 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

39375-270The photo to the left of my three novels is compliments of AllAuthor’s new Magic Tool, released on September 20th. There are loads of options available, but I went with this one, which I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  As I continue to spread the word about my stories, I’ll be using additional options.

 

 

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter thirty. 1541181671As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 407, an increase of  thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

One of the guards inched the door open, and Ramon slid inside. Pedro lay on the bed groaning, blood spread across his face, the pillowcase, and splattered upon the blanket and the wall. Stench from the blood permeated the air.

Ramon held his breath and knelt to check for a pulse—weak and irregular. “Call for an ambulance—he’s alive!” A quick check revealed no other injuries.

Pedro struggled to sit. His face screwed in agony, he gasped and collapsed onto the sheets.

Ramon took in a sharp breath. Unfortunate he lives—but for how long? Ramon pointed to one of the guards. “Stay with him. Did you find the girls—where are they?”

The two guards remained silent. Ramon shoved them aside and rushed to Maria’s room, cursing under his breath.

Yanking a pistol from its holster, he eased the unlocked door open. In the middle of the tile floor, a pool of blood created a Rorschach pattern. He glanced around. No Maria, no body. Where is she?

As he scanned the room, a quiet whimper emanated from one of the walk-in closets. Ramon motioned with his weapon for a guard to enter the room and approach the closet. In position, he gestured for the man to open the door.

On the floor, a child lay curled in a ball. Tears trickled down her cheeks.

Ramon’s eyes ran along the rack of clothes before kneeling. He spoke in a soft voice, “Maria, it’s me, Ramon. You’re safe now. Please, come out.”

“I-I’m afraid.”

“Maria, no one will hurt you. I won’t allow any harm to come to you.”

A tiny hand appeared, clasping the edge of the doorframe. From within, eyes filled with fright peered at Ramon.

“Ramon!” Maria jumped up and lunged at him, grasping his legs as she burst into tears.

“Shhh. You’re safe now.” He examined her for injuries before patting her on the shoulder. “Tell me what happened.”

“I-I, heard a loud bang, like shooting but louder than Mamá’s gun. The noise woke me. Someone stood in my room, staring at me. A man—he wore an evil mask. He held a coatimundi and slit its throat. I screamed, and he ran, taking the raccoon with him.”

“Okay, Maria. Stay with the guard. I must check on Silvina.” He signaled for a female guard to remain behind. He raised his hand, beckoning the other two to follow.

In Silvina’s room, they found a similar pool of blood on the floor. Silvina sat on her bed, a tennis racket in her hand, the other end balanced on her knee. She scooted off the bed and raced to Ramon when she spotted him.

“Ramon, a bad man came into my room. He killed a coati and let the blood seep out. I hit him with my racket. Twice. He ran out.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished the third novel of the Four Seasons series, Into Winter: The Armed Invasion, by Larry Landgraf. With Sandra Hawkins, the ruthless leader of Corpus Christi out for revenge, those living in Peaceful Valley prepare for an onslaught. Larry has cranked up the tension in this novel, as we follow Robbie and Sean, as well as the other residents of Peaceful Valley as they take the war to Sandra.

With a superb plot and plenty of action, those seeking an outstanding thriller have come to the right place. I kept rooting for Robbie and Sean’s success, staying up late as it was so hard to put this one down. Look forward to the series finale!

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 15, 2019

We’ve been puppy sitting since Friday morning. First time Frankie has been with us overtime. He’s done well considering he’s only four months old.  Two of our cats have been venturing closer and closer, but the others are still very wary of this bundle of energy bouncing through the house.

Frankie’s just has his breakfast after a quick trip to the back yard/garden. He’s worrying one of my slippers just now, so I’ll need to get him out for soon his first excursion of the day.

We’ve had intermittent rain throughout the week, making work on a drainage project a bit problematic but hopefully the forecast of decent weather (no rain) for the next week will allow me to get things wrapped up.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer of maxims and memoirs; James Fenimore Cooper, 1st major American novelist (Last of Mohicans); Willem Josephus van Zeggelen, Dutch author; Heinrich von Treitschke, German historian and political writer; Frank E Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett); Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Indian novelist; Agatha Christie, English crime writer (Murder on the Orient Express); Claude McKaye, Jamaica/American author (Songs of Jamaica, Banjo); John J Slauerhoff, Dutch ship’s doctor/writer/poet (El Dorado); Gerd Gaiser, German writer (Ship in the Mountain); Richard Baerlein, racing writer; Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentine writer; Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet/painter; Norman [Richard] Spinrad, American sci-fi author (Child of Fortune); Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, American sci-fi author (Hotel Transylvania); Howard Waldrop, American sci-fi author; Jim Curtiss, American writer; Sophie Dahl, English model and author; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer (Half of a Yellow Sun).

Was anyone familiar to you? There’s three names which stand out for me: James Fenimore Cooper, Frank E. Gannett, and Agatha Christie. 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

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

The action in this novel never lets up, and it’s made all the better by fully developed and believable characters. One of the strongest openings I’ve ever read. It pulls you to read farther, and you’ll be happy you did. You gotta love a character named Evelyn Evinrude, leader of the good guys, a group named Bedlam Charlie vice Alpha.

Evelyn and her team rush to defeat the terrorists, who have headquartered themselves in the nation of Singapore. They have already kidnapped the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. To show their horribly serious intent, the terrorists have amputated a finger digit from each of the ambassadors and threaten to remove more body parts if their demands aren’t met.

You think you know where it’s all going when the plot twists and does backflips. “Page-turner” may be a cliché, but there is no way to describe this book without those words.

This book will pull you far into the night. I read it in one sitting, and I’m hoping for the sequel. Five stars for a fabulous job well done!

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-nine. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 394, an increase of twenty in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

With Frankie getting more excited, so it’s best I skip the weekly snippet before he wrecks something. Watch for a longer snippet next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Zach’s Gold by Frank Kelso. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this type of novel and I’m glad I did. Frank created an interesting plot with larger-than-life characters, particularly Zach.  Follow his exploits as he hunts for gold, helps others to form a consolidated mining corporation to fight off claim jumpers, with any apparent need to be compensated, just doing what he thinks is right.

A real page turner and fans of Westerns will truly enjoy this story. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Frank and won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 8, 2019

Friday evening we had a super time on a nighttime cruise on the River Forth. While most of the attendees remained in the main cabin, we spent the trip on the upper deck, taking advantage of the unimpeded views of the various islands, the shorelines and the three bridges spanning the river.

Although a bit chilly, we were well-prepared. With live folk music from the main cabin being piped up to the upper deck, it was the perfect accompaniment to the stunning scenery, especially with the superb view of Edinburgh Castle.

We didn’t have to worry about being hungry as a ribeye steak sandwich and salad was included in the cost of the trip. While we want to do this again some time, we’ll have to wait until next year as the final trip of the season is sold out.

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

Ludovico Ariosto, Italian poet (Orlando Furioso); François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud, French sentimental writer (Les Épreuves du sentiment); August Wilhelm Schlegel, German poet, translator and critic; Clemens Brentano, German poet and author (The Story of the Just Casper and Fair Annie); N. F. S. Grundtvig, Danish writer and philosopher; Eduard Friedrich Mörike, German poet; Charles-Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, French writer and historian; Frederic Mistral, French Provencal poet (Nobel 1904); Wilhelm Raabe [Jakob Corvinus], German author (Der Hungerpastor); Adolfo Albertazzi, Italian writer (Amore & Amore, Top); Alfred Jarry, French writer (Ubu Roi); Siegfried Sassoon, English poet and writer (Counterattack); Nico Donkersloot, Dutch literary and writer; Gianni Brera, Italian sports journalist and writer; Robert W. Firestone, American author and clinical psychologist; Ansen [Nancy Ann] Dibble, Dutch sci-fi author (Summerfair); Ann Beattie, American novelist and short story writer (Chilly Scenes of Winter); Lynn [Lorraine] Abbey, American sci-fi author (Black Flame); and Christopher Klim, American novelist (Jesus Lives in Trenton).

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

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following four and five-star reviews this past week:

Carnage in Singapore is the third book in Krzak’s Bedlam series, however like the other two novels this works well as a standalone story. What Krzak does well is developing a story that grabs you right from the start. I’m not a big military fan or mystery fan, but I’ve enjoyed both of Krzak’s other novels and wanted to continue on. This time the story takes place in Singapore and I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that carnage is an understatement of events. The story felt very real to me and it was as if you were reading a historical account of what happened before, during, and after a series of terrorist attacks in Singapore. I loved getting to meet new characters and having some old favorites pop in even if just briefly.

There were slower parts of the book, but that is not the authors fault, it is the nature of the story itself, it’s easy to say he could have cut or edited them, but if he did that needed and necessary information would have been taken out which would have lessened the story. I akin it to some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s writing there are parts that are dry, but you need them in order to make the exciting parts that much more exciting.

If you are looking for a good military mystery by a writer that is making quite the name for himself then this novel is for you. (****)

This is the third book of the Bedlam Team series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. If you love well-layered thrillers with engaging characters and a few twists, this book is for you!

I particularly loved Natalee’s story, and it was great to see some of the characters of the previous books too.(*****)

My Work in Progress

Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter Carnage 3D Covertwenty-eight. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 374, an increase of sixteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

After the last guest departed, Olivia, Pedro, and Alonzo sauntered to the veranda for a nightcap. While they sat sipping single malt whiskey, a myriad of night creatures serenaded them.

“So, Alonzo. What do you think about the lovely ladies who visited tonight?” Pedro drained his glass. “Did any stand out?”

“Pedro, it’s not a cattle market,” Alonzo grinned, glancing upwards. “But, one or two caught my attention.”

“Make sure you marry for money and power. Love can wait.”

Olivia rolled her eyes at Pedro’s guidance but held her tongue. Sounds like his personal creed.

Arm in arm, Pedro and Olivia ascended the grand staircase. Midway down the corridor, they kissed and separated, each going to their own bedroom.

Olivia tossed and turned. At last, sleep took her. Two hours into an uneasy slumber, she sensed someone’s presence. Her eyes shot open, searching the darkness for any hint of an intruder. Her hand slid over to the nightstand as a voice distracted her.

“Olivia.” A familiar voice whispered.

“Yes, Papa?”

“You must build new alliances. Our business is suffering. Americans consume less product, and foreign competitors are encroaching upon our territories, stealing our fields, and our workers. More security is required—tougher measures. You may not want to go to war, but you must or lose all I built. Reach out to Días. He will help you.”

The voice faded. Olivia waited, but she remained alone. She drifted off to sleep, a smile on her face. She understood her dead father’s edict.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Vanished by Mark Bierman. This is a thought-provoking story, which is very relevant given the global push to end modern-day slavery. It’s easy to become immersed in the helpless situation of those finding themselves alone and subjected to all kinds of brutality. Mark’s characters, John and Tyler, head to Haiti to assist with the construction of an orphanage but before long, find themselves involved in the hunt for a missing child, Chantale.

Mark has done an excellent job in creating realistic characters and an intense plot. Readers will find themselves cheering on Tyler and John in the hopes they can rescue Chantale before it’s too late. This is the first novel I’ve read written by Mark and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 1, 2019

It’s hard to believe today is the 1st of September. Where did the summer go? The weeks have certainly sailed past. We’re off to a sunny but chilly start at 49F/9C.

Yesterday, we participated in a Maker’s Market at the Olympia Shopping Arcade in Kirkcaldy. Built in 1898, the arcade was originally part of a three-story linen mill. There are currently nine independent businesses in the arcade. The fees for setting up a table at the market go toward rejuvenation of the facility.

While it was quiet, depending upon footfall traffic, we did manage to sell two signed copies of The Kurdish Connection. Some of my candles and several sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets also went to happy customers who ventured out in the mixed weather.

Best of all, one of the coordinators of the market, who also has a shop in the arcade, offered me shelf space to sell my novels, receiving a small commission in return, which will go into the rejuvenation fund.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 1st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Wilhelmus Kist, writer/director of Dutch Staatscourant; Lydia Sigourney, American religious author (How to Be Happy); James Gordon Bennett, Sr., American newspaper publisher (New York Herald); Jacobus J Cremer, painter/author (Overbetuwsche Novellen); Innokenty Annensky, Russian Empire, poet, critic and interpreter (poètes maudits); Henri Bourassa, French Canadian politician and publisher; Edgar Rice Burroughs, American author (Tarzan of the Apes, Mars Saga); Blaise Cendrars, [Frederic Sauser-Hall], Swiss poet/writer; Hubert Lampo, Flemish writer/essayist (Coming of Joachim Stiller); Willem Frederik Hermans, Dutch writer (Mandarins on Sulfuric Acid); Theo Joekes, Dutch journalist, writer, and politician (VVD); C[arolyn] J[anice] Cherryh, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Faded Sun Trilogy); Mustafa Balel, Turkish writer; and Timothy Zahn, American sci-fi author (Hugo, Cobra Strike).

Was anyone familiar to you? There were several I recognized, including Edgar Rice Burroughs and Timothy Zahn. 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

1541181671Writing continued on A Cartel’s Revenge this week with the completion of chapter twenty-seven. As always, it’s now posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 358, an increase of eighteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Throughout the afternoon, trucks delivered the necessities for the Morenos’ party, including flower arrangements, tables, chairs, and linens. As the day wore on, the caterers appeared, bringing their own special implements for creating sensational regional and local dishes for the buffet. The staggering menu included Valluna cutlets, milanesa, arroz de lisa, mamona, lechona, and tamales. Others brought cases of champagne, whiskey, vodka, and rum. In the corner of the mansion’s ballroom, a twelve-piece orchestra worked through their repertoire, selecting pieces designed to awe their audience.

Everything and everyone was in position by seven thirty in the evening.

Eight p.m. Still no guests. Olivia’s outward calm crumbled, a frown replaced her smile. She paced back and forth from the entranceway to the ballroom, her grimace deepening with each circuit.

Eight fifteen. A taxi arrived—false alarm, a waiter, late for work.

Eight thirty. Pedro strolled toward his over-anxious wife and smiled.

“A long string of fancy cars passed through the perimeter gate. Your guests are sticking to an old-fashioned belief—arriving late.” He sighed. At least I hope they’ll come—for Olivia’s sake.

“As long as they come, that’s the important thing. For Alonzo. And us.”

More next time.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Together, we’ve completed chapter seven and are moving along nicely with the story.

It’s always interesting to see how our minds interact and create the way forward for our characters. It’s a truly collaborate effort and I’m enjoying every minute of the experience!

Books I’m Reading

The Lt. Kate Gazarra Series 1-3 has been released in a box set by Blair Howard. Some of you might have already read my reviews of Jasmine, Cassandra, and Saffron, but in case you haven’t here’s a recap:

JasmineBased on the adventures Harry’s friend and police partner, Lieutenant Kate Gazzara, this is an excellent beginning to this series.

Harry left the police force to begin life anew as a private investigator, leaving Kate to solve new homicides while building up her own network of contacts. Harry’s still in the background, assisting when needed but Kate is now the primary character. Already molded in the Harry Starke series, Kate takes readers on a whirlwind ride as another body appears.

An excellent cast of characters, a riveting plot, and almost more excitement than one can handle in a single evening (I read the entire novel in four nights), its another one for thriller aficionados to add to their collection. I’m already looking forward to the release of the next one!

Cassandraanother excellent read, given to us by a master storyteller. Lt. Kate Gazzara is up to her ears with internal police department issues when she’s instructed to update the assistant police chief on the cases she’s working on, including a twenty-three-year-old murder of a young woman named Cassandra.

I enjoy how Blair blends his larger-than-life characters together with an excellent plot, which keeps readers guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime. This is well-written and moves at a fast pace. Highly recommended for those you enjoy crime stories.

SaffronBlair has created another excellent thriller with his latest Lt. Kate Gazzara novel, Saffron. More bodies keep popping up, but Kate is hard on the case, trying to determine who the killer or killers might be. When the bodies begin appearing in other jurisdictional areas, since Kate had the first one, she became the overall coordinator since they were all killed in the same manner.

Things become more difficult for Kate as her long-time partner makes a surprise announcement and the assistant chief is creating personal problems for her. Blair weaves everything together into a realistic plot. You won’t want to put this one down until you’ve ready every page! I’m personally looking forward to the next one in the series.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings,August 25, 2019

We’ve had decent weather over the past week. As a result, we put some of the outdoor chores aside and made three trips to Aberdour beach. Since it’s a bank holiday here this weekend, we made the most of our excursions before the crowds came in.

The first time we went, we took Frankie, the puppy we help look after. It was his first time to the beach. Every time he saw a bird or dog, he’d sit and watch. We didn’t let him off the lead as he’s still young, but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Tommy, one of our male cats, decided this week he wanted to use the laptop. Several times he would push my hand away from the keyboard. He was very persistent and at one point, he actually powered it down. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything I was working on!

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

Johann G von Herder, German philosopher, theologist and poet; Antoine Louis Léon de Saint-Just, French revolutionary and writer; Bret Harte, American author (Outcasts of Poker Flat); Judith Gautier, French poetess, novelist (Le Dragon Impérial); Mollie Panter-Downes, British writer and columnist (The Shoreless Sea); Desmond Flower, English publisher; J. B. Charles [Willem H. Nagel], Dutch criminologist and writer; Brian Moore, Irish novelist (Catholics, Doctor’s Wife); Thea Astley, Australian novelist and short-story writer; Charles Wright, American poet (Black Zodiac); Frederick Forsyth, British author (Day of the Jackal, Deceiver, Odessa File); Sherley Anne Williams, American poet and novelist (Dessa Rose); Conrad Black, Canadian-born British newspaper magnate; Charles Ghigna (Father Goose), American poet and children’s books author (Tickle Day: Poems from Father Goose); Martin Amis, English novelist (London Fields); and Noxon, American television writer and producer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew except for one of my favorites: Frederick Forsyth. 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

1541181671This week, I was on a writing roll, finishing chapters twenty-three through twenty-six of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count continues to increase, now standing at 339, an increase of twenty-nine in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Pushing through the doors, she slid around the corner, squatted, and fired three times without aiming. An incoming round smashed into the wall in front of her. She leaned into the stone for cover as rough-edged shards whirled toward her face. Startled, Olivia dropped the pistol. Blood trickled from a cut above her right eye. She sucked in her breath and wiped it away as anger replaced her fear.

Alto.” A huge man climbed over the railing from the patio. Piercing dark eyes shone beneath a mop of black hair as he plopped into a chair at the small bistro table, and helped himself to a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Diablo.” Olivia spat the word as the behemoth stood and helped her into the other chair. “Ramon, one day you’ll cause my death. The training becomes more intense every day.” She grabbed his goblet. “Salud.” She drained the glass.

***

Bam! Bam!

Ramon rose. His movements panther-like, he approached the door. He turned the knob in minor increments while the thudding continued.

“Shhh.” Someone outside the room cautioned and received a snigger in response.

Ramon yanked the door open. Caught off guard, two girls tumbled into the room. Laughing and giggling, they fell into a disheveled stack of limbs. He grabbed an arm of each child and helped them to their feet.

“Ramon, be careful! You’ll wrinkle my pretty dress.” Olivia’s ten-year-old daughter, Maria, stomped her foot and straightened the folds of her pink frock.

“Maria, stop it.” Silvina, her eight-year-old sister, dressed in blue, squirmed out of Ramon’s clutches.

Together, the two girls darted across the Spanish tile, color-coordinated ribbons holding their long hair in place as they melted into Olivia’s embrace for a much-needed hug.

More next week.

angolan cole-revised3I also continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola, the collaborative work I’m writing with author Michael Maxwell. Most of my time this week was spent on various pieces of research for chapter seven, but it’s coming along nicely.

I’m really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Michael. Between us, I believe we’re coming up with some great ideas, bouncing things off each other across the world as we are eight time zone apart. So far, the arrangement is working well and I’m learning a lot from Michael.  Eventually, we’ll fine-tune our synopsis and I’ll include it in one of my weekly posts.

Books I’m Reading

I recently had the opportunity to read Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless Legal Thriller Book 1) by Melissa F. Miller.  What a fantastic story! From the offset I became immersed in my reading, following Sasha as she works in a Pittsburgh law firm.  Working on a case for one of the firm’s largest clients, things go awry. Not only is the client embroiled in the aftermath of one of their planes crashing, killing everyone on board, people close to the case begin dying.

Irreparable Harm is a light-hearted story with an excellent plot and realistic characters, which kept me turning the pages. When Sasha joins forces with Connolly, an air marshal, to investigate the crash, the action and tension continues to increase, and I stayed up late to finish reading. This is the first novel of Melissa’s I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved