Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 15, 2022

As we hit the middle of the month, things have greened up nicely and the hydrangeas are getting ready to produce their blooms. Each evening we have a visit from two hedgehogs. It’s always a treat to see them scamper across the back patio to a dish of small animal munchies and another filled with water. Sometimes, though, there will be a punch-up as one insists it’s getting to whichever dish first.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “What we are today is a result of our own past actions; Whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions; Decide how you want to act now. We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 15th, the third Sunday of the month:

Mary Wortley Montagu, English essayist, feminist, eccentric; Martinus W van der Aa, author/Dutch head-editor (The Time); Eduard von Keyserling, Baltic German writer (Dritte Stiege); (Lyman) L. Frank Baum, American children’s book author (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian playwright/novelist (La Ronde); Albert Verwey, Dutch poet/literature historian (Motion); Katherine Anne Porter, American novelist (Ship of Fools); David Vogel, Russian-born Hebrew writer (Huwelijksleven); Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian playwright and novelist (The Master and Margarita, Black Snow); Xavier Herbert, Australian author; Max Frisch, Swiss architect/writer (Stiller, Biedermann); Alexis Kagame, Rwandan philosopher, historian, poet and Tutsi intellectual and cultural leader; Jakucho Setouchi, Japanese writer and Buddhist nun; Jaime Garcia Terre, poet/essayist; Anthony Shaffer, Engish playwright (Sleuth); Peter Shaffer, English playwright (Equus, Amadeus); Donald [Anthony] Moffitt, American sci-fi author (Jupiter Theft); and Harve Brosten, American comedy writer (All In The Family, 1975-77).

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work is underway on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. I’ll be posting the first chapter later today to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Some of you might have read earlier postings where I’ve included the synopsis. I’ve tweaked it a bit, so here it is again:

An international criminal gang, known as Diablo Corps, plans a series of devastating attacks to take over the G7 countries unless their demands are met. Secure in their hidden headquarters in Antarctica, they possess the means to disrupt the leading world economies. Walter Brown, the Diablo Corps CEO want what other power-hungry people want—ultimate power.

Will the G7 bend to the will of these rogues or will evil triumph? Diablo Corps believes their previous infiltration of the international banking system and world stock exchanges will allow them to risk all on a single gamble.

Bedlam joins forces with The Scandinavian Protection Agency to thwart the efforts of the group and restore faith. Will Antarctica become a smoking ruin or will the world suffer an economic meltdown?

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another forty reviews this week, bringing the total to 855.Slide1

Here’s the penultimate snippet:

Major Bangash muted the television after the third review of the chaos in Lahore. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Alo?”

“Good evening. This is ISI Major Bangash. Connect me to Captain Fazli Khan at once.”

“At once, sir.”

While he waited, Bangash heard the switchboard operator speak to someone in the background.

“Good evening, sir.” The low-pitched voice appeared to be in the room rather than across the country.

“Fazli. How are you doing? I’m sure you’re busy with the hooligans in Lahore, but I wanted to get an update.”

“Yes, sir. It has been complete chaos here. We do not yet know the identities of the perpetrators of this outrage. But we shall.”

Bangash clicked his teeth. “Understood. The scenes on the television showed a lot of violence and destruction.”

“At least twenty police officers were taken to the hospital with injuries. In addition, the miscreants destroyed more than a dozen vehicles before the army arrived to calm the situation.”

“Do you have an estimate of the number of protestors?”

“Yes, sir. We estimate over one thousand five hundred people joined in. At least seventy were arrested while fifty are being treated for cuts, bruises, and broken bones.” Fazli sucked in a breath. “Seventeen people died at the scene–including three children.”

Bangash frowned. “I see. Well, I won’t keep you any longer, Fazli. Send me regular reports on your investigation.”

“Yes, sir. May I ask why?”

“There might be a link to someone I’m monitoring here in Peshawar.”

“Understood.”

“I expect to hear from you soon.” Bangash broke the connection. He slid his chair over to his private laptop, logged in, and began typing:

I cannot be certain, but it appears our Russian ‘friend’ is somehow connected to the pro-Punjab reunification protest in Lahore today. I fear this is just the beginning A colleague posted to Lahore will keep me apprised of any further developments.

On an unrelated matter, I have learned from a contact at the Governor’s House that the Tehrik-i-Taliban are expecting further attacks from the army in the FATA region. I shall use my influence to warn the tribal elders.

Bangash pulled a forbidden bottle of whiskey, obtained through an American contact, and took a large gulp. Finished, he put the bottle back in its hiding place. What will happen next?

I’ll bring you the final snippet of Ultimate Escalation next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 8, 2022

We’ve had rain to start most days, but today’s been dry and overcast, so I was able to cut the grass. Hope it remains dry for a few days, as we have a painter coming tomorrow to paint the eves. Too high for me without a different ladder, so we took advantage of this painter doing a couple of other properties on the street.

Another update on Sylvia’s condition. She had a pacemaker installed on Tuesday and all the initial tests were fine. We saw the practice nurse on Thursday, who changed the bandage and said Sylvia was healing nicely. The next appoint is six weeks from now and the pacemaker will be recalibrated/adjusted if needed.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Never lose Hope you never know what Tomorrow may bring.” Hope is the best thing which make us believe that God is with us ,God with us that mean hope lives in our souls and our thinking so please smile never give up everything be okay. Always when things seem darkest you know God is always there & things work out, that’s God working in a mysterious ways. Always works for me. You just have to do everything humanly possible& and let God handle it. ~ Melissa Browning © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 8th, the second Sunday of the month:

Andrea Alciato, Italian lawyer and writer; Francis Quarles, English poet (Argalus & Parthenia, Emblems); Edward Gibbon, English historian (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire); Phillis Wheatley, American poet who was both the second published African-American poet and first published African-American woman; George Bruce Malleson, English officer in India and author; Francis Warre-Cornish, English scholar and writer; Oscar Hammerstein, German opera and playwright (Kohinoor); John Meade Falkner, English novelist (Moonfleet); Edmund Wilson, American critic/writer (Patriotic Gore); Vera Chapman, English writer and Tolkien Society founder; George Woodcock, Canadian writer of political biography and history (Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements); Gertrud Fussenegger [Dorn], Austrian writer (Mohrenlegende); Romain Gary, Polish writer; Sloan Wilson, American novelist (Man in the Gray Flannal); Tristan Jones, British sailor and author; Gary Snyder, American beat poet (Turtle Island – Pulitzer Prize, 1975; Rip Rap and Cold Mountain Poems); Julieta Campos, Cuban-Mexican writer; Daniel Robberechts, Belgian writer (Labia Majora); Thomas Pynchon, American novelist (V, Gravity’s Rainbow); Peter Benchley, American novelist (Jaws, The Deep); Beth Henley, American actress and playwright (Miss Firecracker); Andreas P. Nielsen, Danish author and composer; and Terry Christian, British writer, radio and television presenter.

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.
 

My Work in Progress

Slide1The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another fifty reviews this week, bringing the total to 815.

Here’s another snippet:

Two days later, over 100 protesters assembled near the memorial park. Two youths led the demonstration inching toward the monument, beating a discordant rhythm on their drums.

Police officers lined the perimeter of the monument, their backs to a black wrought-iron fence.

Numerous onlookers crowded the park, anticipating a clash between the security forces and the protesters.

The apparent demonstration ringleader stopped within a couple of meters of the police line. He turned to his supporters, holding a blue and gray portable megaphone. He gazed at the myriad of banners, signs, and flags. “Listen, my friends. Today we begin our conquest to reunite Punjabi—once and for all. Do not cower in front of these officers.” He gestured toward the police. “We have a fundamental right to demonstrate.”

Cheers erupted from those assembled, while some waved their flags with vigor.

“We will not be cowered. We must show courage in the face of ongoing strife. Who is with me?”

“Yes!” a multitude of voices shouted.

Someone broke into a pro-Punjabi chant.

Soon, others joined in.

The ringleader raised his hands. “There is no better place to show the government our strength and courage than at the monument to those who lost their lives facing adversity. Will they continue to beat us down?”

“No!”

Someone threw a rock at the police line.

An officer collapsed to the ground, his face bloodied.

Another officer blew a whistle.

Gunshots came from the police line, striking the demonstrators closest to them.

Screams filled the air. Pandemonium broke out as tear-gas canisters blanketed the area with a thick fog.

Once peaceful protesters lowered their signs, banners, and flags. Using the staffs as weapons, they charged the police line.

More gunfire ensued.

The penultimate snippet will come next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 1, 2022

Happy May Day! May April’s showers bring May flowers. We didn’t have a lot of rain throughout April, but the final day did bring us a steady but light rain all day. Hopefully, we’ll see the benefits soon.

An update on Sylvia’s condition. Although the consultant had anticipated Sylvia’s procedure was going to be on Tuesday, the specialist actually doing the operations told he on Monday he was heavily backlogged and would refer her to a colleague at a different hospital and she was discharged.She’s now scheduled to have the procedure this coming Tuesday, May 3rd. Fingers crossed it takes place and gives her what she needs!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Staying quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say, it means I don’t think you’re ready to hear my thoughts.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 1st, the first Sunday of the month:

Joseph Addison, English essayist and poet (co-founder of The Spectator); Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov, Russian poet; José Amador de los Ríos, Spanish historian and poet; José de Alencar, Brazilian writer (O Guarani); Guido Gezelle, Flemish priest and poet; Laza Lazarević, Serbian writer (Prvi put s ocem na jutrenje) and psychiatrist; Conrad Weiss, German writer and poet (Tantum dic verbo); John Evans, English cricket batsman (1 Test) and author (‘The Escaping Club’); Ignazio Silone, Italian novelist (Fontamara, Pane e vino); Antal Szerb, Hungarian author and historian; Giovannino Guareschi, Italian writer (Don Camillo, Peppone); Yiannis Ritsos, Greek poet and political activist; Joseph Heller, American novelist (Catch-22, 1963 Arts & Letters Award); Terry Southern, writer; Sergio Infante, Chilean poet and writer; and Wes Anderson, American director and writer.

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1As I mentioned last week, the final chapter of Ultimate Escalation was completed. I’m currently working my way through the myriad of reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

My manuscript received another forty-one reviews this week, bringing the total to 765.

Here’s another snippet:

The sounds of heavy traffic woke Mishka. He glanced out the window, watching a motorcycle with a family of five passing by. “You forgot to wake me.”

Bikram shook his head. “We have not yet reached Amritsar, sahib. Perhaps ten more minutes. Do you want to stop by the Golden Temple? It is the most important shrine for the Sikhs.”

“Perhaps another time. I think—” Mishka grabbed onto the door handle to steady himself as the truck rocked while passing a cluster of people on bicycles.

“Yes, sahib?”

“I think we might have to leave India in a hurry after we complete our mission.”

“Many things to visit in India, sahib. I will be happy to be your guide—for a small fee.”

Mishka laughed. “We shall see.”

Bikram turned onto a side street, packed with trucks, cars, and rickshaws. Dozens of pedestrians scooted between the vehicles, tempting fate as they headed toward their destinations. Three and four-story buildings, with stores on the ground floors, hugged both sides of the street, display stands erected on the sidewalks to attract buyers. Multi-colored signs covered the storefronts, beckoning consumers inside. Vehicle horns, people shouting and laughing, and the scent of cooking food wafted through Mishka’s window.

“One day, sahib, a ring road around Amritsar will be completed. For now, we must work our way through the outskirts of the city until we reach the road leading to Vedant’s property. From there, it is only a few kilometers.”

Twenty minutes later, Bikram made another turn onto a divided highway. Traffic heading into Amritsar was heavy, but few vehicles traveled in the outbound direction.

Bikram blew his horn and swerved to miss another motorbike bearing multiple passengers. “We will soon arrive, sahib.”

“Excellent.” Mishka studied the family clutching to one another as they sped by. “How often do those overloaded motorcycles end up in accidents.”

“Many times each day. They are a hazard but no worse than stray livestock on the streets.”

Buildings gave way to farmland as they continued out of Amritsar. Bikram pointed to the right. “See those buildings in the distance? That is where we are going.”

“Did I catch a glimpse of a sign for a business?”

“Yes, sahib. The farm is used as a getaway for people who want to escape from city life. It is closed right now, so we could use it for our purposes.” Bikram chuckled. “I am aware you will be paying the fee for all of the buildings. Did you not know this?”

Mishka pursed his lips. “Vedant did mention something about it, but we’ll take care of the finances later.”

Bikram slowed and turned onto a narrow lane. The second truck followed. “We are here, sahib. First, I will take you to one of the stone cottages where you and your men will stay. Our supporters will use two of them to make signs and banners, and those not from this area will sleep in the other two.”

“What about the big house?”

“That is where we will eat out meals and meet to discuss whatever you think is of importance.” Bikram gestured to the first cottage. “You will be in this one. In the evening, when there is a slight breeze, it is very pleasant on the rooftop terrace to enjoy a sunrise or sunset.”

Mishka laughed. “You sound like an advertising man.”

“It is my duty, sahib, to support the family.” Bikram stopped in front of the building. We shall unload your equipment before going for something to eat.”

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 24, 2022

Overall, the weather’s been good this week. Little rain, plenty of sunshine, but a chilly breeze. We went to DeVilla Forest twice for long walks and of course, plenty of chats with dog walkers we met.

Unfortunately, we also made a trip to the emergency room Friday night. When I was asleep, Sylvia woke me up. She was fully dressed and said she was going to A&E because she was having heart palpitations. Sylvia never mentioned they had been occurring for the last six weeks but they weren’t stopping last night. I took her to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. After an EKG, chest xray, blood work, etc., they decided to keep her overnight as their tests revealed she had a previously undiagnosed heart murmur. The consultant said Saturday afternoon they’d be keeping her in until they sorted things out. Sylvia will be receiving a pacemaker. She said after her recovery, she planned to go snowboarding in the Alps and bungee jumping in the Himalayas. I better get some rest!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Most people are stronger than they know. They just forget to believe in it sometimes.”

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

Robert Bailey Thomas, American journalist and founder (The Farmer’s Almanac); Nikolaj Bestuzhev, Russian Navy officer, writer and painter (Decembrist revolt); Karl Leberecht Immermann, German writer; Vicente Fidel López, Argentine historian (La Novia del Hereje); Anthony Trollope, English novelist and poet (Barchester Towers); Carl Spitteler, Swiss poet (Prometheus & Epimetheus; Nobel 1919); Eduardo Acevedo Díaz, Uruguayan writer (Ismael, Grito de Gloria); Jaroslav Hašek, Czech writer (The Good Soldier Švejk); Kurt Pinthus, German-American writer; Robert Penn Warren, American poet and novelist (All the King’s Men, Pulitzer 1946); Clement Freud, British writer, radio personality, and politician; Patricia Bosworth, American actor, journalist, writer, and biographer; Sue Grafton, American author of detective novels (“A” Is for Alibi); Eric Kripke, American television writer, director and producer (Supernatural); and Siarhey Balakhonau, Belarusian writer.

Any names familiar to you? There were four for me: Robert Bailey Thomas, Anthony Trollope, Robert Penn Warren, and Sue Grafton. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Earlier in the week, I was on a roll with Ultimate Escalation, completing the final seven chapters, bringing the first draftg to forty-seven chapers and 73,414 words. My manuscript received another twenty-five reviews, bringing the total to 724. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing. I’ve also added three beta readers to my list.

Here’s another snippet:

They were soon escorted to Steve Wright’s office. After handshakes, they took chairs around a small conference table. Steve, his bald head shining, poured coffee for his guests. “It’s not every day the secretary of state contacts me to do a favor for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Whatever you need, Trevor, it’s yours.”

“Thank you, Steve. We have a two-fold mission. I assume you’re aware of the recent turmoil in Punjab?”

“Yes, my counterpart in Lahore keeps all of the mission in Pakistan apprised of unrest—we all do. No telling if or when it might spread to other factions—this country’s a powder keg waiting to explode.” Steve sipped from his cup.

“I’ve been cleared by the chairman to fill you in on the purpose of our visit. We suspect several former Russian Spetsnaz soldiers were involved in the Punjabi unrest. Another of our teams is heading to India now to verify activity there.”

Steve nodded. “There’s a rumor circulated by the Pakistani intelligence services regarding this. Don’t know if they’re trying to cover up something they did and it got out of hand, or whether it’s a valid concern.”

“It’s definitely a concern.” Trevor pursed his lips. “Imagine two nuclear powers embroiled in a bitter conflict over losing some of their territory. It’ll be worse than the continuing feuds over Kashmir. The chairman is worried they might resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction to hang on to their land.”

Steve pulled a business card from a pocket and scribbled on it. “Here are my official contact numbers. My personal number is on the back.”

“Thank you, Steve. We’ll keep you in the loop while we’re in Karachi.”

“Sure thing. What the other matter?”

Trevor glanced at the rest of his team. “Three of our multi-national group were following Russians from Dubai to Karachi. After they arrived here, we soon lost contact.”

“Hmm.” Steve rubbed a finger across his smooth chin. “Our nurse was contacted by one of the local hospitals. They said an American was in critical condition after being caught up in a terrorist attack at one of our hotels. They want all foreign hotel chains to leave the country. You might recall Sheraton pulled out years ago after a series of attacks.” Steve waved a hand in the air. “I’m getting sidetracked. The hospital reported the American had a broken arm and leg and multiple lacerations, including a deep wound on the side of his head. He’s been in a coma, but this morning he regained consciousness. We haven’t identified him yet. There weren’t any documents on his person when medical personnel took him to the hospital.”

“One of our team following the Russians was an American. Would it be possible to visit him? If he’s our colleague, we’ll recognize him.”

“Of course. “Steve spoke briefly on the phone before returning the instrument to its cradle. “The nurse will call the hospital now and clear the way for you. We’ve also reserved an armored vehicle for you during your stay.”

“Outstanding, Steve. I’ll let the chairman know you’ve gone out of your way to accommodate us. I’m sure he’ll contact the secretary of state.”

Steve’s face beamed. “Thanks, Trevor. If there’s anything else I can do, just name it.”

Trevor stood and shook hands. “We’ll be in touch.”

“I’ll take you to the motor pool, so you can collect your ride.”

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! Hope everyone has a fantastic day.

Mother Nature gave us a fairly dry week. While clouds were the predominant feature, there was little rain. As a result, we managed a couple of walks in the nearby forest, did more work in the flower beds, and cut the grass for the first time this year. As the amount of daylight increases each day, so does the chirping and twittering of the various birds in our area. Coupled with the growth of buds and leaves popping out, spring is definitely here!

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

“Sometimes, burning bridges isn’t a bad thing. It prevents you from going back to a place you should never have been to begin with.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 17th, the third Sunday of the month and International Haiku Poetry Day:

John Ford, English dramatist (‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore); Henry Vaughan, English poet (Silex Scintillans); François Valentijn, Dutch vicar and writer (Old and New East-India); Robert Blair, Scottish poet (The Grave); Ray Stannard Baker, American journalist (Puliter Prize 1940); Anton Wildgans, Austrian poet and playwright (Armut); Isak Dinesen [Karen Blixen-Finecke], Danish baroness and writer (Out of Africa); Antonius Coolen, Dutch author (Village by the River); Thornton Wilder, American playwright and writer (Bridge of San Luis Rey); Edward Chodorov, Broadway playwright and director (Story of Louis Pasteur); Humphrey Sims Moore, British pacifist and journalist (founder of Peace News); Ivan Goff, Australian screenwriter (Man of a Thousand Faces; Hervé Bazin, French writer (Head Against the Wall); Bengt Anderberg, Swedish poet and writer (Kain); Lloyd Biggle Jr., American sci-fi author (Silence is Deadly); Donald Richie, American-born author and (Japanese) film critic; Cynthia Ozick, American author (Pagan Rabbi & Other Stories); Joyce Molyneux, British chef and author; Ruth Etchells, English poet and principal (St John’s College-Durham); Mario Brenta, Italian writer and director (Maicol, Barnabo of the Mountains); and Nick Hornby, English writer (High Fidelity).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I continued moving forward with Ultimate Escalation, completing chapters thirty-seven through forty. My manuscript received another thirty-five reviews, bringing the total to 699. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

I also updated my manuscript’s outline again. One chapter was deleted while several others were combine, Barring any further changes, there will now be forty-seven chapters when it’s completed.

Here’s another snippet:

The Emirates Airlines flight bounced on the runway at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi before settling into a smooth roll, jerking as the pilot applied the brakes. A wing tipped in a strong gust of wind as the plane cut onto a taxiway before lurching to a halt at the designated gate.

Despite announcements from the cabin crew to remain seated, many passengers undid their seatbelts, jumped to their feet, and pushed toward the exit.

Evelyn shook her head as she turned to Barbara Battersea, one of her Bedlam Charlie teammates. “Despite the dozens of flights I’ve taken over the years, it never ceases to amaze me when people think they’ll disembark before the crew is ready.”

Seconded from New Zealand’s Security and Intelligence Service, petite with an athletic build, Barbara ran her hand over her blonde, spiked hair. “Are you nuts? For the most part, civility disappeared years ago. I’m flabbergasted when a gentleman comes along.” Barbara grinned. “Too bad I can’t carry my Ka-Bar on the plane. I’d clip a few Achilles tendons and let them crawl.”

As the aircraft door finally opened, the impatient passengers surged forward, ignoring safety warnings from the crew.

Evelyn and Barbara opened their seatbelts, stood, and reached up to the overhead bin to collect their bags.

“Let me help you.” Noah Appleman, the quietest team member and originally from Israel’s Sayeret Matkal, dropped his backpack in the aisle as he assisted Evelyn and Barbara.

“Thank you, Noah.” Evelyn slipped her arms through her bag’s shoulder straps and headed toward the exit.

Barbara, Noah, and Ollie followed.

After stopping by the baggage carousel and collecting their checked luggage, they cleared customs without any difficulty and left the terminal.

Evelyn spotted two men dressed in casual clothes standing to the right. Both wore mirrored sunglasses and were of similar height.

One man, who clearly worked out based on the size of his bulging biceps, held a sign with a single word: Skylark.

After she nodded, the men turned and led the Bedlam team to a restricted parking lot. They stopped by two identical red and black Kia Sonet SUVs.

The man with the body-builder physique gestured to the far vehicle. “The packages you were expecting are already loaded in the back.” He hit the key fob and unlocked the SUV before handing the keys and an envelope to Evelyn. “Inside is the information regarding your hotel in Chandigarh and a contact information card. If you need any further support, ring the top number, and we’ll get things sorted.”

“Thank you.”

Both men nodded before climbing into the other vehicle and departing.

The Bedlam team stowed their gear on top of the three packages.

Noah closed the door and climbed inside.

Barbara and Ollie raced around their vehicle, both reaching the driver’s door at the same time.

Evelyn shook her head as she edged between them. “Listen, you two. You’ve been at each other since we boarded the plane in Australia. You act like siblings instead of professionals. If you were my niece and nephew, I’d clip you ‘round the ear. Button it.” She dangled the vehicle’s keys from her hand.

Barbara and Ollie grinned at each other. She grabbed the keys from Evelyn. “I’ll go first. Ollie, you can navigate.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 10, 2022

Over the past week we’ve experience more below season average temperatures, barely reaching 50F/10C. There’s been a mixture of sun, clouds, and rain throughout, and we even had frost one morning. Today, it’s bright and sunny and the birds are singing away.

We’ve been at the monthly small business market this weekend. Sales were a bit lower than normal. Thirteen of my autographed books sold along with sixteen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets and another of her books. With the recent increases in domestic gas and electricity bills (ours went up fifty-four percent from last month), council taxes (similar to property taxes), car taxes, and national insurance premiums, it’s likely some people are still figuring out their personal impact. Also, local schools began Easter holidays which could also have figured in the lower attendance.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird had died, ants eat it. One tree can be made into a million matchsticks, but only one matchstick is needed to burn a million trees. Circumstances can change at anytime. Don’t devalue or hurt anyone in this life. You may be powerful today but time is more powerful than you.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 10th, the second Sunday of the month: Balthazar Huydecoper, Dutch translator and historian; Basílio da Gama, Portuguese poet (O Uraguai); William Hazlitt, English essayist and critic; Lewis “Lew” Wallace, American author (Ben-Hur) and Major General (Union Army); Forceythe Willson, American poet (The Old Sergeant); Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American publisher (St Louis Post-Dispatch, NY World) and Democratic politician whose bequest founded the Columbia School of Journalism and the Pulitzer Prize; George William Russell, Irish nationalist, poet and artist; Alfred Kubin, Austrian writer and illustrator; Montague Summers, English clergyman and writer (Malleus Maleficarum); Paul Sweezy, American Marxist economist and editor (Monthly Review); Stefan Heym, German-American author (Crusaders, Family Benda); Leo Vroman, Dutch-American hematologist and poet; Chuck Connors, American author, actor (The Rifleman, Branded, Cowboy in Africa), professional basketball and baseball player; Marcel van Maele, Belgian poet and playwright; Adrian Henri, British poet and founder of poetry-rock group (Liverpool Scene); Rokusuke Ei, Japanese author and lyricist (Sukiyaki); David Halberstam, American journalist, historian and author (Pulitzer 1964); Bella Akhmadulina, Russian poet (The String, Fever); Penny Vincenzi [Hannaford], British novelist (An Absolute Scandal, Spoils of Time trilogy); Paul Theroux, American travel book writer and novelist (Mosquito Coast); Barry M. Riemer, American author (The Great American Con Machine); John M. Ford, American sci-fi author and poet.

Any names familiar to you? I spotted three I know: Joseph Pulitzer, Chuck Connors, and Paul Therous. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge continue to participate in a Kindle Unlimited thrillers and killers promotion throughout April. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 109 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/aprilthrillersandkillers/ygd654x5xa

My Work in Progress

Slide1I continued moving forward with Ultimate Escalation, completing chapters thirty-four through thirty-six. My manuscript received another twelve reviews, bringing the total to 664. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

I also updated my manuscript’s outline again. Barring any further changes, there will be fifty-two chapters when it’s completed.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Blakely rubbed a hand over his messy hair as he strode down the corridor to his office. The click of his heels echoed in the deserted hallway. He unlocked his door, turned on the light, and set his Starbucks coffee on the credenza. He flicked to one of the twenty-four news channels and sat at his mahogany desk.

The admiral glanced at the wall clock as it clicked to 0430. While he waited for his computer to boot, he sipped his lukewarm brew. As soon as his computer was ready, he logged in and began sorting through a myriad of emails. Lots of routine stuffmy subordinates are cc’ed so they can respond.

As he reached the end of the overnight’s incoming emails, he clicked on one which caught his attention:

I wish to advise you, kind sir, about our Russian ‘friend.’ Since he relocated to Lahore, I have been cut off from him. I suggest asking a colleague to infiltrate the Punjab reunification effort.

“Hmm.” The admiral pursed his lips. “Might be useful.” He clicked on reply.

Proceed with caution. Assume he will pass his intel through you?

After sending his response, he stepped into the outer office, where the aroma of brewing coffee greeted him. He glanced around, wondering who had prepared it since it was too early for his secretary to be in the office.

A tall, slender man jumped to his feet. “Morning, Admiral. I thought you might enjoy some fresh coffee.” Matthew McMasters, nicknamed ‘the grandson’ because of his youthful appearance, filled two cups with the steaming liquid.

“Thanks, Matthew.” The admiral pointed toward his office. “Join me.”

They sat in chairs positioned in front of the admiral’s desk.

I have a task for you.” The admiral sipped his drink. “I want you to work your magic and delve into the financial background of two people—former Spetsnaz Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev and ISI Major Ejaz Bangash.”

“How far back do you want me to search, Admiral?”

“At least five years should be good. However, if something surfaces which might warrant going back even more, use your judgment.”

“Yes, sir. Should I send my reports to the usual distro?”

The admiral shook his head. “The report on Nikolaev can be sent to Sir Alex and Harrison but send the info on Bangash just to me.”

Matthew stood. “Yes, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

“Relax and finish your coffee.” The admiral laughed. “Plenty of time to get started.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 13, 2022

The past week has been marked by plenty of wind and rain, with the occasional dry spell. Fortunately, the temperature has risen and we’ve been close to 50F/10C for most of the week. The warmer weather has led to the appearance of buds on various bushes and shrubs, including the hydrangeas. I did manage to do a bit of cleanup in some of the flower beds at the front of the house, but plenty more to do when the weather permits.

Due to the current world situation, we continue to see the price of gasoline (petrol) increase. Over the past week, the price of a liter climbed seven pence to £1.57 or the equivalent of $7.87 for a U.S. gallon. If the exchange was the same now as in late February, the price would be $8.20!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “They are not grey hairs. They are my Wisdom highlights. I just happen to be extremely wise.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 13th, the second Sunday of the month:

Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist and writer; Moritz von Strachwitz, German poet; Oswald Garrison Villard, American journalist and editor of the New York Evening Post; Emanuel Stickelberger, Swiss writer (Bluthochzeit); Hugh S. Walpole, British novelist and playwright (Jeremy, Maradick at 40); Oskar Loerke, German writer (Longest Day-1926); Janet Flanner, American journalist (New Yorker); Dorothy Aldis, American children’s writer; Marcel Thiry, Belgian writer and wallon militant; Maria Pia de Braganca, Portuguese journalist and writer who claimed to be the bastard daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal; Mircea Eliade, Romanian religious historian (Le Yoga) and author; Walter Annenberg, American publisher (Triangle-TV Guide) and philanthropist; L. Ron Hubbard, American sci-fi writer (Death Quest) and founder of the Scientology cult; Sergey Mikhalkov, Soviet writer and poet; W.O. Mitchell, Canadian writer (Who Has Seen the Wind?); Maria Vlamynck, Flemish author; Charles Sickman Corsen, Dutch Antillean poet; Jim Slater, British financier and writer; Wolfgang Kohlhaase, German actor, director and writer (Solo Sunday); Barry Hughart, American author of fantasy novels (Bridge of Birds); David Nobbs, English comedic writer (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin); Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian prominent poet and writer; André Téchiné, French director and screenwriter (Scene of the Crime, Rendez-Vous); Yuri Andrukhovych, Ukrainian writer, poet and political essayist; Joe Ranft, American screenwriter and animator (Toy Story, Cars); and Robert Lanham, American author and satirist (The Hipster Handbook).

Any names familiar to you? I know one name on today’s list: L. Ron Hubbard. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

And finally, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance are participating in a Kindle Unlimited Mystery & Suspense and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion. There are 41 novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

ComL-8c(1)If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift (at least in the UK since it’s coming up on 27 March) for those special people in your life, look no further. Sylvia’s debut poetry and prose book, Colours of My Life, would make the perfect gift.

Colours of My Life is available across the Amazon network. Just click on the title anywhere in this article to find the universal link and your perfect gift.

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-eight of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another fourteen reviews, bringing the total to 584 As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

“Aaaaaaih!”

Screams, shouts, and alarms pierced the air. Someone coughed.

Willie pushed aside chunks of concrete, broken furniture, and a dead body as he inched his way in the direction of the cough. “Hello? Who’s there?”

Another cough. “Alf.”

“Just a minute, and I’ll be there. Are you injured?”

“A few cuts and bruises but nothing broken. There’s a lump of mortar pinning my arm. Can’t get enough leverage to shift it.”

Willie slid through an aperture. “Hang on. I’m right here.” He put his shoulder into the concrete. “Ready? Might hurt.”

“Go for it, mate.”

Willie grunted as he shoved the debris off Alf’s arm.

“Ow!” Alf wiggled his fingers. “What the hell happened?”

“Not sure exactly. There was a loud explosion, the hotel shook, and floors collapsed.”

“How long ago?”

“About fifteen minutes. C’mon, let’s climb out of here and find Nate.”

The men worked through the collapsed building. Dust continued to hang in the air, making it difficult to see their way.

At last, Willie and Alf dragged an unconscious Nate from under a pile of rubble and into a corridor.

“Help!” Willie waved his arms above his head.

A hotel security guard, covered in dust, blood trickling down his face, stumbled forward, carrying a rolled-up canvas stretcher. “I will help you, sahib. Are you a guest here?”

“Yes, and thank you.” Willed helped the guard unrolled the stretcher on a somewhat debris-free space.

Together the three men lowered Nate to the floor. Once he was safely ensconced, they picked him up and trundled toward the hotel’s lobby.

A doctor, wearing a dust-covered suit and a grimy facemask, approached them and gave Nate a once-over examination. The doctor pointed toward the main entrance. “Take your friend outside. An ambulance will take him to the hospital.”

“Thank you, doctor.” Willie rubbed a hand over his face. “What are his chances?”

The doctor extended his hand so the palm was perpendicular to the floor. He tilted his hand back and forth. “Fifty-fifty. If Allah is willing.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 27, 2022

ukrainian-waving-flag-28While I normally refrain from making any political comments in my posts, the situation in Ukraine certainly calls for action.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the brave Ukrainian people as they fight against the brutal onslaught from a deranged despot.

The price of gasoline (petrol) increased by two pence a liter overnight. This brings the cost to £1.47 a liter or $7.60 for a U.S. gallon.  Glad I filled up on Friday!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When someone is rude, keep a smile on your face. When you stay on the high road and keep your joy, you take away their power.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 27th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month.

Franciscus Raphelengius, Dutch book publisher; Edward Cave, English editor and publisher; Elias Annes Borger, Dutch theologist/poet (To the Rhine); Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (Song of Hiawatha); Alfred Pollard Edward, Civil War journalist; Richard Garnett, English author (Ananda the Miracle Worker); Alice Hamilton, physician/writer (workmen’s compensation laws); Manuel Ugarte, Argentine diplomat, politician, newspaper owner, and author; Angelina Weld Grimke, American journalist, teacher and playwright (Harlem Renaissance); Georges Migot, French composer, and poet (Les Agrestide; L’Arche); Allison Danzig, sports writer (Tennis Pictorial History); John Steinbeck, American author (Grapes of Wrath-Nobel 1962); James Thomas Farrell, American author (Studs Lonigan trilogy); Peter De Vries, author (Reuben, Reuben, Prick of Noon); Lawrence Durrell, Indian-British writer (Private Country, Alexandria Quartet); Kusumagraj, Indian writer; Irwin Shaw, American novelist (Rich Man Poor Man); Mervyn Jones, English author (Nobody’s Fault, 5 Hungarian Writers); Richard AFM Auwerda, Dutch journalist/writer; Josh Greenfeld, American author and screenwriter (A Child Called Noah); Peter Stone, American writer; Edward Lucie-Smith, British poet and poetry critic; N. Scott Momaday, American author (House Made of Dawn, Pulitzer 1969); and Michael A. Burstein, American writer.

Any names familiar to you? I know three names of today’s list: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, and Irwin Shaw. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter twenty-five of Ultimate Escalation and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another seven reviews, bringing the total to 559. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing and showing me what’s working and what might need a tweak.

Here’s another snippet:

ISI Major Ejaz Bangash stepped to the door of his spartan office. “Tea—and be quick!” He returned to his desk and gazed out the window.

Members of a Pakistani infantry company raced through an obstacle course before joining the growing formation on the parade ground.

Our excellent military is keeping themselves fit. How many will live through their first encounter with the Tehrik-i-Taliban or succumb to injuries fighting the Indians over Kashmir? He shook his head as he returned to the latest intelligence report that required his attention.

“Here, sir. I brought you some biscuits, too.” Zafar, Bangash’s aide, bowed as he set a tray on the desk before running out of the office.

Bangash sipped the hot brew and grimaced. No sugar—again. He removed the lid of the sugar bowl and added three heaping spoonfuls into his cup. He tried the tea again. “Ah, much better.”

He reread the report regarding the latest action of the Pakistani Taliban within the Khyber-Pahktunkhwa province. After adding his commentary to the report, he sent it to the next office on the distribution list.

Bangash scooted to his private laptop, resting on a roll-around cart in the corner. After logging in with a thirteen-digit password, he stared at the ceiling before composing a new message:

Thank you for your recent payment, duly received in the appropriate account. Our Russian ‘friend,’ and I use the term with trepidation, departed from Peshawar and is heading toward Lahore while his accomplice and several others flew to India. I anticipate an increase in calls for the reunification of Punjab in due course, including demonstrations and riots. Will advise when additional details are available.

Bangash sent his message and closed his laptop before glancing at the wall clock. Just enough time to get to Governor’s House for the reception. Perhaps I’ll collect a few more nuggets to send to my friends with the deep pockets.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I haven’t been doing much reading lately. With the college basketball season well underway as the conferences get ready for their tournaments and March Madness, I’ve been glued to the t.v. Once March Madness ends, I’ll be back to reading and reviewing on a regular basis.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 20, 2022

It’s been another week of crazy weather, including two named storms: Dudley and Eunice. Fortunately, our area missed out on the worst of the weather, although we can see snow on the hillsides surrounding Edinburgh.  No telling what Mother Nature will throw at us over the coming week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t believe everything you hear. There are always three sides to a story, yours, theirs and the truth.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 20th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Henry James Pye, English poet, British Poet Laureate (1790-1813); Johann Heinrich Voß, German poet; Adam Black, Scottish politician/publisher; William Carleton, Irish novelist; Nérée Beauchemin, Canadian physician and poet; Nikolai Garin [Michailovski], Russian author (Tjoma Kartashov); Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Holland, mystic poet/scholar (Verzen); Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen, French aristocrat and novelist; Pedro Munoz Seca, Spanish playwright (Vengeanza de Don Mendo); Shiga Naoya, Japan, novelist (Road Through Dark Night); Hesketh Pearson, England, biographer/playwright (Writ for Libel); Georges Bernanos, French novelist (Diary of a Country Priest); Russel Crouse, journalist/novelist/playwright (Life with Father); Freida Geiken, autobiographer (National Historic Taping); Cecil H King, Irish/British daily newspaper publisher (Daily Mirror); René Jules Dubos, French US microbiologist/author (Health & Disease); Jascha Golowanjuk, Swedish writer (Acrobat); Pierre Boulle, French author; Rex Tucker, TV writer/director; Alex La Guma, novelist (A Walk in the Night); Pramudya Ananta Tur, Javanese author (Anak semua bangsa); Robert Altman, American screenwriter, producer and director (The Player; M*A*S*H; Nashville); Richard Matheson, American author; Adrian Cristobal, Filipino writer; Charlie Gillett, British pop-rock and world music radio presenter and writer (The Sound of the City), born in Morecambe, Lancashire, England (d. 2010); Andrew Bergman, director/screenwriter (Soapdish, Honeymoon in Vegas); Kenn Nesbitt, American children’s author; and Sally Rooney, Irish writer (Normal People).

Any names familiar to you? I know two names of today’s list: Henry James Pye and Robert Altman. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

Mission Angola ebookI’m thrilled to announce Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) is now on the short list for the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category.

Competition will be stiff during the remainder of the 2021 contest. Further information regarding the finalists, first place winners, and genre grand prize winners won’t be available until the end of June.  Plenty of time to keep on with other things while the remaining contestants await the judges’ verdict.

If you haven’t seen the synopsis about this book, here it is:

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 as various players follow their own agendas?

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week my writing time was taken up by real-world requirements. I hope to finish chapter twenty-five of Ultimate Escalation over the next week. My manuscript received another twenty-three reviews, bringing the total to 552. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing and showing me what’s working and what might need a tweak.

Here’s another snippet:

The roar of a commercial plane rolling down the runway echoed in their small compartment.

Ajit placed his hand on Vladimir’s AK-47 and tapped him on the knee.  “We’re here.”

Vladimir opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep—just contemplating our mission.”

“Who would have thought our reunification movement would be conducting their planning in a hanger on one of Pakistan’s international airports?”

Vladimir chuckled. “Yes, and the military is providing overall security. When will they find out?”

“I hope long after we’ve moved.” Ajit rubbed his chin. “Let’s join the others.”

Vladimir and Ajit climbed out of the hidden compartment and shook hands with the departing Umar.

Ajit led the way into the office.

Grigori, Fedor, and Eduard stepped forward. After sharing man hugs with Vladimir, they sat around a scarred wooden table. Stretched across the surface was a map of the border area.

“How is the initial training coming along?” Vladimir studied the frown on Grigori’s face.

“I admit, not as good as I would like.” He pointed at Fedor and Eduard. “However, they’ve reminded me to do my best. I think they’ll be ready for the first demonstration in three days’ time, but nothing is certain.”

“Understood. Vladimir gazed at the map. “Remember, this is just the beginning. Mishka and his team will begin demonstrating across the border.” He glanced into the faces of the three former Spetsnaz soldiers. “Make sure they are unarmed, at least for now. As things progress, we’ll allow an escalation of violence if it seems to be helping the cause.”

“Yes, Vladimir.” Eduard pointed to the map. “When should we begin splitting our volunteers into separate teams?”

“As soon as possible. Suggest you acquaint yourselves with your men.”

“If I may add, Vladimir.” Ajit half-raised a hand. “I’m expecting at least another hundred supporters tomorrow.”

“Okay. When they arrive, they’ll be split among the teams. Anything else?”

The Russians shook their heads.

“After the first demonstration, I want to gauge the reaction by the government and the people.” He turned to Ajit. “Do you have people you can trust to embed themselves with the demonstrators and report back?”

“Of course.” Ajit grinned. “I shall be one of them.”

Vladimir raised a brow. “Just keep out of trouble. Plenty of time for that later.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 13, 2022

We’ve had another week of topsy-turvy weather–rain, sleet, a bit of snow–even a rainbow, with the occasional dry spell. Today it seems we’re in for a day-long rain. Temperatures are struggling to reach 50F (10C) but with the wind chill it’s been closer to 40F (5C).

The small business market last weekend was another success, with fifteen of my novels being sold. In addition, seventeen of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went, plus three of her poetry and prose books. We’re looking forward to next month’s market!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “If you didn’t hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.”

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

Jan B. Wellekens, Dutch poet and painter; Ivan Krylov, Russian fabulist; Lev A Mej, Russian nobleman/poet; Gerard Keller, writer (Netherlands Spectator); Frank van de Goes, Dutch writer/marxist theorist; Uchimura Kanzo, religious writer (How I Became a Christian); Sarojini Naidu, Indian freedom fighter and poet; Eleanor Farjeon, English writer (Martin Pippin); Kate Roberts, Welsh nationalist and writer; Neville Pearson, English publisher; Georges Simenon, Belgian born mystery writer (Maigret detective novels, Snow Was Black); Jan Arends, Dutch poet/author; Ali El-Maak, Sudanese writer; Friedrich Christian Delius, German writer; Leo Frankowski, American sci-fi author (High Tech Knight, Flying Warlord); and Denise Austin, US fitness instructor & author.

Any names familiar to you? I struck out once again. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Most of my available time this week was spent on real-life matters, so I wasn’t able to complete another chapter of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received another ten reviews, bringing the total to 539. As always, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The rocking of the overpacked Chevrolet cargo truck as it lumbered along the M2 lulled Vladimir to sleep, his arms through the sling of his AK-47.

Bam!

Vladimir jumped, aiming his weapon toward the sound.

“Relax, my friend.” Ajit grinned. “Umar hit another pothole or drove off the side of the road again.”

“He’s not a very good driver, is he?” Vladimir relaxed.

Ajit shrugged. “Perhaps not, but he’s willing to do whatever we need and doesn’t ask too many questions.”

“Da. He’s a wise man to keep nose out of—”

The truck jolted to a stop. Umar’s voice trickled through a speaker. “Do not speak. We are at a roving military roadblock.” He killed the engine.

Vladimir eased a Maserin Reactor folding knife from his belt and opened the blade. After it locked in position, he laid it on his leg and retrieved a second one.

Voices filtered through the speaker.

“They said Umar’s papers are in order, but they want to inspect the load,” Ajit whispered.

Vladimir nodded.

Screeech!

The rusty cargo doors opened. The vehicle tilted slightly as someone climbed inside.

Angry voices increased in volume.

Thwack! Thwack!

Someone kicked one of the crates. The truck shifted as the person climbed down.

Voices faded as Umar climbed back into the cab. His voice came through the speaker. “They weren’t happy with the baksheesh, but I told them I’d pay more next time. Anyway, they are going after a much larger vehicle behind us.” He started the engine. “Perhaps one more hour to our destination.”

* * *

The roar of a commercial plane rolling down the runway echoed in their small compartment.

Ajit placed his hand on Vladimir’s AK-47 and tapped him on the knee.  “We’re here.”

Vladimir opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep—just contemplating our mission.”

“Who would have thought our reunification movement would be conducting their planning in a hanger on one of Pakistan’s international airports?”

Vladimir chuckled. “Yes, and the military is providing overall security. When will they find out?”

“I hope long after we’ve moved.” Ajit rubbed his chin. “Let’s join the others.”

Vladimir and Ajit climbed out of the hidden compartment and shook hands with the departing Umar.

Ajit led the way into the office.

Grigori, Fedor, and Eduard stepped forward. After sharing man hugs with Vladimir, they sat around a scarred wooden table. Stretched across the surface was a map of the border area.

“How is the initial training coming along?” Vladimir studied the frown on Grigori’s face.

“I admit, not as good as I would like.” He pointed at Fedor and Eduard. “However, they’ve reminded me to do my best. I think they’ll be ready for the first demonstration in three days’ time, but nothing is certain.”

“Understood. Vladimir gazed at the map. “Remember, this is just the beginning. Mishka and his team will begin demonstrating across the border.” He glanced into the faces of the three former Spetsnaz soldiers. “Make sure they are unarmed, at least for now. As things progress, we’ll allow an escalation of violence if it seems to be helping the cause.”

“Yes, Vladimir.” Eduard pointed to the map. “When should we begin splitting our volunteers into separate teams?”

“As soon as possible. Suggest you acquaint yourselves with your men.”

“If I may add, Vladimir.” Ajit half-raised a hand. “I’m expecting at least another hundred supporters tomorrow.”

“Okay. When they arrive, they’ll be split among the teams. Anything else?”

The Russians shook their heads.

“After the first demonstration, I want to gauge the reaction by the government and the people.” He turned to Ajit. “Do you have people you can trust to embed themselves with the demonstrators and report back?”

“Of course.” Ajit grinned. “I shall be one of them.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved