Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 29, 2020

For those who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you had a safe yet enjoyable day.

With just the two of us, we didn’t do anything special for a meal. However, I still watched the traditional Detroit Lions football game. Unfortunately, Houston had the upper hand, and things didn’t bode well for Detroit, which lost the game. Another casualty was the coach–fired yesterday. Hopefully, someone new can turn the team around.

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

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, IFlemish jesuit and author; Catharina Questiers, Dutch poet (Friend of Abandoned Child); Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet; Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet], French writer, philosopher and playwright (Candide); Petrus Augustus de Génestet, Dutch vicar and poet; Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900); Franz Hessel, German writer; Harold Nicolson, English diplomat and author (Good Behaviour); Jim Bishop, American journalist and author (The Day Lincoln was Shot); Elizabeth George Speare, American author (The Witch of Blackbird Pond); Christopher Tolkien, British author and son of J. R. R. Tolkien; Marilyn French, American author (The Women’s Room); Richard Marcinko, American author; and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Anyone familiar to you? I think most people might have heard of Voltaire. 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 Published Work

To celebrate the holidays, the Kindle version of Colombian Betrayal is now $0.99 until the end of the year before it returns to the normal price of $4.99.  It’ll be part of a month-long BookFunnel promotion, beginning on December 1st. There are at least thirty-six novels  from various author included in this promotion, so watch for the link in an upcoming post. Who know, perhaps one or two of my award-winning novels, might appear!

Colombian Betrayal is also available in an audio version through Amazon and iTunes, so if you prefer to list to your stories, why not check it out!

My Work in Progress

This week I finished chapter fifteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Seems like a few people were up for reading this week, with the number of chapter reviews increasing by twenty-two to 253! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

I’ll provide another snippet next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s new release, Dangerous Games (The Peacemaker Book 2). The action ramps up from the first page and doesn’t let up. Join Albert Westward (AKA Nero) as he’s once again involved in a Jack O’Neil mission to take on the Peacemakers. Blair’s done it again with a riveting plot, plenty of realistic characters, and plenty of excitement. Thriller aficionados will delight with another super story from a master storyteller. Can’t wait for the next one in the series! Well done, Blair!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 22, 2020

Over the past few days, we’ve had a visitor–the neighborhood stray cat. While he’s been coming for food since we moved in about two and a half years ago, he normally stays far enough away to avoid human touch. Last week, I mentioned he wasn’t well. The trip to the vet and the subsequent injections seem to have done the trick as he seems to have recovered from his illness.

Well, earlier in the week, he came just inside the kitchen door for his meal. Normally, we leave the door open for him, but because of the weather, I pulled it closed. At first, he wasn’t too happy, but then turned to his dinner.  It wasn’t long before he jumped up on my lap and wanted petted!  Since then, he has spent one night in the house. Our other cats are fine with him, although one did hiss a warning like, “Watch it bub, this is my house.”

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

Pieter de Jode II, Flemish engraver and publisher; Barbara Juliane, baroness von Krüdener, Baltic German religious mystic, author, and Pietist Lutheran theologian; George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans], English author (Middlemarch, Silas Marner); José Maria de Heredia, Cuban-French sonnet poet (Les Trophées); Fritz Mauthner, Austro-Hungarian novelist & critic; George Gissing, British novelist (New Grub Street, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study); Andre Gide, French writer (Lafcadio’s Adventures-Nobel 1947); Georges Rency, Belgian poet and literature; Endre Ady, Hungarian lyric poet (Még egyzer, Uj versek); Charles Vildrac, French author, poet and playwright (La Brouille, Michel Auclair, Notes sur la technique poétique); Erik Lindahl, Swedish economist (Theory of Money & Capital); Tom Macdonald, Welsh journalist and writer (The White Lanes of Summer); James Burnham, philosopher (Coming Defeat of Communism); Moses Josiah Madiba, South African author and first African chancellor of the University of the North; Peter Woolridge Townsend, war hero courtier writer; Terry Gilliam, comedy author-animator (Monty Python); Robert Iliffe, English publisher (Coventry Evening Telegraph); Valerie Wilson Wesley, American author; Marjane Satrapi, Iranian graphic novelist; Stel Pavlou, British novelist; Alasdair Duncan, Australian novelist; and Suresh Guptara and Jyoti Guptara, British-Indian novelists.

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for 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!

My Published Work

The audio version of Colombian Betrayal is now available!

For those who are unaware of this story, here’s the synopsis:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

My Work in Progress

I didn’t get as much done this week on chapter fifteen  of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as I had planned since real life requirements got in the way. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use increased to 231–always plenty of useful advice!

Here’s another snippet:

After the photographer left the restaurant, he glanced in both directions. Spotting his ride, he rushed to a gray, windowless van and jumped into the back.

“Did you get it?” A man turned from the passenger seat as he scratched his scraggly beard.

“Yes. A clear close-up of their faces.”

“Excellent. Make copies and give them to our men. I don’t want any mistakes.” The man tapped the driver on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

***

“Guess I better pay the bill.” Javier stood, leaned over, and kissed AJ’s forehead. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” AJ rose and squeezed Javier’s arm. “Don’t suppose you can escort me home? Just to the door—I have an early start tomorrow.”

Javier dropped the black leather bill holder on the counter as they walked past. “Keep the change.”

Outside, they turned left and strolled arm-in-arm the four blocks to AJ’s condo. They held each other and kissed before she pushed him back. “Down, boy. I’m an old-fashioned girl.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m an old-fashioned guy, but I think our meanings are different.”

She leaned toward him, allowing her lips to brush his. “Good night, Javier. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Night. I’ll wait until you’re inside before I leave. No telling what scumbags might be lurking around.”

AJ laughed as she stuck her key in the door. “My hero!” She entered the building, turned back, and blew him a kiss.

Twenty minutes later, a taxi dropped Javier off at home. He nodded to a couple coming out of the building. The man held the door for Javier.

“Many thanks. Enjoy the evening.” Javier strode across the foyer and entered the elevator. He pulled his keys out as he walked along the hallway to his apartment.

And stopped.

Alarm bells signaled as Javier inspected the door, open a fraction. Someone’s here or been here. Wish I had a weapon.

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

Everything on the walls now rested on the floor. Frames torn apart, and glass covers broken. Cushion sliced open, contents spewed out.

Out of the corner of an eye, Javier caught a moving shadow.

He lunged and crashed into the remnants of his coffee table.

The shadow dashed out the door.

By the time Javier rushed into the corridor, it was empty.

More next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 15, 2020

Here we are–the middle of another month. Time is sure marching by. The trees are more or less bare, with a few persistent leaves still hanging onto their branches. Fortunately, there are still the occasional outbreaks of sunshine!

The neighborhood stray cat we adopted wasn’t well this week. We knew something was up when he wanted to come inside as normally he just uses the shelter we put in the back for him and he didn’t want to eat. Poor Alfie!  He had a dry, hacking cough and his eyes were a bit gummy.  A trip to the vet for antibotic, anti-inflammatory, and steriod injections seem to be working. Now he’s eating better, and his eyes have cleared up. He still has the cough, but it’s less persistent. Alfie is coming and going like our other feline friends.

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

Madeleine de Scudéry, French novelist (Artamène ou le grand Cyrus); Johann Kaspar Lavater, Swiss writer, philosopher; and founder of physiognomics; Joseph Quesnel, French Canadian composer and playwright (Colas et Colinette); Aleksey Apukhtin, Russian poet and friend of Tsjaikovski; Adolf Bartels, German journalist and poet; Gerhart Hauptmann, German author (Before Dawn – Nobel 1912); Robert marquess of Flers, French author (Habit Vert); René Guénon, French-Egyptian author; Marianne Moore, poet (Pulitzer 1951, Collected Poems); René Maran, Martinique, author (Batouala, Prix Goncourt); Richmal Crompton, British author; Antoni Słonimski, Polish writer; Sacheverell Sitwell, English author (People’s Palace); Willy Alfredo [Willem Jue], Dutch entertainer/poet (Fish-Trap); Giorgio Manganelli, writer; Yuli Daniel, Russian writer; J[ames] G[raham] Ballard, China, sci-fi author (Drowned World); Jerry Douglas, American director and writer (Grabby Awards Hall of Fame); Daniel Manus Pinkwater, American sci-fi author (Magic Moscow); Heathcote Williams [John Henly Heathcote Williams], British poet, actor and political activist; and Ildikó Enyedi, Hungarian film director and screenwriter (On Body and Soul).

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for 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!

My Work in Progress

I’m almost finished with my final edit pass of Mission: Angola (A Xavier Sear Thriller). Shouldn’t be long and it’ll be ready to submit.

I also completed chapter fourteen of Revenge and posted it to the two online subscription writing site I use. There are now 227 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve over the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

AJ Bruce flicked her head, tossing her brown hair to the side as she glanced at her watch. Where is he? She chuckled. He knows I’m the impatient type. She waved at a passing waiter.

“Yes, ma’am. Can I get you another coffee or something a bit stronger?”

“Another coffee for now. Oh, and a muffin—any kind. I’ll wait until the others arrive before switching.”

“Very good.”

While she waited, AJ read the details about the restaurant on the back of the menu: The historic brick building housing Virtue Feed & Grain was once a feed house in the 1800s. Playing on the original use of the building as a warehouse—

“Here you are, ma’am. Another Americano, extra coffee, no sugar.”

AJ took a sip of the hot brew. “Perfect, thanks.”

“Did you order one for me?” The bass voice seemed to resonate from the floorboards.

AJ jumped to her feet and hugged Javier. “About time you arrived. Where are the others?”

“Slithering around.” Javier’s eyes twinkled. “They thought I should join you first. They’ll make an appearance when they’re ready.”

“Always the clowns, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. But, when necessary, they become as dangerous as anyone who put on a uniform.”

“Excuse me, sir. Do you mind if I take a picture of you and your beautiful wife?” A man stood near the table with a camera in his hand.

“Uh … Yeah. But, she’s not my—”

AJ kicked him under the table as she frowned at Javier.

“What I mean is … yes, please take our photo.” He leaned closer to AJ and put his arm around her. “How’s this?”

“Perfect. Now, smile!”

More next time.

I also pulled out Ultimate Escalation this week and completed chapter seven. This is the fourth novel in my Bedlam series.  So far there have been ninety-five chapter reviews on this one.

In case you might have missed the synopsis on this one, here it is:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandr Nikolai, a disgraced Spetnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t complete any books this week. I’m busy going through The Civil War and Western Series by Blair Howard. This is a five-book anthology and should be welcome reading for those who enjoy the time period. I should begin sharing my thoughts on this next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings November 1, 2020

It’s hard to believe another month has already sailed fast. Where does the time go? They, whoever they are, say time marches on. It definitely does!

How did trick or treating go last night? We certainly had some tricks–at least from Mother Nature. All of our attempts to clear up fallen leaves this week have been for naught, between daily rain and increased wind. The good news is there aren’t many leaves left on the trees. The forecast for next week is three-four consecutive days without rain, so no guesses what’ll be on the cards!

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

Benvenuto Cellini, Italian sculptor, goldsmith and author (Perseus); Étienne de La Boétie, French judge and writer; Pierre Pithou, French lawyer and scholar (Les Libertés de l’église gallicane); Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, German poet and translator; Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, French poet and critic; Paul Daniel Longolius, German encylopedist (editor of Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon); W. H. Grattan Flood, Irish author and composer; Stephen Crane, American novelist (Red Badge of Courage); Grantland Rice, American sportswriter (New York Herald Tribune 1914-30, Colliers 1925-37; Sholem Asch, Polish-Jewish novelist and playwright (East River, Three Cities); Hermann Broch, Austrian novelist (Sleepwalkers, Bewitchment); Edmund Blunden, English poet and critic (Undertones of War); Naomi Mitchison, Scottish author (African Heroes, Return to Fairy Hill); Nordahl Grieg, Norwegian poet, dramatist and novelist (The Defeat); Jean Tardieu, French dramatist; Henri Troyat, Russian-French author and historian; Zenna Henderson, American sci-fi author (Anything Box); John H. Secondari, American author and newscaster (Open Hearing); Ilse Aichinger, Austrian writer (Die größere Hoffnung); Edward A de Jongh, Antillian author (The Arch); Gordon R. Dickson, Canadian-American sci-fi author (Genetic General); Rudy Kousbroek, Dutch writer and literary (Leopold the Buch); A. R. Gurney, American playwright (The Dining Room); Kim Krizan, American writer and actress (Slacker, Dazed & Confused); and Louise Boije af Gennäs, Swedish writer and novelist (Stjärnor utan svindel).

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for 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!

My Published Work

I learned yesterday the audio version of Colombian Betrayal has been approved and is heading to retail shortly. Before long, you’ll be able to grab a copy!

For those who are unaware of this story, here’s the synopsis:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

My Work in Progress

I finished my second edit pass of Xavier Sear: Angola this past week. Based on feedback from my advanced reader team, I’m considering changing the name to: Mission: Angola (A Xavier Sear Thriller).

The verdict is still out on the name change, but I have another month to make a decision before the manuscript is ready for submission.

This one was a bit of a challenge to write. Unlike my previous novels, I haven’t been to Angola, so plenty of research went into this one. As one of my readers told me overnight, “… this book went that extra mile. I think it’s a masterpiece.”

There are still a few more readers to finish and I plan to do two more edit passes before I deem the manuscript at a point to send it off. Stay tuned for further updates!

This week I also continued working on Revenge and New World Revolution, but I didn’t finish any chapters–too much time spent on Angola. Hopefully, this upcoming week I’ll be able to move both stories forward.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 25, 2020

The clocks went back this morning–another hour in bed! The cats seemed okay with the extra time, too, as they didn’t start making noise to go outside until the extra hour had passed.

Fall is definitely upon us as more and more leaves change and drop to the ground. The cycle keeps moving forward, following Mother Nature’s path!

Each time I drive out of the street, I chuckle when I see one house. They have two small children, and despite current lockdown procedures, the parents have put up a few Halloween decorations with pumpkins lit by electric lights. The outside decoration is what gets me. They have a huge spider web running from a window on the upped floor down to the ground. Just on its own it’s fantastic, but you should see the three-foot spider making its way up the web!

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

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose “the Great Montrose”, Scottish general and poet; James Beattie, Scottish poet and philosopher (Essay on Truth); Thomas Babington Macaulay, English poet and historian (Ivry, Naaseby); Maria van Ackere-Doolaeghe, Flemish poet (Daisies, Avondlamp); Pavel Melnikov, Russian historian and author (In the Forests); Gleb Uspensky, Russian author (Power of the Soil); Hélène Swarth, Dutch author (Lonely Flowers); Nico van Suchtelen, Dutch writer and publisher; Eduardo Barrios, Chilean novelist (The Love-Crazed Boy); François Pauwels, Dutch writer and attorney; Henry Steele Commager, American historian (Atlas of Civil War); Edmond Pidoux, Swiss writer (L’histoire de Jonas); John Berryman, American poet (The Dream Songs); Peter Rohmkorf, German writer; Sir Martin Gilbert, British historian (Winston Churchill biography); Anne Tyler, American writer (Accidental Tourist); Selly Fernandes, Curacao poetess (Winking with Selly); Daniel Mark Epstein, American poet and biographer (Abraham Lincoln); and Zadie Smith, British novelist (White Teeth, On Beauty, Swing Time).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. However, I’d like to mention Les Stahl, whose birthday is on the 26th. Les was the driving force behind me even attempting to write a novel. Without his suggestion and encouragement, I never would have given it a try. Now, I have three award-winning novels.

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

Although I had planned to take a week off from editing Xavier Sear: Angola, I’m halfway through my second edit pass. I caught a few words which didn’t fit and made some changes to original wording.

One of my beta readers binged on the story, completing the novel in two days. In addition to really enjoying the plot, she’s already waiting for the next one!

In case you’ve missed the synopsis for Angola, 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?

This week I continued working on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

I managed to complete chapters twelve and thirteen and post them to the two subscription writing sites I use. Feedback is rolling in, with 205 chapter reviews so far. 

Here’s the synopsis:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

I also completed chapter eight of New World Revolution. This one is slowly coming along, mainly due to the extensive amount of research required to blend my fictional characters and their lives with real people and events. It’s quite a challenge, but I’m enjoying it!

Even with the small number of chapters posted, Revolution has already received 158 chapter reviews.

Here’s another glimpse at the synopsis if you haven’t seen it:

The members of the Alexander family are hard-working tenant farmers in northern England. In 1770, massive crop failures threatened the very existence of the farmers. William Alexander and his two sons, sell what they can of their crops, but are unable to pay their debt, forcing them into a difficult situation.

The landowner’s factor takes pity on the Alexander family since they always paid their debts and never caused any problems. Since they could pay their way to the New World, the factor arranges their passage. They work off the costs as indentured servants to his brother, a wealthy tea merchant in Boston.

Little does anyone know, the Boston Tea Party and other events leads the colonies into a fight for their survival. What will become of the Alexander family?

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 11, 2020

I had a goal this week to get all of the leaves that have fallen cleaned up. Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t too cooperative. If a day didn’t begin with rain, it seemed I was telegraphing my plans. Clear blue skies disappeared with clouds rolling in. Before long, there would be a steady downpour, soaking the leaves and making it too difficult to rake them up or use a leaf blower.

I caught a break on Thursday afternoon. Armed with my trusty expandable rake and a leaf blower, I tackled the leaves and managed to get them raked up. Just in time, too–another shower descended.  The lawn and flower beds looked great, at least for a few minutes.

Since Thursday, more rain, accompanied by gusts of wind, ensured my feeble attempt had been in vain. Although not as thick as before, the lawn and flower beds are covered once again. Such is life in the fall!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Melchior de Polignac, French diplomat, Cardinal and poet; Steen Steensen Blicher, Danish poet and short-story writer (E Binddstouw); Albartus Telting, Frisian poet (Frisianch Jierboeckjen); Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Swiss writer; Hans E. Kinck, Norwegian philological and writer (Mot Karnaval); Stefan Octavian Losif, Romanian poet (Beautiful Irine); Gertrud von Le Fort, German writer (The Eternal Woman); Stark Young, American writer (So Red the Rose); Will Vesper, German author (Vom grossen Krieg); Francois Mauriac, French novelist, poet and playwright (Nobel 1952); and R. H. W. Dillard, American poet (The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele and Other Poems).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for 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!

My Work in Progress

Once again, most of my writing time was spent editing Xavier Sear: Angola. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. I finished chapter eleven this week. To date, Revenge has received 186 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

The doors to the conference room opened, and four men rolled in a cart, stopping next to Javier. On top, a massive cake with yellow and black frosting, with an inscription: Bon voyage to the head snake. Next to the cake, a bowl of punch.

The men stepped back and saluted.

Javier returned their salute. “The Snakes! I might have known you’d show up.”

“Someone had to ignore your requests. We couldn’t let your retirement come and go without a farewell.” Viper glanced around. “Where’s AJ?”

The smile on Javier’s face disappeared. “She couldn’t make it. Something to do with another terrorist threat.” He shook his head. “Never mind, she’ll join us later to celebrate.”

“Colonel, why don’t we wrap things up and dig into the cake and punch? I know from a reliable source the punch might contain an extra kick.” Brown pulled a small bottle of whiskey from a bag beneath the table and poured a generous amount into the bowl.

“Sounds great, General. Thank you.”

As the room erupted with applause, everyone formed a line to shake Javier’s hand.

Viper cut the cake, while Mamba dished out the punch.

The attendees scattered around the room into small clusters once General Brown departed. Before long, the Snakes returned to Javier’s side.

Viper held a wrapped package in his hand. “A small gesture of our appreciation, Cobra. Whatever your plans are, know we’ll follow you if you’ll have us.” He handed the parcel to Javier.

“Thanks, guys.” Javier unwrapped the package and burst into laughter. Inside, a framed collage of snakes: vipers, mambas, rattlers, adders, and cobras.

“Fantastic! I’d rather put photos of real snakes on my wall to admire than snapshots of your ugly mugs.”

The men laughed and clapped Javier on the shoulder.

“Well, old-timer, we need to get back to work. We have one final duty to perform.” Viper picked up the certificate and flag, while Adder grabbed the framed photos.

“What’s that?”

“Escort you out of the building.”

Viper led the way. They exited the conference room. Officer and enlisted personnel lined the hallway, saluting as Javier passed.

Once outside, he shook hands with his friends. “See you this evening for the celebration?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” The Snakes nodded a final farewell to their leader and returned inside.

Blinking back the tears threatening to form, Javier turned around and gazed at the Pentagon for a final time. He returned a salute from two non-commissioned officers as they passed on their way into America’s symbol of military might before heading to the parking lot. The end of a journey—what does the future hold for me now?

***

A man in the rear of a black van lowered his camera and grinned. Soon, el coronel, you will receive your punishment for what you did to my brethren. I’ll carve more scars on your face until you beg for death. He gestured for the driver to start the engine. But, you shall never receive mercy.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading the fifth installment of Tony J. Forder’s DI Bliss series, The Death of Justice. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, pitting my analytical skills again DI Bliss as he tries to end a killing spree by an unknown assailant. Who’s killing them and why? What links the victims together?

I’m definitely hooked on Tony’s twist-filled plots and larger-than-life characters. If you’re looking for a series you can sink your teeth into, I can definitely recommend DI Bliss. Can’t wait to read the next one!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 13, 2020

The nights are closing in, dawn sleeps in each morning, clouds and rain are a constant companion, and leaves are beginning to turn color. No doubt about it–fall is approaching. And fast!

Despite the changing weather, roses are still budding, new flowers have popped out on our clematis vines, and several new hydranga blooms are threatening to burst from the shelter of their leaves. It’s always interesting to watch how Mother Nature changes the landscape in a never-ending cycle.

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

Alexander Neckam, English theologist and encyclopedist; John Leland, English poet and antiquarian; Daniel Defoe, English novelist (Robinson Crusoe); Arnold Ruge, German political philosopher and writer; Nicolas Beets [Hildebrand], Dutch writer (Camera Obscura) and theologian; Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (The Child of the Parish); Johannes de Koo, Dutch journalist and playwright; Sherwood Anderson, American author and publisher (Winesburg Ohio); Alain LeRoy Locke, African-American writer and philosopher “Father of the Harlem Renaissance”; Pierre Reverdy, French poet (Nord-Sud); J. B. Priestly, English novelist and scriptwriter (The Good Companions, An Inspector Calls); Julian Tuwim, Polish poet and lyricist; Anton Constandse, Dutch anarchist and writer; Hermine Heijermans, Dutch actress, politician and author (Grote Klaas en kleine Klaas); Ray Green, American composer and publisher; Roy Engle, American writer and actor (The Man from Planet X, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian); Roald Dahl, British author (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG); George Weidenfeld, British publisher (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Reninca [Renée Lauwers], Flemish author (Seed in the Wind); Judith Martin, American author, journalist and columnist (Miss Manners); Noël Godin, Belgian writer and humorist; and Tõnu Õnnepalu, Estonian poet and author.

I’d also like to extend belated happy birthday wishes to America’s oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks. He turned 111 yesterday! Click here for his story!

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Daniel Defoe and Roald Dahl. 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

This week, I continued to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 507 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-three in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t. Not only does this impact on my current work-in-progress, it also helps to improve my future stories.

Here’s another snippet:

Hours passed. Namali’s contractions continued about every twenty minutes. Each one was accompanied by a piercing scream as she wrenched the replaced sheet.

Fimi wiped Namali’s forehead after every event, singing a local song in a soft voice. During a break in the contractions, Fimi helped Namali change into somewhat cleaner clothes.

Peter tried to rest on a chair, his head leaning against the tent’s central pole. However, he jumped every time Namali screamed.

“Doc … tor. Help me!” Namali raised her head. “Make the pain go away.”

Peter stepped to the side of the cot and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Soon. Once the contractions become more frequent, it will be time.” He gestured at Fimi. “Together, we will bring your baby into this world.”

“Thank … you, Doc … tor.” Namali gasped and collapsed back on the pillow.

Moments later, she screamed again—louder than before. “It hurts! Make it go away!”

Peter rushed to Namali’s side. With Fimi’s help, they moved Namali into a birthing position. He examined her again.

Blood.

“Doctor?” Fimi held a small bag in her hand. “Should we give some medicine to help?”

“What is it?”

She shrugged. “I do not remember. My mother was a doula, and she made this mixture. It is a herbal remedy she learned from her mother.”

Peter waved a hand. “Not now.” He pointed at the blood. “It will be time soon.”

“Ieeeeeah!”

“The contractions are stronger and quicker. Won’t be long. Help her push.”

A liquid saturated the cot as Namali screamed again.

Fimi grabbed a clean towel and wiped up the fluid.

“The membrane ruptured!” Peter peered at Namali. “I can see the head! Push, Namali, push!”

Namali dug her fingernails into Fimi’s arm.

The doula grimaced and encouraged Namali to push with each contraction.

“It’s coming!”

“Waaaah!

Peter held the tiny baby in his hands. He nodded at Fimi, who wrapped the child in a piece of blanket.

After Peter snipped the umbilical cord, he stepped to Namali’s side. He glanced at her now-peaceful looking face. “Congratulations. You have a healthy child.”

More next time.

I also managed several more hours of research and finally completed chapter seven of New World Revolution this week. To date, there have been 137 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen since I last mentioned this WIP.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible. While I have a specific time frame for this novel, the first of six planned for the series, several reviewers are reminding me about events they are familiar with. They’ll all receive an appropriate mention when it’s time. Of course, it’s always difficult to blend real events and people with the lives of fictional characters, but that’s part of the thrill of creating this series.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 30, 2020

The past week or so has had an autumnal feeling to it, with rain most days and the daytime temperature not going above 61F (16C). The light nights have rapidly dwindled and nighttime temperatures are dropping to 45F (7C).

Hope this isn’t a sign summer is already over! I realize it’s the end of August, but would definitely like more summer weather–at least into the middle of September!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bonifacio Asioli, Italian composer and music writer; Mary Shelley, English author (Frankenstein); Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Friedrich Ratzel, German social-geographer (Lebensraum); J. M. Dent, British publisher; Paul Hazard [Paul-Gustave-Marie-Camille Hazard], French critic and literature historian; Meijer de Hond, Dutch rabbi and writer; Adam Kuckhoff, German writer and resistance fighter; John Gunther, American author and host (John Gunther’s High Road); Donald Bisset, British children book writer, illustrator (Upside Down Stories); Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Protestant theologist; Ben Cami, Flemish writer and poet (Rose from Mud); Charmian Clift, Australian writer and essayist; Laurent de Brunhoff, French writer and illustrator (Babar the Elephant); Warren Burger, American author (The Midas Touch); Fabrizia Ramondino, Italian author; Robert Crumb, American cartoonist (Father Time, Fritz Cat); and Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author. 

This week I certainly recognized one name: Mary Shelley. I’d also like to mention today is my step-son’s birthday. He might not be famous, but he does write a fashion-related blog, which is available at https://theculturalomnivore.co.uk/.

Anyone familiar to you? 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

This week, I continued on a roll with my writing, having completed the final chapters of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 465 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of thirty-nine in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

A hint of dawn appeared on the horizon. Two black SUVs with false license plates pulled out of Theo and Shantae’s residence. The dogs followed until Shantae whistled.

After a final glance at the departing vehicles, the dogs gave a short bark and turned back toward Shantae, tails wagging. “Now don’t you worry about Baba. He’ll return soon with Peter.” I pray to God. She waved a final time. The smile plastered on her face as Theo and João soon disappeared, replaced by a frown. May God look after all of them.

***

Abilio drove the lead Jeep Cherokee, with João and Theo sitting in the back seat. Three hand-picked guards rode in the second vehicle.

The two-vehicle convoy weaved through the streets of Luanda until they turned onto the highway leading east. Abilio hummed a series of out-of-tune songs as the miles passed by. They encountered little traffic.

“How far we go today, Baba Theo? Should I drive fast?”

Theo shook his head. “Obey all posted signs and don’t drive too fast. We want to find out if anyone is following us.”

“If someone’s after you, why didn’t we fly?” João glanced over his shoulder.

A thin smile creased Theo’s face. “There are spies everywhere, my friend. They want information about where I go and who I meet.”

“Why would anyone want to do this? Haven’t you been a champion of the people?”

“My views aren’t held by everyone in the government.”

***

Theo and João sat in the rear seats of the Cessna. Once everything was loaded onto the aircraft, the three guards waved and headed toward the vehicles.

“Are we ready, Abilio?”

“Yes, Baba. They will take both vehicles and continue on the road to Saurimo in case anyone follows.”

“Excellent.” Theo shouted over the noise of the engine as Nito ran through his checklist before departure. “We’ll be in Saurimo in about four hours.”

João leaned toward Theo. “What happens when we arrive?”

“Abilio’s cousin lived there. He will meet our plane and take us to the rendezvous point with Senhor Sear.” Theo leaned back in his seat. “As you told me long ago, soldiers should sleep whenever the chance arose. I suggest we do so now.” Who knows what will happen when we arrive? I hope Abilio’s cousin is as trustworthy as he believes.

“We are ready.” Nito glanced at his passengers. “We go now.” He turned the aircraft around and increased speed as they bounced through the grass. Before they reached a distant line of trees, he pulled back on the yoke, and the plane clawed its way skyward.

***

João gazed out the window, watching mile after mile of dense jungle pass beneath them. In the distance, occasional breaks indicated small villages. I hope Sear makes it. We’ll need his expertise to extract Peter. His eyes began to close as the drone of the engine lulled him asleep.

A sound, not unlike a cough, broke the smooth noise of the engine.

João jerked, wide awake. He glanced at Nito, who struggled with the controls. “What’s wrong?”

“Hang on! We’re going down!”

A whistling sound replaced the engine noise as the nose of the aircraft tipped toward the ground.

João tightened his seat belt and closed his eyes. Catarina! I love you!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished another novel from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts, so I’ll provide my reviews next time.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 17, 2020

The days all seem to run into one another, but here it is–another Sunday. Our yard (garden) is finally taking shape. A few minor things to sort out and then we’ll be in a position to only need to do maintenance to keep things in order.

We received some osteospermum plants this week–via an online order. They arrived safely, and once we harden them off for a few days, they’ll be used to fill a few spaces behind the house. It’s great to look out and see our hard work is paying off!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 17th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jien, Japanese poet and historian; Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian; Anna Brownell Jameson, Anglo-Irish historian and writer (Loves of the Poets); Robert Smith Surtees, British novelist (Jorrocks’s Jaunts and Jollities); Virginie Loveling, Flemish writer (Sophie) and poet; Dorothy M. Richardson, English novelist (Pilgrimage); Henri Barbusse, French novelist (Le Feu); Alfonso Reyes, Mexican writer (Simpatías y diferencias) and diplomat (Higenia Cruel); Hannah Tillich, German-American writer (Harbor Mouse); John Patrick, American screenwriter and playwright (Pulitzer Prize 1954); Lars Gustafsson, writer; Trinus Riemersma, Dutch-Frisian writer (Conquest of Leeuwarden); Gary Paulsen, American author of young adult literature; F. Paul Wilson, American novelist; and Lise Lyng Falkenberg, Danish writer.

Recognize anyone? This was an unknown group for 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!

My Published Work

Three of my novels continue to participate in a May Kindle Unlimited promotion: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks. There are a total of 384 KU works included in the promotion.

In addition, Colombian Betrayal is participating in two Kindle mystery, crime, suspense, and thriller sales promotions: Sleepless Mind, which runs through the 19th. The second one is also called Sleepless Mind, and begins tomorrow, running through the end of May Please stop by and see if any of your favorite authors are listed, or perhaps you’ll find someone new to check out.

My Work in Progress

When time permitted, I continued moving forward with Xavier Sear: Angola. This week I finished chapter twenty and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 238 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear stepped into their new operations center, a cup of coffee in hand. A sheepish expression spread across his face when he realized João and Catarina were already hard at work.

“About time.” Catarina stood stern-faced, with hands on her hips.

“Ah … well.”

She laughed. “Just playing with you. We just started within the past fifteen minutes.”

“I needed my morning run.” He nodded. “What’s the game plan?”

Catarina gestured toward one of the flipcharts. “We did some brainstorming before we got out of bed this morning. We thought doing an update on Theo and his family might be necessary. We should also investigate what the opposition party is publicly trying to do. Also, a search for any information on this Masudi is needed.”

“Since you’re running the show, what do you want me to do?” Sear’s sipped on his coffee, his eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Why don’t you help João? He can use your expertise, I’m sure.”

“Okay, boss lady.”

They both laughed as they strolled toward the workspace where João sat immersed in something on his computer screen.

Catarina cleared her throat. “Find anything interesting, dear?”

“I discovered an obscure website providing background information about several Angolan authorities.” João pursed his lips as he reread to himself. ” Here’s some of the interesting stuff. Did I ever mention Theo has a daughter?”

Catarina shook her head. “I don’t recall.”

“The Angolan culture frowns on people with any type of disability. I knew Theo had a daughter, but all he said was she lived in a private treatment center, which was helping her cope with her deafness and learn sign language. The opposition party is trying to use Theo’s position in the government as an example of the corrupt way the politicians are looking after their own at the expense of the rest of the population as this private clinic wouldn’t be available to everyone.” He shook his head. “Unbelievable someone would want to make the disabled a political issue. The Theo I knew wouldn’t do this.”

“Interesting, but not sure if this will help when you return to Angola.”

More next time.

This week I also completed the fourth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of forty-seven so far, and increase of twelve over the past week. I think I provided the synopsis before, but in case I didn’t or you missed it, here it is:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Long Island Project by Russel F. Moran. The third novel in Russel’s Puzzles series, we meet up again with the infamous detectives, Bobbie Nelson and Bob Lawson as they’re called upon to solve another problem. Why is Long Island under quarantine, and who is behind it? Before long, they uncover a conspiracy, which could lead a takeover through mind control and time travel.

As with all of Russel’s novels, the characters adapt to the situations they find themselves in and their interactions bring the best out in the ‘good guys and gals’ and will turn readers against those behind the conspiracy. There’s plenty of intrigue for everyone as the ‘BBs’ solve their latest puzzle. I look forward to their adventure!

I also completed The World Beneath by Rebecca Cantrell, the first book in the Joe Tesla series. Imagine being afraid to venture outdoors and find yourself living beneath the New York subway system. That’s what happened to Joe and his peaceful existence is shattered when he stumbles into a plot which began during WWII. Will he survive being a target? I don’t like to reveal too much to those reading reviews, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Rebecca and it won’t be the last. With a plot filled with plenty of twists and turns and a great mixture of the past and present, this one will delight all thriller readers.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved