Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021

So far this summer, we’ve had pleasant evenings, perfect for sleeping. Daytime temperatures have ranged from warm to very warm, with a couple of days which could call in the hot category, even though last week was the hottest of the summer. Although there hasn’t been much rain, a few trips with a watering can have ensured the survival of the flowers, although some of the trees have become so dry they’re already shedding leaves as if it was autumn.  Such is life!

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

“Stupidity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

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

Thietmar, German chronicler and Bishop of Merseburg; Jacques Peletier (du Mans), French poet and scientist; Gerard Brandt, Dutch theologist, poet and historian; Pieter Langendijk, Dutch painter, etcher and playwright (Wiskunstenaars); Immanuel J. Pyra, German poet (Temple of Real Poetry); Elizabeth Hamilton, Scottish author (The cottagers of Glenburnie); Charlotte von Kalb, German writer; Christian Bernhard Tauchnitz, German publisher (T Edition); George B. Vashon, American, lawyer, academic and poet; Flora Adams Darling, American writer and historian, founded Daughters of American Revolution; Max Dauthendey, German painter and author (Ewige Hochzeit); Benito Lynch, Irish-Argentine writer (Caranchos de la Florida); Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan author (La victoria no viene sola); Walter Breedveld, Dutch writer (Een ship vergaat); Eric Hoffer, American longshoreman and author (The True Believer); Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-British author (Life-Terms, Nobel 1981); Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British writer and illustrator (The Little Grey Men); Joseph Mitchell, American writer (Joe Gould’s Secret); Hubert Booi, Bonairian poet (Golgotha, Muchila); Maria Gripe, Swedish writer (Josephine); Bill Fitsell, Canadian journalist, writer and historian (International Hockey Hall of Fame curator, historian 1969-2005); Midge Decter, American journalist and author (The Liberated Woman & Other Americans); Alice Parizeau, Polish-born Quebec writer and essayist; Gibson Kente, South African playwright and composer; Claude Zidi, French film director and screenwriter (My New Partner); Felix Philipp Ingold, Swiss translator and writer; Brian Stableford, British sci-fi author (Day of Wrath); Mur Lafferty, American podcaster & writer; and Jovica Tasevski-Eternijan, Macedonian poet.

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Revenge-Cover-HRThe editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

“Have you lost your mind?” AJ shook her head as she flopped onto a chair. She reached over and picked up the package.

“What are you talking about?” Javier’s brows rose.

“Oh. I don’t suppose you know anything about one of your employees following me?”

“Uh …. Well …. I guess.” Javier’s face reddened.

“Yeah. Don’t think I can look after myself? You never learned anything about me when we worked together on a joint mission?”

“Well …. Look. I really care about you—a lot, and ever since I received the photo of headless bodies and then your accident, which seemed suspect, I assumed—”

“Remember the saying about making assumptions?” AJ rolled her eyes. “I understand you did what you thought was best, but don’t you think it would have been better to include me in the decision?”

“I understand.” Javier snapped his fingers. “Wait a minute. How did you find out I had someone following you?”

“I spotted Cesar a couple of nights ago. He did a good job of staying hidden and not making it obvious but remember I’m highly trained.” She grinned. “Besides, the director thought the accident was a bit strange, too. He assigned a security officer to follow me—not all of the time, but when necessary. The guy tasked as my support spotted Cesar and clobbered him.” AJ picked up the package from the other chair, leaned over, and tossed it on Javier’s desk. “My guy filled me in this morning and gave me a present.”

“What’s that?”

“Cesar’s weapon, his wallet, and a few condoms.” She raised a brow. “Since when are condoms part of a surveillance package?” AJ smiled.

“Uh.” Javier’s face reddened again.

“No worries—just having some fun.”

“Okay. But it’s tough knowing someone might be gunning for you.”

“We just need to coordinate things.” AJ stretched out her legs. “I’ll ask for assistance from you if I think I need it. Can you summon Cesar? I have a suggestion on how we should proceed.”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to do a bit more writing on Ultimate Escalation. I didn’t quite finish chapter ten, but I’m satisfied with the progress I’m making. Slide1

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 199 reviews, and increase of eight over the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Once Revenge is released, I’ll add another story to my current WIPs. There are two I’m considering at this time:

The first one is Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2, the sequel to Mission: Angola. Here’s the draft synopsis:Mission- Yemen

Xavier Sear is thrust into a new adventure when he accepts an under-the-table assignment from a longtime friend, Ron Vincent. A former CIA operative, Sear takes on any and all missions, which appeal to his sense of justice.

Abudullah Bashari, a retired Yemeni geologist who dabbles in archeology is embroiled in the bitter struggle between the Houthis and the government. He reaches out for help to save his family. A wealthy man, he offers to reveal a damaging secret Saudi Arabia is trying to keep hidden.

Life-threatening danger abounds as Sear visits Yemen and creates a plan to help Bashari’s family escape. However, Hussien Khan al Mishari, a young Saudi prince, threatens to undo Sear’s intervention in pursuit of his own deadly game. Who will be victorious?

European-Caper-HRThe other one under consideration is European Caper, the third novel in my Bruce and Smith Thriller series. Here’s what this will be about:

Larry Samson, a former DEA agent, and his wife, Cindi, a semi-active certified public accountant, check in for their flight to London, to begin their annual European river cruise. Before they board the aircraft, they’re asked to check into a drug smuggling ring using pleasure craft to move their goods through the various European capitals.

Shortly after they depart from their initial location on the river, they meet an American couple, Javier and AJ, who are on their honeymoon. They identify themselves as friends of Larry’s boss.

Before long, the couples are mired in a conspiracy with an Eastern European drug ring. Sparks fly as they take on the smugglers, who attempt to kidnap the women.

Will Larry, Cindi, Javier, and AJ be able to trace the conduits and pass the information along or do they run afoul of the group and end up in harm’s way? Only time will tell.

Plenty of time to decide which one will join Ultimate Escalation on my active work-in-progress list. In the meantime, if I feel the need for a change, I can always tinker with these!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Continue reading “Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021”

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 18, 2021

It’s been the hottest week of the summer thus far, with historical average temperatures being beaten by twenty degrees (F) on a daily basis. Today we’re off to a bit cooler start, with a slight chance of a later afternoon shower. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts!

small business marketAs I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I participated in a small business market at the local mall, along with around twenty vendors, although we were the only authors. While last Sunday was quiet for everyone, overall we did quite well, with fourteen autographed copies of my novels being sold and eighteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. We were absolutely delighted!

On the first day of the event, a customer bought Mission: Angola. He came back Sunday afternoon to tell me my writing was as good as, if not better, than one of his favorite authors, Clive Cussler. What a compliment!

I’ve also been contact by a couple of people who picked up business cards and wanted to know when we’ll be back as they want to purchase some books. The next small business market will be 6-8 August at the Kinsgate mall, Dunfermline (same location as last time). The photo above was taken by one of our stall’s customers and posted on Twitter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Zacharias Ursinus, German theologist (Heidelberger Catechism); Saverio Bettinelli, Italian Jesuit writer; Gilbert White, English naturalist (Natural History and Antiquities of Selborn); William Makepeace Thackeray, British novelist (Vanity Fair); Tristan Corbière, French poet; Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer; Ricarda Huch, German writer and historian “First Lady of German humanism”; Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina); Manuel Gálvez, Argentine novelist (La maestra normal); Sydney Horler, English detective writer (Checkmate); Nathalie Sarraute [Tcherniak], French writer (Childhood, Portrait of a Man Unknown, The Golden Fruits); Clifford Odets, American dramatist (1961 Award of Merit-Golden Boy); Harry Levin, American literary scholar; Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (paradigm shift); Robert Sloman, English screenwriter; Margaret Laurence, Canadian writer (The Stone Angel); Ludwig Harig, German writer; Simon Vinkenoog, Dutch writer and poet; Aad Nuis, Dutch writer and political scientist; Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station); Edward Bond, English playwright and director (Blow-up); and Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Charlie and Sam donned their Ray-Bans and walked through the terminal’s exit into the intense sunlight.  They headed to a nearby taxi rank, choosing a silver Hyundai van, and handed the driver their luggage.

The driver turned to Charlie. “Welcome to Bermy. First time here? Do you need a hotel?”

Charlie glanced back at the building. “Thank you. Yes, our first time here, but we are waiting for two more people.” He pointed. “Here they come.”

Wild and TJ approached the taxi and tossed their luggage in the back.

After closing the rear of the vehicle, everyone climbed inside.

As they pulled away, the driver tapped his horn and cut off an empty taxi. “Arryone, I am Felix. Wopnin?”

Charlie and the others glanced at one another before he turned to Felix. “Is that anything like what’s happenin’?”

Felix laughed. “You’re too smart for me. Most tourists don’t have a clue what I’m saying when I use our island slang.” A grin spread across his face. “All de onions will try it on you.”

“Onions?”

“At one time, onions were a major export from Bermuda, so those born and bred here became known as onions. What hotel?”

“The Oxford House in Hamilton. How long will it take?”

Felix nodded. “An excellent bed and breakfast. Since there is only one road from de airport, traffic is always slow. Today? Perhaps twenty minutes, but maybe forty.” He shrugged. “We find out.”

They left the airport, merging toward the exit. At the first roundabout, the van lurched to a stop. “Sorry. Must be a tourist in front of us.” Felix laughed. “Once we get on De Causeway, we will pass him.”

When an opening appeared in the traffic, Felix gunned the engine, taking the first left onto The Causeway and whipping past the slow-moving car. He tapped his horn and waved. “De water we are passing is called Castle Harbour.  We will take de North Shore Road to Hamilton.”

Charlie glanced at the pastel-colored buildings interspersed with small copses hugging the road. As they continued toward Hamilton, various businesses dotted the landscape.

The van swayed as Felix alternated between braking for vehicles in their way to dashing into oncoming traffic to pass anything in his way. After a series of turns in Hamilton, the van screeched to a halt in front of The Oxford House. He checked the clock on the dash. “Twenty-eight minutes. An excellent time.”

Everyone climbed out of the taxi and converged at the rear of the vehicle to collect their belongings.

“How much?” Charlie pulled out his wallet.

 “Let’s see. Ten miles from the airport, so that is thirty-two dollars and sixty-five cents.” Felix raised a hand and pointed at their roll-around suitcases and backpacks. “Plus, one dollar for every piece of luggage.” He grinned. “Because I like you, make it forty dollars.”

Charlie raised a brow, pulled out two twenties and a five-dollar note, and handed the money to Felix.

Chingas!” Felix pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. “If you need a taxi or a guided tour while you are in Bermy, give me a call, and I give you de business rate.” He shook their hands. “Enjoy!”

More next time.

Slide1Work is also progressing with Ultimate Escalation. Chapters eight and nine were completed this week and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 191 reviews.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently reread, The Fulcrum: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. If you’ve read any of JC’s work you know how good it is. The Fulcrum is the first book in the series, and is an excellent introduction to Rex’s character and what makes him tick. While some readers might not like the main character for a variety of reasons, it’s important to the series to know how Rex became the man he now is. Well worth the read!

I also read by Wired Secret: Vigilante Justice Thrillers Series (Paradise Crime Thrillers Book 7) by Toby Neal. An intricate plot and realistic characters make for an exciting read as Sophie Ang deals with personal demons while assisting the U.S. Marshall’s Service in protecting a witness. Before long, Sophie is also in the sights of the same person after the witness.

She also finds out more about her mother and tries to decide which man is best for her. There’s plenty of action and great twists to keep the story moving forward. Look forward to reading more of Toby’s work.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 11, 2021

We’ve been busy the past couple of days attending a small business market at the local mall. Plenty of crafts to choose from. Our table had my novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets.
Over the first two days, we sold a dozen of my autographed books and fifteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. Needless to say, we’re happy. All being well, a few more of both will sell today!
Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Robert Greene, English writer (Friar Bacon); Luis de Góngora, Spanish poet and writer; Jean-François Marmontel, French historian and writer; Thomas Bowdler, British physician and writer (Family Shakespeare); Léon Bloy, French novelist and essayist; Richard Beer-Hofmann, Austrian writer; Herman de Man [Salomon H Hamburger], Dutch writer/Radio Orange; E. B. White, American writer (Charlotte’s Web, Elements of Style), John Francis Boyd, journalist; Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, American sci-fi author (Space Lords); Cordwainer Smith, American writer; Frederick Buechner, American author; Harold Bloom, American literary critic; Pai Hsien-yung, Taiwanese writer (Taipei People); and Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: E.B. White. 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

All of my novels are participating in a gripping reads promotion, covering action & adventure, mystery& suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror. There are a total of seventy-nine novels available between now and the 15th. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/grippingreadskuor99/yblerf0c6g

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 721. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ grabbed empty seats and introduced themselves to Charlie.

“So, where’s the beer?” TJ picked up the pitcher, and poured the dregs into a glass and tossed it back.

Charlie glanced at each of his new team members. “How’d weapons training go?”

Paul approached with two pitchers of beer, set them on the table, and departed.

TJ filled everyone’s glass. “Not bad. I learned something new today.”

Wild laughed. “Yeah. Which end to shoot from.”

Everyone chuckled, with Javier almost choking on his beer.

“Who would’ve thought? I always figured I was right-eye dominant. At least I’ve never had an issue before with a pistol.” TJ sipped his beer and nodded at Sam and Wild. “Ask them who had a perfect score on the pistol range, including in the night-vision chamber?”

Sam grimaced. “So, my eyes don’t work as well in the dark. I’m not a cat or an owl.”

“Yeah, but you missed three times!”

“Out of sixty. But who had problems on the rifle range?”

“I still qualified.” TJ grinned and focused on Javier and Charlie. “When we hit the rifle range, I took out a target every time I shot.”

“So, what happened?” Javier glanced at Charlie. “Anything we need to be aware of?”

TJ shook his head. “Naw. At least, I don’t think so. Once we zeroized our M4s, I kept missing the targets. The instructor had me switch—I began shooting left-handed vice right-handed. Once I did that, I didn’t miss again.”

Charlie nodded. “Not a problem as far as I’m concerned. We’ll only be carrying SIG Sauers anyway. The rifle training was part of the package, and it’s always wise to understand everyone’s capabilities and shortcomings. Could make the difference between life and death.”

Paul and another waiter approached, each carrying large platters. After they passed out the plates, everyone stopped speaking as they dug into their meal.

Before long, the food had disappeared, and conversation picked up. Javier refilled everyone’s glass.

“Our flight to Hamilton will depart from BWI tomorrow afternoon. Take about two and a half hours.” Charlie looked at his team. “Be at the office by 0900, and we’ll go over the comms gear and a few other things.” He turned to Javier. “Anything else?”

Javier tapped a finger against his lips. “Nothing from me—it’s your show.” He raised his glass. “Here’s to the success of the Brusch Agency’s first contract.”

Everyone followed Javier’s lead before taking a drink.

Javier stood and pulled out his wallet.

“No worries, Javier.” Charlie waved at Javier. “We’ll stay a bit longer and become better acquainted. We’ll meet you at the office in the morning.”

Javier nodded. “Okay. Have a good evening.” He glanced toward AJ. “How about you?”

AJ grinned as she stood. “Let’s go.”

Outside on the sidewalk, Javier stopped. “Coming over or heading home?”

AJ smiled. “Nothing early planned.” She linked her arm through Javier’s. “Let’s head to your place and see what mischief we can get into.”

Javier pulled her close. “Sounds promising.”

They both laughed as they set off.

***

A man wearing a Yankees’ baseball hat slid down in his seat as Javier and AJ passed. Enjoy your evening. You’ll get what you deserve soon enough. He made a pistol with his thumb and index finger and pulled the trigger. We’ll have our revenge.

More next time.

In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews.Slide1

All seven chapters have been revised and reposted. So far, the they’ve received seventy-six chapter reviews. Excellent suggestions to further tweak the story and fix a few typos.

In addition, I’ve almost completed the next installment, chapter eight. It’ll be posted this coming week.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I need to dash to the final day of the small business market, so a book review will have to wait until next week.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 27, 2021

After a long hiatus due to Covid, we finally secured a craft table yesterday at an event which has resumed with the lifting of most restrictions. My novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets took center stage, with our candles and pyrography filled up our allocation.

Nine of Sylvia’s poetry sheets sold, along with eight of my novels, as well as some of the candles and pyrography. All-in-all, a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” 

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Indian novelist (Anandamath); Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (Under the Yoke); Lafcadio Hearn, American author (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan); Emma Goldman, American anarchist and publisher (Mother Earth); Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet and novelist (Oak & Ivory); Helen Keller, American political activist, author (The Story of My Life) and lecturer, who was the 1st deaf-blind person to earn a BA; Lewis Bernstein Namier, English historian; Ajla Rachmanova, Russian-Austrian author (Students); Catherine Cookson, English novelist (Bannaman Legacy); Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet (Ballad of Mari Lwyd); João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands); Alexander Pola [Abraham Polak], Dutch actor and writer (Cassata); Robert Aickman, English writer and conservationist (co-founding the Inland Waterways Association); Herbert Ziergiebel, German writer; Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian writer (Nyamekye); Joachim Wohlgemuth, German writer; Lucille Clifton, American poet (Two-Headed Woman); James P. Hogan, British sci-fi author (Giants’ Star); and J. J. Abrams, American writer, producer and director (Lost, Star Wars: the Force Awakens).

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly familiar with Catherine Cookson.  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 started the editing process of Revenge. Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 705. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ hoisted their beer bottles before taking a sip. A waiter slid a bowl of hot, salty popcorn on the table, winding his way through the tables and dropping off additional servings.

Wild took a long swig of his beer. “Man, I needed that. What a day! Those driving instructors are crazy!”

Sam laughed. “I know what you mean. When I went to the first test, I stopped as requested by the two armed guards at the checkpoint. One came up to the window and tapped on the glass with his AK-47. He spoke in the worst Spanish I’ve ever heard.” She grabbed a handful of popcorn and tossed a couple of kernels into her mouth. “He wanted my identification. I ended up shoving it through the window vent. After he glanced at it, he gave it back through the vent and waved us through.”

“So, what happened?”

“After we drove away, the instructor said I came up with a great way to provide what the guard wanted without rolling the window down.” Sam grinned. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him I did that because the main window wouldn’t come down.”

Everyone laughed and drained their bottles as full ones were set on the table.

“That’s nothing.” Wild chewed some popcorn before washing it down. “My instructor asked me why I sped toward a vehicle trying to back onto the road. A guy stood with his hand in the air for me to stop. I was going to when another stepped out with an AK-47. I was too close to back up, so I gunned it. The instructor finally agreed with my decision, although he said I should be more cautious.” He turned to TJ. “Anything exciting?”

“Not really. My instructor got mad when I swore. We came across a roadblock that I couldn’t bust through—two vehicles blocked the way, with a third one behind. When I began to reverse, the engine cut out. I hollered, ‘Shit!’ and started to climb out of the car when the instructor said the exercise was over. He then admonished me for swearing because he didn’t think the situation warranted it, although he did have a grin plastered across his face. He used the engine kill switch to disable the vehicle to see how I would respond.”

“Well, we survived our day of driving.” Sam stood. “I’m looking forward to the weapons stuff tomorrow.” She pointed to the sign for the restrooms. “Be right back.”

When Sam returned, they drained their glasses. “Pizza?” Sam pointed to the Pizza Hut sign down the street.

“Sure, but I want one to myself.” TJ rubbed his stomach. “What I don’t eat now I’ll have later or for breakfast.”

“Works for me.” Wild yawned. “After we eat, I’m heading back to the hotel to crash. Be another busy day tomorrow.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

With all of the editing and external events this week, I didn’t finish the novel I’m currently reading. All being well, I’ll present my review next time.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 13, 2021

This past week, Mother Nature has teased us a couple of times with a few sprinkles. Not enough to soak the ground, which is what we need as it’s been dry for over two weeks. As a result, I’ve had to start watering the plants so we don’t lose them. Since there’s been requests not to use hoses because of the dry weather, I’ve doing my bit by using a watering can.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Last year, there was a vine growing near and old wooden post cemented into the ground. Since the roots of a neighboring tree are intertwined around and across the concrete, I can’t remove the post without damaging these roots. Needless to say, I don’t want to do that. Instead, we’ve been training the vine to go around the post. This week we were rewarded with this flower popping out. There’s only the one, as least so far, but it’s a great addition to the area.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ~ Randy Pausch

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

Adrien Baillet, French scholar and critic; Fanny Burney, English novelist (Camille, Evelina); William Austin Burt, American scientist, surveyor and inventor who patented America’s first typographer (typewriter) and the equatorial sextant; Thomas Arnold, English educator and historian (History of Rome); Bernard ter Haar, Dutch poet (Herbert and Clara); W. B. Yeats, Irish poet (Wild Swans at Coole-Nobel 1923); Leopoldo Lugones, Argentine poet (Las montañas del oro); Max d’Ollone, French composer and writer (Le Ménestrel); Étienne Gilson, French philosopher and historian; Bruno Frank, German-born writer; Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese poet and writer (The Book of Disquiet); Dorothy L. Sayers, English novelist (The Nine Tailors); Mark van Doren, American poet and author (Happy Critic, Transients); Lode Zielens, Flemish author and journalist (Obscure Blood); Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, Spanish writer associated with the Generation of ’36 movement; Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, French Canadian poet (Regards et jeux dans l’espace); Etienne Leroux, Afrikaans author (Een vir Azazel); Hans Fellner, bookseller; Jean Villain, Swiss writer; Whitley Strieber, American author (The Wolfen, The Hunger); and Johannes Grenzfurthner, Austrian artist, writer, curator and director.

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly aware of Yeats. While most of us might not know Burt, we can certainly are familiar with his creation. Where would writers be today without the typewriter and later the computer?  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

All of my novels are participating in various promotions throughout June. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.  Here they are:

Thriller Reputation Builder: https://books.bookfunnel.com/alexablake/y4v4ep6lli

Faced Paced Thrillers: https://books.bookfunnel.com/fastpacedthrillers/r9qv4ero70

Chilling Reads: https://books.bookfunnel.com/chillingreads/gyniozpth8

Thriller, Mystery & Suspense: https://books.bookfunnel.com/audreywalker/col6tc780v

I’m sure I can say on behalf of all of the participating authors, many thanks for your support!

My Work in Progress

This week, I reached another milestone, completing the first draft of my sixth novel, Revenge. the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Everything is now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’ll take a couple of weeks off from this manuscript before I begin my initial editing.

Over the past week, there were another sixteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 664. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier wandered into the conference room carrying an iPad, followed by AJ. Seven of the ten brown leather chairs surrounding the rectangular oak table were occupied.

After taking his seat at the head of the table with AJ to his right, he glanced around the room. “Once the money starts rolling in, we might need a bigger place.”

Everyone chuckled.

“Anyone see TJ?” Javier raised a hand in the air to mimic a tall person.

“Right behind you, boss.” TJ spoke in his normal soft voice.

Javier turned and glanced upward. “How about climbing down from those heights and joining us?”

“Sure thing.” TJ took the remaining seat.

“Okay, now that everyone’s here, a couple of announcements.” He gestured toward AJ.

“Sindee, I spoke with one of my contacts in the Alexandria police.” A slight frown creased AJ’s face. “No sign of your neighbor yet, but they’ve put out the word to their confidential informants. A check of available CCTV cameras didn’t provide any leads so far, although one device did capture a late-model SUV leaving the parking garage around midnight. The vehicle was yellow or bronze. Are you aware of anyone in the building with a vehicle like this?”

Sindee shook her head.

“No plates on the SUV, so this appears to be a planned incident. When I hear more, I’ll pass it along.”

“Many thanks, AJ. Let’s hope they find Heidi soon.” Alive.  Javier glanced from Sindee to AJ. “While everyone’s getting settled in, I want to establish some routine. Every Monday and Friday, we’ll meet here for about an hour or so. Mondays will be to discuss any new business and events from the weekend, while Friday will be used to catch up on what’s happened during the week. Any questions?”

“Yes.” Sam glanced at the others before directing her attention toward Javier. “What if something urgent comes up?”

Javier nodded. “Good point. We can always hold impromptu meetings when they’re needed. As we progress and become a more cohesive team, we can make adjustments.”

He opened the iPad and read for a few moments. “Okay, team. We have our first overseas client, compliments of the DEA.”

“Who gets the assignment?” Wilder “Wild” Harris swiped his hands through his thick, brown hair.

“There’ll be four. The team lead will be one of the Snakes, but I don’t know which one yet—depends on who can break away from their normal duties and use some of their accumulated leave.” Javier gazed at the eager faces. “Sam, Wild, and TJ—you’re up. Cesar, I’ll talk to you later—something separate for you.”

More next time.

Since I’m taking a short break from Revenge, I’ve already pulled up another WIP to focus on. In 2019-2020, I posted the first seven chapters of Ultimate Escalation on the two subscription writing sites I use, receiving 101 chapter reviews. Relevant suggestions have been incorporated into the manuscript and the first two revised chapters are now reposted. They’ve already received twelve reviews.

Ultimate Escalation is the fourth novel in my Bedlam series, following award-winners, The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore. Here’s the synopsis:

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 Aleksandrovich Nikolaev, 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

Last night, I finished reading Thief on the Cross: Templar Secrets in America by David S. Brody. This is the second novel in his Templars in America series. Join Cameron Thorne and his fiancée Amanda Spence, as they try to unravel truth from fiction.

Once again David has weaved a superb plot, filled with plenty of twists and turns. Who did the Templars really worship and how did they become so powerful? Is David’s alternative to historical facts the truth? You’ll have to pick up a copy and make your own decisions. In any event, you’ll find this an excellent page turner. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day, weekend, traditionally the start of good weather, is upon us. As you enjoy your picnics, parades, and family gatherings, please also take a moment to reflect upon the background of the holiday. It’s also a time for honoring and mourning the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Happy Memorial Day to all who are enjoying the long weekend, and Happy Bank Holiday to my English friends, too.

We’ve had another week of crazy weather, but finally had two somewhat sunny but dry days in a row. Could we make it three? Hard to say–fog began rolling in during the early morning hours and is still with us. Hopefully, the sun will pop out and burn it off.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

As I had mentioned before, we were able to purchase a few bedding plants this spring despite the lockdown restrictions.  Here’s a couple of photos from our front yard (garden). This first one

is along the front of the property. We were fortunate to pick up these plants the morning they arrived at our local Tesco. They’ve taken well and are one of the best borders on our street, even if I do say so myself. Many of our neighbors have given it a thumbs up, too.

 

 

 

The second photo shows a variety of new plants with those that survived the past winter. Some

KODAK Digital Still Camera

perennials which we expected to be with us again this year didn’t make it, but my wife has done an excellent job of blending colors together to create another stunning display.

We’re still tackling the ‘jungle’ in the back, but next time I’ll add a couple of photos of the various types of flower and colors brightening up this area.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): Life is short. Don’t waste it being angry or sad. Be happy and enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Randolph Bourne, American writer (Education and Living); Cornelia Otis Skinner, Chic, writer (When Our Hearts Were Young & Gay); Countee Cullen, African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance (Black Christ & Other Poems); Joseph Stein, American dramatist and playwright (Fiddler on the Roof); Julian Gustave Symons, writer; Guadalupe “Pita” Amor, Mexican poet; Evelyn Wesler Zemel, American author (American Glass Animals); Arthur C. Jacobs, Scottish poet; Michael Piller, American screenwriter; and Kelley Armstrong, Canadian novelist (Women of the Otherworld).

While I don’t remember Joseph Stein, I’m certainly familiar with Fiddler on the Roof. Any names 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

I had another whirlwind writing time this past week, completing chapters thirty-nine, forty, and forty-one  of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. All are now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I  also updated my outline. After merging some of the final chapters, I believe I’ll finish with forty-five.

Over the past week, there were another nineteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 614. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A whimper escaped from swollen lips. She touched her face. Dried blood crusted her upper lip.

“Help.” The woman gasped. “Please. Someone. Help… Me.”

She collapsed.

* * *

Heidi awoke to darkness. Something scurried across the floor. A blanket was draped over her. She felt around—still clothed. She passed out again.

* * *

After she regained consciousness, the same dim light cast eerie shadows around the room. Next to her, a bottle of water and a sandwich wrapped in plastic.

She drank half of the lukewarm water. She wet her fingers and dabbed around her nose and mouth to rinse off the dried blood. Voices in the distance—strange, yet familiar.

Heidi pulled the sandwich from the bag and sniffed. “Ugh—I hate peanut butter.”

Her stomach growled in response.

She nibbled along the edge of the bread to minimize eating the filling, turning the sandwich as she progressed. When she finished, Heide drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

After dusk set, Bennie and Justin headed to the basement. Both wore clown masks. One of them flicked on the dim light, and they thundered down the stairs.

Heidi bolted upright, keeping the chair between her and the two men. “Stay away from me!”

“Relax, princess.” Justin stepped closer, a cloth in his hand. “We’re going to take a little ride.”

Heidi rushed to a corner of the room, pressing her back against the wall. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Bennie pointed at the ceiling. “Sound-suppression tiles. While someone upstairs might hear you, no one outside this building will.” He grinned. “You belong to us.”

Heidi jerked away as Bennie tried to grab her hand. She swung a fist, catching him on the side of his mouth. “Bastard!” She stepped forward, thrusting a knee into his groin.

He collapsed to the floor, hands covering his wounded parts.

Before Heidi realized where the other clown was, Justin grabbed her in a bear hug. He worked the cloth into Heidi’s mouth before pinning her against the wall.

“Help me, Bennie!” Justin grabbed one of Heidi’s hands and wrenched it behind her back. “Quit playing with yourself and help tie her up.”

“But she kneed me. It hurts like hell!”

“Just help me.” Justin grabbed Heidi’s hair and slammed her forehead into the wall.

She dropped to the floor.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Habitat Zero (Sam Reilly Book 15) by Christopher Cartwright. As with all of Christopher’s novels in the series, Sam is thrust into serious situations involving myriad myths and legends from the past. Habitat Zero follows along in the same style as readers are immersed in a hybrid of reality combined with a people from the past and a sphere which could only come from the future (or have been left by aliens).

While a bit far-fetched in some parts, this is another easy-to-read story, with plenty of twists and turns as Sam and his sidekick Tom, explore an unbelievable habitat. I always look forward to reading Christopher’s books as they allow readers to forget about what’s happening around them and enjoy a thrilling adventure.

I also finished Airliner Down: An Aviation Thriller by John Etzil. What would you do if you were stuck on a plane containing a bomb? Follow the actions of the plane’s crew and several of the passengers in this gripping thriller. With an intriguing plot, realistic characters, and plenty of non-stop action, you’ll keep wanting to turn the pages to find out what happens next. This is the first of John’s books I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 23, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera

It’s with a heavy heart I announce the passing of one of our feline friends–Charlie. While not as devastating as what’s happened during the pandemic, animal lovers will certainly understand.

A starving Charlie joined us during a heavy snowstorm in January 2015. We have no idea where he came from as we lived in a semi-remote area, with only one full-time neighbor, and he didn’t have cats.

When we took Charlie to our vet, his age was estimated at eighteen months. He was a gentle cat, afraid of his own shadow, but was a fantastic addition to the family. Unfortunately, his end came far too soon, but we had to do what was right for Charlie. He’ll always be in our hearts.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Life is short. Don’t waste it being angry or sad. Be happy and enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer; Giuseppe Parini, Italian prose writer and poet (Il Giorno); Thomas Hood, English poet and composer (The Song of the Shirt); Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros, French poet and writer (Les Vierges Folles); James Gleason, American writer and actor (Bishop’s Wife, Flying Fool); Adrian Roland Holst, Dutch poet (Raged & Tired); Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish writer, Nobel laureate; Scott O’Dell, American author; Walter Reisch, American screenwriter (Ninotchka, Gaslight, Titanic); Margaret Wise Brown, American author; Barbara Ward, economist/writer (Only One Earth); Leo Lerman, American writer and editor (Condé Nast Publications); Margaret Hayden Rector, playwright (living legacy award 1995); Robert KJE Antonissen, South African literary; James [Benjamin] Blish, US/UK, sci-fi author (Hugo, Star Trek Reader); Friedrich Achleitner, German poet; Barbara Barrie [Berman], American actress and author (Breaking Away, Barney Miller); Lasse Strömstedt, Swedish writer and actor; Peter Preston, editor (Guardian); Jane Kenyon, American poet; Mitch Albom, American writer; and Ryan Coogler, American director and screenwriter (Fruitvale Station, The Black Panther).

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week. 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 manged to complete chapter thirty-eight of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be forty-seven or forty-eight.

Over the past week, there were another fourteen new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 595. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier stood and offered a hand to his long-time friend. After shaking, they took seats in front of Javier’s desk. “So, what can I do for the DEA?”

Mitch laughed. “That’s what I’ve always liked about you—no beating around the bush.”

“When I was in the military, I used to call it efficiency. Now, time is money.” Javier chuckled.

“Couple of things. First, I want to congratulate you on your retirement.”

Javier nodded. “Many thanks. When are you pulling the plug?”

“Me? Not for a few more years. One of the kids is a freshman at Georgetown, and the other will join him next year. After they graduate, Bella wants to head back to Lombardy where she grew up.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Figure I’d buy a cab and schlep people around—at least when we’re not checking out the vineyards.”  He shook his head. “Not sure yet. Bella wants to open a deli.”

“Why not both?”

“I thought the same, but Bella wants to do something together.” Mitched sighed. “Plenty of time to make our minds up. The primary reason for dropping in was to dangle some work in front of you.”

Javier leaned forward. “Whad’ya got?”

“A British colleague of mine needs some help. Intel indicates a drug smuggler is using Bermuda as a base to ship his product into Florida.”

“Why aren’t you taking care of it?”

Mitch sighed. “We’re overstretched in the area, and this guy’s volume is too small for us to take an interest in—at least at this time. This would be an off-the-books assignment, which would give you an easy win while at the same time, I’ll improve relations with the British.”

Javier pursed his lips as he stared at the ceiling. “Okay, we’re in. How many operatives do you think we’ll need?”

Mitch pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket. “I think three or four max to handle this. All the details are here, including Cedric’s contact info.”

“Cedric?”

“The name of my British counterpart.”

Who to use? Perhaps a couple of the Snakes can take some leave. Take two of my new team. Should be enough. “Count us in.”

“Fantastic!” Mitch glanced at his watch. “I better run—have a meeting in an hour at headquarters. If any questions arise, give me a shout.”

The men stood and shook hands.

Javier showed Mitch back to reception.

A distraught Sindee sat in a chair, chest heaving, eyes wide.

“What’s the matter, Sindee?” Javier rushed over.

“S—Sorry, I’m late. L—Last night. A problem at my apartment building.” She took a deep breath to calm herself.  “I’ve been with the police all morning.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Undaunted Valor: An Assault Helicopter Unit in Vietnam by Colonel Matt Jackson. This is a true-life story as told through the eyes of Colonel Dan Cory as he flies combat missions during the Vietnam War.

This is a well-written account of various service personnel caught up in the war, from cowards to heroes, and from imbeciles to gifted pilots and leaders, told by someone who experienced it. Whether you supported the war or not, this rendition will give you an honest picture of how our people lived and died. Well worth a read!

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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 16, 2021

We finally started getting some normal May weather recently. While the week began with more rain and cool temperatures, by Thursday, things had picked up. Buds that we’re damaged in last month’s snow and frost are blossoming. While it’s still chilly in the shade, when the sun pops out it’s great!

Of course, the better weather also means the grass (and weeds) are growing, so a bit of time was devoted to tidying things up. There’s always something needing attention, but I’d rather have the better weather to do so.  Almost finished pulling the ivy off the back of the house–then it’ll be a clean-up effort to remain the tentacles, but so far I haven’t seen any damage caused. Thank goodness!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Neither a rich man or a poor man gets to enjoy his money. One is too busy trying to hold on to it, and the other is too busy trying to get it.” ~ Linda Poindexter

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Friedrich Rückert, German Poet, Translator and Orientalist; H[erbert] E[rnest] Bates, novelist (Feast for July, Love for Lydia); Arturo Uslar Pietri, Venezuela, writer/minister (Lanzas Coloradas); Margret Rey, author and illustrator; Olga Berggolts, Russian poet; Studs Terkel, American author/host (Stud’s Place, Working); Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and author; Juan Rulfo, Mexican writer (Pedro Paramo); Richard Mason, English author (The World of Suzie Wong); Adrienne Rich, American feminist writer (Diamond Cutters); and Peter Levi, poet/writer.

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week.  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

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

I was on a roll this week, completing chapters thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-seven of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. They’re now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be at least forty-sven.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 581. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier and AJ climbed the stairs and entered the third-floor kitchen/diner. “Want a coffee?”

“Of course.” AJ pulled out a chair at the island. “How are things going?”

Javier poured coffee from the pot he put on earlier. He placed a cup in front of AJ and sat in a chair next to her. “So far, so good. Elton, Sindee, and Bruno are getting settled. I gave them corporate credit cards so they can order what they need for their respective areas. I’m hoping we’ll be in business within a week.”

“Moving fast.” AJ took a sip of her black coffee. “Did you give any more thought about my suggestion of a back-up field team?”

“Yep. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Never can tell when a situation might arise where an all-female field team might be needed. However, I don’t have the funds right now to create one.”

“I’ve been giving it some thought.” AJ raised a hand. “Hear me out before you discount my suggestion. You’ve already chosen two women to handle minor cases. Why not expand their training so they could be deployed in more dangerous situations to support the others.”

Javier nodded. “I do want everyone working here to cross-train into other areas so we can be a lean and efficient force.” He tapped a finger on his lips. “But, I like groups of four. Where will I find the others?”

“Duh!” AJ pretended to pout. “Depending upon the situation and my availability, I could be part of the team. What about Sindee? I read her file—she’s been doing some martial arts training and belongs to a shooting club.”

“Would the CIA let you come and go at short notice, or are you still considering a career change?”

AJ laughed. “Still pondering. If I make the jump, I want to land in a suitable position.”

“I’m sure it can be arranged.” Javier nodded. “It’s one thing to shoot at targets but something else when the targets can return fire. I’ll set up a confidence course, and we’ll find out what Sindee and the others can do and set a baseline for training.”

“That’s all I ask.” AJ leaned closer. “Anything else planned for today?”

Javier gave a soft laugh. “What did you have in mind?”

***

Once Sindee entered the elevator, Bennie wiped the smile off his face. He left the building and crossed to a bronze late-model SUV. Tossing the bags in the back, he climbed in beside Justin, the driver. “I found out where she lives.”

“Excellent. We’ll come back this evening and grab her. Can we get in?”

“Yes, I checked—through the parking garage. There aren’t any barriers.”

Justin nodded. “Perfect. Let’s find a place to eat.”

“How about a bowling alley? They usually have decent food, and we can bowl and watch sports on their big screen while we wait.”

“Excellent idea.”

Five hours later, the bronze SUV pulled into the apartment complex and headed to the multi-story parking garage. Justin backed into an empty slot closest to the third-floor walkway to the apartments.

They climbed from the vehicle and stepped out of the garage.

“Wait a minute—forgot my bag.”

Justin pursed his lips. “Which way?”

Bennie retrieved his backpack from the rear seat and pointed. “This way—at the far end.”

They crabbed along the corridor. On the left, a railing to keep people from falling. On the right, doors signaled each apartment. Curtains were closed, but shadows cast by internal lights filtered outside.

As they approached the end of the walkway, Bennie turned and put a finger to his lips. “Keep watch.” He pulled a set of lock picks out of his back pocket. “Shouldn’t take long—these locks are simple to bypass.”

Justin gave a thumbs-up.

Bennie knelt by the door and worked his magic. The door swung inward, and he slinked inside.

A woman sat on a sofa, her back to the door. Headphones covered her ears as she pecked away at the keyboard on her phone.

Bennie crept forward, pulling an extendable baton from his bag.

Thwack!

He conked her on the head.

The headphones popped off as the woman’s body tilted to the side.

Bennie took a piece of rope from one pocket and tied her hands. From another pocket on the side of his backpack, he pulled out duct tape. After he stretched a piece across her mouth, Bennie picked her up in a fireman’s carry and dashed out of the apartment.

Justin aimed his gun at Bennie, lowering it when he recognized his partner. “That her?”

“Yeah, let’s get out of here before someone spots us!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finally completed enough real-life requirements so I could return to reading Primeval: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon.  Join Colonel Jack Collins, head of the Event Group’s Security Group as he leads several members of his team in a frantic search for his sister. Who grabbed her and why?

Jack’s search efforts leads to western Canada, home of the legendary They Who Follow. But it was real men who took his sister. This is another fast-paced thriller by David, filled with plenty of twists and turns. What are the men who took Jack’s sister after? Who will be the final victors? I don’t like to give away too much, so you’ll have to pick up a copy of this well-written story and find out for yourself.  It’s definitely worth a read!

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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 25, 2021

It appears we’ve turned the tide regarding the weather. No more frosty mornings, although on a few days the temperature was just above freezing. This week we purchased another fifteen plants for the borders at the front of the house. Plenty of color already there, but this will finish it off. Once everything’s in bloom, I’ll include a photo.

Sylvia and I received our second Pfizer Covid vaccination this week. No major issues, except the nurse administering the injections must have been a carpenter/joiner in a previous life. The way she shoved the needles into our arms was like she was driving a nail home in a piece of wood.

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

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa

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

Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, British soldier, statesman, and dramatist; Antonio Fogazzarro, Italian writer and poet (Il santo, Leila); Leopoldo Alas, Spanish novelist (La Regenta); Walter de la Mare, British poet and author (The Listeners, Memoirs of a Midget); Rubén M. Campos, Mexican novelist (Claudio Oranos) and musicologist (El folklore y la musica mexicana); Sally Salminen, Finnish writer (Katrina); Claude Mauriac, French writer (Le Temps immobile); Ross Lockridge, Jr., American novelist (Raintree County); William Goyen, American writer; Jean Mogin, Belgian poet; Albert Uderzo, French cartoonist and script writer (Asterix comic books); Corín Tellado, Spanish romance novelist; José Ángel Valente, Spanish poet (A modo the esperanza); Paul Mazursky, American writer/director (Moscow on the Hudson); ed Kooser, American poet and US Poet Laureate; James Fenton, English poet and journalist; and Dinesh D’Souza, Indian-American author (2016: Obama’s America).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  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’m delighted to announce Colombian Betrayal is now a finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. This year’s competition must be extremely intense as the judges decided to move all fourteen semifinalists into the finals.

The five First in Category winners and the category grand prize winner will be announced on June 5th. In addition, the grand prize winners from each of the seventeen genres will compete for the overall winner of this year’s competition. Many congratulations to all those who are now in the finals. Good luck!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-one of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-two new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 494. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Excuse me?”

Javier glanced up.

A clean-shaven man with a short slender build and red hair stood at the end of the table. “I-I’m a bit early. I’m Elton. Elton Taylor. I applied for the receptionist job.”

Javier motioned to the chair on his right. “Take a seat, Elton. Let me pull up your application and do a quick review.” He read through the document. “Huh. Uh-huh.”

“Excuse me, sir. May I have a glass of water?”

“Help yourself. And do us both a favor.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Relax. Your application looks fine.” Javier smiled. “So, why are you interested in working for the Brusch Agency?”

“Since I finished my degree at Northern Virginia Community College two years ago, I’ve been working as a receptionist at a senior citizens’ home. It’s okay, but ….”

Javier nodded.

“I prefer something more exciting, and when I saw this position advertised online, I thought it was perfect. I live with my parents two blocks away, so I can be here whenever I’m needed. I’m a hard worker, too.” A glimmer of a smile creased Elton’s face.

“There are seven other applicants for this job.”

Elton glanced at the table, rejection apparent in his demeanor.

Javier raised a hand. “However, you’re the only one with previous experience. You would still need some training, but it’s not a stumbling block. The job is yours—on one condition.”

Elton locked his eyes on Javier’s. “Yes, sir?”

“Well, there’re two conditions. The first is, stop calling me sir. And would it be okay for me to call you ET?”

“Yes, sir! I mean …. What should I call you?”

“My parents named me Javier, so that’ll work.” He stretched out a hand. “Welcome to the Brusch Agency.  What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

ET grinned. “I was too nervous to eat, so I’m going to get a burger downstairs. Afterward, I’ll share the news with my parents.”

“I tell you what. I’ll pay for your meal. After you eat, if you want to get on the clock right away, come back up. You can use my laptop to take notes during the rest of the interviews.”

“I’ll be right back!” ET jumped to his feet and rushed away.

***

“Count me in.” TJ half-rose and offered a hand to Javier.

He stuck his hand into the vice and tried not to wince as TJ crushed it. Javier stood. “Welcome aboard. We’ll be in touch in a few days with the contract.”

TJ waved a hand and departed.

As soon as he was gone, Javier flexed the fingers in his hand. “Hope the last guy doesn’t have a grip like his. We better make sure our gym is fully equipped.”

ET nodded and pointed toward the far end of the table. “Your visitor.”

Javier turned and spotted a tall, well-toned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. “Can I help you?”

The woman stepped forward. “I made an appointment—Samantha Bennett. Call me Sam.”

Javier glanced at ET, who shrugged.

“Well, Sam, why didn’t you put your full name on the application?” Javier gestured at an empty chair. “Please sit.” He did the same.

“If I had done that, would you have given me an interview?”

“Sure, why not? I don’t care about anyone’s gender or sexual preferences. What’s important to me is whether a person can hold their own if they end up in a tough situation.”

Sam gazed into Javier’s eyes. “I believe you. Serving in a combat role in Afghanistan shows what I can do when cornered.”

“Agreed. The job is yours if you want it.”

“I accept.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Event: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon and will offer my review next time. I have several other books lined up to read, so I better start turning the pages!

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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 18, 2021

We’re finally seeing an end to the morning frosts (I hope) and temperatures are climbing back into normal springtime ranges. There’s been plenty of sunshine each day, and with sunrise and sunset earlier and later, respectively, things are brightening up.

All of the plants and flowers we put in the flowerbeds have survived the frost, although the tips of our existing hydrangeas had some damage. The grass has been treated to its semi-annual weed and feed mixture. Plenty of color to make things more appealing.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you. Not because they are nice, but because you are.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Thomas Middleton, English playwright (A Game at Chess); George Colman the Elder, English dramatist; Pieter ‘t Hoen, Dutch journalist and patriot (Neder-Rhijn); George Henry Lewes, English philosophical writer (Life of Goethe); Henry Clarence Kendall, Australian poet (Bell Birds); Antero Tarquínio de Quental, Portuguese poet (Beatrice); Richard Harding Davis, American journalist and author (Soldiers of Fortune, The King’s Jackal); Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, German author (In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message); Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Croatian writer (The Brave Adventures of Lapitch); Vicente Sotto, Filipino politician and author (Sotto Law, Republic Act No. 53); Clara Eggink, Dutch poet (Life with J C Bloem); Stephen Longstreet, American writer (All or Nothing); Joy Davidman, American poet, writer and wife of C. S. Lewis; Cliff Hillegass, American publisher (Cliffsnotes); Leif Panduro, Danish writer (‘k Have varnish on traditions); Raf de Linde [Raphael van Hecke], author (Vaarwel on Gertrude); Samuel P. Huntington, American political scientist (The Clash of Civilizations); Kathy Acker, American experimental novelist (Blood and Guts in High School); and Keith DeCandido, American sci-fi author (Star Trek).

Were any names familiar to you? While Cliff Hillegass’ name wasn’t familiar, I certainly used his Cliffnotes in a variety of classes when I was a student.  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 received great news last week. Colombian Betrayal is now a semi-finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Colombian Betrayal will now compete with thirteen other novels for the finalist positions. There’s been a slight change in the progress to the final announcements. The finalists of the sixteen categories will be announced over three days, April 22nd-24th. The Global Thrillers will be announced the evening of April 22nd, so hopefully, I’ll have good news to share next week.

This year, there will be five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will now be announced on June 5th. Fingers crossed my novel becomes one of the finalists and continues its journey!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 472. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Many thanks, AJ. Let’s hope they find Heidi soon.” Alive.  “While everyone’s getting settled in, I want to establish some routine. Every Monday and Friday, we’ll meet here for about an hour or so. Monday’s will be to discuss any new business and events from the weekend, while Friday will be used to catch up on what’s happened during the week. Any questions?”

“Yes.” Sam glanced at the others before directing her attention toward Javier. “What if something urgent comes up?”

Javier nodded. “Good point. We can always hold impromptu meetings when they’re needed. As we progress and become a more cohesive team, we can make adjustments.”

He opened the iPad and read for a few moments. “Okay, team. We have our first overseas client, compliments of the DEA.”

“Who gets the assignment?” Wilder “Wild” Harris swiped his hands through his thick, brown hair.

“There’ll be four. The team lead will be one of the Snakes, but I don’t know which one yet—depends on who can break away from their normal duties and use some of their accumulated leave.” Javier gazed at the eager faces. “Sam, Wild, and TJ—you’re up. Cesar, I’ll talk to you later—something separate for you.”

“All right!” Sam and Wild high-fived.

TJ pursed his lips and focused an intense stare on Javier. “So, what’s the job? I assume the mission is drug-related, but where?”

Javier grinned. “Have any of you been to Bermuda? Your contact will be a Doctor Cedric Yates. He’s aware of an American drug smuggler using the island as a transit point to push his produce into Florida and would prefer the U.S. deal with him. Not enough volume to interest DEA since they’re stretched to breaking point, so they contacted us.”

“The team leader will be here tonight.” Javier turned to Sindee. “Set up flights, hotels, and two rentals for three days from now. Plan everything for a ten-day vacation—things will be adjusted based on what the team uncovers.”

Sindee nodded. “What about visas? Can we get them in time?”

Javier shook his head. “I checked last night. Not needed for visits of less than six months.”

“I’ve arranged a specialist training program for you. Not long—two days at the Farm.” AJ glanced at Sam, Wild, and TJ. “You’ll get a day of personal security and a day on the pistol and rifle ranges.” AJ chuckled. “Rest up—you’ll need it as the instructors will try to grind you down.”

“Any questions?” Javier surveyed his team. When no one spoke up, he nodded. “Back to work.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Legend: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. Imagine searching for a relic surrounded by a legend, only to find out the item is real and protected by a living beast!

David’s story contains vivid descriptions, multiple subplots, and plenty of characters, including the formidable Major Jack Collins and his deputy, Lieutenant Commander Robbie Everett. Will they encounter the beast and rescue a missing archeological team? There’s plenty of action in this one, so get ready for a real page turner!

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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved