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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 4, 2021

For those who recognize today as Easter, Happy Easter! For those who don’t have a super Sunday!

The weather’s been crazy this week. While there’s been plenty of sunshine, the thermometer is going in the wrong direction. The past three mornings we’ve either had frost or heavy dew. Up to two inches of snow is forecast beginning tonight through tomorrow afternoon, with more flurries throughout the week. What happened to ‘April shows bring May flowers?’ I just hope the spring plants survive the week!

On another front, the Covid lockdown is starting to ease, with the stay at home order rescinded. It’s been replaces by a stay local mandate for the next three weeks. A variety of facilities will open tomorrow, including garden centres (nurseries), homeware stores, auto dealerships, hairdressers, and barbers. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you have ever imagined.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 4th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays

William Strachey, English writer (early history of the English colonisation of North America); Bettina von Arnim, German writer and composer of the Romantic era (This Book Belongs to the King); Thomas Mayne Reid, Irish-American novelist (The Headless Horseman); Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and biographer (Beleaguered City); Comte de Lautréamont, French writer (Les Chants de Maldoror); Remy de Gourmont, French poet; George P Baker, American educator and playwright (47 Workshop); Charles Earle Funk, American lexicographer (Funk & Wagnalls); Zdzisław Żygulski, Sr., Polish literary historian; Tristan Tzara [Samuel Rosenfeld] Romanian-French poet (Approximate Man); Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, French poet and author (Lutin Sauvage); Stanley G. Weinbaum, American sci-fi author (Martian Odyssey); Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author (Cheaper by the Dozen); Jerome Weidman, American writer (Tenderloin); Marguerite Duras, French novelist and playwright (Sea Wall); Jan Drda, Czech writer (Nema Barikada, Mestecko Na Dlani); Lars Ahlin, Swedish writer (My Death is My Own); Emmett Williams, American poet; Maya Angelou [Marguerite Johnson], American author (“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”), poet and actress (Nyo-Roots); Trevor Griffiths, English playwright (Absolute Beginners); Ian St James, novelist (Balfour Conspiracy, Vengeance, Money Stones); Kitty Kelley, American journalist and author (Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra); Dan Simmons, American sci-fi and horror writer (Song of Kali); David E. Kelley, American writer and TV producer (Picket Fences, Chicago Hope); and Cazuza, Brazilian poet, singer and composer.

Were any names familiar to you? I found two: Charles Earle Funk, Maya Angelou.  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 five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU), comprising seventy-three action & adventure, mystery & suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror novels. My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. This promotion runs through April 15th, so don’t miss out!

My Work in Progress

While I did spend some time outdoors this week when the weather permitted, I also managed to complete another chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Last week, I mentioned I had completed chapter twenty-seven. That was a bit premature, as it was chapter twenty-six. However, the next chapter had now been completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another eleven new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 429. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A woman stirred from a fetal position on the concrete floor. She raised her head, and an eye eased open. Dim light emanated from a solitary fixture on the ceiling at the bottom of a set of stairs. Faint footsteps came from above.

She pushed himself to a kneeling position on a rug spread underneath her. 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, Heidi drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

The door at the top of the stairs banged open. A second light popped on, illuminating Heidi’s prison. Footsteps rushed down the steps.

“Get up!” Someone wearing a clown mask kicked Heidi in the ribs.

She groaned, grabbing her side. “Stop! Please stop! Why are you doing this to me?”

“I want information about your boss—you will tell me everything, or you’ll be sorry.”

Heidi struggled to a sitting position and stared at the man. “My boss is married—has three kids. I—”

More next time.

I recently finished Ancients: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. What’s causing earthquakes around the world at an alarming rate? Will the brainy people at the Event Group, be able to identify the source and put a stop to the chaos before the world is destroyed? How does the fabled city of Atlantis feature in the story? 

David’s plot is thrilling and will keep you turning the pages until you find out the answers. For those who are particular about accuracy, things like private first corporal (PFC) might throw you for a loop, but it’s still an exciting read. I look forward to reading more of David’s work.

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, March 7, 2021

We’ve had cooler temperatures over the past week, barely making into the lower 40s (mid teens, Celsius). For the most part, it’s been dry, which has been good so we could do some pruning of the hydrangeas, which stated to bud a couple of weeks ago. Normally, we get the pruning done before they bud, but with the recent mild weather, they decided to spring out.

A variety of spring flowers are now flowering. I don’t remember all of their names, but at least we’re seeing a variety of reds, yellows, and blues adding color around the house.

“There are two amazing places you can be. The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts. The safest place to be is in someone’s prayers. (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 7th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Guillaume du Vair, French writer and thinker; Georg Neumark, German composer and poet; Ewald Christian von Kleist, German poet; Alessandro Manzoni, Italian poet/novelist (Betrothed); Frantisek L. Celakovsky, Czech poet (national anthem, folk song); Franz Grave von Pocci, German poet/composer (Der Alchemist); Matilde Serao [Tuffolina], Italian writer (Land of Cockayne); Paul Ernst, German writer; Vera Fjodorova Panova, Russian author (Sputniki); Greta Schoon, German poet; Leo Malet, French crime novelist (Nestor Burma novels); Stefan Kisielewski, Polish composer, writer and politician; Mochtar Lubis, Indonesian writer (Twilight in Jakarta); Kobo Abe, playwright (Woman, the Dunes); Jean-Paul Desbiens, Quebec writer and teacher; Georges Perec, French writer (Seire Noire, Retour a la bien-aimee); Harald Gerlach, German writer; Paul Preuss, American sci-fi author (Medusa Encounter, Starfire); Jürgen Theobaldy, German writer; Stanley Schmidt, American science fiction writer and editor; Robert Harris, British TV reporter, journalist and author (Fatherland, Enigma); Bret Easton Ellis, American writer (American Psycho); i Ai Yazawa, Japanese mangaka (manga author – Neighbourhood Story); and Amanda Gorman, American poet and activist who delivered the poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognise is Amanda Gorman. We watched her delivery of her poem on inauguration day. 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 five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU). My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. Mission: Angola is also participating in a separate promotion for New Releases – Mystery/Thriller. There are forty-two novels in this promotion, all of which have been released since October 2020. Please stop by–you might meet your next favorite author!

My Work in Progress

I still didn’t finish the next chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as real-life requirements once again took precedence. Over the past week, there were another twenty-one new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 372. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Alberto whacked Bennie across the face. “Estúpido! I didn’t tell you to follow them. You’re not trained in surveillance.” He glared at Bennie and stomped to his seat. “They could have heard you when you shouted, ‘Alberto, I found them!’”

Bennie’s head dropped to his chest as he gazed at the floor. “I-I did what I thought was right. You wanted me to find them.”

Alberto squeezed his hand into a fist. “Yes. But why didn’t you pay some kid on the street to find out where they went instead of doing it yourself? I gave you enough money.” Perhaps I made a mistake pulling him from the collapsed building and bringing him with me.

“I didn’t think.”

“You got that right. In the future, do just what I tell you and nothing else. Remember, Allah is judging us.” He gestured to the table. A small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with string sat in the center. “Keep taking photos of the targets from a distance. There’s more cash in the package—use it to hire two or three locals who know how to follow people. No more amateur stunts.”

“Yes, Alberto.” He reached for the parcel.

“Start moving your equipment to our new property. The address is written on the bottom of the package. Don’t return here—Walter will be the only one still using this location.”

Bennie nodded as he picked up the parcel. “I won’t let you down, Alberto.”

“I know you won’t.” Or you’ll meet Allah sooner than you expect.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Act of War (Scot Harvath Book 13)  by Brad Thor. As with all of Brad’s stories, this is another riveting plot with plenty of action. Once again, Scot Harvath is embroiled in a struggle between good and evil as terrorists try to bring down the United States.With excellent descriptions, realistic characters, and Brad’s unique prowess, this is one not to be missed!

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, February 28, 2021

We’ve made it to the end of another month–hard to believe how fast February has zoomed past.  The weather’s improving a bit, too. Over the past week, there’s been enough sunshine and wind to dry out some of the damp areas so I could finally clean up the remainder of last autumn’s leaves. I even managed to turn over some of the flower beds and snag the weeds I missed before. Why do weeds always grow so well?

There’s still plenty to do outdoor, but I’m not rushing–a couple hours each day is enough. That allows for the sunshine and wind to start drying out everything I’ve dug over or the areas I’ve finally cleared. The hydrangas are already starting to bud and it won’t be long before we begin seeing other signs of springs. Roll on!

“The value of a smile is priceless, yet it is the cheapest, easiest, most rewarding, and most sincere gift to anyone that crosses your path. A smile makes a person’s day, anybody’s day even a stranger’s day. A smile is infectious. Start infecting people with your smile today.”

(Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 28th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher and essayist (Essais); Ernest Renan, French philosopher/historian/scholar of religion; Quincy Adams Gillmore, American civil engineer, author, and Major General (Union Army); Hermann Schell, German theologist/philosopher (Gott und Geist); Arthur Symons, Welsh poet/critic/co-founder (Savoy); Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian philosopher, playwright and poet; Jose Vasconcelos, politician, essayist, philosopher; Jose Gutierrez Solana, Spanish painter and author (Madrid Escenas); Ben Hecht, American novelist/playwright/screenwriter (Front Page); Laura Z. Hobson, American writer (Gentleman’s Agreement); Rudolf W. Nilsen, Norwegian poet (Hverdagen); Glyn Jones, Welsh, novelist, poet and literary historian; Stephen Spender, English poet and critic (Vienna, Edge of Darkness); Amir Hamzah, Indonesian poet (Njanji Sunji); Bernard Frank, French writer and oriental scholar; John Montague, Irish poet and 1st occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry; Bruce Dawe, Australian poet; Jack Thieuloy, French writer; Peter Alliss, English golfer (Ryder Cup 1957 GB winners) and author, course designer and television presenter, commentator (BBC, ESPN, ABC Sports); Alice May Brock, American author; and Tristan Louis, American writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t see and I new 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 finished chapter twenty-three of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Over the past week, there were another nine new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 360. As always, plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Javier disconnected the call after the sixth ring. Where is she? I thought she would sit in on the interviews. Hope everything’s okay. Perhaps work got in the way.

Before he returned to his seat, something blocked the light. Javier glanced over his shoulder.

A giant of a man approached, a hand outstretched. “You must be Javier. I’m TJ Parker.”

Javier’s hand seemed to disappear in the handshake. He looked up into the man’s face. “What are you, seven feet tall?”

An intense stare emanated from TJ’s dark eyes. He spoke in a soft voice. “Not quite. Six foot nine.”

“Take a seat.” Javier gestured toward a chair, and he returned to his. “What was your military occupational specialty?”

“Ninety-seven echo.”

Javier tapped his chin. Fits—his mere presence would intimidate anyone. “Interrogator, right?”

TJ nodded.

“Ever fire a gun at someone?”

TJ tilted his head and focused his gaze on Javier. “A stupid question. If you read my application, you know I served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Self-protection was paramount.”

“Just wanted to hear your response.” Javier grinned. “I’m planning to use two teams of investigators. One will be handling overseas assignments, and it’s possible there might be some shooting.”

“Sounds like where I belong.” TJ grinned. “What’s the pay?”

“There’ll be a one-year probationary period. During that time, you’ll earn seventy-five thousand, plus overtime, expenses, and bonuses.”

“Don’t seem like much.”

Javier gestured at ET.

“The average salary for a private investigator in Alexandria is sixty-two thousand, plus you would be responsible for your own overhead costs.” ET glanced up from the screen. “The agency will provide medical insurance, which will also cover any requirements overseas, Metro or parking reimbursement, and a 401K package.”

TJ flexed his biceps. “What about paying for a gym membership?”

Javier shook his head. “No. But what you want will be located in the basement of our building.”

“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.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m not quite finished with Act of War (Scot Harvath Book 13)  by Brad Thor, so I’ll post my comments next time.  What have you been reading? Anything you think I might enjoy?

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, February 21, 2021

The really cold weather and the snow have disappeared–that’s the good news! While we’re back to milder temperatures, instead of snow we have rain–almost every day. At least there’s been some heavy winds to dry things out when the rain stops.

When there were long enough dry spells, I was finally able to clean up some of the leaves in the back which I didn’t get to because of the prolonged rainy season. It’s starting out overcast but dry, so I might get some more done today!

“While you wake up today someone is breathing their last breath, Thank God for another day, don’t waste it.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 21st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Justus van Effen, writer/founder (Holland Spectator); Willem van Haren, Frisian nobleman/poet (Human Life); Louis-Pierre Anquetil, French historian; Charles L Fournier, Flemish writer/painter; Karl A Varnhagen von Ense, German officer/author (Die Sterner); John Henry Newman, England, cardinal/author (Dream of Gerontius); Jose Zorrilla y Moral, Vallodolid Spain, poet/dramatist (El rey Loco); [James] Burner Matthews, US playwright/critic (NY Times); Pierre de Bréville, French composer, author and professor (Une histoire du théâtre lyrique en France); Jacob D du Toit [Totius], South African poet/theologist; Waldemar Bonsels, German writer; Clemence Dane, British novelist and playwright; Raymond Queneau [M Presle], French author (Un Enfant a Dit); Anaïs Nin, French writer; Armand Preud’homme, Flemish organist/poet; Wystan Hugh Auden, American poet (Age of Anxiety-Pulitzer 1948); Hans Andreus [Johan W van der Zant], Dutch poet (Animal Language); Herman de Coninck, Flemish writer/poet (Impossible Work); Chuck Palahniuk, American writer; David Foster Wallace, American writer (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System); and Kumail Nanjiani, Pakistani American comedian, actor and writer (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley).

Anyone familiar to you? All the names were unfamiliar to me 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

Two of my novels, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance, are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called, Alpha Males (Human). There’s still time before the promotion ends on February 28th, so why not drop in and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest? All of the authors will be greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

I didn’t quite finish the next chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as real-life requirements took precedence. Over the past week, there were another five new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 351. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“However, your reputation precedes you. No one doubts you’re both brilliant analysts—your IQ scores are off the charts. However, my friend thinks your over-exuberant personalities won’t work in an environment where you can’t draw attention to yourselves.”

The twins looked at each other, before speaking in unison, “But we can tone things down when needed.”

“Field operatives must become part of their environment and not be noticed. Somehow, I don’t see you fitting into this role.” AJ raised a hand to ward off any further objections. “I’m sure the only time you two are introverted is when you’re asleep.”

Everyone laughed.

“So, what do you suggest?” Her badge identified her as MacKenzie, who often took the lead in speaking when the twins were together. “At first, working for the CIA was a thrill, but too many people are always telling us what to do. We don’t require constant supervision.”

AJ nodded. “I know this, which is why I keep my requests for updates from you to a minimum. However, too many people feel threatened by your brilliance and try to find something wrong with your work.”

Makayla raised a hand. “What do you suggest we do? We’ve been working here since graduating from Princeton when we were seventeen. Yet, you’re the only boss we’ve had who allows us to stretch ourselves and take on more assignments.”

“I understand. Which is why I spoke with Human Resources today.”

“What about?” MacKenzie’s eyes seemed to widen with alarm. “Are we in trouble again? We said we wouldn’t create any more disturbances in the cafeteria.”

“No, you’re not in trouble. I’ve been trying to find a way to tap into your genius without you being stifled by bureaucracy and might have come up with a solution.”

“What?” MacKenzie and Makayla leaned forward.

“Hold on—you may not like it.” AJ glanced from one twin to the other. “As you’re aware, my friend Javier—”

“Yeah, more like a lover than a casual friend, if you ask me.” Makayla struggled to hold her laughter. “Is that how you refer to him?”

“Never mind.” AJ tilted her head. “As I was saying, Javier’s moving forward with his investigative agency. He happened to mention last night he needed at least two experienced research analysts who could work with minimal supervision.”

“But we have jobs.” MacKenzie frowned. “We might be good, but we’re not magicians.”

“Here’s the deal. He’s willing to take you both on a part-time basis. HR informed me it’s possible to keep you working here on a part-time basis. Javier also mentioned you would be required to go through the field training he’ll be setting up.”

‘Woohoo!” The twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads as if they were cheerleaders.

“When do we start?” Makayla rubbed her hands together.

“As soon as Javier has everything up and running.”

“Count me in.” Makayla glanced at MacKenzie.

“Heck, yeah. If Javier hires us, will you be coming along?” MacKenzie raised a brow. “You keep telling us how much you detest being behind that desk. I remember you said there was a job for you, too.”

AJ grinned. “You better get back to work. I want to finish up and head out early for a change.” Need to do some thinking about my future, too.

***

Her day completed, AJ secured her computer, spun the combination lock on her safe, and headed out of her office. Once in her car, she turned on the radio and began humming to a tune.

She pulled into the rush-hour traffic and began the crawl home, her fingers tapping on the wheel to the sound of the music. When she reached her exit, she signaled and shot along the ramp.

The traffic light flicked to yellow.

AJ gunned her engine.

Beeeeep! Beeeeep!

AJ turned toward the thunderous twin blasts of an air horn. Her eyes grew wide as an eighteen-wheeler sped through the intersection toward her.

Baaang!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Blair Howard’s One Dark Night (Harry Starke Genesis Series Book 6), which will be released on February 28th. As with all of Blair’s novels, there’s a riveting plot with plenty of twists and turns so readers won’t be able to figure out who the culprits might be. Along with the stalwart Harry, his team, and Kate Gazarra from the Chattanooga Police Department, we find ourselves embroiled in a fourteen-year-old double murder of a young couple. But who was the villain or villains? Will it be a member of a local wealthy family or someone from a family teetering on the poverty line?

This one will have you turning the pages to find out what happens as Harry and the others do their utmost to solve the riddle, while at the same time, try not to get themselves killed. Once again Blair show why he’s a master at these ‘whodunnit’ stories. Can’t wait for the next one! I received an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

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, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

It’s been a cold and snowy week. We received about 7-8 inches of the white stuff, and it’s still covering the ground. We also saw our coldest day of the winter thus far, 19F (-7C). Hopefully, that’ll be the end of the worst weather, but only Mother Nature knows!

This week Sylvia and I received our first Covid-19 vaccinations. It was an easy and painless process, with plenty of helpful people ensuring everything went according to plan. From arriving at the vaccination center (a local church) to leaving was less than forty-five minutes, including the fifteen-minute wait after the jabs to make sure we were okay. Not sure when we’ll get the second dose, but letters are supposed to be sent to us.

“Thinking positive thoughts will always empower you. Do it enough & it will change your life.”(Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Christianus Adrichomius, Dutch Catholic priest & writer (Vita Jesu Christi); Hans Christoph Haiden, German composer, organist and poet; Sybilla Schwarz, German baroque poet; Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée, French writer (L’École des Mères); Christopher Latham Sholes, American newspaper man, politician and inventor of the typewriter; Edmond François Valentin About, French writer (Le Roi des montagnes); Francois Haverschmidt, Dutch writer (Snikken en grimlachjes); Frank Harris, Irish-American journalist and writer (My Life & Loves); Israel Zangwill, Jewish author (Children of The Ghetto); William John Gruffydd, Welsh poet & scholar; George Jean Nathan, American editor, author and critic (American Mercury); Kostas Varnalis, Greek poet; Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist & writer; John Herman Randall Jr., American philosopher (Western Man); A. Moses Klein, Canadian poet (Hath Not a Jew…); Edmund George Love, American historian & author (A Small Bequest); Ab [Albert] Visser, Dutch poet/writer (Man Without a Head); James Pike, American bishop (Beyond Anxiety); Juan Garcia Hortelano, Spanish author (Tormenta de verano); Alexander Kluge, German author and film director (Yesterday Girl); Israël “Ischa” Meijer, Dutch journalist, critic and author (Een Dik Uur Ischa, Boezemvriend); Carl Bernstein, American investigative reporter who covered Watergate for the Washington Post; and Phillip Hamilton, American author.

Anyone familiar to you? I spotted one: Carl Bernstein. 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

Two of my novels, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance, are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called, Alpha Males (Human). Why not drop in and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest? All of the authors will be greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

I finally finished chapter twenty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Over the past week, there were another three new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 346. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

AJ weaved through heavy traffic on the Capital Beltway. She leaned on the horn and cursed slower motorists.

“Late again. Don’t they know the speed limit is fifty-five, not twenty-five?” She slammed a hand on the steering wheel of her gunmetal gray Honda Pilot.

After blowing her horn at a vehicle weaving in front of her, she spotted her exit and sped along the edge of the freeway and flew down the ramp. She raced through a red light and whipped her vehicle toward the security checkpoint at the CIA facility in Langley, skidding to a halt at the end of a line of cars waiting for access.

“C’mon, c’mon!” When her turn came, she flashed her badge at the sensor and shot past the barricade. Grabbing a pass from the console, she flung the placard on the dash, jumped out of her car, and raced inside.

Once through the turnstile, she rushed to the elevator, the heels of her black leather shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Two minutes later, AJ waltzed into her section at the community coffee pot for a black coffee.

“About time, boss lady.” MacKenzie Campbell twirled the ends of a blonde plait as she leaned against the door to AJ’s office. “I’m sure you said you would be coming in early—much earlier than this.”

“Yeah, well … things happen.” She smiled as she remembered the previous evening with Javier.

“Heello! Earth to AJ.” MacKenzie nudged AJ forward into the office and sat in front of the desk.

AJ sat behind the desk and sipped her coffee. She grimaced at the bitter taste. “Who made the coffee—it’s not too good.”

When MacKenzie laughed, it reached her blue eyes. “The new member of the team. I heard she’s a tea drinker, but wanted to help out.”

“Definitely needs some training.” AJ pushed the mug away. “So, anything new on the alert board for Latin America or projected to be heading our way? I have a meeting with the other heads of the counter-terrorism divisions and will provide them an update.”

“Since you dealt with the drug cartel, FARC, and Islamic State trifecta, things are still quiet in our area of responsibility. Even Mexico is bending to our request for more information, whereas before they were reluctant partners.”

AJ flicked her long, brown hair. “What’s Makayla up to?”

“We might be identical twins, but she works out in the gym more than I do.” MacKenzie laughed. “She’s probably teaching some rookie the latest Krav Maga moves she learned.”

“I pity the poor person. From time to time, I work out with Makayla, and it’s no picnic. She means business throughout every training session.”

“That’s why she’s one of our best, and why I don’t train with her. She always kicks my butt, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it. If only you’d allow us out into the field, we could show what we can do.”

AJ shook her head. “Ain’t gonna happen. I told both of you before your strength is in your search abilities. I don’t think you’re cut out for an overseas assignment—yet. Perhaps, one day.”

MacKenzie rolled her eyes but remained silent.

“When your sister decides to make an entrance, I need to speak with both of you. Something’s come up which might be of interest to you.” AJ glanced at the wall clock. “I better get ready for the meeting.”

MacKenzie stood. “Catch ya later, and I’ll bring my errant sister.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past couple of weeks I finished The Eye of Shiva (The Project Book 8) by Alex Lukerman. Although this was the first novel I’ve read in the series, it was easy to identity the main characters, Luke and Selena, which were well-crafted and identifiable. This is a fast read, combining plenty of action, intrigue, and some romance as they become embroiled in an international  conspiracy, one with potential deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of people.

If you enjoy interesting plots, and plenty of action with a few twists thrown in, you’ll find this an excellent page-turner. Although this can be read as a standalone without any negative impact, I’m definitely heading back to the first book in the series!

I also completed Unhinged: A Micro-Read by John Podlaski. What starts out as a simple job at a local drive-in movie facility for two teenagers will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I don’t like to do spoilers, and since this is a novella, it won’t take you long to become immersed in this riveting story.

John shows a brilliant writing style which will appeal to a wide range of tastes. Highly recommended and I look forward to reading more of John’s work!

Finally, I finished reading The Enigma Factor: A Techno Thriller (The Enigma Series Book 1) by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey. This is a fantastic blend of romance, drama, crypto-capers, crime, and adventure. With a well-designed plot and plenty of action scenes, this will definitely appeal to those who enjoy the genre. Look forward to reading more of Charles and Roxanne’s work!

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, February 7, 2021

Today’s a special day in our house–it’s Sylvia’s 70th birthday! Although Covid stopped the planned party and our son’s trip over from Washington, D.C., I’ll try to make her day as memorable as possible.

Mother Nature is always adding to the fun–it’s snowing!  The forecasters say 3-6 inches by Wednesday. Will have to wait and see. In the meantime, the wind is whipping the snow around and it looks fantastic!

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 7th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Sir Thomas More, English statesman, humanist, and author; Thomas Killigrew, English humorist/playwright/leader (King’s Men); Jean-Francois Regnard, French comedy writer (Slave in Algeria); Rhijnvis Feith, Dutch mayor/writer (Zwolle/Thirsa); Frederik Paludan-Muller, Danish Romantic poet (Danserinden); Charles Dickens, English novelist (Oliver Twist, Tale of 2 Cities); Ricardo Palma, Peru, writer/poet (Tradiciones Peruanas); Raf[ael] Verhulst [Koen Ravestein], Flemish writer (Jesus of Nazarus); Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (Little House on Prairie); Jindrich S Baar, Czech pastor/writer (Jan Cimbura); [Harry] Sinclair Lewis, American writer and social critic (Nobel Prize in Literature 1930); Jacob Paludan, Danish pharmacist/writer (Jorgen Stein); Bob den Doolaard [Cornelis Spoelstra], Dutch writer (Grape Pickers); Paul Nizan, French journalist/writer (L’Humanité, La Conspiration); David Ignatow, American poet (Tread the Dark, Rescue the Dead); Ralph Whitlock, English writer; Gay Talese, author (Honor Thy Father); Brian Morton, Scottish writer; Richard Cook, British jazz writer (The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings); Matt Ridley, British science writer; and Emma McLaughlin, American novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? There were three names I know: Sir Thomas More, Charles Dickens, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d also like to mention my wife, Sylvia. While she’s not published, her poems have sold well at numerous craft events in the U.S. and UK. Watch out–one day she’ll be published! 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

Colombian Betrayal is participating in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category.

I found out this week it is now on the short list. Competition will be stiff for making the semi-finals. There are eighteen novels on the list. You can see the list by clicking here.

The semifinalists should be announced over the next month. Fingers crossed that Colombian Betrayal makes it! Once the semifinalists are announced, they’ll compete for the finalist positions. This year, there’ll only by five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will be announced on April 25th.

My Work in Progress

I didn’t get a change to finish chapter twenty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. However, there three new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 343. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Hello, boys.” AJ tossed her bag on the table. “What’re you two cooking up?” She grabbed a wing from Javier’s plate.

“I’ll let him fill you in. Want a beer?”

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

She turned to Javier and gestured at his open laptop. “Whatcha workin’ on?”

He filled her in on the news about the property. “So, I’m working on an ad to put in the paper.” He turned his computer around. “What do you think?”

“Let me see.”

Interested in new and exciting job prospects with opportunities to travel and broaden your mind? Look no further—get in on the ground floor of a new business coming to Alexandria—The Brusch Agency. We’re after self-starters who can run with things without needing someone to hold their hand. Positions include:

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

Previous experience desired but will provide job-specific training. Excellent pay and benefits.

AJ nodded. “You’re missing someone important.”

“Who?”

“A short-order cook who knows how to make proper coffee.”

Javier chuckled. “The receptionist can keep the coffee coming, and I already spoke with Luke about food—they’ll deliver.”

“Where do I sign up?” AJ reached across the table and took Javier’s hand.

“Job getting to you?”

AJ nodded. “I knew being shoved behind a desk would stress me out, but I never realized how bad it could be. Endless meetings with no objective, stacks of paperwork, and no opportunity to keep my skills sharpened. I dunno how long I’ll keep this up.”

Javier squeezed her hand. “There’s always a spot for you at Brusch Agency.”

“What would my title be?”

“How about chief bottle washer?”

“That’s inspiring.” A hint of a smile creased AJ’s face.

“I’m sure we can come up with a fitting title.” Javier drained the last of his beer and took one of the two remaining wings, pushing the plate toward AJ. “Want anything else?”

AJ snatched the wing and chewed. She shook her head. “You’re cooking tonight, remember? I’m all set for a rib eye steak, baked potato, and salad.”

“Shall we go?”

Both stood. After stopping by the bar to pay their bill, they headed out the door, arm-in-arm.

***

Bennie kept his camera focused on the entrance to the restaurant. Great idea to check with the restaurant and tell them I was looking for Javier because his photos are ready. Hopefully, he’ll show up.

He grinned when his patience was rewarded, and he took a series of snaps. After his targets turned the corner, he picked up his phone and hit the speed dial. “Alberto. I found them!”

More next time.

Last week, I mentioned the opportunity I received to write a feature article about Black Ops in Fiction for the web daily, Mystery and Suspense Magazine. I submitted my article to their editor-in-chief this week and with some revisions (he did them), it’s ready to go. I’ll post the link once the article is live.

Books I’m Reading

I read a couple more books over the past week. However, with my concentration on the article, I didn’t get a chance to prepare my reviews, so they’ll appear 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 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 31, 2021

Here we are at the end of January–couldn’t have come soon enough! Hopefully, the near-constant fog, rain, sleet, and snow (occasionally brightened up when the sun dared to venture out) will be behind us, although that’s highly unlikely. Still, we’re on the cusp of a new month, and there’s more daylight each day.

“If we can see something Invisible, we can also create something Impossible.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 31st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Nicolas Saboly, French composer and poet; Jozsef Bajza, Hungarian author/poet/critic; Antony Winkler Prins, Dutch writer (Groiler Encyclopaedia); Emil Strauss, German writer (Naked Man); Zane Grey, American West novelist (Riders of the Purple Sage); Freya Stark, English explorer/ travel writer; Marie Luise Kaschnitz, writer; Gardner Cowles, Iowa, publisher/founder (Look Magazine); Anna Blaman [Johanna P Vrugt], Dutch writer (Wife & Friend); John O’Hara, American novelist (Appointment at Samarra); Miron Grindea, literary editor; Christina Foyle, book seller; Thomas Merton, French-American Catholic writer and Trappist monk (7 Story Mountain); Norman Mailer, American novelist (Naked & the Dead, The Executioner’s Song); Kenzaburo Oe, Japanese novelist (Catch, Personal Matter) who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994; Steve Karmen, American jingle writer (I Love NY, This Bud’s for You); Ajip Rosidi, Indonesian poet/writer (Madjalah Sunda, Pesta); Anton Korteweg, Dutch poet (For the Good Order); Ken Wilber, American philosopher & writer; and Grant Morrison, British comic book author.

Anyone familiar to you? There were names I know:  Zane Grey and Norman Mailer. 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!

New Release!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has now been released by Solstice Publishing, and is available across the Amazon network in Kindle and paperback versions.

With the release of this novel, came a quite unexpected opportunity. The editor-in-chief of the web daily, Mystery and Suspense Magazine, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a feature article on Black Ops in Fiction.

I said yes, and my draft is well underway–only about 1,350 words out of the maximum 2,000 I’m allowed. As with all of my work, I posted it on the two online subscription writing sites I use. It’s already received fifteen reviews and it won’t be long before I’ll be ready to send it along. Stay tuned for any new information about this.

My Work in Progress

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working too much on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal, so I was unable to complete chapter twenty-two This past week, there were another seven new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 340. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

AJ weaved through heavy traffic on the Capital Beltway. She leaned on the horn and cursed slower motorists.

“Late again. Don’t they know the speed limit is fifty-five, not twenty-five?” She slammed a hand on the steering wheel of her gunmetal gray Honda Pilot.

After blowing her horn at a vehicle weaving in front of her, she spotted her exit and sped along the edge of the freeway and flew down the ramp. She raced through a red light and whipped her vehicle toward the security checkpoint at the CIA facility in Langley, skidding to a halt at the end of a line of cars waiting for access.

“C’mon, c’mon!” When her turn came, she flashed her badge at the sensor and shot past the barricade. Grabbing a pass from the console, she flung the placard on the dash, jumped out of her car, and raced inside.

Once through the turnstile, she rushed to the elevator, the heels of her black leather shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Two minutes later, AJ waltzed into her section at the community coffee pot for a black coffee.

“About time, boss lady.” MacKenzie Campbell twirled the ends of a blonde plait as she leaned against the door to AJ’s office. “I’m sure you said you would be coming in early—much earlier than this.”

“Yeah, well … things happen.” She smiled as she remembered the previous evening with Javier.

“Heello! Earth to AJ.” MacKenzie nudged AJ forward into the office and sat in front of the desk.

AJ sat behind the desk and sipped her coffee. She grimaced at the bitter taste. “Who made the coffee—it’s not too good.”

When MacKenzie laughed, it reached her blue eyes. “The new member of the team. I heard she’s a tea drinker, but wanted to help out.”

“Definitely needs some training.” AJ pushed the mug away. “So, anything new on the alert board for Latin America or projected to be heading our way? I have a meeting with the other heads of the counter-terrorism divisions and will provide them an update.”

“Since you dealt with the drug cartel, FARC, and Islamic State trifecta, things are still quiet in our area of responsibility. Even Mexico is bending to our request for more information, whereas before they were reluctant partners.”

AJ flicked her long, brown hair. “What’s Makayla up to?”

“We might be identical twins, but she works out in the gym more than I do.” MacKenzie laughed. “She’s probably teaching some rookie the latest Krav Maga moves she learned.”

“I pity the poor person. From time to time, I work out with Makayla, and it’s no picnic. She means business throughout every training session.”

“That’s why she’s one of our best, and why I don’t train with her. She always kicks my butt, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it. If only you’d allow us out into the field, we could show what we can do.”

AJ shook her head. “Ain’t gonna happen. I told both of you before your strength is in your search abilities. I don’t think you’re cut out for an overseas assignment—yet. Perhaps, one day.”

MacKenzie rolled her eyes but remained silent.

“When your sister decides to make an entrance, I need to speak with both of you. Something’s come up which might be of interest to you.” AJ glanced at the wall clock. “I better get ready for the meeting.”

MacKenzie stood. “Catch ya later, and I’ll bring my errant sister.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Innocent by Michael Bronte. This is an excellent novella which is a great way to find out about an author’s writing style. Michael has created a splendid story which will have you flipping the pages.

Find out what happens to Tom Slate and his son when they go to a hockey game. Should be a great day out for father and son, but belong long, things are turned upside down. Since this is a novella, I won’t give anymore away, but suffice it to say you’ll be able to relate the realistic characters and urging them on. I look forward to reading more of Michael’s work!

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, January 24, 2021

We’ve started this morning with our coldest temperature of the winter thus far–21.2F (-6C). Definitely a bit of window scraping to do before heading out to get the paper!

I thought my arm was improving as I mentioned last time. It was–until three inches of snow fell Tuesday night. Clearing snow on Wednesday morning didn’t do me any favors, although I did manage to clear an incline which gets slippery so the limited sunshine could do its job. Unfortunately, my arm has been painful ever since.

“Life isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be lived. Sometimes happy, other times rough. But with every up and down you learn lessons that make you strong.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 24th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, English poet; William Congreve, English playwright; Frances Brooke English writer; Pierre de Beaumarchais, French polymath and dramatist (The Marriage of Figaro, Barber of Seville); Antony CW Staring, Dutch lawyer/poet (Jaromir); Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, German writer/judge/composer (Undine); Karl von Holtei, Silesian actor, playwright and author (Die Vagabunden); Edith Wharton [-Jones], Pulitzer prize-winning novelist (Ethan Frome, House of Mirth); Ethel Turner, Australian author; Hedwig “Vicki” Baum, Austrian American author (Men Never Know, Grand Hotel); Albin Zollinger, Swiss poet/author (Der Halbe Mensch); Eugen Roth, German poet; C. L. Moore, American science fiction & fantasy writer (Judgment Night); Nora Beloff, English journalist & author; Stanisław Grochowiak, Polish poet; David Gerrold [Jerrold David Friedman], American science fiction screenwriter (Star Trek) & author (The Martian Child); Benjamin Urrutia, Ecuadorian-born American writer; and Vince Russo, American writer.

Anyone familiar to you? Having grown up with the original Star Trek series, I’m familiar with the stories, but not the screenwriter. 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!

New Release!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has now been released by Solstice Publishing, and is available across the Amazon network in Kindle and paperback versions.

If you’ve missed the synopsis, here it is:

Joao and Catarina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, 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 Catarina’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?

Here’s a five-star review from one reader:

I enjoyed reading ” Mission: Angola, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1” by Randall Krzak, and I have read several of his previous books and enjoy his stories and I also follow this exceptional author. In my view, this author is very realistic, highly intelligent, and writes about what he knows and has experienced, and that gives this story as well as his other writings, a highly powerful and enlightening effect.

I also enjoy the suspense, thrills, realism, and this author’s excellent and very professional style of writing. For example, here is a brief excerpt:

“Just before midnight, Buhari returned to the abandoned apartment building in Luanda, where he had met with Nando Okonjo before his trip. Buhari pounded on the door.

A slit opened at eye level. After scrutinizing Buhari’s features, the guard unlocked the door, motioned Buhari inside, and handed him a flashlight. “He is waiting for you.”

Buhari switched the light on and stumbled through the dilapidated building. When he reached their regular meeting room, he noticed a dim glow coming from the open door.

How strange. Okonjo doesn’t like the dark.

Pulling out his pistol, Buhari edged through the doorway.

A candle flickered in the middle of the table. It burned on a square piece of metal, reflecting an eerie radiance throughout the room. Okonjo sat on the far side, holding his head.”

A well-known thriller author once said, “The most satisfying thrillers send people into battle against the forces of evil – otherwise known as greed, ego, rage, fear, and laziness – and bring them out bloodied but whole,” and I felt that this quote on thrillers was somewhat apropos to this story.

In my opinion, this author creates an intricate, well-organized, and very well-described account of the events, courage, disappointments, tragedies, and high emotions all told in a quick-witted and concise manner. I also liked the pace of the story and the way this excellent and gifted writer builds the tension and drama throwing in logical but totally unexpected events. All of this made this story very enjoyable and entertaining.

Although most agree that evil in the world seems to be increasing, after I read this story, I felt I personally reached a different plateau in my thinking about the intrigue and sacrifices very courageous people are making throughout the world today.

I liked the way this highly skillful author tells this thrilling story going from scene to scene making the story fresh and easy to read.

All in all, I felt this is probably one of the best thrillers I’ve read, and I feel this author keeps reaching new levels in thrilling and very entertaining reading. Highly recommended!

It was my pleasure to receive a free copy of this book but that does not in any way affect my opinions in this review of this exceptional book.

My Work in Progress

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working too much on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal, but I did manage to finish chapter twenty-one. This past week, there were another seven new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 333. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

I’ll bring another snippet next time.

Authors to Check Out

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another author I’ve met: Michael Bronte.  Get a free copy of his novella, The Incident, with no strings attached. Then get an opportunity to download a Kindle copy of The Brothers, just for reading it, also free. Just click this link to get your copy of The Incident: author.to/MichaelBronteBooks.

Next time, I’ll give you my thoughts on The Incident, but I’ll say now I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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