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, 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, 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, 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, December 27, 2020

As we enter the last week of 2020, it’s certainly been a year fraught with ill tidings. Let’s hope 2021 will bring plenty of good news for all!

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”

~ Nicholas Murray Butler (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 December 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann Arndt, German Lutheran theologian and author of books on devotional Christianity; Mirza Ghalib, Indian poet; Jane Wilde, Irish poet, nationalist and mother of Oscar Wilde; John Roberts, Welsh composer, minister and poet; Henricus Oort, Dutch theologist (Leidse translation); Thea von Harbou, German author and actress (Metropolis); Arch Ward, sportswriter (proposed baseball’s all-star game); Carl Zuckmayer, German/Swiss/US playwright; Louis Bromfield, Mansfield Ohio, writer (Early Autumn, Pulitzer-1926); Sebastian Haffner, German journalist and writer; Louis JHCA de Bourbon, Dutch writer/poet (Black Banners); Charles Olson, American poet; Elizabeth Smart, Canadian author (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept); Giuseppe Berto, Italian writer (Heaven Sees Red); Onni Palaste, Finnish writer; Wilfrid Sheed, English writer (Boys of Winter, Hack); Steffen Mensching, writer; Gerina Dunwich, American author; Wendy Coakley-Thompson, American writer; and Sarah Vowell, American author and journalist.

Anyone familiar to you? I’m afraid I struck out again. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it, as they’ll be returning to their normal prices soon. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are thirty-eight books choose from, so why not drop in?

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter eighteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another eleven new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 293!

Here’s another snippet:

After the Snakes departed, Javier ambled to the newspaper rack next to the entrance. He sifted through the national papers until he located the one he wanted: the Alexandria Times.

Back at the table, he thumbed through the pages until he reached the classified ads. He placed a thumb under each ad as he scanned them. So engrossed in his research, Javier didn’t sense anyone approaching as he took a pen from his pocket and circled a promising ad. This one would work.

“Hey, big boy.” AJ handed him a beer and took a seat. “I’ve never known you to be so unaware of your surroundings—anyone could have snuck up on you. Is reading that hard?” She laughed.

Javier sipped his drink. “Sorry. I’ve been busy since I last saw you.” He proceeded to explain about the break-in.

“Perhaps the cops will get lucky, and the fingerprints they found might lead them to someone.”

Javier shrugged. “No matter. I think it’s time to move.” He reached across the table and took AJ’s hand. “Since you live in Old Town and the Virtue is our favorite place, I can’t justify remaining in Arlington.”

“Where would you locate your investigative agency?”

He grabbed the paper, slid it over, and tapped the highlighted ad. “Right here. The building is already zoned for mixed use, so I could live there, too.”

AJ raised her brows. “Have you set up a showing?”

He shook his head. “Not yet. I just found the ad.” Javier pulled his cell phone and placed a call. After completing his conversation, he broke the connection and smiled. “We can see the property in an hour. Enough time for another beer and a quick walk. The property’s only a fifteen-minute walk away.”

***

Ninety minutes later, Javier, AJ, and Lulu returned to the reception area and sat in brown leather chairs arranged in a semi-circle in front of the desk.

Lulu reached into her bag and removed a folder. She handed it to Javier and glanced at the wall clock. “Gosh! I’ve taken a lot of your time. I do hope I didn’t bore you—I just love these historic buildings. The folder contains more information about the property, and my contact details should you have any additional questions or decide to make an offer.”

“We’ll be in touch—there’s lots for us to discuss.” Javier offered his hand. “We have two other properties to look at, but we’ll let you know either way.”

Lulu’s perpetual smile faltered. “Oh. I thought … well, it doesn’t matter what I thought.” The radiance returned. “This is a fabulous buy for the money and won’t be on the market for long. I look forward to hearing from you.”

AJ nodded. “We’ll contact you as soon as possible.”

“Oh, okay. Have a nice day.”

After Lulu left, AJ and Javier strolled arm-in-arm back to the Virtue for dinner. After a greeter escorted them to a table and took their order, Javier leaned back in his chair and grinned.

“What’s the grin for?” AJ raised a brow.

“Just thinking about how fast we’re moving. Did you notice how crestfallen Lulu was when I mentioned we were looking at other properties?”

She chuckled. “Yes, I caught it. She’ll earn a large commission when a sale goes through. I think she assumed you’d jump at the chance. By the way, where are the other properties, and when did we get married?”

Javier shook his head. “Aren’t any. I just didn’t want her to think we were desperate. She made the assumption we were married—didn’t see a reason to correct her. After all, we’ve pretended before.”

“Our fake marriage was work-related. Oh well, no harm done. I think the building is a perfect location with plenty of space to hold the agency.”

“Agreed. We’ll let Lulu simmer overnight. I’ll call her tomorrow and put in an offer, saying we decided to cancel the other showings.”

“Sounds good to me, hubby.”

More next time.

Authors to Check Out

As I mentioned last week, from time to time, I’ll be introducing you to new authors I’ve met. Today, I’ll start the ball rolling with Allan J Lewis.

Allan was born in South Wales UK where he worked as a coal miner; he is married with two children and two grandchildren. Allan didn’t start writing until late in life and now he has five books out, four in the Joe the Magic Man Series, perfect for mystery/thriller aficionados.

Allan is also working on an erotica/romance/adventure story that will be the first in a series called Joe’s Forbidden Dreams. He enjoys the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child.

Get Out of My Dreams is currently free through Amazon or at the following link:

https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/dd0abe3c-bf9e-11ea-b96c-7be850ccc4f0

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, 13 January 2020

Last time I mentioned we had received a bit of snow. Since then, it’s been nothing but rain, some fog, and occasional outbursts of sunshine, but most of the time its just been overcast. It’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit without some snow, but perhaps we’ll still get a dusting as the day approaches. Doubtful, as daytime temperatures are in the mid 40sF and are predicted to be the same for the rest of December. Oh well!

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

William Drummond of Hawthornden, Scottish poet; Carlo Gozzi, Italian dramatist; Heinrich Heine, German poet and lyricist (Schubert, Liszt); Joseph Sickman Corsen, Curacao musician, composer and screenwriter; Belle da Costa Greene, American librarian, bibliographer and archivist; Marc Connelly, American playwright (One Minute Please); Harold Guinzburg, American publisher (founder of Literary Guild); Yevgeny Petrov [Yevgeny Petrovich Kataev], Soviet writer; John Piper, British writer (US Churches in WWI) and official war painter; Laurens Jan van der Post, South African-born writer, soldier, explorer and conservationist; Kenneth Patchen, American poet and novelist (Cloth of the Tempest); Alan Bullock, British historian and author (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny); Ross MacDonald [Kenneth Millar], American-Canadian detective novelist (Goodbye Look); W Gordon Smith, Scottish playwright; Tom Wakefield, British writer; R. A. MacAvoy, American sci-fi author (Damiano’s Lute, Raphael); and Tamora Pierce, American author of fantasy fiction (The Song of the Lioness).

Anyone familiar to you? I’m afraid I struck out. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are forty books in this promotion, so why not drop in?

My Work in Progress

This week I almost completed chapter seventeen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. However, external commitments took a priority, so I didn’t get as much writing accomplished as I hoped.

Even though I didn’t post anything new to the two subscription writing sites I use, members continued to check out Revenge, with another eighteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 271!

Here’s another snippet:

When he awoke, Javier pulled the bed away from the wall. The perp didn’t find the wall safe. He worked the combination and pulled out his laptop. Heading back to the kitchen, he made another cup of coffee, picked up a barstool, and sat at the island. As he sipped his hot drink, he booted the computer and began typing.

To: Viper, Adder, Rattler, Mamba

From: Cobra

Condo trashed by unknown perp while we partied last night. Nothing taken. A few cuts after I fell over the remains of the glass coffee table, chasing a shadow, but nothing to worry about. Everyone up for a beer later? I need to make some plans and want to bounce them off you.

After hitting send, Javier closed the laptop and returned it to the safe. He pulled out a SIG Sauer P226 pistol and two magazines, shoved them into a backpack, and headed to the garage.

Javier climbed in his Hummer and weaved through the streets of Arlington and Annandale. Before long, he crossed I-495 and continued to his destination: Division VII Headquarters of the Virginia State Police, in Fairfax.

Once inside, he asked for directions to the office of the division commander.

A man sitting behind a desk covered with multiple folders glanced up. “Got an appointment?” He shook his head. “No one sees the commander without one.”

“I spoke with him a few minutes ago. He told me to drop by.”

“Hmph. He didn’t say anyone would be visiting.”

I doubt he needs your permission. “Please let him know Colonel Smith is here.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s upcoming novel, Catherine (A Lt. Kate Gazzara Novel Book 10), which will be released on December 23rd. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one didn’t disappoint. A brilliant plot had me turning the pages, reading the entire story over two evenings.

What led Internal Affairs to listen to a suspect rather than a seasoned police officer, resulting in her suspension and a visit to a therapist? After all, she had just solved another case. Convinced to take a vacation by the therapist and leave the area, Kate does just that. But what will her time away from the office lead to? No spoilers here–you’ll have to grab a copy and find out.  Suffice to say you won’t be disappointed with the fast-paced story, written in Blair’s superb style.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

December 6, 2020

During the past week, our temperatures have hovered in the 30s (F) (1-4C). Plenty of rain and very little sunshine.  We even had a couple of nights where the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Probably about three inches of snow altogether, but as soon as the temperature rose just a bit, the snow went back to rain. Before long, we ended up with mushy messes, but at least the day is starting out dry today.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 6th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Baldassare Castiglione, Italian diplomat and author; Claude Fleury, French priest and historian; Sophie von Laroche, German writer (History of Lady Sophia Sternheim); Johan Michiel Dautzenberg, Flemish author (Future); Hara Prasad Shastri, Indian academic, Sanskrit scholar, archivist and historian of Bengali literature; Evelyn Underhill, British Anglo-Catholic poet; Albrecht Schaeffer, German writer (The General); Joyce Kilmer, American poet (Trees); Rudolf Schlichter, German artist and writer; Osbert Sitwell, English poet, writer (Out of the Flame); Oscar Walter Cisek, Romanian writer and diplomat; Ève Curie, French author and daughter of Madame Curie; Paul de Man, Belgian literary critic; David Ossman, American writer and comedian (The Firesign Theatre); Peter Handke, Austrian writer (A Sorrow Beyond Dreams), 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature; Karl Ove Knausgård, Norwegian author (My Struggle); and Noel Clarke, English actor and writer.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognized was Joyce Kilmer. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are forty books in this promotion, so why not drop in?

This week I finished chapter sixteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. The number of chapter reviews increased by ten to 263! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

Here’s another snippet:

Javier raised his glass. “To friends and the establishment of The Brusch Agency.” He chugged the remains of his beer.

The others raised their glasses and repeated Javier’s toast.

Over the next two hours, beer and laughter continued to flow, until at last, Javier and AJ were alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And stopped.

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

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

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

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

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

The shadow dashed out the door.

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Aleutian Portal (Sam Reilly Book 8) by Christopher Cartwright. Once again we find Sam caught in a situation not of his choosing. What should have been a relatively straightforward task–find the remains of a ship which just sank and for which coordinates were available–became a race from the Arctic Ocean to the Colorado Plateau Desert. Christopher has done an excellent job in creating a riveting plot, which will keep you turning the pages. Sam and his sidekick Tom live up to their reputations as they hunt for the Death Stone. What is it? You’ll have to grab a copy of the book as I don’t like giving too much away. Look for the next one in the series!

I also finished Donna Teresa (A Rex Dalton Thriller Book 9) by JC Ryan and Laurie Vermillion. Rex and Digger team up with a host of characters to take on an important challenge–involving terrorist, Russian thugs, and members of an Italian crime family. The authors have outdone themselves with the multi-layered plot and real-life characters–even Digger seems to have expanded his ability to understand humans!

As with all of the Rex Dalton thrillers, this is another page turner which will keep you busy long into the night as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: