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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The audio version of Colombian Betrayal is now available!

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And stopped.

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

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

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

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

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

The shadow dashed out the door.

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

More next time.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

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

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

In case you’ve missed the synopsis for Angola, here it is:

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

Colonel Theodore Mwelewe, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Caterina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

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

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

Here’s the synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 11, 2020

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

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

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

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

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

The men stepped back and saluted.

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

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

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

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

“Sounds great, General. Thank you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

The men laughed and clapped Javier on the shoulder.

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

“What’s that?”

“Escort you out of the building.”

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

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

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

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

***

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 30, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

“Are we ready, Abilio?”

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

“Hang on! We’re going down!”

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 17, 2020

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

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

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

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

Recognize anyone? This was an unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

“Ah … well.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay, boss lady.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

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

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

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

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

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

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 9, 2020

Heavy winds and lashing rain hit us last night. It went on for hours, making it difficult to hear the television with the constant beating on the conservatory roof next to the living room.

While it calm at the moment, the sky is laden with thick, dark clouds. The upcoming projection is for continued rain and gusting wind up 60 MPH throughout the day, with that dreaded white stuff due to hit us between Monday and Wednesday. If the forecast is accurate, we’ll only receive a dusting but the higher elevations could see as much as eight inches!

With trees, bushes, and shrubs beginning to bud, and early flowers starting to pop out, we certainly don’t need any of this. Mother Nature has been kind to us so far this winter, with just a few flurries one evening, but she might have more in store for us yet!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ali Sjir Neva’i [Fani], Turkish poet/author (Mahbub al-kulub); Vasily Zhukovsky, Russian poet; Felix Dahn, German Historian, jurist and poet; Anthony Hope [Hopkins], English novelist; George Ade, American journalist/playwright/humorist (Fables in Slang); Fran Saleški Finžgar, Slovene folk writer (Our Blood, Service Girls); Amy Lowell, American poet and critic (Patterns, Sword Blades & Poppy Seed); Frederik Gerretson, [Geerten Gossaert], Dutch poet/politician); Vital Celen, Flemish writer (Puppy Love); Max Manus, Norwegian resistance fighter and author who specialized in sabotage during World War II; Charles Montgomery Monteith, publisher; Brendan Behan, Irish author and poet (Borstal Boy, The Hostage); J.M. Coetzee, South African novelist; Alice Walker, American novelist (The Color Purple, Meridian); and Janet Issaca Ashford, writer.

Recognize anyone? There was only one notable name for me this week: Alice Walker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, also became a movie. 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!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

Both of these novels will be participating in an Amazon Countdown Special on Valentine’s Day starting at 12:00 a.m. PST. They’ll start $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read them yet, what better time to pick up a copy or gift them to someone you know.

As previously mentioned, Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First in Category winners in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category. Meanwhile, Carnage in Singapore is currently a semi-finalist in the 2019 competition, with the final results due in late April. Hope you’ll check them out!

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

The fifth edit pass was completed last night–a few word changes and some adjustments to the punctuation. Once the last couple of beta readers provide their comments, I’ll update the manuscript as needed and begin the final edit pass.

I have a bit of a conundrum–what to work on next? Should it be Ultimate Escalation, the next novel after Carnage in Singapore? Or should it be Genesis (tentative title), the sequel to Colombian Betrayal? What about New World Revolution: A New Home or Xavier Sears:  Angola?  Both of these are the first novels in their respective series.

See what I mean? I’ll eventually sort it out, I’m sure.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

At last, the final condemned man was brought to the table to choose his weapons. He fingered the remaining knives and one of the pistols before falling to his knees. “Please. Forgive me. My family—they won’t survive without me.”

Días kicked the man in the side. “Quit sniveling and take your punishment like a man. Grab a weapon and run.”

Dejected, the man stood and walked away, his head hung low.

The last team leader glanced at his men. They each gave a slight nod before they strolled after their target.

With the slow pursuit, the prisoner approached the fence unharmed. He glanced around—no one. He placed a foot on the first plank and began to climb.

Snap!

His head jerked around at the sound of a branch breaking.

Five men stepped from the trees, their weapons by their sides.

The team leader stepped forward and motioned for the man to continue climbing.

“Why would you let me go?” He made the sign of the cross. “Are you Christians?”

“No. However, you were the only prisoner to mention a family. We do this for them, not you.”

* * * *

When the last team returned to the hacienda, Días glared at them. “We heard no shots. Where is the prisoner?”

The team leader shook his head. “He was too fast for us and was over the fence when we arrived.” He shrugged. “You said any prisoner who made it over the barrier was free.”

“I-I ….” Días’ face turned purple with rage. “I wanted them all dead.”

“You should have done your own dirty work.” As one, the team turned and headed to their billeting.

Días slammed a fist on the table. “Michael, Alberto—these are your men. Control them.”

Alberto grinned. “He’s right—you said if anyone made it to the outer boundary, they would live.”

“So, I lied.” Días laughed.

Alberto ignored the comment and gestured at Michael. “We depart tomorrow for Panama to oversee the training there. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Not long ago, I finished reading Unchained: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. This is the third novel in the series. Join Rex and his trusty canine friend, Digger, as they flee from Afghanistan and head to India. Before long, they’re embroiled in a new adventure, while Rex tries to uphold the myth he died in an attack in Afghanistan.

With a riveting plot and a bevy of new characters, Rex shows his ‘human’ side regarding the welfare of others when he and Digger try to locate the missing daughter of an Indian couple. The trail eventually leads to Saudi Arabia. What happens there will be up to you to explore, as I don’t like to give away the full story. Suffice to say, you’ll be in for another nail-biting journey, so grab yourself a copy and prepare for late nights as you keep turning the pages!  I can’t wait for the next one in the series!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 2, 2020

Here we are, already in February. As dawn breaks earlier and daylight hangs around a bit longer, winter is passing by. Only a few snow flurries thus far–hope I haven’t jinxed things by making a mention of this!

This past week, the writing world lost an icon: Mary Higgins Clark. Every one of her suspense novels (over 50 of them!!) have been best sellers in the U.S. and various European countries. She’ll definitely be missed by her family and fans!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess; Hans E Schack, Danish politician/writer (Phantasterne); Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Slovak poet; Christian Gauss, educator/writer (Phi Beta Kappa award namesake); James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (Dubliners, Ulysses, Finnigan’s Wake); James Stephens, Irish poet (Crock of Gold); Aldo Palazzeschi, [Giurlani], Italian writer (I cavalli bianchi); Carroll Righter, American columnist and astrologer to the stars; Ayn Rand [Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum], Russian-American author, screenwriter and philosopher who developed the philosophical system of “Objectivism” (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead); Bernardas Brazdzionis, Lithuania, poet/editor/critic; Evert Werkman, Dutch journalist (Het Parool); Xuân Diệu, Vietnamese poet; Hella [S Lelyveld-]Haasse, Dutch author (Cider for Poor People); James Dickey, American poet, novelist and lecturer (Deliverance, Buckdancer’s Choice); Liz Smith [Mary Elizabeth], American journalist and gossip columnist known as “The Grand Dame of Dish” (WNBC, NY Daily News); Nydia Ecury, celebrated Afro-Dutch writer, translator and actress (Kantika pa Mama Tera); Judith Viorst, American author; Thomas M[ichael] Disch, American sci-fi author (Genocides, 102 H-Bombs); and Ina Garten, American author and TV cooking show host (Barefoot Contessa, Food Network).

Recognize anyone? Two stood out for me: James Joyce and James Dickey. 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!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

I was mistaken last Sunday when I mentioned the countdown specials for Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore. These will actually begin on Valentine’s Day at 12:00 a.m. PST beginning at $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. I hope you’ll check them out!

Global-Thriller-semiA bit more news about Carnage in Singapore. It is now on the official semi-finalist list for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards, competing in the global thriller category.

This is a super thrill for me as it joins my other novels in being recognized in this prestigious competition. The Kurdish Connection finished its run in 2018 as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was selected as one of seven first in category winners. It’s so hard to believe!

I won’t learn until Chanticleer’s annual conference in April whether Carnage in Singapore has moved forward in the competition. Fingers crossed it does!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge, although I mentioned last time the title would be adjusted. It’s now called Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1) which is more fitting for how the story has actually turned out.

I’m midway through by fourth edit pass, having added over 12,000 words to the story. Feedback continues to come in from my beta readers, not just about the manuscript but ideas for the cover. Stayed tuned for more about this.

In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

Días glanced at Ramon. “What is with all of the threats? I feel like I am unwanted in this hacienda.”

Olivia shoved her chair back and stood, eyes burning with hatred. “Get out! Now!”

Alonzo jumped to his feet, pointing the shogun at Días, his finger tightening on the trigger.

Ramon pulled his second pistol from its holster. He motioned Días toward the door.

He grinned and addressed Olivia. “I shall keep Ramon informed of any information that I might come across.” He tipped an imaginary hat. “I bid you a somewhat pleasant day, given the circumstances. You have my deepest condolences during this stressful time.”

Días and Ramon left the room and headed outside. After shaking hands, Días climbed in his vehicle and waved for the driver to depart.

As his car left the compound, a smile caressed Días’ cheeks. Who is behind the kidnapping? An inside job or is someone else making a move on the Moreno cartel? He shook his head. Whoever it is, this is not good for business. I know just the person to speak to.

* * * *

The thick foliage from a copse of rosy trumpet trees hid a brown Jeep Cherokee. Inside, a man focused his binoculars on Días’s vehicle. He watched the car grow smaller as it continued along the driveway from the hacienda toward the distant gate. He chuckled. Perfect!

Watch for another snippet next time.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adjust the format of my posts and website. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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