Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 13, 2019

So far, so good–no ‘s’ word. Today’s already at 48F/9C, with scattered clouds.  Our four-legged family members have already scattered outdoors, taking advantage of another decent day. I did spot a couple of neighbors raking their yards yesterday. Is this a good sign or are they too optimistic?

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

Matteo Palmieri, Italian writer (Della vita civile); Mark Alexander Boyd, Scottish poet; Richard Hurd, English bishop and writer; Victor de Laprade, French poet and critic; Horatio Alger, American clergyman and author (Disagreeable Woman, Ragged Dick); Karl Bleibtreu, German author (Revolution of Literature); Kostis Palamas, Greek poet; Clarke Ashton Smith, American sci-fi author (Lost Worlds, Genius Loci); Anton Betzner, German writer; A. B. Guthrie, American novelist, historian; Dachine Rainer, British writer; Carolyn Heilbrun, [Amanda Cross], author (Lady Ottoline’s Album); Pamela M Cunnington, English architect/author (Change of Use); Michael Bond, British writer; Ron Goulart, American sci-fi author (Deadwalk, Plunder); Edmund White, American author; [Eileen] Joy[ce] Chant [Rutter], UK, sci-fi author (High Kings); Jay McInerney, American novelist (Bright Lights, Big City); and Lorrie Moore, American writer.

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

My brain cells were working overtime this week as I completed three chapters of Carnage in Singapore. I anticipate completing the first draft of the manuscript by the end of February. Then the fun will begin–editing! 

To assist me with improving my craft, I continue to post my chapters on the two subscription writing sites I use. So far, I’ve received 569 chapter reviews, all very useful to me as I move forward with this novel.

My outline for Carnage in Singapore has been modified, hopefully for the final time. I’m pleased with the progress thus far and look forward to the next stage in the process. Perhaps next time, I’ll include a snippet or two.

Books I’m Reading

During the past week my nightly reading has increased and I finished two more novels. The first is The Viking (The Vikings Series Book 1) by Marti Talbott.  I found this to be a delightful story, even if some of the attempts at Scottish dialect seemed a bit off. The story is well-written and the characters are vivid. It’s easy to conjure up the hard life most people had under clan rule and how two young people, the Viking Stefan, and the Scottish lass Kannak, could fall for each other. Look forward to reading another in the series.

I also completed Rogue Operator (Dylan Kane #1) by J. Robert Kennedy. What happens when three scientists working on a top secret project which could destroy the world disappear? Chris, a CIA research analyst, and a field agent named Dylan become embroiled in a plot to create a world war so certain companies could reap the financial benefits. No spoiler alert–you’ll have to pick up a copy and find out who wins!

This is a well-crafted story with plenty of twists and turns. It didn’t take long for me to read as I found it difficult to put it down. The main characters are realistic and share a variety of emotions with the readers, including love, hate, anxiety, worry, and elation. Although this is the first book I’ve read by J. Robert Kennedy, it won’t be the last.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 6, 2019

Happy New Year! Hope the new year brings everyone health and prosperity!

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

Helius Eobanus Hessus, German poet (Silvae); Claude Favre de Vaugelas, French man of letters; Domingos dos Reis Quita, Portuguese playwright & poet; Matija A Reljkovic, Habsburg military officer & Croatian writer (Satir iliti divji covic); Ion Heliade-Radulescu, Romanian writer (Gramatica); Herman Grimm, German writer & novelist (Ralph Waldo Emerson); Kanagaki Robun [Bunzo Nozaki], Japanese humorist/gesaku-author; Carl Sandburg, American poet & biographer of Lincoln (The People, Yes); Khalil Gibran, Lebanese mystic & poet (The Prophet, Broken Wings); Jan Filip Boon, Flemish journalist & editor (De Standaard 1929-39); Eric Frank Russell, British sci-fi author (Hugo, Deep Space, Dark Tides); Benedict Vilakazi, South African Zulu poet & educator (Zulu-English Dictionary); Wright Morris, American novelist & photographer; Joey Adams [Joseph Abramowitz], American comedian, actor and columnist (ABC’s Back That Fact); Alan Watts, British-American philosopher (Book on the Taboo); Vincent Serventy, Australian writer and conservationist; Leah Chase, New Orleans chef & author; Jacobo Timerman, Soviet-born Argentine writer; Denis Pitts, English journalist; E. L. Doctorow, American author (Ragtime, Billy Bathgate); P J Kavanagh [Patrick Joeseph], British poet, actor and journalist (The Perfect Stranger); Mario Rodríguez Cobos (aka Silo), Argentine writer and spiritual leader; Penny Lernoux, American journalist; Osvaldo Soriano, Argentine journalist & writer; Barry Lopez, American author (Of Wolves & Men); and Allen Appel, American novelist.

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

As we move into the new year, much of my writing time has been devoted to social media marketing of Dangerous Alliance. However, I still found time to complete another chapter of my next novel, Carnage in Singapore. To date, there’s been 541 chapter reviews from the two subscription writing site I use, all helping to improve my stories.

I also spent time revising the outline for Carnage in Singapore so things all come together as the final chapters are written.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past few days I finished reading Corktown (Abby Kane Thriller Book 1) by Ty Hutchinson.  This is the first novel of Ty’s that I’ve read and it won’t be the last. Corktown is a whirlwind plot of action, violence, sex, and some tender moments. Will FBI agent Abby Kane be able to solve the spate of murders or will she become a victim?

I don’t like to provide spoilers, but suffice to say all thriller readers will find something in this first book of a new series by an established writer. With a well-written plot, believable characters, and a crime to solve, you’ll be hard-pressed to put it down until you’ve turned the final page. I look forward to reading the next on in the series!

I also read The Blackstone Conspiracy by Sylvain Pavlowski. Jack, a journalist, and Thomas, a computer genius, uncover a conspiracy to shake up the world. Is the murder of a prominent politician part of the plot or a coincidence? This is a well-crafted story with plenty of twists and turns before coming to its climax. From my perspective the manuscript could have benefited from the services of an independent editor as I found myself ‘fixing’ the myriad of errors as I read. Saying this, I will still check out more work by Sylvain as he’s done an excellent job spinning his tale.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

An Interview With Author Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender banner - Facebook

This week, I’d like to introduce you to author Marie Lavender. She lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty-four books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are: The Heiresses in Love, The Eternal Hearts, The Magick, The Code of Endhivar and The Blood at First Sight.

Marie Lavender LogoSo, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.)

I wrote the Heiresses in Love Series (a Victorian romance trilogy), as well as some of the books in The Magick Series (lighthearted fantasy), Blood at First Sight Series (paranormal romance) and The Code of Endhivar Series (science fiction romance). All of them were released through Solstice Publishing. Besides that, I have standalone works. I have been writing since the age of nine, but I’ve only been published since 2010.

I host three blogs: Writing in the Modern Age, the I Love Romance Blog, and the MLB blog. With two of those, I often blog about the titles of other authors and accept guest posts.

One of my recent writing accolades is the fact that I reached the TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog.

What are you currently working on and what is it about?

I am working on a romantic comedy that lightly covers the topic of body-shaming. I think it’s important that we realize how much damage it can cause to our self-esteem. Approaching it in a more comical fashion might take some of the dramatic edge off the problem while still getting the point across. Anyway, it’s something I’m trying out.

What drew you to write in this genre? Blood Instincts - eBook Cover - Marie Lavender

I’ve always been drawn to romance novels, both as a reader and a writer. But now and then, the muse really surprises me. That’s why I label myself multi-genre, since I published a children’s fantasy a few years ago, and some of my works in progress include mysteries, psychological thrillers, dystopian and time travel tales, even horror.

How much research do you do?

I do what is necessary, but I also go a bit beyond that. I don’t want to bog the story down in details, yet I try to aim for authenticity.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A little of both, actually. I let the muse take me to a point, and then when I get stuck I write a full outline and try to fill in some of the blanks to bring focus back to the story.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Blood Instincts is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a futuristic angle. I guess I struggled with the time difference between book one and two. But once I figured out the reason for it, the story just fit.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Tough question. It usually depends on the book I’m working on. Some take longer than others, especially if they’re more detailed and part of a series. A regular novel often takes a year to write. But historicals take a lot of time, since I do extra research.

BLOOD INSTINCTS promo9For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I am still a bit of a Luddite in that sense. I like the accessibility of an ebook, but I prefer a physical format over anything else. I love paperback because it’s more compact on the shelf, but hardback is one version I’ll always have a lot of respect for. I think that’s because it makes me think of the times when I used to hang out at the library and comb through the stacks, worshipping the spine of each title. What can I say? I’m a total book nerd!

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I will never send my work out into the world unedited, at least on some level. I keep it really close to the vest until there have been numerous passes at it. I edit my own book as much as I can, then I hand the manuscript over to a trusted proofreader and some beta readers. After it’s as clean as possible, my publisher has the book and they assign their own editors.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

A month is preferable, but on a time crunch? I’ll let it sit for at least two weeks before looking at it from a different angle. You don’t want to be too in love with your own story.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Oh, yes! It is essential to help potential readers make a decision. Not that the blurb isn’t also important; it certainly is, but I think a lot of factors go into the buying method, a great cover being imperative to the whole. Yet with certain publishers, authors have very little control over the cover.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

Listen to your characters. Don’t plan it all out so much that you can’t keep an open mind for a few surprises.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work?

I think they’re helpful as a sales tool for readers. They offer a glimpse into the book without giving too much away. I make a book trailer for every release. You can discover them all on my YouTube channel.

BLOOD INSTINCTS promo1BWhat is your favorite quote?

This one both thrills and inspires me as a writer. Natalie Goldberg said, “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

I think it is apropos for the situation. With the act of writing, we delve so deeply into our inner selves, and it can be a little terrifying at first. But it always results in something magical.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Some of both. It can feel like a gift most of the time, this rampant need inside to express yourself, to go out and tell your characters’ stories. But now and then, when the muse isn’t working with you, or whenever the outside world doesn’t understand you as a writer, a dark cloud comes over your rainbow.

Marie’s accolades include: Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 3 years. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

You can find out more about Marie’s work and follow her progress via the following:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/Blogs: http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

Stay tuned for another author interview shortly!

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 2, 2018

For those living in the United States and Canada, Happy Labor/Labour Day! Do you know the origins of what is considered the unofficial end of summer? A day set aside to honor the labor movement, in 1887, Oregon was the first state to recognize a day for the workforce. There was a push by labor unions for eight-hour work days. By the time Labor Day was recognized as a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states had already made it an official holiday.

The origins of Labour Day in Canada go back to 1872, when a parade was held in Toronto to support a union strike for a 58-hour work week. It became an official holiday in 1894. Many of the traditions associated with the day are similar in both countries.

Anyone celebrating a birthday today? If so, you’re in good company with the following people associated with the writing world, compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

William Somervile, English poet; Caroline von Schelling, [Michaelis], German author; Esteban Echeverría, Argentine writer; Henry George, land reformer/writer (Progress & Poverty); Giovanni Verga, Italian writer (Eros); Eugene Field, author/journalist (Little Boy Blue); Paul Bourget, French novelist and critic; Hans Jæger, Norwegian writer and political activist; Joseph Roth, Austrian journalist/writer (Hotel Savoy); Andreas Embirikos, Greek surrealist poet; Johan Daisne, [Herman Thiery], Belgian writer (magic realism); Allen Drury, author (Advise & Consent-1960 Pulitzer Prize); Peter Mansfield, British political journalist and author; John S. Hall, American poet and spoken-word artist; Jon Berkeley, author and illustrator; and Chris Kuzneski, American bestselling author.

Recognize anyone? I did, but not as many as in some weeks. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more to follow.

News About My Published Work

Dangerous Alliance-001

My second novel, Dangerous Alliance, will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. This week, I received the manuscript back from the editor and we are collaborating on a variety of small changes.  Stay tuned for more information about its release!

United Nations’ sanctions are crippling North Korea. China has turned her back on her malevolent partner. The North Korean military machine is crumbling, unable to function. Oil reserves are minimal and the government seeks new alliances.

Cargo ships are disappearing along the Somali and Kenyan coastline at an alarming rate. Speeches abound, but inaction emboldens al-Shabab to seek their next prize: Kenya. The terror organization controls land but requires weapons.

Bedlam Bravo team leader Colonel Trevor Franklin (Ret.) leads the small international team into East Africa. Tempers flare as the team is embroiled in a political quagmire. The axis must be stopped to avert an international crisis but at what cost?

My Work in Progress

With the editing work on Dangerous Alliance and a myriad of external requirements, work on Carnage in Singapore took a backseat this week. I did spend a bit of time on the next chapter, but decided another chapter was needed first to bring readers up-to-date with the activities of two characters.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Ernest Dempsey’s The Norse Directive: A Sean Wyatt Archaeological Thriller (Sean Wyatt Adventure Book 5). As with the first four novels in the series, we once again meet up with Sean Wyatt and his longtime friend, Tommy Schultz. In search of a relic deemed to be an ancient weapon, the duo battle wits with a Frenchman who is also seeking this item.

As with all of Mr. Dempsey’s novels, this is another action-packed thriller, filled with realistic characters and plenty of twists and turns. Once again Sean and Tommy have taken be on a whirlwind ride, visiting numerous countries and encountering one obstacle after another. Who will recover the prize? That would be telling—but you won’t be disappointed in this story. I look forward to Book 6!

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. While I spent hours reading through various links doing research and preparing to post my interview with author Preston Holtry (posted earlier this morning), I didn’t have time to find anything to include here.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

An Interview With Author AJ Wallace

An Interview with AJ Wallace

I mentioned last Sunday I would begin including author interviews in my blog. I’ve decided to make them stand-alone posts. Crime thriller writer AJ Wallace is up first. AJ is an Air Force veteran and has been an avid reader since a young age. A few years ago, AJ decided to pick up the pen (or in modern times, a keyboard) and begin writing.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? To take it as far as it will go or nowhere.

Which writers inspire you? So many of those: Patricia Cornwell, Alex Berenson, Catherine Coulter, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly to name a few.

MindfieldSo, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.) Sideways Eight Series: Mindfield, Devil’s Door, Fortitude

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Charley Faraday is an FBI Special Agent – Behavioral Analyst. Sean Murphy is an FBI Special Agent Investigator.

What are you currently working on and what is it about? Book 4 of SES: Waterlogged. Murphy and Charley travel to Tampa to investigate the gruesome death of a young woman.

 What drew you to write in this genre? Personal preference.

 How much research do you do? I do more research than the amount of words written.

 Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales? No.

When did you decide to become a writer? After the death of my mother in 2012. She had encouraged me my entire life. I owed her that much to try.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I write when I’m inspired.

How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write? I don’t write daily, due to research and other responsibilities. I write when it strikes me.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? No.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? PC MS Word.

Where do your ideas come from? My head. LOL! A lot comes from my dreams.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? Mostly, I’m a pantser. I have a general idea. I’ll make notes and then hit the keyboard. Most of the time I know the ending. The rest comes from ideas and creativity. Such as, I wrote the finale to a book titled Tangerine five years ago. I have to do the rest. Those who read my novels are familiar with Tangerine, the obscure character who’s an unknown serial killer.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Editing

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  I’m not sure if you mean my current manuscript or the last book published. I’ll go with the last book published, since my current writing is in its infancy. To answer: Detail and the research it required.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Nothing is easy about writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on the content and the amount of research needed.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block, and do you have any tips for getting through it? I’ve been lucky so far. I become frustrated, but that goes away and I return. Devil's Door

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? I read a lot and I listed my favs, who are my inspiration in question 2.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? I like both. But I enjoy the feel of turning the page.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? No, I have help.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yes, by chapter not book.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? A cover should provide a clue to the story and capture the eye. Which is subjective.

How are you publishing this book and why (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)? Independent publishing – because I don’t have the time or patience to jump useless hoops for publishers. From what I’ve seen so far, smaller publishers don’t provide marketing, their editing is substandard, and the art isn’t any better than some I have seen which were created by the writer.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I have total control over my work. I don’t view it as a disadvantage.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? No.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? No.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? None. I’m not in this to make money.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I haven’t paid much attention to them since my first novel.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? No.

What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you? For the amount of work and time it takes to use this method, the return in minimal.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing? I don’t know how to answer this. Vague question. Each writer is an individual and I don’t think it’s possible to copy how others manage their time or procedure.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I did giveaways with Amazon. But I don’t think it had any impact on sales.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? None.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? No.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work? I’ve never purchased a book due to a trailer.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why? Not much. Tried, added little to my pocketbook.

FortitudeIf you hired someone else to format your work, how did you select them and what was your experience? N/A

How do you relax? Video games, such as RPGs, shooters, listening to music.

What is your favorite movie and why? I don’t have a favorite. There are many I enjoyed.

What advice would you give to your younger self? This would take a book for me to answer. Plus, what I would say could hurt someone I know.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I’m not much of the groupie type. I appreciate those who contribute to society but sitting down with them in person isn’t a goal.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t stop.

Where do you see publishing going in the future? Perhaps the day is coming when printed books will be obsolete.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse? I don’t consider myself a gifted writer, nor is it a curse.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content? Pleasing my readers.

Did you come across any specific challenges in writing?  What would you do differently the next time? In all my works, the largest challenge is making sure it’s realistic. Which is why I do a ton of research.

What do your fans mean to you? I don’t have ‘fans’. But I’ve conversed with a few who have followed with me in Charley and Murphy’s journeys. I appreciate their feedback whether good or bad.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day? Insomnia

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? I don’t remember. I assume it was an elementary requirement.

What motivated you to become an indie author? It wasn’t about becoming an author, but fulfilling my mom’s request. If she had never encouraged me, I wouldn’t have made the attempt.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Not really. In school we were required to write short stories, but I don’t remember it.

When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? My characters tell me who they are.

Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas. Writing process? Do you mean an outline, etc? An idea will come to me, and I’ll write a short synopsis and go from there. I don’t brainstorm. I ponder.

Where is your favorite place to write? In my cave (Private home office).

What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors? All the marketing questions were above. I don’t market. I don’t do this to make money, I do it because I enjoy it. Basically, it’s a hobby, a stressful one, but if I never published another novel it wouldn’t bother me.

There you have it–a glimpse into the mindset of author AJ Wallace. Check in again next week for another author interview. Until then, why not check out one of AJ’s novels? Sideways Eight Series: Mindfield, Devil’s Door, Fortitude

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, August 19, 2018

As summer winds down, families are doing their final thrills with their kids before they head back to school. Stores are pushing ‘back to school’ sales. At least Mother Nature keeps reminding us it’s summer, with plenty of heat, humidity, and showers (and sometimes, thunderstorms). We also began today with fog!

Anyone out there celebrating a birthday today? Here’s a few people from the writing world who share today with you. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Marqués de Santillana, Castilian politician and poet (serranillas); Lodovico Guicciardini, Italian historian (Descrittione di Tutti); Paulus Merula, Dutch lawyer and historian (Historia Belgica); John Dryden, English poet (1st Poet Laureate 1668-1700); Eustace Budgell, English writer; Samuel Richardson, English novelist (Pamela); Pierre-Jean de Béranger, French poet and songwriter; Arnoldt Bronnen, writer; Ogden Nash, humorous poet (I’m a Stranger Here Myself); James Gould Cozzens, American novelist (1949 Pulitzer-Guard of Honor); Jerzy Andrzejewski, Polish writer (Ashes & Diamonds); Quentin Bell, artist, author/teacher; Ring Lardner Jr, American journalist and screenwriter (Woman of the Year, M A S H);  Malcom Forbes, American publisher of Forbes Magazine; D[avid] G[uy] Compton, UK, sci-fi author (Synthajoy, Radio Plays); Bodil Malmsten, Swedish writer; Jennie Bond, British journalist; and Li-Young Lee, Indonesia-born American poet.

Recognize anyone? I certainly did. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more.

My Work in Progress

Once again external pressures meant I had to forego my normal writing periods this week. However, I still managed to complete and post another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. I also refined my outline to reflect recent changes in how some chapters are plotted.

Despite my unplanned slowdown, reviewers added another nineteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 313. Here a bit more from Carnage in Singapore:

“Please take a seat.” A secretary gestured toward several chairs. “Mr. Robertson will be with you in a few minutes.”

Before Evelyn skipped through the ads in a magazine to the first article, the inner office door opened. Framed in the doorway stood a tall, gray-haired man. His chiseled jawline and deep brown eyes commanded attention.

Harrison Robertson, the Director-General of Security for ASIO, stepped forward, his arm outstretched, a grin plastered on his face. “Lady Evelyn, thank you for stopping by.”

“Please, Harrison, drop the title. Given my background and the Australian culture, it doesn’t fit.”

Harrison chuckled. “Come in.” He leaned toward his secretary. “Margaret, would you rustle up a pot of tea and biscuits? Thank you.”

Evelyn and Harrison entered his austere office. An immense oak desk, devoid of papers but holding three telephones and an Apple computer, stood in front of the windows. A safe in the corner, three easy chairs, a coffee table, and photographs of beach scenes completed the furnishings.

***

“How is your hip? I spotted a slight limp.” Harrison handed a cup to Evelyn and offered her the biscuits.

She nibbled on a Tim Tam. “The doctors say the limp might remain forever but is less noticeable every week. The joint is healthy—they believe some nerves might be damaged beyond repair.”

Harrison nodded. “Good to hear the joint is sound. How is your new team shaping up? I suspect it won’t be long before there’s a suitable mission for you.”

“Alfie—how he hates his nickname—is running them through their paces at our training facility. We’re ready for whatever you throw at us.”

“Excellent.” He nodded. “Islamic State affiliates are popping up around the world. I think Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah still pose significant threats in our region. With the apparent death of Abu Sayyaf’s leader, I fear AS will be more dangerous than ever.”

***

Evelyn entered her office. About the size of a standard living room, a red cedar desk and chair, two five-drawer safes, and four easy chairs crammed the space. On the wall opposite her desk, two photographs.

One was of the Queen. She walked over to the other one and read the inscription.

Lady Evelyn,

Thank you for your endeavors in retrieving me from a rather sticky situation. I shall assist you whenever it’s possible. George.

At her desk, she booted her computer and thought about her previous mission to recover Prince George. Never would have thought my crowning achievement with MI6 was to serve in a liaison role with a Somali terrorist. Now, I’m running my own covert team.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading several novels in the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey and one by Nick Thacker.

Mark for Blood (Mason Dixon Thrillers Book 1) by Nick Thacker was a riveting story. Bartender Mason Dixon has a secret—an on-demand secondary job, which leaves victims out in the cold. Assisted by his short-order cook and occasional fill-in bartender, they take care of the latest mark. Except there was a problem. The person didn’t provide the standard token confirming their identity. Troubles abound as Mason becomes a target himself—who is after him?

This is the first novel by Nick that I’ve read and I guarantee it won’t be the last. With excellent characters, a laid-back manner of presenting the plot, and twists and turns galore, this is an excellent thriller!

The Last Chamber by Ernest Dempsey was set up by the first two novels in the Sean Wyatt series. Sean, along with his long-time friend Tommy Schultz, set out on their continuing quest to find the Lost Chambers. Danger lurks around every corner as they are joined by Adriana Villa, something of an enigma in her own way.  Join the as the trail lead to the Caucasus Mountains not far from Armenia as they seek a treasure thought to be hidden forever.

Just when I think I’ve been there before, Ernest adds a new twist or additional characters pop up to take the story on a separate tangent. His life-like characters, attention to detail, and superb blend of historical facts and his splendid plots means I’m always in for a treat. Highly recommended for action-adventure thriller seekers!

The Grecian Manifesto, also by Ernest Dempsey, takes us on a new adventure with Sean Wyatt and his sidekick, Tommy Shultz. Adriana Villa goes missing during her search for the Eye of Zeus and the President of the United States requests Sean’s help to find her.

However, an unknown player also seeks the Eye of Zeus and doesn’t seem to care whether Europe and the rest of the world falls into economic ruin. Will Sean and Tommy locate Adriana and recover the ancient device in time?  With new thrills on almost every page, this story will delight those who love non-stop action. I can’t say enough about Ernest’s ability to create fast-paced scenes carried out by believable characters stuck in impossible situations. Grab a copy and find out what it’s all about!

An Interview With ???

This is a new section for my blog where I’ll be interviewing various authors I’ve recently read. I hope to have the first interview posted next Sunday or the following week.

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I ran out of time this week and didn’t come across anything new to share.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 12, 2018

As the sun began setting last night, a pinkish glow reflected off the cumulus clouds etched across the sky. A perfect ending to a fabulous day. In the field, a doe and her two fawns nibbled at the grass, with mom alert for any suspecting danger. The daily visits by the deer are always a gentle reminder of what’s around us.

Anyone celebrating a birthday today? Here’s a few people from the writing world who share today with you. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann Heinrich Acker, German writer; Robert Southey, English writer (The Story of the Three Bears), Poet Laureate (1813-43) and biographer (Nelson); Macellus Emants, Dutch writer/poet (Along the Nile); Katharine Lee Bates, American author (America the Beautiful);  Edith Hamilton, American writer (Mythology); Mary Roberts Rinehart, American mystery writer ( The Circular Staircase); Marguerite “John” Radclyffe-Hall, author; Frank Arthur Swinnerton, English novelist (Summer Storm, Sanctuary); Sir Keith Murdoch, Australian journalist and newspaper owner; Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane); Alfred Kantorowicz, German historian (Spanish Diary); Samuel Fuller, American actor and writer (The Steel Helmet, Return to Salem’s Lot); [Hendrik] Jan Bakker, Dutch resistance fighter/journalist (Parool); Norris McWhirter, author (Guinness Book of World Records); Ross McWhirter, author (Guinness Book of World Records); Wallace Markfield, American writer; William Goldman, author; Karl Mickel, German writer; Geoff Hamilton, gardener/journalist; Walter Dean Myers, African-American author; Réjean Ducharme, Quebec novelist and playwright; Jim Beaver, American actor and writer; Ann M. Martin, American author; and Anthony Swofford, American novelist.

Recognize anyone? I certainly did. Even if you didn’t spot any familiar names, I hope you have a great birthday and many more.

News About My Published Work

My debut novel, The Kurdish Connection, moved up another notch to 54th on Goodreads’ Political Thrillers list! There are some well-known names on the list ahead of me, so I feel I’m in good company.

BREAKING NEWS: My second novel, Dangerous Alliance, will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. Stay tuned for more information.

Dangerous Alliance-001United Nations’ sanctions are crippling North Korea. China has turned her back on her malevolent partner. The North Korean military machine is crumbling, unable to function. Oil reserves are minimal and the government seeks new alliances.  North Korean Supreme Leader Wook Sung holds the family of Soo Khan Chin, Ambassador to China, hostage until he can formulate a workable plan.

Cargo and tourist ships are disappearing along the Somali and Kenyan coastline at an alarming rate. Speeches abound, but inaction emboldens al-Shabaab to seek their next prize: Kenya. The terror organization controls land but requires weapons. Soo Khan Chin approaches the pirate leader, Dacar Khadaafi, and works out a trade: oil tankers for weapons.

A recently-formed organization, referred to as Bedlam, obtains intelligence regarding the North Korean-Somali pirate plans. Bedlam Bravo team leader Colonel Trevor Franklin (Ret.) leads the small international team into East Africa. Tempers flare as the team is embroiled in a political quagmire. The axis must be stopped to avert an international crisis.

Meanwhile, al-Shabaab leader Tahliil Wardi tasks his lieutenants to attack targets in Kenya and Somalia. One of them seizes two foreigners from a refugee camp in Kenya, George and Silvia. Although unknown at the time, George is an heir to the British throne. Tahliil Wardi is also more than he seems. Appearing to be a semi-illiterate who struggles to make even simple sentences, his family was originally part of the Somali ruling government before being deposed. While manipulating his forces for what seems to be appropriate actions against the current Somali and Kenyan governments, he’s also an informant for MI-6.

Bedlam informs Colonel Franklin about George’s kidnapping and instructs him to split his small team to rescue the prince while continuing to stop the axis. Additional forces are tossed into the mix so Colonel Franklin can achieve both missions.

Will Bedlam Bravo break up the weapons-for-oil deal and at the same time, recover Prince George?

My Work in Progress

Efforts continue with Carnage in Singapore, albeit at a much slower pace. External events and the need to spend additional research time meant I was limited in putting words to paper. One chapter was completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Carnage in Singapore received another thirty-one chapter reviews over the past week, bringing the total to 294. Watch for another snippet in next week’s post.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week my evening reading time was devoted to an upcoming novel by Preston Holtry. You’ll have to wait for its release before I can share my thoughts, but I will say it’s another great story!

Blogs/Author Pages/Writing Sites I’d Like to Share

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but will also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. While I spent hours reading through various links doing research, I didn’t have time to find anything to include here.

This brings us to a close for another 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved