Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 2, 2021

April’s showers are still falling in the early part of May. Although temperatures are slightly below normal, we’re seeing a benefit–trees are greening up (except the acer trees, which have red leaves), flowers are popping out, and we’ve even had to cut the grass!

We’re thinking about turning one grassy area (which isn’t doing too well because of large trees from adjacent properties limiting the sunlight) into a wildflower meadow. Not sure if this’ll work, but we’ll probably give it a try. Otherwise, the area will eventually be covered with artificial grass.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” ~ Mary Kay

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

William Camden, English historian (Brittania, Annales); John Galt, Scottish novelist (Annals of the Parish); Abram Sanders Piatt, American farmer, publisher, poet, politician, and Brigadier General (Union Army); Jerome K. Jerome, English writer (The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow); Clyde Fitch, American playwright; G. G. van der Hoeven, Dutch editor-in-chief (NRC newspaper); Gottfried Benn, Ger; man poet and essayist; Hedda Hopper [Elda Furry], American gossip columnist; E. E. Smith, American food engineer and sci-fi author (Triplanetary); Alfred Kurella, German author and functionary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in East Germany; Peggy Bacon, American author and illustrator (Off With Their Heads); Jef Last, Dutch poet and writer; Lev Lunts, Russian writer (Outside the Law, City of Truth); Willi Bredel, German writer; Axel Springer, German newspaper magnate (Bild Zeitung); Marten Toonder, Dutch comic writer and cartoonist (Tom Puss); Otto Buchsbaum, Austrian writer and ecological activist; A. M. Rosenthal, American journalist and newspaper editor (NY Times); Jamal Abro, Sindhi writer; Phil Bruns, American actor and writer (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman – “George Shumway”); Maury Allen, American sportswriter and columnist (New York Post); Gisela Elsner, German writer (Die Riesenzwerge, Rowohlt); Lorenzo Music, American writer, actor and voice actor (Carlton-Rhoda, Garfield); and Franz Innerhofer, Austrian writer (Beautiful Days).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter thirty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure yet, but I think there’ll be forty-five chapters when the first draft is completed.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-nine new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 523. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

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

“I didn’t think.”

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

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

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

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

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

***

Walter stopped and glanced at the house. He returned inside and headed to the living room. I’ll open the curtains—make it seem like someone’s up. Otherwise, the nosy neighbors might stop by again to see if everything is okay.

He returned to the vehicle and drove in a practiced manner, obeying all speed limits and traffic signs until he pulled into the storage facility.

Inside his medium-sized storage unit, he closed the roll-up door and turned on a flashlight.  He checked the labels on the myriad containers and crates until he located what he wanted.

Once he loaded the acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulphuric acid into the van, he wrapped each of the six bottles in foam padding and secured them in an upright position with elastic luggage straps. Satisfied, he began the journey home, stopping at a Burger King along the way.

Two hours later, Walter headed to the basement where he had set up his laboratory. The Americans are their own worst enemy. Everything I need to make my bombs was easy to obtain.  The hard part is not blowing myself up.

He used an oval metal animal-feeding trough to mix his ingredients. Taking his time, he didn’t want to repeat the disaster of his first training session in making triacetone triperoxide, when he lost two fingers on his left hand.

Finished, Walter moved to one of the portable workbenches, where a section of metal pipe rested between two vises. He marked equal lengths and used a hacksaw to make the outer shells of his bombs.

He smiled. My favorite weapons—which will bring death to the infidels.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been on a roll reading novels by David L. Golemon. I just finished Event: An Event Group Thriller. Whether you believe in the UFO crash near Roswell in 1947, it’s a great setting for Department 5656 to be embroiled in a new mission. This time, not one but two spaceships are involved, with one of them carrying death–the Destroyer.

David’s Event Group fights to almost the last man and woman to save mankind. Or do they? This is a fast-action story with plenty of twists and excellent characters, both human and extraterrestrial. If you’re like me, you’ll be burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens. I’m looking forward to reading more of David’s work in the days to come.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 10, 2021

It’s been a crazy start to the new year, with plenty of cold weather (at least for here) with enough snow I had to get out of snow shovel for the first time since the 2017-18 winter. While not enough of the white stuff to slow things down, it still made a mess.

Today, we’re back to more seasonal temperatures, with a 2C (about 36F) beginning. Of course, with that, the cloud cover is back–looks like we could end up with some rain later today.  At least the cats are happy as they didn’t seem to like the snow much.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 10th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, German writer & composer; Aubrey de Vere, Irish poet & critic (Victorian Observer); John Dalberg, Baron Acton, English historian (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”); Peter J. Blok, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch People); Walter Travis, Australian-American golfer, writer, course designer (US Amateur C’ship 1900-01, 03; British Amateur 1904); Enrica Freiin von Handel-Manzetti, Austrian poet & writer (Jesse & Maria); Aleksei Tolstoi, Russian poet/writer (Pjotr Peroyj); Robinson Jeffers, American poet & playwright (Tamar & Other Poems, Medea); Dumas Malone, American historian (Jefferson & His Time); Reginald Denham, English writer & director (Obsession, The Bad Seed); Tjalie Robinson [Jan Boon], Dutch East Indies writer and journalist (Tong Tong); Claude Gallimard, French publisher; Ingeborg Drewitz, German writer & academic; Philip Levine, American poet; Peter Barnes, English writer; Stephen E. Ambrose, American historian (Band of Brothers); ared Carter, American poet; David Horowitz, American author & political commentator; William Levy, American writer; George Alec Effinger, American sci-fi author (Nick of Time); and Antonio Muñoz Molina, Spanish writer (Royal Spanish Academy).

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

My Published Work

All four of my published novels are participating in a Book Funnel promotion to kick off the new year. It’s called Welcome to 2021 – A New Chapter. Why not click and check out the 124 novels on offer? You might find someone new to read. This promotion ends on January 15, so don’t delay!

My Work in Progress

I’m off to a good start in 2021 with the completion of chapter twenty of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s been posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use, and I’ve picked up a couple of new readers.. There were another twelve new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 317. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Walter pushed a shopping cart through the aisles of the home improvement store. Ticking items off a mental list, he purchased metal pipe and caps, nails, and a stack of plywood sheets and decking boards. He finished with a stop in the tool section, selecting hammers, pliers, a hacksaw, and a saw for cutting the wood.

As he headed toward the check-out area, he stopped at an aisle he hadn’t visited. Better grab some paint and brushes, too. Glad I convinced Alberto to keep the property in Culpepper. Perfect for making my toys.

After securing everything in the windowless, gray van provided by Alberto’s fixer, Walter drove across the street to a competitor’s store. Once again, he filled a shopping cart with his necessities: ball bearings, an electric saw, a grinder, a drill, a pipe threader, four rolls of Duct tape and two twenty-five-pound bags of fertilizer. As with his first stop, he paid for everything with cash.

Back on the highway, he drove within the legal speed limit, arriving at their temporary shelter in an hour. After hauling everything inside, he parked the van in the lean-to garage. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up the fireworks and an additional cell phone.

***

Armed with several cameras and a cooler, Bennie spent the day camped outside the property where Javier lived. He routinely took photos of pedestrians entering the building and vehicles using the underground garage.

Every hour, Bennie switched his location, sometimes using his blue Chevrolet Camaro, and other times on foot, acting like a tourist. No sign of him. Where is he?

Toward the end of the day, he lost his patience and entered the lobby carrying a package. “Excuse me. Do you know where I might find a …” Bennie glanced at the parcel. “Colonel Javier Smith. He needs to sign for this package.”

The security guard chuckled. “You missed him. He left an hour ago. Said he’d be back in a day or two. I can sign for the package and keep it for him if you like.”

Bennie shook his head. “Thanks, but I’ll return in a couple of days. This is a surprise for him, so I want to place it in his hands and get his photo.”

After leaving the building, he returned to his car. Before departing, he placed a call. “Missed him—not sure where he went. A guard said he’d be back in a couple of days.”

Alberto slammed a fist on the table, upsetting his cup of tea. “Find him, Bennie. I don’t care what you must do, but find him!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading another book this week, but didn’t get a chance to gather my thoughts. So, next week, I hope to offer up two reviews.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 20, 2020

Mother Nature decided we needed more rain over the past week, so it’s been damp and gloomy. One bright spot has been the myriad of Christmas lights strung along the fronts and windows of homes in the area, bringing some cheer to everyone. While it would be nice to have a white Christmas, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

Beginning next week, I’ll be adding a section to my blog to introduce different authors to you. Hopefully, you will find this of interest. I plan on just one a week, although to kick this a few moments ago:

“The best feeling in the world is knowing that you actually mean something to someone.” (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):

Paulus Melissus, humanist Neo-Latin writer, translator, and composer; John Fletcher, Jacobean playwright; Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Dutch poet, classicist, and mystic (Voices, Carmina); Kan’ichi Asakawa, Japanese author & historian; T. F. Powys, British novelist & short-story writer (Captain Patch, Goat Green); J. Van Oudshoorn [Jan Koos Feylbrief], Dutch writer (Maze of Senses); Hortense Calisher, American novelist (Arts & Letters 1967); Aziz Nesin, Turkish writer & humorist; Errol John, Trinidadian actor & playwright (A Man from the Sun, The Nun’s Story, Assault on a Queen); Jean Carnahan, US politician and writer ; Gernot Wolfgruber, Austrian writer; Peter May, Scottish novelist and scriptwriter; Sandra Cisneros, American writer; and Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaican-born Canadian writer.

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 thirty-eight books choose from, so why not drop in?

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter seventeen 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 282!

Here’s another snippet:

When Javier entered Virtue Feed & Grain at four p.m., he found the Snakes sipping beers at the regular table. Tucked under his arm, his laptop, which he had retrieved from his condo.

As he sat, someone shoved a beer at him. “Better hurry up, Javier. You’re a beer down, and it’s your round.”

He placed his laptop on the table, took a sip of his drink, and smacked his lips. “Just what I needed after last night.” He provided details of the break-in. “Anyway, I’ve started the ball rolling to set up my agency. A friend of mine will be expediting as much of the paperwork as possible.”

“Wouldn’t be AJ, by any chance?” Charlie nudged Javier’s shoulder. “I’m sure she’d help.”

“Didn’t ask her—she has enough going on, so I contacted an old buddy. We played football together at West Point. Now he’s a captain in the Virginia State Police.”

Charlie leaned back in his chair. “Oh, friends in high places!”

“Well, I got enough friends in low places.” Javier maintained a straight face as he glanced at each of the Snakes.

Everyone laughed.

“On a more serious note, remember that photographer from last night? He sent an email with attachments to the address I gave him.” Javier opened his laptop and booted. When it was ready, he pulled up the email:

Enjoy your remaining days on this earth. Check out the attachments and meet your new friends.

“There are six photos of beheadings—five men and a woman.” Javier ground his teeth. “I’m gonna need your help—AJ’s, too. We need to find out who’s behind this and turn the tables.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently started reading a British crime series by Wes Markin. This is a dark and compelling series, pitting the police against serial killers.

The first in the series is One Last Prayer for the Rays. What turns an entire family into one steeped in violence? DCI Michael Yorke and his team are certainly put to the test to find out who is behind a series of evil crimes. Wes has created a fast-paced plot that has the police questioning their own beliefs as they search for clues.

This series isn’t for the faint-hearted as the gruesome details might seem over the top. However, they work well with the story. This is definitely one which will keep you turning the pages as you urge the police to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

On a different note, I also finished reading The Atlantis Stone (The Stone Collection Book 1) by Nick Hawkes. Set in Australia, the story involves Felicity, who is researching the ‘mahogany ship,’ a wreck sighted on the beach by early white Australians. Before long, she meets Benjamin, an indigenous Australian, through their joint love of diving. Together, and with help from others, they begin a quest to solve historic mysteries.

Nick has created an excellent plot and the story is filled with colorful characters and it won’t take long for you to find yourself wrapped up in the tale as it unfolds. This is the first of Nick’s stories I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. 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 29, 2020

For those who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you had a safe yet enjoyable day.

With just the two of us, we didn’t do anything special for a meal. However, I still watched the traditional Detroit Lions football game. Unfortunately, Houston had the upper hand, and things didn’t bode well for Detroit, which lost the game. Another casualty was the coach–fired yesterday. Hopefully, someone new can turn the team around.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, IFlemish jesuit and author; Catharina Questiers, Dutch poet (Friend of Abandoned Child); Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet; Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet], French writer, philosopher and playwright (Candide); Petrus Augustus de Génestet, Dutch vicar and poet; Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900); Franz Hessel, German writer; Harold Nicolson, English diplomat and author (Good Behaviour); Jim Bishop, American journalist and author (The Day Lincoln was Shot); Elizabeth George Speare, American author (The Witch of Blackbird Pond); Christopher Tolkien, British author and son of J. R. R. Tolkien; Marilyn French, American author (The Women’s Room); Richard Marcinko, American author; and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Anyone familiar to you? I think most people might have heard of Voltaire. 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

To celebrate the holidays, the Kindle version of Colombian Betrayal is now $0.99 until the end of the year before it returns to the normal price of $4.99.  It’ll be part of a month-long BookFunnel promotion, beginning on December 1st. There are at least thirty-six novels  from various author included in this promotion, so watch for the link in an upcoming post. Who know, perhaps one or two of my award-winning novels, might appear!

Colombian Betrayal is also available in an audio version through Amazon and iTunes, so if you prefer to list to your stories, why not check it out!

My Work in Progress

This week I finished chapter fifteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Seems like a few people were up for reading this week, with the number of chapter reviews increasing by twenty-two to 253! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

I’ll provide another snippet next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s new release, Dangerous Games (The Peacemaker Book 2). The action ramps up from the first page and doesn’t let up. Join Albert Westward (AKA Nero) as he’s once again involved in a Jack O’Neil mission to take on the Peacemakers. Blair’s done it again with a riveting plot, plenty of realistic characters, and plenty of excitement. Thriller aficionados will delight with another super story from a master storyteller. Can’t wait for the next one in the series! Well done, Blair!

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, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day to all those mothers (or soon-to-be) in the U.S. Canada Mexico, Australia New Zealand. A belated happy Mother’s Day to those in the UK and Ireland. Hope I haven’t let anyone out!  Enjoy your special day.

We finally had some decent rain last night. The ground really needed it as cracks were beginning to appear where things had dried out. We have a breeze coming from the north so the temperature is much colder than yesterday, with more rain in the forecast. At least I won’t have to get the hose and watering can out to take care of the plants I’ve moved around this week!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 10th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann Peter Hebel, German writer (Allemannische Gedichte); Jacques-Nicolas-Augustin Thierry, historian; James Gordon Bennett Jr., American publisher; Benito Pérez Galdós, Spanish novelist (Episodios Nacionales); Jan Kalf, literary/art historian (Preservation of museums); Ivan Cankar, Slavs author (Hlapec Jernej-Njegova Pravica); Fritz von Unruh, German writer; Karl Barth, Swiss theologian/author (Action in Waiting); Olaf Stapleton, British religious sci-fi writer (Star Maker); Jacobus C Bloem, Dutch poet (Sintels); Ariel Durant, writer (Story of Civilization); Anatole Litvak, Russian-born American film director, writer and producer (Mayerling, Anastasia, The Snake Pit); Bel Kaufman, American author (Up the Down Staircase); Monica Dickens, British author and founder of the Samaritians in the US; Nayantara Sahgal, Indian author; Ettore Scola, Italian director and screenwriter (A Special Day); Barbara Taylor Bradford, author; Caroline Cooney, American author; Thomas Tessier, American author; on Ronson, British journalist and author; and John Scalzi, American writer.

Recognize anyone? The only name I was familiar with was Barbara Taylor Bradford. 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.

Continue reading “Randall’s Ramblings, May 10, 2020”