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Randall’s Ramblings, June 26, 2022

We’ve had another good week on the weather front. Our hottest day of the year so was was on Thursday when we reached 74F (24C). We definitely won’t hit it today–right now we’re at 58F (14C). There’s been a few showers this week, but most of them occurred in the evening so they didn’t impact on daytime activities.

Gasoline (Petrol) jumped again this week, with another three-pence a liter increase . Now it’s up to £1.92 a liter, making an equivalent U.S. gallon at $9.07. It would be even higher except Sterling weakened this week against the dollar. As a result, it was only an increase of eight cents for a U.S. gallon over the past week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 26th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Branwell Brontë [Patrick Branwell Brontë], English painter and writer and brother of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne; Bartolomé Mitre [Martínez], Argentine general, author, statesman and President (1862-1868); Julius Rodenberg [Levy], German writer (Kriegs-Songs of War & Peace); Martin Andersen Nexø, Danish writer (Pelle Erobreren; Ya’akov Cahan, Hebrew poet and writer; Anna Maria Franciska van Wageningen-Salomons, Dutch author (Girl Student); Sidney Coe Howard, American dramatist (Swords, Pulitzer 1925); Pearl S. Buck, American author (Good Earth-Nobel 1938); Stefan Andres, German writer (Wir sind Utopia); Betty Askwith, British writer and biographer; Aimé Césaire, French Martinican poet and politician; Laurie Lee, English poet and author (I Can’t Stay Long); Charlotte Zolotow, American author and publisher of children’s books (When the Wind Stops); Colin Wilson, English author (Afterlife, Book of Great Mysteries); and Yves Beauchemin, Canadian novelist (L’enfirouapé). 

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

39375-302

The results of the 2021 Chanticleer International Books awards were announced overnight. I’m thrilled to announce that Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) was selected as one of six first in category winners for Global Thrillers.

The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore (Bedlam Series) also competed this year in the Fiction Series. All categories competed against each other. The Kurdish Connection, Dangerous Alliance, and Carnage in Singapore ended their run in the competition as a finalist.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued once again on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The first six chapters have been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, they’ve received seventy reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Here’s the next snippet:

Crash! Bang! Crunch!

A packed city bus smashed into a Honda Civic as the lights went out at the intersection. A delivery van added to the congestion, crashing into the side of the car as it whipsawed due to the impact.

Two police cars skidded to a stop near the partially overturned bus. Officers jumped out and dashed to the smoking vehicle.

Blood covered the cracked windshield. Screams and cries filtered out.

One of the officers knelt and peered inside. Looks like the driver’s a goner—headed dented from the impact.”

“Lou, we need to get inside.” His partner yanked his baton out of the belt holster. “There are kids inside.” He whacked the glass several times before it gave way under his assault. Hand on kids—help’s on the way.”

Sirens overwhelmed the cacophony as multiple fire engines, ambulances, and police cars arrived. A fire department chief took control of the scene, directing her men to hose down the vehicles’ engines to prevent any explosions.

Ray, Lou’s partner, forced his way into the bus, crawling across a pile of bloodied schoolbooks and backpacks.

Two paramedics followed him. “We’ll take over, Officer. When it’s safe to move them, can you stay by the opening, and we’ll pass them to you?”

“Of course. Let’s get moving.” Tears trickled down Ray’s face. “I have kids at the same school. I don’t see the—I hope they were on a different bus.”

The paramedic clasped Ray’s shoulder. “First responders are heading to multiple crash sites. If their bus was involved in a collision, they’ll be taken care of.” He gave Ray a weak smile. “I better start working on the injured.” The paramedic turned and knelt by the first motionless body. He checked for a pulse and shook his head before moving to the next child.

* * *

“In other news, local hospitals have been overwhelmed by multiple accidents caused during a total power outage in the downtown area. Over twenty-five men, women, and children were killed, while another sixty are being treated for injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. The cause of the outage is still under investigation. We’ll bring you more as soon as we find out.” The announcer stared into the camera, his lips pursed. “Such a tragedy.”

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions for the remainder of the month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 171 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

THE COLOR OF Action: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy with 18 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/t…

Thriller, Mystery and Suspense: There are 70 novels in this one.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thrillertime/ai0n57rurm

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 20, 2022

It’s been another week of crazy weather, including two named storms: Dudley and Eunice. Fortunately, our area missed out on the worst of the weather, although we can see snow on the hillsides surrounding Edinburgh.  No telling what Mother Nature will throw at us over the coming week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t believe everything you hear. There are always three sides to a story, yours, theirs and the truth.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 20th, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Henry James Pye, English poet, British Poet Laureate (1790-1813); Johann Heinrich Voß, German poet; Adam Black, Scottish politician/publisher; William Carleton, Irish novelist; Nérée Beauchemin, Canadian physician and poet; Nikolai Garin [Michailovski], Russian author (Tjoma Kartashov); Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Holland, mystic poet/scholar (Verzen); Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen, French aristocrat and novelist; Pedro Munoz Seca, Spanish playwright (Vengeanza de Don Mendo); Shiga Naoya, Japan, novelist (Road Through Dark Night); Hesketh Pearson, England, biographer/playwright (Writ for Libel); Georges Bernanos, French novelist (Diary of a Country Priest); Russel Crouse, journalist/novelist/playwright (Life with Father); Freida Geiken, autobiographer (National Historic Taping); Cecil H King, Irish/British daily newspaper publisher (Daily Mirror); René Jules Dubos, French US microbiologist/author (Health & Disease); Jascha Golowanjuk, Swedish writer (Acrobat); Pierre Boulle, French author; Rex Tucker, TV writer/director; Alex La Guma, novelist (A Walk in the Night); Pramudya Ananta Tur, Javanese author (Anak semua bangsa); Robert Altman, American screenwriter, producer and director (The Player; M*A*S*H; Nashville); Richard Matheson, American author; Adrian Cristobal, Filipino writer; Charlie Gillett, British pop-rock and world music radio presenter and writer (The Sound of the City), born in Morecambe, Lancashire, England (d. 2010); Andrew Bergman, director/screenwriter (Soapdish, Honeymoon in Vegas); Kenn Nesbitt, American children’s author; and Sally Rooney, Irish writer (Normal People).

Any names familiar to you? I know two names of today’s list: Henry James Pye and Robert Altman. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

Mission Angola ebookI’m thrilled to announce Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) is now on the short list for the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category.

Competition will be stiff during the remainder of the 2021 contest. Further information regarding the finalists, first place winners, and genre grand prize winners won’t be available until the end of June.  Plenty of time to keep on with other things while the remaining contestants await the judges’ verdict.

If you haven’t seen the synopsis about this book, 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?

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week my writing time was taken up by real-world requirements. I hope to finish chapter twenty-five of Ultimate Escalation over the next week. My manuscript received another twenty-three reviews, bringing the total to 552. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing and showing me what’s working and what might need a tweak.

Here’s another snippet:

The roar of a commercial plane rolling down the runway echoed in their small compartment.

Ajit placed his hand on Vladimir’s AK-47 and tapped him on the knee.  “We’re here.”

Vladimir opened his eyes. “I wasn’t asleep—just contemplating our mission.”

“Who would have thought our reunification movement would be conducting their planning in a hanger on one of Pakistan’s international airports?”

Vladimir chuckled. “Yes, and the military is providing overall security. When will they find out?”

“I hope long after we’ve moved.” Ajit rubbed his chin. “Let’s join the others.”

Vladimir and Ajit climbed out of the hidden compartment and shook hands with the departing Umar.

Ajit led the way into the office.

Grigori, Fedor, and Eduard stepped forward. After sharing man hugs with Vladimir, they sat around a scarred wooden table. Stretched across the surface was a map of the border area.

“How is the initial training coming along?” Vladimir studied the frown on Grigori’s face.

“I admit, not as good as I would like.” He pointed at Fedor and Eduard. “However, they’ve reminded me to do my best. I think they’ll be ready for the first demonstration in three days’ time, but nothing is certain.”

“Understood. Vladimir gazed at the map. “Remember, this is just the beginning. Mishka and his team will begin demonstrating across the border.” He glanced into the faces of the three former Spetsnaz soldiers. “Make sure they are unarmed, at least for now. As things progress, we’ll allow an escalation of violence if it seems to be helping the cause.”

“Yes, Vladimir.” Eduard pointed to the map. “When should we begin splitting our volunteers into separate teams?”

“As soon as possible. Suggest you acquaint yourselves with your men.”

“If I may add, Vladimir.” Ajit half-raised a hand. “I’m expecting at least another hundred supporters tomorrow.”

“Okay. When they arrive, they’ll be split among the teams. Anything else?”

The Russians shook their heads.

“After the first demonstration, I want to gauge the reaction by the government and the people.” He turned to Ajit. “Do you have people you can trust to embed themselves with the demonstrators and report back?”

“Of course.” Ajit grinned. “I shall be one of them.”

Vladimir raised a brow. “Just keep out of trouble. Plenty of time for that later.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 21, 2021

After a week of mild temperatures and wind, clouds, and rain, with only the occasional glimpse of the sun, we woke up to a bit of frost on the car this morning. Clear skies with a temperature of 40F/4C should make it a pleasant day overall–hope to clear up some of the fallen leaves before we get more rain or worse.

I watched the Michigan State-Ohio State game last night. Both teams had 9-1 records going into the game. What a crushing defeat for Michigan State, 56-7. All I can ask is: how did Ohio State lose a game earlier in the year? Next weekend, it’ll be Michigan vs. Ohio State. I’ll still back Michigan, but who knows what will happen?

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

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

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, Flemish 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; Tina Brown, British journalist (New Yorker, Tattler); and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–Voltaire. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from. Today is the final day of the promotion, so if you don’t hurry, you’ll miss out.

I found out this week that Mission Angola: Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1 has moved from the slush pile to the long list in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Twenty novels are vying to make the short list. Will keep you posted.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

The paperback cover is now ready. As soon as Sylvia does a couple more content tweaks, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m still not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of fourteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 402. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

“Good morning!” A heavy-set man dressed in a stained shalwar kameez and black sandals struggled to his feet under the Arabic gum tree and lumbered toward them. “Are you ready for our journey?”

“Umar, this is Vladimir and Mishka.” Ajit motioned toward the Russians. “They will be your passengers. Will you explain how they will be hidden?”

“But of course.” Umar waddled toward the vehicle. “I will drive the truck while you will remain in a space above the cab.” He walked to an area behind the driver’s compartment and reached into a small slot. With a click, a panel opened, revealing a ladder. Grabbing a rung, he turned and grinned. “Follow me to your temporary home.”

One by one, Umar, Vladimir, and Mishka climbed the ladder and squeezed into the dark compartment.

Umar flicked a small switch, bathing the area in a dim glow. There was sufficient height to sit, but they wouldn’t be able to stand. “All the comforts of home—plenty of blankets to cushion you during the trip.” He pointed to four small holes in the ceiling. “Air vents.” He twisted around and gestured to a funnel taped to a hose. “For urination. It will fall onto the road. There are plastic bags in the corner for defecation, but these will have to remain inside with you.”

Ajit stuck his head in the opening. “Here is food and water.” He pushed in two small bags. “When you are ready, we will close the compartment and move Umar’s cargo to keep you hidden.”

“If there is an emergency, how do we escape?” Vladimir rubbed his chin.

“I forgot.” Umar twisted his body again, so he faced the far side of the compartment. “There are four latches. Pull them toward you to unlock them. Use your feet and push—a panel will open so you can get out. Use this only as a last resort. Hidden and scared is much better than revealing yourselves and being killed.”

“How do we communicate with you?” Mishka glanced around. “I see a small speaker, but nothing else.”

Umar nodded. “When you speak in a loud voice, your voice will come through. Do not do this if we are stopped. Others will be able to hear you, too.”

Vladimir nodded. “We are ready to go.”

“Excellent. It will take us about fifteen minutes to move the cargo into position. There will be two planned stops for fuel and pay tolls. Tonight, you will be in Peshawar.”

Vladimir and Mishka placed their pistols and ammunition in handy access positions and used the blankets to create makeshift beds.

“Well, Mishka. Our journey continues.”

“Da. As the American soldiers say in the war movies, ‘Hurry up and wait.’ We might as well get comfortable.”

“Agreed. I just wish we had some vodka, black bread, and dumplings.” Vladimir dug into the food bag Ajit provided. He pulled out a samosa. “Want one?”

Mishka laughed. “Da.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one will keep you guessing until the final page. It was great to see Harry and Kate head to Florida for this one, even if the case began thirty-five years ago. Will there be anyone left to know what really happened?

There are plenty of suspects to go around, but who really killed three bicyclists and severely injured another one? What was the motive? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out as I don’t like to give plots away. However, this one will have you staying up late and turning the pages to find out if Harry and Kate can solve the mystery. Another superb story from a master storyteller!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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, November 14, 2021

The past week, our weather have been typical for autumn: clouds, rainy, sunny–even some fog. It’s been a bit warmer so no frost, although the highest temperature for the week was 58F/9C.  The leaves are falling fast and furious, so when things are dry enough, I’m busy raking them up and tossing them in the recycling bin. No leave burning here.

As I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I switched from buying supermarket milk to supporting a local dairy who delivers to the house in glass bottles! It definitely has a superior taste and worth the extra cost. It’s now on the doorstep every Tuesday and Friday.

I had the opportunity to watch the Michigan-Penn State football game last night on television. What a nail biter! It wasn’t until the last three minutes of the game before Michigan pulled ahead for the final time, and clenched the victory, 21-17.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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

Janus Secundus, neo latin poet (Basia); Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger, Danish poet; Charles Lyell, Scottish geologist (Principles of Geology); Jacob Abbott, American writer; Robert J Fruin, historian (80 year war); Isaac Wistar, American lawyer, author, and Brigadier General (Union Army); August Senoa, Croatian author (Zlatarevo zlato); Jakob Schaffner, Swiss writer: Conrad Pilater; René de Clerq, Flemish poet/author (Emergency Horn); Leopold Staff, Polish poet; Carlo E Gadda, Italian engineer/writer (Madonna dei filosofi); Evert S J Kruythoff, Ned Antillean author (conservation flora); Carlo Emilio Gadda, Italian writer; Benjamin Fondane, Romanian-French writer and filmmaker; Marya Mannes, American author (The Reporter); Sanoesi Pane, Indonesian author; Astrid Lindgren, Swedish children book author (Pipi Longstocking); William Steig, American cartoonist and children’s author (Shrek!, Doctor De Soto); Harrison E Salisbury, journalist/author (50th Anniv of Soviet Union); Eric Lawson Malpass, writer; Norman MacCaig, Scottish poet; Gilbert Rogin, American journalist and author (The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated); Ornelio Martina, Antillian author/governor of Curacao; and Michael J Fitzgerald, American writer.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–Astrid Lindgren. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are seventy-five novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. But hurry–this promotion ends tomorrow, November 15th!

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

As soon as the paperback cover is ready, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of nine chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 388. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

The doctor stepped back from Nicolai and removed his nitrile gloves. “I think you are fit enough to continue your journey.” His head wobbled from side to side as he spoke. “I recommend seeing your own doctor when you return to Canada.”

A slight smile appeared on Vladimir’s face. “Thank you, Doctor. I do want to see more of your beautiful country before we head home.”

“Well, no more stunts—you might not be so lucky next time.” The doctor picked up his bag.

Ajit handed a small envelope to the doctor as he escorted him out of the room.

Vladimir turned to Vasily. “What stunts?”

“We told him you were rock climbing and fell, hitting your head.” Vasily laughed. “Imagine what he would have done if he knew what really happened. He’d run straight to the authorities.”

“Better than the truth.” Vladimir yawned. “So, when are we leaving? I want to return to the house in Peshawar.”

Ajit stepped back into the room. “It is seven hundred and fifty kilometers to Peshawar using the motorway system. A friend is taking a load of brass and copper to the market on the road to the Khyber Pass.” He chuckled. “It has an appropriate name—Smuggler’s Bazaar. My friend makes a trip every week. Tomorrow he will hide both of you inside a special container on the back of his truck. His wares surround the container and protect it from prying eyes.”

“What about checkpoints?” Vasily glanced at Vladimir.

Ajit waved a hand in the air. “Nothing to worry about—my friend has greased the palms of the authorities along the route for years. If they turn him in, they’ll lose their stipends.” He laughed. “They make more in one week from him than they do from their regular jobs in a month. Trust me, my friends—this is the safest way for you to return to Peshawar.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Noble Traitor: A Historical Novel of Scotland (Son of Scotland Book 1) by J R Tomlin.  If you enjoy Scottish history, this one’s for you. An excellent blend of fact and fiction, with historical characters brought to life. Explore the period through the excellent background presented by J R Tomlin and experience what life might have been like. An excellent read and I look forward to the next installment in the series.

I received an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. I’m not quite finished, so I’ll post my review next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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, October 31, 2021

To those who are getting into the spirit of things, Happy Halloween! Will you be trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, participating in divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, or watching horror films? Or will you let the night pass you by? Whatever is on your agenda, have a safe time!

After almost a week of constant rain, it’s great to wake up to dry conditions. Of course, I forgot the clocks went back last night. It didn’t matter, though. We’re still on ‘cat’ time–they were waiting for their breakfast.

Being from Michigan, I had quite an interest in the Michigan-Michigan State American football game played yesterday. It wasn’t available for viewing here, but a friend kept me updated with the scores. Must have been a fantastic game as it went down to the end, with Michigan State coming out on top!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.” ~ Napoleon Hill

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

Philippe de Vitry, French composer and poet; Caesar Baronius, Italian cardinal and historian; Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer; John Evelyn, English writer and diarist (Life of Mrs Godolphin); Christopher Anstey, English poet (The New Bath Guide); John Keats, English Romantic poet (Ode to a Grecian Urn); Hugh Boyle Ewing, American diplomat, author, attorney, and Brevet Major General (Union Army); Krišjānis Barons, Latvian writer; Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, American writer (Revolt of Mother); Seerp Anema, Dutch poet and writer (Dutch Coasts); Napoleon Lapathiotis, Greek poet; B. H. Liddell Hart, English military historian and publicist (The Rommel Papers); Charles Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet (Claro Enigma); William H. McNeill, Canadian-born historian (Rise of the West); Dick Francis, British jockey and detective writer (Whip Hand, High Stakes); Charles Moore, British editor-in-chief (Sunday Telegraph); Neal Stephenson, American author; Arnaud Desplechin, French film director and screenwriter; and Joseph Boyden, Canadian novelist (Three Day Road).

Any names familiar to you? There were two for me: John Keats and Dick Francis. 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

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter seventeen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of thirty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 360. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

Before daybreak the following morning, a small, motorized boat hugged the Pakistani shoreline and entered the Indus River Delta. A half-moon cast eerie shadows on the area notorious for its mix of swamps, streams, and mangrove forests. Vladimir, Vasily, Ajit, and four men armed with AK-47s remained alert for naval and army patrols. They cleared the delta and followed the twists and turns of the mighty waterway.

Vladimir swatted at a swarm of pesky mosquitos. “Explain again why we’re going to the meeting this way?”

“Ah.” Ajit grinned. “This is easier way. Many obstacles for the military. They don’t like crawling through swamps, streams, and mangrove forests.”

Easier for who?  “If you say so.” He raised his brows as he glanced at Vasily.

With a tilt of his head, Vasily shrugged.

Hour after hour passed as they motored upriver. Once the sun rose, the temperature climbed, burning off the early-morning chill. The travelers remained silent, the peacefulness disturbed by the occasional calls of pigeons and parakeets and the continued putt-putt of the small engine.

As they approached Hyderabad, the pilot guided the boat toward a disused pier. Broken plants and tilted posts rocked as waves bounced against it. Two men dressed in brown shawal kameez and wearing multi-colored Sindhi caps waited on the small wharf.

After they secured the boat, Ajit was the first to step onto the dock. Sharing greetings with the two men, he pointed at the Russians. “This is Colonel Vladimir and Sergeant Vasily. They’ve come to meet with the council.”

Both men nodded before assisting the others out of the boat. Once the pilot departed, the eight men walked along a path trampled in the grass to a white pickup truck with a tarp stretched on a high frame across the cargo area. An armed guard sat next to the driver.

Ajit, Vasily, and Vladimir climbed under the tarp into the truck bed, followed by the others.

Once the vehicle began its journey, Ajit handed small packages to Vladimir and Vasily. “False Canadian passports with your current photos. It’ll be easier to pass through checkpoints with these instead of Russian documents.” He handed each of them a larger envelope. “Letters of appointment to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Will help explain why foreigners are running around the country with armed escorts.”

Vladimir opened the document to the photo page. Staring back at him, a picture taken over a year ago. He chuckled when he checked out his new name. “John Smith from Toronto, eh?  Good thing my English doesn’t have a thick accent.” He doesn’t suspect we have access to multiple identities, but we’ll use these.

“We thought about European passports but didn’t have any blank ones.” Ajit shrugged. “I’ll introduce you to the council as Vladimir and Vasily, not the names on your new passports. It’ll be several hours yet before we meet with them. The trip to Bahawalpur will take at least ten hours. It’s six hundred seventy-seven kilometers, and I’m sure there will be additional military and police roadblocks after the recent uprising over Kashmir.”

“What about patrol boats?” Vladimir glanced at Vasily.

Ajit shrugged. “Sometimes. But we have a surprise for them.”

“What?”

Ajit tapped the side of his nose and grinned. “It’ll be a surprise for you, too. If it’s not needed, I don’t want to share.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Extreme Prejudice: If you fear trouble, don’t get into trouble (A Lambeth Group Group Thriller Book 9) by Gordon Bickerstaff. As with all of Gordon’s thrillers, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat as you keep turning the pages to find out what happens. Join Zoe Tampsin and her compatriots as they try to squash a terrorist plot. Who will succeed? With a riveting plot, filled with plenty of twists and turns, as well as larger-than-life, if you’re a thriller aficionado, this one’s for you!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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, October 24, 2021

The nights are quickly drawing in and daylight is also taking its time appearing each morning. Such is the autumn! Leaves continue to fall and there’s rain most days. Fortunately, there were a couple of dry spells, thanks to the wind, where I was able to rake up most of the leaves and deposit them in the recycling container–no burning here!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” ~ Robert Brault

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

Alban Butler, English Catholic priest and writer; Dorothea von Schlegel, German novelist (Florentin); Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (Mary Had a Little Lamb); August von Platen, German poet; Alexandra David-Néel, Belgian-French explorer and writer; Ernest Claes, Belgian author (Saints from Zichem); Delmira Agustini, Uruguayan poet (El Libro Blanco); Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay, Bengali author; Moss Hart, American playwright (You Can’t Take it With You, Act 1); Marghanita Laski, English journalist and author (Victorian chaise-lounge); Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist (Joy Beneath the Skin); Gabriel Laub, Polish writer; Yordan Radichkov, Bulgarian writer and playwright (The Tied Up Balloon); Hubert Aquin, French Canadian novelist, political activist and editor; Norman Rush, American writer (Mating); and Dale Maharidge, American author (And Their Children After Them).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this time. 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

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Despite a myriad of non-writing events to take care of this week, I still managed to complete and post chapter sixteen Ultimate Escalation.  A total of twenty chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 330.

Here’s another snippet:

Admiral Blakely scanned the faces of those sitting around the table or against the back wall, smiling as he watched the mounds of food disappearing from plates almost as if by magic. Hungry group, but they did well. He cleared his throat. “As some of you surmised, we designed this exercise to test how the three full teams would function as a single unit.”

“Aye, Admiral. Trevor, Evelyn, and I expected you would try something during our conference.” He made air quotes as he said conference. “However, we didn’t expect it to happen on the first day.”

“What better way to test your abilities to work together than calling a drill right away?” He raised a finger and pointed at Gerhard and Willie. “Some of you might have been under the impression this would be a drinking competition.”

Laughter broke out as Gerhard and Willie blushed.

“An excellent lesson to show we’re never off duty, so everything in moderation.” The admiral raised his brows. “Saying that, your performance today met our expectations.”

Every team member grinned.

“We wanted a somewhat realistic scenario to test your response as well as personnel here at Bedlam. Georgia and her folks surpassed themselves in making this exercise reasonable.”

“Aye, Admiral.” CC glanced at Trevor and Evelyn. “Sir, it’s an interesting scenario, but as soon as we entered the District of Columbia, it became apparent this was an exercise. If it had been real, Bedlam-One, Hunter-One, Hunter-Two would have been challenged. Our pilot didn’t mention it, so I think we relaxed a bit. Even so, our chopper’s brush with a fake missile and the simulated crash were realistic. So was the response by the emergency personnel.”

“If I might add, Admiral, the alert notification and departure from the conference site went as one would expect.” Trevor rubbed the scar on his temple. “I won our bet—CC and Evelyn expected some type of drill tomorrow, while I thought you’d try to be clever and arrange for one today.”

“We debated over which day to proceed, knowing you’d be anticipating something. Anyway—”

Someone knocked on the door and entered. A young man handed single sheets of paper to the admiral, Sir Alex, and Harrison and departed.

The three advisors read the brief note. Sir Alex and Harrison tilted their heads toward the admiral.

“Good thing we didn’t have any injuries during your training session. Two independent sources provided the Intelligence Community with limited details of a meeting held in Dubai yesterday. Seems several former Spetsnaz personnel are expanding their private business operations.” The admiral turned to the Bedlam team leaders. “CC, Trevor, and Evelyn. Pick an individual from your respective teams—they’re heading to Dubai. Their assignment—find out what mischief former Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev and his band of misfits are planning, so we can disrupt their activity.”

He gazed at the operatives. “Keep in mind, this is a recon mission. Your rules of engagement will not include a strike against Nikolaev and his men—at least until we find out what they’re up to.”

The admiral pushed back his chair and stood while everyone jumped to their feet. “I’ll expect those names in an hour. We’ll be in my office. In the meantime, everyone else enjoy your remaining downtime. The conference is hereby cancelled. See Georgia for billeting information. That is all.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman. Nick and Selena are embroiled in another battle to preserve relics from the past, this time the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.  Since I haven’t read the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this nonstop action-packed adventure. If you haven’t read any of Alex’s books, here’s another author to check out. I’ll be heading back to the beginning of the series to find out how it all began!

That brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating today in the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world. Enjoy your special day!

Well, Mother Nature decided the rain and hail we’ve experienced, along with cool temperatures over the past week weren’t enough. In some parts of Scotland there was snow this week. While we didn’t have any in our area, we could see it on the distant hills. Hopefully, the white stuff is finished for now and we’ll see things improve. Certainly hope so!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Smile like you’ve never cried, fight like you’ve never lost, love like you’ve never been hurt, and live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

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

Dante Alighieri, Italian poet and author (Dante’s Inferno, Divina Commedia); John Wolcot, English satirist (Peter Pindar); Johannes Cornelis de Jonge, Dutch historian and archivist; August Pauly, German writer (Real Encyclopedia); J.M. [James Matthew] Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (Peter Pan); Lucian Blaga, Romanian philosopher and poet (Dogmatic Aeon); Walter Dehmel, German writer; Eleanor Estes, author (Ginger Pye, Moffats); Baldur von Schirach, German writer/nazi politician (Frame); Josef Muller-Brockmann, graphic designer/writer; Richard Adams, English author (Watership Down); William Tenn, American author; Mona Van Duyn, American poet; Bulat S Okudzjava, Russian author (Student!); Jean J A Girault, French director/screenwriter (l’Amour); Gavin Lyall, British author (Conduct of Major Maxim, The Secret Servant); Alan Bennett, England, playwright/actor (Secret Policeman’s Other Ball); Roger Hargreaves, English author and illustrator of children’s books (Mr. Men and Little Miss); Charles Simic Yugoslavian-born poet, 15th Poet Laureate of the United States; Joy Harjo, American poet and musician (first Native American US Poet Laureate 2019-); and Skye Regan, Canadian Actress and Writer.

Were any names familiar to you? While I didn’t know the names of the authors, I certainly spotted several works I knew. I’ve certainly heard of Dante’s Inferno, Peter Pan, Watership Down, Mr. Men, and Little Miss.  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 chapters thirty-three and thirty-four 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 thirty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 556. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“I’m heading upstairs for a bit. I dropped a load of my personal stuff off this morning before going to the restaurant, but want to get it stored in a closet. The movers are supposed to bring my furniture and the rest of my belongings tomorrow.”

Elton raised his hand. “How long do you want us to hang around today?”

“As long as it takes to square away your area, ET.” He handed a Sam’s Club card to him. “I want you and Sindee to take a trip and pick up whatever we need. If they don’t have it, figure out who does and will get things arranged.” He turned to Bruno. “I’m sure you’ll have an idea of what you’ll require in the IT arena.” He held out a black American Express card. “Use this.”

“We’re on it, boss,” Elton, Sindee, and Bruno chimed.

Javier laughed. “I’ll be upstairs.”

***

Climbing up the stairs to his new home, Javier walked from room to room. With two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen/diner, and a bathroom, the top-floor accommodation was perfect. I’ll use one of the bedrooms as a private office, so I don’t have to traipse downstairs during the night.

Javier sat on the sole piece of furniture. The chair creaked under his weight. As he stood to adjust the cushion, his phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hey, Javier. Zorkin here. I got the first group of background checks back from the FBI. Everything’s fine.”

Javier grinned.  “Excellent. So nothing showed up to cause any concern?”

“Not a thing.”

“Perfect. The first three are working downstairs now. I want to task Cesar with keeping an eye on AJ without her finding out. I know she can look after herself, but I’ll feel better.”

“Anything particular you’re worried about?”

“No, but something is sending shivers up my arms when I think about her—especially after that incident with the truck.”

“Understand. Listen, I gotta run. I’ll be back to you as soon as the other background checks come in.”

“Thanks again, Brian.” Javier broke the connection and headed downstairs.

***

A man wearing sunglasses sat in a black Ford F150 across the street from Brusch Investigations. He shuffled through the photos he took earlier when Javier and his employees arrived. “Excellent. Decent facial shots of each one. Need to find out where they live—perhaps some pressure to force one of them to let us inside.”

He started the engine and pulled into the sparse traffic, a grin spreading across his face. “Boom!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Due to unforeseen real life activities, I didn’t do much extra reading this week. I hope to provide a review of another David L. Golemon novel next time.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved