Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 28, 2019

After a week of unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, Mother Nature cooled things off yesterday with a day filled with rain. We’re back to more normal weather, with a light breeze and scattered clouds.

Instead of doing outdoor tasks, things were concentrated on indoor jobs which were waiting for the right time, particularly painting of new skirting boards, which were installed earlier this year. With windows and doors wide open, plenty of fresh air kept the paint fumes at bay. Still a bit more to do, but will see how things pan out over the next few days.

Even our cats sought shelter in the heat, lounging in whatever cool locations they could find. Hope is still on the mend. While she seems to be returning to her normal self, she’s still not eating as we would like. It could be because of the weather, as the others are eating less too, just like we humans sometimes do. Hope goes back to the vet in the morning for another check-up and blood tests. She’s been really great taking her five pills each day!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 28th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian poet (Arcadia); Fabre d’Églantine French dramatist and politician, creator of the French Republican calendar; Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (Windhover); Beatrix Potter, English children’s author and illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit); Thomas P. Krag, Norwegian author and novelist (Jon Graeff, Ulf Ran); Ernst Cassirer, German philosopher and educator (Essay on Man); Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher (Logic of Forschung); Kenneth F. Fearing, American poet (Dead Reckoning); Malcolm Lowry, English novelist (Under the Volcano); John Ashbery, American poet (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror); Remco [Wouter] Campert, Dutch literary/poet/son of Jan Campert; Jean Roba, Belgian comics author (Boule et Bill); Natalie Babbitt, American children’s writer (Tuck Everlasting); Robert Hughes, Australian art critic and writer (Barcelona); Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani writer and feminist; and Shahyar Ghanbari, Iranian poet.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this past week. I haven’t tallied the results yet, but I know the number of followers across social media increased, as did the number of people marking my novels to read. Many thanks to all who participated in my tour. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The edits have now carnage in singapore-001(1)been completed. I’m just going through the formatted pdf file checking for any typos, missing words and punctuation before it continues through the publication process.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Kali walked among the waking men, touching an arm here, a shoulder there. Satisfied each man was alert, he returned to his sleeping area and placed his personal possessions in a backpack. The pillows and blankets can remain. Nothing to identify us.

He turned to the others and coughed into a closed fist to get their attention. “I shall accompany each team but will remain in the shadows. I’ll report your courage and conviction for our cause to Abu Zeze.” And shoot anyone who falters. “Allahu Akbar!”

“Allahu Akbar!” Eleven voices responded in unison.

“First two men, it is time.”

A tall man wearing black-rimmed glasses stooped to pick up a blue and white tennis bag. Next to him, a man three inches shorter with a scar running across his right cheek grabbed a green and white bag. Unlike others in the group, these men were lighter skinned and exhibited Caucasian features. They followed Kali out to a battered gray Mitsubishi Xpander.

The men piled in the back seats, placing their bags on the floor.

Kali hopped behind the wheel and turned the key, but the engine failed to start. Is this an omen? He climbed out, opened the hood, and jiggled the battery cables. Back in the driver’s seat, he tried again. Black smoke poured out of the exhaust as the engine started.

The vehicle weaved through traffic, smoke continuing to mark their journey. Before long, Kali pulled over to the curb and stopped.

“Your target awaits.” Kali tilted his head toward a two-story white colonial-style building with deep-yellow shutters. “A symbol of Indonesia’s former ties to Britain and Japan, and where our declaration of independence was announced. You appear to be infidels, so the outrage caused by your mission should sour relations between Indonesia and Western societies.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “May Allah share in your triumph.”

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, but at a slow pace. Chapter nineteen is almost finished but completion was delayed with editing of Carnage in Singapore. As soon as the chapter is completed, I’ll post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews increased slightly to 249, providing plenty of excellent recommendation to choose from.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola.angolan cole-revised3 I sent him chapter six on Friday, and he’s comes back with a few suggestions which will enhance the chapter. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication.

We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin. As with the first book in the series, this was a another excellent blend of historical facts and fiction, making for an excellent read.

James, the Black Douglas, refuses to give in to the English conquerors and takes the was to them, utilizing guerilla tactics against superior-numbered forces. Follow James and his band of courageous men as they strive to free Scotland from the clutches of King Edward. I look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.

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,July 21, 2019

One of our cats, Hope, isn’t well. She’s spent the majority of Tuesday through Friday at the vet, receiving IVs and a variety of drugs. Her liver enzymes were highly elevated, so they’ve been giving her things to help her liver and fight what they suspect might be a bacterial injection.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

She’s been at home over the weekend, but goes back to the vet on Monday morning, Anyone who has given their pets pills will know what we’ve gone through, trying to give Hope five pills a day. Overall, she’s done well with the pills. One of the biggest concerns is getting her to eat. She’s been grazing, but we would like her to ‘dig in’ to a meal. We’ve been giving her sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, whipped raw egg (all for humans), along with some cat food (chicken, duck, beef). If anyone has any ideas about something which might tempt her, please let me know.

Hope’s alert, and this morning she was at the top of the stairs before she headed to one of her favorite places in the house. Hopefully, we can get things turned around.

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

Matthew Prior, English poet and diplomat; Anthony Collins, English philosopher (A discourse on free-thinking); Paul Julius Baron von Reuter, German-born founder of Reuters news service; Vasile Alecsandri, Romanian foreign minister, diplomat and poet; A S C Wallis, [Adele SC von Antal-Opzoomer], Dutch writer; Frances Parkinson Keyes, American novelist (Dinner at Antoine’s); Anton Schnack, German writer and poet; Hans Fallada [Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen], German writer; Ernest Hemmingway, American author (The Old Man and the Sea, Nobel 1954); Hart Crane, American poet (The Bridge); Diana Trilling, writer; Marshall McLuhan, Canadian writer (Medium is the Massage); Brigitte Reimann, German writer (Franziska Linkerhand); John C Gardner, scholar/writer (Grendel, Sunlight Dialogues); Buchi Emecheta, Nigerian English writer (Price of Bride); and Michael Connelly, American author.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this coming week on the 25th. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out but would like to do so, please click on: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/the-bedlam-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The first edit pass was completed this week; just waiting to receive it back to go through the manuscript again.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Gesang picked up a backpack from a table near the door, rushed down the stairs to the ground floor, and stepped outside. He climbed into the rear of the vehicle, placing the pack between his feet. He grinned and gazed at the driver. “Today we make our statement. Musa Rahmet’s men gave the signal. Now we must do as Abu Zeze instructed.”

Wira, a slender man in his mid-twenties, nodded. “Did you make the final decision on the targets?”

“Yes. I’ll explain when we join the others.”

***

Two hours later, Gesang nudged Wira’s shoulder. “Time to dress.”

Wira stood, and Gesang helped him into the suicide vest. Covered with sticks of dynamite, packets of nails and ball bearings, wires led to an electronic switch.

After he put on his outer clothing, Wira glanced at Gesang, a look of bewilderment etched on his face.

“Don’t worry. You’ll live up to the meaning of your name.” Gesang patted him on the arm. “You’ll be a hero and martyr in Allah’s eyes and will live forever.” And if you don’t hit the switch, I’ll use the cell phone as a remote detonator.

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, although still at a slow pace. Chapter eighteen was posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. To date, the novel has received 240 chapter reviews. Plenty of excellent recommendations to choose from! I’ve also started working on chapter nineteen.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola. He sent me the first draft of chapter five last night, and I’m busy working on chapter six. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication. We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

Books I’m Reading

With outdoor chores and the trips with Hope to the vet, I didn’t get a chance to put my thoughts together regarding books I’ve recently read. I plan to bring you two or three reviews next time, so stay tuned.

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, August 27, 2017

Hi folks. Due to a myriad of uncontrollable external factors, I haven’t had a chance to create this week’s ramble. Please check back next weekend!  Many thanks!

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 13, 2017

Today marks the last day of the 15th annual Michigan Yard Sale Trail, spanning more than 200 miles. Although it officially begins on a Friday, many people now start setting up and selling on Thursday.

Friday and Saturday saw intermittent thunderstorms and hail, but Mother Nature couldn’t detract from the large numbers of people out searching for bargains or just having a wander. Today, the weather is supposed to be partly sunny with a high of 75F, a perfect day for checking out the sales.

We’ve met people from throughout Michigan and Canada at our tables. While we do like to sell things, most times the conversations are just as enjoyable. I even sold one autographs copy of The Kurdish Connection!

My Work in Progress

With all of the prep work for the annual sales, I didn’t manage to do as much writing as planned. However, the draft of chapter 22 of Dangerous Alliance is now completed and will be posted in a few days.

The Kurdish Connection recently received its tenth five-start review on Amazon. This one came from Preston Holtry, the author of the Morgan Westphal mystery series and the ARRIUS trilogy.

The Kurdish Connection delivers a fast paced, Adrenalin charged tale of conspiracy, espionage and terrorism. The plot is diabolical and will keep you on the edge to the very end. Randall Krzak is a writer whose background has given him the knowledge and technical skills to craft a compelling novel requiring a seat belt while you read it. I look forward to more from this author.”

Any author would be thrilled with this kind of feedback. Perhaps you’ll be my next reviewer?

Here’s a bit more from Dangerous Alliance:

Hasan shook Gari. His slumped body slid toward the door, Gari’s head on his chest. When Hasan tried to move him, he pulled his hand back.

Blood.

“Allah, help us!”

Gari groaned as he placed a bloody hand on Hasan. “Time … to … leave—” Gari passed out.

***

Hasan continued out of the city, not stopping until he approached the area where they rested overnight. Of the eight men entering Kismaayo in these two Land Rovers, two fled the scene, battered and bruised, but for now, alive.

They wept.

***

Samatar brought the damaged Land Rover to a halt. He struggled to open the door, which fell off its hinges. Losing his balance, he fell into the sand.

Hasan rushed to his side. “Where are the others?”

Samatar coughed, blood seeping out of his mouth. “Tell … tell them we died with bravery in our hearts.” The man’s head lolled to the side as his body sagged.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

With yard work and yard/garage sale preparation taking up a good portion of the week, I wasn’t able to prepare my thoughts about the novel I recently finished reading. Next time, I’ll have a review of Jack Du Brul’s The Lightning Stones and Neptune Island by Tony Reed.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Tai Baker – this is a newly established website/blog by a musician and author. On Mondays, Tai will be posting about the various aspects of novel writing and from time-to-time, interviews with other authors. Check it out!

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 30, 2017

As April draws to a close, Mother Nature certainly pulled a fast one on me! This past Wednesday, the thermometer registered 75F/24C. What a great day to work outdoors! The next day was almost the same, so I managed to rake the beach, cut some grass, and clear a good portion of the bluff.

Imagine my surprise yesterday. I needed a coat and my wool hat to keep warm. I did tackle more outdoor work, but it was very windy with a high temperature of 46F/8C, but with the wind chill, it felt much colder.  So much for spring–being from Michigan I should know better!  Today, it’s already 46F/8C, but with wind-driven rain, dark clouds, and waves rolling across the water, I’m not going to attempt anything outside. Perhaps a good day to write!

My Work in Progress

In the May issue of The Lakeshore Guardian, page three included a review of The Kurdish Connection. The entire article will eventually be posted on my website later this week, either under testimonials or reviews, I haven’t decided yet.  Here’s a bit from the article: “A fast-paced Middle East tale filled with intriguing characters and a plot brimming with such vivid imagery the reader will become engrossed in an adventure on the other wide of the world. He takes his readers on a journey that will leave them wondering if this tale really did happen–or could something similar occur in today’s world?”

Needless, to say, I’m thrilled with the review!

Despite all of the extracurricular activities this week, I did manage to finally finish the initial draft of Dangerous Alliance, chapter seventeen. All being well, I’ll post it to the two subscription writing sites I use and find out what readers think. I’ll post another snippet from Dangerous Alliance soon.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with David L. Golemon’s The Mountain: An Event Group thriller. You’ll have to check out my comments next 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 also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

ReadersAbode – Don’t forget to check this site out. Created by a group of writers spread across several continents, there’s sure to be something of interest. Thus far, the site contains short stories and poems written by its members, several blog posts and interviews with established authors. Or check it out on Twitter: @readersabode.

I’m afraid that’s it for this time as we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, February 19, 2017

Yesterday we were greeted with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures–59F/15C.  A year ago it was 28F/-2C.  Great weather for Michigan in February!  The forecasters are predicting about a week of nice weather, before colder temperatures and snow return. But then, it’s still winter!

Do you have someone in your life you were able to share the recent Valentine’s Day with? Hope so.  Do you know why it’s called Valentine’s Day? I didn’t until I checked it out. According to According to Historynet.com,  it’s actually St. Valentine’s Day, the feast day of two Christian martyrs named Valentine: one a priest and physician, the other the Bishop of Terni. Both are purported to have been beheaded on this day. The custom of sending handmade ‘valentines’ to one’s beloved became popular during the 17th century and was first commercialized in the United States in the 1840s.

If you had a birthday during the past week, you might have shared it with one of these writers: Kay Boyle, short story writer (“The White Horses of Vienna”); Carson McCullers, writer (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter); Amy Tan, novelist (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife); Shalom Aleichem, Yiddish author; Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Angle of Repose); Helen Gurley Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine; Len Deighton, English spy writer (The Ipcress File); Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author (The Bluest Eye, Beloved); Audre Lord, poet; Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, Australian poet and journalist; Chaim Potok, novelist (The Chosen, The Promise); Van Wyck Brooks, biographer, critic and literary historian; Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (The Sportswriter, Independence Day); Frederick Douglass, slave, and later, activist and author; Georges Simenon, novelist; and Harold “Hal” Moore Jr., US Army lieutenant general, author, his best-known book, co-authored with combat journalist Joe Galloway, is We Were Soldiers Once … And Young. A belated happy birthday and hope you enjoyed your special day.

Available Through Your Favorite Bookseller (or at least Amazon and Barnes&Noble!)
It’s been an exciting week since the launch of my debut novel, The Kurdish Connection. I can’t thank Gene and his staff at Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC enough for this fantastic opportunity.  A dozen people requested signed copies so far–greatly feeling to sign them!  Three libraries in the local area (within a fifty-mile radius) are setting up book signing events for me. A non-profit monthly newspaper, available from over 325 locations is reviewing my novel and will publish a book review.
Social media contacts are growing as the word spreads. Many thanks to those retweeting or sharing my links. More work is still needed but the momentum is growing!
Just in case you haven’t heard about my novel, here’s a bit for you:
untitled

KURDISH SCAVENGERS UNCOVER A CACHE OF NERVE GAS IN IRAQ AND OFFER THEM TO KURDISH FIGHTERS IN TURKEY. THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS BEDLAM ALPHA TEAM MUST SECURE THE WEAPONS BEFORE THEY CAN BE USED.

You must swear by Allah never to say a word of what I’m going to tell you. This is the most important secret. Ever!”

In their daily struggle for survival, Iraqi Kurdish scavengers uncover a cache of chemical weapons. They offer the weapons to Kurdish rebels in Turkey and Syria to assist in their quest to free an imprisoned leader and create a unified homeland. After receiving a tip from an unlikely source, the newly formed Special Operations Bedlam team is called to arms. Can the team recover the weapons before it’s too late?

My Work in Progress

Marketing/publicity hasn’t stopped me from moving forward with the sequel, Dangerous Alliance. Chapters seven and eight were recently posted on the two subscription writing sites I use. The next chapter, introducing a new character and scene, which will be important as the story unfolds, is currently underway.

All work on A Cartel’s Revenge and New World Revolution are on hold until the first draft of Dangerous Alliance is completed.  Beginning next week, I’ll resume posting glimpses into this story.

Books I’m Reading

I just finished a beta read of the first in a three-book series by Preston Holtry, the author of the outstanding Morgan Westphal Mystery series. I won’t say any more about it right now, but once Preston gives me the green light, I’ll post my review. I will say it’s a keeper!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. I have one to share today:

Alice S. Hill – a write-a-holic from Zimbabwe. She’s the author of When The Tree is Dry. Check out her site!

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, November 27, 2016

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this on Thursday had an enjoyable time with friends and family. Even if this wasn’t one of your holidays, I hope every reader is having a great weekend. Our son, who lives in Washington, D.C., couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving, but we did have a whirlwind visit from him last weekend. His next visit–Christmas.

Birthdays come and go and it’s always nice to find out who shares your birthday. One of my favorite authors, Brad Thor, shares the same day with me, although I’m a bit older.

Here are some noteworthy birthdays during the past week: Charles M. Shultz, American cartoonist who created “Peanuts” starring Charlie Brown; Charles A. Beard, American historian (History of the United States); James Agee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (A Death in the Family); Virgil Thompson, American composer (Four Saints in Three Acts, The Mother of Us All); Shelagh Delaney, playwright (A Taste of Honey); Gail Collins, journalist; first woman to serve as editorial page editor of The New York Times; Carlo Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio; Margaret Anderson, editor, founder of The Little Review; Dale Carnegie, author (How to Win Friends and Influence People); Garson Kanin, writer and director (Born Yesterday); William F. Buckley, Jr., journalist, founder of National Review; and, Spider Robinson, Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction author (Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon; Melancholy Elephants).

Happy birthday to all and may you have many more.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

As I continue to work on my regular writing projects, concentrating on my novels, I decided to branch out. Although I’m writing modern-day action thrillers, I’ve taken a step back in time. My newest project, tentatively called New World Revolution, will be a historical thriller, following the lives of an English family uprooted from their tenant farm due to massive crop failures. Where do they end up? America, just in time for the Boston Tea Party. 

This story will require extensive research. Not just for an accurate setting, but even the everyday words used at the time. I’ve already written a draft first chapter and fans of historical fiction have pointed out things that I’ve taken for granted. The first, the word okay, was introduced into writing until the 1830s, several decades after my story. The second was my reference to spitting image, which apparently originates from the 19th century.  This will be an interesting story to put together and I look forward to the challenge.

My Work in Progress

Of course, I can’t let my progress on my other novels diminish. Chapter six of Dangerous Alliance is nearing completion, as if chapter eight of A Cartel’s Revenge. Both should be posted this week to the two subscription writing sites I use.

In the short time the first chapter of New World Revolution has been posted (posted on Thursday), it’s received twelve reviews. Almost everyone seemed to think it has great potential, which is encouraging.  More to follow on this as my research continues.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Twice Dead by Michael Kent. Part of the Lieutenant Beaudry series, it’s another great story, full of action, with a fast pace.  We find Lt. Robert Beaudry embroiled in a mix of murder, narcotics, and even on a hit list. Someone is killing gays in Montreal and Robert’s boss gives him the task to find the killer.

Once again Michael works his magic and Robert works with a narcotics detective named Nico to sort out the pieces to this puzzle. Every time you think you’ve uncovered the identity of the killer, a twist will reveal new information pointing elsewhere. An excellent read!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Today, though, I have links to two sites about pets. The photographs are fantastic and I thought worthy of sharing.

Flawless Animals – a great compilation of animals doing their thing.

The Cute Pet – more outstanding photos of pets.

Writing Resources

Time didn’t provide an opportunity to delve into more writing resources. However, someone recently suggested a book I’d like to share with you:

Getting The Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Theodore A Reed Cheney.

Once again, we’ve reached the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.