Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 18, 2021

It’s been the hottest week of the summer thus far, with historical average temperatures being beaten by twenty degrees (F) on a daily basis. Today we’re off to a bit cooler start, with a slight chance of a later afternoon shower. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts!

small business marketAs I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I participated in a small business market at the local mall, along with around twenty vendors, although we were the only authors. While last Sunday was quiet for everyone, overall we did quite well, with fourteen autographed copies of my novels being sold and eighteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. We were absolutely delighted!

On the first day of the event, a customer bought Mission: Angola. He came back Sunday afternoon to tell me my writing was as good as, if not better, than one of his favorite authors, Clive Cussler. What a compliment!

I’ve also been contact by a couple of people who picked up business cards and wanted to know when we’ll be back as they want to purchase some books. The next small business market will be 6-8 August at the Kinsgate mall, Dunfermline (same location as last time). The photo above was taken by one of our stall’s customers and posted on Twitter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Zacharias Ursinus, German theologist (Heidelberger Catechism); Saverio Bettinelli, Italian Jesuit writer; Gilbert White, English naturalist (Natural History and Antiquities of Selborn); William Makepeace Thackeray, British novelist (Vanity Fair); Tristan Corbière, French poet; Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer; Ricarda Huch, German writer and historian “First Lady of German humanism”; Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina); Manuel Gálvez, Argentine novelist (La maestra normal); Sydney Horler, English detective writer (Checkmate); Nathalie Sarraute [Tcherniak], French writer (Childhood, Portrait of a Man Unknown, The Golden Fruits); Clifford Odets, American dramatist (1961 Award of Merit-Golden Boy); Harry Levin, American literary scholar; Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (paradigm shift); Robert Sloman, English screenwriter; Margaret Laurence, Canadian writer (The Stone Angel); Ludwig Harig, German writer; Simon Vinkenoog, Dutch writer and poet; Aad Nuis, Dutch writer and political scientist; Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station); Edward Bond, English playwright and director (Blow-up); and Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

The editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Charlie and Sam donned their Ray-Bans and walked through the terminal’s exit into the intense sunlight.  They headed to a nearby taxi rank, choosing a silver Hyundai van, and handed the driver their luggage.

The driver turned to Charlie. “Welcome to Bermy. First time here? Do you need a hotel?”

Charlie glanced back at the building. “Thank you. Yes, our first time here, but we are waiting for two more people.” He pointed. “Here they come.”

Wild and TJ approached the taxi and tossed their luggage in the back.

After closing the rear of the vehicle, everyone climbed inside.

As they pulled away, the driver tapped his horn and cut off an empty taxi. “Arryone, I am Felix. Wopnin?”

Charlie and the others glanced at one another before he turned to Felix. “Is that anything like what’s happenin’?”

Felix laughed. “You’re too smart for me. Most tourists don’t have a clue what I’m saying when I use our island slang.” A grin spread across his face. “All de onions will try it on you.”

“Onions?”

“At one time, onions were a major export from Bermuda, so those born and bred here became known as onions. What hotel?”

“The Oxford House in Hamilton. How long will it take?”

Felix nodded. “An excellent bed and breakfast. Since there is only one road from de airport, traffic is always slow. Today? Perhaps twenty minutes, but maybe forty.” He shrugged. “We find out.”

They left the airport, merging toward the exit. At the first roundabout, the van lurched to a stop. “Sorry. Must be a tourist in front of us.” Felix laughed. “Once we get on De Causeway, we will pass him.”

When an opening appeared in the traffic, Felix gunned the engine, taking the first left onto The Causeway and whipping past the slow-moving car. He tapped his horn and waved. “De water we are passing is called Castle Harbour.  We will take de North Shore Road to Hamilton.”

Charlie glanced at the pastel-colored buildings interspersed with small copses hugging the road. As they continued toward Hamilton, various businesses dotted the landscape.

The van swayed as Felix alternated between braking for vehicles in their way to dashing into oncoming traffic to pass anything in his way. After a series of turns in Hamilton, the van screeched to a halt in front of The Oxford House. He checked the clock on the dash. “Twenty-eight minutes. An excellent time.”

Everyone climbed out of the taxi and converged at the rear of the vehicle to collect their belongings.

“How much?” Charlie pulled out his wallet.

 “Let’s see. Ten miles from the airport, so that is thirty-two dollars and sixty-five cents.” Felix raised a hand and pointed at their roll-around suitcases and backpacks. “Plus, one dollar for every piece of luggage.” He grinned. “Because I like you, make it forty dollars.”

Charlie raised a brow, pulled out two twenties and a five-dollar note, and handed the money to Felix.

Chingas!” Felix pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. “If you need a taxi or a guided tour while you are in Bermy, give me a call, and I give you de business rate.” He shook their hands. “Enjoy!”

More next time.

Slide1Work is also progressing with Ultimate Escalation. Chapters eight and nine were completed this week and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 191 reviews.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently reread, The Fulcrum: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. If you’ve read any of JC’s work you know how good it is. The Fulcrum is the first book in the series, and is an excellent introduction to Rex’s character and what makes him tick. While some readers might not like the main character for a variety of reasons, it’s important to the series to know how Rex became the man he now is. Well worth the read!

I also read by Wired Secret: Vigilante Justice Thrillers Series (Paradise Crime Thrillers Book 7) by Toby Neal. An intricate plot and realistic characters make for an exciting read as Sophie Ang deals with personal demons while assisting the U.S. Marshall’s Service in protecting a witness. Before long, Sophie is also in the sights of the same person after the witness.

She also finds out more about her mother and tries to decide which man is best for her. There’s plenty of action and great twists to keep the story moving forward. Look forward to reading more of Toby’s work.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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 16, 2021

We finally started getting some normal May weather recently. While the week began with more rain and cool temperatures, by Thursday, things had picked up. Buds that we’re damaged in last month’s snow and frost are blossoming. While it’s still chilly in the shade, when the sun pops out it’s great!

Of course, the better weather also means the grass (and weeds) are growing, so a bit of time was devoted to tidying things up. There’s always something needing attention, but I’d rather have the better weather to do so.  Almost finished pulling the ivy off the back of the house–then it’ll be a clean-up effort to remain the tentacles, but so far I haven’t seen any damage caused. Thank goodness!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Neither a rich man or a poor man gets to enjoy his money. One is too busy trying to hold on to it, and the other is too busy trying to get it.” ~ Linda Poindexter

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Friedrich Rückert, German Poet, Translator and Orientalist; H[erbert] E[rnest] Bates, novelist (Feast for July, Love for Lydia); Arturo Uslar Pietri, Venezuela, writer/minister (Lanzas Coloradas); Margret Rey, author and illustrator; Olga Berggolts, Russian poet; Studs Terkel, American author/host (Stud’s Place, Working); Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and author; Juan Rulfo, Mexican writer (Pedro Paramo); Richard Mason, English author (The World of Suzie Wong); Adrienne Rich, American feminist writer (Diamond Cutters); and Peter Levi, poet/writer.

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any this week.  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

I was on a roll this week, completing chapters thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-seven of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. They’re now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be at least forty-sven.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 581. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier and AJ climbed the stairs and entered the third-floor kitchen/diner. “Want a coffee?”

“Of course.” AJ pulled out a chair at the island. “How are things going?”

Javier poured coffee from the pot he put on earlier. He placed a cup in front of AJ and sat in a chair next to her. “So far, so good. Elton, Sindee, and Bruno are getting settled. I gave them corporate credit cards so they can order what they need for their respective areas. I’m hoping we’ll be in business within a week.”

“Moving fast.” AJ took a sip of her black coffee. “Did you give any more thought about my suggestion of a back-up field team?”

“Yep. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Never can tell when a situation might arise where an all-female field team might be needed. However, I don’t have the funds right now to create one.”

“I’ve been giving it some thought.” AJ raised a hand. “Hear me out before you discount my suggestion. You’ve already chosen two women to handle minor cases. Why not expand their training so they could be deployed in more dangerous situations to support the others.”

Javier nodded. “I do want everyone working here to cross-train into other areas so we can be a lean and efficient force.” He tapped a finger on his lips. “But, I like groups of four. Where will I find the others?”

“Duh!” AJ pretended to pout. “Depending upon the situation and my availability, I could be part of the team. What about Sindee? I read her file—she’s been doing some martial arts training and belongs to a shooting club.”

“Would the CIA let you come and go at short notice, or are you still considering a career change?”

AJ laughed. “Still pondering. If I make the jump, I want to land in a suitable position.”

“I’m sure it can be arranged.” Javier nodded. “It’s one thing to shoot at targets but something else when the targets can return fire. I’ll set up a confidence course, and we’ll find out what Sindee and the others can do and set a baseline for training.”

“That’s all I ask.” AJ leaned closer. “Anything else planned for today?”

Javier gave a soft laugh. “What did you have in mind?”

***

Once Sindee entered the elevator, Bennie wiped the smile off his face. He left the building and crossed to a bronze late-model SUV. Tossing the bags in the back, he climbed in beside Justin, the driver. “I found out where she lives.”

“Excellent. We’ll come back this evening and grab her. Can we get in?”

“Yes, I checked—through the parking garage. There aren’t any barriers.”

Justin nodded. “Perfect. Let’s find a place to eat.”

“How about a bowling alley? They usually have decent food, and we can bowl and watch sports on their big screen while we wait.”

“Excellent idea.”

Five hours later, the bronze SUV pulled into the apartment complex and headed to the multi-story parking garage. Justin backed into an empty slot closest to the third-floor walkway to the apartments.

They climbed from the vehicle and stepped out of the garage.

“Wait a minute—forgot my bag.”

Justin pursed his lips. “Which way?”

Bennie retrieved his backpack from the rear seat and pointed. “This way—at the far end.”

They crabbed along the corridor. On the left, a railing to keep people from falling. On the right, doors signaled each apartment. Curtains were closed, but shadows cast by internal lights filtered outside.

As they approached the end of the walkway, Bennie turned and put a finger to his lips. “Keep watch.” He pulled a set of lock picks out of his back pocket. “Shouldn’t take long—these locks are simple to bypass.”

Justin gave a thumbs-up.

Bennie knelt by the door and worked his magic. The door swung inward, and he slinked inside.

A woman sat on a sofa, her back to the door. Headphones covered her ears as she pecked away at the keyboard on her phone.

Bennie crept forward, pulling an extendable baton from his bag.

Thwack!

He conked her on the head.

The headphones popped off as the woman’s body tilted to the side.

Bennie took a piece of rope from one pocket and tied her hands. From another pocket on the side of his backpack, he pulled out duct tape. After he stretched a piece across her mouth, Bennie picked her up in a fireman’s carry and dashed out of the apartment.

Justin aimed his gun at Bennie, lowering it when he recognized his partner. “That her?”

“Yeah, let’s get out of here before someone spots us!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finally completed enough real-life requirements so I could return to reading Primeval: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon.  Join Colonel Jack Collins, head of the Event Group’s Security Group as he leads several members of his team in a frantic search for his sister. Who grabbed her and why?

Jack’s search efforts leads to western Canada, home of the legendary They Who Follow. But it was real men who took his sister. This is another fast-paced thriller by David, filled with plenty of twists and turns. What are the men who took Jack’s sister after? Who will be the final victors? I don’t like to give away too much, so you’ll have to pick up a copy of this well-written story and find out for yourself.  It’s definitely worth a read!

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