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Randall’s Ramblings, September 5, 2021

After several days of cool temperatures and endless clouds, we’ve had a reprieve. This morning it was still on the cool side at 52F (11C) but there’s hardly a cloud in the sky, making for a pleasant start to the day.

We’ve reworked the front border of our property, putting in several pansies and cyclamens. Fantastic colours–reds, yellows, and purples. Now, if we could just keep the slugs and snails away! We read something about putting sharp grit down, so we bought some horticultural alpine grit around the plants. Looks great, but the slugs didn’t get the memo as they’re still attacking the plants, particularly the yellows. We don’t want to put down any poison as we have at least two hedgehogs living on our property and they like to eat the snails. A constant battle!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 5th, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Tommaso Campanella, Italian theologian, philosopher, and poet; Gottfried Arnold, German theologist, historian and songwriter; Juan Martín Díez, El Empecinado (The Undaunted), Spanish guerrillero; Lukas Fencer, Dutch poet (Fight of Kings & Mice); Robert Fergusson, Scottish poet (Scottish poems); Aleksei K. Tolstoi, Russian poet and writer; Goffredo Mameli, Italian poet and writer; Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-British writer (Arrow in Blue); Semjon I Kirsanov, Ukrainian poet (Semj Dnej Nedeli); Nicanor Parra, Chilean poet, mathematician, and physicist (Defense of Violeta Parra); Frank Yerby, American novelist (The Foxes of Harrow); Margaretha D. Ferguson-Wigerink, Dutch author (Anna & her Father); Jos Vandeloo, Flemish journalist and playwright (Cola Drinkers); Justin Kaplan, American editor and biographer (Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain – Pulitzer Prize, 1967); Werner Erhard, American author and lecturer (founded EST); Jonathan Kozol, American writer and sociologist; Dario Bellezza, Italian poet; Paul William Roberts, Canadian writer; Frederick Kempe, American author, journalist, and executive; and Christopher Nolan, Irish handicapped writer (Under Eye of Clock).

Any names familiar to you? There was only one for me–Aleksei K. Tolstoi. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

Until the 15th of September, all of my novels are participating in a chilling reads promotion. There are fifty-six novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the second micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

Today marks the final day Revenge will still be posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Throughout the period when Revenge was available for review, it received 779 chapter reviews. Many thanks to all who provided their feedback!

I’m on track to send Revenge to my advanced reader team. Still going to do two more micro edit passes between now and the end of September. All being well, Revenge will be released by mid-October.

With all of my work on Revenge this week, I didn’t get a chance to finish chapter thirteen of Ultimate Escalation.  Once Revenge is sent out to the team, I hope to establish a regular writing regime for Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Breakthrough  by Michael C. Grumley.  What’s happening underneath the Caribbean Sea and in Antarctica? Are they linked? Join Alison Shaw, a marine biologist, and John Clay, a naval investigator as they become an unlikely duo trying to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

This is the first book by Michael I’ve read and it won’t be the last. I always enjoy an excellent plot filled with twists and turns, as well as realistic characters, and plenty of action. Breakthrough contains all of this and more! Look forward to reading more of Michael’s work.

That brings us to an end for another 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

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Randall’s Ramblings, August 22, 2021

The Bell’s Daisies and violas we planted in mid-March have finally reached their end of their life. They provided loads of brilliant color to the front border and were greatly admired by passersby. This week, we replaced them with a batch of purple and yellow pansies. Depending upon the weather, they should be suitable replacements and continue to be a talking point.

While the weather continues to act more like Autumn than August, we did have short bursts of sunshine and warmth throughout the week. Of course, rain was dominate once again, but I guess that’s to be expected. At least Mother Nature is helping the new plants!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But its your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 22nd, the fourth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Georges de Scudéry, French writer and dramatist (L’Amour tyrannique); Jean Renaud de Segrais, French writer and poet; James Kirke Paulding, American author (The Dutchman’s Fireside); Amalie Skram, Norwegian author (Hellemyrsfolket); Melville E. Stone, American newspaper publisher (Founder of Chicago Daily News); Alfredo Oriani, Italian writer (Political Struggle in Italy); Gorch Fock [Johann Wilhelm Kinau], German author and poet; Dorothy Parker, American short story writer (1958 Marjorie Peabody Award); Jack Roy Armstrong, English historian (History of Sussex); René Wellek, Czech-American writer (Concepts of Criticism); Stojan Daskalov, Bulgarian writer (A Farm); Julius J. Epstein, American screenwriter (Casablanca); Somerset de Chair, British writer, MP and poet; Mary McGrory, American journalist and columnist; Pierre A. Lauffer, Antillian poet (Patria); Ray Bradbury, American sci-fi author (Fahrenheit 451); Wolfdietrich Schnurre, German writer; ames Kirkwood, American actor, author and playwright (A Chorus Line, P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!); Irmtraud Morgner, German writer; E. Annie Proulx, American author (Postcards); Antony Crosthwaite-Eyre, English publisher; Uğur Mumcu, Turkish journalist and writer (Cumhuriyet Murder); Þórarinn Eldjárn, Icelandic writer (The Blue Tower); Will Shetterly, American writer (Dogland); Alfred Gough, American screenwriter and producer; Rich Lowry, American magazine editor and columnist; Charlie Connelly, English writer (Attention All Shipping); and Steve Kornacki, American political journalist, writer and TV presenter (NBC).

Any names familiar to you? I recognized Ray Bradury. In fact, his Fahrenheit 451 novel was required reading in one of my high school English classes. 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

I’m absolutely thrilled to share the recent five-star editorial review  Carnage in SIngapore received from Chanticleer Reviews. Please click on the title to check it out.

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

I completed final macro edit passes of Revenge this week. Now the in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I post all of my chapters to two online subscription writing sites. I’d like to thank all of my reviewers for taking the time to read and let me know what worked and what needed adjustment. Revenge received over 760 chapter reviews, and hopefully this will be a suitable sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

In case you missed the synopsis, here it is:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers.  He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

Slide1In addition to my editing work on Revenge, I went through a sixty-five thousand word novel for a colleague to help him prepare his manuscript for submission. As a result, I didn’t get a change to work on Ultimate Escalation, but will be back to it during the coming week. In the meantime, there were another five chapter reviews, bringing the total to 229. I greatly appreciate my reviewers sticking with me!

Here’s the initial snippet:

In the distance, gunfire echoed off the mountains. The prisoner flinched with each rip. Water dripped from the tap, splashing into the clogged and rusted sink. Scratching claws marking its passage, a furry rat scurried across the cold, concrete floor.  Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Nikolaev shook his head as ghostly images of fallen comrades flashed before his eyes. Just like the ambush along the Argun River in Chechnya. How many men lost their lives?

Footsteps thundered in the hallway, became louder until they stopped outside his cell. Metal clanged against the lock, screeching as a key entered the slot of the heavy steel door.  He swung his feet from the bare cot onto the floor.

“Comrade Colonel, you are to come with us.” A burly, hawk-nosed senior sergeant stepped forward and held out a pair of handcuffs. “I’m sorry, Colonel.”

Vladimir smiled as he tilted his head. “Nyet. I’ve expected this since they arrested me six months ago, Vasily.” The colonel straightened his tunic and held out his hands. “Do what you must.”

Sergeant Vasily Zolotov clicked his heels before slapping the cuffs around Vladimir’s wrists.

“Do I get a final smoke?” He laughed. “Perhaps a meal for a condemned man?”

“Comrade Colonel, please do not make jokes.” Vasily stared at his prisoner before ushering him out of the cell. “This is no laughing matter.”

Two privates jumped to attention in the corridor, their AK-74s held at port arms. Vasily took the lead, followed by the towering Vladimir, the privates flanking their prisoner. They walked past several empty cells, which no longer housed prisoners from the previous day.

“Vasily, what happened to the men in the other cages?”

The sergeant stopped and faced Vladimir. “I’m sorry, Colonel. They received their sentences earlier today.”

“I hope the colonel general showed leniency.” Vladimir gazed at the floor. “They followed orders.” As did I, which meant nothing at the court-martial.

Vasily turned and marched toward a door at the end of the corridor without responding.

When they reached the door, another guard saluted before shoving it open.

Vladimir stepped outside and raised his shackled hands to his brown eyes to block the blazing sun. He stumbled, but a private steadied him.

A drummer beat a four-flam cadence as Vasily led Vladimir toward his fate. Rows of Spetsnaz soldiers in woodland camouflage uniforms and maroon berets stood at parade rest, coming to attention as the colonel walked past.

The colonel and his escorts stopped in front of a man wearing epaulets with three stars—Colonel General Boris Kutzenov, commanding officer of the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye (GRU) training facility.

Vasily saluted the aging colonel general before stepping to the left of Vladimir. The drum roll ceased, leaving an eerie silence.

Russian national and armed forces flags flapped in the breeze, sharp snaps signaling their movement. A flock of black kites flew overhead, the air filled with screeches and calls.

Vladimir glanced at the passing legion. Moving to warmer climes? Wish I was with them.

Colonel General Kutzenov stepped forward and spoke to Vladimir in a soft voice. “Well, Voya, here we are.” He smiled at his longtime friend. “It’s unfortunate they caught you, but I can’t admit my part, so the responsibility falls on your shoulders.”

Vladimir chuckled. “I’ll trade places if you like.” He glanced around, studying the mountains and forests. “This seems like a nice retirement position.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Cameron, the latest novel in Blair Howard’s Lt. Kate Gazzara series. Now a captain, Kate tries to keep a crack in her personal life from spilling outward while she goes on the hunt to find the killer or killers of Cameron. Who wanted to end his life? There certainly seems to be plenty of suspects, but will Kate and her team find the actual culprit?

As with all of Blair’s novels, the riveting plot, with its twists and turns, coupled with an array of larger-than-life characters, makes this another story you won’t want to put down. As you read, will you be able to figure out who was responsible for the murder or will you have to wait to the end to find out? I’m sure it’ll be the latter. I highly recommend Blair’s novels to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, well-written stories. I can’t wait for the next one!

That brings us to an end for another 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

 

 

 

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Randall’s Ramblings, August 8, 2021

Ever since the hot spell we had last month, the temperatures have returned to normal but make it seem like we’re already in autumn. The rain’s back, too; we’ve had heavy downpours the past three days.

On Friday and Saturday, We participated in another small business market at the local mall. There’s been as many as eighteen vendors. Things have been quiet thus far, perhaps because of the rain, as foot traffic is less than last month. Even so, I sold ten autographed copies of my novels, eighteen sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry, and several pieces of pyrography. Today’s the final day of the event for this month. Hopefully, we’ll have a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Don’t place your mistakes on your head, their weight may crush you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view your horizons.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 8th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Conrad Lycosthenes, French-born German humanist and encyclopedist; Adriaan W “Joris” van Geel, Flemish missionary (Bantu Dictionary); Johann C Adelung, German linguist/librarian; Hieronymus van Alphen, Dutch attorney/poet (church songs); Emilie Flygare-Carlén, Swedish novelist; Henry Osborn, Conn, paleontologist/author (52 Years of Research); Sara Teasdale, American poet (1st Pulitzer Prize-1918-“Love Songs”); Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer (Yearling); Wachtang Ananjan, writer; Andre Demedts, Flemish writer (Rainfall of the Days); Daan Wildschut, painter/glazenier/author; Gertrude Himmelfarb, American historian; Elis Juliana, Antillian writer/poet (Lady of the Night: A flower); Yuri Kasakow, Russian writer; Joan Mondale (née Adams;), American artist, author, and wife of US vice-president Walter Mondale; Terry Nation, writer (Dr Who, Blake 7); Randy Shilts, American journalist and author; Jostein Gaarder, Norwegian author; and Anastasia Ashman, American writer and digital strategist (GlobalNiche).

Any names familiar to you? I do recognize Joan Mondale and the  works of Randy Shilts. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the second edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 751. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

Retired CIA analyst Phil Price leaned back in his custom-built ergonomic chair and grinned. You can run, but I’ll always find you! He popped the top of his Diet Coke and took a swig. Just like old times—except the pay’s much better!

He swiped a hand through his thinning gray hair and typed a note to himself before turning back to the details he had uncovered. I have to be certain. Placing the tip of his index finger on the computer screen, he scanned the last report. He slapped a hand on the desk. You’re mine!

Phil jumped out of his chair, dashed out of the room, and ran down the hall. Pausing to catch his breath, he knocked on a closed door.

“Come in.”

Phil opened the door and stepped inside. “Sir, I … uh … have … some—”

“Take a deep breath and relax.” Javier grinned as he gestured to a chair. “Take a load off and stop calling me sir.”

“Yes, sir. I mean, Javier.” Phil sat. “I uncovered some information you might find interesting.”

“Go ahead.”

“I was researching the connections with the Islamic State trainers named Michael and Alberto. As you know, Michael died in the warehouse attack in Mexico, but no one knows what happened to Alberto.”

“What are your sources of the connections?”

“Uh…well…I forgot to tell the IT office I retired.” Phil gave a slight smile.

“Seems I still have access to several databases—at least through some backdoors I left. Not anything supersensitive, but enough for me to investigate these men.”

Javier struggled to maintain aa straight face. “I see.” He rubbed his chin and pursed his lips. “Can anything come back on you? I’d prefer we not end up in a cell together.”

Phil shook his head. “Unless the security guys are specifically looking for me, I doubt anyone will notice. Besides, I told AJ I was doing this.”

“What did she say?”

“She just rolled her eyes and told me to stay out of trouble.”

“I agree with her. Don’t tell me any more about your methods, so I have some plausible deniability if the authorities begin an investigation.”

Phil placed an index finger over his lips. “My lips are sealed. Shall I tell you what I found out?”

Javier nodded. “Take a seat and fill me in.”

“Okay.” Phil perched on the edge of a chair. “Before I retired, we learned Islamic State referred to Alberto as Abdul Rahman. He’s from Argentina.”

“What about Michael?”

“This is where it gets interesting. Michael was known as Mahmood. They also called him the Cockney.”

“From London?”

Phil nodded. “Yes. We knew the phone numbers used by both men. They’ve been silent since the warehouse attack. But…”

“But?” Javier raised a brow.

“Both men were in routine contact with a number in Madrid. The user of the Spanish number was confirmed as a recruiter for Islamic State.”

“I seem to recall some of this from AJ.”

Phil grinned. “Yes, but I wanted to bring you up to speed before I give you the latest information.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense. What’d you find out?”

“Calls between the Madrid number and the one in Virginia began a few days before you retired. Not often, but once or twice every ten days or so.”

“Who owns the Virginia number?”

“I’m still working on it. Perhaps Alberto is here looking for you?”

“A good guess.”  Javier sipped from a cold cup of coffee on his desk and grimaced. “I should have finished this earlier.”

“Do you want me to get you another one?”

Javier shook his head. “No thanks, Phil. My own fault.”

“There’s also something else.”

Next week will probably be the last snippet.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to almost complete chapter eleven of Ultimate Escalation. Just some things I need to verify before posting.Slide1

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 214 reviews, and increase of fourover the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advance copy of End Game (The Harry Starke Novels Book 16) by Blair Howard. This is without a doubt my favorite Harry Starke story. With plenty of twists and turns in a well scripted plot, and larger-than-life things made worse when Harry finds out he has a doppelganger?

I won’t give anything away, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out what happens. Needless to say, you’ll be turning the pages to find out how things end. A fantastic thrill to the last page!

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, August 1, 2021

It’s hard to believe how fast July seemed to go by. At least we’ve been having some decent summer weather, although it’s turned cooler again.

Our crafts participated in another artisan market yesterday. Sales weren’t as good as last time, but Mother Nature played a part in this. Since the market was held on a local main street (high street), even though the vendors and their stalls were protected by gazebos, the foot traffic was minimal for half the day due to persistent rain. Once the sun popped out, so did people. I ended up autographing five of my novels, while seven of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went home with satisfied customers. Added to the mix were several pieces of pyrography and a couple of candles, so overall, still a decent outing.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 1st, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Luís Vélez de Guevara, Spanish writer (El diablo cojuelo); Benedetto Marcello, Italian author and composer (Lettera Famigliare); Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, poet and composer of the lyrics to “Star-Spangled Banner”; Ivan Gagarin, Russian Jesuit and founding editor of Études; Richard Henry Dana Jr., American author (Two Years Before the Mast); Herman Melville, American author (Moby-Dick, Billy Budd); M. R. James, English scholar and author (Ghost Stories of an Antiquary); Rose Macaulay, English writer (The Towers of Trebizond); Isaac Keesing, Dutch publisher and founder (System Keesing); Constant Burniaux, Belgian writer (The Abandoned) and art historian (Temps Inquiets); Paul Horgan, American novelist (Mountain Standard Time); Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet (Kamouraska); Stanley Middleton, British novelist (Holiday, Three Wise Men); Jeffrey Segal, British actor and playwright (Dad’s Army, Traitors); Ernst Jandl, Austrian writer (Otto’s Pug); Ko Un, South Korean poet; Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County); Étienne Roda-Gil, French songwriter and screenwriter; Brad Stephen “Taylor” Negron, American actor and writer (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Money); and James St. James, American author and nightlife personality.

Any names familiar to you? I’m familiar with the work of three: Francis Scott Key, Herman Melville, and Robert James Waller. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the first edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 741. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

A tall, slender man, dressed only in Bermuda shorts and sandals, gazed out the open sliding doors of his two-story sanctuary perched on a prominent elevation across the South Shore.  He sipped his iced Dark ‘n Stormy as he rubbed the two puckered areas of skin on his lower right torso, the result of a recent altercation with a competitor.

“Good morning, sweetheart.”

Phoenix Vanidestine turned at the husky words spoken in a posh British accent by his long-time girlfriend, Zaine Greenly. “’Bout time you woke up—it’s almost noon.”

“I needed my beauty sleep.”

He chuckled. “You’re always a beauty.”

Zaine ran her hands through her long, straight blonde hair before stepping closer and taking his drink. She wrinkled her nose after tasting the Gosling Black Seal Rum and ginger beer. “Ugh. How can you drink this stuff?”

“What’s wrong with it? This is Bermuda’s national drink!”

“True. But, you’re not from Bermuda, so why not drink something that tastes better?” She ruffled his curly black hair. “Take me water skiing today.”

Phoenix shook his head. “Can’t. Too busy. There’s—”

“I know, I know. Business. But you’re the boss, so why aren’t you making the decisions?”

“I might be the boss of this part of the operation, but we’re just a small cog in the overall organization. Someone above me is calling the shots, and he wants his merchandise.”

Zaine pouted.  “I’m beginning to think you don’t love me anymore. You spend more time with those guys than you do with me.”

Phoenix wrapped his arms around her and gave a slight squeeze. “You’re the most important person in the world to me. However, I still have to earn a living.”

“Why can’t you have a normal nine-to-five job instead of one that takes you away at all hours?”

He shrugged. “You should have realized I’d be bored doing some mundane job.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Zaine rubbed his bullet-wound scars.  “I just worry the thrills you seek might lead to your death.”

“Not to worry.” Phoenix puffed out his chest. “I’m golden—nothing can harm me.” I hope. “Let’s have brunch before I head to—”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to complete chapter ten of Ultimate Escalation. Slide1

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 210 reviews, and increase of eleven over the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Cosega Search, the first book in the Cosega Sequence series by Brandt Legg. This was the first of Brandt’s novels that I’ve read. Although there are numerous novels about something being found which might destroy the Vatican and its teachings, the adventures of Ripley Gaines, an archeologist, was a very enjoyable read.

With plenty of twists and turns in the plot and larger-than-life characters, I found myself staying up late burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happened next. Who are friends and who are enemies? You’ll have to buy a copy and sort this out for yourself. Although I normally prefer novels which wrap everything up by the final page, this one is worth going to the next book in the series. Look forward to reading more.

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

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Randall’s Ramblings, April 4, 2021

For those who recognize today as Easter, Happy Easter! For those who don’t have a super Sunday!

The weather’s been crazy this week. While there’s been plenty of sunshine, the thermometer is going in the wrong direction. The past three mornings we’ve either had frost or heavy dew. Up to two inches of snow is forecast beginning tonight through tomorrow afternoon, with more flurries throughout the week. What happened to ‘April shows bring May flowers?’ I just hope the spring plants survive the week!

On another front, the Covid lockdown is starting to ease, with the stay at home order rescinded. It’s been replaces by a stay local mandate for the next three weeks. A variety of facilities will open tomorrow, including garden centres (nurseries), homeware stores, auto dealerships, hairdressers, and barbers. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you have ever imagined.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 4th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays

William Strachey, English writer (early history of the English colonisation of North America); Bettina von Arnim, German writer and composer of the Romantic era (This Book Belongs to the King); Thomas Mayne Reid, Irish-American novelist (The Headless Horseman); Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and biographer (Beleaguered City); Comte de Lautréamont, French writer (Les Chants de Maldoror); Remy de Gourmont, French poet; George P Baker, American educator and playwright (47 Workshop); Charles Earle Funk, American lexicographer (Funk & Wagnalls); Zdzisław Żygulski, Sr., Polish literary historian; Tristan Tzara [Samuel Rosenfeld] Romanian-French poet (Approximate Man); Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, French poet and author (Lutin Sauvage); Stanley G. Weinbaum, American sci-fi author (Martian Odyssey); Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author (Cheaper by the Dozen); Jerome Weidman, American writer (Tenderloin); Marguerite Duras, French novelist and playwright (Sea Wall); Jan Drda, Czech writer (Nema Barikada, Mestecko Na Dlani); Lars Ahlin, Swedish writer (My Death is My Own); Emmett Williams, American poet; Maya Angelou [Marguerite Johnson], American author (“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”), poet and actress (Nyo-Roots); Trevor Griffiths, English playwright (Absolute Beginners); Ian St James, novelist (Balfour Conspiracy, Vengeance, Money Stones); Kitty Kelley, American journalist and author (Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra); Dan Simmons, American sci-fi and horror writer (Song of Kali); David E. Kelley, American writer and TV producer (Picket Fences, Chicago Hope); and Cazuza, Brazilian poet, singer and composer.

Were any names familiar to you? I found two: Charles Earle Funk, Maya Angelou.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

All five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU), comprising seventy-three action & adventure, mystery & suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror novels. My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. This promotion runs through April 15th, so don’t miss out!

My Work in Progress

While I did spend some time outdoors this week when the weather permitted, I also managed to complete another chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Last week, I mentioned I had completed chapter twenty-seven. That was a bit premature, as it was chapter twenty-six. However, the next chapter had now been completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another eleven new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 429. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A woman stirred from a fetal position on the concrete floor. She raised her head, and an eye eased open. Dim light emanated from a solitary fixture on the ceiling at the bottom of a set of stairs. Faint footsteps came from above.

She pushed himself to a kneeling position on a rug spread underneath her. A whimper escaped from swollen lips. She touched her face. Dried blood crusted her upper lip.

“Help.” The woman gasped. “Please. Someone. Help. Me.”

She collapsed.

* * *

Heidi awoke to darkness. Something scurried across the floor. A blanket was draped over her. She felt around—still clothed. She passed out again.

* * *

After she regained consciousness, the same dim light cast eerie shadows around the room. Next to her, a bottle of water and a sandwich wrapped in plastic.

She drank half of the lukewarm water. She wet her fingers and dabbed around her nose and mouth to rinse off the dried blood. Voices in the distance—strange, yet familiar.

Heidi pulled the sandwich from the bag and sniffed. “Ugh—I hate peanut butter.”

Her stomach growled in response.

She nibbled along the edge of the bread to minimize eating the filling, turning the sandwich as she progressed. When she finished, Heidi drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

The door at the top of the stairs banged open. A second light popped on, illuminating Heidi’s prison. Footsteps rushed down the steps.

“Get up!” Someone wearing a clown mask kicked Heidi in the ribs.

She groaned, grabbing her side. “Stop! Please stop! Why are you doing this to me?”

“I want information about your boss—you will tell me everything, or you’ll be sorry.”

Heidi struggled to a sitting position and stared at the man. “My boss is married—has three kids. I—”

More next time.

I recently finished Ancients: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. What’s causing earthquakes around the world at an alarming rate? Will the brainy people at the Event Group, be able to identify the source and put a stop to the chaos before the world is destroyed? How does the fabled city of Atlantis feature in the story? 

David’s plot is thrilling and will keep you turning the pages until you find out the answers. For those who are particular about accuracy, things like private first corporal (PFC) might throw you for a loop, but it’s still an exciting read. I look forward to reading more of David’s work.

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

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, March 28, 2021

As we hit the final Sunday of March, the clocks have moved forward an hour. Unlike the previous week, we’ve experienced more unsettled weather, with rain most evenings and through the night. There’s been plenty of cool breezes to help dry things out, but the temperature has struggled to get past 50F / 10C.

At least all of the plants we managed to buy are now safely in the ground. While we could use a few more, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the local garden centres/nurseries to open up. As least we have a variety of colors to brighten up the flower beds at the front of the house.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought again.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Teresa of Avila/Teresa de Jesus, Spanish mystic writer/saint; John Amos Comenius, Czech-speaking Moravian teacher, educator and writer; Arnold Houbraken, Dutch painter and writer; Andrew Kippis, English non-conformist clergyman and biographer; Sophie Mereau, German writer; Arsène Houssaye, French novelist and poet; James Darmesteter, French author and antiquarian (translations of the Avesta, the sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism); Rudolf Kittel, German theologist (Psalms); Maxim Gorky [Alexei Maximovich Peshkov], Russian playwright and author (Mother and The Lower Depths); Karel M J F Cruysberghs, Flemish author; Peter Suhrkamp, German publisher (Suhrkamp Verlag); Nelson Algren, American novelist (Man with the Golden Arm); A. Bertram Chandler, Anglo-Australian mariner and sci-fi author (Empress of Outer Space); Bohumil Hrabal, Czech writer (Closely Observed Trains); Edward Anhalt, American screenwriter (Escape to Athena); Dirk Bogarde [Derek van den Bogaerde] British writer and actor (Death in Venice, Servant); Gerhard Fritsch, Austrian writer; Marianne Fredriksson, Swedish author (Simon and the Oaks); Amelia Rosselli, Italian poet; Sven Oskar Lindqvist, Swedish writer (Myten om Wu Tao-tzu); Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer, poet, journalist, presidential candidate and Nobel Prize Laureate (Aunt Julia); Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, French author and dramatist (Concerto to the Memory of an Angel); and Iris Chang, American author and journalist.

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I didn’t spot any I knew. 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

While I did spend some time outdoors this week when the weather permitted, I also managed to complete chapter twenty-seven of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Over the past week, there were another seventeen new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 418. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier stood offered a hand to his long-time friend. After shaking, they took seats in front of Javier’s desk. “So, what can I do for the DEA?”

Mitch laughed. “That’s what I’ve always liked about you—no beating around the bush.”

“When I was in the military, I used to call it efficiency. Now, time is money.” Javier chuckled.

“Couple of things. First, I want to congratulate you on your retirement.”

Javier nodded. “Many thanks. When are you pulling the plug?”

“Me? Not for a few more years. One of the kids is a freshman at Georgetown, and the other will join him next year. After they graduate, Bella wants to head back to Lombardy where she grew up.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Figure I’d buy a cab and schlep people around—at least when we’re not checking out the vineyards.”  He shook his head. “Not sure yet. Bella wants to open a deli.”

“Why not both?”

“I thought the same, but Bella wants to do something together.” Mitched sighed. “Plenty of time to make our minds up. The primary reason for dropping in was to dangle some work in front of you.”

Javier leaned forward. “Whad’ya got?”

“A British colleague of mine needs some help. Intel indicates a drug smuggler is using Bermuda as a base to ship his product into Florida.”

Why aren’t you taking care of it?”

Mitch sighed. “We’re overstretched in the area, and this guy’s volume is too small for us to take an interest in—at least at this time. This would be an off-the-books assignment, which would give you an easy win while at the same time, I’ll improve relations with the British.”

Javier pursed his lips as he stared at the ceiling. “Okay, we’re in. How many operatives do you think we’ll need?”

Mitch pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket. “I think three or four max to handle this. All the details are here, including Cedric’s contact info.”

“Cedric?”

The name of my British counterpart.”

Who to use? Perhaps a couple of the Snakes can take some leave. Take two of my new team. Should be enough. “Count us in.”

“Fantastic!” Mitch glanced at his watch. “I better run—have a meeting in an hour at headquarters. If any questions arise, give me a shout.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been reading Ancients: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. Unfortuntely, too many things bit into my reading time so we’ll have to wait until I finish it this week before I put my review together. Suffice to say I’m thoroughly enjoying the story!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 24, 2021

We’ve started this morning with our coldest temperature of the winter thus far–21.2F (-6C). Definitely a bit of window scraping to do before heading out to get the paper!

I thought my arm was improving as I mentioned last time. It was–until three inches of snow fell Tuesday night. Clearing snow on Wednesday morning didn’t do me any favors, although I did manage to clear an incline which gets slippery so the limited sunshine could do its job. Unfortunately, my arm has been painful ever since.

“Life isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be lived. Sometimes happy, other times rough. But with every up and down you learn lessons that make you strong.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, English poet; William Congreve, English playwright; Frances Brooke English writer; Pierre de Beaumarchais, French polymath and dramatist (The Marriage of Figaro, Barber of Seville); Antony CW Staring, Dutch lawyer/poet (Jaromir); Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, German writer/judge/composer (Undine); Karl von Holtei, Silesian actor, playwright and author (Die Vagabunden); Edith Wharton [-Jones], Pulitzer prize-winning novelist (Ethan Frome, House of Mirth); Ethel Turner, Australian author; Hedwig “Vicki” Baum, Austrian American author (Men Never Know, Grand Hotel); Albin Zollinger, Swiss poet/author (Der Halbe Mensch); Eugen Roth, German poet; C. L. Moore, American science fiction & fantasy writer (Judgment Night); Nora Beloff, English journalist & author; Stanisław Grochowiak, Polish poet; David Gerrold [Jerrold David Friedman], American science fiction screenwriter (Star Trek) & author (The Martian Child); Benjamin Urrutia, Ecuadorian-born American writer; and Vince Russo, American writer.

Anyone familiar to you? Having grown up with the original Star Trek series, I’m familiar with the stories, but not the screenwriter. 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!

New Release!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has now been released by Solstice Publishing, and is available across the Amazon network in Kindle and paperback versions.

If you’ve missed the synopsis, here it is:

Joao and Catarina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, 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 Catarina’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?

Here’s a five-star review from one reader:

I enjoyed reading ” Mission: Angola, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1” by Randall Krzak, and I have read several of his previous books and enjoy his stories and I also follow this exceptional author. In my view, this author is very realistic, highly intelligent, and writes about what he knows and has experienced, and that gives this story as well as his other writings, a highly powerful and enlightening effect.

I also enjoy the suspense, thrills, realism, and this author’s excellent and very professional style of writing. For example, here is a brief excerpt:

“Just before midnight, Buhari returned to the abandoned apartment building in Luanda, where he had met with Nando Okonjo before his trip. Buhari pounded on the door.

A slit opened at eye level. After scrutinizing Buhari’s features, the guard unlocked the door, motioned Buhari inside, and handed him a flashlight. “He is waiting for you.”

Buhari switched the light on and stumbled through the dilapidated building. When he reached their regular meeting room, he noticed a dim glow coming from the open door.

How strange. Okonjo doesn’t like the dark.

Pulling out his pistol, Buhari edged through the doorway.

A candle flickered in the middle of the table. It burned on a square piece of metal, reflecting an eerie radiance throughout the room. Okonjo sat on the far side, holding his head.”

A well-known thriller author once said, “The most satisfying thrillers send people into battle against the forces of evil – otherwise known as greed, ego, rage, fear, and laziness – and bring them out bloodied but whole,” and I felt that this quote on thrillers was somewhat apropos to this story.

In my opinion, this author creates an intricate, well-organized, and very well-described account of the events, courage, disappointments, tragedies, and high emotions all told in a quick-witted and concise manner. I also liked the pace of the story and the way this excellent and gifted writer builds the tension and drama throwing in logical but totally unexpected events. All of this made this story very enjoyable and entertaining.

Although most agree that evil in the world seems to be increasing, after I read this story, I felt I personally reached a different plateau in my thinking about the intrigue and sacrifices very courageous people are making throughout the world today.

I liked the way this highly skillful author tells this thrilling story going from scene to scene making the story fresh and easy to read.

All in all, I felt this is probably one of the best thrillers I’ve read, and I feel this author keeps reaching new levels in thrilling and very entertaining reading. Highly recommended!

It was my pleasure to receive a free copy of this book but that does not in any way affect my opinions in this review of this exceptional book.

My Work in Progress

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working too much on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal, but I did manage to finish chapter twenty-one. This past week, there were another seven new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 333. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

I’ll bring another snippet next time.

Authors to Check Out

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another author I’ve met: Michael Bronte.  Get a free copy of his novella, The Incident, with no strings attached. Then get an opportunity to download a Kindle copy of The Brothers, just for reading it, also free. Just click this link to get your copy of The Incident: author.to/MichaelBronteBooks.

Next time, I’ll give you my thoughts on The Incident, but I’ll say now I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 17, 2021

I’ve been hobbled this past week; at least laid up a bit with a swollen left elbow. I don’t recall hitting it on anything, but it’s been very swollen and extremely painful to move. So bad, it even kept me awake at night as every time I rolled onto my left, the pain woke me up.

After a week of pain killers and aspirin (for the swelling), I’m back to a better place. Even the cloth of my shirtsleeve reminds me it’s there, but at least the throbbing had diminished. Since I couldn’t do much, I was able to catch up on some of the college football and basketball games I recorded, so it hasn’t been a total loss.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 17th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Spanish dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age; Gerard van Loon, Dutch historian; Archibald Bower, Scottish historian; Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father, inventor, ambassador and writer (Poor Richards Almanac); Ellen Wood, English author (East Lynne, Pomeroy Abbey); Anne Brontë, English novelist/poet (Tenant of Wildfell Hall); Antanas Baranauskas, Lithuanian bishop/poet/dialectologist; Tomas Carrasquilla, Colombian author (Frutos de mi Tierra); Olga Fastrová, Czech writer and editor (National Policy); May Gibbs, Australian children’s author; Alfred Radcliffe-Browne, British anthropologist (Andaman Islanders); E Ball-Hennings, writer; Ronald Firbank, British novelist (The Flower Beneath the Foot); Nevil Shute [Norway], novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice); Roel [Martinus F] Houwink, Dutch literary (1 Man Without Character); Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Assamese poet, playwright, filmmaker; Robert Cormier, American author; Richard Michael Hills, comedy script writer; Paul O[sborne] Williams, American sci-fi author (Ends of the Circle); John Bellairs, American sci-fi author (Chessmen of Doom); Javed Akhtar, Indian lyricist, poet and scriptwriter; Luis López Nieves, Latin American writer; Ann Nocenti, American comic book writer; Sebastian Junger, American journalist & author; Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dutch writer; and Annemarie Jacir, Palestinian filmmaker and poet.

Anyone familiar to you? I’m sure most people have heard of Ben Franklin and Anne Bronte. 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!

Coming Soon!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) will soon be released by Solstice Publishing. It’s currently going through a final edit pass, which should be completed today.

If you’ve missed the synopsis, here it is:

Joao and Catarina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, 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 Catarina’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

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. This past week, there were another nine new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 326. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier entered the Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant carrying his laptop and headed to the bar. After ordering a beer and chicken wings, he weaved through the tables to an empty one against the far wall.

Taking a sip of his Three Notch’d Minute Man beer, he booted his computer. After checking his email and finding nothing of interest, he began composing, tapping an index finger against his lips. What do I need? Better cover every contingency.

Javier glanced up as someone approached.

The general manager placed Javier’s wings on the table and sat across from him. “The bartender said you wanted to speak with me?”

Javier nodded. “Yeah. I need a favor, Luke. Things are falling into place to get my investigative agency up and running, but I need a place where I can conduct interviews with potential employees. Would it be possible to reserve a space here to do this? I really don’t have anywhere else to go until the contract on my new property is closed.”

“Sure. The smallest place is the stage area upstairs. It’s bigger than what you need, but it’ll you some privacy. When do you want it for?”

“I’m getting an ad together now. How about next Wednesday and Thursday, say from two to eight p.m.?”

Luke grinned. “Not a problem. Perhaps we’ll pick up some new business from your interviewees.”

“That’ll be one of the tests.” Javier laughed. “Everyone stopping afterward for a drink or food will get bonus points.”

Luke stood. “You’ll be some boss. He—”

“Hello, boys.” AJ tossed her bag on the table. “What’re you two cooking up?” She grabbed a wing from Javier’s plate.

“I’ll let him fill you in. Want a beer?”

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

She turned to Javier and gestured at his open laptop. “Whatcha workin’ on?”

He filled her in on the news about the property. “So, I’m working on an ad to put in the paper.” He turned his computer around. “What do you think?”

“Let me see.”

Interested in new and exciting job prospects with opportunities to travel and broaden your mind? Look no further—get in on the ground floor of a new business coming to Alexandria—The Brusch Agency. We’re after self-starters who can run with things without needing someone to hold their hand. Positions include:

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

Previous experience desired but will provide job-specific training. Excellent pay and benefits.

AJ nodded. “You’re missing someone important.”

“Who?”

“A short-order cook who knows how to make proper coffee.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Whispers of the Past by Owen Clough. Combining historical facts with fiction, Owen has created an excellent plot which will keep you turning the pages. Follow the exploits of Bob, Sam, and Shane as they begin a trek around a New Zealand volcano. Before long, they’re no longer in the present, but find themselves embroiled in the Waikato War of 1863.

The extremely well-developed characters show what they’re made of as they deal with what comes their way. Since I don’t like to give away too much, you’ll need to grab yourself a copy and find out what happens. There’s plenty of action and you find it hard to put this one down. I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 10, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 3, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope 2021 is filled with good health, prosperity, and is a rewarding year for you.

Mother Nature missed the Christmas snow, but it’s certainly been more like a winter scene since. Not a lot of accumulation–just enough to turn everything white.  The days are already getting longer; well, at least the amount of daylight is, and it won’t be long before the dreary days will subside. I hope.

I can’t share any quotes with you today as the site I choose them from seems to be down. We’ll have to wait until next time.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pietro Metastasio, Italian poet; Charles Palissot de Montenoy, French writer/politician; Douglas William Jerrold, author/playwright/wit (Punch Mag); Henry Handel Richardson [Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson], Australian novelist (Richard Mahoney); John G Fletcher, American poet (Epic of Arkansas); Osip E Mandelstam, Polish/Russian poet/author (Kamenj); J. R. R. Tolkien, British author (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings); Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, French novelist/essayist (Gilles); Roman Brandstaetter, writer; Thomas Stuart Willan, historian; Roger W. Straus, Jr., American publisher; Morten Nielsen, Danish poet/resistance fighter; Marcel Dubé, Quebec playwright; Betty Rollin, actress (Crossing Delancey)/author (Last Wish); Glen Larson, American television producer & writer (Battlestar Galactica, Magnum PI, & Knight Rider); Blanche d’Alpuget, Australian novelist, biographer; Francesca Lia Block, American author; and Alex Wheatle MBE, black British novelist.

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

The end of 2020 saw the completion of chapter nineteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another tweleve new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 305! Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

“In order to carry out Allah’s wishes, we must be prepared to blend into our environment. You were chosen because you survived our last battle. We—I honor you with this opportunity to strike fear among the infidels in their capitol. You must not fail.”

“Abdul—sorry. Alberto, when will we attack?” Gamal laced his fingers together and twiddled his thumbs.

Alberto picked up the first set of papers and slid them toward Gamal. “You will now be called Bennie Johnson. As our photographer, you’ll be responsible for tracking our target and learning everything you can about him.” This man deserves to die for what he did to me. He rubbed the three-inch scar on the left side of his neck. A slow and painful death—just like Michael’s, may Allah bless him.

“Find out what he does, where he goes, and who he meets with. Do the same with the woman who was with him when you took his picture. When I was active with ISIS, I learned preparation is critical to success, so we won’t set a date—yet.”

Bennie ran a hand through his long black hair as he checked each document. “These are perfect. What about a phone and cash?”

“Patience.” Alberto picked up the second set of papers and passed them to a bald man with dark, piercing eyes. “Zafar, you will use the name Justin Thompson. As our weapons expert, you will be responsible for killing should the opportunity present itself. May Allah guide your bullets.”

“Thank you, Alberto.” Justin grinned. “I will not let you down.”

Alberto tilted his head. “I know, which is why I selected you.” He pushed the final set of documents toward a man missing the pinkie and ring fingers on his left hand. “Walter, I’ve saved the best for last. You must prepare explosive devices capable of causing this man great pain before he meets his God.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading ARK FOUND: An Omega Files Adventure (Book 2) by Rick Chesler. An intriguing plot, combining fact and fiction into a fast-paced story, taking readers across the world chasing Noah’s Ark. Treasure Hunter Carter Hunt and his sidekick Jayden Takada find themselves in a manned submersible on the way to the resting place of the Titanic in search of a map. Before long, they’re attacked by another group who don’t care for historical works per se, but rather their value.

With realistic characters, Rick has created a story filled with action, adventure, angst, danger, and even some humor. For those who love to be immersed in a fictional world to forget everyday events, this one is for you. I won’t spoil the story for you, but suffice to say I’ll be picking up the next one in the series.

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