Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, 13 January 2020

Last time I mentioned we had received a bit of snow. Since then, it’s been nothing but rain, some fog, and occasional outbursts of sunshine, but most of the time its just been overcast. It’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit without some snow, but perhaps we’ll still get a dusting as the day approaches. Doubtful, as daytime temperatures are in the mid 40sF and are predicted to be the same for the rest of December. Oh well!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

William Drummond of Hawthornden, Scottish poet; Carlo Gozzi, Italian dramatist; Heinrich Heine, German poet and lyricist (Schubert, Liszt); Joseph Sickman Corsen, Curacao musician, composer and screenwriter; Belle da Costa Greene, American librarian, bibliographer and archivist; Marc Connelly, American playwright (One Minute Please); Harold Guinzburg, American publisher (founder of Literary Guild); Yevgeny Petrov [Yevgeny Petrovich Kataev], Soviet writer; John Piper, British writer (US Churches in WWI) and official war painter; Laurens Jan van der Post, South African-born writer, soldier, explorer and conservationist; Kenneth Patchen, American poet and novelist (Cloth of the Tempest); Alan Bullock, British historian and author (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny); Ross MacDonald [Kenneth Millar], American-Canadian detective novelist (Goodbye Look); W Gordon Smith, Scottish playwright; Tom Wakefield, British writer; R. A. MacAvoy, American sci-fi author (Damiano’s Lute, Raphael); and Tamora Pierce, American author of fantasy fiction (The Song of the Lioness).

Anyone familiar to you? I’m afraid I struck out. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The Kindle versions of three of my novels are currently on sale for .99 cents or the equivalent throughout the month as part of a Christmas Stocking Promotion. If you haven’t picked up a copy, now is the time to do it. Better yet, get some for yourself and your friends and family! There are forty books in this promotion, so why not drop in?

My Work in Progress

This week I almost completed chapter seventeen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. However, external commitments took a priority, so I didn’t get as much writing accomplished as I hoped.

Even though I didn’t post anything new to the two subscription writing sites I use, members continued to check out Revenge, with another eighteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 271!

Here’s another snippet:

When he awoke, Javier pulled the bed away from the wall. The perp didn’t find the wall safe. He worked the combination and pulled out his laptop. Heading back to the kitchen, he made another cup of coffee, picked up a barstool, and sat at the island. As he sipped his hot drink, he booted the computer and began typing.

To: Viper, Adder, Rattler, Mamba

From: Cobra

Condo trashed by unknown perp while we partied last night. Nothing taken. A few cuts after I fell over the remains of the glass coffee table, chasing a shadow, but nothing to worry about. Everyone up for a beer later? I need to make some plans and want to bounce them off you.

After hitting send, Javier closed the laptop and returned it to the safe. He pulled out a SIG Sauer P226 pistol and two magazines, shoved them into a backpack, and headed to the garage.

Javier climbed in his Hummer and weaved through the streets of Arlington and Annandale. Before long, he crossed I-495 and continued to his destination: Division VII Headquarters of the Virginia State Police, in Fairfax.

Once inside, he asked for directions to the office of the division commander.

A man sitting behind a desk covered with multiple folders glanced up. “Got an appointment?” He shook his head. “No one sees the commander without one.”

“I spoke with him a few minutes ago. He told me to drop by.”

“Hmph. He didn’t say anyone would be visiting.”

I doubt he needs your permission. “Please let him know Colonel Smith is here.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s upcoming novel, Catherine (A Lt. Kate Gazzara Novel Book 10), which will be released on December 23rd. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one didn’t disappoint. A brilliant plot had me turning the pages, reading the entire story over two evenings.

What led Internal Affairs to listen to a suspect rather than a seasoned police officer, resulting in her suspension and a visit to a therapist? After all, she had just solved another case. Convinced to take a vacation by the therapist and leave the area, Kate does just that. But what will her time away from the office lead to? No spoilers here–you’ll have to grab a copy and find out.  Suffice to say you won’t be disappointed with the fast-paced story, written in Blair’s superb style.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

I’ll provide another snippet next week.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 21, 2020

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers around the world! Hope you have an excellent day! My son called yesterday for his weekly chat and wished me a good day. His card arrived the day before–it’s not always easy for him to judge how long it might take to reach Scotland from the States as so many things can cause a delay.

Are you a thriller aficionado? If so, there’s still time to sign up!  If your interested, here’s the link to register: https://thrillerwriters.org/virtual-thrillerfest-2020/. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

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

Hendrik van Wijn, Dutch histrorian and archivist (Algemeen Rijksarchief); Wolfgang Menzel, German writer; Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian writer (Epitaph of a small winner); Daniel Carter Beard, American author, social reformer and founder of the Boy Scouts of America; Johannes Schlaf, German writer and translator; H. M. Tomlinson, British writer (Sea & Jungle); Feodor Gladkov, Russian socialist writer (Cement); Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (Nature & Destiny of Man); Milward Kennedy, British public servant and mystery writer; Donald C. Peattie, American botanist and writer; Jean-Paul Sartre, French existentialist philosopher and writer (Le Mur, Nobel 1964; declined); Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Russian poet and editor in chief (Novyj Mir); Mary McCarthy, American novelist (Group); Irving Shulman, American author and screenwriter; Wulf Kirsten, German writer; Françoise Sagan [Quoirez], French novelist (Bonjour Trieste); Henry S. Taylor, American writer and poet (Pulitzer 1986 for Poetry); Adam Zagajewski, Polish philosopher and poet; Ian McEwan, English writer (Atonement); Andrzej Sapkowski, Polish writer (The Witcher); Anne Carson, Canadian poet (Autobiography of Red); and Robert Menasse, Austrian writer (Die Vertreibung aus der Hölle).

Recognize anyone? They all stumped me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

This week I received fantastic news! Carnage in Singapore is now a finalist in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. It’ll now compete for one of the limited First in Category winner positions, hopefully joining Dangerous Alliance from last year’s competition.

Or perhaps, it’ll go even further, and be identified as the category Grand Prize winner!  Due to the pandemic, the results of this year’s competition have been delayed, so we won’t find out the end results until September. Good luck to all the finalists in all of the genre!

 

Three of my novels are participating in Kindle Unlimited promotions during June: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited New Readers Promo (includes Dangerous Alliance and Colombian Betrayal):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/kindleunlimitednewreaders/mnj2g8jagf

Beat the Summer Heat with Kindle Unlimited (all three are included):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/beatthesummerheat/epsn0gvpzr

Action packed romantic suspense in Kindle Unlimited (Colombian Betrayal):

https://books.bookfunnel.com/actionpackedromsus/2mczee4n7c

Colombian Betrayal is also participating in a Kindle Dark, Addictive Summer Thrillers bundle. This is for downloads only:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/darkthrillers/h1qbunoakq

Why not stop by and see if any of your favorites are hanging around. Or, you might find new authors to check out. I know everyone will appreciate you support!

My Work in Progress

Another positive regarding the weather is more time to write. This week I finished chapter Xavier Sear: Angola chapter twenty-five and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 310 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

I don’t remember if I mentioned before, but the snippets I post are all first drafts, so things likely change a bit by the time the final edit is completed.

I’ll be providing another snippet next time.

This week I also completed the ninth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of 108 so far, an increase of nine over the past week.

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to work on two novels simultaneously, but as long as the words continue to flow, I’ll capture them. I can always make changes during the editing phase. With the progress I’ve made thus far on Angola, I’m thinking of concentrating on it until the entire first draft is completed.

 

 

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading The Coelho Medallion: A Dan Kotler Archeological Thriller by Kevin Tumlinson is an action-packed story which will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Will Dan be successful in solving the mystery surrounding the medallion before it’s too late for a kidnapped colleague? Or will others wade in to create more mayhem as the story unfolds?

Kevin’s plot is full of twists and turns, making this a fantastic read. With a bevy of larger-than-life characters, who will end up on the right side of the law? This is the first of Kevin’s novels I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last, as I’ve already downloaded the second volume in the Dan Kotler series.

I also completed Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke, which is another page turner, with an exciting plot and real-life characters. Who is killing men, and why? Follow FBI Agent Mike Matheson as he attempts to unravel the clues and put the puzzle together before another body surfaces. This is also the first novel by Suzanne that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

Recognize anyone? The only name I was familiar with was Barbara Taylor Bradford. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

Three of my novels continue to participate in a May Kindle Unlimited promotion: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks. There are a total of 384 KU works included in the promotion.

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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 3, 2020

It’s been another busy week–laying some turf (sod), clearing away old rubble and gravel, adding some new topsoil, moving a few plants to fill in empty areas, and cutting the grass. Whew! At least Mother Nature lent a helping hand a couple of times, with gentle evening rain to help water everything.

While the lock downs are disruptive, they are necessary and seem to be working. Hopefully, we’ll be moving toward the new ‘normal’ soon. In the meantime, a heartfelt thanks to all those who put themselves out there everyday, providing vital services to all. Thank you!!

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

Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian politician and writer (Prince); Joannes Antonides van der Goes, Dutch poet (Bellone aen bant); August von Kotzebue, German dramatist; Andy Adams, American writer (Log of a Cowboy); Nicoline Magdalene Roll Anker, Norwegian author (Kvinnen og Den); B. Traven, (German?) writer (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) whose real identity is disputed; Tadeusz Peiper, Polish poet; Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Georgian writer and public benefactor; Ernst Kantorowicz, German-American historian (Laudes regiae); Dodie Smith, English novelist and playwright (101 Dalmatians); Earl Wilson, American journalist and columnist (Midnight Earl); Eleanore “May” Sarton, Belgian-American writer (Land of Silence); Pierre Emmanuel [Noël Mathieu], French poet (Sodome); Yehuda Amichai, Israeli poet (Now and in Other Days); Jahanara Imam, Bangladeshi writer and political activist; Juan Gelman, Argentine poet; Nélida Piñon, Brazilian writer (The Republic of Dreams); and Daryl F. Mallett, American writer and editor.

Recognize anyone? The only name I was familiar with was Niccolo Machiavelli. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

Three of my novels are participating in a May Kindle Unlimited promotion: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  There are a total of 384 works included in the promotion.

Why not stop by and see if any of your favorite authors are listed. If not, why not choose someone new to check out? There’s bound to be something of interest, as this promotion cover multiple genres. Head to: https://books.bookfunnel.com/mayyouread/24lhdvqujo

My Work in Progress

Despite all of the outdoor work, I’m still working on my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapter eighteen posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received 212 chapter reviews, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

A slight sliver of light came into the tent as dawn broke. Peter tried to roll to ease the pain in his shoulder. He attempted to shift and twist his bonds in an effort to free himself, but still couldn’t feel any sensation in his hand. He forced himself into a sitting position, his back leaning on a tent pole.

Outside, the camp inhabitants stirred, and the first full day of captivity began.

Peter closed his eyes and sighed as the tingling and feeling came to his hands.

“Get him up!” The flap flew back, and two men burst into the tent and yanked Peter to his feet. “Bring him.”

Still bound, the men dragged Peter, stumbling and tripping, to a small building at the far end of the clearing. Wooden slats about four feet high created the bottom portion of the walls. Heavy canvas topped the walls, adding height to the structure. Two men stood guard on either side of the door. Their piercing stares caused Peter to shiver.

The inside of the structure surprised him—simple and portable decor, yet elegant. The furnishings were well-crafted and expensive. Tasteful paintings and small items adorned the tables and free-standing shelves. Nothing suggested the occupant was anything but a well-to-do business person, doctor, educator, or another upstanding member of the community.

A long table of dark wood leaned against floor-to-ceiling drapes at the back of the tent. At one end of the table, Alimasi sat, a hand held over his forehead and covering his eyes. In front of him, flies buzzed around a plate of food. He stirred his food with the tip of his fork, not looking up until the men escorting Peter spoke.

“Here is the doctor.”

“Release him.”

One of the men produced a knife and cut the rope on Peter’s wrists.

“Come and sit.”

Peter stretched his shoulders and rubbed his wrists as he crossed the room toward the table.

“Please. Sit.” Dressed in a clean and pressed camo uniform, Alimasi gestured toward the seat at the other end of the table.

An old and hunchbacked woman stepped from behind the drapes. She placed a plate of food and two bottles of water in front of Peter. Without a sound, she returned from where she came.

Neither man spoke for a long moment as Peter opened one of the bottles and drank until he quenched his thirst.

“Joseph died in the night.”

“Joseph?”

“My friend you treated when we arrived. He is dead.”

More next time.

I also completed the second chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of twenty-one so far. Eventually, I’ll have a cover sorted out, but hope to add at least a filler next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Polar Bear Dawn by Lyle Nicholson. This is the first novel in the Bernadette Callahan Detective Mystery/Thriller series. Who is killing workers from a company supporting oil camps in the Arctic and Northern Canada. More importantly, why? Will Canadian Detective Bernadette Callahan answer these questions before she’s sidelined in favor of other agencies? Find out how she works with an Alaskan detective named Frank Mueller and others to piece things together.

Lyle has created an excellent plot with plenty of twists and turns which will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. There’s a bevy of characters to love or hate, depending upon your viewpoint. For those who love action and adventure with plenty This is the first novel I’ve read by Lyle and it’s definitely not going to be the last as I already purchased the sequel.

I also finished When Winds Blow West. This is a tragic story of what is an everyday occurrence throughout the world, given voice by a talented author, Alex Tatievsky. This is a gripping tale of human despair, sadness, but also shows glimmers of hope and love.

Alex has created a superb plot and gives life to his characters as they struggle to survive what’s been thrown at them. This is a very moving and thought-provoking story which is one not to miss.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 29, 2020

As we head toward the end of March, we hope everyone is safe and getting what they need during these trying times. Many thanks to all of those putting themselves in harm’s way to take care of the rest of us.

On to better things. Who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Vitsentzos Kornaros, Greek Renaissance poet; John Lightfoot, English theologist and scholar (Horae Hebraicae); Konstantin Sergeyevich Aksakov, Russian historian and poet; Amelia E. Barr, British-born American writer; A. M. de Jong, Dutch writer (World Tour of Bulletje & Bonestaak); Ivan Goll, French-German writer (the Landless John); Ernst Jünger, German author and entomologist (Storm of Steel); Cecil Arthur Lewis, British fighter pilot and writer; Uuno Kailas, Finnish poet; Marcel Aymé, French novelist and playwright; Yvonne Waegemans, Flemish writer (Gnome Patjoepelke); R. S. Thomas, Welsh poet; Chapman Pincher, British journalist and author (about secret service); Sheila Kitzinger, British author, anthropologist & child birth educator; Yayoi Kusama, Japanese artist and writer; and Jacques Brault, French Canadian poet (Quand nous serons heureux).

Recognize anyone? II admit this group had be wondering. 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

When I’m not working on marketing/promoting Colombian Betrayal, I’m continuing to move forward with my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapter thirteen posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received 129 chapter reviews, an increase of twenty-six in the past week. Plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible. I’ll provide another snipped next time.

When I’m not working on marketing/promoting Colombian Betrayal, I’m continuing to move forward with my next novel, Xavier Sear: Angola. This week, chapter thirteen posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Although only posted for a short time, Angola has now received 129 chapter reviews, an increase of twenty-six in the past week. Plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible. I’ll provide another snipped next time.

 

 

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Die Every Day by Gordon Bickerstaff. Another brilliant plot with plenty of twists and turns. Follow scientist Gavin Shawlins and Lambeth Group agent Zoe Tampsin as they’re once again embroiled in a high tense situation. As with all of his stories, Gordon brings his characters to life, making readers feel like they know every one of them.

This time, Gavin is accused of murdering his fiancée. But, are things as simple as they appear to be? Zoe doesn’t think so, and charges forward to find out the truth. I don’t want to spoil your reading pleasure, so you’ll have to pick up a copy to find out what happens. I will say you’ll be burning the proverbial midnight oil as you won’t want to put this one aside until you’ve read to the end! An excellent story!

I also recently finished The Improbable Journeys of Billie Battles by Ronald Yates. This is an excellent continuation of Billie’s journeys. This time, we follow him from his roots in Kansas to faraway lands of what eventually becomes Vietnam and the Philippines. It seems no matter where Billie goes, trouble follows him like a magnet.

Once again Ronald has created a superb story, filled with excellent descriptions which put the reader in Billie’s location. With outstanding characters and a fast-moving plot, this was a great read. I look forward to reading the final novel in the trilogy.

This brings us to a close 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 9, 2020

Heavy winds and lashing rain hit us last night. It went on for hours, making it difficult to hear the television with the constant beating on the conservatory roof next to the living room.

While it calm at the moment, the sky is laden with thick, dark clouds. The upcoming projection is for continued rain and gusting wind up 60 MPH throughout the day, with that dreaded white stuff due to hit us between Monday and Wednesday. If the forecast is accurate, we’ll only receive a dusting but the higher elevations could see as much as eight inches!

With trees, bushes, and shrubs beginning to bud, and early flowers starting to pop out, we certainly don’t need any of this. Mother Nature has been kind to us so far this winter, with just a few flurries one evening, but she might have more in store for us yet!

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

Ali Sjir Neva’i [Fani], Turkish poet/author (Mahbub al-kulub); Vasily Zhukovsky, Russian poet; Felix Dahn, German Historian, jurist and poet; Anthony Hope [Hopkins], English novelist; George Ade, American journalist/playwright/humorist (Fables in Slang); Fran Saleški Finžgar, Slovene folk writer (Our Blood, Service Girls); Amy Lowell, American poet and critic (Patterns, Sword Blades & Poppy Seed); Frederik Gerretson, [Geerten Gossaert], Dutch poet/politician); Vital Celen, Flemish writer (Puppy Love); Max Manus, Norwegian resistance fighter and author who specialized in sabotage during World War II; Charles Montgomery Monteith, publisher; Brendan Behan, Irish author and poet (Borstal Boy, The Hostage); J.M. Coetzee, South African novelist; Alice Walker, American novelist (The Color Purple, Meridian); and Janet Issaca Ashford, writer.

Recognize anyone? There was only one notable name for me this week: Alice Walker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, also became a movie. 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

39375-96

Both of these novels will be participating in an Amazon Countdown Special on Valentine’s Day starting at 12:00 a.m. PST. They’ll start $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read them yet, what better time to pick up a copy or gift them to someone you know.

As previously mentioned, Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First in Category winners in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category. Meanwhile, Carnage in Singapore is currently a semi-finalist in the 2019 competition, with the final results due in late April. Hope you’ll check them out!

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

The fifth edit pass was completed last night–a few word changes and some adjustments to the punctuation. Once the last couple of beta readers provide their comments, I’ll update the manuscript as needed and begin the final edit pass.

I have a bit of a conundrum–what to work on next? Should it be Ultimate Escalation, the next novel after Carnage in Singapore? Or should it be Genesis (tentative title), the sequel to Colombian Betrayal? What about New World Revolution: A New Home or Xavier Sears:  Angola?  Both of these are the first novels in their respective series.

See what I mean? I’ll eventually sort it out, I’m sure.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

At last, the final condemned man was brought to the table to choose his weapons. He fingered the remaining knives and one of the pistols before falling to his knees. “Please. Forgive me. My family—they won’t survive without me.”

Días kicked the man in the side. “Quit sniveling and take your punishment like a man. Grab a weapon and run.”

Dejected, the man stood and walked away, his head hung low.

The last team leader glanced at his men. They each gave a slight nod before they strolled after their target.

With the slow pursuit, the prisoner approached the fence unharmed. He glanced around—no one. He placed a foot on the first plank and began to climb.

Snap!

His head jerked around at the sound of a branch breaking.

Five men stepped from the trees, their weapons by their sides.

The team leader stepped forward and motioned for the man to continue climbing.

“Why would you let me go?” He made the sign of the cross. “Are you Christians?”

“No. However, you were the only prisoner to mention a family. We do this for them, not you.”

* * * *

When the last team returned to the hacienda, Días glared at them. “We heard no shots. Where is the prisoner?”

The team leader shook his head. “He was too fast for us and was over the fence when we arrived.” He shrugged. “You said any prisoner who made it over the barrier was free.”

“I-I ….” Días’ face turned purple with rage. “I wanted them all dead.”

“You should have done your own dirty work.” As one, the team turned and headed to their billeting.

Días slammed a fist on the table. “Michael, Alberto—these are your men. Control them.”

Alberto grinned. “He’s right—you said if anyone made it to the outer boundary, they would live.”

“So, I lied.” Días laughed.

Alberto ignored the comment and gestured at Michael. “We depart tomorrow for Panama to oversee the training there. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Not long ago, I finished reading Unchained: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. This is the third novel in the series. Join Rex and his trusty canine friend, Digger, as they flee from Afghanistan and head to India. Before long, they’re embroiled in a new adventure, while Rex tries to uphold the myth he died in an attack in Afghanistan.

With a riveting plot and a bevy of new characters, Rex shows his ‘human’ side regarding the welfare of others when he and Digger try to locate the missing daughter of an Indian couple. The trail eventually leads to Saudi Arabia. What happens there will be up to you to explore, as I don’t like to give away the full story. Suffice to say, you’ll be in for another nail-biting journey, so grab yourself a copy and prepare for late nights as you keep turning the pages!  I can’t wait for the next one in the series!

This brings us to a close 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 2, 2020

Here we are, already in February. As dawn breaks earlier and daylight hangs around a bit longer, winter is passing by. Only a few snow flurries thus far–hope I haven’t jinxed things by making a mention of this!

This past week, the writing world lost an icon: Mary Higgins Clark. Every one of her suspense novels (over 50 of them!!) have been best sellers in the U.S. and various European countries. She’ll definitely be missed by her family and fans!

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

Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess; Hans E Schack, Danish politician/writer (Phantasterne); Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Slovak poet; Christian Gauss, educator/writer (Phi Beta Kappa award namesake); James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (Dubliners, Ulysses, Finnigan’s Wake); James Stephens, Irish poet (Crock of Gold); Aldo Palazzeschi, [Giurlani], Italian writer (I cavalli bianchi); Carroll Righter, American columnist and astrologer to the stars; Ayn Rand [Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum], Russian-American author, screenwriter and philosopher who developed the philosophical system of “Objectivism” (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead); Bernardas Brazdzionis, Lithuania, poet/editor/critic; Evert Werkman, Dutch journalist (Het Parool); Xuân Diệu, Vietnamese poet; Hella [S Lelyveld-]Haasse, Dutch author (Cider for Poor People); James Dickey, American poet, novelist and lecturer (Deliverance, Buckdancer’s Choice); Liz Smith [Mary Elizabeth], American journalist and gossip columnist known as “The Grand Dame of Dish” (WNBC, NY Daily News); Nydia Ecury, celebrated Afro-Dutch writer, translator and actress (Kantika pa Mama Tera); Judith Viorst, American author; Thomas M[ichael] Disch, American sci-fi author (Genocides, 102 H-Bombs); and Ina Garten, American author and TV cooking show host (Barefoot Contessa, Food Network).

Recognize anyone? Two stood out for me: James Joyce and James Dickey. 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

39375-96

I was mistaken last Sunday when I mentioned the countdown specials for Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore. These will actually begin on Valentine’s Day at 12:00 a.m. PST beginning at $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. I hope you’ll check them out!

Global-Thriller-semiA bit more news about Carnage in Singapore. It is now on the official semi-finalist list for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards, competing in the global thriller category.

This is a super thrill for me as it joins my other novels in being recognized in this prestigious competition. The Kurdish Connection finished its run in 2018 as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was selected as one of seven first in category winners. It’s so hard to believe!

I won’t learn until Chanticleer’s annual conference in April whether Carnage in Singapore has moved forward in the competition. Fingers crossed it does!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge, although I mentioned last time the title would be adjusted. It’s now called Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1) which is more fitting for how the story has actually turned out.

I’m midway through by fourth edit pass, having added over 12,000 words to the story. Feedback continues to come in from my beta readers, not just about the manuscript but ideas for the cover. Stayed tuned for more about this.

In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

Días glanced at Ramon. “What is with all of the threats? I feel like I am unwanted in this hacienda.”

Olivia shoved her chair back and stood, eyes burning with hatred. “Get out! Now!”

Alonzo jumped to his feet, pointing the shogun at Días, his finger tightening on the trigger.

Ramon pulled his second pistol from its holster. He motioned Días toward the door.

He grinned and addressed Olivia. “I shall keep Ramon informed of any information that I might come across.” He tipped an imaginary hat. “I bid you a somewhat pleasant day, given the circumstances. You have my deepest condolences during this stressful time.”

Días and Ramon left the room and headed outside. After shaking hands, Días climbed in his vehicle and waved for the driver to depart.

As his car left the compound, a smile caressed Días’ cheeks. Who is behind the kidnapping? An inside job or is someone else making a move on the Moreno cartel? He shook his head. Whoever it is, this is not good for business. I know just the person to speak to.

* * * *

The thick foliage from a copse of rosy trumpet trees hid a brown Jeep Cherokee. Inside, a man focused his binoculars on Días’s vehicle. He watched the car grow smaller as it continued along the driveway from the hacienda toward the distant gate. He chuckled. Perfect!

Watch for another snippet next time.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adjust the format of my posts and website. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 26, 2020

The last couple of days we’ve been busy. On Friday night, we attended a black tie Burns Supper in honor of the Scottish national poet, Robert “Rabbie” Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759. The event was held on the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is docked in the Leith area of Edinburgh. We couldn’t get tickets for the event on his actual birthday, but this was close enough.

The evening began with being piped onto the ship using the same stairs/gangway the Queen and the Royal Family used. After boarding, we were escorted to the drawing room, where champagne, spiced apple juice, and canapés were served. Those who wanted a mini-tour broke into small groups. We were taken to the officer wardroom and dining room, followed by a visit to the admiral’s quarters. Anyone who needed a champagne refill never had to look far as there were plenty of staff standing by with fresh drinks.

Afterward, we were taken into the Royal Family’s quarters. While we could enter most of the rooms, sections of the walls had been cut away and replaced with glass so we could see inside. We were able to examine the Queen’s bedroom, Prince Philips’, and the honeymoon suite, used by Prince Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. We also viewed the areas where the Queen and Prince Phillip spent their working hours aboard the ship. 

After returning to the drawing room, we were entertained by a pianist until we were piped into the State Dining Room. Once seated, we were treated to a six-course meal, including the traditional haggis, neeps, and tatties, after the piping in of the haggis. For those who were not adventurous enough to try the haggis, the following course provided fillet mignon and seasonal vegetables.

Throughout dinner, two musicians provided background music, using a harp and flute. There were also three brief interludes where a guitarist sang some of Rabbie Burns’ poems and music, including “Auld Lang Syne.” After dinner we were further entertained by a captivating rendition of “Tam O’Shanter,” another of the bard’s well-known poems. This was performed in the Scots’ tongue from the time period when it was written.

The evening ended with a whiskey tasting back in the drawing room. We headed home at the point, but had an excellent evening celebrating Rabbie Burns’ birthday.

Yesterday was the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. With an overcast sky threatened to rain on the day and a cold win, there wasn’t a great deal of activity. However, I did sell four of my novels, three to the same individual. He had checked out my work back in November wheb we last attended but didn’t buy any at the time. Today, he decided to get all three of my published novels.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 26th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Florent Chrestien, French writer; Ugo Foscolo, Italian poet (Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis); Ludwig Joachim “Achim” von Arnim, German poet (Des Knaben Wunderhorn); Mary Mapes Dodge, American writer (Hans Brinker & the Silver Skates); Warner Fabian, [Samuel H Adams], American journalist/writer (Average Jones); Ludovicus H [Lode] Baekelmans, Flemish (stage) author (Tille); Ilya G Ehrenburg, writer (Fall of Paris, The Thaw); Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer/essayist (Carnaval of the Citizens); Romney Brent, Mexican-American actor and writer (Dinner at the Ritz); Kaye Webb, English writer/publisher (Puffin Club); Philip José Farmer, American sci-fi novelist (Riverworld); Michael Bentine, English author/comedian (Reluctant Jester); José María Valverde, Spanish philosopher, poet and translator (La espera, Historia de la literatura universal); Farman Fatehpuri [Syed Dildar Ali], Urdu scholar, linguist, critic and author; Ronald Allison, British author/broadcaster; Jonathan Carroll, American author; and Shannon Hale, American author.

Recognize anyone? I admit I’m not familiar with anyone on today’s list. 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

39375-96With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, there will be two specials regarding Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore coming up over the next week.  The first will be a Kindle countdown for Dangerous Alliance beginning on January 29th. There will also be a Kindle countdown for Carnage in Singapore beginning on February 1st.

Both are scheduled to run across the Amazon network, so don’t miss out, as this might not be offered again! What better time to grab yourself a global thriller novel for that special someone!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge. I’m midway through by second edit pass, having added over 7,000 words to the story. Over the past week, copies were sent to my team of ten beta readers. So far, two have already gone through the manuscript and responded with some good points. It’s likely the name may be adjusted before submission, but I’ll have to wait and see what my other beta readers have to say.  Things still appear to be on track for submission in early March or early April.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

“Olivia, someone must want to chase you from the cartel.” Kruz rubbed his chin. “Will you leave?”

“No.” She hesitated before shaking her head. “Never.” She turned to Alonzo. “Get Ramon. We must find out who took my girls and get them back—at all costs.” If they’ve harmed my precious daughters, I’ll kill the bastardos.

* * * *

“Good evening.” A synthesized voice echoed throughout the room. “I believe everyone is present— Señor Kruz, Pedro, Alonzo, and Ramon. Of course, la jefa de la señora is with you, too.”

“Where are my children, you bastardo?” Olivia squeezed her fists into her lap, her face turning red. “How do you know who is here?”

The voice chuckled. “I have my ways, my dear.” The sounds of fingers snapping popped through the speaker. “Almost forgot. There’s someone who wants to speak with you.”

Silence.

“Mamá? Are you there?”

“Silvina! Are you okay? Where’s Maria?”

“Beside me, but she’s too frightened to speak.” Silvina lowered her voice. “The man—he’s the one who came into the—”

The sounds of a struggle came through the speaker.

“Ow! You’re hurting me.”

The synthesized voice returned. “Remember—leave Barranquilla … or your children will die!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Between editing, the Burns Supper, and the ‘makers’ market,’ I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts and provide another book review this time. Hopefully, I’ll have a couple of them for you next week.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 19, 2020

We’re finally getting some respite from the constant rain and dreary skies. It’s still coming down each day or evening, but the dry, sunny spells are more frequent and lasting longer. This morning, though, we began with a bit of ground frost.

With temperatures getting into the upper 40s F (upper single digits C) and even occasionally hitting the mid 50s F (low double digits C) it won’t be long before outdoor spring cleaning will be upon us. Yesterday, when I was getting our favorite newspaper, there was a customer walking out of the store with a brand new rake!

I also understand my blog has been nominated by D.L. Finn for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’ll provide my input for this award next week, but many thanks to D.L.!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 19th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Noel Alexandre, French theologian/historian; Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, French writer (Paul et Virgin); Isaiah Thomas, American printer/editor/publisher/historian; Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish historian/poet (Blommorna); Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet and critic (The Pit and the Pendulum) considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre (Murders in the Rue Morgue); Gustav Meyrink, writer; Hans Erich Blaich [Dr. Owlglass], German writer (Simplicissimus); Marie Koenen, author/wife of Felix Rutten (Wassend Cereal); Boris Savinkov, Russian writer; Alexander Woollcott, American critic and short story writer (The Man Who Came to Dinner); Heinrich Schmist-Barrien, German author (Moorkeerl); Phyllis Flowerdew, school Reading text author; Rex Ingamells, Australian poet; Patricia Highsmith, [Plangman], US/Swiss writer (Strangers on a Train); Jean Francois Revel, French journalist/author (Ni Marx ni Jesus); Nina [Mary] Bawden, English author (Afternoon of a Good Woman); Libera Carlier, Flemish author (Action Station Go!); Julian Barnes, England, writer (Before She Met Me); and Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American author.

Were any names familiar to you? I’m sure most people will have heard of Edgar Allan Poe, even if you haven’t read any of his work. 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

Slide1Thus far this year, I’m still concentrating on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass should be completed this upcoming week. So far, I’ve added over 5,000 words to the story. I now have nine committed beta readers. They’ll receive a copy by the end of the month, so I can adjust the story based on their feedback. Things appear to be on track for submission in early March, but they could still slip.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Most of the men fired AK-47s, but the squad leaders used M4 and SA-80 assault rifles stolen from various military base arsenals across Europe. Each man began with a stack of magazines, replacing the empty ones as if their lives depended upon it. Before long, Michael and Alberto’s last shots faded away while the surrounding thirty men finished their practice.

The aroma of breakfast replaced the smell of discharged weapons. Días’ men dragged out metal containers filled with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and bacon. The students filed past, filling plates. Most skipped the bacon, but a few glanced around before sneaking a piece or two.

Alberto and Michael joined Días at a folding table while the others found areas to sit on the ground under the trees.

Días shoveled food into his mouth, not bothering to swallow before speaking. “I have an unusual treat for your training.”

“Your facilities are excellent, both for target shooting and the obstacle course.” Michael smiled. “I assume you’ve held sufficient training sessions.”

Días nodded. “Yes, when FARC was busy fighting the government, we had plenty of recruits join us. Most of them learned their skills here.” He pointed to his right. “My present to you.”

A dozen guards led six men toward the table. Their arms were tied in front of them. Heads cast down, they bore numerous cuts and bruises.

He glared at them. “You know the punishment.” Días turned to Michael and Alberto. “Government troops could have raided us at any time. These men betrayed me by sleeping on guard duty. They’ll help your men sharpen their skills.”

Alberto rubbed his chin. “How?”

“Your men will face fierce opposition from the Norte Americanos. Why not train against real targets?”

“What do you propose?” Michael’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I suggest you break your men into six groups.” Días gestured to the distant hills. “Each of the prisoners will be given a weapon or two, and a ten-minute head start. If they can reach the perimeter fence, they shall live.” He shrugged. “However, your teams will be free to hunt them down—and kill them.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading When Can I stop Running by John Podlaski. Follow the incredible story of two Detroit teenagers as they spend a haunting night in a listening post outside their new firebase. All around them were the enemy and they had no idea if they would make it through the night.

John has created a very realistic plot and characters. I kept turning the pages, wanting to find out if they survived the night. Flashbacks to their earlier lives enhances the realism and makes you feel as if you’re there with them. Only someone who has lived through this type of event can apply the realism needed to convey what the teenagers experienced. This is the first novel of John’s that I’ve read and it won’t be the last!

This brings us to a close 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved