Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 3, 2019

The months continue to march forward. Seems like it wasn’t long ago we were looking forward to summer, yet now we’re in November. Gone are the long hours of daylight as the sun rises earlier and sets sooner each day.

A couple of days ago, we watched a gray squirrel taking care of its winter food requirements, running back and forth with hazel nuts, which had fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, the local hedgehogs continue to fatten themselves up for their winter nap.

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

Lucan, Latin poet (Bellum Civile); Renatus Rapinus [René Rapin], French Jesuit theologian and poet (Hortorum libri IV); August Gottlieb Meißner, German Enlightenment author who helped develop the detective story genre in German literature; William Cullen Bryant, American poet (Thanatopsis); John Esten Cooke, American novelist (The Virginia Comedians) and Confederate States Army; Apie [Adrian P] Prince, Dutch author (Me Own Way); Samuil Marshak, Russian-Soviet writer, translator and children’s poem poet; Nat Fleischer, American boxing writer (established Ring Magazine); André Malraux [Berger], French novelist and art historian (La Condition Humaine); James Reston, American journalist (New York Times); Hallgrímur Helgason, Icelandic novelist (Höfundur Íslands); Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (Cuto); Dieter Wellershoff, German author (Minotaur); Anna Wintour, English-American editor (Editor of US Vogue); Joe Queenan, American writer; Massimo Mongai, Italian writer; Felix R de Rooy, Curacaos poet/sculptor; and Hal Hartley, American film director and writer.

Were any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t know anyone in today’s group. 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

With the change in the weather, outdoor activities are coming to a halt, so I had more time to devote to writing. Over the past week, I completed chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight. The action continues to accelerate as we head toward the story’s climax. Another tweak to my outline was also needed as the story heads towards its conclusion. 1541181671

The chapter review count continues to steadily climb, now standing at 494, an increase of thirteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

The twenty-two-year-old twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads.

“Now I realize why I don’t invite you to meetings with Lintstone,” AJ smiled at the twins’ antics. “Anything else?”

“No, boss lady,” the twins sang as they left AJ’s office, followed by Phil and Walter.

“What a team.” Javier shook his head as he laughed.

“Their shenanigans can be a bit much at times, but they always come through with relevant information.” AJ glanced at the clock and stood. “We better head for our meeting.”

A few moments later, AJ knocked on Lintstone’s door before entering.

Feet propped on the edge of his desk, a phone pressed to an ear, he motioned them toward chairs while he completed the call.

“Fill me in.”

AJ nodded. “We’ve confirmed the sea route of an Liberian-flagged container ship called Barwal, the same freighter shown in the imagery you provided earlier. After leaving Haiti, it’s scheduled to drop four containers in Colon and six in Turbo. According to the manifests, the cargo is machine parts.”

Lintstone laughed. “The terrorists haven’t realized we’ve caught on to their euphemism for weapons. So what’s your plan?”

“The colonel and I are flying to Haiti tomorrow. We’ve made arrangements to meet with the station chief, so we don’t disrupt any of his operations. We hope to board the ship, plant trackers on the containers in question, and follow them to their destination.”

AJ paused. “We might require additional assistance to track them.”

“Four additional people. Either from the colonel’s group or some of your friends.”

“Perfect, boss. We’ll set up the usual contact arrangements. Anything else?”

“AJ, this is an off-the-books recon mission, nothing more—no kidnapping, no killing.” Lintstone ground his teeth. “Am I clear? These countries are our friends.”

“Yes, boss.” Like I go around killing everyone. Although I can think of a couple of people the world could do without.

“Your mission is sanctioned.” He waved a hand in dismissal.

After they left the office, Javier turned to AJ. “What did he mean about no killing or kidnapping?”

“Well, sometimes shit happens. I grabbed a person or two in the past and tapped some others.” She shrugged. “No problemo—they got what they deserved.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Genevieve, Blair Howard’s latest story in the Lt. Kate Gazarra series, will have you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds. Far from being a simple murder case, the situation is exacerbated by Genevieve having married into one of the area’s most influential business families, who want to keep their secrets from prying eyes.

As always, we catch a glimpse of the Kate behind the badge. One who enjoys a glass of wine, tries to keep physically fit, and seems to survive on good coffee. The comparison between the private and professional Kate makes her more realistic as she leads her small team through the morass surrounding Genevieve’s murder.

I don’t like to spoil the ending of any story, so you’ll have to grab a copy to finds out what happens. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I can’t wait for the next installment!

I also finished Deadly Secrets, the first in the Lambeth Group Series by Gordon Bickerstaff, is a well-written story which will keep action-adventure aficionados. He’s created an intricate plot, which if successful, could potentially doom countless numbers of people to death as they unknowingly ingest harmful protease enzymes.

Follow Gavin Shawlins, a dedicated scientist and a member of the secret Lambeth Group, as he unravels the sinister plot. There is something for everyone in this exciting thriller, even a bit of rekindled romance. With plenty of twists and turns, Gordon has forged the opening novel of what should be an exciting series. I look forward to reading more!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, September 25, 2016

The official beginning of autumn/fall passed by this week. Temperatures are also dropping, but still above the average for this time of year along the lake. Brilliant sunshine, clear blue skies have been the norm since my last ramble, with only the occasional drops of moisture. Long may it last, as I’m certainly in no hurry for the next season to descend upon us.

If you had a birthday this weekend, you’re in excellent company, beginning with our first celebrity:  William Faulkner, Nobel Prize-winning writer (The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!); Barbara Walters, television news personality and interviewer; Kim Thompson, editor, publisher; co-founder of Fantagraphics Books; Gerolamo Cardano, mathematician, author of Games of Chance, the first systematic computation of probabilities; and Horace Walpole, author, creator of the Gothic novel genre.

Happy birthday wishes to everyone!

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

Discipline continues to be an important part of my writing so that I continue to make regular progress. Unlike some writers, who believe in setting daily or weekly goals of a specific number of words to write, what works for me is getting something down on paper (okay, on the computer screen) each day. It might be fifty words or it might be one five hundred, I think continued progress is more important that having to write to a target.

Sometimes, I’m adding new words to one or more of my works in progress. In other endeavors, it might be editing something that doesn’t seem to work. The one area I do pay attention to on a weekly basis is the chapter outlines I use. Even if I don’t make any written changes, my reviews help to keep me focused on where the stories are going. If I’ve made a detour for whatever reason, then modifications are made to the outlines.

My Work in Progress

With discipline being an important part of my onward progression, I’m please to say that I posted A Cartel’s Revenge, chapter seven, to the two subscription writing groups I use. I also added 250 words to A Malicious Affiliation, chapter three, which I hope to complete over the coming week.

All work on my short stories is on hold but I still need to finish reading the reviews and selecting recommendations, which help improve them. Eventually, I’ll finish the editing process. At this time, I don’t have any new short stories underway, but that’s okay as I want to concentrate on my novels.

Of course, completing the various requirements I had received from my publisher regarding The Kurdish Connection is still a weekly goal. The first chapter of A Malicious Affiliation will be included in the back of this book. During the past week I made changes based on the original twenty-four reviews and re-posted for further feedback. It’s already received thirteen new reviews; all indicating the changes are enhancing the story.

Next week I’ll resume including snippets from the latest chapters of A Cartel’s Revenge and A Malicious Affiliation.

Books I’m Reading

Last week, I described my thoughts regarding The Fourth Crusade (The Crusades, Book 1) by Mark Butler, but neglected to include the link, so it’s now included.  I read another book over the past week, The Seventh Island (Stone & MacLeish Thriller Series of Stories Book 1) by Gregory Stenson. The story begins with a scam in New York involving a millionaire and transitions to the Carribean, where Stone and MacLeish become embroiled in murder, mayhem, and some magic.

Toss in a woman who appears to be suffering from a schizophrenia disorder, a couple of thugs, a corrupt mayor and a police chief who appears to do whatever works for him, and you have a recipe for intrigue, terror, and suspense as each chapter seems to take the story in a new direction, with a hook or two to keep readers engaged. Should Stone and MacLeish abandon their successful business and leave the islands before one of them is killed? You’ll have to grab a copy of the book to find out.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Kanudra’s Blog – learn about the writing of Dawn Chapman. Follow her through her writing journey.

Writing Resources

With continued work on my publisher’s requirements and full steam ahead on my novels, I didn’t have any time left this week to do any research designed to aid my progression. Perhaps next time I’ll have something to share.

That brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  If you have any suggestions on topics you’d like me to cover, just drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to do so. Until the next time, thank you for reading!

 

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, September 18, 2016

Another weekend is upon us. How fast the summer’s flown! Seems like it wasn’t that long ago the farmers were busy planting their fields. Now, they’re beginning to harvest their crops. An annual cycle, so vital to our survival.

Are there any birthday people out there this weekend? If so, you share your special day with the following:

William Carlos Williams, poet, playwright, essayist and writer who won a Pulitzer prize (Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems); Ken Kesey, author (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion); Samuel Johnson, English lexicographer, essayist, poet and moralist; John Knowles, writer; won first-ever William Faulkner Foundation Award (A Separate Peace, 1961); and James Alan McPherson, author; first African American to win Pulitzer Prize for fiction (Elbow Room, 1978).

Happy birthday to all!

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

I mentioned last week that discipline is required so I maintain my ongoing works. I thought the week went well until someone passed an idea to me to explore for another novel. Yep–it’ll work. A temporary title has been selected Without Raising Their Hands and the premise is underway, but it will be some time before anything is available to read.

Stay tuned for more sneak peaks into my wacky world of creativity. You’ll read it first here.

My Work in Progress

Most of my time this week was spent reviewing the final chapters of a fellow writer who is preparing his manuscript for submission to his publisher. When time permitted, I continued work on the book description and fine-tuned the first chapter of A Malicious Affiliation, which will be included in the back of A Kurdish Connection when it’s published next year. Suggestions from twenty-four reviews have been incorporated into the chapter, which I hope to post this week on the subscription writing sites I use.

That’s all of the progress I made this week, as non-writing events required my attention. Hopefully during the upcoming week I’ll be able to return to writing.

Books I’m Reading

I read an interesting book this week, The Fourth Crusade (The Crusades, Book 1) by Mark Butler. Set in Spain and Italy, the son of a hero from the Third crusade, Ruggiero de Merafiza becomes a priest rather than following in his father’s footsteps.

The story culminates in attacks against villages surrounding Constantinople, before this city also becomes a target. Merafiza flees after partaking in the savagery and returns to tell the tale of Christians fighting against Christians to King Peter of Spain. A good read and look forward to future works from Butler.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

J. I. Rogers – Author J.I. Rogers provides six-word story challenges for writers to explore.

Butterflies & Machineguns – Explore the musings of writer Tye Fields, a twenty-year-old college student.

Writing Resources

The first batch of homework requirements from my publisher were sent this week. Now, I’m working on the second have, things like dedications, acknowledgements, comments and blurbs. Here’s a couple of links to help you with writing dedications if you’re stuck:

https://www.scribendi.com/advice/dedication_examples.en.html

http://www.bpsbooks.com/BPS-Books-blog/bid/109450/How-to-Write-a-Dedication-A-Few-Pointers

That brings us to the end of another ramble.  Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing.  Until the next time, thank you for reading!

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 11, 2016

It’s been fifteen years since the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. I won’t dwell on this and leave it to others, but suggest a thought or two for those who somehow were impacted by this tragedy.

On to happier thoughts. Who are the birthday people this weekend? Let’s find out who in the writing world had a birthday. On September 10th, we have:  Carl Van Doren, historian and critic who won a Pulitzer Prize for Benjamin Franklin; Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, biologist and writer of science books Time’s Cycle and The Panda’s Thumb; and Bill O’Reilly, TV host (The O’Reilly Factor), author.

If your birthday is on September 11th, you’re also in good company: James Thomson, Scottish poet; O. Henry, (William Sydney Porter), short story writer who wrote “The Gift of the Magi,” and “The Last Leaf; D.H. Lawrence, English novelist (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers); and Jessica Mitford, investigative journalist (The American Way of Death).

Happy birthday to all!

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

As I sit here with brilliant sunshine bouncing off my computer screen, my mind’s buzzing with possibilities for furthering my stories. It’s too easy to become lost in the myriad scenes, characters, and descriptions whizzing by, so I need to capture as many as I can for later use. 

Discipline is now called for so I can continue with my ongoing works; otherwise, I’ll never get anything finished. Good thing that I have three subgroups within my two writing groups to keep me on point. It’s like a kaleidoscope–a single point of light when I’m focused and a rainbow of flashing colors when my thoughts run wild.

My Work in Progress

I’ve mentioned in the past about having homework from my publisher that I must complete before we get into editing of The Kurdish Connection. So this week, rather than spend any time on A Cartel’s Revenge, I focused my energies, with some able assistance, on creating my author bio (two versions), the story description (two versions) and a logline. Not quite satisfied yet, so I’ll be doing a bit more tinkering over the next week, but these sections are well under way.

I also finalized my review of the twenty-four reviews of chapter one from A Malicious Affiliation, which will be included in the back of The Kurdish Connection as an introduction to the second novel in the Bedlam series. Once I complete my editing based on the feedback, I’ll ask my contacts to take another look.

I’ll also be doing the same process with chapter one of A Cartel’s Revenge, hoping I might be able to squeeze the chapter into the back of the book. I’ll also be creating book descriptions to be added in the front under upcoming works. At least that’s my plan, but will have to discuss some of this with my publisher.

I found out yesterday that my first sci-fi short story writing attempt, ‘Countdown to Extinction,’ received second honorable mention in the contest it was submitted to in one of my writing groups. There were forty entries, all sci-fi/alternate world, so I’m very pleased with the result. In fact, this is another story that I plan to expand into a novel.

Books I’m Reading

During the past week I read The Covert Messiah (The Jesus Thief Series, Book 4) by J. R. Lankford. I hadn’t read the first three in the series and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect jumping in with book four. There was sufficient backstory to quickly put me in the know so I didn’t feel there was a lot missing, but I’ll likely go back and start at the beginning.

A cloned Jesus, who had died eight years earlier re-appears, first in Italy and then take his ‘mother’ to Tanzania, to a small village where he makes his appearance known. Lankford does an excellent job in blending Christian and African spiritualism together to create a well written story. There is plenty of action and thought-provoking scenes throughout.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Roderick Will’s Refreshing Writings – Join Roderick on his journey to write a short story every day for a year. Packed with something for all, and good photography, too.

Writing Resources

With my ongoing homework form my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards a couple of links to help you with writing book dedications. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://www.scribendi.com/advice/dedication_examples.en.html

http://www.bpsbooks.com/BPS-Books-blog/bid/109450/How-to-Write-a-Dedication-A-Few-Pointers

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 4, 2016

I hope you’re having an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

What’s the origin of Labor Day? Many states passed bills created a day to celebrate the social and economic successes of American workers. New York was the first state to make such a proposal, but in 1887, Oregon was the first to make it a law. The federal government finally became involved, and in 1894, Congress declared the first Monday in September as a national holiday. Enjoy the weekend!

If you’re birthday is this weekend, you’re in good company: Sarah Orne Jewett, author (Tales of New England, The Country of the Pointed Firs); Hugh Sidey, news correspondent and author (John F. Kennedy, President); Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand, French writer and chef (who gave his name to a style of steak); Mary Renault (Mary Challans), author who wrote about her wartime experiences (The Last of the Wine and The King Must Die); Richard Wright, novelist (Native Son); Craig Claiborne, food critic and cookbook author; Joan Delano Aiken, author of supernatural fiction and alternative history novels for children (The Whispering Mountain, Night Fall); Tommaso Campanella, Italian philosopher and poet (City of the Sun); and Arthur Koestler, Hungarian novelist and essayist( Darkness at Noon, The Ghost in the Machine).  Happy birthday everyone!

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

I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly successful with my writing, but I must say the journey thus far has been enlightening. A long-time friend and work colleague named Les suggested I try my hand at writing. I’m glad I listened to him!

Each week I learn something new to improve my stories, whether scene-related, characters, plot, and of course, applying the senses to everything. I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of writers and authors through the two subscription writing sites I use who have helped me further my meager abilities. Many thanks to all!

I think last week I said there would be another snippet from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’:

Diego broke into a fit of laughter and grabbed the counter with both hands to stop himself from falling. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he asked, “Who did you hire to handle the attack?”

“My brother, Pedro. He either got carried away or paid me back for some previous slight. Olivia wants me to learn to shoot. I convinced here I was a rotten shot and might hurt someone.”

“What? You’re one of the best marksmen in Los Urabeños!”

“Sure, but I want to keep playing the bumbling husband to learn enough to take her down. In fact, I’m planning a little surprise.”

“What is the meaning of this? These are my people, and this is private—” A pistol slammed against the back of his head and silenced Alonzo’s protest. Someone tossed him into one of the trucks while soldiers set the buildings on fire. Red and orange flames reached for the sky as thick black smoke spiraled upward.

On a distant ridge, a man dressed in peasant clothes lowered expensive binoculars after Alonzo was led away. He chuckled as he picked up a backpack and disappeared into the brush.

Olivia, this is only the beginning. Soon you’ll beg for mercy.

Perhaps more next week.

My Work in Progress

Real-life requirements played an important part in my diminished writing time this week, yet I still made progress on the first draft of chapter seven of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.’ All being well, I’ll post the chapter to my writing sites by the middle of the coming week so my reviewers can have a shot at it.

I spent most of my available time fine-tuning my short story, ‘Trek For Survival,’ so I can submit it for consideration for an anthology. Hope to have this completed during the coming week as well.

Of utmost importance is my continued progress on the various items my publisher will need for ‘The Kurdish Connection.’ I’ve completed a draft tagline and selected seven search terms. Doesn’t sound like much progress, but I had plenty of reading and research to complete as I worked on these areas. My bio will be coming up next.

Books I’m Reading

I also managed to read ‘Diablo Nights (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 3’ by Carmen Amato. Not sure how I ended up with book three since I haven’t read the first two, but it’s an oversight that will be corrected.

Carmen has created a great detective with Emilia, caught between demands of her personal and professional life. In this latest story, body parts and a potent drug descend on the tourist city of Acapulco, Mexico. Toss in corrupt politicians and authorities and it’s a perfect recipe for trouble. 

Emilia is a tough detective and uses her kick-ass approach to solve the latest crimes. Her normal partner is given other duties while she’s saddled with someone who used their influence to not only become a police officer but a detective without a single day on the force. But is there something more about the trainee than meets the eye? ‘Diablo Nights’ is an exciting read and if you’re into detective stories, grab yourself a copy and get involved.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I only had time to read through one but it’s well worth a read. Hope you’ll check it out!

Opinionated Woman – an interesting blog by C L Terry, the editor for the Toledo Bend Review Literary Journal.

Writing Resources

With my ongoing homework form my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you create the all-important keyword search terms. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://writingbytheseatofmypants.com/2013/01/06/seo-keywords-for-fiction-authors/

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/02/28/keywords-metadata-discoverability/

https://ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/7-tips-for-amazon-keywords-and-best-selling-books/

https://kindlepreneur.com/how-to-choose-kindle-keywords/

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 28, 2016

As the end of another August rapidly approaches, we’ve seen the high humidity finally break but it seems we have a rain shower every day. It’s been so wet the grass in front of the house (or the back as I haven’t gotten used to calling the part of the house facing the lake the front. For me, the road side has always been the front) is now about nine inches tall. Good thing I cut it two weeks ago!

If you’re celebrating a birthday this weekend, you are in good company: Theodore Dreiser, novelist (Sister Carrie); C. S. Forester, novelist and author of the Horatio Hornblower series; Ira Leven, author (Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys From Brazil); Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist (Faust); Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (War and Peace, Anna Karenina); Liam O’Flaherty, Irish novelist and short-story writer; and Roger Tory Peterson, author of the authoritative bird book (A Field Guide to Birds).

Happy birthday to all!

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

A few weeks ago I stepped outside of the box again. This time, it was to see if I could take the opening chapter of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, approximately 2,500 words, and whittle it down to less than 400.  Why would I do this? To enter a monthly one-page short story contest held by Wildsound Writing and Film Festival Review.

I figured it would be a good lesson in cutting out unnecessary wording. It wasn’t easy ,as I still wanted to maintain the essence of the chapter.  I must have, because after I sent last Sunday’s ramblings out, I received notification that my short story called ‘A Dangerous Occupation’ had been selected as a winner.

My story was performed by an actor and can be viewed below:

Needless to say, I was thrilled to find this out!

Next week, I’ll include more from ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.

My Work in Progress

Over the past week, I continued to concentrate of providing reviews for those who’ve been reviewing my work. I’ve also been applying what I learned with the short story contest to help a new writer one of the subscription writing sites to condense a story from eighteen to fifteen pages.

Chapter six of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ was posted this past week, with six reviews received thus far. Work also continued on chapter three of ‘A Malicious Affiliation’, but I didn’t make enough progress to be able to post.

I mentioned last tie that my sci-fi short story, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ was been entered in a contest held in memory of a novice sci-fi writer who passed away a week ago. She actually passed away over a year ago. The contest closed last weekend, but the winners haven’t been announced yet.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading ‘Blood Tail (Lieutenant Beaudry Novels Book 1)’ by Michael Kent. If you like murder mysteries, grab yourself a copy and enjoy a fantastic read set in Montreal. Beaudry has a bad reputation with his boss and Internal Affairs–it seems every time he’s involved in the investigation of a crime, more bodies appear.

Meet Beaudry’s unlikely new partner and his even stranger new friends as he takes on various cases, each with its own special twist.  Mr. Kent’s writing is superb and just when I had a case figured out, something new would pop up and keep me guessing.

The only problem I had with ‘Blood Tail’ was it ended too soon! I can’t wait to read the next installment. I’m definitely adding Michael Kent to my list of favorite authors.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. This week, I’m returning to two favorites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Cheeky Column – a great mixture of quotes and fantastic photography. Don’t forget to check the pull-down menu and read the author’s categories.

Quintessential Editor – writing tips for everyday writers.

Writing Resources

With the homework I have from my publisher, I have plenty of resources to share. Today, I’ll point you towards several links that will help you write an author’s bio. Here are just a few of the links I’m now reading:

https://litreactor.com/columns/no-one-cares-about-your-life-story-nine-tips-for-a-better-author-bio

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – May 22, 2016

Dare I tempt fate? Shh. We’ve had sunshine for the past week with temperatures ranging from 58 to 70.  Being on one of the Great Lakes, that’s good enough for this time of year. We continue to host a bevy of visitors in our apple tree, from blue jays, cardinals, to Baltimore orioles, rose-breast grosbeaks, and a pair of hummingbirds. Even a small squirrel partakes of the culinary delights waiting for our friends.

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

It’s been quiet on the writing front this week–no publishing house rejections (or offers). In the meantime, writing continues as and when external requirements allow.

Last week I mentioned joining channillo.com and posting chapters. I now have fourteen followers and three subscriptions. Off to a good start!

A bit more from ‘The Kurdish Connection’:

“We always anticipated something like this.” Afran rubbed at the patch over an eye lost in a Turkish attack the previous year.

“I agree—back home too much talk but no action.” Dersim continued in a whisper. “This is why some of the money from selling our goods will be given to help them.”

This was the first of many discussions regarding their support of the PKK freedom fighters, or as the Turkish government referred to them–terrorist.

An elderly woman approached Dersim as he returned to his vehicle. She held out her wrinkled, arthritic hands. “This is all I own of value. My husband’s—the Turks killed him.” On one palm lay a gold watch; on the other, six small gold coins, still attached to red ribbons, customary gifts given to couples on their wedding day.

Shades of ebony, crimson, and gold gave way to a deepening cobalt sky as the sun’s rays burned away the night. A lone golden eagle circled high above, scanning the ground in search of food.

“I used to sell brass, copper, carpets, other tourist things. Foreigners said my prices too cheap. Someone called me Charlie—I thought good name for business—Cheap Charlie’s.”

“What happened to your store?”

“Sold stuff too cheap, go out of business.”

More next week. If you’d like to read compete chapters, check out channillo.com.

My Work in Progress

I continued reviewing critiques and the “Sunset Thrillers” beta group feedback of ‘The Kurdish Connection’. As always, I found excellent recommendations to improve the story.  My review is now complete through chapter seventeen. This past week I finished editing chapters thirteen and fourteen, and they’re re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Work on chapter fifteen is well underway and I hope to have it completed and posted this evening.

I also continued editing my submission for a Strongest Start Book Competition, ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’. Chapter one is now completed and posted.

Books I’m Reading

During the past week I finish reading ‘Levant Mirage‘ by Oliver F. Chase. This is a fast-pace and exciting read.  U.S. Army Major Adam Michaels‘ life is a roller-coaster ride, wealthy, divorced, a promising career shattered because of a battlefield mistake. On the brink of being forced out of the military, terrorists have Adam in their sights. The terrorists figured a way to use technology developed by Adam and two others in a forgotten life to threaten billions of people. Even the two who helped develop the technology aren’t what they seem. A riveting story that’s hard to put down once you begin reading.

I’m also reading a book written by one of the “Sunset Thrillers’ beta group. Since this is unpublished material, I won’t be providing any public feedback, but once the story’s available to everyone, I’ll be happy to do so.

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

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Sideways Eight Series – by AJ Wallace. I introduced AJ and her first novel, ‘Mindfield‘ a few weeks ago, but want to remind readers of this up and coming author.

James Radcliffe – Check out the blog of James Radcliffe–musician, writer, and spoken word artist. He donates a percentage of his profits to a charity helping orphaned children in Nepal.

Writing Resources

A writing colleague suggested two books to me this week:

The Scene Book – by Sandra Scofield. The author provides advice on creating more effective scenes.

Making a Scene – by Jordan Rosenfeld. Learn the fundamentals of constructing a strong scene and how character, plot, and dramatic tension function without the overall framework.

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – May 8, 2016

First and foremost:  Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and mothers-to-be.  Hope your men are taking good care of you on your special day.  The weather’s been great all week here and we’ve started Mother’s Day with brilliant sunshine.

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

This is the second time I’ve tried to write my ramblings today.  I was about to hit save when Shadow, one of our cats, decided to jump from the floor and landed on the keyboard. Despite every possible effort to recover what I wrote, whatever combination of keys he landed on ensured that nothing was found.  So, here we are, thirty minutes later, and I’ll begin again. Shadow’s outside in the sunshine, which is what he wanted.

I completed my final submission to a publishing house, at least for now.  I’m concentrating on editing and fine-tuning my manuscript.  Later this week I’ll be attending an online conference meeting with the other members of my group to receive their assessment of my writing. I’m looking forward to the session.

During the past week I also received feedback from three editors who reviewed the first 4,500 words of my manuscript. I received some good advice, which is always helpful, but also disagreed with some recommendations as I felt they changed the context of the story. I’m sure all writers go through this and it’s part of the journey.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

When he entered the canteen, Jürgen sat at a table in the corner, remnants of three boiled eggs center stage on his plate as he spread jam on his toast. He wiped a hand across his beard to shake loose any crumbs as CC approached. Guten morgen. Are you ready for another exciting day?”

Jürgen worked on what turned out to be a T-pillar, believed to be near the center of the structure, about fifteen feet high, with a circumference of twelve feet. As Jürgen cleared away soil and debris from the sides of the pillar, he spotted a figure. “Gott im Himmel! Might be a lizard.”

As the men climbed back up the hill, CC spotted a slender, dark-haired man. Dressed in baggy pants, loose-fitting shirt, and floppy hat, he appeared to be another Turkish worker, but the backpack slung over his shoulder seemed out of place. He turned in a circle as if trying to gather his bearings, and rushed away. CC kept an eye on the man until he disappeared.

Once they arrived in Al-Bab, Dave drove around to show Ben various areas of the flourishing city of 150,000 inhabitants. Leaving the M4 and entering the city, the streets became narrow, crammed with trucks, buses, cars, with occasional donkey-drawn carts and wandering pedestrians. Whitewashed buildings jostled for space, with small stores embedded among apartment blocks

Across the street, a short, thin man dressed in a black didashah, with a red and white shumaq huddled in the shadows, watching and waiting. He adjusted the shumaq around his neck to keep the evening chill at bay. Where are the foreigners?

More next week.

My Work in Progress

I continued reviewing critiques of ‘The Kurdish Connection’. As always, I found excellent recommendations to improve the story.  My review is now complete through chapter fifteen. This past week I finished editing chapters nine and ten, and they’re re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Work on chapter eleven is underway and I hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

Editing of the first three chapters of ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ began this week, as this will be my submission for a Strongest Start Competition being held by one of my writing sites.

Books I’m Reading

This week I began reading ‘The Jungle (The Oregon Files Book 8)’ by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, two of my favorite authors.  As with their previous book, I’m looking to read a good thriller and also analyze the plot, characters, and scene, so I can improve my writing.

Next week I’ll provide a review of this book. I’ll also resume reading lesser-known authors, and have three books waiting for my attention.

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

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

The Porcupine Quill – An excellent article by publisher Tim Inkster providing advice to writers. The article is under the About Us tab.

Creative Indie with Derek Murphy – Derek provides a wealth of information based on his own experiences to help writers.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any new writing resources to share this week as time ran out and I was unable to devote and research efforts.  I hope to have something new for next week.

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 17 Apr 2016

At last spring has arrived. We’ve had brilliant sunshine for the past three days with more anticipated. The temperatures climbed into the lower 60s.  About time! Despite the change of weather, yard work was put on temporary hold yesterday. The wireless keyboard for our Mac stopped working. Despite changing batteries the times in a twenty-four-hour period, it continued to stop.  So we took a trip to Best Buy, fifty miles away, to pick up a replacement.  Now we’re back in business!

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

My journey into the world of writing continues.  This week I received some feedback on my writing in an area that I never realized there was a problem.  In my expository writing it was never an issue, or at least it was never pointed out.  What’s the issue? Contractions. Or rather, the lack of them.  Someone pointed out that my dialogue would be smoother if I reduced more I am, he will, they would, etc., to their more important contractions. Yep, using I’m, he’ll, and they’d certainly made a difference and the dialogue seems more natural. Something new learned to help me along the way.

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

They entered an old three-story structure with broken windows, covered with peeling paint and graffiti sprayed by local soccer team supporters. As they made their way to a large back room, they maneuvered around stacks of damaged furniture and litter.  Inside, a long varnished table, with polished wood resembling glass, took center stage.  Ten men, including the three Iraqi mullahs, sat at the table.  Mullah Mala, the firebrand speaker from Zakho, greeted Dersim. “Welcome. Join us and I’ll introduce you.”

Mufti Tanreverdi’s eyes narrowed as he studied each man in the room. “Our first task is to free Öcalan.  Under his guidance, we can proceed to our final objective, a united Kurdistan, even if that means war.”

He followed the road to a faded gray, three-story brick warehouse hidden in the trees near the rear of the base. He exited the car and began the second round of security. Damn, why can’t they embed a chip in my ass and skip the repetitive shit? One zap with a scanner and done.

The admiral paused before giving the team their orders. “Bedlam Alpha’s objective is to locate and recover the chemical weapons and disrupt the Kurdish plots without either the Turkish or Syrian governments realizing the threats. I don’t need to describe the ensuing catastrophe should the Kurds use their arsenal in either of those countries, Iraq, or Iran.” 

CC heaved a big sigh. Well, I wanted out of the day-to-day grind. I got my wish!

More next week.

My Work in Progress

The ongoing process of reviewing various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ continued, with several recommendations added into my manuscript. Chapter four was completed and re-posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. Editing of chapter five is underway and hope to have it completed and posted by next Sunday.

My research of publishing houses accepting unsolicited manuscripts continued this week. I now have the beginnings of a list where I’ll send submissions once I complete the current round of editing.  While there are similarities in requirements, they vary enough that each submission must be carefully crafted to meet the preliminary demands.

With all of the concentration on ‘The Kurdish Connection’, work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ continues its holding pattern.  Perhaps I’ll be able to do a bit more this coming week.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished ‘Blanket of Blood‘ by Eileen Wharton and published by Bloodhound Books at the beginning of April.  A chilling tale about a serial killer with fingers pointing at several possible candidates. Detective Inspector Blood, an apt name given the circumstance surrounding the victims’ deaths, leads his team in a desperate race to find the killer. A fast pace with plenty of unsuspecting characters being checked out by DI Blood as potential suspects. Throughout the story, glimpses of the dark secrets leading to the killer’s rampage emerge, but never enough to identify the person. A great suspense that will keep you reading on. As with many crime stories, the killer is eventually caught, but the identity of the perpetrator will keep you guessing right to the end. Well done!

A special thanks to Fred Freeman at Bloodhound Books for giving me a copy of ‘Blanket of Blood’ in return for my unbiased review.

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

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Scott Hastie – A writer, artist, and poet who uses his gifts to inspire others.

Writing Resources

As I continue to edit ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and work on my cover letter and synopsis, I’ve found three resources:

Write and Revise for Publication – by Jack Smith. A six-month plan for crafting an exceptional novel.

How to Write the Cover Letter for Your Submission to a Publisher – written by an editor.

Rock Your Query – A Simple System for Writing Query Letters and Synopses by Cathy Yardley.

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings – 10 Apr 2016

Baseball season’s underway again.  I’m sure there are plenty of players and fans wishing the weather would catch up!  I know we have 2-5 inches of sleet and snow predicted for today and flurries are falling as I type.  Go Tigers!

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

Who said writing was easy? Unless you naturally gifted, it takes a lot of effort to create a plot that grabs the reader, realistic characters you can love or hate, exciting dialogue, a smooth pace, and a fantastic ending.

That’s just the first draft. The real work begins later, as the writer starts from the beginning to craft a work of art. No easy task, but vital in the current age of traditional and self-publishing.  A handful will be a huge success and reap the rewards, some will find a niche and make a living from their efforts, while many will have to dig deeper.

Above all, writing is a journey, plenty of new friends to make, roads to discover, places to visit, and astounding experiences.  Enjoy the ride!

A bit more from the Kurdish Connection:

The bazaar bustled; horns blared, vendors hawked their wares, radios played a variety of songs. Bright-colored canopies created shade for the stalls, while along the edge of the bazaar, old wood buildings stood like sentries. Freshly painted buildings of pastel colors mingled with those needing repair.

 “I love the bazaar.” Dersim inhaled, sucking in the smells.  “Always an adventure. The whiff of roasting chestnuts and cooking meats always sets my mouth watering, even after I’ve eaten.”

Aram nodded. “Yes, everything’s available, from sweet dates to hand grenades. Whatever you want can be acquired here for the right price.”

More next week.

My Work in Progress

Work continues on reviewing various critiques I received on ‘The Kurdish Connection’ and adding recommendations into my manuscript. Editing of chapter four continues and will be posted over the next few days on the two subscription writing sites I use.

Between editing, reading and providing reviews and researching publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts, there hasn’t been any time to work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge.  At least I prepared a cover letter and synopsis, both of which can be used as a basis to prepare a submission package. 

I’ve been researching publishing houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts and figuring out how to prepare my cover letter and a good synopsis.  My time spent researching meant I didn’t have a chance to work on ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’ as there are so many hours in the week I can devote to writing and the associated tasks.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past week I finished ‘How Little We Know’ by John L. DeBoer. I wish I’d spent less time with some of my research and more time reading this story.  John’s crafted a real winner, with realistic characters, a plot that’ll keep the reader wanting more, with Luke Elliot, a reformed hit man leading the way. But every time you think you have it figured out, one of John’s characters will take you on a tangent, sometimes with unexpected results. A riveting story from a great storyteller. I personally he does a sequel with Luke.

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

I’ve now expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Hope you’ll check out the links!

Writers Network Club – Established for writers to help writers.  Free to join.  Post your own work, advertise your publications in the bookstore, enter quarterly writing contests (multiple categories), and meet new people.  Search for publishers, literary agents, and more. 

Sideways Eight Series – Meet series author, AJ Wallace, and learn more about her first novel, Mindfield and her work in progress.

Writing Resources

I don’t have any specific writing resources to share this week.  I’m still searching for something to capitalize on the use of the senses and to help me prepare the “dreaded” cover letter. Hope to have an update for next time.

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

© Copyright 2016 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved.