Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 14, 2022

With the exception of a few sprinkles scattered throughout the week, it’s been very dry and sunny. Our low daytime temperature was 72F (22C) while the high was 83F (29C), well above our normal temperatures. There’s a yellow warning for thunderstorms, beginning in a couple of hours and running through Tuesday afternoon. While it would be nice to see a couple of thunderstorms as they are rare here, we definitely don’t need a downpour but a light and steady rain for at least twenty-four hours. Guess we’ll find out what Mother Nature has in store for us.

The price of gasoline (petrol) dropped another two pence per liter this week, down to £1.72. Still a long way from the £1.45 we experienced in January. This week’s drop brought the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon down to $8.02, a drop of eight cents a gallon.

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

“The older I get, the less I care about what others think of me. Therefore, the older I get, the more I enjoy life.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 14th, the second Sunday of the month:

Robert Hayman, English poet; Daniel Elsevier, Dutch book publisher; Letitia Elizabeth Landon, English poet (Heath’s Book of Beauty); Walter Besant, English writer and philanthropist (Rebel Queen); Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Austro–German psychiatrist and author (Psychopathia Sexualis); Henry Duff Traill, British author and journalist (The Marquis of Salisbury); Ernest T. Seton, naturalist, painter and author (Buffalo Wind-1938); Ernest Thayer, American poet who wrote the famous baseball poem “Casey”; John Galsworthy, English author (Forsyte Saga-Nobel 1932); Sibilla Aleramo [Rina Faccio], Italian feminist and poet (Una Donna); Harald Kidde, Danish writer (Aage og Else); James Pitman, British educator and spelling reformer (Alphabets and Reading: The Initial Teaching Alphabet); Eva Strittmatter, German writer (Tinko); Russell Baker, American columnist, author and humorist (NY Times); Alice Adams, American author (Beautiful Girl); Thomas Meehan, American writer (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray); Frederic Raphael, American-British writer (After the War, California Time); Marylyn Roberts, librarian/founding member (WIC); Lee Hoffman, American author (The Valdez Horses); Bryce Courtenay, Australian novelist (The Power of One); Judith Kazantzis, English poet and feminist; Steve Martin, American comedian, banjo player, author and actor (Parenthood; The Jerk; Roxanne); Danielle Steel, American author (Rememberance, Zoya, Star, Daddy); and Brannon Braga, American scriptwriter.

Any names familiar to you? There were three for me: Ernest Thayer, Steve, Martin, and Danielle Steel. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter ten was posted this week. There were another eight chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 139, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people. Plenty of good suggestions to improve my story.

Here’s the next snippet:

When Admiral Blakely returned to his office, he found Matthew waiting for him.

Matthew jumped to his feet, but the admiral waved him back to his seat. “Nothing from the White House meeting—just as I expected. Tell me you have good news?”

Matthew shook his head. “I sent Chris a message, but not sure when I’ll hear back. I googled ‘Beware the Devil.’ There were over fifty-one million hits. I’ll build some algorithms to whittle things down.”

The admiral nodded. “I better notify the teams. Maybe someone has a contact they can reach out to and get some intel.”

After Matthew departed, the admiral turned to his computer and began his normal index finger typing.

To: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, QRF-1

From: Bedlam

Reach out to your contacts regarding strange events at the UK, French, and German bourses. Someone is attacking them and exhibits world-class hacking skills. This might be sponsored by one of the unfriendly countries. but no proof thus far. No specific demands yet, but we’ve been warned.

After he sent his message, the admiral leaned back in his chair and stared at the acoustic tiles covering the ceiling. What now? Whoever is behind this wants something big. I can feel it.

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels continue to participate in three Bookfunnel promotions during August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty-one novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

Dinner and a Show! All Genres group promo. There are forty-eight novels to choose from in this one!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/dinnerandashow/yz3hvu1es8

Heart Pounding Reads group promo. Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Forty-six more novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heart-pounding-reads/wl15j4pi5e

This brings us to an end for another 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, August 8, 2022

I didn’t get a chance yesterday to do my regular Sunday post as I was at the final day of the monthly three-day small business market event. It was a good weekend, with sixteen of my novels going to new homes. In addition, four of Sylvia’s poetry books sold, along with eleven of her laminated poetry sheets. It was also great to see a larger number of people visiting the event than in the past couple of months.

We had a surprise at the gasoline (petrol) pumps this week. The price dropped eleven pence per liter in one day! Now it’s £1.74 a liter. That brought the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon down to $8.10, a drop of fifty-eight cents a gallon.

I’m pleased to announce Ultimate Escalation is now under contract with Solstice Publishing. Once I have the new cover (assuming they will change from what I’ve been using) I’ll put it in the next available post, along with the blurb.

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

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August eighth:

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

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Terry Nation. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter nine was posted this week. There were another eleven chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 131, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

Admiral Blakely hit a button on the telephone console on his desk. “Please send Matthew in.”

Moments later, someone knocked on the admiral’s door.

“Come in.”

Matthew entered, a folder tucked under one arm and Starbucks coffee cups in each hand. “Ready for a refill, Admiral?”

The admiral smiled as he took one of the cups. “Did you install a camera in my office, Matthew? You always seem to know when I’m ready for a fresh coffee.”

“I just figure when I’m ready, you will be too.” Matthew smiled.

“Did you read the warning the Fed shared with the intel community?”

Matthew nodded. “I admire whoever was behind it. Although several bourses were targeted, no one lost a penny.”

“In the world you live in, you would probably admire the culprits.” The admiral pried the cover off his coffee and sipped. “Anyway, what do you think?”

“These are world-class hackers—no doubt about it.” Matthew set his unopened coffee on a coaster on an end table and opened the folder he brought with him. I think they won’t have any problem carrying out their threats—their warnings should be heeded. Did they provide any specific demands?”

The admiral shook his head. “No. I’m attending a meeting at the White House regarding this warning. I’ll give them your brief assessment.”

“There’s something else, Admiral. When I attended MIT, my roommate and I used a simple number substitution code to keep our text messages secret from any prying eyes. We would arrange where to meet, who was dating who, things like that.” Matthew removed a sheet of paper from the folder and handed it to the admiral.”

“Aware of your love for numbers, I know you’re Numerologist. Who’s Knuckle Dragger?”

“He was my roommate. He sent this message a few days ago.”

“I assume you can still read this?”

Matthew nodded. “Yes, Admiral. His message reads, Beware the Devil. Attack imminent. I sent a response saying I’d get the word out.’ Matthew’s face reddened. “I forgot to tell you earlier.”

The admiral waved a hand. “Any idea what he’s warning us about?”

Matthew shook his head.  “Not yet. He sent it to me through the dark web. I suspect he’s trying to avoid detection.”

“What’s his name? Do you know where he is?”

“His name is Chris—Chris Handler. He had a bad habit of cracking his knuckles whenever he was nervous. We kept in contact for a long time after we left MIT, but this is the first I’ve heard from him in a couple of years.”

Matthew pulled another sheet of paper from his folder. “Here’s another one—he sent this yesterday.”

The admiral shook his head after he read the decrypted message.

Same source caused todays stock market interruptions. Prepare for more to come.

“Still no mention of who is behind these attacks. Nor does he give his location.”

“He did repeat his earlier reference to the Devil. I’m going to do some research to see if anything pops up that we can use.”

“Excellent idea.” The admiral pursed his lips. “Could you send him a message and ask for specifics about who is behind this? If he needs protection, tell him we can provide it.” The admiral glanced at the clock. “I better head to the White House. We’ll talk again when I return.”

“Yes, Admiral.” Matthew picked up his coffee cup and followed the admiral out the door, turning toward his office.

More next time.

Book Promotions

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions during August:

Summer adventure group promo. Action & Adventure and Action & Adventure / Military & Warfare. Twenty-one novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/lawrence01/8ctktxhlbs

Dinner and a Show! All Genres group promo. There are forty-eight novels to choose from in this one!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/dinnerandashow/yz3hvu1es8

Heart Pounding Reads group promo. Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Forty-six more novels to check out:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heart-pounding-reads/wl15j4pi5e

This brings us to an end for another 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 15, 2022

As we hit the middle of the month, things have greened up nicely and the hydrangeas are getting ready to produce their blooms. Each evening we have a visit from two hedgehogs. It’s always a treat to see them scamper across the back patio to a dish of small animal munchies and another filled with water. Sometimes, though, there will be a punch-up as one insists it’s getting to whichever dish first.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “What we are today is a result of our own past actions; Whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions; Decide how you want to act now. We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 15th, the third Sunday of the month:

Mary Wortley Montagu, English essayist, feminist, eccentric; Martinus W van der Aa, author/Dutch head-editor (The Time); Eduard von Keyserling, Baltic German writer (Dritte Stiege); (Lyman) L. Frank Baum, American children’s book author (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian playwright/novelist (La Ronde); Albert Verwey, Dutch poet/literature historian (Motion); Katherine Anne Porter, American novelist (Ship of Fools); David Vogel, Russian-born Hebrew writer (Huwelijksleven); Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian playwright and novelist (The Master and Margarita, Black Snow); Xavier Herbert, Australian author; Max Frisch, Swiss architect/writer (Stiller, Biedermann); Alexis Kagame, Rwandan philosopher, historian, poet and Tutsi intellectual and cultural leader; Jakucho Setouchi, Japanese writer and Buddhist nun; Jaime Garcia Terre, poet/essayist; Anthony Shaffer, Engish playwright (Sleuth); Peter Shaffer, English playwright (Equus, Amadeus); Donald [Anthony] Moffitt, American sci-fi author (Jupiter Theft); and Harve Brosten, American comedy writer (All In The Family, 1975-77).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Lyman) L. Frank Baum. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work is underway on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. I’ll be posting the first chapter later today to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Some of you might have read earlier postings where I’ve included the synopsis. I’ve tweaked it a bit, so here it is again:

An international criminal gang, known as Diablo Corps, plans a series of devastating attacks to take over the G7 countries unless their demands are met. Secure in their hidden headquarters in Antarctica, they possess the means to disrupt the leading world economies. Walter Brown, the Diablo Corps CEO want what other power-hungry people want—ultimate power.

Will the G7 bend to the will of these rogues or will evil triumph? Diablo Corps believes their previous infiltration of the international banking system and world stock exchanges will allow them to risk all on a single gamble.

Bedlam joins forces with The Scandinavian Protection Agency to thwart the efforts of the group and restore faith. Will Antarctica become a smoking ruin or will the world suffer an economic meltdown?

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another forty reviews this week, bringing the total to 855.Slide1

Here’s the penultimate snippet:

Major Bangash muted the television after the third review of the chaos in Lahore. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Alo?”

“Good evening. This is ISI Major Bangash. Connect me to Captain Fazli Khan at once.”

“At once, sir.”

While he waited, Bangash heard the switchboard operator speak to someone in the background.

“Good evening, sir.” The low-pitched voice appeared to be in the room rather than across the country.

“Fazli. How are you doing? I’m sure you’re busy with the hooligans in Lahore, but I wanted to get an update.”

“Yes, sir. It has been complete chaos here. We do not yet know the identities of the perpetrators of this outrage. But we shall.”

Bangash clicked his teeth. “Understood. The scenes on the television showed a lot of violence and destruction.”

“At least twenty police officers were taken to the hospital with injuries. In addition, the miscreants destroyed more than a dozen vehicles before the army arrived to calm the situation.”

“Do you have an estimate of the number of protestors?”

“Yes, sir. We estimate over one thousand five hundred people joined in. At least seventy were arrested while fifty are being treated for cuts, bruises, and broken bones.” Fazli sucked in a breath. “Seventeen people died at the scene–including three children.”

Bangash frowned. “I see. Well, I won’t keep you any longer, Fazli. Send me regular reports on your investigation.”

“Yes, sir. May I ask why?”

“There might be a link to someone I’m monitoring here in Peshawar.”

“Understood.”

“I expect to hear from you soon.” Bangash broke the connection. He slid his chair over to his private laptop, logged in, and began typing:

I cannot be certain, but it appears our Russian ‘friend’ is somehow connected to the pro-Punjab reunification protest in Lahore today. I fear this is just the beginning A colleague posted to Lahore will keep me apprised of any further developments.

On an unrelated matter, I have learned from a contact at the Governor’s House that the Tehrik-i-Taliban are expecting further attacks from the army in the FATA region. I shall use my influence to warn the tribal elders.

Bangash pulled a forbidden bottle of whiskey, obtained through an American contact, and took a large gulp. Finished, he put the bottle back in its hiding place. What will happen next?

I’ll bring you the final snippet of Ultimate Escalation next week.

This brings us to an end for another 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 and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 25, 2021

It appears we’ve turned the tide regarding the weather. No more frosty mornings, although on a few days the temperature was just above freezing. This week we purchased another fifteen plants for the borders at the front of the house. Plenty of color already there, but this will finish it off. Once everything’s in bloom, I’ll include a photo.

Sylvia and I received our second Pfizer Covid vaccination this week. No major issues, except the nurse administering the injections must have been a carpenter/joiner in a previous life. The way she shoved the needles into our arms was like she was driving a nail home in a piece of wood.

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

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 25th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, British soldier, statesman, and dramatist; Antonio Fogazzarro, Italian writer and poet (Il santo, Leila); Leopoldo Alas, Spanish novelist (La Regenta); Walter de la Mare, British poet and author (The Listeners, Memoirs of a Midget); Rubén M. Campos, Mexican novelist (Claudio Oranos) and musicologist (El folklore y la musica mexicana); Sally Salminen, Finnish writer (Katrina); Claude Mauriac, French writer (Le Temps immobile); Ross Lockridge, Jr., American novelist (Raintree County); William Goyen, American writer; Jean Mogin, Belgian poet; Albert Uderzo, French cartoonist and script writer (Asterix comic books); Corín Tellado, Spanish romance novelist; José Ángel Valente, Spanish poet (A modo the esperanza); Paul Mazursky, American writer/director (Moscow on the Hudson); ed Kooser, American poet and US Poet Laureate; James Fenton, English poet and journalist; and Dinesh D’Souza, Indian-American author (2016: Obama’s America).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

I’m delighted to announce Colombian Betrayal is now a finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. This year’s competition must be extremely intense as the judges decided to move all fourteen semifinalists into the finals.

The five First in Category winners and the category grand prize winner will be announced on June 5th. In addition, the grand prize winners from each of the seventeen genres will compete for the overall winner of this year’s competition. Many congratulations to all those who are now in the finals. Good luck!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-one of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-two new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 494. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Excuse me?”

Javier glanced up.

A clean-shaven man with a short slender build and red hair stood at the end of the table. “I-I’m a bit early. I’m Elton. Elton Taylor. I applied for the receptionist job.”

Javier motioned to the chair on his right. “Take a seat, Elton. Let me pull up your application and do a quick review.” He read through the document. “Huh. Uh-huh.”

“Excuse me, sir. May I have a glass of water?”

“Help yourself. And do us both a favor.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Relax. Your application looks fine.” Javier smiled. “So, why are you interested in working for the Brusch Agency?”

“Since I finished my degree at Northern Virginia Community College two years ago, I’ve been working as a receptionist at a senior citizens’ home. It’s okay, but ….”

Javier nodded.

“I prefer something more exciting, and when I saw this position advertised online, I thought it was perfect. I live with my parents two blocks away, so I can be here whenever I’m needed. I’m a hard worker, too.” A glimmer of a smile creased Elton’s face.

“There are seven other applicants for this job.”

Elton glanced at the table, rejection apparent in his demeanor.

Javier raised a hand. “However, you’re the only one with previous experience. You would still need some training, but it’s not a stumbling block. The job is yours—on one condition.”

Elton locked his eyes on Javier’s. “Yes, sir?”

“Well, there’re two conditions. The first is, stop calling me sir. And would it be okay for me to call you ET?”

“Yes, sir! I mean …. What should I call you?”

“My parents named me Javier, so that’ll work.” He stretched out a hand. “Welcome to the Brusch Agency.  What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

ET grinned. “I was too nervous to eat, so I’m going to get a burger downstairs. Afterward, I’ll share the news with my parents.”

“I tell you what. I’ll pay for your meal. After you eat, if you want to get on the clock right away, come back up. You can use my laptop to take notes during the rest of the interviews.”

“I’ll be right back!” ET jumped to his feet and rushed away.

***

“Count me in.” TJ half-rose and offered a hand to Javier.

He stuck his hand into the vice and tried not to wince as TJ crushed it. Javier stood. “Welcome aboard. We’ll be in touch in a few days with the contract.”

TJ waved a hand and departed.

As soon as he was gone, Javier flexed the fingers in his hand. “Hope the last guy doesn’t have a grip like his. We better make sure our gym is fully equipped.”

ET nodded and pointed toward the far end of the table. “Your visitor.”

Javier turned and spotted a tall, well-toned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. “Can I help you?”

The woman stepped forward. “I made an appointment—Samantha Bennett. Call me Sam.”

Javier glanced at ET, who shrugged.

“Well, Sam, why didn’t you put your full name on the application?” Javier gestured at an empty chair. “Please sit.” He did the same.

“If I had done that, would you have given me an interview?”

“Sure, why not? I don’t care about anyone’s gender or sexual preferences. What’s important to me is whether a person can hold their own if they end up in a tough situation.”

Sam gazed into Javier’s eyes. “I believe you. Serving in a combat role in Afghanistan shows what I can do when cornered.”

“Agreed. The job is yours if you want it.”

“I accept.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Event: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon and will offer my review next time. I have several other books lined up to read, so I better start turning the pages!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized, Writing Announcements

New Release – The Called (Book 2 of The Calling Series)

The world is changing quickly for Chris now that he’s part of the Immortal Community. With the events of his past finally behind him, he’s still having visions and true magic is gradually taking hold in our world. There are new challenges that the Immortals must face, but Chris is still new and has no real standing in the immortal community. Learning that nothing in the Immortal community is what Chris thought and now having to face new threats, how will his new world unfold? Old enemies must work together and longtime friends may not be trustworthy. Who is lurking in the shadows? Why are they here? What does this mean for witches, immortals and humans?

Can Chris’ visions even be trusted given recent events, and how easily his mind is manipulated? With Juliet, Amanda, and Kirtus by his side they have to prevent the immortal and witch community from being exposed. Can they trust the local witches that are there to assist them? Can they trust their fellow Immortals? New friendships are made, and longtime alliances are called into question. How will The Called defeat these latest threats, and what does it mean for our world?

Excerpt (from chapter one):

The question of death returned to me as I reflected on recent events. You die and your body no longer functions. I was wrong. You die and your soul leaves, and what’s left turns to dust. That wasn’t the case.

Everything I thought was no longer my reality.

I sat with a glass of brandy between my hands, focusing on the fire in Juliet’s office. The oranges, reds, and yellows of the flames danced around the logs, releasing a warmth that barely penetrated my worried exterior. The crackling of the fire tickled my ears as the scent of burning pine lingered in and out of my consciousness. A knot tugged the back of my neck. What was this new vision? Worse yet, what did it have to do with me? Not to mention Juliet, Kirtus, Gregor, and the other Immortals.

“Chris.” Juliet’s gentle voice pulled me from my fog of apprehension.

How long had I been like this? A minute? A day? A year? I wasn’t sure. I turned from the fire. Kirtus sat next to me on the sofa, his coat removed, replaced by an air of worry. His red hair, green and gray eyes typically so intoxicating, brought me no joy. Gregor’s tall solid frame blocked one of Juliet’s bookcases, his rugged face a shadow of concern. All of Juliet’s tomes and books, several of them personal journals of her long life, sat there taunting me. Would they be able to unravel this new vision? This new mystery? They were next to no help with the witches, or my father. The monster. I sipped my brandy, hoping it would take the chill from my soul.

I caught Juliet out of the corner of my eye waiting for me to speak. She was patient as always. She sat with her ivory pant-clad leg crossed and a glass of red in her hand, but deep in her stunning eyes there was unease. Despite her apprehension in moments like this, she appeared so young. Nevertheless, behind that façade of youth was the power of an Immortal who had been around for 1650 years. No one should ever underestimate her.

My eyes narrowed on the red, and my stomach flipped, not from hunger or desire but from this new burden I was meant to carry.

“Would you like a glass?” she offered. Her dark blonde hair, normally combed out, was in a ponytail, making her appear all the younger. I caught a whiff of vanilla and roses, her signature scent. I inhaled deeper, hoping it would soothe me.

I shook my head.

“I realize it’s difficult, but please can you tell us the vision again.” Juliet’s voice was a whisper, but the request rang in my head. How many times would I have to retell this story?

I put the half-full brandy glass on the coffee table, recalling the images to me. “I’m standing in some kind of chamber, but it’s not anyplace I’ve been.” I scanned their three faces. “It’s not here.” My heart pounded louder in my chest. I focused on my breathing a bit more before I continued. “In the center, there is what appears to be a formal table of polished stone with nine ornately carved chairs around it. On the wall…” I kept my eyes closed and focused on the wall. “There’s a mural. You’re in it, Juliet; so is Sybil, Garrett, Fernando, Rahim, all the members of the Council of Light.”

“The council chamber in Egypt.” Juliet tapped her finger on the edge of her glass, the noise echoing throughout her office.

The sentence was barely spoken before all the images of my vision flashed back. It was too much, and my eyes flew open. Juliet, Gregor, and Kirtus surveyed me. Considering their strained expressions, they are worried about me. I waved off their unease and shook my head.

“What else?” Gregor’s deep voice cool and calm, but the glance he shared with Juliet betrayed his composure. He didn’t understand what to do with this information any more than I did.

I pulled the vision to my thoughts and continued, “The wall with the mural began to crack and crumble and I smell smoke. The chamber is on fire…” I focused on Juliet. “The stone table crumbles. The chairs burn and everything is in shambles.”

Juliet nodded and sipped her red.

“Something or someone destroyed it, but I didn’t see them.”

“Who could do such a thing?” Kirtus rubbed his hands together. “Only the Council of Light knows the actual location.”

“What else do you see?” Juliet’s peaceful aura melted my worry and fear. After a moment my thoughts cleared. Normally I would be upset at her for using her gift on me, but I needed it. Especially after all that had happened these last few weeks. My mother’s sacrifice to save me and kill my father still haunted me. My father’s death came after we discovered he was in charge of a coven of witches who wanted to destroy the world. It was a battle we had to fight to stop the witches from releasing true magic into our world.

We failed at that. True magic had still seeped into our world before we cut it off.

I had hoped it was all behind us. I wanted things to return to normal, but my gift of being a Seer had other plans. I focused once more on the brandy, wanting a sip but not taking it; my gaze returned to the fire. More of the vision came forward. “As the room fell to ruin and the mural burned, a large carved wooden chair with inlays of gold and decorated with jewels pushed the debris away.” I closed my eyes again. “There was a shadow figure sitting in the chair.”

“Who is it?” Kirtus asked.

“I’m not sure, but I hear his voice.” I pushed my eyes together tighter to help me hear.

“I’ve stayed out of the way of history, but it’s time to return and bring what is right and just back to this world.” I took a breath. “That’s what he said, but I don’t sense malice from him, but I don’t know. Sorrow and pain, maybe. Sacrifice?”

“What does he look like?” Juliet called me to focus.

“He’s tall and he’s wearing some kind of toga with deep crimson and white stripes. I can’t really see anything else.” My eyes fluttered open.

Everyone was silent. The crackle of the fire might as well have been the rumble of a train going through the room. It was unbearable, and I was about to speak.

Kirtus beat me to it. “Why don’t we take a break?”

I shook my head. “It’s fine. After the man vanished, I was standing on a grass-covered pasture. In front of me was a hill with a young girl sitting there laughing and clapping her hands. She had long brown hair and her gaze planted on an oversized full moon. It was impossibly big.” I sighed. “I’m sorry but that’s all.” I slouched deeper in the couch, focusing my own gaze on the ceiling and the rich wood inlays and trim. “I have no idea what any of it means.” The square patterns offered my brain a relaxing, ordered shape.

“That’s okay.” Gregor’s voice was stronger now as if he realized what needed to be done.

Maybe he did. I couldn’t be sure.

“You’ve given us a lot of information to go through. Add that to the reports of magic both Victor and I have seen. There is a lot happening we still have to address,” Gregor continued. “Once we begin to break it down, perhaps more will come to you.”

I faced him. “Maybe. I hope so, because right now, it feels like a whole lot of nothing. Especially when you are already dealing with these other problems.”

“We’re all new to this Seer business.” Kirtus’s hand rested on my leg.

His touch caused a shiver to rush through my body, and right now, all I wanted to do was take him to me, hold him, and get lost in his arms and warm body.

“Plus, it’s not like you haven’t been through a whole lot of hell over the last few weeks.” Kirtus offered me a grin, the single dimple on his left cheek popping out. It melted away more of my worry.

“Is it possible it’s another witch?” Kirtus asked. “Especially if magic is involved.”

He must have already known about the reports of magic being seen both in San Jose and up in San Francisco. Either way he didn’t seem surprised by this news. Or, he could have an amazing poker face.

I turned toward Juliet, who had left the chair she was sitting in and walked over to her office windows to look out. Her ivory pants and jade-green shirt somehow still looked as crisp as the moment she had glided into my bedroom only a few hours ago.

“I doubt it’s a witch, especially given the comment about staying out of histories way and setting things right.” Juliet’s voice was tight. “The clothing Chris describes is a Roman Senator, I think.” She turned to me and the others. “Another Immortal, maybe, one from the fall of Rome.”

“That doesn’t narrow the list down.” Gregor pulled at his goatee. “Especially if we include the Dark.” His frown stretched farther across his face. “Perhaps we need to talk to Victor.”

“I can ask him,” Kirtus offered. “He mentioned he wanted to see me this week.” He tried not to grimace.

Was it about the lieutenant position and the posting as his representative to the Council of Light? What he mentioned to me earlier tonight? Was that what he wanted to speak to him about?

“Thank you.” Gregor offered a slight bow of his head. “Juliet, is there anyone you know who can help with this?” He walked over to the golden cart with the bottles of alcohol and red on it. He poured himself a glass of red. “What about the witches you know here? What about the local coven? You have a good relationship with them. What about the one who charmed this estate?”

Juliet’s lips pulled into a small frown. She crossed over to the cart and poured herself another glass of red.

“I could have gotten you that.” Gregor’s tone was gentle.

She waved him off before she sipped her drink. “He’s a Healer, not a witch, and I’m not sure if he will assist us; we have an unfortunate history.” She held her drink in one hand and pulled a book from the shelf. She turned to her desk and walked to her seat, a quiet, far-off look about her.

I peeked over at Kirtus. “We should go.” I stood and glanced over to Juliet. “You have a lot on your plate with the reports of magic. I’m sorry I’ve added to the burden, but with this new vision I figured you needed to know.”

“Chris, if you see anything else…” She trailed off.

“Of course.”

“Thank you, Chris.” Gregor extended his hand. “This new vision and perhaps the magic we’ve seen may be related.”

“I hope not.” The pull of Kirtus’s body helped me realize he was by my side. “I’ll see if I can track down anyone on my end.” He glanced over to Juliet. “My network isn’t nearly as broad as yours, but you never know.”

“I think we’ll need all the help we can get,” Gregor affirmed.

I spared a worried glance at Juliet. Something was bothering her, and it wasn’t just my vision or the reports of magic. I didn’t recognize what it was, but I understood my creator well enough to leave her be. She would tell me once she had processed her thoughts and all my vision information.

She met my gaze. “Yes, we’ll speak more. Thank you for understanding.”

“Of course.” I took Kirtus’s hand, and we walked out of her office for the second time tonight.

Pick up a copy at the following:

NineStar Press: https://bit.ly/3uNlkeM
Website: https://www.mdneu.com/shop
UBL: https://books2read.com/The-Called 

About The Author:

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Continue reading “New Release – The Called (Book 2 of The Calling Series)”

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 4, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

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

She collapsed.

* * *

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

* * *

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

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

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

Her stomach growled in response.

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

Tears trickled down her face.

***

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

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

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 17, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon!

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

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

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

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Catarina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

Javier glanced up as someone approached.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

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

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

“Let me see.”

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

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

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

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

“Who?”

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

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Meet The Author Gang

With the current situation keeping people from external pursuits, why not reach out and make some new friends through reading?

Author friends who write alone but come together from time to time to help each other and have fun.

Our stories will make you wonder, laugh, shake with fear or shed a few tears, but most of all, give you escape from the burdens of everyday life. Check out our books and find yourself whisked away to lands and places you’ve never been.

The Author Gang:

Erika M Szabo

https://www.authorerikamszabo.com

“The writing bug bit me on a rainy afternoon when I couldn’t find any new book to read. My daughter had enough of my moping around and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea and I’ve been writing stories, that I like to read, ever since.”

Erika loves to dance to her own tunes and follow her dreams, introduces her story writing skills and her books that are based on creative imagination with themes such as alternate history, urban fantasy, cozy mystery, sweet romance and supernatural stories. Her children’s stories are informative, educational, and deliver moral values in a non-preachy way.

“I followed my dream to become a writer. As an artist, I paint pretty pictures with my brushes, and as a writer, I paint vivid pictures with my words.”

Cindy J. Smith

https://cindysvoices.blogspot.com/

I was taught if I couldn’t say anything nice don’t say anything. Since biting my tongue was painful and soap tasted bad, I developed voices arguing inside my head. When I found writing my thoughts brought me some silence, I took up the pen. It was not long before I realized poetry was much easier than full sentences and I could say exactly what was in my heart.

Strangely, I soon noticed I could put myself in other’s shoes and empathize with their viewpoint.

It was my daughter who encouraged me to share my poems. She believed they would help others cope…letting them know they were not alone in their thoughts.

I write now about every aspect of life in hopes someone may be touched and be encouraged to keep trying.

Christina Weigand

http://www.weigandchris.com/

A writer, wife, and mother of four grown children. She is also Nana to five granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington. She has three published YA Christian Fantasy novels; Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. She also has a woman’s Bible study Women of the Bible: A Study published. Recently the first two books in a MG Fantasy series were published, Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully and Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective with the remaining four to be published the near future. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

Darlene Deluca

https://www.darlenedeluca.com/

“Books . . . chocolate . . . tea. These are a few of my favorite things. Combine them with a sunny summer day, and perhaps a beach or pool, and call me happy!”

Deluca writes women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and mainstream fiction with romantic elements. She likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.

And just so you know . . . she likes a happy, or at least a positive, ending.

Alan Zacher

https://www.amazon.com/Alan-Zacher/e/B00APQXPEW

Author of private investigator mysteries, humorous occult fiction, fantasy adventure fiction, and short stories. After many years of being a “struggling” actor in LA, Alan turned to writing.

“My writing has always been for entertainment–to put a smile on someone’s face who might be having a bad day. I write, mostly, light-horror and murder/mystery. I like these two genres because of the freedom they give me to explore man’s inner emotions, feelings and emotions–but it must always have humor! We must always laugh; mostly at ourselves. I have had MS for serval years now; I know physical and mental pain; so I need much laughter to endure it. Hopefully, my novels do just that–give you much laughter.”

Carol Ann Kauffman

https://visionandverse.blogspot.com/

Carol Ann’s books range from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels are classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and in the hardware and automotive industries. She was a Red Cross volunteer.

Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy, Aruba, and the American Southwest, which tend to show up in her novels.

“I also love to stay home. I get lost in my own little world, where I always have more than a few stories in progress. I grow orchids and African violets, and still like to play in the dirt!”

Suzi Albracht

https://www.amazon.com/Suzi-Albracht/e/B00PB1JNLK/

I am the author of Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers and Paranormal Romance/Ghost novels. My characters have full, normal lives that get twisted into something horrific or intensely strange. Whether they become a ghost and discover a new, undead world to roam or find themselves in pursuit of a dangerous madman with connections to the dark underworld, I want my readers to feel their pain, their joy, their fear… with every right or wrong turn they take along the way.

While I humbly submit that my main influences are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and William Faulkner, my style leans closer to that of early Stephen King. My twitter bio describes me to a T – Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.

You can find my books at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Randall Krzak

http://www.randallkrzak.com

A U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. His residency abroad qualifies him to build rich worlds in his action-adventure novels and short stories. Familiar with customs, laws, and social norms, he promotes these to create authentic characters and scenery.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and two master’s from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Randall and his Scottish wife, Sylvia, currently reside in Dunfermline, Scotland. His hobbies include hiking, reading, candle making, pyrography, and sightseeing.

Why did Randall become a writer? Someone suggested he give it a try, so Randall blames his friend. Randall ventured into fiction writing later in life, with his first novel being released at age 62. In just over three years, he’s published four novels. He enjoys reading and writing global thrillers and has three more underway.

Rebecca Tran

https://rtranbooks.net/

I am a mother, pharmacist and author. I love all things fantasy and sci-fi. Romance is always a welcome bonus. I have two little girls and I love dogs,I have two of those as well, a Boston Terrier and a Pittie mix. So technically some would say I have four kids. I am currently working on my blog as well as my romance and fantasy series. I am the ultimate nerd who can’t choose between Star Wars and Star Trek and thinks that Dr Who would figure out a way to beat all of them. I still read comic books and love watching anime. We can talk for hours if you know who Kirito, Naruto, or Goku are. If you’d like to read my blog or know more about me or my books, please check out my website.

A.L. Butcher

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

L.L. Thomsen

https://llthomsen.com/

Pick up one of L. L. Thomsen’s high fantasy books and you get treated to an explosion of immersive prose, complicated characters, mystery and plots. Her main world, Dallancea, is home to nine realms and a wealth of races – some known, some entirely new. You do not have to be familiar with fantasy to enjoy the books, but those who are will recognise her zest to spin you an epic tale of complexity and to explore her characters to the core.

“I invented my first character when I was around five years old,” L. L. laughs, “they lived in my head and took me on adventures at bedtime after ‘lights out’. These days I allow them onto paper. There’s not enough space in my head anymore.”

L. L. currently lives with her family + two cats and a dog, in the back-of-beyond near the Sherwood Forrest, U.K.

PJ Mann

https://pjmannauthor.com/

My name is Paula and I write novels. I live with my husband and a rabbit. I work as an engineering geologist at a construction firm in Finland, and only in my spare time, I sit down at my desk writing stories. You can consider me a sort of wandering writer, and I try, as much as possible, to be on the move. My stories are strongly influenced by what I experience and see during my travels around the world. I am a multi-genre author, but the red wire of my novels is the suspense/drama.

I love to walk in nature with my camera; photography is another of my passions. I believe it’s very closely connected to writing novels as every image tells a story, for those who stop to listen.

 

R.M. Garino

https://www.rmgarino.com/

How now, folks. I’m R.M. Garino, the author of the Chaos of Souls Series. Ever wish you could bring your D&D characters to life? Well, that’s exactly what we did. Although the overarching story of angels and demons is much older, our two main characters were fleshed out from a D&D game my wife and I played with friends ages ago. They’re introduced, along with their misfit squads, in The Gates of Golorath, and their adventures continue throughout the series. We’ve also released a standalone series, the Chaos of Souls Novellas, which capture separate side stories that enrich the main series. Requiem’s Reach is the first volume, and we continue from there. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, somewhat irreverent fantasy that puts the stories and character first, then come on over and give us a read.

 

© 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

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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