Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 6, 2020

It’s been a busy week getting things finished outside. I finally tackled the block-paved driveway. What was once gray is more or less restored to its regular color of red and brown bricks. It’ll need a second wash so I can clean the spots I missed, but it looks so much better, if I do say so myself.

For those celebrating the traditional but unofficial ‘end of summer’ Labor Day weekend, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable time!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 6th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Emanuel van Meteren, Flemish merchant and historian; Moses Mendelssohn, German Jewish enlightenment philosopher (Haksalah); Anton Diabelli, Austria publisher and composer; Frances Wright, Scottish writer and lecturer; Horatio Greenough, American neo-classical sculptor and writer (Form & Function); Johanna D Courtmans-Berchmans, Flemish author (Rozeken Pot); Nicolae Filimon, Romanian writer and critic (Ciocoii Vechi Si Noi); Zelia Nuttall, American archeologist and historian; Rodolfo Lenz, German-Chilian linguist (El Papiamento); Felix Salten [Siegmund Salzmann], Austrian author (Bambi, a Life in the Woods); Willem Adriaan Bonger, Dutch criminologist (Race & Crime); Franz Theodor Csokor, Austrian author (Writings on the Wall); Mario Praz, Italian literary critic and scholar (La carne, la morte, e il diavolo); Julien Green, American-French writer (Frere Francois); Arvi Kivimaa, Finnish writer (Groenende Cross); John Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher; Elizabeth Ferrars, British crime writer; Carmen Laforet, Spanish author; Andrea Camilleri, Italian author (Inspector Montalbano novels; Robert M. Pirsig, American author (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance); Dan Cragg, American soldier and author; Gordon DeMarco, American writer and activist; Alice Sebold, American novelist (The Almost Moon); Christopher Brookmyre, Scottish writer (Quite Ugly One Morning); and China Miéville, English fantasy fiction writer (Perdido Street Station).

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t find any names I’m familiar with. 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

This week, I began the editing process for Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 484 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of nineteen in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear raced toward the shore. Chest heaving, he waded in the shallows before dragging himself up the embankment. Collapsing in the grass, he propped himself up on an arm and gazed at the ferry as it approached its docking station.

Guzman and Kruger stood next to the vehicles, grins plastered on their faces.

Kruger cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hey, Sear! Watch out for the Nile crocs!”

Eyes wide, Sear jumped to his feet. “Where?” Not finding anything coming after him, he walked over to the dirt road, water dripping from his clothes. He waited as the gate dropped on the ferry.

Kruger and Guzman drove the cargo vehicles onto land, stopping by Sear and jumping out.

“You going to train for the next Olympics?” Guzman punched Sear in the shoulder. “Your dive from the boat would be a medal winner off the high platform.”

“Ha, ha.” He glared at his friends. “So, why didn’t you jump when the mortar came at us?”

“What mortar?” Kruger pointed to the far shore where the locals stood laughing and waving. “Just a prank by the villagers to catch unsuspecting travelers. The ferry owner has a speaker rigged up and cranks it up when the boat’s about halfway across.” He shaded his eyes from the bright sunlight as he glanced at the river. “At least there weren’t any crocs—today.”

“Okay, you’ve had your fun. Let’s move.” Sear shook his head, showering Guzman and Kruger with water.

“Hey! Cut it out. I had nothing to do with it.” Guzman raised his hands in the air and laughed.

“Just remember—paybacks are hell.”


They continued on in silence, the drone of the engine making it difficult to stay awake.

Sear’s head nodded, his chin dropping to his chest. Before long, snores filled the cabin.

Two hours later, Kruger jabbed Sear’s shoulder. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty!”

With a start, Sear jumped, pulling his SIG Sauer P320 from its holster.

“Whoa, kemosabe!” Kruger raised a hand.

“Why’d you wake me? I was just enjoying myself.”

Kruger rolled his eyes. Spare me the details, boss. According to my friends in Lusaka, we’ll pass by a couple of villages on the way to our rendezvous point. Do you want to stop for lunch?” He laughed.

Sear raised his brows. “Uh. No. There are plenty of MREs in the shipment.”

“Oh, yes. American Meals Rarely Edible. I remember them.” He pantomimed shoving two fingers down his throat. “If I can’t catch something to eat and cook, I supposed I’ll have to struggle with them.”


In no time at all, the cargo was stowed away, except for a large item. Together, they grabbed the Zodiac and manhandled it on top of the other cargo. As they turned around, ten men stepped forward.

“Now what?” Sear stared at a tall, thick-chested man who stood forward of the others. A shakedown or worse?

“Hands up. We take cargo.” The apparent leader grinned. “We take you too—maybe someone pay ransom.” He raised an arm.

Several men ran forward, grabbing Sear, Kruger, and Guzman. They clubbed the men to the ground before binding their hands and feet with rope.

“Wait!” Sear struggled against two men trying to tie his feet. “What do you want? We’ll pay—”

Darkness descended as Sear blacked out from the blow to the back of his head.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder. This is the fourth novel in Tony’s DI Bliss series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite recovering from a road collision, Bliss is whisked from the hospital to the scene of a vicious assault. Was the victim being stalked or was this a random murder?

Tony keeps his readers guessing with a superb plot, filled with enough twists and twists to keep you turning the pages to find out what happened. We also learn more about Bliss and how his past comes back to haunt him. For those of you who enjoy intense crime and mystery thrillers, this one’s for you!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 14, 2020

The bright sunshine and warm temperature we experience during May and the early part of June have given way to overcast skies, rain, wind, and even fog. One positive note to this–Mother Nature is watering the plants so I don’t have too. Even the neighborhood stray cat is taking refuge in one of the two houses we put in the back. Glad to see him staying dry!

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

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giglio Gregorio Giraldi, Italian poet; Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author (Uncle Tom’s Cabin); John Bartlett, American writer and publisher (compiled Familiar Quotations); Louis Finkelstein, American historian and theologist (Pharizees); René Char, French poet and painter; Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator; Winifred Milius Lubell, American illustrator and writer (The Outer Lands); Judith Kerr, British children’s writer and illustrator (The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog books); Vladimir Solouchin, Russian writer; Barbara Avedon, American scriptwriter (Bewitched); Hermann Kant, German writer; Charles McCarry, American author and former CIA spy (The Tears of Autumn); Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-American novelist (The Painted Bird, Being There); Irmelin Sandman Lilius, Swedish-Finnish writer; ohn F. MacArthur, American evangelist and author; John Edgar Wideman, American writer (Brothers and Keepers); Laurie Colwin, American author (Happy All the Time); Harry Turtledove, American author (The Guns of the South); and Leon Wieseltier, American writer (Kaddish).

Recognize anyone? One name stood out for me. Not only I heard of Harriet Beecher Stowe, but I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin (a long time ago). Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

Another positive regarding the weather is more time to write. This week I finished chapter Xavier Sear: Angola chapter twenty-four and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 293 chapter reviews, an increase of fourteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

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

After dropping his luggage in his double room, he grabbed his laptop and checked for messages.

To: Sear, Guzman

From: Kruger

Ag, man! Count me in. Send details.

Before he responded, a ping indicated another message:

To: Sear, Kruger

From: Guzman

Add me to the party.

Sear smiled and began typing his response:

Glad you’ve both joined the party. Our mission is to recover a doctor named Peter. He’s Angolan, the son of a local government official, who was kidnapped while working in the DRC. Since we’re gate crashing, I’m debating whether to use a coastal insertion into Angola or enter from Zambia.

A Portuguese friend is already on the ground, meeting with the government official, a former rebel commander. Rendezvous point and kick-off date to be provided shortly.

Attached is a copy of the weapons, communications gear, and supplies I ordered. Please advise if anything should be added.

Once the email was, Sear pulled up a map of Angola and began studying the common border with the DRC.

Hmm. He ran a Google search on Lucapa. Might be a possibility. Some foreigners in the area because of the diamond mines. Plenty of Congolese refugees, so the border could be porous. What about Saurimo? Similar to Lucapa, but a bit larger—might be easier to blend in. Also has a small airport—alternative way to get our equipment in if there is someone we can bribe to look the other way?

Sear stood and stretched his arms. Thirsty. Glad I asked them to put a small fridge in for me. He grabbed a Coke, popped the top, and returned to his research.


Sear checked for flights and found what he was looking for, with departure the evening after Guzman arrives. After purchasing two first-class tickets, he composed an email to his friends.

To: Kruger, Guzman

From: Sear

Party’s on. Guzman and I will arrive in Lusaka in forty-eight hours. Kruger, meet us at the airport. Requested boat, rifle, knives, explosives, and Cracker Jacks will be added to the delivery. Recommend we infil via vehicle from Zambia and rendezvous with remaining party members at Saurimo.

After activating the Tor software, Sear updated his weapons and supply requests. Satisfied with their progress, he logged out of his laptop, placed it back in the traveling case, and headed out the door to one of the nearby restaurants.

More next time.

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

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to work on two novels simultaneously, but as long as the words continue to flow, I’ll capture them. I can always make changes during the editing phase.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read Serenity (The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series Book 1) by Craig A. Hart. Set in Michigan, Craig has created a fast-moving plot filled with real-life characters. Follow Shelby as he’s involved in a deadly clash between members of a local family and those providing a new drug source into their territory.

This is well-written and definitely will keep you turning the pages. I don’t like to provide any spoilers, so you’ll have to grab a copy and decide for yourself. I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series.

I also completed Bones of the Innocent: A Mason Collins Crime Thriller 3 by John A. Connell. Who’s kidnapping teenagers from the streets of Tangiers? Mason is hired to investigate the disappearance of three girls from wealthy expats living in the city, since the local police are either unable or unwilling to purse the crimes. Before long,, Mason also becomes a target.

This is a riveting story with a plot full of twists and turns. Commiseration or anger toward the parents will depend upon your viewpoint but you’ll find yourself drawn into the story. Hang on to your seat as you urge Mason on as he tries to solve the case. Can’t wait to read another Mason Collins novel!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved