Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 24, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone familiar to you? Having grown up with the original Star Trek series, I’m familiar with the stories, but not the screenwriter. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

New Release!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How strange. Okonjo doesn’t like the dark.

Pulling out his pistol, Buhari edged through the doorway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

I’ll bring another snippet next time.

Authors to Check Out

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

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 17, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

Javier glanced up as someone approached.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

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

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

“Let me see.”

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

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

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

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

“Who?”

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

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 10, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings November 1, 2020

It’s hard to believe another month has already sailed fast. Where does the time go? They, whoever they are, say time marches on. It definitely does!

How did trick or treating go last night? We certainly had some tricks–at least from Mother Nature. All of our attempts to clear up fallen leaves this week have been for naught, between daily rain and increased wind. The good news is there aren’t many leaves left on the trees. The forecast for next week is three-four consecutive days without rain, so no guesses what’ll be on the cards!

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

Benvenuto Cellini, Italian sculptor, goldsmith and author (Perseus); Étienne de La Boétie, French judge and writer; Pierre Pithou, French lawyer and scholar (Les Libertés de l’église gallicane); Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, German poet and translator; Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, French poet and critic; Paul Daniel Longolius, German encylopedist (editor of Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon); W. H. Grattan Flood, Irish author and composer; Stephen Crane, American novelist (Red Badge of Courage); Grantland Rice, American sportswriter (New York Herald Tribune 1914-30, Colliers 1925-37; Sholem Asch, Polish-Jewish novelist and playwright (East River, Three Cities); Hermann Broch, Austrian novelist (Sleepwalkers, Bewitchment); Edmund Blunden, English poet and critic (Undertones of War); Naomi Mitchison, Scottish author (African Heroes, Return to Fairy Hill); Nordahl Grieg, Norwegian poet, dramatist and novelist (The Defeat); Jean Tardieu, French dramatist; Henri Troyat, Russian-French author and historian; Zenna Henderson, American sci-fi author (Anything Box); John H. Secondari, American author and newscaster (Open Hearing); Ilse Aichinger, Austrian writer (Die größere Hoffnung); Edward A de Jongh, Antillian author (The Arch); Gordon R. Dickson, Canadian-American sci-fi author (Genetic General); Rudy Kousbroek, Dutch writer and literary (Leopold the Buch); A. R. Gurney, American playwright (The Dining Room); Kim Krizan, American writer and actress (Slacker, Dazed & Confused); and Louise Boije af Gennäs, Swedish writer and novelist (Stjärnor utan svindel).

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for me. 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 learned yesterday the audio version of Colombian Betrayal has been approved and is heading to retail shortly. Before long, you’ll be able to grab a copy!

For those who are unaware of this story, here’s the synopsis:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

My Work in Progress

I finished my second edit pass of Xavier Sear: Angola this past week. Based on feedback from my advanced reader team, I’m considering changing the name to: Mission: Angola (A Xavier Sear Thriller).

The verdict is still out on the name change, but I have another month to make a decision before the manuscript is ready for submission.

This one was a bit of a challenge to write. Unlike my previous novels, I haven’t been to Angola, so plenty of research went into this one. As one of my readers told me overnight, “… this book went that extra mile. I think it’s a masterpiece.”

There are still a few more readers to finish and I plan to do two more edit passes before I deem the manuscript at a point to send it off. Stay tuned for further updates!

This week I also continued working on Revenge and New World Revolution, but I didn’t finish any chapters–too much time spent on Angola. Hopefully, this upcoming week I’ll be able to move both stories forward.

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. 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, October 18, 2020

Another weekend is upon us. The days keep rolling by. Unfortunately, some things are missing–American college football, being one of them. Yes, I know some universities have been playing (as well as the pros) but it just doesn’t feel the same. My favorite conference is the Big Ten, but so far there hasn’t been a single snap. Games are finally scheduled for next Saturday, but will they play? Only time will tell. Better the teams remain healthy than take risks.

In the meantime, I did manage to clean up some of the leaves. Everything looked great–for a few hours. Now, the ground’s covered again, but since it’s damp outside and it’s Sunday, I’ll leave any outdoor work until the next decent day. At least there’s plenty of writing to keep me going!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 18th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giambattista Marini, Italian poet; Lars Johnstown [Lasse Lucidor], Swedish poet; Adolf Muller, German dramatist and critic; Heinrich von Kleist, German dramatist/poet (Penthesilea); Thomas Love Peacock, English author (Headlong Hall); Logan Pearsall Smith, American essayist and critic; Ernst Didring, Swedish author; Fannie Hurst, novelist (Anatomy of Me); H. L. Davis, American author; Raymond Brulez, Flemish author (Appearance at Kallista); Frank Liedel [Leo van Assche], Flemish writer (Kaperbrief); Katherine Kurtz, UK, sci-fi author (Deryni Rising, Saint Camber); James Robert Baker, American novelist, screenwriter; Ntozake Shange, American author; Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright (The Heidi Chronicles); Terry McMillan, American author; and Bảo Ninh, Vietnamese novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. 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 used my writing time to concentrate on editing Xavier Sear: Angola. As all writers will know, once a manuscript is finished, that’s just the beginning of a novel’s journey.

The first edit pass is now complete. I’ve taken care of several spelling and punctuation errors, as well as choosing four of my foreign characters and gave their voice a bit of a change as they will never use contractions when they speak.

Yesterday I also sent the manuscript to my small cadre of beta readers to find out from those who weren’t involved in chapter reviews (of which I received 526) to see how the story goes. I’m looking forward to their response!

Now, I’ll take a week off from editing and return to other works in progress: Revenge and New World Revolution. Hopefully, I’ll get another chapter completed for each story before I begin the second edit pass.

The sequel to Xavier Sear: Angola will be Xavier Sear: Yemen. Here’s the synopsis:

Xavier Sear is thrust into a new adventure when he accepts an under-the-table assignment from a longtime friend, Ron Vincent. A former CIA operative, Sear takes on any and all missions, which appeal to his sense of justice.

Abudullah Bashari, a retired Yemeni geologist who dabbles in archeology is embroiled in the bitter struggle between the Houthis and the government. He reaches out for help to save his family. A wealthy man, he offers to reveal a damaging secret Saudi Arabia is trying to keep hidden.

Life-threatening danger abounds as Sear visits Yemen and creates a plan to help Bashari’s family escape. However, Hussien Khan al Mishari, a young Saudi prince, threatens to undo Sear’s intervention in pursuit of his own deadly game. Who will be victorious?

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Atlantis Stolen (Sam Reilly Book 3) by Christopher Cartwright. I knew I was in for another action-filled story, and I wasn’t disappointed. Will Sam and his friends be able to find out what really happened to Atlantis and stop another catastrophe? Or will they be too late? This is a well-constructed story and will take readers on a whirlwind ride and they try to unravel the mystery. I don’t like to give spoilers, so you’ll need to get a copy to find out what happens. I can’t wait for the next on in the series!

I also recently read Havoc (The Blackwell Files Book 4) by Steven F. Freeman. Is technology a boon for mankind or something to avoid? Follow cryptologist Alton Blackwell and his girlfriend, FBI Agent Mallory Wilson as they set out on an adventure of a lifetime to Italy. Before long, people they encounter are dying. Who is behind the deaths and why? Will Alton and Mallory be next?

Steven has created an excellent plot with plenty of twists and turns to delight readers who want more than a straightforward story. He definitely shows how to create realistic characters and you’ll be urging Alton and Mallory along as they story unfolds. This is a great page turner and I’ll continue to read more from this 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 11, 2020

I had a goal this week to get all of the leaves that have fallen cleaned up. Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t too cooperative. If a day didn’t begin with rain, it seemed I was telegraphing my plans. Clear blue skies disappeared with clouds rolling in. Before long, there would be a steady downpour, soaking the leaves and making it too difficult to rake them up or use a leaf blower.

I caught a break on Thursday afternoon. Armed with my trusty expandable rake and a leaf blower, I tackled the leaves and managed to get them raked up. Just in time, too–another shower descended.  The lawn and flower beds looked great, at least for a few minutes.

Since Thursday, more rain, accompanied by gusts of wind, ensured my feeble attempt had been in vain. Although not as thick as before, the lawn and flower beds are covered once again. Such is life in the fall!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Melchior de Polignac, French diplomat, Cardinal and poet; Steen Steensen Blicher, Danish poet and short-story writer (E Binddstouw); Albartus Telting, Frisian poet (Frisianch Jierboeckjen); Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Swiss writer; Hans E. Kinck, Norwegian philological and writer (Mot Karnaval); Stefan Octavian Losif, Romanian poet (Beautiful Irine); Gertrud von Le Fort, German writer (The Eternal Woman); Stark Young, American writer (So Red the Rose); Will Vesper, German author (Vom grossen Krieg); Francois Mauriac, French novelist, poet and playwright (Nobel 1952); and R. H. W. Dillard, American poet (The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele and Other Poems).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. 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

Once again, most of my writing time was spent editing Xavier Sear: Angola. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. I finished chapter eleven this week. To date, Revenge has received 186 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

The doors to the conference room opened, and four men rolled in a cart, stopping next to Javier. On top, a massive cake with yellow and black frosting, with an inscription: Bon voyage to the head snake. Next to the cake, a bowl of punch.

The men stepped back and saluted.

Javier returned their salute. “The Snakes! I might have known you’d show up.”

“Someone had to ignore your requests. We couldn’t let your retirement come and go without a farewell.” Viper glanced around. “Where’s AJ?”

The smile on Javier’s face disappeared. “She couldn’t make it. Something to do with another terrorist threat.” He shook his head. “Never mind, she’ll join us later to celebrate.”

“Colonel, why don’t we wrap things up and dig into the cake and punch? I know from a reliable source the punch might contain an extra kick.” Brown pulled a small bottle of whiskey from a bag beneath the table and poured a generous amount into the bowl.

“Sounds great, General. Thank you.”

As the room erupted with applause, everyone formed a line to shake Javier’s hand.

Viper cut the cake, while Mamba dished out the punch.

The attendees scattered around the room into small clusters once General Brown departed. Before long, the Snakes returned to Javier’s side.

Viper held a wrapped package in his hand. “A small gesture of our appreciation, Cobra. Whatever your plans are, know we’ll follow you if you’ll have us.” He handed the parcel to Javier.

“Thanks, guys.” Javier unwrapped the package and burst into laughter. Inside, a framed collage of snakes: vipers, mambas, rattlers, adders, and cobras.

“Fantastic! I’d rather put photos of real snakes on my wall to admire than snapshots of your ugly mugs.”

The men laughed and clapped Javier on the shoulder.

“Well, old-timer, we need to get back to work. We have one final duty to perform.” Viper picked up the certificate and flag, while Adder grabbed the framed photos.

“What’s that?”

“Escort you out of the building.”

Viper led the way. They exited the conference room. Officer and enlisted personnel lined the hallway, saluting as Javier passed.

Once outside, he shook hands with his friends. “See you this evening for the celebration?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” The Snakes nodded a final farewell to their leader and returned inside.

Blinking back the tears threatening to form, Javier turned around and gazed at the Pentagon for a final time. He returned a salute from two non-commissioned officers as they passed on their way into America’s symbol of military might before heading to the parking lot. The end of a journey—what does the future hold for me now?

***

A man in the rear of a black van lowered his camera and grinned. Soon, el coronel, you will receive your punishment for what you did to my brethren. I’ll carve more scars on your face until you beg for death. He gestured for the driver to start the engine. But, you shall never receive mercy.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading the fifth installment of Tony J. Forder’s DI Bliss series, The Death of Justice. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, pitting my analytical skills again DI Bliss as he tries to end a killing spree by an unknown assailant. Who’s killing them and why? What links the victims together?

I’m definitely hooked on Tony’s twist-filled plots and larger-than-life characters. If you’re looking for a series you can sink your teeth into, I can definitely recommend DI Bliss. Can’t wait to read the next one!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, October 4, 2020

Back in late spring, I was moving a heavy flower pot from the driveway where it had just been watered back to its normal location on the edge of the front patio/porch. Unfortunately, it slipped from my hands!

No problem–my right foot was there to cushion the pot’s landing. If the plant could talk, I’m sure it would have said something about the poor treatment. Anyway, the pot was safe! Couldn’t say as much for my foot–my middle toe was no longer straight!

About three weeks ago, that offending appendage tried to move an immovable (at least very heavy) object. Once again, the middle toe bore the brunt of the onslaught. It anything there more of a crook to it than ever before!

I hoped that was the last of the punishment my poor toe was to receive, at least until it made a full recovery. No such luck–three nights ago, I dropped a handheld vacuum cleaner. Yep–it headed straight for the toe as if there was a bullseye painted on it! Now, its about twice the size it should be, but at least I’m still able to hobble about. If I ever needed an excuse to back off on some chore and just write, this was it!

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

Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Spanish playwright (Del Rey Abajo Ninguno); François Guizot, French historian and politician (17th Prime Minister of France); John Richardson, Canadian writer (Wacousta, or the prophecy); Juliette Adam, French author (Salon/Nouvelle Revue) and feminist; Edward Stratemeyer, American author (The Rover Boys); Hugh McCrae, Australian writer and poet (Satyrs and Sunlight: Sylvarum Libri); Damon Runyon, American journalist and writer (Guys & Dolls-based on his work); Francis Bull, Norwegian writer (Norsk literature historian); Sergei Yesenin, Russian lyric poet; Koos Schuur, Dutch journalist/poet (7 Curses); Alvin Toffler, author (Future Shock, Power Shift, The Third Wave); Sally Mary Caroline Belfrage, American-born, British-based writer; Jackie Collins, British-American author (The Stud, Lucky); Anne Rice, author (Interview with a Vampire); Roy Blount, Jr., American writer; Luis Sepúlveda, Chilean writer and political activist (The Old Man Who Read Love Stories); Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov, Kazakh poet; and Kazuki Takahashi, Japanese author.

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Jackie Collins and Anne Rice. I don’t remember reading any of their work, but I’m certainly familiar with them. 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

During October, Colombian Betrayal is participating in a Bookfunnel promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Crime, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller novels. If you have time, why not stop by and check out the varied selection of single novels (many part of a series) or even some of the boxed sets.

The authors will be very grateful, and who knows, you might just find a story you’ve been searching for!

Just click on Bookfunnel to get to the list. Many thanks!

My Work in Progress

This week, I continued using most of my writing time with editing Xavier Sear: Angola. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

Here’s a snippet:

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” General Douglas MacArthur, during his farewell speech at West Point Military Academy, 12 May 1962

***

Colonel Javier Smith woke to the strains of Born in the U.S.A. echoing in the room. He rolled over and grabbed his phone. “Yeah?”

“Are you up yet?” AJ Bruce chuckled. “It’s five a.m. You wanted me to make sure you were up for your big day.”

“You’re pretty cheerful this morning.” He glanced at the clock. Yep—five a.m. “How much coffee did you drink?”

“Just started my second cup.” She slurped her coffee. “See you tonight?”

“You betcha.” Javier broke the connection and shook the cobwebs from his head. He propelled his six-foot-four-inch muscular body from the bed and dashed into the bathroom for a quick shower. After drying himself and combing his black hair, he returned to the bedroom. Before he finished dressing, he glanced at the ribbon rack on his uniform. First and last time to wear all of them at once.

Javier ran a finger along the top decorations: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster). A dozen other ribbons followed.

Ten minutes later, he found a rare empty parking spot in front of the Pentagon. After climbing out of his Hummer, he adjusted his uniform and dashed inside the building. Once he cleared security, he walked through the corridors, nodding to a few military officers he recognized before arriving at his office.

An envelope lay on the center of Javier’s desk. He placed his cover on the credenza and sat in his executive-style chair. Curious, he picked up the plain white envelope with Colonel Javier Smith typed on the front in bold letters.

Inside, a single sheet of paper.

Colonel Smith,

Your presence is required in my office at 12:45. You are hereby ordered to attend a meeting afterward in the JCS Conference Room. Please be in full uniform.

General Gordon B. Brown

Chief of Staff of the Army

Javier dropped the note on the desk. “I told them no send-off. Why doesn’t anyone listen?” He shook his head and chuckled. “I wonder who’s behind this?”

More next time.

That’s all for this week as I still didn’t get a chance to write down my thoughts about recent books I read. 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, 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, August 23, 2020

We’ve had a week of unsettled weather, with plenty of clouds, multiple showers–even a thunderstorm. There were occasional outbreaks of sunshine, but the temperatures were more like what we expect in late September or early October, not in August. At least today began with plenty of brilliant sunshine. Nor sure how long it will last, but we’ll take what Mother Nature dishes out.

I had to laugh at an article I scanned in this morning’s paper. Apparently, there’s a group of people (referred to as snowflakes in the article), who are offended by the use of a period to end a text message. They say this indicates the sender is insincere.

Huh? Since when did proper punctuation become offensive? How long will it take before there’s a push to ban teaching of punctuation and capitalization in the schools?  I’ve seen a few books available for sale where the authors clearly don’t care. In fact, I read a post somewhere where one of these authors mentioned it doesn’t matter if a book is full of improper grammar, poor punctuation, incorrect capitalization, etc., as long as it’s a good story. 

I tried reading one of these books during the past week. Fortunately, I didn’t pay a penny for it. Good thing, as I couldn’t get past the first chapter. I’m not expert on these things, but I do try hard to use what I do know.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 23rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Fulvio Testi, Italian poet (Pianto d’Italia); Moritz B. Cantor, German historian of mathematics; William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher; William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor; Marcel Schwob, French writer and journalist (Le Croisade des Enfants); Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology); Alexander Grin, Russian novelist (Jessie and Morgiana); Will Cuppy, American humorist (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody); Jo Sternheim, Dutch actor and playwright (Fatherland); Alfred Lichtenstein, German writer; Cecil Rolph Hewitt, English journalist and policeman; Mauritius van Haegendoren, Flemish historian and senator; Arthur Adamov, Russian-French playwright (Paolo Paoli); Albert Alberts, Dutch writer and journalist (French battle); Jara Ribnikar, Serbian writer; Ephraim Kishon, Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and Oscar-nominated film director; Clifford Geertz, American anthropologist (symbolic anthropology); Roy Strong, English writer, art historian and director (Victoria & Albert Museum); Nelson DeMille, American action adventure and suspense novels author (Plum Island); Andrei Pleşu, Romanian writer and essayist; John Bauldie, British music journalist; Charles Busch, American actor, screenwriter, playwright and drag queen (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife); Roger Avary, Canadian-American screenwriter, director, and producer (Pulp Fiction); and Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor.

This week I certainly recognized one name: Nelson DeMille. Anyone familiar to you? 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 was on a roll with my writing, having completed chapters 34-36 of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 426 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of seventeen in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The maître d‘ greeted him and escorted him to a table sheltered by an awning. “Are you expecting anyone to join you, Doctor Okonjo?”

“Yes, Clifford. One man. He’ll ask for my table.”

“Very good, Doctor.” Clifford snapped his fingers and a waiter hurried to the table, a tray perched on one hand. “ I took the liberty of ordering your favorite drink—a Mongozo beer.”

“Excellent. Leave me until my guest arrives.”

Clifford nodded as he backed away from the table.

Okonjo sipped his beer, savoring the flavor of the palm nuts used to make the brew. He glanced at the beach and smiled as two couples strolled through the sand, arm-in-arm. I’m tired of the games. I hope this contact brings usable information.

Twenty minutes later, Clifford reappeared, leading a short slender man, wearing a Western-style suit. Scars crisscrossed his face.

After seating Okonjo’s guest, he placed a beer in front of him and departed.

“So. You requested this meeting. I hope you bring me what I want.”

The man sipped his drink, his gaze focused on Okonjo. “My leader sends his greetings. Are his words what you want to hear?” He shrugged. “That is up to you to decide. He instructed to tell me he had to relocate his camp, so he requires additional funds to pay off the other groups who allowed him to move without interference.”

Okonjo pursed his lips. “How much this time?”

“The usual—all in diamonds.”

“He’ll have to wait. I won’t receive more until the weekend.” Assuming Buhari is successful. “What about Mwanga’s son? Does he still live?”

The man grinned. “For now. He is useful as my leader’s woman is with child.”

“When will he be dealt with?” Okonjo drained his glass. “His departure will provide me with the leverage I require.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You are not as important as you think. My leader is an equal partner with you in creating the new Africa.” He waved a finger in front of Okonjo. “Do not be impatient.”

“Is that so?” Okonjo arched his brows and aimed the pistol in his lap at his guest. “You are nothing but a messenger. Be careful, or you will meet whatever idol you worship sooner than you expect.”

“Are you threatening me?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Our business is finished.”

Okonjo raised his arm, showing his pistol. “Sit down, or I’ll blow a hole through you. This is my restaurant, so I could kill you without any interference.”

The man gulped and leaned over the table, his hands supporting him. “I’ll return in two days. You better have the payment.”

“Here’s a reminder for you.” Okonjo raised his left hand. The dagger flashed in the light as he jabbed the blade downward.

“Yeeeah!”

The man grabbed his hand, blood spurting from the hole.

Okonjo stood and glared across the table. He turned when Clifford rushed forward. “Show my guest out the back door. My driver will take care of him.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I received an advanced copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Nicolette, which will formally hit the streets on August 30th. If you’re a fan of Blair’s writing like I am, you’ll appreciate how Lt. Kate Gazzara digs into another case to find a killer.

Who killed Nicolette, and why? After all, she was just a young woman searching for true love. Follow Lt. Gazzara and her team as they unravel the threads they come across to finally solve the case. But at what expense? Clearly Lt. Gazzara is overworked and under enormous pressure. However, with her guiding hand, the team follows their leads, piecing together the clues. No spoiler alert here–you’ll need to grab a copy to find out what happens.

I will say this is another excellent plot from a master storyteller. With plenty of twists and turns, and loads of realistic characters, you’ll enjoy the ride. I know I did!

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, March 8, 2020

The weather cooperated enough for the builder to finally tackle the plans for the front porch. Everything has now had 3-4 days to cure and is covered under heavy plastic to protect it from the frost we’ve had a couple of mornings. I’ll be removing the covering today, and the builder will be back tomorrow (weather permitting) to do the top step leading into the house and the pointing.

In the meantime, I was able to remove the top soil (only six inches) and a foot of clay and rubble from two of the flower beds in front of the house. They’ve been refilled with new top soil. This week, I’ll replant everything I moved and we’ll begin adding new things.

On to better things. Who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann von Rist, German composer and poet known for his hymns; Wilhelm Bleek, German linguist (Father of Bantu Philology); oão de Deus [Sao Bartolomeu de Messines], Portuguese poet (Flores do Campo); Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows); Mechtilde Lichnowsky, German writer; Stuart Chase, American writer and economist (The Tragedy of Waste); Eric Linklater, British novelist and poet (Blue Swallows); Elmer Keith, American firearms enthusiast and author (Guns & Ammo); Robert Wolfgang Schnell, German writer; A Marja, [ATE Mooy], Dutch literary (Shreds on the River; Heinar Kipphardt, German writer and playwright (In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer); Sembene Ousmane, Senegalese author/novelist/director (Doctor Noir); Victor “Toby” Neuberg, teacher/writer; John McPhee, American author; Richard Farina, American writer and folk rocker (Reflections in a Crystal Wind); George William Reed, astronomy writer/cartoonist (Dark Sky Legacy); and Jim Bouton, American baseball pitcher, author, broadcaster (NY Yankees, MLB All Star 1968, “Ball Four”).

Recognize anyone? No one stood out for me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

New Release!

I mentioned last week the release of Colombian Betrayal, the first novel in my Bruce & Smith thriller series.

To celebrate its release, I’ve teamed with other thriller authors to bring you a bevy of reading material. Some authors you might recognize, while others could very well be new to you.

To find out more, click on BookFunnel and explore the options available! I hope you find something of interest!

 

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s the first snippet from Angola:

The young doctor paused outside the hospital tent and glanced at the clear blue sky. The pain and suffering are like a kick in the stomach. It’s worse when I see the children. Doctor Peter Mwanga gritted his teeth before grabbing the tent flap and entering.

With a smile plastered across his face, he stopped at the first bed. “Good morning, little one.”

There was no answer from the emaciated child lying motionless on the cot of the once snow-white sheets, now a dingy gray.

“Let me examine your dressings.” He pushed a three-legged camp chair closer. With gentle motions, he touched the bandage covering the right side of her face.

The little girl turned away. Tomorrow would start her third week at the makeshift hospital.

She understands what’s to follow will be unpleasant and even painful. The doctor blinked as he helped her roll back over. “Mathy, I will be as gentle as possible. I must see how your cheek is doing, okay?”

After she gave a slight nod, the doctor peeled back the tape.

Mathy whimpered, tears streaking her chocolate brown skin.

“I’m sorry. I’m trying to be careful.”

She winced when he pulled the tape from her forehead, yanking out a few hairs.

“Almost done.” He loosened the adhesive and removed the bandage hiding the stitches and discolored flesh. “Finished. You’ve been a brave girl.” He leaned closer to examine the wound, and steeled himself against the pain he knew he would inflict on her. “We’ll give this a clean, and you’ll feel better.”

Mathy gave him a brief smile and squeezed his hand.

“Doctor Mwanga?”

He glanced over his shoulder. A nurse stood nearby, accompanied by a stranger. The doctor patted Mathy on the arm and stood. “Yes?”

“Doctor Mwanga, this is Pastor Eric Marker from Australia. He brought a group to work with us for the next two weeks.”

Mwanga tried his best to make his smile look sincere, but he was pretty sure it didn’t. Great. Another foreign do-gooder who shows up for two weeks before returning to their normal lives. “Nice to meet you, Pastor. This is Mathy Mahlangu. She is a very brave girl. We examined her stitches this morning. I am happy to report she is doing just fine.”

Standing and facing the newcomer, Dr. Peter Mwanga called to a nurse at the far end of the open-air tent. “You can clean her face and put on fresh bandages. Our little one will be going home tomorrow.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Marker squinted as he stared at the girl.

“Cancrum oris. Heard of it?”

The preacher shook his head.

“I thought not. It is a strange, horrible disease. It is born of malnutrition, poor hygiene, and one of a million African bacteria that attack a weakened vessel. You see, the mucous membranes of the mouth develop ulcers, then a rapid transformation occurs.” Mwanga turned, grabbed a clipboard from the end of Mathy’s bed before resuming his explanation.

“Painless tissue degeneration begins. Without treatment, which I may say, is in nearly all cases, it attacks the tissue around the bones in the face. By the time we see the child, substantial portions of the cheek and jaws are degraded to the point the teeth, gums, and often the tongue are exposed.”

The pastor glanced from Mwanga to the bed next to Mathy. “Like him?”

A boy of about twelve sat on the bed playing with a small plastic car. The right side of his cheek was completely eaten away, exposing his top and bottom teeth, and far into his lower jaw.

“Yes. We operate on him tomorrow.”

Boom! Rat-a-tat! Blam! Boom!

“What was that?” Marker’s eyes flitted toward the exit, wild with fear.

Explosions filled the air. Screams shattered the morning’s tranquility.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I just finished reading Nothing New Under The Sun, the first novel in the Carter Devereux mystery series by JC Ryan. I didn’t get a chance to compile my thoughts, so I’ll provide my review next time.

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