Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 11, 2021

Decent spring weather continues to evade us. During the past week, we’ve had a frost each morning, with daytime temperatures struggling to get above 45F/7C. While there’s been plenty of sunshine each day, we’ve also had multiple snow squalls. Fortunately, there hasn’t been any accumulation, but we can see damage to new buds on several shrubs and trees due to the crazy weather.

With the lifting of some Covid restrictions, we had an opportunity to visit a local garden center/nursery and pick up a few hardy perennials which we know from experience can handle the current weather. They’re in the ground and seem to be loving it!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 11th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Antoine Coypel, French painter and poet; Christopher Smart, English poet & journalist (Ceremony of Carols); Manuel Jose Quintana, Spanish author and poet (El Duque de Viseo); Claude Tillier, French journalist and writer (My Uncle Benjamin); Bernard O’Dowd, Australian poet; Léo-Paul Desrosiers, Quebec novelist (Les Engagés du Grand Portage); Sándor Márai, Hungarian writer (A gyertyák csonkig égnek); Glenway Wescott, American writer (Apartment in Athens); Quentin Reynolds, American newscaster (Its News to Me) and author (FBI); József Attila, Hungarian poet; Leo Rosten, American writer and humourist (Joys of Yiddish); David Westheimer, American novelist (Von Ryan’s Express); Marlen Haushofer, Austrian writer (The Wall); Antoine Blondin, French writer (L’Europe buissonnière); Theodore Isaac Rubin, American psychiatrist and author credited with popularising psychotherapy; Clive Exton, British scriptwriter and playwright; Tony Brown, American journalist (Tony Brown’s Journal); Mark Strand, American poet, editor and translator (Another Republic); Ellen Goodman, American political columnist (Pulitzer 1980); John Milius, American screenwriter (Red Dawn, 1941, Big Wednesday); James Patrick Kelly, American sci-fi author (Think Like a Dinosaur); and Sergei Lukyanenko, Russian sci-fi author (Labyrinth of Reflections).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any.  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 received great news this week. Colombian Betrayal is now a semi-finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Colombian Betrayal will now compete with thirteen other novels for the finalist positions. This year, there will be five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will be announced on April 25th. Fingers crossed my novel becomes one of the finalists and continues its journey!

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

This week I completed chapters twenty-eight and twenty-nine of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Both are now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 449. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

After dusk set, Bennie and Justin headed to the basement. Both wore clown masks. One of them flicked on the dim light, and they thundered down the stairs.

Heidi bolted upright, keeping the chair between her and the two men. “Stay away from me!”

“Relax, princess.” Justin stepped closer, a cloth in his hand. “We’re going to take a little ride.”

Heidi rushed to a corner of the room, pressing her back against the wall. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—”

“You’ll what?” Bennie pointed at the ceiling. “Sound-suppression tiles. While someone upstairs might hear you, no one outside this building will.” He grinned. “You belong to us.”

Heidi jerked away as Bennie tried to grab her hand. She swung a fist, catching him on the side of his mouth. “Bastard!” She stepped forward, thrusting a knee into his groin.

He collapsed to the floor, hands covering his wounded parts.

Before Heidi realized where the other clown was, Justin grabbed her in a bear hug. He worked the cloth into Heidi’s mouth before pinning her against the wall.

“Help me, Bennie!” Justin grabbed one of Heidi’s hands and wrenched it behind her back. “Quit playing with yourself and help tie her up.”

“But she kneed me. It hurts like hell!”

“Just help me.” Justin grabbed Heidi’s hair and slammed her forehead into the wall.

She dropped to the floor.

***

The rocking of a vehicle brought Heidi out of her stupor. She moaned as she struggled against her bonds, eventually freeing herself from the loosely-tied rope. Where are they taking me? Need to wait for a chance to escape.

The car slowed and turned to the right, continuing along a rut-filled road.

Heidi bounced a few times against the trunk’s roof. “Ow!”

A few minutes later, the vehicle stopped. Two doors slammed.

Footsteps drew near.

Heidi tensed.

The trunk opened. Hands reached inside and yanked her out, spilling her onto the ground.

Both men laughed.

One waved a gun. “Get up, princess. Time to go.”  He gestured toward a copse. “We’re gonna have some fun.”

Heidi pretended to stumble as she followed a narrow path along the edge of a lake. When one of them grabbed her, she lashed out, catching the man in the kneecap.

“Get out of the way, Bennie! She’s gonna escape!”

Heidi ran through the thick trees. “Help! Rape!”

A shot echoed across the water. “Come back, bitch!”

Another shot.

Heidi screamed and lurched forward.

Justin stood over her, the pistol aimed at her head. “You’re mine.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Legends: 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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 14, 2021

Another week has sailed past. Things are shaping up nicely in the flower beds, but just with plants that survived the winter. We haven’t ordered anything for this season as the weather is still too unsettled. A couple of days ago, we had thunder, lightning, and enough hail to cover the ground as if it had snowed.

Today we’re off to a fresh start, with overcast skies and a bitter breeze, making it feel much colder than it really is. Who knows what’s in store for us, but rain is in the forecast.

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. (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 March 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Théodore de Banville, French writer; Antonio de Castro Alves, Brazilian poet (Espumas Flutuantes); Alexandru Macedonski, Romanian writer; John Lane, British publisher (The Bodley Head); Algernon Blackwood, English novelist (The Willows); Isadore Gilbert Mudge, American librarian and author (Thackeray Dictionary); Carel T Scharten, Dutch poet and writer (Forces of the Future); Sylvia Beach, American publisher and bookseller (Shakespeare and Company); John P Strijbos, Dutch writer (Wandering through South-Africa); Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues, French writer (Margin); Horton Foote, American author, playwright and screenwriter; Macha Louis Rosenthal, critic/poet; Max Shulman, novelist (Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Tender Trap); Colin Fletcher, Welsh author and pioneering backpacker (Walking Through Time); John Barrington Wain, English novelist/poet (Hurry on Down); Bertrand Blier, novelist/director (Going Places); Peter Paul Zahl, writer; Pam Ayres, British poet; Billy Crystal, Long Beach, New York, American actor, writer, producer (Soap, City Slickers); Michael Stedman, British World War I Historian and Author; Andrew Robinson, British author; Tad Williams, American fantasy and science fiction author; and Kevin Williamson, American screenwriter.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognise is Billy Crystal. 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). My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. Mission: Angola is also participating in a separate promotion for New Releases – Mystery/Thriller. There are forty-two novels in this promotion, all of which have been released since October 2020. Please stop by–you might meet your next favorite author!

I’m also pleased to announce the release of my first non-fiction feature article, “Black Ops in Fiction.” It’s now live on the web daily, Mystery & Suspense Magazine. Please check it out!

My Work in Progress

This week, I finished chapters twenty-four and twenty-five of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Both chapters were posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another twenty new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 392. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Dressed in a blue sport shirt and tan chinos, Javier sat at a corner table, waiting for three new employees. He opened his laptop and grinned as he reread the short email:

Congratulations! The establishment of the Brusch Agency is hereby approved and duly recorded in all relevant databases. Good luck!

Javier sipped on an orange juice, the remains of his breakfast on a nearby plate. After checking for additional emails, he turned his laptop off.

“Good morning, sir!” Elton stood at attention near the table.

“Hey, ET. Stop with the formality. Call me Javier or boss, but stop with the sir. That retired when I did. And don’t call me Mister Smith.” Javier gestured to an empty chair. “Take a seat.”

“Yes, sir—I mean, okay, Javier.” Elton grinned as he sat. “I’m so excited—this is my first real job—with a professional.”

Javier chuckled. “I hope I don’t disappoint you. We both put on our trousers the same way.” He gestured at the menu, still on the table. “Want something to eat while we wait for the others.”

“No, thanks. I had a big bowl of Cornflakes before coming here.”

Of course, you did. I’m surprised it wasn’t Wheaties. “Okay.” He waved to a passing waitress and asked for a coffee.

She glanced at Elton, who nodded.

Javier reached down by a table leg and retrieved his backpack. He pulled out an envelope and pushed it toward Elton. “This contains your keys for our new property, along with the security alarm codes. There are also two copies of your contract. Check it over, and if you’re satisfied, sign and date both of them. You keep one, and I’ll take the other.” Javier yanked two more envelopes from his bag. “These are for Sindee and Bruno. Take care of things for me.”

Elton nodded. “Sure thing, boss.”

Two people followed the waitress, who carried a loaded tray. After she deposited four cups, a pot of coffee, and a plate of donuts on the stable, she departed.

The other two grabbed empty chairs.

“Everyone’s made it.” Javier grinned. “Let’s eat and drink up. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk to the office.”

Conversation at the table trickled to a minimum as everyone became serious about claiming their share of the coffee and pastries.

When Javier noticed everyone was finished, he waved for the bill.

A waiter rushed over, holding a wallet. “Anything else, sir?”

Javier shook his head. “Not today—time for us to head to work.” He peeked inside the folder before pulling out his wallet. Slipping the funds plus including a substantial tip into the folder, he handed it back to the waiter and stood. “See you again—soon.”

Out on the street, Javier pointed and set off on a rapid clip, the others trailing behind.

“Hey, boss.” Elton stopped and sucked in air. “Where’s the fire?”

Javier chuckled. “No fire—just need to work off the calories.”

“Well, can we do it at a slower pace?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Late last night (or early thing morning, depending on how you look at things) I finished reading American Assassin by Vince Flynn. I haven’t written my review yet, so I’ll post my comments next time.  What have you been reading? Anything you think I might enjoy?

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, December 20, 2020

Mother Nature decided we needed more rain over the past week, so it’s been damp and gloomy. One bright spot has been the myriad of Christmas lights strung along the fronts and windows of homes in the area, bringing some cheer to everyone. While it would be nice to have a white Christmas, it doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

Beginning next week, I’ll be adding a section to my blog to introduce different authors to you. Hopefully, you will find this of interest. I plan on just one a week, although to kick this a few moments ago:

“The best feeling in the world is knowing that you actually mean something to someone.” (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 December 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Paulus Melissus, humanist Neo-Latin writer, translator, and composer; John Fletcher, Jacobean playwright; Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Dutch poet, classicist, and mystic (Voices, Carmina); Kan’ichi Asakawa, Japanese author & historian; T. F. Powys, British novelist & short-story writer (Captain Patch, Goat Green); J. Van Oudshoorn [Jan Koos Feylbrief], Dutch writer (Maze of Senses); Hortense Calisher, American novelist (Arts & Letters 1967); Aziz Nesin, Turkish writer & humorist; Errol John, Trinidadian actor & playwright (A Man from the Sun, The Nun’s Story, Assault on a Queen); Jean Carnahan, US politician and writer ; Gernot Wolfgruber, Austrian writer; Peter May, Scottish novelist and scriptwriter; Sandra Cisneros, American writer; and Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaican-born Canadian writer.

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter seventeen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another eleven new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 282!

Here’s another snippet:

When Javier entered Virtue Feed & Grain at four p.m., he found the Snakes sipping beers at the regular table. Tucked under his arm, his laptop, which he had retrieved from his condo.

As he sat, someone shoved a beer at him. “Better hurry up, Javier. You’re a beer down, and it’s your round.”

He placed his laptop on the table, took a sip of his drink, and smacked his lips. “Just what I needed after last night.” He provided details of the break-in. “Anyway, I’ve started the ball rolling to set up my agency. A friend of mine will be expediting as much of the paperwork as possible.”

“Wouldn’t be AJ, by any chance?” Charlie nudged Javier’s shoulder. “I’m sure she’d help.”

“Didn’t ask her—she has enough going on, so I contacted an old buddy. We played football together at West Point. Now he’s a captain in the Virginia State Police.”

Charlie leaned back in his chair. “Oh, friends in high places!”

“Well, I got enough friends in low places.” Javier maintained a straight face as he glanced at each of the Snakes.

Everyone laughed.

“On a more serious note, remember that photographer from last night? He sent an email with attachments to the address I gave him.” Javier opened his laptop and booted. When it was ready, he pulled up the email:

Enjoy your remaining days on this earth. Check out the attachments and meet your new friends.

“There are six photos of beheadings—five men and a woman.” Javier ground his teeth. “I’m gonna need your help—AJ’s, too. We need to find out who’s behind this and turn the tables.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently started reading a British crime series by Wes Markin. This is a dark and compelling series, pitting the police against serial killers.

The first in the series is One Last Prayer for the Rays. What turns an entire family into one steeped in violence? DCI Michael Yorke and his team are certainly put to the test to find out who is behind a series of evil crimes. Wes has created a fast-paced plot that has the police questioning their own beliefs as they search for clues.

This series isn’t for the faint-hearted as the gruesome details might seem over the top. However, they work well with the story. This is definitely one which will keep you turning the pages as you urge the police to find the culprits and bring them to justice.

On a different note, I also finished reading The Atlantis Stone (The Stone Collection Book 1) by Nick Hawkes. Set in Australia, the story involves Felicity, who is researching the ‘mahogany ship,’ a wreck sighted on the beach by early white Australians. Before long, she meets Benjamin, an indigenous Australian, through their joint love of diving. Together, and with help from others, they begin a quest to solve historic mysteries.

Nick has created an excellent plot and the story is filled with colorful characters and it won’t take long for you to find yourself wrapped up in the tale as it unfolds. This is the first of Nick’s stories I’ve read and it definitely won’t be the last!

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

December 6, 2020

During the past week, our temperatures have hovered in the 30s (F) (1-4C). Plenty of rain and very little sunshine.  We even had a couple of nights where the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Probably about three inches of snow altogether, but as soon as the temperature rose just a bit, the snow went back to rain. Before long, we ended up with mushy messes, but at least the day is starting out dry today.

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

Baldassare Castiglione, Italian diplomat and author; Claude Fleury, French priest and historian; Sophie von Laroche, German writer (History of Lady Sophia Sternheim); Johan Michiel Dautzenberg, Flemish author (Future); Hara Prasad Shastri, Indian academic, Sanskrit scholar, archivist and historian of Bengali literature; Evelyn Underhill, British Anglo-Catholic poet; Albrecht Schaeffer, German writer (The General); Joyce Kilmer, American poet (Trees); Rudolf Schlichter, German artist and writer; Osbert Sitwell, English poet, writer (Out of the Flame); Oscar Walter Cisek, Romanian writer and diplomat; Ève Curie, French author and daughter of Madame Curie; Paul de Man, Belgian literary critic; David Ossman, American writer and comedian (The Firesign Theatre); Peter Handke, Austrian writer (A Sorrow Beyond Dreams), 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature; Karl Ove Knausgård, Norwegian author (My Struggle); and Noel Clarke, English actor and writer.

Anyone familiar to you? The only one I recognized was Joyce Kilmer. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

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

This week I finished chapter sixteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. The number of chapter reviews increased by ten to 263! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

Here’s another snippet:

Javier raised his glass. “To friends and the establishment of The Brusch Agency.” He chugged the remains of his beer.

The others raised their glasses and repeated Javier’s toast.

Over the next two hours, beer and laughter continued to flow, until at last, Javier and AJ were alone.

“Guess I better pay the bill.” Javier stood, leaned over, and kissed AJ’s forehead. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” AJ rose and squeezed Javier’s arm. “Don’t suppose you can escort me home? Just to the door—I have an early start tomorrow.”

Javier dropped the black leather bill holder on the counter as they walked past. “Keep the change.”

Outside, they turned left and strolled arm-in-arm the four blocks to AJ’s condo. They held each other and kissed before she pushed him back. “Down, boy. I’m an old-fashioned girl.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m an old-fashioned guy, but I think our meanings are different.”

She leaned toward him, allowing her lips to brush his. “Good night, Javier. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Night. I’ll wait until you’re inside before I leave. No telling what scumbags might be lurking around.”

AJ laughed as she stuck her key in the door. “My hero!” She entered the building, turned back, and blew him a kiss.

Twenty minutes later, a taxi dropped Javier off at home. He nodded to a couple coming out of the building. The man held the door for Javier.

“Many thanks. Enjoy the evening.” Javier strode across the foyer and entered the elevator. He pulled his keys out as he walked along the hallway to his apartment.

And stopped.

Alarm bells signaled as Javier inspected the door, open a fraction. Someone’s here or been here. Wish I had a weapon.

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

Everything on the walls now rested on the floor. Frames torn apart, and glass covers broken. Cushion sliced open, contents spewed out.

Out of the corner of an eye, Javier caught a moving shadow.

He lunged and crashed into the remnants of his coffee table.

The shadow dashed out the door.

By the time Javier rushed into the corridor, it was empty.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading The Aleutian Portal (Sam Reilly Book 8) by Christopher Cartwright. Once again we find Sam caught in a situation not of his choosing. What should have been a relatively straightforward task–find the remains of a ship which just sank and for which coordinates were available–became a race from the Arctic Ocean to the Colorado Plateau Desert. Christopher has done an excellent job in creating a riveting plot, which will keep you turning the pages. Sam and his sidekick Tom live up to their reputations as they hunt for the Death Stone. What is it? You’ll have to grab a copy of the book as I don’t like giving too much away. Look for the next one in the series!

I also finished Donna Teresa (A Rex Dalton Thriller Book 9) by JC Ryan and Laurie Vermillion. Rex and Digger team up with a host of characters to take on an important challenge–involving terrorist, Russian thugs, and members of an Italian crime family. The authors have outdone themselves with the multi-layered plot and real-life characters–even Digger seems to have expanded his ability to understand humans!

As with all of the Rex Dalton thrillers, this is another page turner which will keep you busy long into the night as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read 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 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 22, 2020

Over the past few days, we’ve had a visitor–the neighborhood stray cat. While he’s been coming for food since we moved in about two and a half years ago, he normally stays far enough away to avoid human touch. Last week, I mentioned he wasn’t well. The trip to the vet and the subsequent injections seem to have done the trick as he seems to have recovered from his illness.

Well, earlier in the week, he came just inside the kitchen door for his meal. Normally, we leave the door open for him, but because of the weather, I pulled it closed. At first, he wasn’t too happy, but then turned to his dinner.  It wasn’t long before he jumped up on my lap and wanted petted!  Since then, he has spent one night in the house. Our other cats are fine with him, although one did hiss a warning like, “Watch it bub, this is my house.”

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 22nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pieter de Jode II, Flemish engraver and publisher; Barbara Juliane, baroness von Krüdener, Baltic German religious mystic, author, and Pietist Lutheran theologian; George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans], English author (Middlemarch, Silas Marner); José Maria de Heredia, Cuban-French sonnet poet (Les Trophées); Fritz Mauthner, Austro-Hungarian novelist & critic; George Gissing, British novelist (New Grub Street, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study); Andre Gide, French writer (Lafcadio’s Adventures-Nobel 1947); Georges Rency, Belgian poet and literature; Endre Ady, Hungarian lyric poet (Még egyzer, Uj versek); Charles Vildrac, French author, poet and playwright (La Brouille, Michel Auclair, Notes sur la technique poétique); Erik Lindahl, Swedish economist (Theory of Money & Capital); Tom Macdonald, Welsh journalist and writer (The White Lanes of Summer); James Burnham, philosopher (Coming Defeat of Communism); Moses Josiah Madiba, South African author and first African chancellor of the University of the North; Peter Woolridge Townsend, war hero courtier writer; Terry Gilliam, comedy author-animator (Monty Python); Robert Iliffe, English publisher (Coventry Evening Telegraph); Valerie Wilson Wesley, American author; Marjane Satrapi, Iranian graphic novelist; Stel Pavlou, British novelist; Alasdair Duncan, Australian novelist; and Suresh Guptara and Jyoti Guptara, British-Indian novelists.

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

The audio version of Colombian Betrayal is now available!

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 didn’t get as much done this week on chapter fifteen  of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as I had planned since real life requirements got in the way. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use increased to 231–always plenty of useful advice!

Here’s another snippet:

After the photographer left the restaurant, he glanced in both directions. Spotting his ride, he rushed to a gray, windowless van and jumped into the back.

“Did you get it?” A man turned from the passenger seat as he scratched his scraggly beard.

“Yes. A clear close-up of their faces.”

“Excellent. Make copies and give them to our men. I don’t want any mistakes.” The man tapped the driver on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

***

“Guess I better pay the bill.” Javier stood, leaned over, and kissed AJ’s forehead. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” AJ rose and squeezed Javier’s arm. “Don’t suppose you can escort me home? Just to the door—I have an early start tomorrow.”

Javier dropped the black leather bill holder on the counter as they walked past. “Keep the change.”

Outside, they turned left and strolled arm-in-arm the four blocks to AJ’s condo. They held each other and kissed before she pushed him back. “Down, boy. I’m an old-fashioned girl.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m an old-fashioned guy, but I think our meanings are different.”

She leaned toward him, allowing her lips to brush his. “Good night, Javier. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

“Night. I’ll wait until you’re inside before I leave. No telling what scumbags might be lurking around.”

AJ laughed as she stuck her key in the door. “My hero!” She entered the building, turned back, and blew him a kiss.

Twenty minutes later, a taxi dropped Javier off at home. He nodded to a couple coming out of the building. The man held the door for Javier.

“Many thanks. Enjoy the evening.” Javier strode across the foyer and entered the elevator. He pulled his keys out as he walked along the hallway to his apartment.

And stopped.

Alarm bells signaled as Javier inspected the door, open a fraction. Someone’s here or been here. Wish I had a weapon.

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

Everything on the walls now rested on the floor. Frames torn apart, and glass covers broken. Cushion sliced open, contents spewed out.

Out of the corner of an eye, Javier caught a moving shadow.

He lunged and crashed into the remnants of his coffee table.

The shadow dashed out the door.

By the time Javier rushed into the corridor, it was empty.

More next time.

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 20, 2020

When I woke up this morning, it was dark and I was pinned to the bed. Was a having a dream? No. Very simple explanations.

Why was it dark? The blinds were pulled to block the morning sunshine–except there wasn’t any. Glancing through the cracks in the blinds, I  could see there wasn’t a glimpse of sunshine, but plenty of dark clouds.

Why couldn’t I move? Another easy answer. A fourteen-pound cat named Tommy was sprawled across one of my shoulders, his head on my pillow. A smaller cat name Flora (or more formally, Lady Flora Fluffbottom), decided my calf was a good prop.

The are just two of the four cats we have with us at the moment. Joining them is Charlie and Hope. Tommy and Charlie were feral, and both are still very skittish. Flora was destined for euthanasia, while Hope came from a no-kill shelter. They’re all part of the family!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 20th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Sergey Aksakov, Russian writer (Semejnaja chronika); Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Italian journalist, soldier and pacifist (Nobel Peace Prize 1907); Upton Beall Sinclair, American writer (Jungle); Maxwell Perkins, American editor and publisher; Charles Williams, British poet and writer; Rachel Bluwstein, Hebrew poet; Fjodor Panfjorov, Russian author (Volga); Cesare Zavattini, Italian screenwriter (Ladri di Biciclette); Stevie [Florence Margaret] Smith, English poet and novelist (Not Waving but Drowning); Geraldine Clinton Little, Irish poet (A Little Bouquet); Donald Hall, American writer, literary critic and Poet Laureate of the United States; Keith Roberts, English writer (Irish Encounter, Ladies from Hell); George R. R. Martin, American fantasy and sci-fi author (A Song of Ice and Fire); James P[aul] Blaylock, American sci-fi author (Elfin Ship, Homunculus); Javier Marías, Spanish translator and novelist (Corazón tan blanco); and David Allen, American composer and writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t spot any names 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 Work in Progress

This week, I continued to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 511 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of four in the past week. However, all of my regular reviewers have finished the story, so now I’m just seeing new readers pop in.

I’ve now updated half of the chapters as I move through the editing process. Here’s the final snippet before publication:

After their brotherly embrace, Abilio turned to the others. “Senhor João, and Baba Theo, this is my cousin, Soba Ngenda. He’s very brave and will help us find Peter.”

João and Theo shook hands with the grinning Soba before returning to the aircraft, where Nito was unloading their weapons and supplies.

“I will wait here for your return, Theo. The plane will be ready for immediate departure.” He crossed his heart.

“Thank you, Nito.” Theo clasped Nito’s shoulder before helping move their equipment.

Once they stowed everything in the back of the van, they climbed inside. João and Theo squeezed into the back while Abilio sat up front with his cousin.

Theo tapped the back of Soba’s seat. “We’re ready. Let’s go.”

“Yes, Minister Theo.” Soba turned the key.

Click. Click.

Soba pursed his lips and tried again.

Vroom!

A cloud of black smoke blew over the vehicle in the stiff breeze. After it cleared, Soba drove past the single-story terminal building and out the airport’s exit. He gunned the engine as he pulled onto the two-lane road heading toward the city. “While you wait for your friends to arrive, I arranged rooms at the Hotel Kawissa—the finest hotel in the city.”

“Thank you, Soba.” Theo tapped his fingers on his knee. Hang on, Peter. We’re coming!

Soba weaved through the traffic, leaning on the horn whenever he approached a slow-moving vehicle.

Theo closed his eyes as Soba squeezed shot past a truck and squeezed in front of an oncoming bus. May God protect us!

João and Theo rocked forward when Soba slammed on the brakes.

He pointed to an immense open-sided building with a red corrugated roof. “This is one of Saurimo’s markets.” He grinned. “My brothers are there now—we have four stalls.”

“What do they sell?” João tilted his head to gaze inside the building.

“Many things—cassava, beans, potatoes, corn, and yams.” Soba glanced in the rearview mirror at Theo and lowered his voice. “Other things, too, if the price is right.” He put a finger over his lips. “Five minutes, and we will be at the hotel.”

True to Soba’s prediction, they pulled up in front of a yellow two-story building with gray trim, with a brick and wrought-iron fence surrounding the property. Emblazoned across the front of the building in large blue script was Hotel Kawissa.

Soba stopped the van on the street next to block paving outside the fence.

As the others began to open the doors, Soba shouted, “Wait!” He jerked the wheel, cut across the road and down a side street.

***

They jumped out of the vehicle as the outer door slammed shut. Soba introduced his brothers before gesturing to a tan Casspir mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle.

“Couldn’t you find anything less conspicuous?” João laughed.

Soba shrugged. “We will need the space—my brothers are going to help free Minister Theo’s son.”

“Okay, Soba. But, no more surprises.” Theo suppressed a grin. “Let’s transfer everything and head back to the hotel. We depart for the rendezvous point early.”

“Yes, Minister. I will spend the night with my brothers. Abilio will drive you to the hotel.”

Theo nodded. We’ll be safer with Abilio driving.

After the men transferred everything into the MRAP, Abilio climbed into the van’s driver seat while João and Theo sat in the back. They headed back the way they came.

Before Abilio turned the corner, the darkened sky lit up as if it was midday.

Boom!

A concussion wave rolled over the vehicle. Abilio lost control, and smashed into a parked car.

Theo’s head cracked against the side of the van. Holding his head, he glanced back at the warehouse. Yellow-orange flames and thick, black smoke billowed upward near the building. Who? How? He slumped toward João as he lost consciousness.

This week I also finished and posted chapter ten of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. As with all of my works-in-progress, the chapters are posted to the two subscription writing sites. As of this morning, there’s been fifty-seven chapter reviews. I’ve picked up some new reviewers, which is always a good sign my work is picking up some interest. Great support to help me improve my writing!

In case you missed the synopsis, in an earlier post here it is:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

I’ll probably start posting snippets of this one next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Clean Cut Kid by Michael Maxwell. Follow the adventures of Logan Connor as he seeks to re-create himself, changing his boring life into one with a sharp focus, even if it means running toward danger. A loner, he’ll have to learn to trust, even if it’s against his nature.

Michael has created a super story, filled with realistic characters and enough twists and turns to keep even the most avid action-adventure aficionado turning the pages. Unlike so many stories nowadays, he’s also done this without relying on sex and profanity–a great departure from the norm! I look forward to reading more of Logan’s adventures.

I also finished Blair Howard’s latest novel, The Last Straw, which bridges the gap between Harry Starke’s job as a homicide detective and his creation of a private eye business. But what cause Harry to give up a career as a police officer? Was it his latest case, involving the death of a female teenager or something else? You’ll have to grab a copy as I don’t like to spoil anyone’s reading pleasure.

As with all of Blair’s books, this is another well-written novel, with a spell-binding plot, realistic characters and enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. So go on, pick up a copy–you know you want to–and you won’t be disappointed!

Finally, I completed my reading of Yufu’s Run by Rayner Ye. Yufu has a lucrative job fishing for diamonds on behalf of a government organization. Before long, he’s embroiled in a conspiracy which results in him being accused of a terrorist attack. All he wants to do is retirement with his wife and children? Will he be able to do so or will he be on the run for the rest of his life?

Rayner has created a futuristic plot pitting good versus evil. Packed with plenty of action and intrigue, this one will have you turning the pages.

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, 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 28, 2020

It’s hard to believe how fast the month is passing. Seems like only yesterday we were in the middle of May! Are you experiencing the same? There certainly is something to the saying, “Time Stands Still for No One.”

We’ve been having some mixed weather, which is helping out as there’s less watering of the plants to do. Most of the spring flowers have faded away, but there’s a new crop of buds on the way. Our rose bush is blooming and the flowers on the hydrangaes are getting ready to burst into color!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 28th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Giovanni Della Casa, Italian poet (Galateo); Otto Julius Bierbaum, German writer (Irrgarten Der Liebe); Luigi Pirandello, Italian writer (Six Characters in Search of An Author-Nobel 1934); Esther Forbes, American novelist (Johnny Tremain); E. H. Carr, English historian (History of Soviet Russia); Leon Kruczkowski, Polish author (Kordian into Cham); Arnold Shaw, American writer on popular music and composer; Eric Ambler, suspense writer (Epitaph for a Spy); A. E. Hotchner, American editor, novelist and playwright; Terje Stigen, Norwegian author (Det siste paradiset); Henk van Stipriaan, Dutch journalist and VARA radio host; Harold Evans, English-American journalist and writer (editor of The Sunday Times); Nick Virgilio, American Haiku poet; Gisela Kraft, German writer; Robert L Asprin, American sci-fi writer (Thieves World, Cold Cash War); Mark Helprin, American writer (A Soldier of the Great War); and Florian Zeller, French novelist (La Fascination du Pire) and playwright.

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

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!

 

 

My Work in Progress

Another positive regarding the weather is more time to write. This week I finished chapter Xavier Sear: Angola chapter twenty-six and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 322 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve 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:

Once the guards appeared, they each grabbed one of Peter’s arms and led him to the tent’s exit. They shoved him outside, where he stumbled.

Sprawling on the ground, Peter struggled to his feet. I must endure their childish games—until help comes or I can escape.

Laughter followed him as the guards returned him to his tent. Inside, Peter collapsed to the floor. At least I’m no longer trussed up like a chicken. He crabbed to the tent flaps and pulled one aside.

Not five yards from the tent, a young guard stared at him. He picked up his rifle and waved Peter back inside.

He dropped the flap and sprawled on the floor. My guard can’t be more than fourteen, fifteen at the most. His weapon is longer than he is tall. Peter shook his head. Might as well get some rest. No telling what the rest of the day will bring.

***

“Up! Up!” The teenage guard poked his AK-47 inside the tent and motioned Peter outside. A second guard waited. They grabbed Peter’s arms and hustled him toward the command tent.

After being told to enter, Peter stepped inside. Alimasi sat on a three-legged camp stool, watching several youths packing the contents of the tent.

Peter stopped in front of his captor. “What is it? Did something happen?”

“No.” Alimasi yelled something in an unfamiliar dialect at one of the youths before turning his attention back to Peter. “Something in here ….” He thumped his chest and pointed to his head. “Something tells me we should relocate our camp. We’ve been in one place too long.”

“Where will we go?” Will I be able to escape? What about the women and children captured with me?

“Not far. About twenty kilometers is one of our old camps near another river. We haven’t used this location for over a year, so it should be safe.”

“From who? Government troops?”

Alimasi shook his head. “My informers let me know if the government is planning any action against us. But many rival groups want to things their own way, and they dislike my plans for Africa.”

Perhaps these rivals have more common sense. “When will we leave?”

“As soon as they pack my belongings.” Alimasi waved his hand at the workers. “Perhaps one hour, or it might be two. You will ride in the back of my truck—take care of Namali during the transfer.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

If you haven’t read any of Blair Howard’s novels, here’s an excellent beginning for you–The Genesis Files (Books 1-3).

I first read these individually as I didn’t want to wait for a bundle. Glad I did as each story enthralled me. Sure, I had to wait for the next one, but so what? I didn’t want to miss a word! I’ve reread my initial reviews and stand by every word. In case you missed my comments, here they are:

Genesis is superb thriller revealing the creation of Harry Starke’s private eye business after he stopped being a cop. As with all of Blair Howard’s books, this is another well-crafted story, starting with Harry meeting a young girl–who disappears. Who’s behind the girl’s disappearance, and why? A real pager turner for those who enjoy an excellent plot with realistic characters. Blair, bring on another story soon!

Blair has done it again with The Raven (Harry Starke Genesis Book 2). Someone knocked off a wealthy woman, leaving behind a distraught husband. A friend of Harry’s father, the husband, who is a judge, turned to Harry and his new private investigation service to find the killer. Things become complicated with the addition of Russian mobsters into the story.

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one is fast-paced with plenty of twists to keep readers guessing who might have killed the judge’s wife. Realistic characters help Harry in his quest for the truth. Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading, different suspects crept forward, muddying the water. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so you’ll have to grab yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed!

Blair Howard’s, The Assassin, the third book in the Harry Starke Genesis series, ranks right up there with his best work. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as I kept turning the pages to follow Harry and Kate Gazzara as they deal with someone trying to kill Senator Hawke. With a thrilling plot, plenty of realistic characters and loads of twists and turns Blair doesn’t disappoint with this story. As with all of Harry’s exploits, I kept turning the pages late into the evening. My only regret is I have to wait for the next installment in the series! Well done!

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 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

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

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

I’ll be providing another snippet next time.

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

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

 

 

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved