Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 8, 2018

Over the past week, our friends in Canada celebrated Canada Day on the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, coming into force of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united three separate colonies into a single country.

On July 4th, Americans celebrated Independence Day, celebrated the anniversary of publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. Of course, with the holiday falling in the middle of the week many communities held their festivities yesterday.

Hope people in both countries enjoyed their holidays.

Last Sunday I provided a list of people from the writing world who had birthdays on the 1st of July. Today, we’ll look at those who born on the 4th of July (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Paul Scarron, French writer (Virgile Travesti); Christian Fürchtegott Gellert, German poet and novelist (Fables & Tales); Nathanial Hawthorne, American author (House of 7 Gables, The Scarlet Letter); Mao Dun [Shen Dehong], Chinese writer (Midnight); Lionel Trilling, American literary critic and author (1969 Poses Award, The Liberal Imagination); Lynette Roberts, British poet; Christine Lavant, Austrian poet and writer (Das Kind); Abigail Van Buren [Pauline Phillips], American columnist and radio show host known for “Dear Abby” advice column, twin sister of fellow “Ask Ann Landers” advice columnist Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer); Patrick Tilley, British sci-fi author (1st Family, Blood River); Paul de Wispelaere, Flemish writer and critic; and Ron Kovic, American anti-war activist and writer, his memoir (Born on the Fourth of July) became an Academy award-winning film.

Whether your birthday was on the 4th of July or another day this past week, I hope you had a good one!

My Work in Progress

Breaking News: Dangerous Alliance, which recently placed fourth (3rd runner-up) in the 2018 Breakthrough Novel Awards, is now under contract with Solstice Publishing. Stay tuned for further updates.

I continued to work on the third book in the Bedlam series, Carnage in Singapore. Chapters seven and eight were posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. So far, Carnage in Singapore has received 125 chapter reviews, excellent sources for improving my writing. I continue to spend a great deal of time doing research to ensure the story is as accurate as possible, keeping in mind it is fiction.

Books I’m Reading

I’m reading faster than I can post my reviews. Here are comments on two of the latest novels I’ve read, both by Russell F. Moran.

A Climate of Doubt – Why is the world experiencing drastic fluctuations in temperatures, with blizzards in July? Homeland Security Director Rick Bellamy and his wife, Ellen, along with several familiar characters, are tasked by the President of the United States to determine if these changes are a result of climate change or something more sinister. Once again, Russell has created an easy-to-read and fast-paced plot. I won’t provide a spoiler, so you’ll have to follow Rick and Ellen as they strive to uncover the cause before the world becomes a frozen wasteland!

The Maltese Incident – What could go wrong on a cruise from Manhattan to the Azores? It seems Captain Harry Fenton is about to find out. With a flash, the cruise ship Maltese is thrust back in time. Not just a few years but back to when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Explore their new world with Harry and his new wife, Meg Johnson, as they and the crew and passengers of the Maltese come to terms with their new surroundings. How will they survive and will they ever find their way home again? Another whirlwind story by a great storyteller. I couldn’t put this one down and read it over two evenings. Grab yourself a copy of this excellent and entertaining story.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Sideways Eight Series – Join author AJ Wallace as she spins the tales of Charley and Murphy, two FBI agents. Two novels have been published so far (Mindfield and Devil’s Door), with two more to follow. Well worth the read!

Moran Communications – The Write Stuff – the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works, check out Russell’s blog, books, and his suggestions for writers.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading.  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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 22, 2018

This morning I woke to a calm lake, with plenty of sunshine shimmering across the water. In the background, the low throttle of engines from a passing freighter actually added to the serenity, along with the occasional song provided by myriad birds.

After last weekend’s severe ice storm, the past three days have been the same: blue skies with occasional clouds, still water, and brilliant sunshine. While the temperatures are still a bit below the average for this time of year, things are finally warming up. Spring is here!

My Work in Progress

Not much to mention regarding my work in progress. Editing of the paper copy of Dangerous Alliance is moving along, with about a quarter of the 102,425 words completed. Some corrections and a few changes, but overall, things are looking good!

Here’s another snipped from New World Revolution:

William turned to the boys. “Collect our possessions and we’ll wait here.” In a rare show of fondness, he took his wife’s hand. “Take a good look around, Mary. This is our new home.”

He bowed his head, closed his eyes, and prayed in silence. By the time he finished, Thomas and George returned, struggling to carry a heavy, wooden trunk. They set it down and disappeared, returning a short time later with five bags made of wool.

“Is this all, lads?”

Breathless, Thomas and George nodded.

William glanced over the meager assortment, a grim reminder of their life in England. “‘Tis everything, I reckon.” He took Mary and Hannah’s hands. “Come, the New World beckons.” He led them ashore, Thomas and George following with their bundles.

 Once his family were seated in the back of the wagon and the possessions stowed, William climbed upon the seat with Abraham. The wagon jolted forward as Abraham flicked the reins over the horses’ backs. As they departed, William glanced back at the Wester. We’ve made our way thus far. What are the Lord’s plans for us?

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished two novels from David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series: Quest and Icefall. In both stories, Dane and his business partner and friend, Bones, are off on new adventures. As always, David does an excellent job of blending historical facts and myths into his plots, making for quick-paced and exciting reads.

In Quest, the daring duo (Dane and Bones) help the daughter of their former naval commander in a search for the daughter’s boyfriend who disappeared in the Amazon.  With plenty of thrills and near mishaps, they travel through dangerous terrain, made all the more sinister as they run up against an organization searching for the missing professor. Without giving away secrets regarding the success or failure of their trek, I think it’s sufficient to say that adventure seekers will enjoy the action-packed plot and larger-than-life characters David has created. Highly recommended!

Icefall introduces readers to another thrilling plot, this time set in Europe. Dane and Bones, along with a couple of their friends, have traveled to Germany for Christmas. This is a shorter story than David’s other novels in the series, but still provides plenty of ups and downs for the group during their visit to a German cathedral. Once again, David does an excellent job of mixing history and legends together. You’ll have to grab a couple to find out what happens, but this novella is filled with plenty of high octane to keep you reading through the night!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this week to find new sites to share with you. Perhaps next week.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 11, 2018

Winter is hanging on with a tight grip. Plenty of snow this past week but at least the KODAK Digital Still Cameratemperatures are above zero (fahrenheit). The photo above was taken yesterday from the back of the house. I could take a picture today and it would look very similar, but the snow might be a bit thicker.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This photo was also taken yesterday during a lull in the storm. The view is from our deck overlooking Lake Huron. Approximately forty-three miles away is the Canadian shoreline. The snow piled on the rail is now about two inches higher. Today’s forecast calls for another four to six inches of snow over the next eight hours. Brrrr!

My Work in Progress

Editing on Dangerous Alliance and external activities consumed a lot of time over the past week. However, I’m please to report I completed the third chapter of New World Revolution. It’s posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. There’s been six reviews of the chapter so far, all positive.

Here’s a snippet from New World Revolution, chapter one:

Mary came out the barn carrying a small bucket. “Hello, husband, lads. Milking’s finished.” She handed the milk to Hannah. “Take this inside.”

While the boys stored the scythes in the barn, William and Mary walked arm-in-arm toward the house. The mouth-watering aroma of the stew hurried them forward.

“Wash up and set yourself to the table.” Mary waved her family inside before going to the kettle and filling plates with the turnip, carrot, and onion stew. Once everyone was seated, Mary returned to the hearth. She slid a slender board attached to a long pole into a heated stone alcove, and drew out a single loaf of fresh bread.

“Oooh, ‘tis a treat indeed.” William’s brown eyes bulged, a wide grin on his face, as the rich aroma set stomachs rumbling.

“One piece each. No more, and be thankful you have this.” Mary smiled at her family and joined them at the table. “Another surprise today as well—fresh churned butter. Father, will you offer the blessing?”

William bowed his head and closed his eyes, pressing his hands together. The family followed his lead.

“Oh, almighty God. ‘Tis right we give thanks to you. Bless this food prepared by loving hands. Keep us in good health, so we might continue to prosper even in bad times. Thy will be done. Amen.”

After William said grace, he kept his head bowed. Hannah and her brothers raised theirs, eyeing the food. At last, William nodded, and everyone reached for a spoon. No one spoke. An occasional contented slurp broke the sound of utensils scraping on wooden plates, the coarse, dark and heavy wholegrain bread mopping up the last of the gravy. Plates were licked clean, consuming every drop.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Gray Ship, the first novel in Russell Moran’s Time Magnet series. With well-crafted characters and a riveting plot, this is a compelling read. Join Captain Ashley Patterson, the commanding officer of a nuclear warship as the unthinkable happens. One moment, they’re near Charleston, South Carolina. Moments later, Ashley and her crew are still by the same port, but find themselves in a strange setting. Gone are modern buildings and ships. Instead, the ship has arrived just prior to the beginning of the Civil War.

Follow the crew as they try to come to terms with their new reality. I don’t want to give away anything, but will they alter history? Russell has created a story so easy to become immersed in, it’s hard to believe time travel doesn’t exist. Or does it? I thoroughly enjoyed the story and couldn’t wait to get a copy of the sequel.

In The Thanksgiving Gang, Russell has gone with a different twist, but still as full of suspense as The Gray Ship. What would happen if we traveled into the future and found out we had died well before our time? Join Jack Thurber as he stumbles across a wormhole and goes into the future, only to discover he and his wife, Ashley, died in a terrorist attack.

How will Jack come to terms with this mind-numbing discovery? Will he be able to alter events in the future and return before he and Ashley are killed? Russell has done it again with this story. His writing style is easy to follow and he does an excellent job in portraying events to present readers with plenty of action and suspense. I now include Russell in my list of favorite authors and can’t wait to get the next novel in the series, A Time of Fear.

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites. Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy this week, so I don’t have anything to share with you.

That brings us to a close for another week. Hope you’ve 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 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 14, 2018

What a time with the weather! Early in the week, we had extremely cold temperatures and received about four inches of snow. On Thursday, the mercury climbed, reaching 52F/11C and most of the snow disappeared.

Our relief was short-lived. On Friday morning, the temperature had dropped thirty degrees, and we were hit with another four to five inches of snow. On top of that, we had blustery winds up to thirty-five miles an hour, blowing snow everywhere. Part of the driveway was clear to the asphalt, while there were two-foot drifts on the other side. Since Friday, the temperature has remained about the same, but the winds have calmed and no more snow.

My Work in Progress

The Kurdish Connection is entered in the thriller category of the 20th annual Preditors and Editors reader’s poll, sponsored by Critters / Critique.org. Currently sitting in fourth place, I could use your votes, but check out all of the categories to get a glimpse of works released during 2017. Here’s the link to the thriller category: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelthrill.shtml. The contest runs through until midnight this evening, so hope you’ll be able to check things out.

I’ve now transferred reviewer comments for forty-one of the forty-eight chapters in Dangerous Alliance. Once I finish, I’ll still have plenty of editing to do, but things are moving along. I had hoped to share the cover with you today, but I’ve been too busy to get things organized. Promise it will be in next week’s post.

With my concentration on Dangerous Alliance, I didn’t finish chapter four of Carnage in Singapore as I had planned. Too much going on!

Books I’m Reading

I finally gathered my thoughts on novel by one of my favorite authors, David L. Golemon. One of his latest adventures, The Traveler: An Event Group Thriller, has it all. The story begins in Germany during WWII but before long we’re taken on a roller coaster ride. Want Russia mobsters and Italian mafia? They’re along for the ride.

How about a trip to another continent–not in modern ages, but back over 200,000 years? One of the Event Group’s people made such a journey and others are heading back to find him. How is this possible? A time machine, created in Germany, perfected, and now in the U.S.

I’ve enjoyed every one of Mr. Golemon’s novels and can’t wait for another thrilling adventure. Well done!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Wolfe’s Rants – Check out Wolf’s advice, works and musings about a writer’s life.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 all the best for 2018!

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 31, 2017

As we move into a new year, I hope everyone is blessed with better health and prosperity. Happy New Year to one and all!

My Work in Progress

This week I continued to concentrate on reciprocal reviews for those who have worked so hard on my behalf regarding Dangerous Alliance. Reviews are still coming in as readers go through the final chapters. As of yesterday evening, there were a total of 709 chapter reviews!

Books I’m Reading

Over the past two or three weeks, I’ve finished a number of novels. It’ll take a couple of weeks to get every review posted. There is one in particular I’ll mention today, as it is the debut novel of M.D. Neu, and will be released tomorrow.

MD Neu has created a credible cast of characters, leading the way with Duncan Alexander and Juliet de Exter. One of several people called to Juliet’s mansion, it turns out Duncan is the chosen one. But will he accept his calling? He can have it all, but does he want to become a vampire?

MD’s story covers all facets–love, action, suspense–as well as good and evil. Hang onto yourself and enjoy a superb ride with Duncan as he explores a new life. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 all the best for 2018!

© Copyright 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December, 17, 2017

It’s been a snowy and cold week, causing the birds and deer to hit our feeders harder than normal. Glad to see all of the wildlife, even though we know they struggle when the ground’s covered, making it difficult for them to forage.

Even our indoor-outdoor cats have rarely ventured outside. One looks at us like we’re crazy when we open the door for him to go out. He’ll sit and stare outside, but any attempt to usher him outside is met with a quick dash to warmer areas of the house. At least the next few days are supposed to be warm enough to melt some of the snow. The ice that had formed at the shoreline began breaking up yesterday, and once again we could hear the waves crashing.

My Work in Progress

My final giveaway of The Kurdish Connection ends tonight at midnight, PST. This event is hosted on Goodreads and if you don’t have a copy, head over and enter the contest.

This week I concentrated on reciprocal reviews for those who have worked so hard on my behalf regarding Dangerous Alliance. Reviews are still coming in as readers go through the final chapters.

I also did some additional research for the next chapter of Carnage in Singapore. As with all of my stories, I try to get the settings as accurate as possible, and when I haven’t been to a specific location or know someone who has, online research tools come into play.

Here’s a snippet from Carnage in Singapore:

Unsure if wild creatures or savage humans created the path, she didn’t care. All she wanted was to escape.

The pain in her chest easing, she staggered away. She struggled in the mud and stumbled, her foot caught in the roots of a nearby tree. She fell to the ground, her hands sinking into the thick ooze.

“Help!”

Who would save her in the middle of nowhere? She kicked at the root and twisted her leg until her foot popped free.

Craack!

Back on her feet, she pumped her knees to escape the sludge, her heart rate accelerating as panic skyrocketed.

A bolt of lightning lit the sky, striking a nearby tree. Shadows slithered in front of her, blocking her way forward.

She turned, searching for an escape route.

Rough hands grabbed her by the shoulders in a vise-like grip and threw her to the ground.

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been reading a number of books but haven’t collected my thoughts yet. I hope to have one or two reviews posted next week.  In the meantime, I had the opportunity to read a short story by up and coming author, M.D. Neu, which will be released on Amazon tomorrow, December 18th.

A Dragon for Christmas is a lighthearted short story packed with plenty of emotions. Will Carmen get the dragon of her dreams for Christmas? The family and the facility staff are pulling for her, which is especially important given her curse. Like her best friend, Mattie, both use the bond with their dragons as a means to cope with their affliction. Will they always be together?

A perfect story for this time of year-bringing hope out of despair as we watch both girls mature and deal with what life tosses at them. An excellent story told in a way which is suitable for children and adults of all ages. Well done, M.D.!

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

I’ve expanded this section from being only about blogs that I follow but also introduce you to some new authors and a few writing sites.

Reader’s Abode – Check out the bi-weekly blogs from the site’s group of international writers (including yours truly). Plenty of new things to read no matter what genre you prefer.

MD Neu – writer and published author, Follow MD’s writing journey and check out his interviews with other authors. His short story, The Reunion, is now available through Amazon, and his new story, A Dragon For Christmas, will be released tomorrow.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have today. Hope you’ve 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 2017 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved