Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 18, 2019

We’ve had a few more glimpses of summer this past week, but plenty of showers and a couple of thunderstorms to drive the summer-time feeling away. Yesterday, we had a glorious day for the most part, just one brief shower around lunchtime.

With yesterday’s sunshine and pleasant temperatures, I was able to get some additional external chores completed. After six hours of steady effort, I declared my workday finished. Shortly afterward, Mother Nature ensured I didn’t do any more work with a ninety-minute shower.

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

Marko Marulic/Marulus/Splichanin/Pechinich, Croatian poet; Jean Bolland, Flemish Jesuit writer and historian (Acta Sanctorum); Charles Francis Adams Snr., American writer and diplomat, US Minister to the UK, son of President John Quincy Adams; Johan E. Elias, Dutch historian (Amsterdam’s regency); Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and essayist (Henry Handel Richardson: A Study); Armijn Pane, Indonesian writer (Belenggu); Elsa Morante, Italian writer; Alain Robbe-Grillet, French novelist (Voyeur); Brian W[ilson] Aldiss, UK, sci-fi author (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, Helliconia Trilogy); Vincent Bugliosi, American attorney and author (Helter-Skelter); William George Rushton, English actor, author and cartoonist (TW3); Umberto Guidoni, Italian astrophysicist and writer (STS 75); and Brian Michael Bendis, American comic book writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

Carnage 3D CoverCarnage in Singapore received the following five-star review this past week:

“I enjoyed reading, “Carnage in Singapore” by Randall Krzak, who in my opinion, is a brilliant writer who has a unique ability of immediately capturing attention with a very intense opening scene which was extremely riveting. As I read on, the action, twists and turns, and the whole story got even more intense and exciting.

I am a big fan of this author and read his previous book, “The Kurdish Connection,” which showed to me his highly sophisticated knowledge of the military and his high intelligence and experience about what really goes on in the background.

His writing style is excellent, and I thought he described each scene extremely well bringing out ever-increasing and amazing exciting action, thrills, suspense, bravery, and selflessness on the topical subject of terrorism.

The story, in my view, is thought-provoking and very fast-paced with great action and suspense as the Bedlam Team struggles and combats international terrorism.

I felt this author is highly creative, gifted and very extraordinary and, in my view, as more people read his work his fan base will grow. I believe his works are not to be missed as after I read “Kurdish Connection” I became a lifelong fan of this author’s talent.

Very well done and I give this book five stars plus and highly recommend it!”

Hopefully, similar reviews will be forthcoming.

My Work in Progress

1541181671This week, I finished chapters twenty-one and twenty-two of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count has now climbed to to 310, an increase of nineteen in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the first snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Zapata screamed, “Get us out of here! Hurry, before it’s too late!”

Men wearing white coveralls jumped out of the blocking vehicles, aiming light anti-tank weapons at the front and rear escort vehicles.

Weapons fired, the escort vehicles soared into the air, plummeting back to earth, now burning hulks. Zapata’s guards returned fire, but their response couldn’t match the overwhelming firepower of the attacking force.

One-by-one, the defenders succumbed to the withering fire as the remaining escort vehicles met the same fate as the others. Gunfire waned, as moans of the injured and crackling of burning vehicles grew in intensity.

The assailants approached Zapata’s SUV through the thickening smoke. They lined up along the driver’s side and stared at Zapata and his son.

Defiant stares greeted them.

Two men shouldered LAWs and aimed.

Zapata’s reign died as he and his son were immolated.

***

Francisco Tomas Kruz, Zapata’s longtime friend and confidant, replaced the receiver without a word. He rubbed his hand through his dyed black hair as he walked to the windows and gazed across the mountainous expanse. A brief smile etched across his face, not reaching his cold, hazel eyes.

He returned to his desk, grabbed the phone, and placed a call. “This is Kruz. Give her the phone.” He spoke for a moment.

Olivia screamed.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

As I mentioned last time, I had received a copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, The Raven (Harry Starke Genesis Book 2).

Here’s my thoughts: Blair has done it again. 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!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 11, 2019

It’s been a crazy week, weather-wise. Plenty of sunshine and loads of thunderstorms, too. One knocked out the power briefly last night. At least we’re not in an area prone to erosion or low-lying land since there’s been flood warnings most of the week.

In between the cloudbursts, I did manage to finish some outdoor chores, including a bit of exterior painting and cleaning out some of the excess foliage. Things are looking better all the time, as confirmed by several comments made by people living on our street.

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

Cristoph Kaldenbach, Prussian poet and composer; Charlotte Mary Yonge, English writer (Heir of Redclyffe); Alfred Coville, French historian (Lesson etats de Normandie); Ernst Stadler, German poet (Der Aufbruch); Hugh MacDiarmid (Christopher Murray Grieve), Scottish poet (Scots Unbound); Eiji Yoshikawa, Japanese novelist; Louise Bogan, American writer (Sleeping Fury); Enid Blyton, English children’s writer (Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Adventure); Angus Wilson, England, writer (Mulberry Bush-1955); Alex Haley, American writer (Autobiography of Malcolm X, Roots); Carl Rowan, gun-toting newspaper columnist (Wash Post); Fernando Arrabal, Spanish song/romance writer (Baal Babilonia); Charles Hugh Shirley, publisher; and Marilyn Vos Savant, writer/world’s highest IQ (228).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many I knew. 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!

Just Released!

Carnage 3D CoverSolstice Publishing released my third novel, Carnage in Singapore, this past week. Many to everyone for making this a reality.  If you haven’t followed my progress with the story, here’s the synopsis:

Terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have flourished in recent years with new recruits joining them and ISIS-affiliates at an alarming rate. Blended operations by various Asian countries have forced the groups to work together to identify a new operational base.

They seek an island nation to call home, one where they can plot against countries who oppose their ideals. They found a target, a small nation-state, perfect for their needs: The Republic of Singapore.

Before anyone can respond, the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia are kidnapped from their residences in Singapore. Right index fingers of each victim are sent as a warning. Any attempt to recover the ambassadors will result in the removal of additional body parts.

Bedlam Charlie team leader, Evelyn Evinrude, leads the group to rescue the ambassadors and capture the local leaders of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah. Can Bedlam succeed or will events escalate, resulting in more deaths?

Work in Progress

1541181671One positive from the stormy weather, other than giving everything a drink, I had more time to write this week. I finished chapters twenty and twenty-one of A Cartel’s Revenge and posted them to the two subscription writing sites I use. The chapter review count jumped a bit this week to 291. Plenty of good advice to help me improve my writing.

Here’s the synopsis for A Cartel’s Revenge:

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?

Watch for the first snippet, coming next Sunday.

Books I’m Reading

I received a copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Raven this week. I had hope to bring you my thoughts today, but time slipped past and I haven’t quite finished what is another great story. Watch for my review next time.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 28, 2019

After a week of unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, Mother Nature cooled things off yesterday with a day filled with rain. We’re back to more normal weather, with a light breeze and scattered clouds.

Instead of doing outdoor tasks, things were concentrated on indoor jobs which were waiting for the right time, particularly painting of new skirting boards, which were installed earlier this year. With windows and doors wide open, plenty of fresh air kept the paint fumes at bay. Still a bit more to do, but will see how things pan out over the next few days.

Even our cats sought shelter in the heat, lounging in whatever cool locations they could find. Hope is still on the mend. While she seems to be returning to her normal self, she’s still not eating as we would like. It could be because of the weather, as the others are eating less too, just like we humans sometimes do. Hope goes back to the vet in the morning for another check-up and blood tests. She’s been really great taking her five pills each day!

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

Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian poet (Arcadia); Fabre d’Églantine French dramatist and politician, creator of the French Republican calendar; Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (Windhover); Beatrix Potter, English children’s author and illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit); Thomas P. Krag, Norwegian author and novelist (Jon Graeff, Ulf Ran); Ernst Cassirer, German philosopher and educator (Essay on Man); Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher (Logic of Forschung); Kenneth F. Fearing, American poet (Dead Reckoning); Malcolm Lowry, English novelist (Under the Volcano); John Ashbery, American poet (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror); Remco [Wouter] Campert, Dutch literary/poet/son of Jan Campert; Jean Roba, Belgian comics author (Boule et Bill); Natalie Babbitt, American children’s writer (Tuck Everlasting); Robert Hughes, Australian art critic and writer (Barcelona); Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani writer and feminist; and Shahyar Ghanbari, Iranian poet.

Was anyone familiar to you? There were two, which clearly stood out for me: Reuter and Hemmingway. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour finishes this past week. I haven’t tallied the results yet, but I know the number of followers across social media increased, as did the number of people marking my novels to read. Many thanks to all who participated in my tour. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. The edits have now carnage in singapore-001(1)been completed. I’m just going through the formatted pdf file checking for any typos, missing words and punctuation before it continues through the publication process.

Here’s another snippet for you:

Kali walked among the waking men, touching an arm here, a shoulder there. Satisfied each man was alert, he returned to his sleeping area and placed his personal possessions in a backpack. The pillows and blankets can remain. Nothing to identify us.

He turned to the others and coughed into a closed fist to get their attention. “I shall accompany each team but will remain in the shadows. I’ll report your courage and conviction for our cause to Abu Zeze.” And shoot anyone who falters. “Allahu Akbar!”

“Allahu Akbar!” Eleven voices responded in unison.

“First two men, it is time.”

A tall man wearing black-rimmed glasses stooped to pick up a blue and white tennis bag. Next to him, a man three inches shorter with a scar running across his right cheek grabbed a green and white bag. Unlike others in the group, these men were lighter skinned and exhibited Caucasian features. They followed Kali out to a battered gray Mitsubishi Xpander.

The men piled in the back seats, placing their bags on the floor.

Kali hopped behind the wheel and turned the key, but the engine failed to start. Is this an omen? He climbed out, opened the hood, and jiggled the battery cables. Back in the driver’s seat, he tried again. Black smoke poured out of the exhaust as the engine started.

The vehicle weaved through traffic, smoke continuing to mark their journey. Before long, Kali pulled over to the curb and stopped.

“Your target awaits.” Kali tilted his head toward a two-story white colonial-style building with deep-yellow shutters. “A symbol of Indonesia’s former ties to Britain and Japan, and where our declaration of independence was announced. You appear to be infidels, so the outrage caused by your mission should sour relations between Indonesia and Western societies.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “May Allah share in your triumph.”

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, but at a slow pace. Chapter nineteen is almost finished but completion was delayed with editing of Carnage in Singapore. As soon as the chapter is completed, I’ll post it to the two subscription writing sites I use. In the meantime, the number of chapter reviews increased slightly to 249, providing plenty of excellent recommendation to choose from.

In the meantime, Michael and I continue our collaboration effort on Xavier Sear: Angola.angolan cole-revised3 I sent him chapter six on Friday, and he’s comes back with a few suggestions which will enhance the chapter. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication.

We’ve also made some additional tweaks to our character list and the chapter outline. Collaborating on a novel is certainly rewarding and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently completed Countenance of War: A Historical Novel of Scotland (The Black Douglas Trilogy Book 2) by J.R. Tomlin. As with the first book in the series, this was a another excellent blend of historical facts and fiction, making for an excellent read.

James, the Black Douglas, refuses to give in to the English conquerors and takes the was to them, utilizing guerilla tactics against superior-numbered forces. Follow James and his band of courageous men as they strive to free Scotland from the clutches of King Edward. I look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 14, 2019

It’s been another week of mixed weather–sun, clouds, and rain, but the temperature is gradually creeping up, with the past four days being in the low 70s (F/20s C). Outdoor chores continued, as they will throughout the decent weather. The biggest one this week was power washing the block paving on the driveway. Still have to add sand to fill in the gaps around the bricks, but that’ll be taken care of this week.

A few more plants were added, primarily in pots around the front door. It’s looking great with all the colors!

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

Caspar Abel, German theologian, historian, and poet; John Douglas, Scottish Anglican bishop and man of letters; Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin, Russian poet; Mordecai Manuel Noah, American writer, journalist; John G Lockhart, [Scorpion], biographer (Life of Sir Walter Scott); Gertrude Bell, British archaeologist and writer (Desert & The Sown); Owen Wister, American novelist (Virginian); Frank Raymond Leavis, British literary critic (Culture & Environment); Irving Stone, American author (Love is Eternal, Lust for Life); Chaim Raphael, English Jewish scholar and novelist; Northrop Frye, Canadian literary critic; Natalia Ginzburg, Italian author (Family dictionary); Leon Garfield, English children’s author; Frances Lear, Woman’s magazine publisher (Lears); George E. Slusser, American scholar and writer; Susan Howatch, English author; Maulana Karenga, American author and activist; L. Brent Bozell, American author and activist; Joe Keenan, American screenwriter, television producer and novelist; Phil Rosenthal, American newspaper columnist; Brian Selznick, American author and illustrator; and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, English actress, writer and director (Fleabag).

Was anyone familiar to you? I admit there weren’t many recognizable names 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!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour continued through its second week as scheduled. If you’d like to find out more, please check out: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/previous/2 and scroll to the bottom of the page.

DA Blue RibbonI also received the blue ribbon for Dangerous Alliance’s finish as one of seven First in Category winners in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards. It was quite a thrill to open the package and find the ribbon signifying an outstanding achievement in my short fiction-writing career.

In addition to the ribbon, there were several additional prizes, all of which I’ll use to further enhance the promotion and marketing of my work. I’m already planning to submit a novel for the 2019 competition!

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. Here’s another snippet for you:

Both calls finished, Koh spoke first. “My contact stated the English woman is still at the same location, at least for now. Not sure if they’re planning to move her. He didn’t say, but he made me wonder.”

Noah nodded. “I reached someone named Johnathan Wong. He said the usual spot at eleven a.m. What does he mean?”

Koh chuckled. “Jurong Bird Park. He’s fanatical about birds. He loves to visit the Lory Loft and feed the lories and lorikeets.”

“What are they?”

“Small to medium sized parakeets. Beautiful colors.” Koh tapped the side of his head. “He’s a bit, I guess unique in how he views the world, but he’s harmless. He’s a superb source because so many people dismiss him, but he has excellent recall. Can even mimic their voices.”

***

Johnathan switched to a raspy voice. “The man said this was the first stage and more attacks are coming.”

“Did he mention any details, such as where or when?”

Johnathan shook his head and shoulders, spilling some of the birdseed. “No, but he said someone named Musa Ramen, would be pleased. I’m not sure of Ramen, it might be something else, but similar.” Johnathan smiled. “Did I do okay?”

Koh patted him on the shoulder. “Yes, you did. I’ll check back in a couple of days.”

After they left, Noah turned to Koh. “Does the name mean anything to you?”

“No.” Koh shook his head. “But I believe he’s given us a clue. One of the leaders of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah lives on a nearby island. His name is Musa Rahmet.”

More next time.

1541181484Work continued on A Cartel’s Revenge, although still at a slow pace. Chapter seventeen was posted to the two subscription writing sites I use. To date, the novel has received 223 chapter reviews. Plenty of excellent recommendations to choose from!

I’ve started the next chapter and hope to have it ready over the next few days.

In the meantime, Michael and I are moving forward with Xavier Sear: Angola. The first angolan cole-revised3draft of chapter four has been completed. It might seem like we’re not moving forward very fast, but with eight time zones between us, we rely on email exchanges for communication.

It’s very interesting collaborating on a series such as this. While Angola was originally to be book one, Michael came up with an excellent idea to create a different beginning to the series, introducing Sear as a Clean Cut Kid. More to follow as we continue with this new journey.

Books I’m Reading

I just finished reading Victoria, the latest novel in the Lt. Kate Gazzara series by Blair Howard. Kate and her new partner, Janet, are tasked to identify the killer of a wealthy woman. Before long, two others are killed by the same individual. Coupled with Kate’s normal problems with Deputy Chief Finkle, she has more on her plate to deal with.

As with all of Blair’s novels, this one doesn’t disappoint. With realistic characters, a riveting plot, and plenty of twists and turns, this is a fantastic story which should be a must read for all who enjoy crime stories. Can’t wait for the next one!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 30, 2019

Hard to believe we’re already six months through 2019!  Where has the time gone?

We’ve been fortunate with some decent weather over the past week.  About a third of the fence has been transformed from its weather-worn appearance with a coat of forest oak preservative/stain. When the sun shines, it appears to have a plum color, but when it’s in shadow, it almost looks black. All being well, more will be done this week.

A builder and his assistant arrived on Tuesday to rip up the old patio and install a new one. When they removed one of the old slabs near a retaining wall, a plume of water shot up. It continued for hours before the influx stopped.  As a result of this, completion of the new patio was delayed as it took a day and a half to dig through clay and install proper drainage, dumping into a drain on the other side of the property. The system was tested last night with a heavy thunderstorm, but everything looks fine this morning.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 30th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Gay, English poet and dramatist (The Beggar’s Opera); Thomas Lovell Beddoes, English poet (Death’s Jest-Book); Friedrich Theodor Vischer, German philosopher and writer (Auch einer); Stanko Vraz [Jakob Frass], Slovenian-Croatian poet (illyrism); Hendrik Jan Schimmel, Dutch writer and dramatist (2 Tudors); Gerrit Kalff, Dutch professor (history of Dutch writers); Georges Duhamel, French author (Vie et aventures de Salavin, 5 vol.); Charles Camproux, French linguistic and author (Bestiari); Winston Graham, British writer (Poldark novels); Czesław Miłosz, Polish-American writer (Bells in Winter, Nobel 1980); Juan Bosch, 43rd President of the Dominican Republic (1962-63) and writer; Sam Moskowitz, American writer and historian of science fiction; James Goldman, American screenwriter and playwright (The Lion in Winter, They Might Be Giants); Frank Marcus, German playwright and critic; [Jacob] “Jack” Rosenthal, American journalist and government official; Assia Djebar [Fatma-Zohra Imalhayène], Algerian writer and filmmaker; and Robert Ballard, explorer/geologist/author/discoverer (Titanic in 1985).

Was anyone familiar to you? There might be at least a couple recognizable names. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

My online book tour began on Tuesday as scheduled. I’ve picked up over thirty new followers and at least one hundred people have added my novels to their ‘to-read’ lists. If you’d like to find out more, please check out: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/the-bedlam-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)Carnage in Singapore will be released soon by Solstice Publishing. Here’s another snippet: 

“We’ll wait until the lights go out.” Umar turned to Seto. “Did you bring your tools?”

Seto patted a bag on the seat. “Be inside within seconds. The builder used basic locks—no problem for me.”

“Good. We’ll enter the apartment and locate the woman. If others are present, knock them out.” He handed both men a leather-covered sap and a black hood. “Gag the woman, put this bag over her head, secure her arms, and bring her downstairs. I’ll wait with the car I hired this afternoon.”

Lights went out one by one throughout the building. After the last was extinguished, Umar waited fifteen minutes. “Go.”

Seto and Joko jumped out of the car and raced to the entrance. Joko held a small penlight on the lock. Seto gave a twist with two different lock picks, and the latch clicked. Joko pulled the handle, and they entered.

Locating the stairs, they padded up to the second floor. They glanced around the hallway—no one.

Seto worked his magic, and the door to apartment four opened. A body stirred on the sofa.

Joko put a finger to his lips and whispered, “Shush.”

They separated and approached from either side. In the moonlight shining through a window, Seto glanced at a woman sleeping on her stomach, her blonde hair spilled across the pillow. A click echoed in the room as the air conditioning switched on.

They paused after the noise, but the woman never stirred. Seto covered her mouth to smother any screams while Joko secured her wrists with rope. After shifting the strap of his tool bag over his shoulder, he wrapped a cloth gag around her face. They pulled her upright and dragged her outside.

Seto closed the door, and they rushed the struggling woman down two flights of stairs. Stopping at the building’s entrance, Seto pulled a black bag over her head. The coast clear, they hurried out to the car and pushed their captive inside the back seat. Joko climbed in after her while Seto ran around to the other side. As soon as the doors shut, Umar drove in a sedate manner until he reached the corner and sped away.

***

Back in Seto’s apartment, they dumped their struggling prisoner onto one of the chairs. Seto held her in place until Umar had bound her ankles and wrists. Panting from his efforts, Umar grabbed the hood and pulled it away.

He gasped. “It’s not her!”

More next time.

1541181671Work on A Cartel’s Revenge was almost nil this week as I concentrated on outdoor chores. Readers continue to provide their input, with 210 chapter reviews thus far. Plenty of excellent suggestions to choose from!

angolan cole-revised3Collaboration efforts on Xavier Sear: Angola continue. Chapters three and four will soon be completed.  More to follow regarding both novels as the stories unfold.

 

 

 

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Rope on Fire (John Crane Series Book 1) by Mark Parragh. This is Mark’s first novel and he’s burst on the scene with a well-polished story. Once a government agent, but now jobless, John Crane refuses to take a new position offered on the outside, and seeks employment elsewhere.  Before long, a billionaire hires him to find out why someone is sabotaging a project he’s funded in Puerto Rico.

Mark’s story is filled with a wide array of characters, and the non-stop action was an easy read and kept me turning page after page. Can’t wait to move onto the next novel in the series!

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, June 23, 2019

Happy Summer Solstice! We celebrated by setting up a stall at the Falkland festival, an annual event. In addition to selling a few candles, eight copies of some of Sylvia’s poetry was sold, along with two signed copies of The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance. Happy days!

The weather cooperated a few days this week so painting continued on the fence. It’s transforming from its weather-beaten gray to a forest oak.  Still plenty to do, but at last some progress has been made. A morning shower is forecast, but if it doesn’t materialize or if it does but isn’t heavy, perhaps I’ll get some more painting done. If I can’t, there’s always a stone wall needing a good power spray to rejuvenate the colors.

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

Justus G Schottel, [Schottelius], German poet; Giambattista Vico, Italian philosopher and historian; Irvin S Cobb, Ky, writer/humorist (Old Judge Priest); Ernst Rowohlt, German publisher (Rowohlt-Verlag); Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet; Vladislav Vančura, Czech writer (Rozmarné léto); Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, Turkish poet, novelist, recognized as one of the most important representatives of modernism in Turkish literature (A Mind at Peace, The Time Regulation Institute); Anthony Veiller, American writer (Night of Iguana, Moulin Rouge); Hans C Branner, Danish writer (Two Minutes of Silence); Carleton Coon, American anthropologist (What in the World); Wolfgang Koeppen, German author (Death in Rome); Paulus Akkerman [Paul fen Nijenborn], Frisian writer (Each om Each); Jacques Rabemananjara, Hungarian author/vice-president (Antsa); Michael Shaara, American writer (Killer Angels); Urs Jaeggi, Swiss sociologist and writer; Roger McDonald, Australian author; Kjell Albin Abrahamson, Swedish journalist and writer; Darhyl S. Ramsey, American author; and Maggie Greenwald, American film director and writer.

Was anyone familiar to you? There might be at least a couple familiar ones. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

the bedlam series banner

Stay tuned for my online book tour, which begins on June 25th. Click on the following link for more information: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/the-bedlam-series-tour-sign-ups

My Work in Progress

carnage in singapore-001(1)The new cover for Carnage in Singapore, which will be released soon by Solstice Publishing, is now ready. Here’s another snippet: 

Alone in a corner of the ferry’s deck, the two men leaned over the railing. Umar finished the last of his cigarette and flicked the glowing remains into the water.

Joko glanced around. “What’s the next step?”

“We’ll meet with a Singapore police contact. He advises me on matters of interest to our cause. Afterward, we’ll join a friend who will help us with our next task.”

The Sindo Ferry docked an hour after departing Sekupang. They scampered off the vessel and joined other passengers heading to immigration. They waited their turn and stepped up to the desk.

The official glowered at them. “What is your purpose for visiting Singapore? How long?”

Umar placed their passports, completed disembarkation cards, and return tickets on the desk. “We came to visit the shopping mall.” He pointed at Joko. “My friend has never visited Singapore, and we thought we’d make the journey. We have return tickets to Batam Island in three days.”

***

The officer shook his head. “No names.” He gestured at the box. “The information you requested is under the chocolates.”

Umar fished a small paper bag out of a pocket and placed it beside the candy. “A small gift for sharing your sweets with us.”

The man slid the bag off the table and underneath. Leaning back, he inspected the contents, a smile growing across his face. “A fair trade.” He drained his cup and stood. “Enjoy your stay. I must return to the office.”

Umar turned to Joko. “Go get two drinks to take away. I’ll find out what he left for us.”

After Joko left, Umar lifted the plastic tray from the box. Underneath, a white envelope. Inside, a single sheet of paper, with an address. Umar shoved the paper in his pocket and helped himself to another Malaysian chocolate. He placed the cover on the package and tucked it under his arm. He spotted Joko returning with two cups and joined him.

“Did he provide what you wanted?” Joko nodded toward the box as he sipped on his beverage.

Umar tossed the container in a nearby trashcan. “Yes. Now we meet with someone else. When we join him, I’ll explain everything.”

More next time.

With my external activities this past week, work on A 1541181671Cartel’s Revenge slowed, although I’ll post the next chapter today to the two subscription writing sites I use. There’s been 189 chapter reviews thus far. Plenty of excellent suggestions to choose from!

Once Carnage in Singapore is released, I’ll begin adding snippets from A Cartel’s Revenge. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the synopsis, here you go:

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?

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t have a chance this week to gather my thoughts regarding my latest reading. I hope to provide one or two reviews next time.

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

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 28, 2019

After a brilliant Easter weekend filled with plenty of sunshine and temperatures reaching 74F/24C, we’ve struggled since Tuesday to hit 60F/15C. The lower temperatures were accompanied by rain and hail but at least that seems to be behind us for the next few days. I hope–more work to do outside, with several shrubs waiting to be planted.

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

Charles Cotton, English poet and writer; Karl Kraus, Austrian satirical writer; Franz Arnold, German writer; Bruno Apitz, German writer (Nackt unter Wölfen); Johan Borgen, Norwegian author (Lillelord); Pierre Boileau, French novelist (Vertigo); Sam Merwin, Jr., American mystery fiction writer; Lee Falk, American comic strip writer (The Phantom); Joop Waasdorp, Dutch writer (Naked Life); Robert Anderson, American writer (Tea & Sympathy, I Never Sang for My Father); Alistair MacLean, Scottish novelist (The Guns of Navarone); [Nelle] Harper Lee, American author (To Kill a Mockingbird); Lois Duncan, American young adult novelist (I Know What You Did Last Summer); Iryna Zhylenko, Ukrainian poet (An Evening Party in an Old Winery); Terry Pratchett, English author of fantasy novels (Discworld); Roberto Bolano, Latin American author and poet; Nicky Gumbel, British author and priest; and Ian Rankin, Scottish novelist.

How many did you recognize? There’s two or three who might be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. 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

Carnage in Singapore is now ready for submission. Just working on the query letter and anticipate forwarding my manuscript next Sunday. Here’s another snippet:

1539534550Harrison stifled a yawn. “Didn’t get much sleep last night. Might be the novel I started about a couple of FBI agents. A cracker couple, both on the job and in their personal lives. Outstanding stuff.”

“After reading report after report all day, I don’t understand how you manage to read at home.”

“Work-life balance.” Harrison took a tentative slurp of his Tetley tea. “It gives me pleasure to read a variety of authors and immerse myself in their imaginary worlds. An excellent stress reliever and helps keep me sane after what we deal with on a regular basis.”

Margaret chuckled before she slipped out the door. She returned moments later with a leather-padded binder labeled, ‘Daily Read Folder.’ “Happy reading.”

Harrison leaned back in his chair, the folder in one hand and his tea in the other. After propping his feet on the corner of the desk, he nudged the binder open with a thumb and began perusing.

He took another sip of his drink and bolted upright. “Damn!” Hot liquid splashed onto his lap, soaking the bottom of his shirt and his trousers. He leapt to his feet, banged the empty cup and saucer onto the tray, and threw the folder to the far side of the desk. “Margaret! I need your help.”

She rushed into the room and spotted Harrison’s dilemma. After grabbing a handful of napkins from the tray holding his saucer and now-empty cup, she tossed several to him and bent down to soak up the runaway tea from the carpet and chair.

“Never mind the spillage—I’ll take care of it. Did you read through the folder?” She glanced at her boss. “The memo from the Indonesians?”

He nodded. “Yes. What did we miss? I better speak with Evelyn right away. Will you take care of the Viper connection? I never get it to work.”

Margaret cocked her head. “Sure thing. It must be bothersome being challenged by technology.”

“You’re not much younger than me.” He laughed. “One of these days, I might surprise you and conquer the blasted thing.”

***

Ollie and Barbara focused their attention on Alf.

He nodded. “Yes. My contact in the FBI finished his examination of the sample I sent him. He confirmed my diagnosis of PETN, but a trace of another chemical showed up.”

“Anything we should worry about?” Barbara doodled on a piece of paper by her side, a stick character with a noose around its head.

“Someone tried to enhance the PETN. My FBI guy identified the material as hydrochloric acid, an ingredient in Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, an explosive popping up with terrorist groups in the Middle East. The British ‘shoe bomber’ tried to use TATP as his detonator to take down an American Airlines flight back in 2001, but he didn’t succeed.”

Alf glanced around the room. “This is a serious threat to commercial transportation when it’s added to sheet explosives that can be concealed inside luggage. According to America’s Homeland Security, conventional detection systems have difficulty in identifying the low atomic signatures of this explosive. Perhaps an alert should be issued.”

Evelyn nodded. “I’ll talk to Harrison about the alert. Thanks for the update, Alf. Anything else?”

After Alf shook his head, Evelyn continued. “Noah must still be busy in Singapore. No word from him yet. I’ll ask DG Robertson to contact Sir Alex and arrange for a member of Bedlam Bravo to join us.” She heaved a sigh, expelling her tension.

“Right. Continue with your training. As of now, you’re on thirty-minute recall.” Evelyn gazed at her team. “Check your bags. Full arms. When we deploy, we’ll be the hunters.” Heaven help us all ….

Perhaps more next time.

I’ve continue to edit the original chapters of  A Cartel’s Revenge. Originally, this was to be a stand-alone novel, but now this will be book one of the Bruce and Smith series. So far, I’ve revised chapters 1-6, with thirty-eight new chapter reviews from the two subscription writing sites I use.  Here’s a snippet for you: 1541181671

Three armored vehicles raced through the hacienda’s open gates. Dust billowed in their wake as guard took up defensive positions from the top of the wall to strategic areas of the drivway. Two unarmored SUVs escorted the procession. One took the lead while the other brought up the rear.

Seventy-year-old Jesús Pedro Zapata and his forty-five-year-old son, Oscar, relaxed in the middle vehicle. The Medellin Country Club’s weekly buffet luncheon drew father, son, and Zapata’s daughter, Olivia, along with numerous local dignitaries and powerful landowners. On this rare occasion, she missed the gathering due to a prior commitment in Panama City, where she and their lawyers sought to close a deal for the purchase of a sugar cane plantation.

The convoy slowed. Zapata dropped the inner glass partition to find out why. Ahead, yellow flashing lights and trucks emblazoned with Interconexión Eléctrica S.A. blocked the road. A man waved the convoy onto a side street. Additional trucks blocked the next intersection. Before the vehicles reversed, more trucks cut off their escape.

Zapata screamed, “Get us out of here! Hurry, before it’s too late!”

Perhaps I’ll include a bit more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Cassandra by Blair Howard. This is another excellent read, given to us by a master storyteller. Lt. Kate Gazzara is up to her ears with internal police department issues when she’s instructed to update the assistant police chief on the cases she’s working on, including a twenty-three-year-old murder of a young woman named Cassandra.

I enjoy how Blair blends his larger-than-life characters together with an excellent plot, which keeps readers guessing as to the perpetrator of the crime. This is well-written and moves at a fast pace. Highly recommended for those you enjoy crime stories.

This brings us to a close for another 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.