Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 26, 2019

This is Memorial Day weekend. While for many it means the unofficial beginning of summer, with vacation homes being aired out, family gatherings, and sporting events, such as the Indy 500, there is another side to the holiday.

Memorial Day is also a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Flags are placed on the graves of those who died in military service. Many communities also hold parades, culminating in ceremonies at designated points in cemeteries and at memorials.

No matter how you spend the weekend, please take a moment to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day. Enjoy the weekend.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 26th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Edmond de Goncourt, French writer, wrote with his brother Jules de Goncourt; Robert W. Chambers, American artist and fiction writer; John Eigenhuis, Dutch writer (Tough Workers); Jean Schlumberger, French writer (La Mort de Sparte); Moondog, American composer, musician and poet; Phyllis Gotlieb, Canadian author; Hugo Raes, Flemish writer (Horses Jump & Fresh Sea); Piers Gray, critic/writer; Alan Hollinghurst, British novelist; Phil Doyle, Australian writer; and David Reed, British writer and comedian.

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

My Work in Progress

1541181671With all of the outdoor activity, I didn’t have much time to sit in front of the computer and write. Chapter eleven of A Cartel’s Revenge is almost finished. So far, the novel has received ninety-eight chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use. Plenty of good suggestions for improving my writing.

Things are on hold with Carnage in Singapore as I await the results of my submission. In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

When they arrived, Noah paid the driver and entered the hotel. He waited at the counter to collect his key. “Welcome back, Mr. Noah. A man asked for you last night.”

“What did he look like? Did you ask his name?”

“Asian.” The clerk shrugged. “No name but he said he was a friend and wanted to leave a gift in your room. A porter let him in. We suggested he put the package in our safe until you returned, but he was very persuasive.”

Noah’s forehead creased as he frowned. “How long did he remain in my room?” And what was he looking for?

“Ten, perhaps fifteen minutes. The porter remained in the hallway and locked the door when the man left.”

“Do you have security cameras?”

“Not in the rooms, but in the common areas and the elevators.”

“I’m going upstairs. Please bring me the tapes from last night. I’ll review them later with my colleagues from the Internal Security Department.”

The clerk swallowed, a look of panic of his face. “Of course.”

Noah waited for an empty elevator. Taking forever. He spotted a sign for the stairs and rushed up the steps. Out of breath by the time he reached the sixth floor, he paused before heading down the carpeted hallway to room 602.

His room.

The thread he left on the lock lay on the floor. He tried the handle. Locked.

Noah pulled his SIG Sauer from its holster and shoved his key card in the slot. After the light turned green, he pushed the door open.

The mattress hung over the edge of the bed, his single bag dumped in a heap. The drawers from the bedside tables and the chest of drawers sat in a haphazard pile in a corner. Pictures were ripped from the wall and slashed. The glass coffee table top was smashed into tiny pieces, a testament to the fury of whoever did this.

What were they looking for? Nothing here but some clothes. My Bedlam laptop remained with me.

A noise from the bathroom caught his attention.

He turned and caught a shadowy figure emerging from a corner. The assailant screamed and threw a lamp at Noah’s head before he could get an idea of who it was.

Noah crashed to the floor, his gun skittering away.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

 I recently finished reading The Butchered Man, book one of The Northminster Mysteries by Harriet Smart. Set in Victorian England in the 1840s, a mutilated corpse sets events in motion. With a well-written plot and characters exhibiting traits associated with the time period, it’s easy to become immersed in the combined efforts of Chief Constable Major Vernon and police surgeon Felix Carswell to solve the mystery. Will they find the villain? Grab a copy and find out! I look forward to moving onto the second book of 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, May 12, 2019

This week I’d like to introduce you to another author. Barbara Russell is an entomologist and a soil biologist. Or as she would put it, she digs in the dirt looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been her passion. When she was growing up when she read Ivanhoe by Sir W. Scott and fell in love with medieval novels.

Let’s find out some more about Barbara:

BRussellHave you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales? I co-wrote The Martian Zombie with H. J. Hewett and it was a lovely experience. Writing becomes a brainstorming of ideas and is incredibly fun. I don’t know about the sales yet, but promoting the book was easier.

How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write? I write as much as I can, whenever I can, wherever I am. Except the bus I read on the bus.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Laptop. The Word spelling check is a lifesaver for someone like me who’s dyslexic.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? Plot and outline. I can’t pants. No way. I get frustrated, haha.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Writing is amazing. I love writing. I don’t love promoting, lol

How long on average does it take you to write a book? Three-four weeks so far… if I don’t have re-writing to do.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block, and do you have any tips for getting through it? I think it depends on what you mean with Writer’s Block. If you mean that a writer sits down and can’t write anything, then no. It has never happened to me. Also, I believe that many writers who complain about a writer’s block probably use the wrong writing technique. I’ve seen that usually pantsers tend to fall in the writer’s block trap, but maybe it’s because they aren’t real pantsers. Maybe they need to plot out the book first, and then start writing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? Ebooks, always, for ever and ever.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yep, I do that, so I can edit with fresh eyes.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? Absolutely. I, myself, choose the books by the covers (sorry folks, but it’s true.) A good cover is the best promotion.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? If I had the money, yes, why not?

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I don’t read reviews. Ever. A compliment stays with me a moment. A harsh word stays with me forever. Besides, some one star reviews aren’t reviews or feedback, but just plain insults, and I don’t think any author needs that.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work? I love them! I always make them for my books using ‘Director.’ Super easy to use.

What is your favourite motivational phrase?  If everything seems under control, then you just aren’t going fast enough—Mario Andretti, racing driver

What is your favourite movie and why? 300!! Love that film. It’s perfection. There’s everything I love: history, myth, action, and a love story

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t eat gherkins. Never. Ever.

What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors? I use Silver Dagger book tours for promotion. The owner, Maia, organises a one-month blog tour for the book, and it’s an amazing experience.

Email: russell.barbara.84@gmail.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-russell

Twitter: @brussell84Kiwi

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RussellBarbara84

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07HHJGBBX

Blog: https://barbararussell.blogspot.co.nz

All-author: https://allauthor.com/profile/brussell/

Landing page: https://mailchi.mp/f3c0a9bf3544/barbararussell

51Z7X6CQlAL_002Latest published book:A Damsel in Shiny Armor

Genre: Steampunk/Arthurian fantasy/Romance

Publisher: Champagne Books Group

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UMotOH

After fighting dragons, wild Vikings, and clockwork monsters, Nathair is facing the biggest challenge of his life: proposing to Bryhannon. Apparently, flowers and a three-month salary worth ring aren’t enough because she doesn’t seem thrilled by the proposal. She has a devastating power to control, Reapers to face, and more importantly she has to find the courage to tell Nathair that she’s a Morrigan.

This wraps up another week. Next time, I’ll return with more about my own work and another snippet from Carnage in Singapore.  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.

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 5, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo day!  

Things are slowing taking shape in the back yard (garden) after years of neglect before we purchased the property. It’ll probably take all summer to get things to the state we want, but we’ll get there in the end.

KODAK Digital Still CameraMeet Oliver. He’s fifteen and loves to go outdoors. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks he’s been to the vet’s office four times. He’s not well–the vet has narrowed it down to a tumor or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). We don’t know how much longer he’ll be with us, but he’s getting plenty of treats and affection. Oliver still loves his spot on the front step, moving just inside the vestibule if it becomes too chilly. He’s sleeping just now.

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

Louis Christophe François Hachette, French publisher (Librairie Hachette); Jacob Kats, Flemish writer (Earthly Paradise); Hubert Howe Bancroft, American historian, ethnologist (History of Pacific States); Henryk Sienkiewicz, Polish author (Quo Vadis, Nobel 1905); Max Elskamp, Belgian author and poet (Lesson Joies Blondes, Maya); Nellie Bly [Elizabeth Cochran Seaman], American journalist and writer (Ten Days in a Mad House); Christopher Morley, American author (Kitty Foil); Freeman Gosden, American writer; James Beard, American culinary expert and author (Delights & Prejudices); Miklós Radnóti, Hungarian poet (Clouded Sky); Richard Rovere, American political journalist (Goldwater Caper); Rob Van Gennep, Dutch publisher; and Naomi Klein, Canadian author (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate);.

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

I finished the query letter for Carnage in Singapore, and he manuscript has been submitted. Here’s another snippet:

1539534550Bullets ripped through the air as more sirens joined the growing sound of emergency vehicles. Koh and Noah hunkered down behind the BMW, bullets pinging off metal. Rounds shredded tires and glass fragments from the shattered windows fell on them. Koh and Noah returned fire, ducking as bullets ricocheted off the vehicle. An ear-piercing scream erupted from one of the attackers as projectiles smashed their way through what remained of the black car shielding them.

***

“You okay, Noah?” Koh coughed. “I took—” He yelped and coughed again. “I took a round through my right shoulder. Appears to be through and through. Hurts like anak haram.”

“Not sure what it means, but I agree.”

“It’s bastard in Malay.” Koh cocked his head. “Hear that?”

“I don’t hear anything but the sirens.”

“Exactly. If they were reloading, they should have done it by now.”

Noah nodded. “They’ve stopped shooting. I wonder if the sirens scared them away?”

“They either ran, or we took care of them.”

Noah inched upward to peer over the hood.

Koh yanked him back. “Not yet. We don’t know if they’ve gone. I suggest—“

Both men heard footsteps rushing away from them.

Noah slumped to the ground and leaned against the vehicle. “It might be a good idea to stay put until the police arrive.”

“Okay with me. Put your weapon on the ground near you. If you’re holding it when the police arrive, they’ll shoot first and ask questions later.”

Noah began to laugh and jerked his arm. “Ow! This isn’t a laughing matter.”

Perhaps more next time.

1541181671I’ve also 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 the first eight chapters, with fifty-nine new chapter reviews from the two subscription writing sites I use.  I’ll provide a new snippet next week.

This brings us to a close for another week as I need to spend some time with Ollie. 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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 31, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating in the UK. Hope you have a great day!

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans for making it into this year’s NCAA Elite 8 and commiserations to the Michigan Wolverines as their campaign came to an end. Go MSU!

Mother Nature has brought a chill back into the area, but at least there’s plenty of sunshine. The grass was trimmed yesterday and the front yard is shaping up. Still plenty of things to do, but it’s on the right road.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 31st. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Andrew Marvell, English poet (To His Coy Mistress); Edward FitzGerald, English writer (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam); Nikolai Gogol [Nikolay], Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist (Dead Souls, The Inspector-General); Leon Dierx, French poet; Andrew Lang, Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and anthropologist (Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books); Borisav “Bora” Stanković, Serbian writer; Ion Pillat, Romanian poet/senator (Umbra timpului); Vardis Fisher, American author (Darkness & Deep); Pieter Jongeling, Dutch author (under Piet Prins) and politician; Robert Brasillach, French author; Octavio Paz, Mexican writer/diplomat (Salamandra, Topoemas); Marga [Sara Voeten-] Minco, Dutch writer (Bitter Herb); John Fowles, English novelist (Collector, French Leiutenent’s Woman);  John Jakes, writer (Sir Scoundrel, Great Women Reporters); Nichita Stănescu, Romanian poet; Judith Rossner, American writer (August); and Marge Piercy, author (Small Changes, Gone for Soldiers).

How many did you recognize? There’s one or two 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!

News About My Published Work

transparentbeverly_sweets_png copy

I received the final official notification this morning that The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance  have progressed from the Slushpile to the Long List onward to the Short List and are now official SEMI-FINALISTs  for the GLOBAL THRILLER Book Awards for Lab Lit, Thriller, & Int’l Suspense Fiction,  a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs). As I previously mentioned, my novels are two of the thirteen semi-finalists for the awards, which will be announced on April 30th. Stay tuned.

 

DA-3D-coverTKC

 

Both novels are available across the Amazon Network, through Barnes&Noble, and other outlets.

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I’m eighty-two percent through the third edit pass, with perhaps one more to follow before the manuscript is ready for submission. Here’s another snippet:

A gentle breeze through the open windows of the third-floor apartment brought a slight chill, causing Natalee to close the nearest one. Anxious at being alone at the moment, she wished her parents would return soon from their morning stroll through the neighborhood.

1539534550A knock on the door startled her.

She glanced through the peephole. Two uniformed police officers stood in the hallway. Recognizing them, she slid the deadbolt and opened the door.

“Sergeant Ang and Constable Goh. What a surprise! Please, come in.”

Aiden beamed. “How are you today, Miss Natalee?” He held out a handful of flowers. “These are for you.”

“Thank you so much!” She gave Aiden a wide smile as she sniffed the different colored tulips arranged in a slim, clear cut-glass vase. “You don’t have to bring me something every time you visit.” She set the vase on the coffee table.

“The gifts are worth every penny to see your face light up.”

Natalee and Aiden perched on the sofa the cushion groaning from Aiden’s weight. He glanced at Natalee and shrugged.

Both laughed.

Goh, his face wearing its usual frown, rolled his eyes as he sat in a nearby chair.

“Right now we’re on official business.” Aiden patted Natalee’s hand. “Have you remembered anything more about where you were held?”

Goh opened his laptop ready to capture her statement.

She shook her head and pulled her hand from Aiden’s grasp. “Images, but nothing definite. I remember several huts, one larger than the others. Lots of trees, too.” “She pressed her hands against her ears. “I keep hearing the screams of the other prisoners when they were being tortured.” She licked her lips and squirmed.

“Anything about the other captives?”

“Four men and two women—our kidnappers took the women away once.” Tears streamed down Natalee’s face. “When they came back, their faces were covered in cuts and bruises. Fear and panic were etched on their faces and they smelled as if someone had soiled their clothing. They said ….”

More next time.

Due to concentrating on editing, I didn’t have a chance to work on Ultimate Escalation, the next book in the series. Perhaps this week.

Books I’m Reading

This week Conviction (A New World Book 2), the latest gripping story by M.D. Neu, was released. He’s done it again with his latest release. Follow Todd Landon and various members of the Nentraee as they deal constant issues with merging Earth with an alien race. With an engaging plot and realistic characters, this story has something for everyone: love, passion, action, betrayal, just to name a few. Well done!

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, March 10, 2019

We’re off to a chilly and gloomy start to the day. With temperatures at 34F/1C and cloudy skies as far as one can see, the hint of moisture in the air will likely dampen things before too long. Even with this, it’s reported March temperatures are above normal and this is borne out by the abundance of buds and flowers appearing. Hopefully, the weather won’t take a turn for the worse, although the forecast is for some snow today.

Oops–spoke too soon. The rain’s coming down!  Could be worse–I saw there were thousands of people without power in Michigan. Hope it’s restored soon.

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

Constantine Huygens Jr, Dutch poet/painter/cartoonist; Georg F Creuzer, German philological/historian (Idea und Probe); Friedrich von Schlegel, German romantic writer/critic (Lucinde); Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, German poet (Das Marmorbild); Samuel Ferguson, Irish poet; Ina Donna Coolbrith, American poet laureate of California; Mary Mills Patrick, American author and 1st President of Istanbul Woman’s College; Pim [Willem JH] Mulier, Dutch journalist/writer/sport-organizer; Jakob Wassermann, German novelist (My Life as German & Jew); David M Chumaceiro, poet; Karel van de Woestijne, Flemish writer/poet (God at Sea); Nancy Cunard, British writer and activist; Pamela Mason [Ostrer], British actress, author and talk-show host (Lady Possessed); Boris Vian, French writer and musician; Adam Kennedy, American actor, screenwriter, novelist and painter (The Californians, Just Like Humphrey Bogart); Manolis Anagnostakis, Greek poet; Laurie Langenbach, Dutch author; Omer Tarin [Omer Salim Khan], Pakistani poet, scholar and activist; and Felice Arena, Australian children’s author.

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. I completed my first pass through the manuscript this week. Here’s another snippet:

Back in the team office, Barbara reached out to her former colleagues at the Security 1539534550Intelligence Service in Wellington, New Zealand. She picked up the receiver of a secure telephone on her desk and dialed a number from memory. A woman answered on the first ring.

“Research. How may I help?”

“Harper, is that you? Barbara Battersea here.”

A squeal of delight forced Barbara to pull the phone away from her ear. “Babs! How the hell are you? Been ages since we last spoke.”

“I’m cooking with gas. Busy finding a place to live and settling into the new job.”

“Any opening for a primo researcher? I could sure use a change of pace.”

“None right now, but send me your resume and I’ll pass it to our team leader.”

“Right. So, other than a chat, what did you call for?”

Barbara glanced at the ceiling. “Almost forgot.” She gave a breathy laugh. “I’m working up a profile about Jemaah Anshorut Daulah. Would you mind sending over whatever’s available?”

“I’ll check with my supervisor, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. There isn’t much. Since they haven’t made any attacks against New Zealand, they’re not on our radar.”

“Whatever you can provide will be fine. I’m reaching out to the Brits, America, Singapore, and Malaysia, too.”

***

Back in the lab, Alf checked the output of the mass spectrometer that analyzed the effluent from the HPLC. The graph showed two peaks. The smaller one was identified as acetone, which he’d expected since he used this to prepare the sample. His eyes widened as his gaze rested on the label above the larger spike, which almost reached the top of the graph. “I’ll be ….”

More next time.

1539535798I didn’t have much time left over to work on the final book of the series, Ultimate Escalation. However, I did manage to complete and post chapter three to the two subscription writing sites I use. So far, there’s been thirty-seven chapter reviews, all helping me improve the story and my writing.

I also continued assisting a fellow writer with paring down his first book, a memoir based on his father’s life as a hobo during the Great Depression. A fascinating read!

Books I’m Reading

I’m currently doing two beta reads, so I won’t be able to post my reviews until they’re published.  I should have one or two over reviews for you 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, February 24, 2019

As another month draws to a close, we’ve had temperatures between 55-62F/13-16C over the past week. The rhododendrons are covered with green shoots and our cats are spending more time outdoors in the pleasant weather.

Yesterday, we attended our first craft fair of 2019. Things went well, with a few candles and several poetry sheets sold. With a six-foot table and the warm weather, we decided not to include the knitwear, and I forgot to take the pyrography (woodburning).

In addition, three copies of The Kurdish Connection and two of Dangerous Alliance were autographed for customers.

Painting also continued during the past week; the new kitchen/dining area is sparkling. Just need a few tiles on the wall near the sink and hob and it will be finished.

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

Muhammad ibn Battutah, Arab travel writer (Travels in Asia & Africa); Sixt(us) Birck [Xystus Betulius], German writer (Suzanna); Matthias C Sarbiewski, [Sarbievius], Polish jesuit/poet; Vincent Voiture, French poet; Wilhelm Grimm, German story teller (Grimm’s Fairy Tales); Rosalía de Castro, Santiago de Compostela Galician writer and poet; C Grant B Allen, Canadian writer (Woman Who Did); George A Moore, Irish painter/novelist (Esther Waters); Daniel Berkeley Updike, printer/publisher/writer (Printing Types); Herman Teirlinck, Belgian writer (Sun); Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski, Polish novelist/satirist (Black Wings); Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Polish writer and painter; Mary Ellen Chase, US linguistic/author (White Gate); Jacob Presser, Dutch historian/writer (Down-fall); Alexis Curvers, Belgian author (Tempo di Roma, Bourg-le-Rond); August William Derleth, writer (Judge Peck Mysteries); Ludvig Aschkenazy, writer; David Mourao-Ferreira, poet/politician; Michael Harrington, socialist/author (Fragments of Century); and Maurizio Giuliano, writer and traveller.

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should 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

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. So far I’m still on 1539534550track to submit the manuscript to my publisher in May/June. Here’s another snippet:

Two additional guards patrolled the terrace. When Musa approached, one patted him down while the other watched monitored the perimeter. Not finding any obvious weapons, the guard motioned him to the door.

After entering, Musa removed his shoes and put on a pair of slippers. He crossed the teak floor and joined Abu Zeze, who waited for him near a small fire. They clasped right hands and gave a slight nod to each other.

Selamat (Peace), Musa. It’s good to see you again.” Abu Zeze stared at Musa through thick glasses which gave him a bug-eyed appearance. Gray hair, covered by a skull cap, and a traditional multi-colored sarong and shirt. A pair of brown slippers completed his ensemble.

“And to you. I’m honored you had time to meet with me.”

Abu Zeze gave a dismissive wave. “Come sit by the fire and share a cup of wedang jahe with me.”

“Thank you.”

Abu Zeze clapped his hands, and a young boy appeared with a tray holding two cups of the warm ginger drink and a plate of orange slices.

Once the boy served the men, he departed. Friends for several years, Musa and Abu Zeze brought each other up to date on news worth repeating. After they finished their light repast, Abu Zeze gazed at his friend.

“What is on your mind, Musa? You seem preoccupied.”

“Yes, I guess I am. I want JAD to become further linked with Jemaah Islamiyah.”

Abu Zeze tilted his head to the side and rubbed his scrawny beard. “As with all other groups who seek access to JI resources, you must show how you plan to serve us.”

Musa sighed. “We’ll use a tiered approach. To start, a barrage of mortars from Batam Island and explosive charges at several Singapore tourist attractions.”

His host pursed his lips and nodded. “All achievable, but insufficient for our purposes to instill fear.”

“I’m not finished.” Musa raised his hands. “We’ll also kidnap the senior official from each of the British, Australian, and American embassies. Their right index fingers will be severed and sent to the respective embassy as a warning to leave. We will spread out the kidnappings to garner wider press coverage.”

More next time.

1539535798I didn’t have much time left over to work on the final book of the series, Ultimate Escalation. However, I did manage to complete some additional research.

 

 

 

 

Books I’m Reading

With the work around the house and preparation for the craft fair, my reading time was cut short. I have another novel almost finished and will provide my thoughts next time.

My Favorite Authors

Another of my favorite authors is Clive Cussler. The international exploits of his various characters no doubt influenced my decision to begin my writing career with journeys to distant lands and cultures.

I have to laugh; an individual once referred to Mr. Cussler as a hack writer. With over seventy books to his credit and at least twenty novels making The New York Times fiction best-seller list, many writers could only dream of having this kind of success.

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