Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 27, 2018

Happy Memorial Day!  Originally an American public holiday to honor veterans who served in the armed forces, it’s morphed into the unofficial start of the summer holiday season. Friends and family join together to open up vacation homes, relax, fire up barbecues, and enjoy the long weekend.

The weather is certainly giving a summer feel to the weekend, with temperatures in our area reaching as high as 86F/30C. Of course, with the high temperatures comes the threat of thunderstorms. There were a few scattered thunderclaps yesterday afternoon, but no rain in our area.

Are you celebrating a birthday today? If so, here’s a few people from the writing world and the Civil War you share with (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Julia Ward Howe, American author/lecturer (Battle Hymn of the Republic); Henry Parkes, British journalist/premier of Australia; John Gray Foster, American Major General (Union Army); Edwin Gray Lee, Brigadier General (Confederate Army); Robert Frederick Hoke, Major General (Confederate Army); Luigi Capuana, Sicilian author/critic (Roccaverdina); Georges Eekhoud, Belgian writer (Jeune Belgium); Arnold Bennett, English novelist/ playwright/critic (Great Babylon); Richard von Schaukal, Austria poet/writer (Eros Thanatos); Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski, Polish writer; Rudolf Pannwitz, German writer; Max Brod, Czech-born Israeli composer, writer and biographer of Kafta; Erich Kuttner, German journalist/historian (Vorwarts); Dashiell Hammett, detective novelist (Sam Spade, Maltese Falcon); Louis-Ferdinand Céline, French writer (Die Nacht); Uładzimir Zylka, Belarusian poet; Rachel Carson, American marine biologist, conservationist and writer (Silent Spring); Torolf Elster, Norwegian journalist/writer (Frihet och demokrati); John Cheever, writer (Wapshot Chronicle); Herman Wouk, American novelist (Caine Mutiny, Winds of War); Sidney AK Keyes, English poet (Iron Laurel); Tony Hillerman, American writer; Jan Blokker, Dutch writer/journalist (VPRO, People’s Newspaper); John Barth, novelist (Sot-Weed Factor); Harlan [Jay] Ellison, American sci-fi author (7 Hugos, Doomsman, Babylon 5); Adriaan Venema, Dutch journalist/author (Mussert); Norma Jean Almodovar, American author (Cop to Call Girl); and Rebekah Brooks, English journalist.

Recognize anyone? Even if you don’t, I hope you have a fantastic birthday!

My Work in Progress

I had hoped to finish my cast of characters for Dangerous Alliance this week. However, too many external requirements meant I did very little with my works in progress. Hopefully, the next week will be more promising and I can get back to writing.

Books I’m Reading

As mentioned a week or two ago, I finished another novel fro David Wood’s Dane Maddock’s adventure series. I hoped for another intriguing plot and Buccaneer didn’t disappoint. I’m sure many of you have heard of the Oak Island money pit. Used as the primary setting for Buccaneer, David created a whirlwind of a story, with treasure maps, Templar churches and a secretive organization trying to revive an ancient kingdom.

As with all of David’s novels in the series, Dane Maddock leads us on a roller coaster ride with plenty of twists and turns and plenty of realistic characters to aid readers in finding the treasure. This is one of those novels I just couldn’t put down and look forward to the next one in the series.

I had also hoped to provide a review of A Body in the Sacristy (Barrettsport  Mysteries Book 1) by Alan Kemister but will do this next time.

 

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, 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 25, 2018

With the last weekend in February underway, it’s hard to believe how time seems to speed up as we advance in age. I can remember when school years took forever to end so we could get to summer. Now, I blink and the seasons roll by.

Never mind, there’s nothing any of us can do to put the breaks on. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘time marches on’ and it’s true.

My Work in Progress

I didn’t do much editing on Dangerous Alliance over the past week as I devoted much of my writing time to reviewing work of fellow writers who have been so gracious in their efforts to critique mine. It’s only fair I return the favor.

Someone asked me this week about my writing plans and where do my stories come from. The simple answer? From everywhere. It could be a suggestion from another writer, which is the case with A Cartel’s Revenge, or it could be a thought passing by after reading news articles or watching a news broadcast. Sometimes, they just pop into my head. At least one came from reviewers of a short story I wrote who said it would make a good novel.

Whatever the source, in addition to Dangerous Alliance, I have three other novels in progress–plenty of writing for me to do. I’ve also penned initial synopses for another eight plots, with tentative titles. Plenty to write about–now I just need the time!

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Deception by Bill Ward and Stoddard’s Gold by John Rose Putnam. I’ll share my thoughts with you next time.

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.

Room With Books – Check out this blog by Patricia Green. Read her reviews of a variety of genres and select the next novel or novella you’ll pick up from your favorite online or bricks and mortar store.

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, February 4, 2018

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! After a week’s reprieve, Mother Nature has reminded us it’s still winter. With at least three inches of snow overnight and up to another four forecast over the next eight hours, it’s clear winter is still with us.

Just finished dusting off the bird feeders and clearing a path to where the deer forage. It’s always a treat to have the ‘neighbors’ drop by.

My Work in Progress

Editing on Dangerous Alliance and external activities consumed most of my time over the past week. This coming week will be the last concentrated editing effort before I put it aside to work on other things. Needless to say, I’ll resume work on Dangerous Alliance later.

In the meantime, I want work on the novels I mentioned last time. They might appear neglected, but they’re not–just not enough time to do everything I want.

Books I’m Reading

I keep rolling through books as if there’s no tomorrow. I didn’t have a change to finish writing my reviews, but I’ll provide comments on the first two novels in Russell Moran’s time magnet series: The Grey Ship and The Thanksgiving Gang.

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.

John Howell – follow American author John Howell’s blog as he discusses fiction favorites.

Harmony Kent – check out British author Harmony Kent work across different genres.

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