Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 24, 2021

We’ve started this morning with our coldest temperature of the winter thus far–21.2F (-6C). Definitely a bit of window scraping to do before heading out to get the paper!

I thought my arm was improving as I mentioned last time. It was–until three inches of snow fell Tuesday night. Clearing snow on Wednesday morning didn’t do me any favors, although I did manage to clear an incline which gets slippery so the limited sunshine could do its job. Unfortunately, my arm has been painful ever since.

“Life isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to be lived. Sometimes happy, other times rough. But with every up and down you learn lessons that make you strong.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, English poet; William Congreve, English playwright; Frances Brooke English writer; Pierre de Beaumarchais, French polymath and dramatist (The Marriage of Figaro, Barber of Seville); Antony CW Staring, Dutch lawyer/poet (Jaromir); Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, German writer/judge/composer (Undine); Karl von Holtei, Silesian actor, playwright and author (Die Vagabunden); Edith Wharton [-Jones], Pulitzer prize-winning novelist (Ethan Frome, House of Mirth); Ethel Turner, Australian author; Hedwig “Vicki” Baum, Austrian American author (Men Never Know, Grand Hotel); Albin Zollinger, Swiss poet/author (Der Halbe Mensch); Eugen Roth, German poet; C. L. Moore, American science fiction & fantasy writer (Judgment Night); Nora Beloff, English journalist & author; Stanisław Grochowiak, Polish poet; David Gerrold [Jerrold David Friedman], American science fiction screenwriter (Star Trek) & author (The Martian Child); Benjamin Urrutia, Ecuadorian-born American writer; and Vince Russo, American writer.

Anyone familiar to you? Having grown up with the original Star Trek series, I’m familiar with the stories, but not the screenwriter. 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!

New Release!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has now been released by Solstice Publishing, and is available across the Amazon network in Kindle and paperback versions.

If you’ve missed the synopsis, here it is:

Joao and Catarina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Catarina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

Here’s a five-star review from one reader:

I enjoyed reading ” Mission: Angola, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1” by Randall Krzak, and I have read several of his previous books and enjoy his stories and I also follow this exceptional author. In my view, this author is very realistic, highly intelligent, and writes about what he knows and has experienced, and that gives this story as well as his other writings, a highly powerful and enlightening effect.

I also enjoy the suspense, thrills, realism, and this author’s excellent and very professional style of writing. For example, here is a brief excerpt:

“Just before midnight, Buhari returned to the abandoned apartment building in Luanda, where he had met with Nando Okonjo before his trip. Buhari pounded on the door.

A slit opened at eye level. After scrutinizing Buhari’s features, the guard unlocked the door, motioned Buhari inside, and handed him a flashlight. “He is waiting for you.”

Buhari switched the light on and stumbled through the dilapidated building. When he reached their regular meeting room, he noticed a dim glow coming from the open door.

How strange. Okonjo doesn’t like the dark.

Pulling out his pistol, Buhari edged through the doorway.

A candle flickered in the middle of the table. It burned on a square piece of metal, reflecting an eerie radiance throughout the room. Okonjo sat on the far side, holding his head.”

A well-known thriller author once said, “The most satisfying thrillers send people into battle against the forces of evil – otherwise known as greed, ego, rage, fear, and laziness – and bring them out bloodied but whole,” and I felt that this quote on thrillers was somewhat apropos to this story.

In my opinion, this author creates an intricate, well-organized, and very well-described account of the events, courage, disappointments, tragedies, and high emotions all told in a quick-witted and concise manner. I also liked the pace of the story and the way this excellent and gifted writer builds the tension and drama throwing in logical but totally unexpected events. All of this made this story very enjoyable and entertaining.

Although most agree that evil in the world seems to be increasing, after I read this story, I felt I personally reached a different plateau in my thinking about the intrigue and sacrifices very courageous people are making throughout the world today.

I liked the way this highly skillful author tells this thrilling story going from scene to scene making the story fresh and easy to read.

All in all, I felt this is probably one of the best thrillers I’ve read, and I feel this author keeps reaching new levels in thrilling and very entertaining reading. Highly recommended!

It was my pleasure to receive a free copy of this book but that does not in any way affect my opinions in this review of this exceptional book.

My Work in Progress

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working too much on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal, but I did manage to finish chapter twenty-one. This past week, there were another seven new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 333. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

I’ll bring another snippet next time.

Authors to Check Out

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another author I’ve met: Michael Bronte.  Get a free copy of his novella, The Incident, with no strings attached. Then get an opportunity to download a Kindle copy of The Brothers, just for reading it, also free. Just click this link to get your copy of The Incident: author.to/MichaelBronteBooks.

Next time, I’ll give you my thoughts on The Incident, but I’ll say now I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 17, 2021

I’ve been hobbled this past week; at least laid up a bit with a swollen left elbow. I don’t recall hitting it on anything, but it’s been very swollen and extremely painful to move. So bad, it even kept me awake at night as every time I rolled onto my left, the pain woke me up.

After a week of pain killers and aspirin (for the swelling), I’m back to a better place. Even the cloth of my shirtsleeve reminds me it’s there, but at least the throbbing had diminished. Since I couldn’t do much, I was able to catch up on some of the college football and basketball games I recorded, so it hasn’t been a total loss.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 17th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Spanish dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age; Gerard van Loon, Dutch historian; Archibald Bower, Scottish historian; Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father, inventor, ambassador and writer (Poor Richards Almanac); Ellen Wood, English author (East Lynne, Pomeroy Abbey); Anne Brontë, English novelist/poet (Tenant of Wildfell Hall); Antanas Baranauskas, Lithuanian bishop/poet/dialectologist; Tomas Carrasquilla, Colombian author (Frutos de mi Tierra); Olga Fastrová, Czech writer and editor (National Policy); May Gibbs, Australian children’s author; Alfred Radcliffe-Browne, British anthropologist (Andaman Islanders); E Ball-Hennings, writer; Ronald Firbank, British novelist (The Flower Beneath the Foot); Nevil Shute [Norway], novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice); Roel [Martinus F] Houwink, Dutch literary (1 Man Without Character); Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Assamese poet, playwright, filmmaker; Robert Cormier, American author; Richard Michael Hills, comedy script writer; Paul O[sborne] Williams, American sci-fi author (Ends of the Circle); John Bellairs, American sci-fi author (Chessmen of Doom); Javed Akhtar, Indian lyricist, poet and scriptwriter; Luis López Nieves, Latin American writer; Ann Nocenti, American comic book writer; Sebastian Junger, American journalist & author; Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dutch writer; and Annemarie Jacir, Palestinian filmmaker and poet.

Anyone familiar to you? I’m sure most people have heard of Ben Franklin and Anne Bronte. 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!

Coming Soon!

Mission: Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) will soon be released by Solstice Publishing. It’s currently going through a final edit pass, which should be completed today.

If you’ve missed the synopsis, here it is:

Joao and Catarina Regaleria’s twentieth wedding anniversary celebration was fast approaching when a contact from the past reaches out for his assistance.

Colonel Theodore Mwanga, a former enemy commander during the Angolan war and now an important politician, requests Joao’s help. The colonel’s adult son, Peter, was kidnapped while working as a doctor for the Christian Aid Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reluctant to get involved, Joao contacts Xavier Sear, a former CIA operative. They became friends when Joao served as a member of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Angola and Sear was an observer.

After Catarina’s persuasive intervention, Joao and Sear head to the DRC to rescue Peter. Treachery abounds at each step of the way. Will they be successful or will the situation deteriorate even further as various players follow their own agendas?

My Work in Progress

The pain in my elbow/arm kept me from working on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. This past week, there were another nine new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 326. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier entered the Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant carrying his laptop and headed to the bar. After ordering a beer and chicken wings, he weaved through the tables to an empty one against the far wall.

Taking a sip of his Three Notch’d Minute Man beer, he booted his computer. After checking his email and finding nothing of interest, he began composing, tapping an index finger against his lips. What do I need? Better cover every contingency.

Javier glanced up as someone approached.

The general manager placed Javier’s wings on the table and sat across from him. “The bartender said you wanted to speak with me?”

Javier nodded. “Yeah. I need a favor, Luke. Things are falling into place to get my investigative agency up and running, but I need a place where I can conduct interviews with potential employees. Would it be possible to reserve a space here to do this? I really don’t have anywhere else to go until the contract on my new property is closed.”

“Sure. The smallest place is the stage area upstairs. It’s bigger than what you need, but it’ll you some privacy. When do you want it for?”

“I’m getting an ad together now. How about next Wednesday and Thursday, say from two to eight p.m.?”

Luke grinned. “Not a problem. Perhaps we’ll pick up some new business from your interviewees.”

“That’ll be one of the tests.” Javier laughed. “Everyone stopping afterward for a drink or food will get bonus points.”

Luke stood. “You’ll be some boss. He—”

“Hello, boys.” AJ tossed her bag on the table. “What’re you two cooking up?” She grabbed a wing from Javier’s plate.

“I’ll let him fill you in. Want a beer?”

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

She turned to Javier and gestured at his open laptop. “Whatcha workin’ on?”

He filled her in on the news about the property. “So, I’m working on an ad to put in the paper.” He turned his computer around. “What do you think?”

“Let me see.”

Interested in new and exciting job prospects with opportunities to travel and broaden your mind? Look no further—get in on the ground floor of a new business coming to Alexandria—The Brusch Agency. We’re after self-starters who can run with things without needing someone to hold their hand. Positions include:

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

Previous experience desired but will provide job-specific training. Excellent pay and benefits.

AJ nodded. “You’re missing someone important.”

“Who?”

“A short-order cook who knows how to make proper coffee.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Whispers of the Past by Owen Clough. Combining historical facts with fiction, Owen has created an excellent plot which will keep you turning the pages. Follow the exploits of Bob, Sam, and Shane as they begin a trek around a New Zealand volcano. Before long, they’re no longer in the present, but find themselves embroiled in the Waikato War of 1863.

The extremely well-developed characters show what they’re made of as they deal with what comes their way. Since I don’t like to give away too much, you’ll need to grab yourself a copy and find out what happens. There’s plenty of action and you find it hard to put this one down. I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 27, 2020

As we enter the last week of 2020, it’s certainly been a year fraught with ill tidings. Let’s hope 2021 will bring plenty of good news for all!

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”

~ Nicholas Murray Butler (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Johann Arndt, German Lutheran theologian and author of books on devotional Christianity; Mirza Ghalib, Indian poet; Jane Wilde, Irish poet, nationalist and mother of Oscar Wilde; John Roberts, Welsh composer, minister and poet; Henricus Oort, Dutch theologist (Leidse translation); Thea von Harbou, German author and actress (Metropolis); Arch Ward, sportswriter (proposed baseball’s all-star game); Carl Zuckmayer, German/Swiss/US playwright; Louis Bromfield, Mansfield Ohio, writer (Early Autumn, Pulitzer-1926); Sebastian Haffner, German journalist and writer; Louis JHCA de Bourbon, Dutch writer/poet (Black Banners); Charles Olson, American poet; Elizabeth Smart, Canadian author (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept); Giuseppe Berto, Italian writer (Heaven Sees Red); Onni Palaste, Finnish writer; Wilfrid Sheed, English writer (Boys of Winter, Hack); Steffen Mensching, writer; Gerina Dunwich, American author; Wendy Coakley-Thompson, American writer; and Sarah Vowell, American author and journalist.

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter eighteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another eleven new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 293!

Here’s another snippet:

After the Snakes departed, Javier ambled to the newspaper rack next to the entrance. He sifted through the national papers until he located the one he wanted: the Alexandria Times.

Back at the table, he thumbed through the pages until he reached the classified ads. He placed a thumb under each ad as he scanned them. So engrossed in his research, Javier didn’t sense anyone approaching as he took a pen from his pocket and circled a promising ad. This one would work.

“Hey, big boy.” AJ handed him a beer and took a seat. “I’ve never known you to be so unaware of your surroundings—anyone could have snuck up on you. Is reading that hard?” She laughed.

Javier sipped his drink. “Sorry. I’ve been busy since I last saw you.” He proceeded to explain about the break-in.

“Perhaps the cops will get lucky, and the fingerprints they found might lead them to someone.”

Javier shrugged. “No matter. I think it’s time to move.” He reached across the table and took AJ’s hand. “Since you live in Old Town and the Virtue is our favorite place, I can’t justify remaining in Arlington.”

“Where would you locate your investigative agency?”

He grabbed the paper, slid it over, and tapped the highlighted ad. “Right here. The building is already zoned for mixed use, so I could live there, too.”

AJ raised her brows. “Have you set up a showing?”

He shook his head. “Not yet. I just found the ad.” Javier pulled his cell phone and placed a call. After completing his conversation, he broke the connection and smiled. “We can see the property in an hour. Enough time for another beer and a quick walk. The property’s only a fifteen-minute walk away.”

***

Ninety minutes later, Javier, AJ, and Lulu returned to the reception area and sat in brown leather chairs arranged in a semi-circle in front of the desk.

Lulu reached into her bag and removed a folder. She handed it to Javier and glanced at the wall clock. “Gosh! I’ve taken a lot of your time. I do hope I didn’t bore you—I just love these historic buildings. The folder contains more information about the property, and my contact details should you have any additional questions or decide to make an offer.”

“We’ll be in touch—there’s lots for us to discuss.” Javier offered his hand. “We have two other properties to look at, but we’ll let you know either way.”

Lulu’s perpetual smile faltered. “Oh. I thought … well, it doesn’t matter what I thought.” The radiance returned. “This is a fabulous buy for the money and won’t be on the market for long. I look forward to hearing from you.”

AJ nodded. “We’ll contact you as soon as possible.”

“Oh, okay. Have a nice day.”

After Lulu left, AJ and Javier strolled arm-in-arm back to the Virtue for dinner. After a greeter escorted them to a table and took their order, Javier leaned back in his chair and grinned.

“What’s the grin for?” AJ raised a brow.

“Just thinking about how fast we’re moving. Did you notice how crestfallen Lulu was when I mentioned we were looking at other properties?”

She chuckled. “Yes, I caught it. She’ll earn a large commission when a sale goes through. I think she assumed you’d jump at the chance. By the way, where are the other properties, and when did we get married?”

Javier shook his head. “Aren’t any. I just didn’t want her to think we were desperate. She made the assumption we were married—didn’t see a reason to correct her. After all, we’ve pretended before.”

“Our fake marriage was work-related. Oh well, no harm done. I think the building is a perfect location with plenty of space to hold the agency.”

“Agreed. We’ll let Lulu simmer overnight. I’ll call her tomorrow and put in an offer, saying we decided to cancel the other showings.”

“Sounds good to me, hubby.”

More next time.

Authors to Check Out

As I mentioned last week, from time to time, I’ll be introducing you to new authors I’ve met. Today, I’ll start the ball rolling with Allan J Lewis.

Allan was born in South Wales UK where he worked as a coal miner; he is married with two children and two grandchildren. Allan didn’t start writing until late in life and now he has five books out, four in the Joe the Magic Man Series, perfect for mystery/thriller aficionados.

Allan is also working on an erotica/romance/adventure story that will be the first in a series called Joe’s Forbidden Dreams. He enjoys the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child.

Get Out of My Dreams is currently free through Amazon or at the following link:

https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/dd0abe3c-bf9e-11ea-b96c-7be850ccc4f0

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 20, 2020

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

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

“The best feeling in the world is knowing that you actually mean something to someone.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone laughed.

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

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

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, 13 January 2020

Last time I mentioned we had received a bit of snow. Since then, it’s been nothing but rain, some fog, and occasional outbursts of sunshine, but most of the time its just been overcast. It’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit without some snow, but perhaps we’ll still get a dusting as the day approaches. Doubtful, as daytime temperatures are in the mid 40sF and are predicted to be the same for the rest of December. Oh well!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 13th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

William Drummond of Hawthornden, Scottish poet; Carlo Gozzi, Italian dramatist; Heinrich Heine, German poet and lyricist (Schubert, Liszt); Joseph Sickman Corsen, Curacao musician, composer and screenwriter; Belle da Costa Greene, American librarian, bibliographer and archivist; Marc Connelly, American playwright (One Minute Please); Harold Guinzburg, American publisher (founder of Literary Guild); Yevgeny Petrov [Yevgeny Petrovich Kataev], Soviet writer; John Piper, British writer (US Churches in WWI) and official war painter; Laurens Jan van der Post, South African-born writer, soldier, explorer and conservationist; Kenneth Patchen, American poet and novelist (Cloth of the Tempest); Alan Bullock, British historian and author (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny); Ross MacDonald [Kenneth Millar], American-Canadian detective novelist (Goodbye Look); W Gordon Smith, Scottish playwright; Tom Wakefield, British writer; R. A. MacAvoy, American sci-fi author (Damiano’s Lute, Raphael); and Tamora Pierce, American author of fantasy fiction (The Song of the Lioness).

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

My Published Work

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

My Work in Progress

This week I almost completed chapter seventeen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. However, external commitments took a priority, so I didn’t get as much writing accomplished as I hoped.

Even though I didn’t post anything new to the two subscription writing sites I use, members continued to check out Revenge, with another eighteen chapter reviews, bringing the total to 271!

Here’s another snippet:

When he awoke, Javier pulled the bed away from the wall. The perp didn’t find the wall safe. He worked the combination and pulled out his laptop. Heading back to the kitchen, he made another cup of coffee, picked up a barstool, and sat at the island. As he sipped his hot drink, he booted the computer and began typing.

To: Viper, Adder, Rattler, Mamba

From: Cobra

Condo trashed by unknown perp while we partied last night. Nothing taken. A few cuts after I fell over the remains of the glass coffee table, chasing a shadow, but nothing to worry about. Everyone up for a beer later? I need to make some plans and want to bounce them off you.

After hitting send, Javier closed the laptop and returned it to the safe. He pulled out a SIG Sauer P226 pistol and two magazines, shoved them into a backpack, and headed to the garage.

Javier climbed in his Hummer and weaved through the streets of Arlington and Annandale. Before long, he crossed I-495 and continued to his destination: Division VII Headquarters of the Virginia State Police, in Fairfax.

Once inside, he asked for directions to the office of the division commander.

A man sitting behind a desk covered with multiple folders glanced up. “Got an appointment?” He shook his head. “No one sees the commander without one.”

“I spoke with him a few minutes ago. He told me to drop by.”

“Hmph. He didn’t say anyone would be visiting.”

I doubt he needs your permission. “Please let him know Colonel Smith is here.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s upcoming novel, Catherine (A Lt. Kate Gazzara Novel Book 10), which will be released on December 23rd. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one didn’t disappoint. A brilliant plot had me turning the pages, reading the entire story over two evenings.

What led Internal Affairs to listen to a suspect rather than a seasoned police officer, resulting in her suspension and a visit to a therapist? After all, she had just solved another case. Convinced to take a vacation by the therapist and leave the area, Kate does just that. But what will her time away from the office lead to? No spoilers here–you’ll have to grab a copy and find out.  Suffice to say you won’t be disappointed with the fast-paced story, written in Blair’s superb style.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

December 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

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

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And stopped.

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

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

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

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

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

The shadow dashed out the door.

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

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

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

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

As with all of the Rex Dalton thrillers, this is another page turner which will keep you busy long into the night as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 29, 2020

For those who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you had a safe yet enjoyable day.

With just the two of us, we didn’t do anything special for a meal. However, I still watched the traditional Detroit Lions football game. Unfortunately, Houston had the upper hand, and things didn’t bode well for Detroit, which lost the game. Another casualty was the coach–fired yesterday. Hopefully, someone new can turn the team around.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 29th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, IFlemish jesuit and author; Catharina Questiers, Dutch poet (Friend of Abandoned Child); Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet; Voltaire [Francois-Marie Arouet], French writer, philosopher and playwright (Candide); Petrus Augustus de Génestet, Dutch vicar and poet; Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900); Franz Hessel, German writer; Harold Nicolson, English diplomat and author (Good Behaviour); Jim Bishop, American journalist and author (The Day Lincoln was Shot); Elizabeth George Speare, American author (The Witch of Blackbird Pond); Christopher Tolkien, British author and son of J. R. R. Tolkien; Marilyn French, American author (The Women’s Room); Richard Marcinko, American author; and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Anyone familiar to you? I think most people might have heard of Voltaire. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

To celebrate the holidays, the Kindle version of Colombian Betrayal is now $0.99 until the end of the year before it returns to the normal price of $4.99.  It’ll be part of a month-long BookFunnel promotion, beginning on December 1st. There are at least thirty-six novels  from various author included in this promotion, so watch for the link in an upcoming post. Who know, perhaps one or two of my award-winning novels, might appear!

Colombian Betrayal is also available in an audio version through Amazon and iTunes, so if you prefer to list to your stories, why not check it out!

My Work in Progress

This week I finished chapter fifteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Seems like a few people were up for reading this week, with the number of chapter reviews increasing by twenty-two to 253! Most were from regular reviewers, but there’s a couple of new ones, too.

I’ll provide another snippet next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently received an advance copy of Blair Howard’s new release, Dangerous Games (The Peacemaker Book 2). The action ramps up from the first page and doesn’t let up. Join Albert Westward (AKA Nero) as he’s once again involved in a Jack O’Neil mission to take on the Peacemakers. Blair’s done it again with a riveting plot, plenty of realistic characters, and plenty of excitement. Thriller aficionados will delight with another super story from a master storyteller. Can’t wait for the next one in the series! Well done, Blair!

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

The audio version of Colombian Betrayal is now available!

For those who are unaware of this story, here’s the synopsis:

A Colombian drug lord watched her profits diminish over the years. Unable to increase market share because of a shrinking consumer base and a new international competitor, she form an unholy alliance.

Olivia Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, struck a deal with a regional leader within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Little did she know but she initiated her own death warrant. FARC had an unknown support group who wanted a foothold in South America – Islamic State.

Forced to flee, Moreno is captured by a small CIA team. Fearing for her life, she spins a tale about using her money and manpower to destroy ISIS. Laws and rules of engagement mean nothing to her, only her life and family matter.

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on ISIS and stop them from launching a concentrated attack on the United States? Or will they be too late? If successful, will Moreno’s reward be total control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields or will she be doubled-crossed?

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And stopped.

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

He eased the door open.

Darkness.

After flicking on the light, his jaw dropped.

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

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

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

The shadow dashed out the door.

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

More next time.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 15, 2020

Here we are–the middle of another month. Time is sure marching by. The trees are more or less bare, with a few persistent leaves still hanging onto their branches. Fortunately, there are still the occasional outbreaks of sunshine!

The neighborhood stray cat we adopted wasn’t well this week. We knew something was up when he wanted to come inside as normally he just uses the shelter we put in the back for him and he didn’t want to eat. Poor Alfie!  He had a dry, hacking cough and his eyes were a bit gummy.  A trip to the vet for antibotic, anti-inflammatory, and steriod injections seem to be working. Now he’s eating better, and his eyes have cleared up. He still has the cough, but it’s less persistent. Alfie is coming and going like our other feline friends.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 15th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Madeleine de Scudéry, French novelist (Artamène ou le grand Cyrus); Johann Kaspar Lavater, Swiss writer, philosopher; and founder of physiognomics; Joseph Quesnel, French Canadian composer and playwright (Colas et Colinette); Aleksey Apukhtin, Russian poet and friend of Tsjaikovski; Adolf Bartels, German journalist and poet; Gerhart Hauptmann, German author (Before Dawn – Nobel 1912); Robert marquess of Flers, French author (Habit Vert); René Guénon, French-Egyptian author; Marianne Moore, poet (Pulitzer 1951, Collected Poems); René Maran, Martinique, author (Batouala, Prix Goncourt); Richmal Crompton, British author; Antoni Słonimski, Polish writer; Sacheverell Sitwell, English author (People’s Palace); Willy Alfredo [Willem Jue], Dutch entertainer/poet (Fish-Trap); Giorgio Manganelli, writer; Yuli Daniel, Russian writer; J[ames] G[raham] Ballard, China, sci-fi author (Drowned World); Jerry Douglas, American director and writer (Grabby Awards Hall of Fame); Daniel Manus Pinkwater, American sci-fi author (Magic Moscow); Heathcote Williams [John Henly Heathcote Williams], British poet, actor and political activist; and Ildikó Enyedi, Hungarian film director and screenwriter (On Body and Soul).

Anyone familiar to you? This was another unknown group for me. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

I’m almost finished with my final edit pass of Mission: Angola (A Xavier Sear Thriller). Shouldn’t be long and it’ll be ready to submit.

I also completed chapter fourteen of Revenge and posted it to the two online subscription writing site I use. There are now 227 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve over the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

AJ Bruce flicked her head, tossing her brown hair to the side as she glanced at her watch. Where is he? She chuckled. He knows I’m the impatient type. She waved at a passing waiter.

“Yes, ma’am. Can I get you another coffee or something a bit stronger?”

“Another coffee for now. Oh, and a muffin—any kind. I’ll wait until the others arrive before switching.”

“Very good.”

While she waited, AJ read the details about the restaurant on the back of the menu: The historic brick building housing Virtue Feed & Grain was once a feed house in the 1800s. Playing on the original use of the building as a warehouse—

“Here you are, ma’am. Another Americano, extra coffee, no sugar.”

AJ took a sip of the hot brew. “Perfect, thanks.”

“Did you order one for me?” The bass voice seemed to resonate from the floorboards.

AJ jumped to her feet and hugged Javier. “About time you arrived. Where are the others?”

“Slithering around.” Javier’s eyes twinkled. “They thought I should join you first. They’ll make an appearance when they’re ready.”

“Always the clowns, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. But, when necessary, they become as dangerous as anyone who put on a uniform.”

“Excuse me, sir. Do you mind if I take a picture of you and your beautiful wife?” A man stood near the table with a camera in his hand.

“Uh … Yeah. But, she’s not my—”

AJ kicked him under the table as she frowned at Javier.

“What I mean is … yes, please take our photo.” He leaned closer to AJ and put his arm around her. “How’s this?”

“Perfect. Now, smile!”

More next time.

I also pulled out Ultimate Escalation this week and completed chapter seven. This is the fourth novel in my Bedlam series.  So far there have been ninety-five chapter reviews on this one.

In case you might have missed the synopsis on this one, here it is:

Punjabi militants seek to distance themselves from Indian and Pakistani dominance and interference. With the dissolution of British India in 1947, families were ripped apart as the Punjabi region was split between the two countries. Limited attacks within each country caused further persecution and heartache.

The militants have no idea how to achieve their desires–until the appearance of Vladimir Aleksandr Nikolai, a disgraced Spetnaz colonel. He offers the militants a means to spark a conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Russian subs sold on the black market and manned by Iranian and Russian sailors will surface off the coasts of the two countries and destroy Karachi and Mumbai. Propaganda machines will levy accusations against each country, leading to escalation of hostilities, pushing the countries to the brink of nuclear war.

The Bedlam organization fields their three teams to counter the violence and seek to restore calm before it’s too late. Will they be successful or will South Asia become a smoking ruin?

Books I’m Reading

I didn’t complete any books this week. I’m busy going through The Civil War and Western Series by Blair Howard. This is a five-book anthology and should be welcome reading for those who enjoy the time period. I should begin sharing my thoughts on this next time.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 8, 2020

Mother Nature kept the rain at bay most of this week. Good thing, too. Plenty of autumn leaves to clean up, hoses and solar lights to put away for the winter kept me busy. Not to mention a general tidy of the gardens. Things are beginning to look bare, but that’s typical.

With early nights and late sunrises, it’s clear time is marching forward. The local squirrels are busy harvesting nuts from the various trees, while the hedgehogs are enjoying extra meals in preparation for hibernation. And so the cycle continues.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 8th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Teofilo Folengo, Italian macaronic poet; Pierre Bayle, French philosopher and writer (Historical and Critical Dictionary); Sarah Fielding, English writer (The Adventures of David Simple); Girolamo de Rada, Albanian poet (Skanderbeku); Bram Stoker, Irish theater manager and author (Dracula); Qiu Jin, Chinese revolutionary, feminist, and writer considered a national heroine in China; Frank Speck, American anthropologist (Algonquin Tribes and Eastern Woodland Native Americans); Photis Kontoglou, Greek writer, painter and iconographer; Margaret Mitchell, American author (Gone With the Wind); Cedric Belfrage, English writer and journalist (cofounder of National Guardian); Martha Gellhorn, American novelist and journalist who was one of the first female war correspondents; Peter Weiss, German author and playwright (Marat/Sade); P. L. Deshpande, Indian Marathi writer; Ben Bova, American scifi author (Exiled from Earth); Kazuo Ishiguro, British author (An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day, When We Were Orphans); Richard Curtis, British screenwriter (Blackadder, Four Wedding and a Funeral); Vanesa Littlecrow, Puerto Rican cartoonist, dancer, writer and model; Masashi Kishimoto, Japanese manga author; and Seishi Kishimoto, Japanese manga author.

Anyone familiar to you? There were two for me: Bram Stoke and Margaret Mitchell. 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 my third edit pass of Xavier Sear: Angola this past week. Based on feedback from my advanced reader team, I have changed the name to: Mission: Angola (A Xavier Sear Thriller).

With my concentration on the outdoor work and editing of Mission: Angola, I didn’t have any time left over to do any additional writing. That’s okay as it never hurts to take a few days off.

Reviewers on the two online subscription writing sites I use continue to check out Revenge. The thirteen posted chapters now have a total of 215 reviews. As always, plenty of helpful eyes spotting things which might need a bit of attention. In the meantime, I hope to get another chapter or two completed in the coming days.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading the Sam Harris Adventure Box Set by BJ Skinner. The first novel in the series, Fool’s Gold, introduces readers to geologist Samantha Harris, who prefers to be called Sam. She knows her own mind, which is a good thing, as she embarks on a career in what was considered a man’s world.

BJ has created a number of larger-than-life characters whose interaction with Sam either help her on her journey or attempt to thwart her plans. She set off on her first unpaid field project to gain experience. As the plot unfolds, you’ll find yourself urging Sam on while at the same time, hoping she can overcome obstacles thrown up by others. An excellent opening to the series, which had me turning the pages in anticipation of what would come next.

Hitler’s Finger is the second book in this action-pack series. Sam returns to Sierramar in South America, the setting for the first story in the series. The boyfriend of her new friend, Gloria, goes missing. BJ’s plot will have you turning the pages to find out what happens. There’s a sinister mission underway by some of Hitler’s followers to create a Fourth Reich, and Sam finds herself embroiled in something she never expected. Not wanting to provide any spoilers, you’ll have to grab a copy to find out how things turn out. With complex twists and turns, this one should delight those who enjoy heart-pounding action.

The Star of Simbako finds Sam on her way to West Africa. Hired to work in the diamond fields of Fona, Sam becomes the victim of a voodoo curse. Or is it? She jumps at the chance to take on this project as this will be her first paid geology job. After a rocky arrival in Fona, Sam begins her new job. A chance meeting in the airport paves the way for her acceptance by the owner of the Star of Simbako, but will things be easy for her?

Once again, BJ has completed another fast-paced plot with more realistic characters. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

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

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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