Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 10, 2021

It’s been a crazy start to the new year, with plenty of cold weather (at least for here) with enough snow I had to get out of snow shovel for the first time since the 2017-18 winter. While not enough of the white stuff to slow things down, it still made a mess.

Today, we’re back to more seasonal temperatures, with a 2C (about 36F) beginning. Of course, with that, the cloud cover is back–looks like we could end up with some rain later today.  At least the cats are happy as they didn’t seem to like the snow much.

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

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, German writer & composer; Aubrey de Vere, Irish poet & critic (Victorian Observer); John Dalberg, Baron Acton, English historian (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”); Peter J. Blok, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch People); Walter Travis, Australian-American golfer, writer, course designer (US Amateur C’ship 1900-01, 03; British Amateur 1904); Enrica Freiin von Handel-Manzetti, Austrian poet & writer (Jesse & Maria); Aleksei Tolstoi, Russian poet/writer (Pjotr Peroyj); Robinson Jeffers, American poet & playwright (Tamar & Other Poems, Medea); Dumas Malone, American historian (Jefferson & His Time); Reginald Denham, English writer & director (Obsession, The Bad Seed); Tjalie Robinson [Jan Boon], Dutch East Indies writer and journalist (Tong Tong); Claude Gallimard, French publisher; Ingeborg Drewitz, German writer & academic; Philip Levine, American poet; Peter Barnes, English writer; Stephen E. Ambrose, American historian (Band of Brothers); ared Carter, American poet; David Horowitz, American author & political commentator; William Levy, American writer; George Alec Effinger, American sci-fi author (Nick of Time); and Antonio Muñoz Molina, Spanish writer (Royal Spanish Academy).

Anyone familiar to you? I’m sure most people have heard of Tolstoi. 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

All four of my published novels are participating in a Book Funnel promotion to kick off the new year. It’s called Welcome to 2021 – A New Chapter. Why not click and check out the 124 novels on offer? You might find someone new to read. This promotion ends on January 15, so don’t delay!

My Work in Progress

I’m off to a good start in 2021 with the completion of chapter twenty of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. It’s been posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use, and I’ve picked up a couple of new readers.. There were another twelve new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 317. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Walter pushed a shopping cart through the aisles of the home improvement store. Ticking items off a mental list, he purchased metal pipe and caps, nails, and a stack of plywood sheets and decking boards. He finished with a stop in the tool section, selecting hammers, pliers, a hacksaw, and a saw for cutting the wood.

As he headed toward the check-out area, he stopped at an aisle he hadn’t visited. Better grab some paint and brushes, too. Glad I convinced Alberto to keep the property in Culpepper. Perfect for making my toys.

After securing everything in the windowless, gray van provided by Alberto’s fixer, Walter drove across the street to a competitor’s store. Once again, he filled a shopping cart with his necessities: ball bearings, an electric saw, a grinder, a drill, a pipe threader, four rolls of Duct tape and two twenty-five-pound bags of fertilizer. As with his first stop, he paid for everything with cash.

Back on the highway, he drove within the legal speed limit, arriving at their temporary shelter in an hour. After hauling everything inside, he parked the van in the lean-to garage. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up the fireworks and an additional cell phone.

***

Armed with several cameras and a cooler, Bennie spent the day camped outside the property where Javier lived. He routinely took photos of pedestrians entering the building and vehicles using the underground garage.

Every hour, Bennie switched his location, sometimes using his blue Chevrolet Camaro, and other times on foot, acting like a tourist. No sign of him. Where is he?

Toward the end of the day, he lost his patience and entered the lobby carrying a package. “Excuse me. Do you know where I might find a …” Bennie glanced at the parcel. “Colonel Javier Smith. He needs to sign for this package.”

The security guard chuckled. “You missed him. He left an hour ago. Said he’d be back in a day or two. I can sign for the package and keep it for him if you like.”

Bennie shook his head. “Thanks, but I’ll return in a couple of days. This is a surprise for him, so I want to place it in his hands and get his photo.”

After leaving the building, he returned to his car. Before departing, he placed a call. “Missed him—not sure where he went. A guard said he’d be back in a couple of days.”

Alberto slammed a fist on the table, upsetting his cup of tea. “Find him, Bennie. I don’t care what you must do, but find him!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finished reading another book this week, but didn’t get a chance to gather my thoughts. So, next week, I hope to offer up two reviews.

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 3, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope 2021 is filled with good health, prosperity, and is a rewarding year for you.

Mother Nature missed the Christmas snow, but it’s certainly been more like a winter scene since. Not a lot of accumulation–just enough to turn everything white.  The days are already getting longer; well, at least the amount of daylight is, and it won’t be long before the dreary days will subside. I hope.

I can’t share any quotes with you today as the site I choose them from seems to be down. We’ll have to wait until next time.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 3rd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Pietro Metastasio, Italian poet; Charles Palissot de Montenoy, French writer/politician; Douglas William Jerrold, author/playwright/wit (Punch Mag); Henry Handel Richardson [Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson], Australian novelist (Richard Mahoney); John G Fletcher, American poet (Epic of Arkansas); Osip E Mandelstam, Polish/Russian poet/author (Kamenj); J. R. R. Tolkien, British author (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings); Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, French novelist/essayist (Gilles); Roman Brandstaetter, writer; Thomas Stuart Willan, historian; Roger W. Straus, Jr., American publisher; Morten Nielsen, Danish poet/resistance fighter; Marcel Dubé, Quebec playwright; Betty Rollin, actress (Crossing Delancey)/author (Last Wish); Glen Larson, American television producer & writer (Battlestar Galactica, Magnum PI, & Knight Rider); Blanche d’Alpuget, Australian novelist, biographer; Francesca Lia Block, American author; and Alex Wheatle MBE, black British novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? I’m sure most people have heard of J. R. R. Tolkien. 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

All four of my published novels are participating in a Book Funnel promotion to kick off the new year. It’s called Welcome to 2021 – A New Chapter. Why not click and check out the 124 novels on offer? You might find someone new to read.

My Work in Progress

The end of 2020 saw the completion of chapter nineteen of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. There were another tweleve new reviews this week, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 305! Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

“In order to carry out Allah’s wishes, we must be prepared to blend into our environment. You were chosen because you survived our last battle. We—I honor you with this opportunity to strike fear among the infidels in their capitol. You must not fail.”

“Abdul—sorry. Alberto, when will we attack?” Gamal laced his fingers together and twiddled his thumbs.

Alberto picked up the first set of papers and slid them toward Gamal. “You will now be called Bennie Johnson. As our photographer, you’ll be responsible for tracking our target and learning everything you can about him.” This man deserves to die for what he did to me. He rubbed the three-inch scar on the left side of his neck. A slow and painful death—just like Michael’s, may Allah bless him.

“Find out what he does, where he goes, and who he meets with. Do the same with the woman who was with him when you took his picture. When I was active with ISIS, I learned preparation is critical to success, so we won’t set a date—yet.”

Bennie ran a hand through his long black hair as he checked each document. “These are perfect. What about a phone and cash?”

“Patience.” Alberto picked up the second set of papers and passed them to a bald man with dark, piercing eyes. “Zafar, you will use the name Justin Thompson. As our weapons expert, you will be responsible for killing should the opportunity present itself. May Allah guide your bullets.”

“Thank you, Alberto.” Justin grinned. “I will not let you down.”

Alberto tilted his head. “I know, which is why I selected you.” He pushed the final set of documents toward a man missing the pinkie and ring fingers on his left hand. “Walter, I’ve saved the best for last. You must prepare explosive devices capable of causing this man great pain before he meets his God.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading ARK FOUND: An Omega Files Adventure (Book 2) by Rick Chesler. An intriguing plot, combining fact and fiction into a fast-paced story, taking readers across the world chasing Noah’s Ark. Treasure Hunter Carter Hunt and his sidekick Jayden Takada find themselves in a manned submersible on the way to the resting place of the Titanic in search of a map. Before long, they’re attacked by another group who don’t care for historical works per se, but rather their value.

With realistic characters, Rick has created a story filled with action, adventure, angst, danger, and even some humor. For those who love to be immersed in a fictional world to forget everyday events, this one is for you. I won’t spoil the story for you, but suffice to say I’ll be picking up 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, October 25, 2020

The clocks went back this morning–another hour in bed! The cats seemed okay with the extra time, too, as they didn’t start making noise to go outside until the extra hour had passed.

Fall is definitely upon us as more and more leaves change and drop to the ground. The cycle keeps moving forward, following Mother Nature’s path!

Each time I drive out of the street, I chuckle when I see one house. They have two small children, and despite current lockdown procedures, the parents have put up a few Halloween decorations with pumpkins lit by electric lights. The outside decoration is what gets me. They have a huge spider web running from a window on the upped floor down to the ground. Just on its own it’s fantastic, but you should see the three-foot spider making its way up the web!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on October 25th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose “the Great Montrose”, Scottish general and poet; James Beattie, Scottish poet and philosopher (Essay on Truth); Thomas Babington Macaulay, English poet and historian (Ivry, Naaseby); Maria van Ackere-Doolaeghe, Flemish poet (Daisies, Avondlamp); Pavel Melnikov, Russian historian and author (In the Forests); Gleb Uspensky, Russian author (Power of the Soil); Hélène Swarth, Dutch author (Lonely Flowers); Nico van Suchtelen, Dutch writer and publisher; Eduardo Barrios, Chilean novelist (The Love-Crazed Boy); François Pauwels, Dutch writer and attorney; Henry Steele Commager, American historian (Atlas of Civil War); Edmond Pidoux, Swiss writer (L’histoire de Jonas); John Berryman, American poet (The Dream Songs); Peter Rohmkorf, German writer; Sir Martin Gilbert, British historian (Winston Churchill biography); Anne Tyler, American writer (Accidental Tourist); Selly Fernandes, Curacao poetess (Winking with Selly); Daniel Mark Epstein, American poet and biographer (Abraham Lincoln); and Zadie Smith, British novelist (White Teeth, On Beauty, Swing Time).

Anyone familiar to you? This was an unknown group for me. However, I’d like to mention Les Stahl, whose birthday is on the 26th. Les was the driving force behind me even attempting to write a novel. Without his suggestion and encouragement, I never would have given it a try. Now, I have three award-winning novels.

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

Although I had planned to take a week off from editing Xavier Sear: Angola, I’m halfway through my second edit pass. I caught a few words which didn’t fit and made some changes to original wording.

One of my beta readers binged on the story, completing the novel in two days. In addition to really enjoying the plot, she’s already waiting for the next one!

In case you’ve missed the synopsis for Angola, here it is:

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

Colonel Theodore Mwelewe, 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 Caterina’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?

This week I continued working on Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

I managed to complete chapters twelve and thirteen and post them to the two subscription writing sites I use. Feedback is rolling in, with 205 chapter reviews so far. 

Here’s the synopsis:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

I also completed chapter eight of New World Revolution. This one is slowly coming along, mainly due to the extensive amount of research required to blend my fictional characters and their lives with real people and events. It’s quite a challenge, but I’m enjoying it!

Even with the small number of chapters posted, Revolution has already received 158 chapter reviews.

Here’s another glimpse at the synopsis if you haven’t seen it:

The members of the Alexander family are hard-working tenant farmers in northern England. In 1770, massive crop failures threatened the very existence of the farmers. William Alexander and his two sons, sell what they can of their crops, but are unable to pay their debt, forcing them into a difficult situation.

The landowner’s factor takes pity on the Alexander family since they always paid their debts and never caused any problems. Since they could pay their way to the New World, the factor arranges their passage. They work off the costs as indentured servants to his brother, a wealthy tea merchant in Boston.

Little does anyone know, the Boston Tea Party and other events leads the colonies into a fight for their survival. What will become of the Alexander family?

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest and will continue to follow my writing journey. 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, October 18, 2020

Another weekend is upon us. The days keep rolling by. Unfortunately, some things are missing–American college football, being one of them. Yes, I know some universities have been playing (as well as the pros) but it just doesn’t feel the same. My favorite conference is the Big Ten, but so far there hasn’t been a single snap. Games are finally scheduled for next Saturday, but will they play? Only time will tell. Better the teams remain healthy than take risks.

In the meantime, I did manage to clean up some of the leaves. Everything looked great–for a few hours. Now, the ground’s covered again, but since it’s damp outside and it’s Sunday, I’ll leave any outdoor work until the next decent day. At least there’s plenty of writing to keep me going!

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

Giambattista Marini, Italian poet; Lars Johnstown [Lasse Lucidor], Swedish poet; Adolf Muller, German dramatist and critic; Heinrich von Kleist, German dramatist/poet (Penthesilea); Thomas Love Peacock, English author (Headlong Hall); Logan Pearsall Smith, American essayist and critic; Ernst Didring, Swedish author; Fannie Hurst, novelist (Anatomy of Me); H. L. Davis, American author; Raymond Brulez, Flemish author (Appearance at Kallista); Frank Liedel [Leo van Assche], Flemish writer (Kaperbrief); Katherine Kurtz, UK, sci-fi author (Deryni Rising, Saint Camber); James Robert Baker, American novelist, screenwriter; Ntozake Shange, American author; Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright (The Heidi Chronicles); Terry McMillan, American author; and Bảo Ninh, Vietnamese novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? This was an 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

This week I used my writing time to concentrate on editing Xavier Sear: Angola. As all writers will know, once a manuscript is finished, that’s just the beginning of a novel’s journey.

The first edit pass is now complete. I’ve taken care of several spelling and punctuation errors, as well as choosing four of my foreign characters and gave their voice a bit of a change as they will never use contractions when they speak.

Yesterday I also sent the manuscript to my small cadre of beta readers to find out from those who weren’t involved in chapter reviews (of which I received 526) to see how the story goes. I’m looking forward to their response!

Now, I’ll take a week off from editing and return to other works in progress: Revenge and New World Revolution. Hopefully, I’ll get another chapter completed for each story before I begin the second edit pass.

The sequel to Xavier Sear: Angola will be Xavier Sear: Yemen. Here’s the synopsis:

Xavier Sear is thrust into a new adventure when he accepts an under-the-table assignment from a longtime friend, Ron Vincent. A former CIA operative, Sear takes on any and all missions, which appeal to his sense of justice.

Abudullah Bashari, a retired Yemeni geologist who dabbles in archeology is embroiled in the bitter struggle between the Houthis and the government. He reaches out for help to save his family. A wealthy man, he offers to reveal a damaging secret Saudi Arabia is trying to keep hidden.

Life-threatening danger abounds as Sear visits Yemen and creates a plan to help Bashari’s family escape. However, Hussien Khan al Mishari, a young Saudi prince, threatens to undo Sear’s intervention in pursuit of his own deadly game. Who will be victorious?

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Atlantis Stolen (Sam Reilly Book 3) by Christopher Cartwright. I knew I was in for another action-filled story, and I wasn’t disappointed. Will Sam and his friends be able to find out what really happened to Atlantis and stop another catastrophe? Or will they be too late? This is a well-constructed story and will take readers on a whirlwind ride and they try to unravel the mystery. I don’t like to give spoilers, so you’ll need to get a copy to find out what happens. I can’t wait for the next on in the series!

I also recently read Havoc (The Blackwell Files Book 4) by Steven F. Freeman. Is technology a boon for mankind or something to avoid? Follow cryptologist Alton Blackwell and his girlfriend, FBI Agent Mallory Wilson as they set out on an adventure of a lifetime to Italy. Before long, people they encounter are dying. Who is behind the deaths and why? Will Alton and Mallory be next?

Steven has created an excellent plot with plenty of twists and turns to delight readers who want more than a straightforward story. He definitely shows how to create realistic characters and you’ll be urging Alton and Mallory along as they story unfolds. This is a great page turner and I’ll continue to read more from this 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, September 27, 2020

As another months rolls toward the end, leaves are changing color and growth spurts from plants and the lawn are slowing down. Chilly evenings are upon us, with heavy dew most mornings.

At least we’ve gone from rainy August to a more settled September. As Mother Nature continues her never-ending cycle, we’re once again reminded of the miracles which abound around us. Try to take time to enjoy the wonders–you’ll be glad you did.

Do you know who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on September 27th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Galle, Flemish engraver and printer; Jacques-Benigne bossuet, French bishop and writer (Louis XIV court preacher); Michael Denis, Austrian poet, bibliographer and lepidopterist; Maria Versfelt [Ida Saint-Elme], Dutch writer, stage actress, and mistress (General Moreau & Marshal Ney); Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Swiss writer (Grains de Mil); Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Swiss writer (Grains de Mil); Alexander Cohen, Dutch anarchist and author; Tryggve Andersen, Norwegian writer (Fra Cancelliraadens Dage; Grazia Deledda, Italian author (Nobel 1926); Cyril Scott, English composer and author (Heroic Suite); Joannes Cornelissen, Dutch historian (Hooft & Tacitus); Vjekoslav Kaleb, Croatian writer (Splendor of the Fabric); William Empson, English poet and critic (Milton’s God); Jim Thompson, American author (The Killer Inside Me); Giles Playfair, English writer; Louis Auchincloss, Lawrence NY, lawyer/novelist (Watchfires); Bernard Waber, American author; Josef Skvorecky, Czechoslovakia, writer and publisher (End of the Nylon Age, The Cowards); Dick Schaap, sportscaster/author (Bo Knows Bo, Instant Replay); Carol Lynn Pearson, American poet and writer; Kay Ryan, American poet (Hide and Seek); and Irvine Welsh, Scottish writer.

Anyone familiar to you? I didn’t spot any names I know. 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

I found out this week Carnage in Singapore was selected as one of six First in Category winners in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category.  What an honor and needless to say, I’m thrilled!

If you’d like to check out the  First in Category winners and the Grand Prize winners for all of the categories , head to: Chanticleer.

So what is Carnage in Singapore about?

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

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

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

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

My Work in Progress

This week, I’ve spent most of my writing time with editing. However, the next manuscript I’m concentrating on writing is Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal.

I’ve only finished the first ten chapters so far, but they’ve received 169 reviews on the two subscription writing sites I use. Plenty of support as I continue my writing journey!

In case you missed an earlier posting of the synopsis, here you go:

Relegated to a desk job at the Pentagon despite his last field mission being a success, Colonel Javier Smith submits his retirement papers. He moves forward with his plans to create a security and investigative agency called the Brusch Agency. The focus will be aiding international clientele.

AJ Bruce, who co-led the mission with Smith, finds herself rooted at CIA Headquarters. Although now in charge of the division responsible for tracking terrorist groups in Latin America, she misses the action from being in the field.

Meanwhile, Alberto Cabrera was one of four terrorists who survived Bruce and Smith’s mission. Also known as Abdul Rahman, he enlists the assistance of the others who escaped and vows to track down those who killed his friends and comrades.

As Javier and AJ grow closer together, will the future hold wedding bells or funerals? Hang onto your hats as the story unfolds.

Next time, I’ll begin including snippets.

That’s all for this week as I didn’t get a chance to write down my thoughts about recent books I read. 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, August 30, 2020

The past week or so has had an autumnal feeling to it, with rain most days and the daytime temperature not going above 61F (16C). The light nights have rapidly dwindled and nighttime temperatures are dropping to 45F (7C).

Hope this isn’t a sign summer is already over! I realize it’s the end of August, but would definitely like more summer weather–at least into the middle of September!

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

Bonifacio Asioli, Italian composer and music writer; Mary Shelley, English author (Frankenstein); Aleksandr Polezhayev, Russian poet (Sasjka); Friedrich Ratzel, German social-geographer (Lebensraum); J. M. Dent, British publisher; Paul Hazard [Paul-Gustave-Marie-Camille Hazard], French critic and literature historian; Meijer de Hond, Dutch rabbi and writer; Adam Kuckhoff, German writer and resistance fighter; John Gunther, American author and host (John Gunther’s High Road); Donald Bisset, British children book writer, illustrator (Upside Down Stories); Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Protestant theologist; Ben Cami, Flemish writer and poet (Rose from Mud); Charmian Clift, Australian writer and essayist; Laurent de Brunhoff, French writer and illustrator (Babar the Elephant); Warren Burger, American author (The Midas Touch); Fabrizia Ramondino, Italian author; Robert Crumb, American cartoonist (Father Time, Fritz Cat); and Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author. 

This week I certainly recognized one name: Mary Shelley. I’d also like to mention today is my step-son’s birthday. He might not be famous, but he does write a fashion-related blog, which is available at https://theculturalomnivore.co.uk/.

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

This week, I continued on a roll with my writing, having completed the final chapters of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 465 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of thirty-nine in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

A hint of dawn appeared on the horizon. Two black SUVs with false license plates pulled out of Theo and Shantae’s residence. The dogs followed until Shantae whistled.

After a final glance at the departing vehicles, the dogs gave a short bark and turned back toward Shantae, tails wagging. “Now don’t you worry about Baba. He’ll return soon with Peter.” I pray to God. She waved a final time. The smile plastered on her face as Theo and João soon disappeared, replaced by a frown. May God look after all of them.

***

Abilio drove the lead Jeep Cherokee, with João and Theo sitting in the back seat. Three hand-picked guards rode in the second vehicle.

The two-vehicle convoy weaved through the streets of Luanda until they turned onto the highway leading east. Abilio hummed a series of out-of-tune songs as the miles passed by. They encountered little traffic.

“How far we go today, Baba Theo? Should I drive fast?”

Theo shook his head. “Obey all posted signs and don’t drive too fast. We want to find out if anyone is following us.”

“If someone’s after you, why didn’t we fly?” João glanced over his shoulder.

A thin smile creased Theo’s face. “There are spies everywhere, my friend. They want information about where I go and who I meet.”

“Why would anyone want to do this? Haven’t you been a champion of the people?”

“My views aren’t held by everyone in the government.”

***

Theo and João sat in the rear seats of the Cessna. Once everything was loaded onto the aircraft, the three guards waved and headed toward the vehicles.

“Are we ready, Abilio?”

“Yes, Baba. They will take both vehicles and continue on the road to Saurimo in case anyone follows.”

“Excellent.” Theo shouted over the noise of the engine as Nito ran through his checklist before departure. “We’ll be in Saurimo in about four hours.”

João leaned toward Theo. “What happens when we arrive?”

“Abilio’s cousin lived there. He will meet our plane and take us to the rendezvous point with Senhor Sear.” Theo leaned back in his seat. “As you told me long ago, soldiers should sleep whenever the chance arose. I suggest we do so now.” Who knows what will happen when we arrive? I hope Abilio’s cousin is as trustworthy as he believes.

“We are ready.” Nito glanced at his passengers. “We go now.” He turned the aircraft around and increased speed as they bounced through the grass. Before they reached a distant line of trees, he pulled back on the yoke, and the plane clawed its way skyward.

***

João gazed out the window, watching mile after mile of dense jungle pass beneath them. In the distance, occasional breaks indicated small villages. I hope Sear makes it. We’ll need his expertise to extract Peter. His eyes began to close as the drone of the engine lulled him asleep.

A sound, not unlike a cough, broke the smooth noise of the engine.

João jerked, wide awake. He glanced at Nito, who struggled with the controls. “What’s wrong?”

“Hang on! We’re going down!”

A whistling sound replaced the engine noise as the nose of the aircraft tipped toward the ground.

João tightened his seat belt and closed his eyes. Catarina! I love you!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished another novel from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts, so I’ll provide my reviews next time.

This brings us to a close 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, August 23, 2020

We’ve had a week of unsettled weather, with plenty of clouds, multiple showers–even a thunderstorm. There were occasional outbreaks of sunshine, but the temperatures were more like what we expect in late September or early October, not in August. At least today began with plenty of brilliant sunshine. Nor sure how long it will last, but we’ll take what Mother Nature dishes out.

I had to laugh at an article I scanned in this morning’s paper. Apparently, there’s a group of people (referred to as snowflakes in the article), who are offended by the use of a period to end a text message. They say this indicates the sender is insincere.

Huh? Since when did proper punctuation become offensive? How long will it take before there’s a push to ban teaching of punctuation and capitalization in the schools?  I’ve seen a few books available for sale where the authors clearly don’t care. In fact, I read a post somewhere where one of these authors mentioned it doesn’t matter if a book is full of improper grammar, poor punctuation, incorrect capitalization, etc., as long as it’s a good story. 

I tried reading one of these books during the past week. Fortunately, I didn’t pay a penny for it. Good thing, as I couldn’t get past the first chapter. I’m not expert on these things, but I do try hard to use what I do know.

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

Fulvio Testi, Italian poet (Pianto d’Italia); Moritz B. Cantor, German historian of mathematics; William Southam, Canadian newspaper publisher; William Ernest Henley, British poet, critic, and editor; Marcel Schwob, French writer and journalist (Le Croisade des Enfants); Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology); Alexander Grin, Russian novelist (Jessie and Morgiana); Will Cuppy, American humorist (The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody); Jo Sternheim, Dutch actor and playwright (Fatherland); Alfred Lichtenstein, German writer; Cecil Rolph Hewitt, English journalist and policeman; Mauritius van Haegendoren, Flemish historian and senator; Arthur Adamov, Russian-French playwright (Paolo Paoli); Albert Alberts, Dutch writer and journalist (French battle); Jara Ribnikar, Serbian writer; Ephraim Kishon, Israeli author, dramatist, screenwriter, and Oscar-nominated film director; Clifford Geertz, American anthropologist (symbolic anthropology); Roy Strong, English writer, art historian and director (Victoria & Albert Museum); Nelson DeMille, American action adventure and suspense novels author (Plum Island); Andrei Pleşu, Romanian writer and essayist; John Bauldie, British music journalist; Charles Busch, American actor, screenwriter, playwright and drag queen (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife); Roger Avary, Canadian-American screenwriter, director, and producer (Pulp Fiction); and Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor.

This week I certainly recognized one name: Nelson DeMille. 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

This week, I was on a roll with my writing, having completed chapters 34-36 of Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 426 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of seventeen in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The maître d‘ greeted him and escorted him to a table sheltered by an awning. “Are you expecting anyone to join you, Doctor Okonjo?”

“Yes, Clifford. One man. He’ll ask for my table.”

“Very good, Doctor.” Clifford snapped his fingers and a waiter hurried to the table, a tray perched on one hand. “ I took the liberty of ordering your favorite drink—a Mongozo beer.”

“Excellent. Leave me until my guest arrives.”

Clifford nodded as he backed away from the table.

Okonjo sipped his beer, savoring the flavor of the palm nuts used to make the brew. He glanced at the beach and smiled as two couples strolled through the sand, arm-in-arm. I’m tired of the games. I hope this contact brings usable information.

Twenty minutes later, Clifford reappeared, leading a short slender man, wearing a Western-style suit. Scars crisscrossed his face.

After seating Okonjo’s guest, he placed a beer in front of him and departed.

“So. You requested this meeting. I hope you bring me what I want.”

The man sipped his drink, his gaze focused on Okonjo. “My leader sends his greetings. Are his words what you want to hear?” He shrugged. “That is up to you to decide. He instructed to tell me he had to relocate his camp, so he requires additional funds to pay off the other groups who allowed him to move without interference.”

Okonjo pursed his lips. “How much this time?”

“The usual—all in diamonds.”

“He’ll have to wait. I won’t receive more until the weekend.” Assuming Buhari is successful. “What about Mwanga’s son? Does he still live?”

The man grinned. “For now. He is useful as my leader’s woman is with child.”

“When will he be dealt with?” Okonjo drained his glass. “His departure will provide me with the leverage I require.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You are not as important as you think. My leader is an equal partner with you in creating the new Africa.” He waved a finger in front of Okonjo. “Do not be impatient.”

“Is that so?” Okonjo arched his brows and aimed the pistol in his lap at his guest. “You are nothing but a messenger. Be careful, or you will meet whatever idol you worship sooner than you expect.”

“Are you threatening me?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Our business is finished.”

Okonjo raised his arm, showing his pistol. “Sit down, or I’ll blow a hole through you. This is my restaurant, so I could kill you without any interference.”

The man gulped and leaned over the table, his hands supporting him. “I’ll return in two days. You better have the payment.”

“Here’s a reminder for you.” Okonjo raised his left hand. The dagger flashed in the light as he jabbed the blade downward.

“Yeeeah!”

The man grabbed his hand, blood spurting from the hole.

Okonjo stood and glared across the table. He turned when Clifford rushed forward. “Show my guest out the back door. My driver will take care of him.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I received an advanced copy of Blair Howard’s latest novel, Nicolette, which will formally hit the streets on August 30th. If you’re a fan of Blair’s writing like I am, you’ll appreciate how Lt. Kate Gazzara digs into another case to find a killer.

Who killed Nicolette, and why? After all, she was just a young woman searching for true love. Follow Lt. Gazzara and her team as they unravel the threads they come across to finally solve the case. But at what expense? Clearly Lt. Gazzara is overworked and under enormous pressure. However, with her guiding hand, the team follows their leads, piecing together the clues. No spoiler alert here–you’ll need to grab a copy to find out what happens.

I will say this is another excellent plot from a master storyteller. With plenty of twists and turns, and loads of realistic characters, you’ll enjoy the ride. I know I did!

This brings us to a close 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, August 16, 2020

Here we are at the middle of August–another month sailing by!  We just had the roof tiles cleaned and repainted. Gone is the twenty plus years build-up of lichen. It took several days to clean the roof and have its new black-blue coating added.

Of course, it didn’t help any when it began raining just as the second coat was finished.  What a mess! The blue dye splattered everywhere. The company must have been familiar with this type of occurrence as they were on the phone to us before we could call them. After a good clean-up the next day when it wasn’t raining, they waited for another dry day and redid the second coat. Looks fantastic!

This week also brought more intrigue into the genealogy research, when we found one ancestor had been a servant to a particular “titled” person. Nothing to get excited about for most people, but it was really interesting to find someone other than farmers, blacksmiths, and a few teachers.  The oldest record we’ve been able to find (and could actually read) was from 1678. Still a bit more research to do, but it’s getting harder now to fill in the blanks.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 2nd. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Emilie Juliane of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German countess and poet; Jean de La Bruyère, French writer (The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus); Emile A. H. Seipgens, Dutch priest, writer and beer brewer; Justus van Maurik, Dutch author and cigar manufacturer; Arthur Achleitner, German writer; Jules Laforgue, French poet (Les Complaintas); Ferdinand C. S. Schiller, German-British philosopher (Riddles of the Sphinx); Antonio Nobre, Portuguese poet (Só); Pierre H. Ritter Jr, Dutch literary, writer and journalist; Albert Cohen, Greek-born Swiss novelist (Belle du Seigneur); Georgette Heyer, English novelist (Friday’s Child); William Maxwell, American novelist and editor (The New Yorker); Charles Bukowski, German-born American columnist (Notes of a Dirty Old Man) and writer (Hollywood: A Novel) who was described as a “laureate of American lowlife”; Louis Lomax, African-American author and journalist; Millôr Fernandes, Brazilian writer and playwright; Jan van Ginkel, graphic artist/publisher (Perscombinatie); Reiner Kunze, German writer (The Lovely Years); Diana Wynne Jones, UK, sci-fi author (Drowned Ammet, Witch Week); Andrew J[efferson V] Offutt, American sci-fi author (Undying Wizard); and James Cameron, Canadian film director and writer (Titanic, Avatar).

I didn’t find any names I’m familiar, did 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 Published Work

Three of my novels are participating in various promotions during August: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited Mystery and Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/mysterythrilleronku/c1lk5urbla

Serial Killer Thrillers:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/serialkillerthrillers/kavh64sncq

Happy End of Summer:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Revenge:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endofsummer/s78ak0xgkn

Please help an author or two by dropping in and taking a look at what’s on offer. All of us thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week, I completed chapter thirty-three of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-four. As of today, there’s been 409 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-one in the past week.

Here’s another snippet:

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

***

The door of a ramshackle building slammed shut as a man with the physique of long-distance runner stepped inside. A bodyguard recognized him and nodded. He pushed through the others standing near the entrance and strode along a dingy corridor.

Knocking once on a door on the right, he entered. Two men occupied mismatched chairs, a third one faced them.

“Come in, Zilla.” Holden Buhari waved toward the empty chair. “Please join us.” About time—always late. Should be here when ordered as he works for us.

“I hope you bring us good news.” Nando Okonjo rubbed his chin.

Although unrelated, with scarred faces, shaved heads, and muscle-bound, Buhari and Okonjo could pass for brothers or cousins.

Zilla swallowed. “I don’t have anything new to report.”

“Well?” Buhari stared at him. “We pay you and your friends good money to provide evidence against Mwanga. I thought you had one of his guards on your payroll.” Is Zilla on someone else’s payroll? He might bear watching.

“I do—he’s the one who tipped me about Mwanga’s white visitor. But, he didn’t know anything else about him. However, he let it slip he knew him from long ago. He said the visitor is called João.”

Okonjo slammed a fist into an open palm, the slap causing Zilla to jump. “You take our money, but provide few results. What happened in Lisbon?”

“I-I don’t know.” Zilla shrugged. “My contacts at our embassy were supposed to take photos but not make any contact. I don’t know all of the details yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll inform you.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished two more novels from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder. The first was The Scent of Guilt.

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation. Teamed up once again with his partner, DS Penny Chandler, they pull out all the stops to solve the mystery which appears to have similarities to crimes committed in California.

Tony has written another superb thriller, with plenty of twists and turns for Bliss and Chandler to negotiate as they work on this investigation. Tony’s characters are very realistic and you love them or hate them, depending upon which side of the law they appear. This one will have you burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens next!

If Fear Wins is another fantastic ‘who done it’ story when DI Bliss and DS Chandler are handed a case involving a torched body and a separate missing person. Who burned the body, and why? Is the missing person linked to the grisly remains?

If you enjoy crime and mystery stories, this is another page-turner for you. No spoiler alert–you’ll have to grab a copy and immerse yourself in this superb story!

This brings us to a close 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, August 9, 2020

When we bought our current house, there was a conservatory attached to it. It has an opaque roof, which allows for heat to build up inside in the summer and can be quite cool in the winter. There’s also an intense glare when the sun hits it.

Fortunately, having experienced this before, we knew what to do. There are inserts which slide into the the layer of channels in the roof panels. So, this past few week (around intermittent showers) I installed the inserts. Not a difficult task, but definitely time consuming.

As a result, our opaque roof now has a blueish tint to it, which is interesting since the inserts are silver on both sides. Anyway, the glare has disappeared and the conservatory is cooler, without having to open the doors and all of the windows. Hopefully, we’ll see less heat loss in the winter, too.

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 9th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Izaak Walton, English biographer and author (The Compleat Angler); John Oldham, English satirical poet; Jacob Campo Weyerman, Dutch painter and writer during Dutch Enlightenment; Bruno Dalberg [Petrus the Wacker van Zon], Dutch writer and lawyer; David de Jong, Dutch writer (Mutiny on the Canal); Armand Salacrou, French playwright; P.L. [Pamela Lyndon] Travers, Australian British writer (Mary Poppins); Berta Waterstradt, German writer and actress; John Baur, American museum director and author (American Paintings in 19th Century); Robert van Gulik, Dutch diplomat and writer (Judge Dee); Tove Jansson, Finnish author and illustrator (Moomins); Enzo Biagi, Italian journalist and writer; Philip Larkin, English poet and writer (North Ship, Jill); Gerrit Kouwenaar, Dutch journalist and poet; Robert Shaw, British actor, novelist, and playwright (Deep, Jaws, Sting, Black Sunday); Daniel Keyes, American author (Flowers for Algernon); and Jonathan Kellerman, American writer.

Recognize anyone? I did–Robert Shaw and Jonathan Kellerman. 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

This week, I completed chapter thirty-two of Xavier Sear: Angola, and began work on chapter thirty-three. As of today, there’s been 388 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Here’s another snippet:

An hour later, the road widened as they near the village. Children ran alongside the vehicles, laughing and shouting. Older people peeked out of the various huts, staring at the trucks as they passed through the village center.

Ahead, three trucks waited, their cargo areas stacked high with various goods, including bags of grain, bolts of cloth, and crates of live chickens.

Sear and Guzman hopped out of their vehicle and walked toward the water.

Kruger joined them. He exchanged a few words with one of the locals and turned to Sear. “He wants to know what white men are doing in this part of Africa?”

The man said something else to Kruger, who laughed. “He wants to know if we’re lost?”

“What’s the problem?”

“He didn’t say there was a problem. We’re an oddity in this area, that’s all.”

The local tapped Kruger on the shoulder and conversed for a couple of minutes. Afterward, the man smiled and walked away.

“Now what?”

“The locals are letting us go on the ferry first.”

The vehicles ahead of them backed up, clearing the way for Sear and his companions.

“Guess we better get in position.” Kruger turned toward his truck. “Oh, yeah. He said one other thing—we’ll be on the boat by ourselves. They believe we are bad luck.”

***

Once Kruger and Guzman drove their cargo vehicles onto the flat-bottom ferry, the trucks were locked in place. The ferry moved into the brown water, heading toward Angola.

Sear leaned against the back of a truck and gazed at the locals standing along the Zambian shoreline waving at him.

He lifted his hand to return the gesture.

Fweet! Fweet!

Sear waved at Kruger and Guzman. “Incoming!” He dove into the murky water.

More next time.

I managed several more hours of research for chapter seven of New World Revolution this week and should begin writing soon. To date, there have been 120 chapter reviews.

There’s been plenty of positive feedback on this one, which is fantastic given the countless hours I spend each week doing research to make this as historically accurate as possible.

Here’s the initial snippet from the opening chapter:

Last night, after two days of blue skies and brilliant sunshine, which hadn’t dried out his sodden crop, he sensed moisture in the air again. In the distance, banks of dark clouds gathered, threatening another deluge. They had no choice, but to bring in the harvest and salvage what they could. He called to Thomas and George. “‘Tis time for a break, lads. Fetch the water bucket and we shall rest for awhile.”

They leaned against a pile of rocks removed over the winter from a new plot Sir Percy’s factor arranged for them. After taking his turn with the ladle for a drink of cool water, Thomas knowing eyes met his father’s. “Most of it is spoiled.”

“Yes. I pray we can salvage enough to pay our rent. The crop is worse than five years ago when we almost lost everything.”

“What will happen to us, Father, if we can’t?” George, thirteen on his last birthday, tossed a small stone across the field.

“I don’t know, lad. I don’t know.” I should tell Mary the bad news tonight. But I can’t—what are we to do? A false smile on his face, William struggled to his feet. “Time’s passing. Won’t be long afore the sun is overhead.”

They picked up their scythes and returned to work. After his sons had gone to the other end of the field, William’s smile withered, his eyebrows knitted in a frown.

He swung his scythe, working his way along the field. Left. Pull back. Left. Pull back. Tears brimmed as he worried about what the future held for him and his family.

The sun had arced westward before William squinted at the sky. Glad the storm was still a good way off, he called for another break. “Lads, dinner.”

Thomas and George hurried to his side. Next to the water bucket, a second contained their dinner: an apple, a chunk of two-day-old bread, and a small piece of hard cheese each. They devoured their meal, leaned back against the rocks, and dozed.

Twenty minutes later, William tapped his sons’ knees. “Back to work. Several more hours to go afore the day is finished.”

Perhaps more next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been reading more from the DI Bliss Detective series by Tony J. Forder and should have reviews of book two and three next time.

This brings us to a close 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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