Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, May 29, 2022

It’s been a mixed week with rain, clouds and sunshine, sometimes all at the same time. For the past couple of days, though, there hasn’t been any rain. However, the wind shifted and is coming from the north, making it difficult for the temperature to get into the mid-50s. At least the blooms are continuing to pop out and of course, the grass needs a cut every week.

Over the past week, the price of petrol jumped five pence a liter. Now it’s up to £1.71, which makes it the equivalent of $8.33 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate. This is a jump of thirty-four cents a gallon since last week.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 29th, the fifth and final Sunday of the month:

Johann Heinrich von Mädler, German astronomer (published the most complete map of the Moon of the time, Mappa Selenographica, 4 vol. with Wilhelm Beer); G. K. Chesterton [Gilbert Keith], English writer (Man Who Made Gold); Oswald Spengler, German historian and philosopher (Decline of West); Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, British astronomer (theory of relativity); Alfonsina Storni, Argentine poet (La inquietud del rosal); George L. Funke, Dutch botanist (Flower Physiology); Ronald Russell, British journalist, author and Conservative politician; Sebastian Shaw, British actor, director, playwright and poet (High Season, Ace of Spades, Caste); T. H. White, English novelist (England Have My Bones) and author of the King Arthur novels; Desmond Shawe-Taylor, British critic and writer (co-author of The Record Guide); Neil R. Jones, American sci-fi author (Space War, Twin Worlds); Jan Hanlo, Dutch poet (Go to the Mosque); David Jenkins, Welsh librarian (National Library of Wales); Dick Hillenius, Dutch biologist and writer; Paul R. Ehrlich, American biologist and author who founded the group Zero Population Growth; and André Brink, South African writer (Dry White Season).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: T. H. White. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. The second chapter has been posted to the  two online subscription writing site I use. So far, the two chapters have received nineteen reviews, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

Walter Brown, the eighty-year-old founder and CEO of the privately held Diablo Corps, gazed out the office windows on the top floor of the Diablo headquarters in downtown Miami. Although dwarfed by much taller buildings, Brown normally enjoyed the skyline view toward the ocean.

As one of the world’s richest men, he could have lived anywhere. Few knew his name, and even fewer could boast of meeting the recluse.

Rain lashed the windows as an intermittent storm disrupted the otherwise hot and sunny day. He turned back to a sixty-four inch-monitor. Blinking red and green lights signified his worldwide operations.

When his phone rang, he stabbed at the console and put the call on speaker. “What?”

“Sir, Reginald here. Both tests were completed.”

“Excellent Have the accountants arrived yet?”

“Yes, sir. They came yesterday and are getting acclimated now. Several began work this morning, but ….”

“What’s wrong?”

“Uh … your nephew. He was caught on an ice floe after the second test. He’s still missing.”

Walter closed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Very well. Keep searching, but I doubt he’ll still be alive. However, my sister will want to give him a proper burial.”

“Yes, sir. When will you be returning?”

“I should finish what I need to do here by tomorrow morning. Expect me to arrive in the evening. Tell Chris to make sure everything is ready for me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Walter broke the connection and changed the monitor presentation. Blue lights signified the locations of major banking and investment institutions and the world’s leading stock exchanges. “Soon, we shall make our requirements known. If the G7 doesn’t bend to our demands, the might of Diablo shall disrupt their economies.”

He stepped to a self-service bar in the corner of his office and poured himself a large single malt whiskey. After taking a sip, he logged onto his computer and created a message:

To: The Chairmen and Governors of the G7 Central Banks

From: Nightmare

Stand by for my demands, which will be released soon. Failure to comply will result in the destruction of your way of life as you know it. The world cries out for truth, and I will be the sword of justice.

More next time.

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another seven reviews this week, bringing the total to 873. Slide1

The editing process is going well. I just started my third edit pass through the manuscript, which currently stand at 77,926 words. I’ve decided that six of my foreign characters will not use contractions when they speak, to separate them from those who do.

Now it’s a case of checking for missing or incorrect punctuation, misspelled or incorrect words, and making adjustments to anything else I think needs a tweak. I’m on schedule to send the manuscript to my beta readers by the middle of June. Depending upon their feedback, I’ll be submitting it to my publisher the beginning of August.

Book Promotions

6 Novels

My novels are participating in two Bookfunnel promotions this month:

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.
 

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 15, 2022

As we hit the middle of the month, things have greened up nicely and the hydrangeas are getting ready to produce their blooms. Each evening we have a visit from two hedgehogs. It’s always a treat to see them scamper across the back patio to a dish of small animal munchies and another filled with water. Sometimes, though, there will be a punch-up as one insists it’s getting to whichever dish first.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “What we are today is a result of our own past actions; Whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions; Decide how you want to act now. We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on May 15th, the third Sunday of the month:

Mary Wortley Montagu, English essayist, feminist, eccentric; Martinus W van der Aa, author/Dutch head-editor (The Time); Eduard von Keyserling, Baltic German writer (Dritte Stiege); (Lyman) L. Frank Baum, American children’s book author (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian playwright/novelist (La Ronde); Albert Verwey, Dutch poet/literature historian (Motion); Katherine Anne Porter, American novelist (Ship of Fools); David Vogel, Russian-born Hebrew writer (Huwelijksleven); Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian playwright and novelist (The Master and Margarita, Black Snow); Xavier Herbert, Australian author; Max Frisch, Swiss architect/writer (Stiller, Biedermann); Alexis Kagame, Rwandan philosopher, historian, poet and Tutsi intellectual and cultural leader; Jakucho Setouchi, Japanese writer and Buddhist nun; Jaime Garcia Terre, poet/essayist; Anthony Shaffer, Engish playwright (Sleuth); Peter Shaffer, English playwright (Equus, Amadeus); Donald [Anthony] Moffitt, American sci-fi author (Jupiter Theft); and Harve Brosten, American comedy writer (All In The Family, 1975-77).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: Lyman) L. Frank Baum. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

My novels are participating in three Bookfunnel promotions this month:

May Mayhem: A Kindle Unlimited Promo group promo. There are 105 novels to choose from:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense Reads group promo. There are 168 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/b…

May the First Book – Mystery Thriller Suspense group promo. There are 44 novels in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Please support author such as myself by checking out these promotions. Thank you.

My Work in Progress

Slide1While I’m still editing Ultimate Escalation in preparation to send it out to my beta readers, work is underway on my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. I’ll be posting the first chapter later today to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Some of you might have read earlier postings where I’ve included the synopsis. I’ve tweaked it a bit, so here it is again:

An international criminal gang, known as Diablo Corps, plans a series of devastating attacks to take over the G7 countries unless their demands are met. Secure in their hidden headquarters in Antarctica, they possess the means to disrupt the leading world economies. Walter Brown, the Diablo Corps CEO want what other power-hungry people want—ultimate power.

Will the G7 bend to the will of these rogues or will evil triumph? Diablo Corps believes their previous infiltration of the international banking system and world stock exchanges will allow them to risk all on a single gamble.

Bedlam joins forces with The Scandinavian Protection Agency to thwart the efforts of the group and restore faith. Will Antarctica become a smoking ruin or will the world suffer an economic meltdown?

The final chapters of Ultimate Escalation have now been uploaded to the two online subscription writing sites I use. My manuscript received another forty reviews this week, bringing the total to 855.Slide1

Here’s the penultimate snippet:

Major Bangash muted the television after the third review of the chaos in Lahore. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Alo?”

“Good evening. This is ISI Major Bangash. Connect me to Captain Fazli Khan at once.”

“At once, sir.”

While he waited, Bangash heard the switchboard operator speak to someone in the background.

“Good evening, sir.” The low-pitched voice appeared to be in the room rather than across the country.

“Fazli. How are you doing? I’m sure you’re busy with the hooligans in Lahore, but I wanted to get an update.”

“Yes, sir. It has been complete chaos here. We do not yet know the identities of the perpetrators of this outrage. But we shall.”

Bangash clicked his teeth. “Understood. The scenes on the television showed a lot of violence and destruction.”

“At least twenty police officers were taken to the hospital with injuries. In addition, the miscreants destroyed more than a dozen vehicles before the army arrived to calm the situation.”

“Do you have an estimate of the number of protestors?”

“Yes, sir. We estimate over one thousand five hundred people joined in. At least seventy were arrested while fifty are being treated for cuts, bruises, and broken bones.” Fazli sucked in a breath. “Seventeen people died at the scene–including three children.”

Bangash frowned. “I see. Well, I won’t keep you any longer, Fazli. Send me regular reports on your investigation.”

“Yes, sir. May I ask why?”

“There might be a link to someone I’m monitoring here in Peshawar.”

“Understood.”

“I expect to hear from you soon.” Bangash broke the connection. He slid his chair over to his private laptop, logged in, and began typing:

I cannot be certain, but it appears our Russian ‘friend’ is somehow connected to the pro-Punjab reunification protest in Lahore today. I fear this is just the beginning A colleague posted to Lahore will keep me apprised of any further developments.

On an unrelated matter, I have learned from a contact at the Governor’s House that the Tehrik-i-Taliban are expecting further attacks from the army in the FATA region. I shall use my influence to warn the tribal elders.

Bangash pulled a forbidden bottle of whiskey, obtained through an American contact, and took a large gulp. Finished, he put the bottle back in its hiding place. What will happen next?

I’ll bring you the final snippet of Ultimate Escalation next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, April 24, 2022

Overall, the weather’s been good this week. Little rain, plenty of sunshine, but a chilly breeze. We went to DeVilla Forest twice for long walks and of course, plenty of chats with dog walkers we met.

Unfortunately, we also made a trip to the emergency room Friday night. When I was asleep, Sylvia woke me up. She was fully dressed and said she was going to A&E because she was having heart palpitations. Sylvia never mentioned they had been occurring for the last six weeks but they weren’t stopping last night. I took her to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. After an EKG, chest xray, blood work, etc., they decided to keep her overnight as their tests revealed she had a previously undiagnosed heart murmur. The consultant said Saturday afternoon they’d be keeping her in until they sorted things out. Sylvia will be receiving a pacemaker. She said after her recovery, she planned to go snowboarding in the Alps and bungee jumping in the Himalayas. I better get some rest!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Most people are stronger than they know. They just forget to believe in it sometimes.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on April 24th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month:

Robert Bailey Thomas, American journalist and founder (The Farmer’s Almanac); Nikolaj Bestuzhev, Russian Navy officer, writer and painter (Decembrist revolt); Karl Leberecht Immermann, German writer; Vicente Fidel López, Argentine historian (La Novia del Hereje); Anthony Trollope, English novelist and poet (Barchester Towers); Carl Spitteler, Swiss poet (Prometheus & Epimetheus; Nobel 1919); Eduardo Acevedo Díaz, Uruguayan writer (Ismael, Grito de Gloria); Jaroslav Hašek, Czech writer (The Good Soldier Švejk); Kurt Pinthus, German-American writer; Robert Penn Warren, American poet and novelist (All the King’s Men, Pulitzer 1946); Clement Freud, British writer, radio personality, and politician; Patricia Bosworth, American actor, journalist, writer, and biographer; Sue Grafton, American author of detective novels (“A” Is for Alibi); Eric Kripke, American television writer, director and producer (Supernatural); and Siarhey Balakhonau, Belarusian writer.

Any names familiar to you? There were four for me: Robert Bailey Thomas, Anthony Trollope, Robert Penn Warren, and Sue Grafton. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Earlier in the week, I was on a roll with Ultimate Escalation, completing the final seven chapters, bringing the first draftg to forty-seven chapers and 73,414 words. My manuscript received another twenty-five reviews, bringing the total to 724. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing. I’ve also added three beta readers to my list.

Here’s another snippet:

They were soon escorted to Steve Wright’s office. After handshakes, they took chairs around a small conference table. Steve, his bald head shining, poured coffee for his guests. “It’s not every day the secretary of state contacts me to do a favor for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Whatever you need, Trevor, it’s yours.”

“Thank you, Steve. We have a two-fold mission. I assume you’re aware of the recent turmoil in Punjab?”

“Yes, my counterpart in Lahore keeps all of the mission in Pakistan apprised of unrest—we all do. No telling if or when it might spread to other factions—this country’s a powder keg waiting to explode.” Steve sipped from his cup.

“I’ve been cleared by the chairman to fill you in on the purpose of our visit. We suspect several former Russian Spetsnaz soldiers were involved in the Punjabi unrest. Another of our teams is heading to India now to verify activity there.”

Steve nodded. “There’s a rumor circulated by the Pakistani intelligence services regarding this. Don’t know if they’re trying to cover up something they did and it got out of hand, or whether it’s a valid concern.”

“It’s definitely a concern.” Trevor pursed his lips. “Imagine two nuclear powers embroiled in a bitter conflict over losing some of their territory. It’ll be worse than the continuing feuds over Kashmir. The chairman is worried they might resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction to hang on to their land.”

Steve pulled a business card from a pocket and scribbled on it. “Here are my official contact numbers. My personal number is on the back.”

“Thank you, Steve. We’ll keep you in the loop while we’re in Karachi.”

“Sure thing. What the other matter?”

Trevor glanced at the rest of his team. “Three of our multi-national group were following Russians from Dubai to Karachi. After they arrived here, we soon lost contact.”

“Hmm.” Steve rubbed a finger across his smooth chin. “Our nurse was contacted by one of the local hospitals. They said an American was in critical condition after being caught up in a terrorist attack at one of our hotels. They want all foreign hotel chains to leave the country. You might recall Sheraton pulled out years ago after a series of attacks.” Steve waved a hand in the air. “I’m getting sidetracked. The hospital reported the American had a broken arm and leg and multiple lacerations, including a deep wound on the side of his head. He’s been in a coma, but this morning he regained consciousness. We haven’t identified him yet. There weren’t any documents on his person when medical personnel took him to the hospital.”

“One of our team following the Russians was an American. Would it be possible to visit him? If he’s our colleague, we’ll recognize him.”

“Of course. “Steve spoke briefly on the phone before returning the instrument to its cradle. “The nurse will call the hospital now and clear the way for you. We’ve also reserved an armored vehicle for you during your stay.”

“Outstanding, Steve. I’ll let the chairman know you’ve gone out of your way to accommodate us. I’m sure he’ll contact the secretary of state.”

Steve’s face beamed. “Thanks, Trevor. If there’s anything else I can do, just name it.”

Trevor stood and shook hands. “We’ll be in touch.”

“I’ll take you to the motor pool, so you can collect your ride.”

Another snippet next week.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 27, 2022

Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating today. Hope you enjoy your special day!

We’ve had quite a run of sunshine this past week. Today, it briefly ended with plenty of fog although the sun is still trying to make an appearance. With all of the sunshine, we were able to get the flower beds at the front of the house ready for planting–even managed to get a few violas in!  We also found an excellent place for walking–Devilla Forest. It’s not far from the house and there are six walking paths through the forest. We took advantage of the sunny and relatively warm days  to go a couple of times. The clocks also jumped ahead an hour today, into what’s called British Summer Time.

During the first part of the week, the price of gasoline (petrol) increased by two pence a liter to £1.64. However, the Chancellor’s spring announcement saw a decrease in duty by five pence. I was definitely surprised to see the price actually dropped at our local station by six pence, down to £1.58, which makes it the equivalent of $8.03 for a U.S. gallon at the current exchange rate.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Blowing out the other person’s candle does not make yours shine brighter.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 27th, the fourth and final Sunday of the month: Benjamin Neukirch, German poet (Herrn von Hofmannswaldau); Michael Bruce, Scottish poet (Elegy written in Spring); Franz Xaver von Baader, German philosopher and theologist; Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, Hungarian Tibetan scholar (first Tibetan-English Dictionary); Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny, French musketeer and writer (Moise, Chatterton); Adolf Glassbrenner, German satirical writer; Heinrich Mann, German novelist and essayist (Professor Unrat); Marie Under, Estonian author and poet; Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, Turkish writer and translator; Thorne Smith, American sci-fi author (Topper, Rain in the Doorway, Stray Lamb); Karl Mannheim, German sociologist (Ideology & Utopia); acques [Izaak] den Haan, Dutch writer (Dangerous Book); Golo Mann, German-American historian (Antisemitism); Ai Qing, Chinese poet; Budd Schulberg, American novelist and screenwriter (On the Waterfront); Stefan Wul, French sci-fi author (The Temple of the Past); Louis Simpson, Jamaican-American poet (Good News of Death); Shūsaku Endō, Japanese writer (Sea & Poison, Silence); John Bayley, English academic and writer (Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch); Frank O’Hara, American writer and poet; Anthony Lewis, American columnist (NY Times) and author (Gideon’s Trumpet); Bob den Uyl, Dutch journalist and writer (Bird Watching); Istvan Csurka, Hungarian politician and writer; Abelardo Castillo, Argentine writer and novelist; Michael Jackson, British writer and journalist; Walt Mossberg, American journalist, the highest-paid journalist at the Wall Street Journal; Russ Conway, American sports journalist (Eagleson NHL scandal); and Patrick McCabe, Irish novelist (The Butcher Boy).

Any names familiar to you? I struck out this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, Mystery & Suspense / Suspense, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion called Mayhem and Motives. Why not stop by and check it out? There are 100 novels to choose from:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/m…

Colombian Betrayal and Revenge are also participating in a separate Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense / Mystery, and Mystery & Suspense / Women Sleuths promotion entitled March Fun Reads. There are 99 novels available in this one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/c…

My Work in Progress

Slide1This week I completed chapter thirty of Ultimate Escalation. My manuscript received a whopping thirty-four  reviews, bringing the total to 634. Once again, plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After they passed the accident, Raj turned to the taxi driver. “Find a place where we can monitor the traffic. I want to photograph the license plates of the two Tata trucks.”

“Yes, sahib. In a few kilometers, the road bends, and there is a hidden spot where the police wait for speeding motorists.”

“Excellent. Pull into that area and wait for them to pass us.”

* * *

Mishka’s two-vehicle convoy continued along the highway. He yawned as he studied the arid landscape. Good thing for us it’s not the monsoon season. Would be more difficult to travel. He reached down, picked up his water bottle, and sipped.

“Sahib.” Bikram studied the side mirror. “A yellow taxi approaching. What should I do?”

Mishka glanced in his mirror and spotted the vehicle. “Let’s see if it’s the same one. If it is, lose him.”

Bikram grinned. “Yes, sahib. No problem. I do not like taxi drivers. They think they own the roads.” He allowed the truck to slow.

The taxi drew abreast as they passed a steep ravine. The lone passenger stared at them.

“It is the same one, sahib.” Without warning, Bikram yanked the wheel and swerved toward the taxi.

Bang! Screeeech!

The side of the taxi caved in as Bikram continued to force the vehicle off the road. He gave a final nudge.

The taxi crashed through a rusted guardrail and sailed over the embankment.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Now that Michigan State and Michigan have been knocked out of the 2021 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, I hope to resume my normal evening reading. Within the next week or two, I’ll resume posting my reviews.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, December 26, 2021

We had a good Christmas market, with plenty of books and poetry sheets sold, as well as some knitwear. Our next small business market will be on 7-9 January. In the meantime, we’re taking a rest and catching up on things with our son.

On Christmas Eve we went to a nearby hotel for dinner. As with the first two times we did this (2018 and 2019) it was another excellent meal. We spent a quiet Christmas Day at home–no snow in our area but the weather maps showed snow to the north and south of us. Today, we heading out on the Firth of Forth for a cream tea cruise under the three bridges, stopping at Blackness Castle, the backdrop for the Outlander series and the Outlaw King.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better.”

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

Peter Schenck, German/Neth engraver/publisher; Thomas Gray, English poet (Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard); Jean François de Saint-Lambert, French poet; Friedrich Melchior, baron von Grimm, German writer; Heinrich J von Collin, Austria dramatist/poet (Regulus); E. D. E. N. Southworth, American novelist; Dion Boucicault [Dionysus Lardner Boursiquot], Irish actor and playwright (Rip van Winkle, London Assurance); Martinus Nijhoff, Dutch publisher (Van Dale) and founder (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers); René Bazin, French novelist; Alexander Amfiteatrov, Russian-Italian journalist, newspaper editor, novelist, and historian; Harry Redman, American composer, writer, and artist; Isaiah Bowman, American geography/co-founder (Geographical Review); Henry Miller, American author (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Sexus); Jean Toomer, American writer; Willie Corsari [Wilhelmina A Schmidt], Dutch writer; Alenjo Carpentier, Cuban/French writer (Guerra del Tiempo); H. A. Gomperts, Dutch writer (Duck on Attic); Steve Allen, American comedian, composer, writer and TV host (Tonight Show, Steve Allen Show); Elizabeth Kostova, American author (The Historian); and Robert Muchamore, English children’s author.

Any names familiar to you? The only name I know is Steve Allen. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1I didn’t get a chance to do any writing this week, but a short break doesn’t hurt. Ultimate Escalation received another seven chapter reviews, bringing the total to 449. Plenty of suggestions to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

After eating a dinner of chicken chili dry and masala fried rice, Vladimir and Mishka waited for their final guest of the day. They sat on the rear balcony, sipping on child vodka as they enjoyed a slight breeze, cooling the warm air.

“May I join you?”

Vladimir and Mishka pulled pistols from the pockets as they turned, relaxing when they recognize their visitor.

“Major Bangash—please join us. Would you care for some vodka? Vladimir lifted a bottle from an ice bucket.

“Just tea for me.”

“Of course.” Vladimir gestured toward a chair. “Please have a seat. Yusuuf brought a pot of tea for you.” He stood, picked up a teapot, and filled a cup before handing it to Bangash.

“Thank you.” He sipped the warm drink. “I have two pieces of information to share with you.”

“Please go ahead.”

“My contact in Dubai said three Westerners asked bout you.”

“Anything we should be concerned about?”

Bangash shook his head. “No. These men will soon be in Karachi. They will be followed, and when the time is right, they will meet with an untimely accident.”

“Do you know their names?’

“No. But my contact said they are native English speakers, if that helps.”

Vladimir tilted his head. “It does.” Which Western intelligence agency do they represent? “Don’t do anything to them until I give the word. They might be useful.”

“As you wish.” Bangash took another sip of his tea. “The other information will be of more interest to you. ISI captured two Russian agents over the weekend. They wanted to know your whereabouts. There’s a price of two hundred fifty thousand euros on your head—dead or alive, but dead is the preferred option.”

“Is that all?” Vladimir chuckled. “Must be Putin who set the price. He’s always been a miser. Where are these agents? I assume they work for the GRU?”

“I believe so.” Bangash nodded.

“Where are they?”

“Yesterday, I arranged for their departure.” Bangash grinned. “I told them if they didn’t leave Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within twenty-four hours, they’d be taken to Afghanistan and turned over to the Taliban.” He finished his tea. “Last I heard, they’re on tonight’s flight to Dubai.”

“Excellent.” Vladimir handed an envelope to Bangash. “Here’s your monthly retainer.”

“Thank you, Colonel. Your generosity allows me to keep my wife in the style she has become accustomed to.”

A smile creased Vladimir’s face before his eyes hardened like lumps of coal. “As long as you don’t double-cross me, you’ll be able to continue doing so. Otherwise, you’ll learn firsthand about Spetsnaz retribution.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for the river cruise. I hope you found something of interest. 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. See you again in 2022!

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, December 19, 2021

It’s been a busy week with the Xmas market still underway. We’ll be participating through Monday, while some of the vendors will remain through Christmas Eve.

We received a fantastic Christmas present on Thursday–Craig arrived from Washington, D.C., for three weeks! It’s great to have him with us.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “In Life, it’s not where you go. It’s who you travel with.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 19th, the third  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Su Tung-p’o, China, poet/essayist/painter/calligrapher; William Bowyer, English printer; Manuel Breton de los Herreros, Quel Spain, poet/comic playwright; Italo Svevo, Trieste Austria, Italian novelist (La Coscienza di Zeno); F S Flint, translator/poet (imagist movement); Ingeborg Refling-Hagen, Norwegian author/poet (Loke Saar Havre); Maurice Roelants, Flemish novelist and poet (Komen en gaan, Prayer for a Good End); Oliver [Hazard Perry] La Farge, American anthropologist and novelist; Theo Harych, German writer; H Allen Smith, Ill, humorist/author (Low Man on Totem Pole); Jean Genet, French novelist (The Thief’s Journal, Our Lady of the Flowers) and playwright (The Balcony, The Maids); Jose Lezama Lima, poet/novelist; Adriaan van der Veen, Dutch writer (Sister at Sea); Benedict Freedman, novelist and mathematician (Mrs Mike); Michel Tournier, French writer (Friday, or, The Other Island); Tankred Dorst, German playwright; James Booth [David Geeves], British actor and screenwriter (Zulu, Keeping Mum); Howard Sackler, American screenwriter; Salvador Elizondo, Mexican writer; Jean-Patrick Manchette, French thriller writer (3 to Kill, The Prone Gunman); Michelangelo Signorile, American writer; Jon Smith, British writer; and Patrick Casey, American screenwriter and actor.

Any names familiar to you? I admit I didn’t find anyone I knew. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself, but you’ll have to hurry!

My Work in Progress

Slide1With all of the time at the Christmas market, I haven’t had much time to write. However, I began working on a new manuscript for Frozen Conquest. More about this one in the future. A total of bube chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 442. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Yusuuf escorted Ajit and Imran into the living room, returning moments later with a plate of sliced fruit and cups of tea.

After exchanging pleasantries, Vladimir motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for your today?”

Ajit sipped his tea and set the cup down. “First, our apologies for the incident during our meeting by Bahawalpur. We thought it best to come to you here to continue our discussions.”

“The council agreed we would speak on their behalf, and they would accept whatever arrangements we make.” Imran picked up a mango slice and took a bite. “We are uncertain how the attackers found out about our meeting, but we shall find out. Even if it was one of our own, he will be dealt with.”

Vladimir waved a hand in dismissal. “In our line of work, there are always interruptions. Nothing to be concerned about.” He stared at Ajit and Imran in turn. “I believe there might be a way to bring India and Pakistan together to resolve the Punjabi situation. However, there will be bloodshed.”

Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”

“First, we begin with peaceful protests on either side of the border. These will become more intense as time passes. Minor attacks will take place, escalating until the military forces of each country are involved.” Vladimir stared at the ceiling. “We’ll need someone to organize peace talks between India and Pakistan, but this can be arranged later.”

“India and Pakistan are always talking and making threats.” Ajit pursed his lips. “Why should this be any different? Kashmir is still a disputed territory without a resolution in sight. Why should they agree to resolve the Punjab situation?”

Mishka tapped the side of his nose. “We’ll make them.”

“How?” A puzzled expression creased Imran’s face. “I don’t understand.”

“We have a weapon which will wreak havoc on Pakistan and India’s financial centers. If they do not agree to our terms, we will destroy their economies.”

Imran glanced at Ajit. “What is this weapon?”

“It will be revealed to you only if the situation requires its use.” Vladimir crossed his arms and leaned back on the sofa.

Ajit nodded. “This is agreeable to us. When shall we begin?”

“Mishka will take a team into India. Please provide the name of a contact in Chandigarh, so we can coordinate the protests. I will lead the team here—we’ll set up in Lahore.”

“We have such a contact—Vedant Mohdi. He works in Chandigarh’s civic administration but believes in uniting Punjab.” Ajit smiled. “He is one of my wife’s cousins and can be trusted.”

“Excellent.” Vladimir tilted his head. As if any of them can be trusted—we’ll have to be alert for treachery. “I think we’re in agreement. We’ll move our teams into position within ten days.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. I hope you found something of interest. 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. Merry Christmas to all!

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, December 12, 2021

We’ve had mixed weather this week but fortunately, no snow. Today it even feels mild at 46F/7C. Not sure how long it’ll last, but we’ll take what we can get.

It’s been a busy week with the Christmas market in full swing. So far, I’ve sold thirty-two signed copies of my novels. Sylvia’s done well too, with around twenty-five of her laminated poetry sheets sold and six of her debut poetry book, Colours of My Life. We’re back at it again today and hope to have another good day as Christmas keeps approaching.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Honesty is a very expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 12th, the second  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays): Olof Rudbeck, Swedish scientist, writer and composer; Peter Rabus, Dutch poet and translator (Liberated Britanje); Erasmus Darwin, influential English physician, poet, philosopher, and botanist (grandfather of Charles Darwin); Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (Madame Bovary); Maurice Donnay, French playwright (Lovers); Paul Elmer More, American critic and essayist; Volter Kilpi, Finnish writer (Alastalon salissa); Howard Koch, American playwright and screenwriter; Manès Sperber, Austrian-French writer (Like a Tear in the Ocean: A Trilogy); Armand Boni, Flemish poet and writer; Nilda Pinto, Curacao writer (Nanzi); Ahmad Shamlou, Iranian poet (The Book of Alley); Chinghiz Aitmatov, Soviet-Kyrgyz author and best-known figure in Kyrgyzstan’s literature (Jamila); John Osborne, English playwright (Entertainer, Look Back in Anger, Luther); Ali-Akbar Sa’idi Sirjani, Iranian writer and journalist; Bengt Emil Johnson, Swedish author and composer; Karl Edward Wagner, American sci-fi author (Bloodstone, Night Winds); Robert Lepage, French Canadian playwright; and Sophie Kinsella, English author (Confessions of a Shopaholic).

Any names familiar to you? I know two: Charles Darwin and Gustave Flaubert. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself!

My Work in Progress

Slide1With all of the time at the Christmas market, I haven’t had much time to write. However, I do have drafts of chapters twenty-one and twenty-two.  A total of eight chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 433. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Thump! Thump! Thump!

Mishka approached the door. “Da? Who is it?”

“Is that you, Mishka? Open up—it’s Grigori.”

Mishka slid the deadbolts and lifted the metal retaining bar stretching across the frame. Aiming his pistol toward the entrance, he pulled the door open. He spotted his old friend and relaxed. “Come in.”

After Grigori stepped inside, he hooked a thumb toward the Loud music, bright lights, and gunfire coming from behind the property. “What’s with the party?”

“A wedding celebration.” Mishka laughed. “Vladimir thought we were under attack. Don’t tell him I said this, but I think he’s getting too old to keep up with us.”

“Where is our comrade colonel?”

“Upstairs. He was pacing the balcony, watching for intruders when you pounded on the door.”

Grigori chuckled. “I’m sure his recent injury is accounting for some of his apprehension. Why don’t—”

“Welcome, Grigori!” Vladimir’s voice boomed as he descended the marble stairs, an AK-47 nestled in his arms. “Come in. Sorry about the noise, but they should be finishing soon.” He gestured toward a barred window where early morning sunlight lightened the sky. “These parties last all night, but everyone disappears by sunup—just like vampires and werewolves in European folklore.”

“Mishka said you were watching for intruders?”

“Da. Can’t be too careful.” Vladimir dismissed Grigori’s comment with a wave of his hand. “Is it too early for vodka? Yusuuf should be here soon to make breakfast, but nothing like a good drink to wake you up.”

Mishka resecured the door. “Yusuuf arrived about an hour ago, laden with fresh fruit. He’s making sharlotka.”

Grigori’s stomach rumbled. “I haven’t had sharlotka for a long time. My mother’s was the best. She always said the secret was slicing the apples so you could almost see through them and adding plenty of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.”

“Breakfast first, then the vodka.” Vladimir led them through the swinging doors into the dining room. The aroma from the breakfast cooking wafted through the air. “Take a seat and fill us in, Grigori.”

After taking a chair facing Vladimir and Mishka, Grigori eased back and crossed his arms. “As you requested, I spread the word throughout the former Spetsnaz community. Several are already committed to other endeavors, but there are twelve willing and able to support you.” He grinned.” The number doesn’t include Captains 3rd Rank Karol Pushkin and Stepan Gennadi and their crews, who will support you should it be necessary.”

Vladimir rubbed his chin and smiled. “Ah, yes. The Lyre class submarines—decommissioned in 1990 and designated for scrapping. I believe NATO referred to them as the Alfa class.”

“Da.” Grigori uncrossed his arms and leaned forward. “No one questioned Colonel General Kutzenov’s order to keep two of them from going on the scrapheap. Even the NATO inspectors were clueless.”

Vladimir tapped his fingers on the edge of his chair. “Would it be possible to arrange a short trip on one of them?”

“Da. I believe one of them will be in the Gulf of Hormuz soon so the crew can practice their targeting and evasion techniques. Do you want me to set up a visit?”

Vladimir glanced at Mishka. “Make the arrangements—we’ll both go.”

“Not counting Puskin and Gennadi, there will be seventeen of us.” Mishka rubbed a hand over his head. “Will that be enough, Vova?”

“Da. I shall lead eight here in Pakistan, and you’ll take the remainder and cause disruption in India.”

Mishka nodded. “It will be a pleasure to be back in the field again.”

Yusuuf stepped into the room and approached Vladimir. “Shall I serve breakfast, sir?”

“Da.”

***

Yusuuf escorted Ajit and Imran into the living room, returning moments later with a plate of sliced fruit and cups of tea.

After exchanging pleasantries, Vladimir motioned for them to sit. “What can I do for your today?”

Ajit sipped his tea and set the cup down. “First, our apologies for the incident during our meeting by Bahawalpur. We thought it best to come to you here to continue our discussions.”

“The council agreed we would speak on their behalf, and they would accept whatever arrangements we make.” Imran picked up a mango slice and took a bite. “We are uncertain how the attackers found out about our meeting, but we shall find out. Even if it was one of our own, he will be dealt with.”

Vladimir waved a hand in dismissal. “In our line of work, there are always interruptions. Nothing to be concerned about.” He stared at Ajit and Imran in turn. “I believe there might be a way to bring India and Pakistan together to resolve the Punjabi situation. However, there will be bloodshed.”

Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”

“First, we begin with peaceful protests on either side of the border. These will become more intense as time passes. Minor attacks will take place, escalating until the military forces of each country are involved.” Vladimir stared at the ceiling. “We’ll need someone to organize peace talks between India and Pakistan, but this can be arranged later.”

“India and Pakistan are always talking and making threats.” Ajit pursed his lips. “Why should this be any different? Kashmir is still a disputed territory without a resolution in sight. Why should they agree to resolve the Punjab situation?”

Mishka tapped the side of his nose. “We’ll make them.”

“How?” A puzzled expression creased Imran’s face. “I don’t understand.”

“We have a weapon which will wreak havoc on Pakistan and India’s financial centers. If they do not agree to our terms, we will destroy their economies.”

Imran glanced at Ajit. “What is this weapon?”

“It will be revealed to you only if the situation requires its use.” Vladimir crossed his arms and leaned back on the sofa.

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. I hope you found something of interest. 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 5, 2021

Rain, Wind, sunshine, snow, ice–we’ve had them all in the past week. With morning temperatures hovering around freezing, the days have struggled to climb above 44F/7C. At least there hasn’t been any accumulation of snow–from flurries to a light dusting.

We had the opportunity to join a Christmas market on Friday in a nearby village. It was there first one. While it was slow, we did manage a few book and poetry sheet sales. The big Christmas market sponsored by the small business market, begins tomorrow in the local mall and runs through the 24th. Looking forward to this!

Although the game wasn’t televised locally, I was delighted to find out Michigan (2) beat Iowa (13) convincingly, 42-3, to take their first Big Ten Football Conference title since 2003. Now we’re just waiting to see if they make it into the College Football Championship.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges makes you strong.” Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, there is only today. Be fearless. Listen to your heart. Envision your perfect day and go out there and live it. You have many smiles to share with those around you–and they with you. Radiate your love and feel that loving energy return to you. ~ Creig Crippen © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on December 5th, the first  Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Nicolas Cleynaerts, Flemish grammarian; Ubbo Emmius [van Embden], Dutch-Frisian humanist and historian; Fyodor Tyutchev, Russian poet and statesman; Afanasy Fet, Russian poet; Christina Rossetti, English poet (Winter Rain, Passing Away); Ellis Parker Butler, American author (Pigs is Pigs); Fritz Lang, Austrian-German-American filmmaker and screenwriter (Metropolis); Lady Huxley [Marie Juliette Baillot], Swiss sculptor and author; Nunnally Johnson, American screenwriter and producer; Josh Malihabadi, Urdu poet of India and Pakistan; Abraham Polonsky, American writer and director (Tell them Willie Boy is Here); Maisie Fitter, editor and conservationist; Hans Hellmut Kirst, German author (The Lieutenant Must Be Mad); Simone Gallimard, French editor and publisher; Vladimir Tendryakov, Russian writer (Three, Seven, Ace); Fazu Aliyeva, Russian poet, novelist and journalist who helped develop Dagestani in Russian literature; Joan Didion, American author and journalist (The year of Magical Thinking); Calvin Trillin, American author (New Yorker); Yury Vlasov, Soviet weightlifter and writer; James Lee Burke, American writer (Dave Robicheaux series); Horst Bastian, German writer and screenwriter; Peter Pohl, Swedish writer; and Neil Druckmann, Israeli-American writer & co-president Naughty Dog.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–James Lee Burke. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

New Release

ComL-8c(1)Sylvia Grace’s debut book, Colours Of My Life, has now been released. If you enjoy poetry, prose, and short stories, there’s bound to be something you can relate to.

This is from the intro:

The time has come to share my writing after many years of hiding my light under a bushel. Enjoy!

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

My Published Work

6 Novels

All of my novels are participating in a Thrilling Christmas promotion, running from now through Christmas Day. With ninety novels available, there’s bound to me something for that special someone on your Christmas list or even for yourself!

My Work in Progress

Slide1When time permitted, work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter twenty-one is almost completed.  A total of thirteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 425. Definitely some great comments to enhance my writing.

Here’s another snippet:

Willie glanced around and spoke in a low voice. “Anything from the Russians?” He raised his sunglasses as two foreign women passed.

Alfie chuckled. “Yeah, mate. Seems like we missed Nikolaev and an associate.”

Nate nodded. “That’s what we found out through Dakila. Could have saved our money.”

Willie rubbed the side of his face. “Did you get the names of the two guys who were by the pool?”

“Only the first names—Fedor and Eduard.”

Willie pulled an iPad out of his pack and connected to the internet. He typed and sent an encrypted message.

To: Bedlam, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

From: Rebel

Target departed before our arrival. Two of his associates are leaving this evening for Pakistan. Please advise whether we follow them or return to Conus.

***

As dusk deepened, spotlights snapped on. CC, Trevor, and Evelyn stood in adjacent firing lanes and aimed their SIG Sauers downrange.

Blam! Blam! Blam!

They fired in unison, mimicking one another’s actions—left-handed, righted-handed, and both hands.

Emptying their magazines, they hit the eject buttons, dropping canisters to the ground. As they slapped new ones into place, they edged forward, shots rattling against their targets with each step.

Once again, they emptied their magazines. After reloading, CC, Trevor, and Evelyn resumed firing, moving backward with each step.

“Clear! Clear! Clear!”

CC glanced toward Evelyn on his left and nodded. He turned to his right. Time to police our lines.”

After they finished, the three Bedlam team leaders met at the loading table and began filling their magazines.

Trevor slotted a round on top of the magazine’s spring and pushed. “So, CC. When are you heading back to Scotland for a holiday?”

“If things remain quiet, it’ll be later this year. The clan’s having a ceilidh at Loch Lomond—plenty of music, food, and drink—not necessarily in that order.”

“A grand place to go—at least when it’s not raining.”

“Aye.” CC shoved the last round into a magazine and reached for another.

“When you come over, pop down to London, CC. Sir Alex and I would love to have you stay with us.”

“Aye, Evelyn. I’ll do that.” He grinned at her.

Once they reloaded, CC, Trevor, and Evelyn repeated their runs on the firing line.

After they cleaned up, Trevor slapped CC and Evelyn on the shoulder. “Enough work for today. Care to join me in the manor house for a nightcap?”

Evelyn nodded. “I’ll be there, but I want to eat first. I understand the cooks are serving ribeyes cooked to order, baked potatoes, and mixed salad tonight.”

‘Aye. I could go for a good steak. As long as the Murphy’s is flowing, I’ll join you, Trevor. Of course, a wee dram or two of a good single malt would suffice.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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, November 28, 2021

Imagine my surprise when I looked outside this morning-snow! Everything was covered and it was still coming down. Since then it’s tapered off and is already starting to melt on the roads sidewalks. With the horrible winds over the past two days (hitting 100 MPH, although we were fortunate with only 55 MPH winds), Mother Nature has let everyone know she’s still around. Is this a sign of what’s in store for winter?

We were supposed to attend a monthly Artisan market in a nearby town yesterday. However, the wind storm resulted in its cancellation. Today, we’re supposed to be at a small craft event in a local hotel. First time, so we’re not sure what to expect.

Yesterday, the 10-1 University of Michigan (ranked 5th) football team played 10-1 Ohio State (ranked 2nd). Ohio State had won the previous eight games between the two teams. Michigan came out on top, 42-27. Unfortunately, I could watch the game–my sports provider elected to show the Florida-Florida State game (both teams were 5-6). At least the highlights were provided!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges makes you strong.” Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, there is only today. Be fearless. Listen to your heart. Envision your perfect day and go out there and live it. You have many smiles to share with those around you–and they with you. Radiate your love and feel that loving energy return to you. ~ Creig Crippen © Wisdom Quotes & Stories

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

Francesco Sforza Pallavicino, Italian theologist and historian (Istoria del Concilio di Trento); John Bunyan, English minister and author (The Pilgrim’s Progress); William Blake, English poet and artist (Songs of Innocence & Experience); Friedrich Engels, German social philosopher and revolutionary socialist who co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” with Karl Marx; James Allen, English writer (As a Man Thinketh); Jozef van Mierlo, Belgian Jesuit and literary (Hadewych); Alexander Block, Russian poet (Dvenatsat); Stefan Zweig, Austrian poet, essayist and dramatist (Beware of Pity); Brooks Atkinson, American drama critic (The New York Times); Dawn Powell, American writer (Turn, Magic Wheel); Uno Chiyo, Japanese writer (Confessions of Love); Nancy Mitford, English author (Love in a Cold Climate); Alberto Moravia [Pincherle], Italian author (Indifferent Ones); Václav Renč, Czech poet, dramatist and translator; Hugo Pos, Surinamese-Dutch poet and writer; Helen Copley, American newspaper publisher (The San Diego Union-Tribune); Dervla Murphy, Irish travel author (Full Tilt, In Ethiopia with a Mule); Rinus Ferdinandusse, Dutch editor and author (Nude on Fence); Randolph Stow, author/poet (Suburbs of Hell); Rita Mae Brown, American poet, novelist (Rubyfruit Jungle), screenwriter (Long Hot Summer), and mystery writer (Mrs. Murphy); Erwin Mortier, Belgian author; and Eka Kurniawan, Indonesian writer.

Any names familiar to you? I knew three–John Bunyan, William Blake, and Friedrich Engels. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

Mission Angola ebookI recently found out that Mission-Angola (Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1) has moved from the slush pile to the long list for the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. A long way to go yet in the competition, which will be stiff as always.

Earlier this year, Mission: Angola ended its run in the 2021 Page Turner Awards as a finalist.

Fingers crossed, it will continue to move forward in the CIBAs. Stay tuned for more updates as they happen.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

As soon as a few technical glitches are sorted out, Colours of My Life will be uploaded and available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats. Hope you’ll check it out.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter twenty was posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of ten chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 412. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

The Bedlam operatives stepped out of the black Mercedes taxi and gazed at the opulence of the five-star Le Méridien Dubai Hotel. Palm trees stood guard over the entrance and throughout the manicured gardens. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, and Bentley GTs filled the nearby parking spots. Through the hotel entrance, gold chandeliers competed with white marble columns and floor tiles.

“Ahem.” The taxi driver stood at the rear of the vehicle, placing their luggage on the ground.

Will approached and paid the fare, picking up his roll-around and a backpack.

The drive glanced at the payment and frowned before climbing behind the wheel and departing.

A member of the hotel staff rushed forward, pushing a trolley. “So, sorry, gentlemen. Let me take your luggage.”

Willie handed his suitcase to the man and turned to Nate and Alfie. “Don’t know about y’all, but I could go for something to eat.

“Sir, there is an all-day buffet available on the ground floor. I’ll show you the way when we enter.”

“Fantastic. You’re the man.”

The stocky staff member led them to the check-in desk and pointed to the opposite end of the lobby. “The buffet is to your right. I’ll take the luggage to your rooms.”

“Thanks. I’ll keep this.” Willie shouldered his backpack. “Do y’all take American money for tips?”

“Of course, sir.”

Willie pulled a twenty-dollar note from his wallet and handed it to the staff member.

“Thank you, sir. If there is anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant, ask for Dakila at the concierge desk.”

Willie nodded and led Nate and Alfie toward the buffet.

After they filled their plates, they claimed a table in the corner.

Nate glanced around. “Do you think Nikolaev is still in Dubai?”

Willie shrugged. “Only one way to find out. After we eat, we’ll ask at the front desk. They might not tell us anything, but we’ll give Dakila something to do.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Alfie scooped another forkful of eggs into his mouth. “When we entered the hotel, I thought I heard two men speaking in Russian. I couldn’t make everything out, but they were heading to the pool.”

“Find out what you can. Nate and I will go on an excursion and check out the hotel. Perhaps we’ll learn more.” Willie glanced at his watch. “We’ll join you poolside in an hour.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with The Lair of Anubis (The Project Book 20) by Alex Lukeman. I’ll share my thoughts about this story next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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

Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, November 21, 2021

After a week of mild temperatures and wind, clouds, and rain, with only the occasional glimpse of the sun, we woke up to a bit of frost on the car this morning. Clear skies with a temperature of 40F/4C should make it a pleasant day overall–hope to clear up some of the fallen leaves before we get more rain or worse.

I watched the Michigan State-Ohio State game last night. Both teams had 9-1 records going into the game. What a crushing defeat for Michigan State, 56-7. All I can ask is: how did Ohio State lose a game earlier in the year? Next weekend, it’ll be Michigan vs. Ohio State. I’ll still back Michigan, but who knows what will happen?

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 21st, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

John Bale, English bishop and anti-catholic playwright (Kynge Johan); Charles Scribani, Flemish 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; Tina Brown, British journalist (New Yorker, Tattler); and Alec Brownstein, American author, director.

Any names familiar to you? I knew one–Voltaire. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from. Today is the final day of the promotion, so if you don’t hurry, you’ll miss out.

I found out this week that Mission Angola: Xavier Sear Thriller Book 1 has moved from the slush pile to the long list in the 2021 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the Global Thrillers category. Twenty novels are vying to make the short list. Will keep you posted.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose and wraps up with a couple of short stories, including one about Christmas, which is appropriate for a book being released at this time of the year. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

Colours of My Life is a collection of poetry and prose inspired by my experiences and the world around me—people, animals, nature. Some poems will make you smile, others may touch your emotions and bring tears—embrace them. Gather your inner strength and enjoy the moment. Awaken your feelings and you, too, can rise again.

The paperback cover is now ready. As soon as Sylvia does a couple more content tweaks, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network in Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback formats.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation, but I’m still not done with the latest chapter as my writing time was devoted to working on Sylvia’s book.  A total of fourteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 402. Definitely some great comments to mull over!

Here’s another snippet:

“Good morning!” A heavy-set man dressed in a stained shalwar kameez and black sandals struggled to his feet under the Arabic gum tree and lumbered toward them. “Are you ready for our journey?”

“Umar, this is Vladimir and Mishka.” Ajit motioned toward the Russians. “They will be your passengers. Will you explain how they will be hidden?”

“But of course.” Umar waddled toward the vehicle. “I will drive the truck while you will remain in a space above the cab.” He walked to an area behind the driver’s compartment and reached into a small slot. With a click, a panel opened, revealing a ladder. Grabbing a rung, he turned and grinned. “Follow me to your temporary home.”

One by one, Umar, Vladimir, and Mishka climbed the ladder and squeezed into the dark compartment.

Umar flicked a small switch, bathing the area in a dim glow. There was sufficient height to sit, but they wouldn’t be able to stand. “All the comforts of home—plenty of blankets to cushion you during the trip.” He pointed to four small holes in the ceiling. “Air vents.” He twisted around and gestured to a funnel taped to a hose. “For urination. It will fall onto the road. There are plastic bags in the corner for defecation, but these will have to remain inside with you.”

Ajit stuck his head in the opening. “Here is food and water.” He pushed in two small bags. “When you are ready, we will close the compartment and move Umar’s cargo to keep you hidden.”

“If there is an emergency, how do we escape?” Vladimir rubbed his chin.

“I forgot.” Umar twisted his body again, so he faced the far side of the compartment. “There are four latches. Pull them toward you to unlock them. Use your feet and push—a panel will open so you can get out. Use this only as a last resort. Hidden and scared is much better than revealing yourselves and being killed.”

“How do we communicate with you?” Mishka glanced around. “I see a small speaker, but nothing else.”

Umar nodded. “When you speak in a loud voice, your voice will come through. Do not do this if we are stopped. Others will be able to hear you, too.”

Vladimir nodded. “We are ready to go.”

“Excellent. It will take us about fifteen minutes to move the cargo into position. There will be two planned stops for fuel and pay tolls. Tonight, you will be in Peshawar.”

Vladimir and Mishka placed their pistols and ammunition in handy access positions and used the blankets to create makeshift beds.

“Well, Mishka. Our journey continues.”

“Da. As the American soldiers say in the war movies, ‘Hurry up and wait.’ We might as well get comfortable.”

“Agreed. I just wish we had some vodka, black bread, and dumplings.” Vladimir dug into the food bag Ajit provided. He pulled out a samosa. “Want one?”

Mishka laughed. “Da.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advanced copy of Hit and Run: Hit and Run – Harry Starke Genesis 7 by Blair Howard. As with all of Blair’s novels, this one will keep you guessing until the final page. It was great to see Harry and Kate head to Florida for this one, even if the case began thirty-five years ago. Will there be anyone left to know what really happened?

There are plenty of suspects to go around, but who really killed three bicyclists and severely injured another one? What was the motive? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out as I don’t like to give plots away. However, this one will have you staying up late and turning the pages to find out if Harry and Kate can solve the mystery. Another superb story from a master storyteller!

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. 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