Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 13, 2020

The nights are closing in, dawn sleeps in each morning, clouds and rain are a constant companion, and leaves are beginning to turn color. No doubt about it–fall is approaching. And fast!

Despite the changing weather, roses are still budding, new flowers have popped out on our clematis vines, and several new hydranga blooms are threatening to burst from the shelter of their leaves. It’s always interesting to watch how Mother Nature changes the landscape in a never-ending cycle.

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

Alexander Neckam, English theologist and encyclopedist; John Leland, English poet and antiquarian; Daniel Defoe, English novelist (Robinson Crusoe); Arnold Ruge, German political philosopher and writer; Nicolas Beets [Hildebrand], Dutch writer (Camera Obscura) and theologian; Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (The Child of the Parish); Johannes de Koo, Dutch journalist and playwright; Sherwood Anderson, American author and publisher (Winesburg Ohio); Alain LeRoy Locke, African-American writer and philosopher “Father of the Harlem Renaissance”; Pierre Reverdy, French poet (Nord-Sud); J. B. Priestly, English novelist and scriptwriter (The Good Companions, An Inspector Calls); Julian Tuwim, Polish poet and lyricist; Anton Constandse, Dutch anarchist and writer; Hermine Heijermans, Dutch actress, politician and author (Grote Klaas en kleine Klaas); Ray Green, American composer and publisher; Roy Engle, American writer and actor (The Man from Planet X, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian); Roald Dahl, British author (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG); George Weidenfeld, British publisher (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Reninca [Renée Lauwers], Flemish author (Seed in the Wind); Judith Martin, American author, journalist and columnist (Miss Manners); Noël Godin, Belgian writer and humorist; and Tõnu Õnnepalu, Estonian poet and author.

I’d also like to extend belated happy birthday wishes to America’s oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks. He turned 111 yesterday! Click here for his story!

Anyone familiar to you? Two stood out for me: Daniel Defoe and Roald Dahl. 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 to edit Xavier Sear: Angola. As of today, there’s been 507 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, an increase of twenty-three in the past week.

As with my previous novels, I’m sifting through the different reviews to identify areas where readers suggests I make changes–whether additions or subtractions. I enjoy this part of the process as I get an excellent picture of what is working and what isn’t. Not only does this impact on my current work-in-progress, it also helps to improve my future stories.

Here’s another snippet:

Hours passed. Namali’s contractions continued about every twenty minutes. Each one was accompanied by a piercing scream as she wrenched the replaced sheet.

Fimi wiped Namali’s forehead after every event, singing a local song in a soft voice. During a break in the contractions, Fimi helped Namali change into somewhat cleaner clothes.

Peter tried to rest on a chair, his head leaning against the tent’s central pole. However, he jumped every time Namali screamed.

“Doc … tor. Help me!” Namali raised her head. “Make the pain go away.”

Peter stepped to the side of the cot and laid a hand on her shoulder. “Soon. Once the contractions become more frequent, it will be time.” He gestured at Fimi. “Together, we will bring your baby into this world.”

“Thank … you, Doc … tor.” Namali gasped and collapsed back on the pillow.

Moments later, she screamed again—louder than before. “It hurts! Make it go away!”

Peter rushed to Namali’s side. With Fimi’s help, they moved Namali into a birthing position. He examined her again.

Blood.

“Doctor?” Fimi held a small bag in her hand. “Should we give some medicine to help?”

“What is it?”

She shrugged. “I do not remember. My mother was a doula, and she made this mixture. It is a herbal remedy she learned from her mother.”

Peter waved a hand. “Not now.” He pointed at the blood. “It will be time soon.”

“Ieeeeeah!”

“The contractions are stronger and quicker. Won’t be long. Help her push.”

A liquid saturated the cot as Namali screamed again.

Fimi grabbed a clean towel and wiped up the fluid.

“The membrane ruptured!” Peter peered at Namali. “I can see the head! Push, Namali, push!”

Namali dug her fingernails into Fimi’s arm.

The doula grimaced and encouraged Namali to push with each contraction.

“It’s coming!”

“Waaaah!

Peter held the tiny baby in his hands. He nodded at Fimi, who wrapped the child in a piece of blanket.

After Peter snipped the umbilical cord, he stepped to Namali’s side. He glanced at her now-peaceful looking face. “Congratulations. You have a healthy child.”

More next time.

I also managed several more hours of research and finally completed chapter seven of New World Revolution this week. To date, there have been 137 chapter reviews, an increase of seventeen since I last mentioned this WIP.

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. While I have a specific time frame for this novel, the first of six planned for the series, several reviewers are reminding me about events they are familiar with. They’ll all receive an appropriate mention when it’s time. Of course, it’s always difficult to blend real events and people with the lives of fictional characters, but that’s part of the thrill of creating this series.

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 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, May 31, 2020

It’s been another glorious week, with the temperatures reaching as high as 79F (26C). No rain at all, so each day the more delicate plants have required a drink or two to keep them going, especially the newly-planted ones.

Even with the changes to current lockdown procedures now in place, we’re still sticking to our regular routine and minimizing our exposure. However, since our back yard (garden) is secluded, we’ve been able to spend several hours each day, puttering around, getting things just the way we want–subject to still needing a few plants. With the garden centers (nurseries) open in our area as of this past Friday, we’ve stayed away, expecting them to be mobbed. Hope to make a quick trip this coming week to pick up a few things.

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

Alexander Cruden “Alexander the Corrector”, Scottish biblical scholar and eccentric, compiler of a concordance to King James Bible; Ludwig Tieck, German writer; Georg Herwegh, German poet; Walt Whitman, American poet (Leaves of Grass) and volunteer nurse during the Civil War; Ernest Daudet, French journalist and writer (White Terror); Saint-John Perse, French diplomat and poet (Nobel 1960); Konstatin G Paustovski, Russian author (Bespokojnaja Joenostj); Johan Brouwer, Dutch pianist/writer/resistance fighter; Ilse Lagner, German antiwar writer; Leonid Leonov, Russian writer; Helma Wolf-Catz, Dutch author (Undercurrent, Coral Reef); Dave O’Brien [Fronabarger], American actor and writer (Reefer Madness, Kiss Me Kate, 1st Aid); Robert Arthur Ley, UK, sci-fi author (Telepath, Power of X); Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and author (Noble Prize for Literature 2015); and Laura Baugh, American golfer, writer, broadcaster (LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year 1973).

Recognize anyone? Walt Whitman was the only name I’m familiar with. 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 continue to participate in a Kindle Unlimited promotion: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks. There are a total of 384 KU works included in the promotion, which ends in a few hours.

In addition, Colombian Betrayal is participating in a Sleepless Mind mystery, crime, suspense, and thriller sales promotions which also ends today. Please stop by and see if any of your favorite authors are listed, or perhaps you’ll find someone new to check out.

My Work in Progress

When I was outside enjoying the brilliant weather, I continued working on Xavier Sear: Angola. This week I finished chapter twenty-two and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 266 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

Here we go. Sear gestured for Vincent to continue.

He pointed to the envelope Sear held. “There are names, photos, and all the background info available on the two leading players in Angola. If something were to befall them in the process of your visiting their country, we would be grateful.”

“How grateful?”

“Enough to let you retire.”

“We?”

“You know how it is. Enough said.”

Sear offered his hand to his old friend. “I’ll do what I can. But, helping João is a priority for me.”

“That’s all I can hope for.”

Sear slipped from the car and made his way back into the house, making sure to lock the French doors. He headed up the stairs to his bedroom, flicked on a light on the bedside table, and dumped the contents of the envelope on the bed.

Let’s see what Vincent gave me. Sear flipped through the documents and photos. With a near eidetic memory, he cataloged as much as he could.

An hour later, he stuffed everything back in the envelope. I’ll leave this for Cat to hold. Can’t take it with me. He yawned and headed for the bathroom.

After a quick shower, he climbed into bed. Reaching over, he turned out the light and settled down. I hope João doesn’t do anything foolish before I arrive. Talk about heading into a viper’s nest. Is Theo part of the problem, or is he the solution? Only time will tell. I need to get there ASAP before it’s too late—for João, Peter, and Theo. He closed his eyes. And me. Otherwise, Cat will be attending a funeral instead of an anniversary celebration.

More next time.

This week I also completed the sixth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of sixty-eight so far, and increase of eleven over the past week. Here’s the opening to the story:

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” General Douglas MacArthur, during his farewell speech at West Point Military Academy, 12 May 1962

Colonel Javier Smith woke to the strains of Born in the U.S.A. echoing in the room. He rolled over and grabbed his phone. “Yeah?”

“Are you up yet?” AJ Bruce chuckled. “It’s five a.m. You wanted me to make sure you were up for your big day.”

“You’re pretty cheerful this morning.” He glanced at the clock. Yep—five a.m. “How much coffee did you drink?”

“Just started my second cup.” She slurped her coffee. “See you tonight?”

“You betcha.” Javier broke the connection and shook the cobwebs from his head. He propelled his six-foot-four-inch muscular body from the bed and dashed into the bathroom for a quick shower. After drying himself and combing his black hair, he returned to the bedroom. Before he finished dressing, he glanced at the ribbon rack on his uniform. First and last time to wear all of them at once.

Perhaps a bit more next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week, I finished Only One Cure: A Medical Mystery Thriller (FBI and CDC Thriller Book One) by Jennifer Ruff. FBI antiterror specialist Quinn Traynor and CDC epidemiologist Madeline Hamilton find themselves trying to solve a deadly plot. Madeline is trying to determine the cause of a potentially fatal disease, which has infected several teens, including the president’s son. Terrorists claim they have the cure, and it’s up to Quinn to track them down.

This is a riveting plot with plenty of twists and turns. You’ll find yourself rooting for Madeline and Quinn, while at the same time, you’ll be hoping the terrorists are captured or killed. Will Madeline and Quinn be successful or will the president’s son die?

A riveting tale which will have you staying up late and turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is the first book of Jennifer’s I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

I also read The Tomb of El Dorado (Sam Reilly Book 18) by Christopher Cartwright will not disappoint. A fantastic plot involving an ancient tribe and a city cloaked in mystery. Will Sam put the pieces together and uncover the lost tomb of El Dorado? Join him on his globe-hopping journey as he tracks down clues, not knowing a previous contact might not be as upfront as Sam thinks.

If you enjoy fast-paced and exciting stories, this is definitely one for you!

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 17, 2020

The days all seem to run into one another, but here it is–another Sunday. Our yard (garden) is finally taking shape. A few minor things to sort out and then we’ll be in a position to only need to do maintenance to keep things in order.

We received some osteospermum plants this week–via an online order. They arrived safely, and once we harden them off for a few days, they’ll be used to fill a few spaces behind the house. It’s great to look out and see our hard work is paying off!

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

Jien, Japanese poet and historian; Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian; Anna Brownell Jameson, Anglo-Irish historian and writer (Loves of the Poets); Robert Smith Surtees, British novelist (Jorrocks’s Jaunts and Jollities); Virginie Loveling, Flemish writer (Sophie) and poet; Dorothy M. Richardson, English novelist (Pilgrimage); Henri Barbusse, French novelist (Le Feu); Alfonso Reyes, Mexican writer (Simpatías y diferencias) and diplomat (Higenia Cruel); Hannah Tillich, German-American writer (Harbor Mouse); John Patrick, American screenwriter and playwright (Pulitzer Prize 1954); Lars Gustafsson, writer; Trinus Riemersma, Dutch-Frisian writer (Conquest of Leeuwarden); Gary Paulsen, American author of young adult literature; F. Paul Wilson, American novelist; and Lise Lyng Falkenberg, Danish writer.

Recognize anyone? 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 Published Work

Three of my novels continue to participate in a May Kindle Unlimited promotion: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks. There are a total of 384 KU works included in the promotion.

In addition, Colombian Betrayal is participating in two Kindle mystery, crime, suspense, and thriller sales promotions: Sleepless Mind, which runs through the 19th. The second one is also called Sleepless Mind, and begins tomorrow, running through the end of May Please stop by and see if any of your favorite authors are listed, or perhaps you’ll find someone new to check out.

My Work in Progress

When time permitted, I continued moving forward with Xavier Sear: Angola. This week I finished chapter twenty and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 238 chapter reviews, an increase of twelve in the past week. As always, plenty of good advice from my faithful reviewers to provide as good a story for you as possible.

Here’s another snippet:

Sear stepped into their new operations center, a cup of coffee in hand. A sheepish expression spread across his face when he realized João and Catarina were already hard at work.

“About time.” Catarina stood stern-faced, with hands on her hips.

“Ah … well.”

She laughed. “Just playing with you. We just started within the past fifteen minutes.”

“I needed my morning run.” He nodded. “What’s the game plan?”

Catarina gestured toward one of the flipcharts. “We did some brainstorming before we got out of bed this morning. We thought doing an update on Theo and his family might be necessary. We should also investigate what the opposition party is publicly trying to do. Also, a search for any information on this Masudi is needed.”

“Since you’re running the show, what do you want me to do?” Sear’s sipped on his coffee, his eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Why don’t you help João? He can use your expertise, I’m sure.”

“Okay, boss lady.”

They both laughed as they strolled toward the workspace where João sat immersed in something on his computer screen.

Catarina cleared her throat. “Find anything interesting, dear?”

“I discovered an obscure website providing background information about several Angolan authorities.” João pursed his lips as he reread to himself. ” Here’s some of the interesting stuff. Did I ever mention Theo has a daughter?”

Catarina shook her head. “I don’t recall.”

“The Angolan culture frowns on people with any type of disability. I knew Theo had a daughter, but all he said was she lived in a private treatment center, which was helping her cope with her deafness and learn sign language. The opposition party is trying to use Theo’s position in the government as an example of the corrupt way the politicians are looking after their own at the expense of the rest of the population as this private clinic wouldn’t be available to everyone.” He shook his head. “Unbelievable someone would want to make the disabled a political issue. The Theo I knew wouldn’t do this.”

“Interesting, but not sure if this will help when you return to Angola.”

More next time.

This week I also completed the fourth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of forty-seven so far, and increase of twelve over the past week. I think I provided the synopsis before, but in case I didn’t or you missed it, here it is:

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.

Books I’m Reading

I recently read The Long Island Project by Russel F. Moran. The third novel in Russel’s Puzzles series, we meet up again with the infamous detectives, Bobbie Nelson and Bob Lawson as they’re called upon to solve another problem. Why is Long Island under quarantine, and who is behind it? Before long, they uncover a conspiracy, which could lead a takeover through mind control and time travel.

As with all of Russel’s novels, the characters adapt to the situations they find themselves in and their interactions bring the best out in the ‘good guys and gals’ and will turn readers against those behind the conspiracy. There’s plenty of intrigue for everyone as the ‘BBs’ solve their latest puzzle. I look forward to their adventure!

I also completed The World Beneath by Rebecca Cantrell, the first book in the Joe Tesla series. Imagine being afraid to venture outdoors and find yourself living beneath the New York subway system. That’s what happened to Joe and his peaceful existence is shattered when he stumbles into a plot which began during WWII. Will he survive being a target? I don’t like to reveal too much to those reading reviews, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Rebecca and it won’t be the last. With a plot filled with plenty of twists and turns and a great mixture of the past and present, this one will delight all thriller readers.

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings, Uncategorized

Randall’s Ramblings, February 16, 2020

Last weekend and the beginning part of the week, we had plenty of snow squalls, heavy winds, and rain, compliments of Storm Ciara. This storm caused severe flooding and damage, and winds apparently reached ninety-seven miles per hour in some places, but our area wasn’t hit hard. Since then, there’s been Storm Dennis. It seems to have been a pussycat in comparison–still bringing some wind and rain, but nothing like Ciara.

Hopefully, things will settle down. We’re supposed to have some building works done this coming week. Nothing major, but there’s an area leading to the front porch we want redesigned as it becomes a water trap. The porch concrete-slab flooring will be replaced and extended out over this area. First though, there are a few plants and soil I have to move.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 16th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Ordericus Vitalis, French monk/historian/poet; Giambattista Bodoni, Saluzzo Italy, printer/typeface designer (Bodoni); Johann Heinse, German Sturm und Drang novelist/art critic; Joseph V von Scheffel, German writer (Gaudeamus); Nikolai Leskow, writer; Henry Adams, historian, writer (Education of Henry Adams); Octave Mirbeau, French writer (Journal of a Lady’s Maid); William Scarborough, Macon Ga, linguist/author (Birds of Aristophanes); Maurits H E Uyldert, Dutch poet/writer (Youth of a Poet); Elizabeth Craig, British writer; Van Wyck Brooks, NJ, literary historian/writer (Ordeal of Mark Twain); Albert Maurice Hackett, playwright/screenwriter; Hal Porter, Australia, writer (Tilted Cross, Paper Chase); Arthur Crook, British editor (Times Literary Supplement); Bob Tadema Sporry, Dutch (female) author; Hubert van Herreweghen, Flemish writer/journalist; Paul van ‘t Veer, Dutch journalist/writer (Het Vrije Volk); Peter NF Porter, Australian/British author/poet (Chair of Babel); Alfred Kolleritsch, Austrian writer; Aharon Appelfeld, Israeli writer; Paul Bailey, English novelist and biographer; Richard Ford, American author (Sportswriter); Eckhart Tolle, Author and spiritual teacher; Dorus Vrede, Surinam poet (Otobanda; the Other Bank); Iain [Menzies] Banks, UK, sci-fi author (Wasp Factory); and Guy Gallo, writer (Under the Volcano).

Recognize anyone? I admit I’m stumped this week. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

The Amazon Kindle Countdown Special, which started on Valentine’s Day, finishes this evening at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read Dangerous Alliance or Carnage in Singapore yet, there’s still time to pick them up at a reduced price, for yourself or gift a copy to someone you know.

My Work in Progress

Editing is in its final stages on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

During the past week, I began the penultimate edit pass. This should go quickly as I’m not finding a great deal to change. However, I’m not going to rush. Here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

Javier sipped his coffee, glanced at his phone, and read the incoming text: New arrival—seems important based on activities. Will provide mug shot when we return—no app on this phone. Will stay in position longer to monitor the situation.

He concurred and turned to AJ, who was typing on her iPad. When she finished, Javier nodded and sent a response: Continue mission.

 “Wonder who arrived? Wish they had taken one of the SAT phones with them to send the photo right away.” AJ drained the last of her coffee, reached for the carafe, and refilled both cups. “I received an update from MacKenzie. She says they’ve picked up chatter about a training camp in Colombia.” She pursed her lips. “Wonder if this is related to the facility we’re interested in or if it’s something else?”

Javier shrugged. “If they can gather more intel, we should be able to check it out.”

AJ’s eyes widened as she reread MacKenzie’s message. “There’s an unclear reference to two young girls. Someone is speculating they were taken and sold into slavery.” She shook her head. “After discussing the camp with the caller, the called party mentioned the girls—both men seemed pleased.”

Heat flushed through Javier’s body. He pounded a fist into the palm of his other hand. “Perverts—they need to be eradicated.”

AJ nodded. “MacKenzie finished her note by saying Lintstone gave us the green light.” Her eyes lit up with excitement. “We’ll eliminate the kidnappers if they get in our way.”

More next time.

Last week, I mentioned I have a bit of a conundrum on what to work on next. The decision’s been made–I’ll work on Xavier Sear: Angola, the first in the Xavier Sear thriller series.

Synopsis:

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?

Over the past week, I’ve also started setting up my newsletter. A few people have signed up. Those who have will receive a link to my award-winning short story, “A Dangerous Occupation,” read by an author. They’ll also have the opportunity for their first name to feature as one of my characters in an upcoming novel.

If you’d like to sign up and the pop-up window didn’t appear when you opened today’s post, go back to the main page of my website and select Randall’s Newsletter. Thank you.

Books I’m Reading

Cassidy, the seventh novel in the Lt. Kate Gazzara series by Blair Howard, continues the great trended Blair has established with Kate. Another riveting plot with larger-than-life Kate trying to solve the latest mystery. It doesn’t take long before a ‘simple’ appearance of a stranger in a farmer’s vehicle quickly turns into another murder investigation.

Filled with suspense, Kate’s investigation will keep you burning the proverbial midnight oil as you won’t want to put this one down until you find out who the culprit is. As with all of Blair’s novels, there are plenty of twists and turns for you to explore. Hope for another book in the series soon!

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

All being well, things will settle down and remain calm for some time. We’re supposed to have some

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 9, 2020

Heavy winds and lashing rain hit us last night. It went on for hours, making it difficult to hear the television with the constant beating on the conservatory roof next to the living room.

While it calm at the moment, the sky is laden with thick, dark clouds. The upcoming projection is for continued rain and gusting wind up 60 MPH throughout the day, with that dreaded white stuff due to hit us between Monday and Wednesday. If the forecast is accurate, we’ll only receive a dusting but the higher elevations could see as much as eight inches!

With trees, bushes, and shrubs beginning to bud, and early flowers starting to pop out, we certainly don’t need any of this. Mother Nature has been kind to us so far this winter, with just a few flurries one evening, but she might have more in store for us yet!

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

Ali Sjir Neva’i [Fani], Turkish poet/author (Mahbub al-kulub); Vasily Zhukovsky, Russian poet; Felix Dahn, German Historian, jurist and poet; Anthony Hope [Hopkins], English novelist; George Ade, American journalist/playwright/humorist (Fables in Slang); Fran Saleški Finžgar, Slovene folk writer (Our Blood, Service Girls); Amy Lowell, American poet and critic (Patterns, Sword Blades & Poppy Seed); Frederik Gerretson, [Geerten Gossaert], Dutch poet/politician); Vital Celen, Flemish writer (Puppy Love); Max Manus, Norwegian resistance fighter and author who specialized in sabotage during World War II; Charles Montgomery Monteith, publisher; Brendan Behan, Irish author and poet (Borstal Boy, The Hostage); J.M. Coetzee, South African novelist; Alice Walker, American novelist (The Color Purple, Meridian); and Janet Issaca Ashford, writer.

Recognize anyone? There was only one notable name for me this week: Alice Walker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, also became a movie. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

Both of these novels will be participating in an Amazon Countdown Special on Valentine’s Day starting at 12:00 a.m. PST. They’ll start $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. If you haven’t read them yet, what better time to pick up a copy or gift them to someone you know.

As previously mentioned, Dangerous Alliance was one of seven First in Category winners in the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category. Meanwhile, Carnage in Singapore is currently a semi-finalist in the 2019 competition, with the final results due in late April. Hope you’ll check them out!

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1), which was previously called A Cartel’s Revenge in earlier posts. The name change came about after receiving feedback from my team of beta readers.

The fifth edit pass was completed last night–a few word changes and some adjustments to the punctuation. Once the last couple of beta readers provide their comments, I’ll update the manuscript as needed and begin the final edit pass.

I have a bit of a conundrum–what to work on next? Should it be Ultimate Escalation, the next novel after Carnage in Singapore? Or should it be Genesis (tentative title), the sequel to Colombian Betrayal? What about New World Revolution: A New Home or Xavier Sears:  Angola?  Both of these are the first novels in their respective series.

See what I mean? I’ll eventually sort it out, I’m sure.  In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Colombian Betrayal:

At last, the final condemned man was brought to the table to choose his weapons. He fingered the remaining knives and one of the pistols before falling to his knees. “Please. Forgive me. My family—they won’t survive without me.”

Días kicked the man in the side. “Quit sniveling and take your punishment like a man. Grab a weapon and run.”

Dejected, the man stood and walked away, his head hung low.

The last team leader glanced at his men. They each gave a slight nod before they strolled after their target.

With the slow pursuit, the prisoner approached the fence unharmed. He glanced around—no one. He placed a foot on the first plank and began to climb.

Snap!

His head jerked around at the sound of a branch breaking.

Five men stepped from the trees, their weapons by their sides.

The team leader stepped forward and motioned for the man to continue climbing.

“Why would you let me go?” He made the sign of the cross. “Are you Christians?”

“No. However, you were the only prisoner to mention a family. We do this for them, not you.”

* * * *

When the last team returned to the hacienda, Días glared at them. “We heard no shots. Where is the prisoner?”

The team leader shook his head. “He was too fast for us and was over the fence when we arrived.” He shrugged. “You said any prisoner who made it over the barrier was free.”

“I-I ….” Días’ face turned purple with rage. “I wanted them all dead.”

“You should have done your own dirty work.” As one, the team turned and headed to their billeting.

Días slammed a fist on the table. “Michael, Alberto—these are your men. Control them.”

Alberto grinned. “He’s right—you said if anyone made it to the outer boundary, they would live.”

“So, I lied.” Días laughed.

Alberto ignored the comment and gestured at Michael. “We depart tomorrow for Panama to oversee the training there. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Not long ago, I finished reading Unchained: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. This is the third novel in the series. Join Rex and his trusty canine friend, Digger, as they flee from Afghanistan and head to India. Before long, they’re embroiled in a new adventure, while Rex tries to uphold the myth he died in an attack in Afghanistan.

With a riveting plot and a bevy of new characters, Rex shows his ‘human’ side regarding the welfare of others when he and Digger try to locate the missing daughter of an Indian couple. The trail eventually leads to Saudi Arabia. What happens there will be up to you to explore, as I don’t like to give away the full story. Suffice to say, you’ll be in for another nail-biting journey, so grab yourself a copy and prepare for late nights as you keep turning the pages!  I can’t wait for the next one in the series!

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 2, 2020

Here we are, already in February. As dawn breaks earlier and daylight hangs around a bit longer, winter is passing by. Only a few snow flurries thus far–hope I haven’t jinxed things by making a mention of this!

This past week, the writing world lost an icon: Mary Higgins Clark. Every one of her suspense novels (over 50 of them!!) have been best sellers in the U.S. and various European countries. She’ll definitely be missed by her family and fans!

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

Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess; Hans E Schack, Danish politician/writer (Phantasterne); Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Slovak poet; Christian Gauss, educator/writer (Phi Beta Kappa award namesake); James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (Dubliners, Ulysses, Finnigan’s Wake); James Stephens, Irish poet (Crock of Gold); Aldo Palazzeschi, [Giurlani], Italian writer (I cavalli bianchi); Carroll Righter, American columnist and astrologer to the stars; Ayn Rand [Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum], Russian-American author, screenwriter and philosopher who developed the philosophical system of “Objectivism” (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead); Bernardas Brazdzionis, Lithuania, poet/editor/critic; Evert Werkman, Dutch journalist (Het Parool); Xuân Diệu, Vietnamese poet; Hella [S Lelyveld-]Haasse, Dutch author (Cider for Poor People); James Dickey, American poet, novelist and lecturer (Deliverance, Buckdancer’s Choice); Liz Smith [Mary Elizabeth], American journalist and gossip columnist known as “The Grand Dame of Dish” (WNBC, NY Daily News); Nydia Ecury, celebrated Afro-Dutch writer, translator and actress (Kantika pa Mama Tera); Judith Viorst, American author; Thomas M[ichael] Disch, American sci-fi author (Genocides, 102 H-Bombs); and Ina Garten, American author and TV cooking show host (Barefoot Contessa, Food Network).

Recognize anyone? Two stood out for me: James Joyce and James Dickey. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

39375-96

I was mistaken last Sunday when I mentioned the countdown specials for Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore. These will actually begin on Valentine’s Day at 12:00 a.m. PST beginning at $0.99 and gradually increasing in price, returning to normal on February 16th at 11:00 p.m. PST. I hope you’ll check them out!

Global-Thriller-semiA bit more news about Carnage in Singapore. It is now on the official semi-finalist list for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards, competing in the global thriller category.

This is a super thrill for me as it joins my other novels in being recognized in this prestigious competition. The Kurdish Connection finished its run in 2018 as a semi-finalist, while Dangerous Alliance was selected as one of seven first in category winners. It’s so hard to believe!

I won’t learn until Chanticleer’s annual conference in April whether Carnage in Singapore has moved forward in the competition. Fingers crossed it does!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge, although I mentioned last time the title would be adjusted. It’s now called Colombian Betrayal (A Bruce and Smith Thriller: Book 1) which is more fitting for how the story has actually turned out.

I’m midway through by fourth edit pass, having added over 12,000 words to the story. Feedback continues to come in from my beta readers, not just about the manuscript but ideas for the cover. Stayed tuned for more about this.

In the meantime, here’s another snippet:

Días glanced at Ramon. “What is with all of the threats? I feel like I am unwanted in this hacienda.”

Olivia shoved her chair back and stood, eyes burning with hatred. “Get out! Now!”

Alonzo jumped to his feet, pointing the shogun at Días, his finger tightening on the trigger.

Ramon pulled his second pistol from its holster. He motioned Días toward the door.

He grinned and addressed Olivia. “I shall keep Ramon informed of any information that I might come across.” He tipped an imaginary hat. “I bid you a somewhat pleasant day, given the circumstances. You have my deepest condolences during this stressful time.”

Días and Ramon left the room and headed outside. After shaking hands, Días climbed in his vehicle and waved for the driver to depart.

As his car left the compound, a smile caressed Días’ cheeks. Who is behind the kidnapping? An inside job or is someone else making a move on the Moreno cartel? He shook his head. Whoever it is, this is not good for business. I know just the person to speak to.

* * * *

The thick foliage from a copse of rosy trumpet trees hid a brown Jeep Cherokee. Inside, a man focused his binoculars on Días’s vehicle. He watched the car grow smaller as it continued along the driveway from the hacienda toward the distant gate. He chuckled. Perfect!

Watch for another snippet next time.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adjust the format of my posts and website. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 26, 2020

The last couple of days we’ve been busy. On Friday night, we attended a black tie Burns Supper in honor of the Scottish national poet, Robert “Rabbie” Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759. The event was held on the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is docked in the Leith area of Edinburgh. We couldn’t get tickets for the event on his actual birthday, but this was close enough.

The evening began with being piped onto the ship using the same stairs/gangway the Queen and the Royal Family used. After boarding, we were escorted to the drawing room, where champagne, spiced apple juice, and canapés were served. Those who wanted a mini-tour broke into small groups. We were taken to the officer wardroom and dining room, followed by a visit to the admiral’s quarters. Anyone who needed a champagne refill never had to look far as there were plenty of staff standing by with fresh drinks.

Afterward, we were taken into the Royal Family’s quarters. While we could enter most of the rooms, sections of the walls had been cut away and replaced with glass so we could see inside. We were able to examine the Queen’s bedroom, Prince Philips’, and the honeymoon suite, used by Prince Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. We also viewed the areas where the Queen and Prince Phillip spent their working hours aboard the ship. 

After returning to the drawing room, we were entertained by a pianist until we were piped into the State Dining Room. Once seated, we were treated to a six-course meal, including the traditional haggis, neeps, and tatties, after the piping in of the haggis. For those who were not adventurous enough to try the haggis, the following course provided fillet mignon and seasonal vegetables.

Throughout dinner, two musicians provided background music, using a harp and flute. There were also three brief interludes where a guitarist sang some of Rabbie Burns’ poems and music, including “Auld Lang Syne.” After dinner we were further entertained by a captivating rendition of “Tam O’Shanter,” another of the bard’s well-known poems. This was performed in the Scots’ tongue from the time period when it was written.

The evening ended with a whiskey tasting back in the drawing room. We headed home at the point, but had an excellent evening celebrating Rabbie Burns’ birthday.

Yesterday was the monthly ‘makers’ market’ in Kirkcaldy. With an overcast sky threatened to rain on the day and a cold win, there wasn’t a great deal of activity. However, I did sell four of my novels, three to the same individual. He had checked out my work back in November wheb we last attended but didn’t buy any at the time. Today, he decided to get all three of my published novels.

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

Florent Chrestien, French writer; Ugo Foscolo, Italian poet (Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis); Ludwig Joachim “Achim” von Arnim, German poet (Des Knaben Wunderhorn); Mary Mapes Dodge, American writer (Hans Brinker & the Silver Skates); Warner Fabian, [Samuel H Adams], American journalist/writer (Average Jones); Ludovicus H [Lode] Baekelmans, Flemish (stage) author (Tille); Ilya G Ehrenburg, writer (Fall of Paris, The Thaw); Menno ter Braak, Dutch writer/essayist (Carnaval of the Citizens); Romney Brent, Mexican-American actor and writer (Dinner at the Ritz); Kaye Webb, English writer/publisher (Puffin Club); Philip José Farmer, American sci-fi novelist (Riverworld); Michael Bentine, English author/comedian (Reluctant Jester); José María Valverde, Spanish philosopher, poet and translator (La espera, Historia de la literatura universal); Farman Fatehpuri [Syed Dildar Ali], Urdu scholar, linguist, critic and author; Ronald Allison, British author/broadcaster; Jonathan Carroll, American author; and Shannon Hale, American author.

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

News About My Published Work

39375-96With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, there will be two specials regarding Dangerous Alliance and Carnage in Singapore coming up over the next week.  The first will be a Kindle countdown for Dangerous Alliance beginning on January 29th. There will also be a Kindle countdown for Carnage in Singapore beginning on February 1st.

Both are scheduled to run across the Amazon network, so don’t miss out, as this might not be offered again! What better time to grab yourself a global thriller novel for that special someone!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Editing work continues on A Cartel’s Revenge. I’m midway through by second edit pass, having added over 7,000 words to the story. Over the past week, copies were sent to my team of ten beta readers. So far, two have already gone through the manuscript and responded with some good points. It’s likely the name may be adjusted before submission, but I’ll have to wait and see what my other beta readers have to say.  Things still appear to be on track for submission in early March or early April.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

“Olivia, someone must want to chase you from the cartel.” Kruz rubbed his chin. “Will you leave?”

“No.” She hesitated before shaking her head. “Never.” She turned to Alonzo. “Get Ramon. We must find out who took my girls and get them back—at all costs.” If they’ve harmed my precious daughters, I’ll kill the bastardos.

* * * *

“Good evening.” A synthesized voice echoed throughout the room. “I believe everyone is present— Señor Kruz, Pedro, Alonzo, and Ramon. Of course, la jefa de la señora is with you, too.”

“Where are my children, you bastardo?” Olivia squeezed her fists into her lap, her face turning red. “How do you know who is here?”

The voice chuckled. “I have my ways, my dear.” The sounds of fingers snapping popped through the speaker. “Almost forgot. There’s someone who wants to speak with you.”

Silence.

“Mamá? Are you there?”

“Silvina! Are you okay? Where’s Maria?”

“Beside me, but she’s too frightened to speak.” Silvina lowered her voice. “The man—he’s the one who came into the—”

The sounds of a struggle came through the speaker.

“Ow! You’re hurting me.”

The synthesized voice returned. “Remember—leave Barranquilla … or your children will die!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Between editing, the Burns Supper, and the ‘makers’ market,’ I didn’t have a chance to gather my thoughts and provide another book review this time. Hopefully, I’ll have a couple of them for you next week.

This brings us to a close for this week. I hope you found something of interest or possibly useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 19, 2020

We’re finally getting some respite from the constant rain and dreary skies. It’s still coming down each day or evening, but the dry, sunny spells are more frequent and lasting longer. This morning, though, we began with a bit of ground frost.

With temperatures getting into the upper 40s F (upper single digits C) and even occasionally hitting the mid 50s F (low double digits C) it won’t be long before outdoor spring cleaning will be upon us. Yesterday, when I was getting our favorite newspaper, there was a customer walking out of the store with a brand new rake!

I also understand my blog has been nominated by D.L. Finn for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’ll provide my input for this award next week, but many thanks to D.L.!

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

Noel Alexandre, French theologian/historian; Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, French writer (Paul et Virgin); Isaiah Thomas, American printer/editor/publisher/historian; Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish historian/poet (Blommorna); Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet and critic (The Pit and the Pendulum) considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre (Murders in the Rue Morgue); Gustav Meyrink, writer; Hans Erich Blaich [Dr. Owlglass], German writer (Simplicissimus); Marie Koenen, author/wife of Felix Rutten (Wassend Cereal); Boris Savinkov, Russian writer; Alexander Woollcott, American critic and short story writer (The Man Who Came to Dinner); Heinrich Schmist-Barrien, German author (Moorkeerl); Phyllis Flowerdew, school Reading text author; Rex Ingamells, Australian poet; Patricia Highsmith, [Plangman], US/Swiss writer (Strangers on a Train); Jean Francois Revel, French journalist/author (Ni Marx ni Jesus); Nina [Mary] Bawden, English author (Afternoon of a Good Woman); Libera Carlier, Flemish author (Action Station Go!); Julian Barnes, England, writer (Before She Met Me); and Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American author.

Were any names familiar to you? I’m sure most people will have heard of Edgar Allan Poe, even if you haven’t read any of his work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Thus far this year, I’m still concentrating on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass should be completed this upcoming week. So far, I’ve added over 5,000 words to the story. I now have nine committed beta readers. They’ll receive a copy by the end of the month, so I can adjust the story based on their feedback. Things appear to be on track for submission in early March, but they could still slip.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

Most of the men fired AK-47s, but the squad leaders used M4 and SA-80 assault rifles stolen from various military base arsenals across Europe. Each man began with a stack of magazines, replacing the empty ones as if their lives depended upon it. Before long, Michael and Alberto’s last shots faded away while the surrounding thirty men finished their practice.

The aroma of breakfast replaced the smell of discharged weapons. Días’ men dragged out metal containers filled with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and bacon. The students filed past, filling plates. Most skipped the bacon, but a few glanced around before sneaking a piece or two.

Alberto and Michael joined Días at a folding table while the others found areas to sit on the ground under the trees.

Días shoveled food into his mouth, not bothering to swallow before speaking. “I have an unusual treat for your training.”

“Your facilities are excellent, both for target shooting and the obstacle course.” Michael smiled. “I assume you’ve held sufficient training sessions.”

Días nodded. “Yes, when FARC was busy fighting the government, we had plenty of recruits join us. Most of them learned their skills here.” He pointed to his right. “My present to you.”

A dozen guards led six men toward the table. Their arms were tied in front of them. Heads cast down, they bore numerous cuts and bruises.

He glared at them. “You know the punishment.” Días turned to Michael and Alberto. “Government troops could have raided us at any time. These men betrayed me by sleeping on guard duty. They’ll help your men sharpen their skills.”

Alberto rubbed his chin. “How?”

“Your men will face fierce opposition from the Norte Americanos. Why not train against real targets?”

“What do you propose?” Michael’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I suggest you break your men into six groups.” Días gestured to the distant hills. “Each of the prisoners will be given a weapon or two, and a ten-minute head start. If they can reach the perimeter fence, they shall live.” He shrugged. “However, your teams will be free to hunt them down—and kill them.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading When Can I stop Running by John Podlaski. Follow the incredible story of two Detroit teenagers as they spend a haunting night in a listening post outside their new firebase. All around them were the enemy and they had no idea if they would make it through the night.

John has created a very realistic plot and characters. I kept turning the pages, wanting to find out if they survived the night. Flashbacks to their earlier lives enhances the realism and makes you feel as if you’re there with them. Only someone who has lived through this type of event can apply the realism needed to convey what the teenagers experienced. This is the first novel of John’s that I’ve read and it won’t be the last!

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 12, 2020

With each tick of the calendar, the sun is rising earlier and staying around a bit longer each day. If there was only a control for the rain! At least the white stuff has stayed away thus far. Won’t be long and we’ll begin preparing the flower beds for planting!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 12th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Andreas Alicatus, Italian author; Charles Perrault, French author and fairy tale writer (Tales of Mother Goose); Edmund Burke, British author (Philosophy & Inquiry); Jacob M R Lenz, writer (Das Leidende Weib); Erik Gustaf Geijer, Swedish historian/poet (Natthimmelen); Louise Sophie Blussé, Dutch author; Francois Coppee, French poet; Marika Stiernstedt, Swedish author (Ulla Bella); Jack London, American writer/socialist (Call of the Wild); Paul Jarrico, American writer; Jennifer Johnston, Irish author (Fool’s sanctuary); Alain Teister, Dutch writer; Helmut Eisendle, Austrian writer; Jacques Hamelink, Dutch writer & poet (Cold Unrest); William Nicholson, English writer; Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer (Norwegian Wood); Charles Faulkner, American motivational speaker & author; Walter Mosley, American novelist; and Lasana M. Sekou, Caribbean poet & author (The Salt Reaper).

Were any names familiar to you? I must admit I was pretty clueless when it came to today’s group, except for Charles Perrault. Who has heard of Mother Goose? 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

1541181671Thus far this year, I’ve concentrated on editing A Cartel’s Revenge. My first edit pass is almost completed, and I’ve added around 3,000 words to the story. I’ve lined up seven beta readers, too. They’ll receive a copy as soon as the first edit is completed so I can adjust the story based on their feedback.

Here’s another snippet from A Cartel’s Revenge:

A police officer stopped the traffic as the back end of a white Hyundai came level with the road.

Javier swallowed and closed his eyes. AJ’s rental—I’m sure that’s the license plate number she mentioned when we last spoke. He opened his eyes and stared at the car.

The police officer blew a whistle, motioning for traffic to continue.

Javier pulled onto the side of the road after he cleared the emergency vehicles. Jumping out, he rushed toward the damaged vehicle.

“Alto, señor.” The police officer grabbed Javier’s arm.

“My wife—that’s her car.” He took in a deep breath. “Is she—”

“Relax, señor. They found her outside the vehicle.”

“Is she—”

The police officer smiled and waved in the direction of Colon “She’s alive. The first ambulance took her to the Manuel Amador Guerrero Hospital. Take Highway 3 toward Nuevo Cristobal and turn right on Calle 11.”

***

Javier picked up a spoon and sampled the dish. He chewed for a moment before swallowing.

“Well?”

“Needs salt.” He helped himself to more.

AJ yawned. “Enjoy. So what’s the plan?”

“When I drove back to the port, I saw the Barwal underway. I pretended to be a nosy gringo and asked someone where the ship was headed. The guy shrugged and glanced at a clipboard hanging on the wall of his shed.”

“What did he say?”

Javier grinned.

“Okay. You’re forgiven for abandoning me. Did he tell you the ship’s next destination?”

He nodded. “Turbo.”

“Yes!” AJ punched the air. “Ow!” She grimaced.

“I suggest we call in additional help. Recommend bringing some of my guys here while we head to Colombia as soon as you’re released.”

“Agreed.” AJ yawned again. “I’m going to rest.” She switched off the light above her bed.

“Sweet dreams.” Javier settled back in his chair and pulled a tablet from his shoulder bag. He used a special cable to connect the device to his satellite phone and composed a message.

To: Jararaca

From: Cobra

Mission progressing as planned. Request immediate dispatch of four-person team to take over surveillance duties as we continue following the Barwal.

Javier hit transmit and put away his SAT phone and iPad. He stepped to the window and tilted the blinds to block the late afternoon sun streaming in before returning to his seat.

He glanced at the now-sleeping AJ and smiled. Am I falling for this woman? She looks like an angel—so beautiful when she’s asleep. He shook his head. Focus on the mission. Must find out who did this … and eliminate them.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Blair Howard’s Two For The Money is a riveting who-done-it story. Follow the realistic characters portrayed by Harry Starke and Lieutenant Kate Gazzara as they try to unravel who stole 350 million dollars from an investment firm and killed one of the owners.

You’ll be turning the pages as fast as you can to find out who might be involved. Could it be one of the other owners or someone else? Every time I thought I knew who was responsible, Harry and Kate would uncover another piece of the puzzle pointing to someone else.

If you enjoy mystery and crime stories with riveting plots and unexpected twists, this one is for you!

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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: