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, June 7, 2020

It’s been a somewhat cooler week. Still plenty of sunshine to keep spirits up.  We managed to buy the extra plants we wanted at the local garden center (nursery) and Mother Nature has helped out with the watering by provided much-need gentle rain almost on a daily basis.

Businesses are slowly opening. but there’s definitely a change. I ordered some topsoil and crushed decorative stone (a metric ton of each) from my regular supplier. Prior to the pandemic, I would have received my delivery in 2-3 days. However, my order won’t be delivered until the 16th. At least I’m able to get what I need.

Are you a thriller aficionado? If so, this is for you!  If your interested, here’s the link to register: https://thrillerwriters.org/virtual-thrillerfest-2020/. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

So, who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on June 7th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Étienne Pasquier, French lawyer and man of letters; Paulus Voet, Dutch jurist and historian; R. D. Blackmore, English novelist (Norie, Lorna Doone); Amelia Edwards, English author (The Phantom Coach) and Egyptologist; Julius P. Hoste, Belgium minister and daily newspaper publisher (Last News); William Walraven, Dutch journalist and writer (Indian Daily); Elizabeth Bowen, Anglo-Irish novelist (The Death of the Heart, Encounters); Jan Engelman, Dutch poet, translator and critic (Garden of Eros); Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet (Bean Eaters, Annie Allen, Pulitzer 1950); Martin Carter, Guyanese poet and political activist; Anthony Nicholas Maria Wahl, American historian; David Malcolm Lewis, English historian, expert in Greek Epigraphy; Harry Crews, American writer and actor (Indian Runner); Bert Sugar, American sports writer (Sting like a Bee); Judy Ann Scott-Fox, English literary agent; Nikki Giovanni, American poet (LHJ Woman of the Year 1973); and Louise Erdrich, American author (Love Medicine, The Bingo Palace).

Recognize anyone? I didn’t recognize anyone this time. 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 Kindle Unlimited promotions: Dangerous Alliance, Carnage in Singapore, and Colombian Betrayal.  They’re also available for Kindle downloads or paperbacks.  Here’s the links to this month’s promotions:

Kindle Unlimited New Readers Promo (includes Dangerous Alliance and Colombian Betrayal):

Beat the Summer Heat with Kindle Unlimited (all three are included):

 

Action packed romantic suspense in Kindle Unlimited (Colombian Betrayal):

 

Why not stop by and see if any of your favorites are hanging around. Or, you might find new authors to check out. I know everyone will appreciate you support!

My Work in Progress

When I wasn’t working in the yard (garden), I continued progress on Xavier Sear: Angola. This week I finished chapter twenty-three and posted it to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Angola has now received 279 chapter reviews, an increase of thirteen 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:

Armed with his coffee and a bolo de Mel da Madeira, he made himself comfortable after adjusting the sun umbrella overlooking his table. He savored the warm honey cake and sipped on his drink as he turned on his laptop. Once he checked his regular email account, he glanced around to ensure no one paid any attention to him.

Sear slid a USB stick from his pocket and shoved it into the appropriate slot. Once he typed in his password, he activated the Tor software. Moments later, he accessed his first Dark Web .onion link. After entering his desired search parameters, he leaned back and finished his coffee.

What has João gotten himself into this time? Well-meaning, but still doesn’t understand the world’s a dangerous place. He sighed. We need to recover Peter and leave Africa as soon as possible. He pulled up a text file containing a list of requirements he previously identified:

Weapons – LAWs, pistols, assault rifles, knives, grenades (concussion, smoke), ammunition, night-vision goggles, binoculars

Supplies – MREs, water purification tablets, med kit, mosquito netting/repellent, air mattresses, zip ties

Comms Gear – Sat phones, tactical comms

Documentation – Passports, ID cards, visa

In-country Contacts/Support Team – Angola, DRC. Who?

Recovery Team – Me, João, Theo. Who else?

Kickoff – ASAP

Infil – Coastal insertion or Via Zambia?

Rendezvous Point – TBD

Exfil – TBD

Something cast a shadow over his table. He shoved the laptop cover down before glancing up.

More next time.

This week I also completed the seventth chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Reviews are coming in, with a total of eighty-four so far, an increase of sixteen over the past week.

I’ve reached out to my newsletter subscribers to see if anyone would like their first name used for one of the characters. A few people responded, and I’ll be including them in the character cast as the story progresses.

Perhaps next time, I’ll provide a short snippet.

 

Books I’m Reading

I finished two novels this week, and was working on my reviews when a four-legged member of the family jumped up on the workspace and promptly decided the keyboard would be a good place for a snooze. Can’t blame it on the dog–we don’t have one! However, Tommy, the latest feline addition to our family, loves to push in front of me when I’m typing. Unfortunately, he wiped out my reviews, so I’ll provide them 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.

© Copyright 2020 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved