Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021

So far this summer, we’ve had pleasant evenings, perfect for sleeping. Daytime temperatures have ranged from warm to very warm, with a couple of days which could call in the hot category, even though last week was the hottest of the summer. Although there hasn’t been much rain, a few trips with a watering can have ensured the survival of the flowers, although some of the trees have become so dry they’re already shedding leaves as if it was autumn.  Such is life!

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

“Stupidity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

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

Thietmar, German chronicler and Bishop of Merseburg; Jacques Peletier (du Mans), French poet and scientist; Gerard Brandt, Dutch theologist, poet and historian; Pieter Langendijk, Dutch painter, etcher and playwright (Wiskunstenaars); Immanuel J. Pyra, German poet (Temple of Real Poetry); Elizabeth Hamilton, Scottish author (The cottagers of Glenburnie); Charlotte von Kalb, German writer; Christian Bernhard Tauchnitz, German publisher (T Edition); George B. Vashon, American, lawyer, academic and poet; Flora Adams Darling, American writer and historian, founded Daughters of American Revolution; Max Dauthendey, German painter and author (Ewige Hochzeit); Benito Lynch, Irish-Argentine writer (Caranchos de la Florida); Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan author (La victoria no viene sola); Walter Breedveld, Dutch writer (Een ship vergaat); Eric Hoffer, American longshoreman and author (The True Believer); Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-British author (Life-Terms, Nobel 1981); Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British writer and illustrator (The Little Grey Men); Joseph Mitchell, American writer (Joe Gould’s Secret); Hubert Booi, Bonairian poet (Golgotha, Muchila); Maria Gripe, Swedish writer (Josephine); Bill Fitsell, Canadian journalist, writer and historian (International Hockey Hall of Fame curator, historian 1969-2005); Midge Decter, American journalist and author (The Liberated Woman & Other Americans); Alice Parizeau, Polish-born Quebec writer and essayist; Gibson Kente, South African playwright and composer; Claude Zidi, French film director and screenwriter (My New Partner); Felix Philipp Ingold, Swiss translator and writer; Brian Stableford, British sci-fi author (Day of Wrath); Mur Lafferty, American podcaster & writer; and Jovica Tasevski-Eternijan, Macedonian poet.

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 and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Revenge-Cover-HRThe editing process of Revenge is well underway. Over the past week, there were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 731. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

“Have you lost your mind?” AJ shook her head as she flopped onto a chair. She reached over and picked up the package.

“What are you talking about?” Javier’s brows rose.

“Oh. I don’t suppose you know anything about one of your employees following me?”

“Uh …. Well …. I guess.” Javier’s face reddened.

“Yeah. Don’t think I can look after myself? You never learned anything about me when we worked together on a joint mission?”

“Well …. Look. I really care about you—a lot, and ever since I received the photo of headless bodies and then your accident, which seemed suspect, I assumed—”

“Remember the saying about making assumptions?” AJ rolled her eyes. “I understand you did what you thought was best, but don’t you think it would have been better to include me in the decision?”

“I understand.” Javier snapped his fingers. “Wait a minute. How did you find out I had someone following you?”

“I spotted Cesar a couple of nights ago. He did a good job of staying hidden and not making it obvious but remember I’m highly trained.” She grinned. “Besides, the director thought the accident was a bit strange, too. He assigned a security officer to follow me—not all of the time, but when necessary. The guy tasked as my support spotted Cesar and clobbered him.” AJ picked up the package from the other chair, leaned over, and tossed it on Javier’s desk. “My guy filled me in this morning and gave me a present.”

“What’s that?”

“Cesar’s weapon, his wallet, and a few condoms.” She raised a brow. “Since when are condoms part of a surveillance package?” AJ smiled.

“Uh.” Javier’s face reddened again.

“No worries—just having some fun.”

“Okay. But it’s tough knowing someone might be gunning for you.”

“We just need to coordinate things.” AJ stretched out her legs. “I’ll ask for assistance from you if I think I need it. Can you summon Cesar? I have a suggestion on how we should proceed.”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to do a bit more writing on Ultimate Escalation. I didn’t quite finish chapter ten, but I’m satisfied with the progress I’m making. Slide1

With the original chapter reviews from when I posted the first seven chapters combined with crits on the revisions and the new ones, there’s been there’s been 199 reviews, and increase of eight over the past week.

My goal is to complete the first draft of Ultimate Escalation by the end of February 2022. Obviously, things might get in the way, but that’s my plan as of today.

Once Revenge is released, I’ll add another story to my current WIPs. There are two I’m considering at this time:

The first one is Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2, the sequel to Mission: Angola. Here’s the draft synopsis:Mission- Yemen

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

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

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

European-Caper-HRThe other one under consideration is European Caper, the third novel in my Bruce and Smith Thriller series. Here’s what this will be about:

Larry Samson, a former DEA agent, and his wife, Cindi, a semi-active certified public accountant, check in for their flight to London, to begin their annual European river cruise. Before they board the aircraft, they’re asked to check into a drug smuggling ring using pleasure craft to move their goods through the various European capitals.

Shortly after they depart from their initial location on the river, they meet an American couple, Javier and AJ, who are on their honeymoon. They identify themselves as friends of Larry’s boss.

Before long, the couples are mired in a conspiracy with an Eastern European drug ring. Sparks fly as they take on the smugglers, who attempt to kidnap the women.

Will Larry, Cindi, Javier, and AJ be able to trace the conduits and pass the information along or do they run afoul of the group and end up in harm’s way? Only time will tell.

Plenty of time to decide which one will join Ultimate Escalation on my active work-in-progress list. In the meantime, if I feel the need for a change, I can always tinker with these!

That’s all for this week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing and reading. 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

Continue reading “Randall’s Ramblings, July 25, 2021”

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 16, 2021

We finally started getting some normal May weather recently. While the week began with more rain and cool temperatures, by Thursday, things had picked up. Buds that we’re damaged in last month’s snow and frost are blossoming. While it’s still chilly in the shade, when the sun pops out it’s great!

Of course, the better weather also means the grass (and weeds) are growing, so a bit of time was devoted to tidying things up. There’s always something needing attention, but I’d rather have the better weather to do so.  Almost finished pulling the ivy off the back of the house–then it’ll be a clean-up effort to remain the tentacles, but so far I haven’t seen any damage caused. Thank goodness!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Neither a rich man or a poor man gets to enjoy his money. One is too busy trying to hold on to it, and the other is too busy trying to get it.” ~ Linda Poindexter

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

Friedrich Rückert, German Poet, Translator and Orientalist; H[erbert] E[rnest] Bates, novelist (Feast for July, Love for Lydia); Arturo Uslar Pietri, Venezuela, writer/minister (Lanzas Coloradas); Margret Rey, author and illustrator; Olga Berggolts, Russian poet; Studs Terkel, American author/host (Stud’s Place, Working); Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and author; Juan Rulfo, Mexican writer (Pedro Paramo); Richard Mason, English author (The World of Suzie Wong); Adrienne Rich, American feminist writer (Diamond Cutters); and Peter Levi, poet/writer.

Any names familiar to you? I didn’t find any 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!

My Published Work

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

I was on a roll this week, completing chapters thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-seven of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. They’re now posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure of the final number of chapters yet, but now there’ll be at least forty-sven.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number  to 581. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier and AJ climbed the stairs and entered the third-floor kitchen/diner. “Want a coffee?”

“Of course.” AJ pulled out a chair at the island. “How are things going?”

Javier poured coffee from the pot he put on earlier. He placed a cup in front of AJ and sat in a chair next to her. “So far, so good. Elton, Sindee, and Bruno are getting settled. I gave them corporate credit cards so they can order what they need for their respective areas. I’m hoping we’ll be in business within a week.”

“Moving fast.” AJ took a sip of her black coffee. “Did you give any more thought about my suggestion of a back-up field team?”

“Yep. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Never can tell when a situation might arise where an all-female field team might be needed. However, I don’t have the funds right now to create one.”

“I’ve been giving it some thought.” AJ raised a hand. “Hear me out before you discount my suggestion. You’ve already chosen two women to handle minor cases. Why not expand their training so they could be deployed in more dangerous situations to support the others.”

Javier nodded. “I do want everyone working here to cross-train into other areas so we can be a lean and efficient force.” He tapped a finger on his lips. “But, I like groups of four. Where will I find the others?”

“Duh!” AJ pretended to pout. “Depending upon the situation and my availability, I could be part of the team. What about Sindee? I read her file—she’s been doing some martial arts training and belongs to a shooting club.”

“Would the CIA let you come and go at short notice, or are you still considering a career change?”

AJ laughed. “Still pondering. If I make the jump, I want to land in a suitable position.”

“I’m sure it can be arranged.” Javier nodded. “It’s one thing to shoot at targets but something else when the targets can return fire. I’ll set up a confidence course, and we’ll find out what Sindee and the others can do and set a baseline for training.”

“That’s all I ask.” AJ leaned closer. “Anything else planned for today?”

Javier gave a soft laugh. “What did you have in mind?”

***

Once Sindee entered the elevator, Bennie wiped the smile off his face. He left the building and crossed to a bronze late-model SUV. Tossing the bags in the back, he climbed in beside Justin, the driver. “I found out where she lives.”

“Excellent. We’ll come back this evening and grab her. Can we get in?”

“Yes, I checked—through the parking garage. There aren’t any barriers.”

Justin nodded. “Perfect. Let’s find a place to eat.”

“How about a bowling alley? They usually have decent food, and we can bowl and watch sports on their big screen while we wait.”

“Excellent idea.”

Five hours later, the bronze SUV pulled into the apartment complex and headed to the multi-story parking garage. Justin backed into an empty slot closest to the third-floor walkway to the apartments.

They climbed from the vehicle and stepped out of the garage.

“Wait a minute—forgot my bag.”

Justin pursed his lips. “Which way?”

Bennie retrieved his backpack from the rear seat and pointed. “This way—at the far end.”

They crabbed along the corridor. On the left, a railing to keep people from falling. On the right, doors signaled each apartment. Curtains were closed, but shadows cast by internal lights filtered outside.

As they approached the end of the walkway, Bennie turned and put a finger to his lips. “Keep watch.” He pulled a set of lock picks out of his back pocket. “Shouldn’t take long—these locks are simple to bypass.”

Justin gave a thumbs-up.

Bennie knelt by the door and worked his magic. The door swung inward, and he slinked inside.

A woman sat on a sofa, her back to the door. Headphones covered her ears as she pecked away at the keyboard on her phone.

Bennie crept forward, pulling an extendable baton from his bag.

Thwack!

He conked her on the head.

The headphones popped off as the woman’s body tilted to the side.

Bennie took a piece of rope from one pocket and tied her hands. From another pocket on the side of his backpack, he pulled out duct tape. After he stretched a piece across her mouth, Bennie picked her up in a fireman’s carry and dashed out of the apartment.

Justin aimed his gun at Bennie, lowering it when he recognized his partner. “That her?”

“Yeah, let’s get out of here before someone spots us!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I finally completed enough real-life requirements so I could return to reading Primeval: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon.  Join Colonel Jack Collins, head of the Event Group’s Security Group as he leads several members of his team in a frantic search for his sister. Who grabbed her and why?

Jack’s search efforts leads to western Canada, home of the legendary They Who Follow. But it was real men who took his sister. This is another fast-paced thriller by David, filled with plenty of twists and turns. What are the men who took Jack’s sister after? Who will be the final victors? I don’t like to give away too much, so you’ll have to pick up a copy of this well-written story and find out for yourself.  It’s definitely worth a read!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating today in the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world. Enjoy your special day!

Well, Mother Nature decided the rain and hail we’ve experienced, along with cool temperatures over the past week weren’t enough. In some parts of Scotland there was snow this week. While we didn’t have any in our area, we could see it on the distant hills. Hopefully, the white stuff is finished for now and we’ll see things improve. Certainly hope so!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Smile like you’ve never cried, fight like you’ve never lost, love like you’ve never been hurt, and live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

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

Dante Alighieri, Italian poet and author (Dante’s Inferno, Divina Commedia); John Wolcot, English satirist (Peter Pindar); Johannes Cornelis de Jonge, Dutch historian and archivist; August Pauly, German writer (Real Encyclopedia); J.M. [James Matthew] Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (Peter Pan); Lucian Blaga, Romanian philosopher and poet (Dogmatic Aeon); Walter Dehmel, German writer; Eleanor Estes, author (Ginger Pye, Moffats); Baldur von Schirach, German writer/nazi politician (Frame); Josef Muller-Brockmann, graphic designer/writer; Richard Adams, English author (Watership Down); William Tenn, American author; Mona Van Duyn, American poet; Bulat S Okudzjava, Russian author (Student!); Jean J A Girault, French director/screenwriter (l’Amour); Gavin Lyall, British author (Conduct of Major Maxim, The Secret Servant); Alan Bennett, England, playwright/actor (Secret Policeman’s Other Ball); Roger Hargreaves, English author and illustrator of children’s books (Mr. Men and Little Miss); Charles Simic Yugoslavian-born poet, 15th Poet Laureate of the United States; Joy Harjo, American poet and musician (first Native American US Poet Laureate 2019-); and Skye Regan, Canadian Actress and Writer.

Were any names familiar to you? While I didn’t know the names of the authors, I certainly spotted several works I knew. I’ve certainly heard of Dante’s Inferno, Peter Pan, Watership Down, Mr. Men, and Little Miss.  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

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-three and thirty-four of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure yet, but I think there’ll be forty-five chapters when the first draft is completed.

Over the past week, there were another thirty-three new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 556. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“I’m heading upstairs for a bit. I dropped a load of my personal stuff off this morning before going to the restaurant, but want to get it stored in a closet. The movers are supposed to bring my furniture and the rest of my belongings tomorrow.”

Elton raised his hand. “How long do you want us to hang around today?”

“As long as it takes to square away your area, ET.” He handed a Sam’s Club card to him. “I want you and Sindee to take a trip and pick up whatever we need. If they don’t have it, figure out who does and will get things arranged.” He turned to Bruno. “I’m sure you’ll have an idea of what you’ll require in the IT arena.” He held out a black American Express card. “Use this.”

“We’re on it, boss,” Elton, Sindee, and Bruno chimed.

Javier laughed. “I’ll be upstairs.”

***

Climbing up the stairs to his new home, Javier walked from room to room. With two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen/diner, and a bathroom, the top-floor accommodation was perfect. I’ll use one of the bedrooms as a private office, so I don’t have to traipse downstairs during the night.

Javier sat on the sole piece of furniture. The chair creaked under his weight. As he stood to adjust the cushion, his phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hey, Javier. Zorkin here. I got the first group of background checks back from the FBI. Everything’s fine.”

Javier grinned.  “Excellent. So nothing showed up to cause any concern?”

“Not a thing.”

“Perfect. The first three are working downstairs now. I want to task Cesar with keeping an eye on AJ without her finding out. I know she can look after herself, but I’ll feel better.”

“Anything particular you’re worried about?”

“No, but something is sending shivers up my arms when I think about her—especially after that incident with the truck.”

“Understand. Listen, I gotta run. I’ll be back to you as soon as the other background checks come in.”

“Thanks again, Brian.” Javier broke the connection and headed downstairs.

***

A man wearing sunglasses sat in a black Ford F150 across the street from Brusch Investigations. He shuffled through the photos he took earlier when Javier and his employees arrived. “Excellent. Decent facial shots of each one. Need to find out where they live—perhaps some pressure to force one of them to let us inside.”

He started the engine and pulled into the sparse traffic, a grin spreading across his face. “Boom!”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Due to unforeseen real life activities, I didn’t do much extra reading this week. I hope to provide a review of another David L. Golemon novel next time.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, May 2, 2021

April’s showers are still falling in the early part of May. Although temperatures are slightly below normal, we’re seeing a benefit–trees are greening up (except the acer trees, which have red leaves), flowers are popping out, and we’ve even had to cut the grass!

We’re thinking about turning one grassy area (which isn’t doing too well because of large trees from adjacent properties limiting the sunlight) into a wildflower meadow. Not sure if this’ll work, but we’ll probably give it a try. Otherwise, the area will eventually be covered with artificial grass.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” ~ Mary Kay

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

William Camden, English historian (Brittania, Annales); John Galt, Scottish novelist (Annals of the Parish); Abram Sanders Piatt, American farmer, publisher, poet, politician, and Brigadier General (Union Army); Jerome K. Jerome, English writer (The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow); Clyde Fitch, American playwright; G. G. van der Hoeven, Dutch editor-in-chief (NRC newspaper); Gottfried Benn, Ger; man poet and essayist; Hedda Hopper [Elda Furry], American gossip columnist; E. E. Smith, American food engineer and sci-fi author (Triplanetary); Alfred Kurella, German author and functionary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in East Germany; Peggy Bacon, American author and illustrator (Off With Their Heads); Jef Last, Dutch poet and writer; Lev Lunts, Russian writer (Outside the Law, City of Truth); Willi Bredel, German writer; Axel Springer, German newspaper magnate (Bild Zeitung); Marten Toonder, Dutch comic writer and cartoonist (Tom Puss); Otto Buchsbaum, Austrian writer and ecological activist; A. M. Rosenthal, American journalist and newspaper editor (NY Times); Jamal Abro, Sindhi writer; Phil Bruns, American actor and writer (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman – “George Shumway”); Maury Allen, American sportswriter and columnist (New York Post); Gisela Elsner, German writer (Die Riesenzwerge, Rowohlt); Lorenzo Music, American writer, actor and voice actor (Carlton-Rhoda, Garfield); and Franz Innerhofer, Austrian writer (Beautiful Days).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

My novels are once again appearing in a monthly Bookfunnel promotion for mystery & suspense, legal and mystery & suspense, and political thrillers. If you get a chance, why not stop by the promotion (click here) and see what’s available. I’m sure I speak for the other authors when I say thank you!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapter thirty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use. I’m not sure yet, but I think there’ll be forty-five chapters when the first draft is completed.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-nine new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 523. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Alberto whacked Bennie across the face. “Estúpido! I didn’t tell you to follow them. You’re not trained in surveillance.” He glared at Bennie and stomped to his seat. “They could have heard you when you shouted, ‘Alberto, I found them!’”

Bennie’s head dropped to his chest as he gazed at the floor. “I-I did what I thought was right. You wanted me to find them.”

Alberto squeezed his hand into a fist. “Yes. But why didn’t you pay some kid on the street to find out where they went instead of doing it yourself? I gave you enough money.” Perhaps I made a mistake pulling him from the collapsed building and bringing him with me.

“I didn’t think.”

“You got that right. In the future, do just what I tell you and nothing else. Remember, Allah is judging us.” He gestured to the table. A small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with string sat in the center. “Keep taking photos of the targets from a distance. There’s more cash in the package—use it to hire two or three locals who know how to follow people. No more amateur stunts.”

“Yes, Alberto.” He reached for the parcel.

“Start moving your equipment to our new property. The address is written on the bottom of the package. Don’t return here—Walter will be the only one still using this location.”

Bennie nodded as he picked up the parcel. “I won’t let you down, Alberto.”

“I know you won’t.” Or you’ll meet Allah sooner than you expect.

***

Walter stopped and glanced at the house. He returned inside and headed to the living room. I’ll open the curtains—make it seem like someone’s up. Otherwise, the nosy neighbors might stop by again to see if everything is okay.

He returned to the vehicle and drove in a practiced manner, obeying all speed limits and traffic signs until he pulled into the storage facility.

Inside his medium-sized storage unit, he closed the roll-up door and turned on a flashlight.  He checked the labels on the myriad containers and crates until he located what he wanted.

Once he loaded the acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulphuric acid into the van, he wrapped each of the six bottles in foam padding and secured them in an upright position with elastic luggage straps. Satisfied, he began the journey home, stopping at a Burger King along the way.

Two hours later, Walter headed to the basement where he had set up his laboratory. The Americans are their own worst enemy. Everything I need to make my bombs was easy to obtain.  The hard part is not blowing myself up.

He used an oval metal animal-feeding trough to mix his ingredients. Taking his time, he didn’t want to repeat the disaster of his first training session in making triacetone triperoxide, when he lost two fingers on his left hand.

Finished, Walter moved to one of the portable workbenches, where a section of metal pipe rested between two vises. He marked equal lengths and used a hacksaw to make the outer shells of his bombs.

He smiled. My favorite weapons—which will bring death to the infidels.

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’ve been on a roll reading novels by David L. Golemon. I just finished Event: An Event Group Thriller. Whether you believe in the UFO crash near Roswell in 1947, it’s a great setting for Department 5656 to be embroiled in a new mission. This time, not one but two spaceships are involved, with one of them carrying death–the Destroyer.

David’s Event Group fights to almost the last man and woman to save mankind. Or do they? This is a fast-action story with plenty of twists and excellent characters, both human and extraterrestrial. If you’re like me, you’ll be burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happens. I’m looking forward to reading more of David’s work in the days to come.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 25, 2021

It appears we’ve turned the tide regarding the weather. No more frosty mornings, although on a few days the temperature was just above freezing. This week we purchased another fifteen plants for the borders at the front of the house. Plenty of color already there, but this will finish it off. Once everything’s in bloom, I’ll include a photo.

Sylvia and I received our second Pfizer Covid vaccination this week. No major issues, except the nurse administering the injections must have been a carpenter/joiner in a previous life. The way she shoved the needles into our arms was like she was driving a nail home in a piece of wood.

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

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa

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

Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, British soldier, statesman, and dramatist; Antonio Fogazzarro, Italian writer and poet (Il santo, Leila); Leopoldo Alas, Spanish novelist (La Regenta); Walter de la Mare, British poet and author (The Listeners, Memoirs of a Midget); Rubén M. Campos, Mexican novelist (Claudio Oranos) and musicologist (El folklore y la musica mexicana); Sally Salminen, Finnish writer (Katrina); Claude Mauriac, French writer (Le Temps immobile); Ross Lockridge, Jr., American novelist (Raintree County); William Goyen, American writer; Jean Mogin, Belgian poet; Albert Uderzo, French cartoonist and script writer (Asterix comic books); Corín Tellado, Spanish romance novelist; José Ángel Valente, Spanish poet (A modo the esperanza); Paul Mazursky, American writer/director (Moscow on the Hudson); ed Kooser, American poet and US Poet Laureate; James Fenton, English poet and journalist; and Dinesh D’Souza, Indian-American author (2016: Obama’s America).

Were any names familiar to you? I didn’t spot any I know.  Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Published Work

I’m delighted to announce Colombian Betrayal is now a finalist in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in their Global Thrillers category. This year’s competition must be extremely intense as the judges decided to move all fourteen semifinalists into the finals.

The five First in Category winners and the category grand prize winner will be announced on June 5th. In addition, the grand prize winners from each of the seventeen genres will compete for the overall winner of this year’s competition. Many congratulations to all those who are now in the finals. Good luck!

My Work in Progress

This week I completed chapters thirty-one of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Its now posted on the two online subscription writing sites I use.

Over the past week, there were another twenty-two new chapter reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 494. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“Excuse me?”

Javier glanced up.

A clean-shaven man with a short slender build and red hair stood at the end of the table. “I-I’m a bit early. I’m Elton. Elton Taylor. I applied for the receptionist job.”

Javier motioned to the chair on his right. “Take a seat, Elton. Let me pull up your application and do a quick review.” He read through the document. “Huh. Uh-huh.”

“Excuse me, sir. May I have a glass of water?”

“Help yourself. And do us both a favor.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Relax. Your application looks fine.” Javier smiled. “So, why are you interested in working for the Brusch Agency?”

“Since I finished my degree at Northern Virginia Community College two years ago, I’ve been working as a receptionist at a senior citizens’ home. It’s okay, but ….”

Javier nodded.

“I prefer something more exciting, and when I saw this position advertised online, I thought it was perfect. I live with my parents two blocks away, so I can be here whenever I’m needed. I’m a hard worker, too.” A glimmer of a smile creased Elton’s face.

“There are seven other applicants for this job.”

Elton glanced at the table, rejection apparent in his demeanor.

Javier raised a hand. “However, you’re the only one with previous experience. You would still need some training, but it’s not a stumbling block. The job is yours—on one condition.”

Elton locked his eyes on Javier’s. “Yes, sir?”

“Well, there’re two conditions. The first is, stop calling me sir. And would it be okay for me to call you ET?”

“Yes, sir! I mean …. What should I call you?”

“My parents named me Javier, so that’ll work.” He stretched out a hand. “Welcome to the Brusch Agency.  What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

ET grinned. “I was too nervous to eat, so I’m going to get a burger downstairs. Afterward, I’ll share the news with my parents.”

“I tell you what. I’ll pay for your meal. After you eat, if you want to get on the clock right away, come back up. You can use my laptop to take notes during the rest of the interviews.”

“I’ll be right back!” ET jumped to his feet and rushed away.

***

“Count me in.” TJ half-rose and offered a hand to Javier.

He stuck his hand into the vice and tried not to wince as TJ crushed it. Javier stood. “Welcome aboard. We’ll be in touch in a few days with the contract.”

TJ waved a hand and departed.

As soon as he was gone, Javier flexed the fingers in his hand. “Hope the last guy doesn’t have a grip like his. We better make sure our gym is fully equipped.”

ET nodded and pointed toward the far end of the table. “Your visitor.”

Javier turned and spotted a tall, well-toned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. “Can I help you?”

The woman stepped forward. “I made an appointment—Samantha Bennett. Call me Sam.”

Javier glanced at ET, who shrugged.

“Well, Sam, why didn’t you put your full name on the application?” Javier gestured at an empty chair. “Please sit.” He did the same.

“If I had done that, would you have given me an interview?”

“Sure, why not? I don’t care about anyone’s gender or sexual preferences. What’s important to me is whether a person can hold their own if they end up in a tough situation.”

Sam gazed into Javier’s eyes. “I believe you. Serving in a combat role in Afghanistan shows what I can do when cornered.”

“Agreed. The job is yours if you want it.”

“I accept.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with Event: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon and will offer my review next time. I have several other books lined up to read, so I better start turning the pages!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, April 21, 2021

Spring has officially arrived. We’ve had a great week of weather, with plenty of sunshine and just one short shower. Things are greening up, trying to remove the last vestiges of winter. Most of the dead leaves and branches have been removed, and pruning is well underway.

We even had great luck this week when our local grocery store received an order of garden plants. Nine viola plants (purple and yellow flowers) were successfully planted across the front border of our property. We also purchased eighteen Bellis daisies (pink flowers), and they’ll be planted later today. Eventually, the garden centres/nurseries will open back up, but I imagine they’ll be a madhouse, at least for the first few days. With any luck, we’ll be able to pick up a few more plants.

Keep going. Each step may get harder, but don’t stop. The view at the top is beautiful.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 21st. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays) Jean Paul, German romantic writer (Titan); Geoffrey Dearmer, poet; Phyllis McGinley, American poet (Pulitzer 1961, Love Letters); John Paxton, screenwriter (On The Beach, Kotch, Farewell My Lovely); Peter Bull, British actor and author (The African Queen, Tom Jones, Dr Strangelove); Frank Hardy, Australian author; Peter Hacks, German playwright (Tie Windloch); and Hubert Fichte, German writer.

Not many today. Was 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 Published Work

Mission: Angola is also participating in a promotion for New Releases – Mystery/Thriller. There are forty-two novels in this promotion, all of which have been released since October 2020. Please stop by–you might meet your next favorite author!

In case you missed it last week, I’m also pleased to announce the release of my first non-fiction feature article, “Black Ops in Fiction.” It’s now live on the web daily, Mystery & Suspense Magazine. Please check it out!

My Work in Progress

With all of the outdoors work this week, I didn’t have time to complete the next chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Over the past week, there were another nine new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 401. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Javier thundered down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor. The echo of his footsteps marked his passing. Even the plush stair carpeting couldn’t deaden the sound.

When he stepped into the reception area, Elton, Sindee, and Bruno stood in a semi-circle, their mouths open.

“What?” Javier glanced from face to face.

“Sounded like the place was caving in, boss.” A cheeky smile appeared on Bruno’s face. “I didn’t know whether to run or hide.”

Elton and Sindee both nodded, hands in front of their faces, attempting to block their grins.

“You guys should take a look in the mirror.” Javier laughed. “If I didn’t know any better, I would think this a model agency.” He put his hands on his hips. “I mean, check yourselves out.” He pointed at Elton. “What do I see? Someone who’s tall, rake thin with pronounced cheekbones and dark hair scraped back off his porcelain skin.”

“I wanted to become a model, but my mother was against it.” Elton pursed his lips. “She said to find a real job.”

“Well, she might be right. I’m not sure how much male models make, but I heard it was less than women earn.” Javier gestured at Sindee. “A gorgeous blonde, poker-straight hair, doe-eyed and bee-stung lips. Do I detect a hint of Eastern European bone structure?”

“Yes, my grandmother was from Poland.” Sindee flashed a glamourous smile. “I did try modeling, but one photographer was a perv—wanted me to strip and lie on a couch so he could shove his camera between my legs. That was enough for me—I went back to college.”

Javier turned to Bruno. “What about you? I’m sure with your height, deep-set eyes, dark Bedouin curly hair, and a long-distance runner’s physique, modeling would be something you might enjoy.”

Bruno shook his head. “No, thanks!”

Everyone laughed.

“Hello!” AJ strolled into the room. “Javier, I thought you were setting up an investigative agency. She smothered a grin with a hand. “Looks more like a talent agency.”

“How’d you get in? The front door is locked.” Javier turned and glared at his new receptionist.

Elton gulped. “Y-Yes.”

“You forgot you gave me access.” AJ dangled a set of keys.” I parked behind the building and came in through the front door.”

Javier pursed his lips. “Sorry, ET. I should have known better.”

“No worries, boss.”

“So, what brings you here? Shouldn’t you be saving the free world or something?”

AJ laughed. “Since you retired, your brain cells are diminishing. Did you forget you invited me over for a confab? MacKenzie will reach me if something urgent breaks.”

Javier raised shut his eyes as he shook his head. “Sorry, I forgot.” He turned to his employees. “Wrap up what you need to and take the rest of the day off. Be here early tomorrow, and we’ll move things forward.” He offered and arm to AJ. “Shall we head upstairs?”

“As long as you behave yourself. Otherwise, ….”

“Promises, promises.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading American Assassin by the late Vince Flynn. For those you have read Vince’s work, you’ll recognize this as another of his great action-packed plots. Follow the creation of Mitch Rapp from university student to trained killer, seeking out American enemies. If you haven’t read this one yet, I suggest you do so–you won’t be disappointed!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 14, 2021

Another week has sailed past. Things are shaping up nicely in the flower beds, but just with plants that survived the winter. We haven’t ordered anything for this season as the weather is still too unsettled. A couple of days ago, we had thunder, lightning, and enough hail to cover the ground as if it had snowed.

Today we’re off to a fresh start, with overcast skies and a bitter breeze, making it feel much colder than it really is. Who knows what’s in store for us, but rain is in the forecast.

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Théodore de Banville, French writer; Antonio de Castro Alves, Brazilian poet (Espumas Flutuantes); Alexandru Macedonski, Romanian writer; John Lane, British publisher (The Bodley Head); Algernon Blackwood, English novelist (The Willows); Isadore Gilbert Mudge, American librarian and author (Thackeray Dictionary); Carel T Scharten, Dutch poet and writer (Forces of the Future); Sylvia Beach, American publisher and bookseller (Shakespeare and Company); John P Strijbos, Dutch writer (Wandering through South-Africa); Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues, French writer (Margin); Horton Foote, American author, playwright and screenwriter; Macha Louis Rosenthal, critic/poet; Max Shulman, novelist (Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Tender Trap); Colin Fletcher, Welsh author and pioneering backpacker (Walking Through Time); John Barrington Wain, English novelist/poet (Hurry on Down); Bertrand Blier, novelist/director (Going Places); Peter Paul Zahl, writer; Pam Ayres, British poet; Billy Crystal, Long Beach, New York, American actor, writer, producer (Soap, City Slickers); Michael Stedman, British World War I Historian and Author; Andrew Robinson, British author; Tad Williams, American fantasy and science fiction author; and Kevin Williamson, American screenwriter.

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

My Published Work

All five of my novels are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called Chilling Reads  (99 cents or KU). My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. Mission: Angola is also participating in a separate promotion for New Releases – Mystery/Thriller. There are forty-two novels in this promotion, all of which have been released since October 2020. Please stop by–you might meet your next favorite author!

I’m also pleased to announce the release of my first non-fiction feature article, “Black Ops in Fiction.” It’s now live on the web daily, Mystery & Suspense Magazine. Please check it out!

My Work in Progress

This week, I finished chapters twenty-four and twenty-five of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Both chapters were posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another twenty new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 392. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

Dressed in a blue sport shirt and tan chinos, Javier sat at a corner table, waiting for three new employees. He opened his laptop and grinned as he reread the short email:

Congratulations! The establishment of the Brusch Agency is hereby approved and duly recorded in all relevant databases. Good luck!

Javier sipped on an orange juice, the remains of his breakfast on a nearby plate. After checking for additional emails, he turned his laptop off.

“Good morning, sir!” Elton stood at attention near the table.

“Hey, ET. Stop with the formality. Call me Javier or boss, but stop with the sir. That retired when I did. And don’t call me Mister Smith.” Javier gestured to an empty chair. “Take a seat.”

“Yes, sir—I mean, okay, Javier.” Elton grinned as he sat. “I’m so excited—this is my first real job—with a professional.”

Javier chuckled. “I hope I don’t disappoint you. We both put on our trousers the same way.” He gestured at the menu, still on the table. “Want something to eat while we wait for the others.”

“No, thanks. I had a big bowl of Cornflakes before coming here.”

Of course, you did. I’m surprised it wasn’t Wheaties. “Okay.” He waved to a passing waitress and asked for a coffee.

She glanced at Elton, who nodded.

Javier reached down by a table leg and retrieved his backpack. He pulled out an envelope and pushed it toward Elton. “This contains your keys for our new property, along with the security alarm codes. There are also two copies of your contract. Check it over, and if you’re satisfied, sign and date both of them. You keep one, and I’ll take the other.” Javier yanked two more envelopes from his bag. “These are for Sindee and Bruno. Take care of things for me.”

Elton nodded. “Sure thing, boss.”

Two people followed the waitress, who carried a loaded tray. After she deposited four cups, a pot of coffee, and a plate of donuts on the stable, she departed.

The other two grabbed empty chairs.

“Everyone’s made it.” Javier grinned. “Let’s eat and drink up. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk to the office.”

Conversation at the table trickled to a minimum as everyone became serious about claiming their share of the coffee and pastries.

When Javier noticed everyone was finished, he waved for the bill.

A waiter rushed over, holding a wallet. “Anything else, sir?”

Javier shook his head. “Not today—time for us to head to work.” He peeked inside the folder before pulling out his wallet. Slipping the funds plus including a substantial tip into the folder, he handed it back to the waiter and stood. “See you again—soon.”

Out on the street, Javier pointed and set off on a rapid clip, the others trailing behind.

“Hey, boss.” Elton stopped and sucked in air. “Where’s the fire?”

Javier chuckled. “No fire—just need to work off the calories.”

“Well, can we do it at a slower pace?”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Late last night (or early thing morning, depending on how you look at things) I finished reading American Assassin by Vince Flynn. I haven’t written my review yet, so I’ll post my comments next time.  What have you been reading? Anything you think I might enjoy?

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 21, 2021

The really cold weather and the snow have disappeared–that’s the good news! While we’re back to milder temperatures, instead of snow we have rain–almost every day. At least there’s been some heavy winds to dry things out when the rain stops.

When there were long enough dry spells, I was finally able to clean up some of the leaves in the back which I didn’t get to because of the prolonged rainy season. It’s starting out overcast but dry, so I might get some more done today!

“While you wake up today someone is breathing their last breath, Thank God for another day, don’t waste it.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Justus van Effen, writer/founder (Holland Spectator); Willem van Haren, Frisian nobleman/poet (Human Life); Louis-Pierre Anquetil, French historian; Charles L Fournier, Flemish writer/painter; Karl A Varnhagen von Ense, German officer/author (Die Sterner); John Henry Newman, England, cardinal/author (Dream of Gerontius); Jose Zorrilla y Moral, Vallodolid Spain, poet/dramatist (El rey Loco); [James] Burner Matthews, US playwright/critic (NY Times); Pierre de Bréville, French composer, author and professor (Une histoire du théâtre lyrique en France); Jacob D du Toit [Totius], South African poet/theologist; Waldemar Bonsels, German writer; Clemence Dane, British novelist and playwright; Raymond Queneau [M Presle], French author (Un Enfant a Dit); Anaïs Nin, French writer; Armand Preud’homme, Flemish organist/poet; Wystan Hugh Auden, American poet (Age of Anxiety-Pulitzer 1948); Hans Andreus [Johan W van der Zant], Dutch poet (Animal Language); Herman de Coninck, Flemish writer/poet (Impossible Work); Chuck Palahniuk, American writer; David Foster Wallace, American writer (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System); and Kumail Nanjiani, Pakistani American comedian, actor and writer (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley).

Anyone familiar to you? All the names were unfamiliar to me 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!

My Published Work

Two of my novels, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance, are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called, Alpha Males (Human). There’s still time before the promotion ends on February 28th, so why not drop in and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest? All of the authors will be greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

I didn’t quite finish the next chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal as real-life requirements took precedence. Over the past week, there were another five new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 351. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

“However, your reputation precedes you. No one doubts you’re both brilliant analysts—your IQ scores are off the charts. However, my friend thinks your over-exuberant personalities won’t work in an environment where you can’t draw attention to yourselves.”

The twins looked at each other, before speaking in unison, “But we can tone things down when needed.”

“Field operatives must become part of their environment and not be noticed. Somehow, I don’t see you fitting into this role.” AJ raised a hand to ward off any further objections. “I’m sure the only time you two are introverted is when you’re asleep.”

Everyone laughed.

“So, what do you suggest?” Her badge identified her as MacKenzie, who often took the lead in speaking when the twins were together. “At first, working for the CIA was a thrill, but too many people are always telling us what to do. We don’t require constant supervision.”

AJ nodded. “I know this, which is why I keep my requests for updates from you to a minimum. However, too many people feel threatened by your brilliance and try to find something wrong with your work.”

Makayla raised a hand. “What do you suggest we do? We’ve been working here since graduating from Princeton when we were seventeen. Yet, you’re the only boss we’ve had who allows us to stretch ourselves and take on more assignments.”

“I understand. Which is why I spoke with Human Resources today.”

“What about?” MacKenzie’s eyes seemed to widen with alarm. “Are we in trouble again? We said we wouldn’t create any more disturbances in the cafeteria.”

“No, you’re not in trouble. I’ve been trying to find a way to tap into your genius without you being stifled by bureaucracy and might have come up with a solution.”

“What?” MacKenzie and Makayla leaned forward.

“Hold on—you may not like it.” AJ glanced from one twin to the other. “As you’re aware, my friend Javier—”

“Yeah, more like a lover than a casual friend, if you ask me.” Makayla struggled to hold her laughter. “Is that how you refer to him?”

“Never mind.” AJ tilted her head. “As I was saying, Javier’s moving forward with his investigative agency. He happened to mention last night he needed at least two experienced research analysts who could work with minimal supervision.”

“But we have jobs.” MacKenzie frowned. “We might be good, but we’re not magicians.”

“Here’s the deal. He’s willing to take you both on a part-time basis. HR informed me it’s possible to keep you working here on a part-time basis. Javier also mentioned you would be required to go through the field training he’ll be setting up.”

‘Woohoo!” The twins performed a celebratory dance while seated, arms above their heads as if they were cheerleaders.

“When do we start?” Makayla rubbed her hands together.

“As soon as Javier has everything up and running.”

“Count me in.” Makayla glanced at MacKenzie.

“Heck, yeah. If Javier hires us, will you be coming along?” MacKenzie raised a brow. “You keep telling us how much you detest being behind that desk. I remember you said there was a job for you, too.”

AJ grinned. “You better get back to work. I want to finish up and head out early for a change.” Need to do some thinking about my future, too.

***

Her day completed, AJ secured her computer, spun the combination lock on her safe, and headed out of her office. Once in her car, she turned on the radio and began humming to a tune.

She pulled into the rush-hour traffic and began the crawl home, her fingers tapping on the wheel to the sound of the music. When she reached her exit, she signaled and shot along the ramp.

The traffic light flicked to yellow.

AJ gunned her engine.

Beeeeep! Beeeeep!

AJ turned toward the thunderous twin blasts of an air horn. Her eyes grew wide as an eighteen-wheeler sped through the intersection toward her.

Baaang!

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Blair Howard’s One Dark Night (Harry Starke Genesis Series Book 6), which will be released on February 28th. As with all of Blair’s novels, there’s a riveting plot with plenty of twists and turns so readers won’t be able to figure out who the culprits might be. Along with the stalwart Harry, his team, and Kate Gazarra from the Chattanooga Police Department, we find ourselves embroiled in a fourteen-year-old double murder of a young couple. But who was the villain or villains? Will it be a member of a local wealthy family or someone from a family teetering on the poverty line?

This one will have you turning the pages to find out what happens as Harry and the others do their utmost to solve the riddle, while at the same time, try not to get themselves killed. Once again Blair show why he’s a master at these ‘whodunnit’ stories. Can’t wait for the next one! I received an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

It’s been a cold and snowy week. We received about 7-8 inches of the white stuff, and it’s still covering the ground. We also saw our coldest day of the winter thus far, 19F (-7C). Hopefully, that’ll be the end of the worst weather, but only Mother Nature knows!

This week Sylvia and I received our first Covid-19 vaccinations. It was an easy and painless process, with plenty of helpful people ensuring everything went according to plan. From arriving at the vaccination center (a local church) to leaving was less than forty-five minutes, including the fifteen-minute wait after the jabs to make sure we were okay. Not sure when we’ll get the second dose, but letters are supposed to be sent to us.

“Thinking positive thoughts will always empower you. Do it enough & it will change your life.”(Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on February 14th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays)

Christianus Adrichomius, Dutch Catholic priest & writer (Vita Jesu Christi); Hans Christoph Haiden, German composer, organist and poet; Sybilla Schwarz, German baroque poet; Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée, French writer (L’École des Mères); Christopher Latham Sholes, American newspaper man, politician and inventor of the typewriter; Edmond François Valentin About, French writer (Le Roi des montagnes); Francois Haverschmidt, Dutch writer (Snikken en grimlachjes); Frank Harris, Irish-American journalist and writer (My Life & Loves); Israel Zangwill, Jewish author (Children of The Ghetto); William John Gruffydd, Welsh poet & scholar; George Jean Nathan, American editor, author and critic (American Mercury); Kostas Varnalis, Greek poet; Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist & writer; John Herman Randall Jr., American philosopher (Western Man); A. Moses Klein, Canadian poet (Hath Not a Jew…); Edmund George Love, American historian & author (A Small Bequest); Ab [Albert] Visser, Dutch poet/writer (Man Without a Head); James Pike, American bishop (Beyond Anxiety); Juan Garcia Hortelano, Spanish author (Tormenta de verano); Alexander Kluge, German author and film director (Yesterday Girl); Israël “Ischa” Meijer, Dutch journalist, critic and author (Een Dik Uur Ischa, Boezemvriend); Carl Bernstein, American investigative reporter who covered Watergate for the Washington Post; and Phillip Hamilton, American author.

Anyone familiar to you? I spotted one: Carl Bernstein. 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

Two of my novels, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance, are participating in a month-long Bookfunnel promotion called, Alpha Males (Human). Why not drop in and see if there’s anything that sparks your interest? All of the authors will be greatly appreciated!

My Work in Progress

I finally finished chapter twenty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Over the past week, there were another three new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 346. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

AJ weaved through heavy traffic on the Capital Beltway. She leaned on the horn and cursed slower motorists.

“Late again. Don’t they know the speed limit is fifty-five, not twenty-five?” She slammed a hand on the steering wheel of her gunmetal gray Honda Pilot.

After blowing her horn at a vehicle weaving in front of her, she spotted her exit and sped along the edge of the freeway and flew down the ramp. She raced through a red light and whipped her vehicle toward the security checkpoint at the CIA facility in Langley, skidding to a halt at the end of a line of cars waiting for access.

“C’mon, c’mon!” When her turn came, she flashed her badge at the sensor and shot past the barricade. Grabbing a pass from the console, she flung the placard on the dash, jumped out of her car, and raced inside.

Once through the turnstile, she rushed to the elevator, the heels of her black leather shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Two minutes later, AJ waltzed into her section at the community coffee pot for a black coffee.

“About time, boss lady.” MacKenzie Campbell twirled the ends of a blonde plait as she leaned against the door to AJ’s office. “I’m sure you said you would be coming in early—much earlier than this.”

“Yeah, well … things happen.” She smiled as she remembered the previous evening with Javier.

“Heello! Earth to AJ.” MacKenzie nudged AJ forward into the office and sat in front of the desk.

AJ sat behind the desk and sipped her coffee. She grimaced at the bitter taste. “Who made the coffee—it’s not too good.”

When MacKenzie laughed, it reached her blue eyes. “The new member of the team. I heard she’s a tea drinker, but wanted to help out.”

“Definitely needs some training.” AJ pushed the mug away. “So, anything new on the alert board for Latin America or projected to be heading our way? I have a meeting with the other heads of the counter-terrorism divisions and will provide them an update.”

“Since you dealt with the drug cartel, FARC, and Islamic State trifecta, things are still quiet in our area of responsibility. Even Mexico is bending to our request for more information, whereas before they were reluctant partners.”

AJ flicked her long, brown hair. “What’s Makayla up to?”

“We might be identical twins, but she works out in the gym more than I do.” MacKenzie laughed. “She’s probably teaching some rookie the latest Krav Maga moves she learned.”

“I pity the poor person. From time to time, I work out with Makayla, and it’s no picnic. She means business throughout every training session.”

“That’s why she’s one of our best, and why I don’t train with her. She always kicks my butt, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it. If only you’d allow us out into the field, we could show what we can do.”

AJ shook her head. “Ain’t gonna happen. I told both of you before your strength is in your search abilities. I don’t think you’re cut out for an overseas assignment—yet. Perhaps, one day.”

MacKenzie rolled her eyes but remained silent.

“When your sister decides to make an entrance, I need to speak with both of you. Something’s come up which might be of interest to you.” AJ glanced at the wall clock. “I better get ready for the meeting.”

MacKenzie stood. “Catch ya later, and I’ll bring my errant sister.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

Over the past couple of weeks I finished The Eye of Shiva (The Project Book 8) by Alex Lukerman. Although this was the first novel I’ve read in the series, it was easy to identity the main characters, Luke and Selena, which were well-crafted and identifiable. This is a fast read, combining plenty of action, intrigue, and some romance as they become embroiled in an international  conspiracy, one with potential deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of people.

If you enjoy interesting plots, and plenty of action with a few twists thrown in, you’ll find this an excellent page-turner. Although this can be read as a standalone without any negative impact, I’m definitely heading back to the first book in the series!

I also completed Unhinged: A Micro-Read by John Podlaski. What starts out as a simple job at a local drive-in movie facility for two teenagers will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I don’t like to do spoilers, and since this is a novella, it won’t take you long to become immersed in this riveting story.

John shows a brilliant writing style which will appeal to a wide range of tastes. Highly recommended and I look forward to reading more of John’s work!

Finally, I finished reading The Enigma Factor: A Techno Thriller (The Enigma Series Book 1) by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey. This is a fantastic blend of romance, drama, crypto-capers, crime, and adventure. With a well-designed plot and plenty of action scenes, this will definitely appeal to those who enjoy the genre. Look forward to reading more of Charles and Roxanne’s work!

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, February 7, 2021

Today’s a special day in our house–it’s Sylvia’s 70th birthday! Although Covid stopped the planned party and our son’s trip over from Washington, D.C., I’ll try to make her day as memorable as possible.

Mother Nature is always adding to the fun–it’s snowing!  The forecasters say 3-6 inches by Wednesday. Will have to wait and see. In the meantime, the wind is whipping the snow around and it looks fantastic!

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/)

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

Sir Thomas More, English statesman, humanist, and author; Thomas Killigrew, English humorist/playwright/leader (King’s Men); Jean-Francois Regnard, French comedy writer (Slave in Algeria); Rhijnvis Feith, Dutch mayor/writer (Zwolle/Thirsa); Frederik Paludan-Muller, Danish Romantic poet (Danserinden); Charles Dickens, English novelist (Oliver Twist, Tale of 2 Cities); Ricardo Palma, Peru, writer/poet (Tradiciones Peruanas); Raf[ael] Verhulst [Koen Ravestein], Flemish writer (Jesus of Nazarus); Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (Little House on Prairie); Jindrich S Baar, Czech pastor/writer (Jan Cimbura); [Harry] Sinclair Lewis, American writer and social critic (Nobel Prize in Literature 1930); Jacob Paludan, Danish pharmacist/writer (Jorgen Stein); Bob den Doolaard [Cornelis Spoelstra], Dutch writer (Grape Pickers); Paul Nizan, French journalist/writer (L’Humanité, La Conspiration); David Ignatow, American poet (Tread the Dark, Rescue the Dead); Ralph Whitlock, English writer; Gay Talese, author (Honor Thy Father); Brian Morton, Scottish writer; Richard Cook, British jazz writer (The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings); Matt Ridley, British science writer; and Emma McLaughlin, American novelist.

Anyone familiar to you? There were three names I know: Sir Thomas More, Charles Dickens, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d also like to mention my wife, Sylvia. While she’s not published, her poems have sold well at numerous craft events in the U.S. and UK. Watch out–one day she’ll be published! 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

Colombian Betrayal is participating in the 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the global thrillers category.

I found out this week it is now on the short list. Competition will be stiff for making the semi-finals. There are eighteen novels on the list. You can see the list by clicking here.

The semifinalists should be announced over the next month. Fingers crossed that Colombian Betrayal makes it! Once the semifinalists are announced, they’ll compete for the finalist positions. This year, there’ll only by five first place winners and one grand prize winner, which will be announced on April 25th.

My Work in Progress

I didn’t get a change to finish chapter twenty-two of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. However, there three new reviews, bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 343. Plenty of useful suggestions to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

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

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

AJ nodded. “The usual.”

“Comin’ up.”

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

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

“Let me see.”

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

Receptionist

Logistics expert

Computer whiz

Research analysts (2)

Private investigators or applicable military specialties (6)

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

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

“Who?”

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

Javier chuckled. “The receptionist can keep the coffee coming, and I already spoke with Luke about food—they’ll deliver.”

“Where do I sign up?” AJ reached across the table and took Javier’s hand.

“Job getting to you?”

AJ nodded. “I knew being shoved behind a desk would stress me out, but I never realized how bad it could be. Endless meetings with no objective, stacks of paperwork, and no opportunity to keep my skills sharpened. I dunno how long I’ll keep this up.”

Javier squeezed her hand. “There’s always a spot for you at Brusch Agency.”

“What would my title be?”

“How about chief bottle washer?”

“That’s inspiring.” A hint of a smile creased AJ’s face.

“I’m sure we can come up with a fitting title.” Javier drained the last of his beer and took one of the two remaining wings, pushing the plate toward AJ. “Want anything else?”

AJ snatched the wing and chewed. She shook her head. “You’re cooking tonight, remember? I’m all set for a rib eye steak, baked potato, and salad.”

“Shall we go?”

Both stood. After stopping by the bar to pay their bill, they headed out the door, arm-in-arm.

***

Bennie kept his camera focused on the entrance to the restaurant. Great idea to check with the restaurant and tell them I was looking for Javier because his photos are ready. Hopefully, he’ll show up.

He grinned when his patience was rewarded, and he took a series of snaps. After his targets turned the corner, he picked up his phone and hit the speed dial. “Alberto. I found them!”

More next time.

Last week, I mentioned the opportunity I received to write a feature article about Black Ops in Fiction for the web daily, Mystery and Suspense Magazine. I submitted my article to their editor-in-chief this week and with some revisions (he did them), it’s ready to go. I’ll post the link once the article is live.

Books I’m Reading

I read a couple more books over the past week. However, with my concentration on the article, I didn’t get a chance to prepare my reviews, so they’ll appear next time.

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

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved