Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

My Published Work

6 Novels

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

My Work in Progress

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

Here’s another snippet:

Thump! Thump! Thump!

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

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

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

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

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

“Where is our comrade colonel?”

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

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

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

“Mishka said you were watching for intruders?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Da.”

***

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

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

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

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

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

Ajit leaned closer. “What do you propose?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week as I need to get ready for today’s market. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, November 7, 2021

Welcome to November! With the clocks rolling back, the days definitely seem shorter. There’s also an autumnal feeling in the air. This past week I had to scrape some light frost off the windshield.

Sylvia and I have always tried to do our bit regarding the environment. Whether it be putting things directly into recycling centers or taking things no longer needed but still in good condition to charity. This week, we’re adding another small thing to our efforts. We’re switching to bottled milk, delivered by a local dairy. Not only are we reducing our use of plastic, no matter how small, the glass bottles are reused. We’ll be helping a small business while at the same time not relying on milk supplies coming from who knows where.

This weekend is another small business market in the local mall. On Friday and Saturday, I sold ten autographed books on each day, while Sylvia sold a total of sixteen laminated poetry sheets. Today’s the final day for this month–hopefully we’ll both have good days!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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

Muhammad ibn Hazm, Andalusian historian, jurist and author of Islamic Spain; Jami [Mowlanā Nūr Od-dīn ʿabd Or-raḥmān Ebn Aḥmad], Persian poet (Lava’iḥ); Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux, French writer (Historiettes); Johannes Gottfried Schnabel, German author (Insel Felsenburg); Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg, German poet, lawyer and translator; Fritz Reuter, German novelist; Karel Jaromír Erben, Czech poet (Bouquet); Andrew Dickson White, American historian and educator, 1st President of Cornell University; Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, French writer (Contes cruels); Esdras Minville, Quebec writer, economist and sociologist; Ruth Pitter, British poet and 1st woman to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955; Albert Helman [Lou Lichtveld], Suriname politician and novelist; Jan Vercammen, Flemish author and chief inspector LO (Primary Education); Margaret Barbara Lambert, British historian (Saar); Maurits Mok, Dutch author and poet (Cheese & Bread Game); Albert Camus, French author (The Just-Nobel 1957); R. A. Lafferty, American sci-fi author (Devil is Dead); Wolf Mankowitz, English playwright and writer (A Kid for Two Farthings); Willibrordus S. Rendra, Indonesian poet (Ballad orang-orang tertjina); Stephen Greenblatt, American literary historian and author (The Swerve: How the World Became Modern); and Anthony Moffat, Scottish musician, writer and filmmaker.

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 had a great one!

My Published Work

6 Novels

During October, Colombian Betrayal and Mission: Angola are participating in a promotion of the first books in a mystery or thriller series. I could only include two, so The Kurdish Connection missed out. There are thirty-eight books in this Kindle and paperback promotion, so why not stop by?

My first five novels are also participating in a Mystery & Suspense, Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal, and Mystery & Suspense / Thriller promotion, which runs until the middle of November. Revenge wasn’t released in time to join this one. There are eight-one novels participating in this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

And, finally, Revenge is participating in a promotion for Mystery & Suspense / Suspense and Romance / Suspense books released in October and November 2021. There are nineteen to choose from.

Coming Soon!

ComL-8c(1)No, this isn’t my book. Rather, it’s Sylvia’s debut poetry book. Released under the pen name of Sylvia Grace, Colours of My Life is a collection of Sylvia’s poetry and prose. Encouraged by a myriad of people who purchased her laminated poetry sheets and have asked whether she would put her work in a book, she’s finally taking that step.

Here’s the synopsis:

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

All being well, Colours of My Life will be available across the Amazon network by the end of November.

My Work in Progress

Slide1Work continued this week on Ultimate Escalation. Chapter eighteen is now finished and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.  A total of nineteen chapter reviews came in this week, bringing the total to 379. Definitely some busy reviewers!

Here’s another snippet:

“Today is the beginning of our push to reunite Punjab.” Ajit paused and gazed into each man’s face. “For too long, our families have been separated by a border, not of our choosing. We’ve faced persecution and personal sorrows. No more!” He slammed his fist on the table.

The men echoed Ajit’s last words.

“We will nev—”

Rat-a-tat-tat!

Gunshots sounded from outside as heavy thuds pounded against the building’s doors.

The eight men jumped to their feet, pulling pistols and knives from under their vests.

Ajit turned to Vasily and Vladimir. “Under the table—quick!”

 Three gunmen burst through the door and ran into the dining room, firing their weapons.

One of the eight screamed as a bullet pierced his upper left side. He clutched his chest as he fell.

The others with pistols returned fire, while another threw his knife, catching one of the attackers in the throat.

Ajit grabbed Vladimir’s arm. “Come! We must flee. Hurry, before we are doomed.”

“What about the others?” Vladimir shouted over the onslaught, crawling out of the room.

Ajit rushed through a small living area, forced open a reinforced outer door, and ran for the back wall, the others a step behind.

Vladimir helped Ajit and Vasily climb, cutting himself on the shards of glass embedded along the top of the wall. Blood streaked down his hand as Vladimir pulled a PPS pistol from under his jacket. As he aimed at a gunman exiting the building, he felt a blow to his right shoulder.

He swayed and fell onto the far side and collapsed in a heap on the ground.

Vasily and Ajit rushed to Vladimir’s side and tried to lift Vladimir to his feet, but his weight too much from them.

Ajit turned to Vasily. “We better save ourselves.” He stood.

“Nyet. Go if you must, but I won’t abandon my friend.”

Ajit raced away, sporadic gunfire chasing him.

A pistol in his hand, Vasily knelt beside Vladimir. “We’ll make it through this—we always do.” He fired at a shadow approaching before yanking the magazine from the pistol and checking the number of bullets remaining.

“Five left—hope they’re enough.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2021 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, September 19, 2021

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

We’re delighted our son finally made it over from the States this week. We took an excursion on the Firth of Forth on Thursday. Hoping for a dry day so we could enjoy the boat ride, the island, and the abbey, we were pleasantly surprised when we had brilliant sunshine throughout the trip. It made for a thoroughly enjoyable visit! If the weather’s good next weekend, we plan another excursion on the Firth of Forth, but in the opposite direction.

Today is day three of the monthly small business market in the Kingsgate shopping mall. Sylvia’s done well with her poetry thus far, selling eighteen sheets, while another ten of my books were sold. All being well, a few more things will sell today!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.”

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

Leo VI Sophos, Byzantine Emperor (886-912) and writer (Problematica); Hartley Coleridge, English poet; Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, American author and teacher; Kees Rijnsdorp, Dutch writer (Kings Children); Karen Aabye, Danish author (Less bedstemor there jomfru); Mika Waltari, Finnish novelist (Egyptian); William Golding, English novelist (Lord of the Flies, Nobel Prize for Literature 1983); Damon Francis Knight, American sci-fi author (CV, Beyond the Barrier); James Lipton, American actor, writer and host of Inside the Actors Studio; Jean-Claude Carrière, French screenwriter and actor, who frequently collaborated with Luis Buñuel on his screen plays (Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty); Bra Willie [Keorapetse Kgositsile], South African poet and political activist (When the Clouds Clear; My Name Is Afrika); Tanith Lee, British sci-fi author (Don’t Bite the Sun); and Patrick Marber, British playwright (Closer) and comedian.

Any names familiar to you? William Golding is the only one 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

Until the 15th of october, all of my novels are participating in a Kindle Unlimited spy thrillers promotion.  There are forty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. If you’re not a member of Kindle Unlimited, what better time to join?

My Work in Progress

Slide1With our son’s visit, writing and editing is on the back burner this week. However, six chapter reviews came in for Ultimate Escalation, bringing the total to 257.

Here’s another snippet:

“I understand from Major Bangash you have a proposition for us.” Vladimir bit into a samosa, a triangle-shaped pastry. “Ah, just the right amount of spice to enhance the potato and onion.”

“How much do you know about the dissolution of British India?” Ajit helped himself to a samosa. “Hmm. My favorite—lentils.”

Vladimir swallowed and took a sip of his tea. “Not a great deal. I know it happened around nineteen forty-five or so.”

Ajit tilted his head. “To be precise, nineteen forty-seven. The Punjab region was split, part remaining with India and the remainder becoming a province in Pakistan. No one took into consideration the Punjabi people, many of whom are no longer able to maintain regular contact with family members residing on opposite sides of the border.”

Vladimir nodded.

“For many years, there has been a resurgence of Punjabi nationalism. We want to be reunited with our brethren in India, but neither country will allow this. They don’t want to lose territory.”

“What do you want from me?” Vladimir rubbed his thumb and forefinger on his bearded chin.

Ajit gestured toward Bangash. “I understand you were involved in several, shall I say, illicit operations which brought warring parties to the negotiating table in other countries.” A trace of a smile crossed his face. “We’d like you to do whatever is necessary to bring India and Pakistan together to create a unified Punjab, belonging to neither country, but an independent one.”

“Hmm.” Vladimir pursed his lips, letting the silence build. “I suppose we might be able to help. However, it will cost a lot of money.”

Ajit laughed. “Since nineteen forty-seven, Punjabis on both sides of the border donate whatever they can spare. I believe we will be able to meet your requirements.”

Vladimir remained stoic. “To begin with, we require a down payment the equivalent of twenty million American dollars.” He snapped his fingers, and Vasily handed him a sheet of paper. He glanced at the document before giving it to Ajit. “Transfer equal amounts into each of these accounts. After we confirm our access to the funds, we’ll begin our preparations.” Once the money is stuffed in our secret offshore accounts.

“That’s a lot of money without any guarantee of success. Perhaps we can negotiate a lower price. How long will it take for something to happen? How will we know you’ve begun working on our behalf?” Ajit rubbed his chin. “I think ten million would be a better price.”

“Ajit, I know it’s in our blood to haggle and never pay full price.” Major Bangash studied Vladimir’s face. “But do you think I would waste my time with people who are failures? They will deliver.” He pointed at Vladimir and Vasily. “I remember when they first came to Peshawar. If it weren’t for their intervention, I wouldn’t be here today. Despite being outnumbered by the Pakistani Taliban, they snuck into the Taliban encampment in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, killed everyone, and rescued my family and me.”

Vladimir laughed. “Thank you for the vote of confidence, Major.” He turned to Ajit. “Fifteen million and no less. We must buy weapons, supplies, hire men, and pay bribes. In response to your questions, it will take no longer than eight weeks for our initial wake-up call. I’m sure our message will be in all of the papers.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

This week I finished reading Tom Galvin’s debut novel, The Auction. Join Sasha Cross, an a typical twenty-two-year-old in 2050. Or is she? Will she be one of the top prospects, referred to as a Series A, in the upcoming auction? Will her future be set and her family’s future secured? Or will she forge her own way forward and help the downtrodden categorized as Series D, who futures are bleak at best?

Tom has created a captivating plot which will keep you guessing on the outcome. Depending upon your own background, you’ll love or hate the myriad of characters in Sasha’s life. This is a real page turner and will keep you entertained until you finish the final page. I can’t wait to get my hands on Tom’s next novel!

That brings us to an end for another 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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 29, 2021

After a sunshine-filled day yesterday, we’re off to a cloudy and damp start for Sunday. The ground is dry, so a bit of help from Mother Nature won’t go amiss.

Yesterday was another artisan-market day. Seven of my novels sold, as did seven of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. In addition, people were starting to buy Christmas gifts (based on their comments) and eight pieces of my pyrography also sold. All-in-all, a great day!

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

“Worry is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 29th, the fifth Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Janus Pannonius, Hungarian poet and translator; John Locke, English empiricist philosopher; influential Enlightenment thinker and “Father of Liberalism” (Two Treatises of Government); Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and author (Old Ironsides); Juan Bautista Alberdi, Argentina political theorist and writer (Crime of War); Anna Ella Carroll, American politician and civil war writer (Reconstruction); Edward Carpenter, English poet and philosopher (Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure); Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet (Blue Bird, Nobel 1911); Valery-Nicolas Larbaud, French novelist and translator (Enfantines); Ehm Welk [Thomas Trimm], German writer; E. Franklin Frazier, American sociologist and author (The Negro Family in the United States); Preston Sturges [Edmund Biden], American director and screenwriter (Sullivan’s Travels); Ernst Kreuder, German writer (The Attic Pretenders); Joseph Wechsberg, Jewish-Czech writer (Looking For a Bluebird); Denys Hay, British historian; Emile Habibi, Palestinian Israeli writer (The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist); Thom Gunn, British poet (The Wound); Lise Payette, Quebec politician, writer and columnist; Hugo Brandt Corstius, Dutch essayist and mathematician; William Friedkin, American director, producer, writer (The Exorcist, The French Connection); Karen Hesse, American children’s book writer (Out of the Dust); and Michael P. Kube-McDowell, American sci-fi author (Enigma, Empery).

Any names familiar to you? I recognized John Locke and Oliver Wendell Holmes. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

Coming Soon!

Revenge-Cover-HRI completed the first micro edit pass of Revenge this week,  in-depth editing begins–going word-by-word, checking for anything that might need a tweak or correction.

I’m on track to send Revenge to my advance reader team around September 10th. They’ll have until the end of the month to provide feedback on anything that might still need an adjustment. All being well, Revenge will be release in October! There are already several people who purchased Colombian Betrayal at the markets I’ve attended who are waiting for its release.

With my concentration on Revenge, I didn’t get much opportunity to continue working on Ultimate Escalation. I hope to pick up speed on it during the next week.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles, Book 1) by Tim Tigner. Blamed for multiple murders he didn’t commit, Kyle is on the run with his dead brother’s girlfriend. Will they be able to prove who the culprits were before they end up with lengthy prison sentences or worse?

Tim created a riveting plot with plenty of twists and turns, which will keep you guessing who is behind the murders. This is definitely a page turner and highly recommended!

That brings us to an end for another 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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 8, 2021

Ever since the hot spell we had last month, the temperatures have returned to normal but make it seem like we’re already in autumn. The rain’s back, too; we’ve had heavy downpours the past three days.

On Friday and Saturday, We participated in another small business market at the local mall. There’s been as many as eighteen vendors. Things have been quiet thus far, perhaps because of the rain, as foot traffic is less than last month. Even so, I sold ten autographed copies of my novels, eighteen sheets of Sylvia’s laminated poetry, and several pieces of pyrography. Today’s the final day of the event for this month. Hopefully, we’ll have a good day!

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

“Don’t place your mistakes on your head, their weight may crush you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view your horizons.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 8th, the second Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Conrad Lycosthenes, French-born German humanist and encyclopedist; Adriaan W “Joris” van Geel, Flemish missionary (Bantu Dictionary); Johann C Adelung, German linguist/librarian; Hieronymus van Alphen, Dutch attorney/poet (church songs); Emilie Flygare-Carlén, Swedish novelist; Henry Osborn, Conn, paleontologist/author (52 Years of Research); Sara Teasdale, American poet (1st Pulitzer Prize-1918-“Love Songs”); Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, writer (Yearling); Wachtang Ananjan, writer; Andre Demedts, Flemish writer (Rainfall of the Days); Daan Wildschut, painter/glazenier/author; Gertrude Himmelfarb, American historian; Elis Juliana, Antillian writer/poet (Lady of the Night: A flower); Yuri Kasakow, Russian writer; Joan Mondale (née Adams;), American artist, author, and wife of US vice-president Walter Mondale; Terry Nation, writer (Dr Who, Blake 7); Randy Shilts, American journalist and author; Jostein Gaarder, Norwegian author; and Anastasia Ashman, American writer and digital strategist (GlobalNiche).

Any names familiar to you? I do recognize Joan Mondale and the  works of Randy Shilts. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the second edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 751. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

Retired CIA analyst Phil Price leaned back in his custom-built ergonomic chair and grinned. You can run, but I’ll always find you! He popped the top of his Diet Coke and took a swig. Just like old times—except the pay’s much better!

He swiped a hand through his thinning gray hair and typed a note to himself before turning back to the details he had uncovered. I have to be certain. Placing the tip of his index finger on the computer screen, he scanned the last report. He slapped a hand on the desk. You’re mine!

Phil jumped out of his chair, dashed out of the room, and ran down the hall. Pausing to catch his breath, he knocked on a closed door.

“Come in.”

Phil opened the door and stepped inside. “Sir, I … uh … have … some—”

“Take a deep breath and relax.” Javier grinned as he gestured to a chair. “Take a load off and stop calling me sir.”

“Yes, sir. I mean, Javier.” Phil sat. “I uncovered some information you might find interesting.”

“Go ahead.”

“I was researching the connections with the Islamic State trainers named Michael and Alberto. As you know, Michael died in the warehouse attack in Mexico, but no one knows what happened to Alberto.”

“What are your sources of the connections?”

“Uh…well…I forgot to tell the IT office I retired.” Phil gave a slight smile.

“Seems I still have access to several databases—at least through some backdoors I left. Not anything supersensitive, but enough for me to investigate these men.”

Javier struggled to maintain aa straight face. “I see.” He rubbed his chin and pursed his lips. “Can anything come back on you? I’d prefer we not end up in a cell together.”

Phil shook his head. “Unless the security guys are specifically looking for me, I doubt anyone will notice. Besides, I told AJ I was doing this.”

“What did she say?”

“She just rolled her eyes and told me to stay out of trouble.”

“I agree with her. Don’t tell me any more about your methods, so I have some plausible deniability if the authorities begin an investigation.”

Phil placed an index finger over his lips. “My lips are sealed. Shall I tell you what I found out?”

Javier nodded. “Take a seat and fill me in.”

“Okay.” Phil perched on the edge of a chair. “Before I retired, we learned Islamic State referred to Alberto as Abdul Rahman. He’s from Argentina.”

“What about Michael?”

“This is where it gets interesting. Michael was known as Mahmood. They also called him the Cockney.”

“From London?”

Phil nodded. “Yes. We knew the phone numbers used by both men. They’ve been silent since the warehouse attack. But…”

“But?” Javier raised a brow.

“Both men were in routine contact with a number in Madrid. The user of the Spanish number was confirmed as a recruiter for Islamic State.”

“I seem to recall some of this from AJ.”

Phil grinned. “Yes, but I wanted to bring you up to speed before I give you the latest information.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense. What’d you find out?”

“Calls between the Madrid number and the one in Virginia began a few days before you retired. Not often, but once or twice every ten days or so.”

“Who owns the Virginia number?”

“I’m still working on it. Perhaps Alberto is here looking for you?”

“A good guess.”  Javier sipped from a cold cup of coffee on his desk and grimaced. “I should have finished this earlier.”

“Do you want me to get you another one?”

Javier shook his head. “No thanks, Phil. My own fault.”

“There’s also something else.”

Next week will probably be the last snippet.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to almost complete chapter eleven of Ultimate Escalation. Just some things I need to verify before posting.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 214 reviews, and increase of fourover 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.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished reading an advance copy of End Game (The Harry Starke Novels Book 16) by Blair Howard. This is without a doubt my favorite Harry Starke story. With plenty of twists and turns in a well scripted plot, and larger-than-life things made worse when Harry finds out he has a doppelganger?

I won’t give anything away, so you’ll have to grab a copy to find out what happens. Needless to say, you’ll be turning the pages to find out how things end. A fantastic thrill to the last page!

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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, August 1, 2021

It’s hard to believe how fast July seemed to go by. At least we’ve been having some decent summer weather, although it’s turned cooler again.

Our crafts participated in another artisan market yesterday. Sales weren’t as good as last time, but Mother Nature played a part in this. Since the market was held on a local main street (high street), even though the vendors and their stalls were protected by gazebos, the foot traffic was minimal for half the day due to persistent rain. Once the sun popped out, so did people. I ended up autographing five of my novels, while seven of Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets went home with satisfied customers. Added to the mix were several pieces of pyrography and a couple of candles, so overall, still a decent outing.

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

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on August 1st, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Luís Vélez de Guevara, Spanish writer (El diablo cojuelo); Benedetto Marcello, Italian author and composer (Lettera Famigliare); Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, poet and composer of the lyrics to “Star-Spangled Banner”; Ivan Gagarin, Russian Jesuit and founding editor of Études; Richard Henry Dana Jr., American author (Two Years Before the Mast); Herman Melville, American author (Moby-Dick, Billy Budd); M. R. James, English scholar and author (Ghost Stories of an Antiquary); Rose Macaulay, English writer (The Towers of Trebizond); Isaac Keesing, Dutch publisher and founder (System Keesing); Constant Burniaux, Belgian writer (The Abandoned) and art historian (Temps Inquiets); Paul Horgan, American novelist (Mountain Standard Time); Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet (Kamouraska); Stanley Middleton, British novelist (Holiday, Three Wise Men); Jeffrey Segal, British actor and playwright (Dad’s Army, Traitors); Ernst Jandl, Austrian writer (Otto’s Pug); Ko Un, South Korean poet; Robert James Waller, American author (Bridges of Madison County); Étienne Roda-Gil, French songwriter and screenwriter; Brad Stephen “Taylor” Negron, American actor and writer (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Money); and James St. James, American author and nightlife personality.

Any names familiar to you? I’m familiar with the work of three: Francis Scott Key, Herman Melville, and Robert James Waller. 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

Throughout August, all of my novels are participating in a mystery, thriller, and suspense promotion. There are eighty-five novels available through this promotion, so you’re bound to find something of interest. Why not check these out–never know when you’ll come across your next favorite author.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/endsaug31mtspromotion/6ux5b5q47y

My Work in Progress

I completed the first edit pass of Revenge this week. There were another ten new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 741. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing well underway.

Here’s another snippet:

A tall, slender man, dressed only in Bermuda shorts and sandals, gazed out the open sliding doors of his two-story sanctuary perched on a prominent elevation across the South Shore.  He sipped his iced Dark ‘n Stormy as he rubbed the two puckered areas of skin on his lower right torso, the result of a recent altercation with a competitor.

“Good morning, sweetheart.”

Phoenix Vanidestine turned at the husky words spoken in a posh British accent by his long-time girlfriend, Zaine Greenly. “’Bout time you woke up—it’s almost noon.”

“I needed my beauty sleep.”

He chuckled. “You’re always a beauty.”

Zaine ran her hands through her long, straight blonde hair before stepping closer and taking his drink. She wrinkled her nose after tasting the Gosling Black Seal Rum and ginger beer. “Ugh. How can you drink this stuff?”

“What’s wrong with it? This is Bermuda’s national drink!”

“True. But, you’re not from Bermuda, so why not drink something that tastes better?” She ruffled his curly black hair. “Take me water skiing today.”

Phoenix shook his head. “Can’t. Too busy. There’s—”

“I know, I know. Business. But you’re the boss, so why aren’t you making the decisions?”

“I might be the boss of this part of the operation, but we’re just a small cog in the overall organization. Someone above me is calling the shots, and he wants his merchandise.”

Zaine pouted.  “I’m beginning to think you don’t love me anymore. You spend more time with those guys than you do with me.”

Phoenix wrapped his arms around her and gave a slight squeeze. “You’re the most important person in the world to me. However, I still have to earn a living.”

“Why can’t you have a normal nine-to-five job instead of one that takes you away at all hours?”

He shrugged. “You should have realized I’d be bored doing some mundane job.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Zaine rubbed his bullet-wound scars.  “I just worry the thrills you seek might lead to your death.”

“Not to worry.” Phoenix puffed out his chest. “I’m golden—nothing can harm me.” I hope. “Let’s have brunch before I head to—”

More next time.

Although I concentrated on my editing of Revenge, I still managed to complete chapter ten of Ultimate Escalation. 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 210 reviews, and increase of eleven 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.

Books I’m Reading

I recently finished Cosega Search, the first book in the Cosega Sequence series by Brandt Legg. This was the first of Brandt’s novels that I’ve read. Although there are numerous novels about something being found which might destroy the Vatican and its teachings, the adventures of Ripley Gaines, an archeologist, was a very enjoyable read.

With plenty of twists and turns in the plot and larger-than-life characters, I found myself staying up late burning the proverbial midnight oil to find out what happened next. Who are friends and who are enemies? You’ll have to buy a copy and sort this out for yourself. Although I normally prefer novels which wrap everything up by the final page, this one is worth going to the next book in the series. Look forward to reading more.

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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 18, 2021

It’s been the hottest week of the summer thus far, with historical average temperatures being beaten by twenty degrees (F) on a daily basis. Today we’re off to a bit cooler start, with a slight chance of a later afternoon shower. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the pleasant weather while it lasts!

small business marketAs I mentioned last time, Sylvia and I participated in a small business market at the local mall, along with around twenty vendors, although we were the only authors. While last Sunday was quiet for everyone, overall we did quite well, with fourteen autographed copies of my novels being sold and eighteen of Sylvia’s poetry sheets. We were absolutely delighted!

On the first day of the event, a customer bought Mission: Angola. He came back Sunday afternoon to tell me my writing was as good as, if not better, than one of his favorite authors, Clive Cussler. What a compliment!

I’ve also been contact by a couple of people who picked up business cards and wanted to know when we’ll be back as they want to purchase some books. The next small business market will be 6-8 August at the Kinsgate mall, Dunfermline (same location as last time). The photo above was taken by one of our stall’s customers and posted on Twitter.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley

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

Zacharias Ursinus, German theologist (Heidelberger Catechism); Saverio Bettinelli, Italian Jesuit writer; Gilbert White, English naturalist (Natural History and Antiquities of Selborn); William Makepeace Thackeray, British novelist (Vanity Fair); Tristan Corbière, French poet; Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer; Ricarda Huch, German writer and historian “First Lady of German humanism”; Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina); Manuel Gálvez, Argentine novelist (La maestra normal); Sydney Horler, English detective writer (Checkmate); Nathalie Sarraute [Tcherniak], French writer (Childhood, Portrait of a Man Unknown, The Golden Fruits); Clifford Odets, American dramatist (1961 Award of Merit-Golden Boy); Harry Levin, American literary scholar; Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (paradigm shift); Robert Sloman, English screenwriter; Margaret Laurence, Canadian writer (The Stone Angel); Ludwig Harig, German writer; Simon Vinkenoog, Dutch writer and poet; Aad Nuis, Dutch writer and political scientist; Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet (Bratsk Station); Edward Bond, English playwright and director (Blow-up); and Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

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

The 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:

Charlie and Sam donned their Ray-Bans and walked through the terminal’s exit into the intense sunlight.  They headed to a nearby taxi rank, choosing a silver Hyundai van, and handed the driver their luggage.

The driver turned to Charlie. “Welcome to Bermy. First time here? Do you need a hotel?”

Charlie glanced back at the building. “Thank you. Yes, our first time here, but we are waiting for two more people.” He pointed. “Here they come.”

Wild and TJ approached the taxi and tossed their luggage in the back.

After closing the rear of the vehicle, everyone climbed inside.

As they pulled away, the driver tapped his horn and cut off an empty taxi. “Arryone, I am Felix. Wopnin?”

Charlie and the others glanced at one another before he turned to Felix. “Is that anything like what’s happenin’?”

Felix laughed. “You’re too smart for me. Most tourists don’t have a clue what I’m saying when I use our island slang.” A grin spread across his face. “All de onions will try it on you.”

“Onions?”

“At one time, onions were a major export from Bermuda, so those born and bred here became known as onions. What hotel?”

“The Oxford House in Hamilton. How long will it take?”

Felix nodded. “An excellent bed and breakfast. Since there is only one road from de airport, traffic is always slow. Today? Perhaps twenty minutes, but maybe forty.” He shrugged. “We find out.”

They left the airport, merging toward the exit. At the first roundabout, the van lurched to a stop. “Sorry. Must be a tourist in front of us.” Felix laughed. “Once we get on De Causeway, we will pass him.”

When an opening appeared in the traffic, Felix gunned the engine, taking the first left onto The Causeway and whipping past the slow-moving car. He tapped his horn and waved. “De water we are passing is called Castle Harbour.  We will take de North Shore Road to Hamilton.”

Charlie glanced at the pastel-colored buildings interspersed with small copses hugging the road. As they continued toward Hamilton, various businesses dotted the landscape.

The van swayed as Felix alternated between braking for vehicles in their way to dashing into oncoming traffic to pass anything in his way. After a series of turns in Hamilton, the van screeched to a halt in front of The Oxford House. He checked the clock on the dash. “Twenty-eight minutes. An excellent time.”

Everyone climbed out of the taxi and converged at the rear of the vehicle to collect their belongings.

“How much?” Charlie pulled out his wallet.

 “Let’s see. Ten miles from the airport, so that is thirty-two dollars and sixty-five cents.” Felix raised a hand and pointed at their roll-around suitcases and backpacks. “Plus, one dollar for every piece of luggage.” He grinned. “Because I like you, make it forty dollars.”

Charlie raised a brow, pulled out two twenties and a five-dollar note, and handed the money to Felix.

Chingas!” Felix pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. “If you need a taxi or a guided tour while you are in Bermy, give me a call, and I give you de business rate.” He shook their hands. “Enjoy!”

More next time.

Slide1Work is also progressing with Ultimate Escalation. Chapters eight and nine were completed this week and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use.

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 191 reviews.

Once I pull Revenge from the two writing sites, I’ll also stop posting snippets here and begin with ones from Ultimate Escalation.

Books I’m Reading

I recently reread, The Fulcrum: A Rex Dalton Thriller by JC Ryan. If you’ve read any of JC’s work you know how good it is. The Fulcrum is the first book in the series, and is an excellent introduction to Rex’s character and what makes him tick. While some readers might not like the main character for a variety of reasons, it’s important to the series to know how Rex became the man he now is. Well worth the read!

I also read by Wired Secret: Vigilante Justice Thrillers Series (Paradise Crime Thrillers Book 7) by Toby Neal. An intricate plot and realistic characters make for an exciting read as Sophie Ang deals with personal demons while assisting the U.S. Marshall’s Service in protecting a witness. Before long, Sophie is also in the sights of the same person after the witness.

She also finds out more about her mother and tries to decide which man is best for her. There’s plenty of action and great twists to keep the story moving forward. Look forward to reading more of Toby’s work.

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

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, July 27, 2021

After a long hiatus due to Covid, we finally secured a craft table yesterday at an event which has resumed with the lifting of most restrictions. My novels and Sylvia’s laminated poetry sheets took center stage, with our candles and pyrography filled up our allocation.

Nine of Sylvia’s poetry sheets sold, along with eight of my novels, as well as some of the candles and pyrography. All-in-all, a good day!

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/): “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” 

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

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Indian novelist (Anandamath); Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (Under the Yoke); Lafcadio Hearn, American author (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan); Emma Goldman, American anarchist and publisher (Mother Earth); Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet and novelist (Oak & Ivory); Helen Keller, American political activist, author (The Story of My Life) and lecturer, who was the 1st deaf-blind person to earn a BA; Lewis Bernstein Namier, English historian; Ajla Rachmanova, Russian-Austrian author (Students); Catherine Cookson, English novelist (Bannaman Legacy); Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet (Ballad of Mari Lwyd); João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands); Alexander Pola [Abraham Polak], Dutch actor and writer (Cassata); Robert Aickman, English writer and conservationist (co-founding the Inland Waterways Association); Herbert Ziergiebel, German writer; Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian writer (Nyamekye); Joachim Wohlgemuth, German writer; Lucille Clifton, American poet (Two-Headed Woman); James P. Hogan, British sci-fi author (Giants’ Star); and J. J. Abrams, American writer, producer and director (Lost, Star Wars: the Force Awakens).

Any names familiar to you? I’m certainly familiar with Catherine Cookson.  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 started the editing process of Revenge. Over the past week, there were another twenty-five new chapter reviews, bringing the total number to 705. As always, plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing and very timely with editing on the horizon.

Here’s another snippet:

Sam, Wild, and TJ hoisted their beer bottles before taking a sip. A waiter slid a bowl of hot, salty popcorn on the table, winding his way through the tables and dropping off additional servings.

Wild took a long swig of his beer. “Man, I needed that. What a day! Those driving instructors are crazy!”

Sam laughed. “I know what you mean. When I went to the first test, I stopped as requested by the two armed guards at the checkpoint. One came up to the window and tapped on the glass with his AK-47. He spoke in the worst Spanish I’ve ever heard.” She grabbed a handful of popcorn and tossed a couple of kernels into her mouth. “He wanted my identification. I ended up shoving it through the window vent. After he glanced at it, he gave it back through the vent and waved us through.”

“So, what happened?”

“After we drove away, the instructor said I came up with a great way to provide what the guard wanted without rolling the window down.” Sam grinned. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him I did that because the main window wouldn’t come down.”

Everyone laughed and drained their bottles as full ones were set on the table.

“That’s nothing.” Wild chewed some popcorn before washing it down. “My instructor asked me why I sped toward a vehicle trying to back onto the road. A guy stood with his hand in the air for me to stop. I was going to when another stepped out with an AK-47. I was too close to back up, so I gunned it. The instructor finally agreed with my decision, although he said I should be more cautious.” He turned to TJ. “Anything exciting?”

“Not really. My instructor got mad when I swore. We came across a roadblock that I couldn’t bust through—two vehicles blocked the way, with a third one behind. When I began to reverse, the engine cut out. I hollered, ‘Shit!’ and started to climb out of the car when the instructor said the exercise was over. He then admonished me for swearing because he didn’t think the situation warranted it, although he did have a grin plastered across his face. He used the engine kill switch to disable the vehicle to see how I would respond.”

“Well, we survived our day of driving.” Sam stood. “I’m looking forward to the weapons stuff tomorrow.” She pointed to the sign for the restrooms. “Be right back.”

When Sam returned, they drained their glasses. “Pizza?” Sam pointed to the Pizza Hut sign down the street.

“Sure, but I want one to myself.” TJ rubbed his stomach. “What I don’t eat now I’ll have later or for breakfast.”

“Works for me.” Wild yawned. “After we eat, I’m heading back to the hotel to crash. Be another busy day tomorrow.”

More next time.

Books I’m Reading

With all of the editing and external events this week, I didn’t finish the novel I’m currently reading. All being well, I’ll present my review next time.

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

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 4, 2021

For those who recognize today as Easter, Happy Easter! For those who don’t have a super Sunday!

The weather’s been crazy this week. While there’s been plenty of sunshine, the thermometer is going in the wrong direction. The past three mornings we’ve either had frost or heavy dew. Up to two inches of snow is forecast beginning tonight through tomorrow afternoon, with more flurries throughout the week. What happened to ‘April shows bring May flowers?’ I just hope the spring plants survive the week!

On another front, the Covid lockdown is starting to ease, with the stay at home order rescinded. It’s been replaces by a stay local mandate for the next three weeks. A variety of facilities will open tomorrow, including garden centres (nurseries), homeware stores, auto dealerships, hairdressers, and barbers. Hopefully, things will continue to improve.

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you have ever imagined.” (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 April 4th. (Compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays

William Strachey, English writer (early history of the English colonisation of North America); Bettina von Arnim, German writer and composer of the Romantic era (This Book Belongs to the King); Thomas Mayne Reid, Irish-American novelist (The Headless Horseman); Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and biographer (Beleaguered City); Comte de Lautréamont, French writer (Les Chants de Maldoror); Remy de Gourmont, French poet; George P Baker, American educator and playwright (47 Workshop); Charles Earle Funk, American lexicographer (Funk & Wagnalls); Zdzisław Żygulski, Sr., Polish literary historian; Tristan Tzara [Samuel Rosenfeld] Romanian-French poet (Approximate Man); Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, French poet and author (Lutin Sauvage); Stanley G. Weinbaum, American sci-fi author (Martian Odyssey); Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author (Cheaper by the Dozen); Jerome Weidman, American writer (Tenderloin); Marguerite Duras, French novelist and playwright (Sea Wall); Jan Drda, Czech writer (Nema Barikada, Mestecko Na Dlani); Lars Ahlin, Swedish writer (My Death is My Own); Emmett Williams, American poet; Maya Angelou [Marguerite Johnson], American author (“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”), poet and actress (Nyo-Roots); Trevor Griffiths, English playwright (Absolute Beginners); Ian St James, novelist (Balfour Conspiracy, Vengeance, Money Stones); Kitty Kelley, American journalist and author (Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra); Dan Simmons, American sci-fi and horror writer (Song of Kali); David E. Kelley, American writer and TV producer (Picket Fences, Chicago Hope); and Cazuza, Brazilian poet, singer and composer.

Were any names familiar to you? I found two: Charles Earle Funk, Maya Angelou.  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), comprising seventy-three action & adventure, mystery & suspense, and sci-fi & fantasy/horror novels. My novels are all available through Kindle Unlimited. This promotion runs through April 15th, so don’t miss out!

My Work in Progress

While I did spend some time outdoors this week when the weather permitted, I also managed to complete another chapter of Revenge, the sequel to Colombian Betrayal. Last week, I mentioned I had completed chapter twenty-seven. That was a bit premature, as it was chapter twenty-six. However, the next chapter had now been completed and posted to the two online subscription writing sites I use. Over the past week, there were another eleven new chapter reviews,  bringing the total number of chapter reviews to 429. Plenty of useful suggestions as always to improve my writing. I hope to get back to working on this novel this coming week.

Here’s this week’s snippet:

A woman stirred from a fetal position on the concrete floor. She raised her head, and an eye eased open. Dim light emanated from a solitary fixture on the ceiling at the bottom of a set of stairs. Faint footsteps came from above.

She pushed himself to a kneeling position on a rug spread underneath her. A whimper escaped from swollen lips. She touched her face. Dried blood crusted her upper lip.

“Help.” The woman gasped. “Please. Someone. Help. Me.”

She collapsed.

* * *

Heidi awoke to darkness. Something scurried across the floor. A blanket was draped over her. She felt around—still clothed. She passed out again.

* * *

After she regained consciousness, the same dim light cast eerie shadows around the room. Next to her, a bottle of water and a sandwich wrapped in plastic.

She drank half of the lukewarm water. She wet her fingers and dabbed around her nose and mouth to rinse off the dried blood. Voices in the distance—strange, yet familiar.

Heidi pulled the sandwich from the bag and sniffed. “Ugh—I hate peanut butter.”

Her stomach growled in response.

She nibbled along the edge of the bread to minimize eating the filling, turning the sandwich as she progressed. When she finished, Heidi drained the remainder of the water and lay back down on the rug.

Tears trickled down her face.

***

The door at the top of the stairs banged open. A second light popped on, illuminating Heidi’s prison. Footsteps rushed down the steps.

“Get up!” Someone wearing a clown mask kicked Heidi in the ribs.

She groaned, grabbing her side. “Stop! Please stop! Why are you doing this to me?”

“I want information about your boss—you will tell me everything, or you’ll be sorry.”

Heidi struggled to a sitting position and stared at the man. “My boss is married—has three kids. I—”

More next time.

I recently finished Ancients: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon. What’s causing earthquakes around the world at an alarming rate? Will the brainy people at the Event Group, be able to identify the source and put a stop to the chaos before the world is destroyed? How does the fabled city of Atlantis feature in the story? 

David’s plot is thrilling and will keep you turning the pages until you find out the answers. For those who are particular about accuracy, things like private first corporal (PFC) might throw you for a loop, but it’s still an exciting read. I look forward to reading more of David’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

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