Thursday, April 30, 2020

#52WeeksofGratitude - Week 18

The Weather

Bring on the rain, thunderstorms and rainbows.  Being a desert dweller my whole life, I’ve come to appreciate the drama of a sudden desert storm, and the power behind it.  Our storms are not gentle, they are usually announced by a deafening clap of thunder and pounding rain, albeit short lived. 

Love and Peace,  


Why do this?

To exercise fingers on the keyboard.

It’s only one post a week.

Positivity is a great energy conductor.

I have lots to be grateful for!

It’ll be fun! (maybe?)

Join me, if you dare.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Author Randall Krzak

Colombian Betrayal
A Bruce and Smith Thriller
Book One
Randall Krzak

Genre: action-adventure thriller, political thriller, suspense thriller
Publisher: Randall Krzak Books
Date of Publication: March 30, 2020 (Kindle)

ISBN: 0978944100

ISBN-13: 978-0978944100

Number of pages:  330
Word Count: 82,039

Cover Artist: Matt at

Tagline:  Colombian Betrayal exposes the death and violence behind the entangled interactions between governments, revolutionaries, terrorists, and drug lords.

Book Description: 

Colombian Betrayal tears the cover off the drug trade and exposes the death, and violence behind the twisted connections between governments, revolutionaries, terrorists, and drug lords.

Watch as an unholy alliance is formed when the profits of a Columbian drug lord Olivia Moreno, begin disappearing and deadly new international competitors appear on the horizon.

Moreno, head of the Barranquilla Cartel, strikes a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Little does she know she is signing her own death warrant! FARC has a group wanting a foothold in South America—the Islamic State, and she is in the way.

On the run, Moreno is captured by a CIA team. She spins a tale to use her money and manpower to destroy ISIS in an effort to save herself. Laws and rules of engagement are meaningless to Moreno, her life and her family are her only concern. Will the CIA leader fall for her offer?

Will team leader AJ Bruce strike a deal to turn the tables on Islamic State? Can she stop them from launching an attack on the United States? Or will she be too late?

Is it worth trading control of Afghanistan’s poppy fields with Moreno as a reward for her cooperation? Or is Bruce playing her in an attempt to double-cross her and kill two birds with one stone?

Get your copy today, and watch this high stakes game of kill or be killed.

Amazon     Amazon AU     Amazon CA     Amazon UK

Excerpt  2 (947 words)

AJ Bruce weaved through heavy traffic on the Capital Beltway. She alternated between leaning on the horn and cursing at slower motorists.
“Late again. I don’t need this!” She slammed a hand on the steering wheel of her gunmetal gray Honda Pilot. “Boss is gonna kill me.”
She slipped to the right around a banged-up clunker, her vehicle bouncing on the rough shoulder. AJ 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!” AJ urged the cars in front to move faster. At last, her turn came. She flashed her badge at the sensor and shot past the barricade. She grabbed a pass from the console, flung the placard on the dash, jumped out of her car, and raced inside.
Once through the turnstile, she rushed to the elevator, the one-inch heels of her black leather shoes clicking on the tiled floor. Two minutes later, AJ waltzed into her section and made her way to the boss’s office, stopping at a kiosk on the way for a cup of black coffee.
“AJ, so glad you could join us today.” Robert Lintstone, head of the counter-terrorism division responsible for tracking terrorists in Latin America, sneered as he half-bowed and waved her to a seat. “What’s your excuse this time?”
Prick. As if I’d tell him in front of others. He’s always talking about the need to know. Staying out all night after the class reunion is my own business. Flicking her long, brown hair, AJ slid into a chair and glanced around the table. Four of her staff occupied seats, with empty coffee mugs in front of them. Within easy reach, notepads were covered with several lines of writing. Damn! I’m really late—wonder what they already covered? She tried to sneak a peek at the pad nearest her. The person smiled and turned it so she could read.
A stranger with black hair in a military cut, piercing green eyes, and olive complexion sat opposite her. Silver eagles of a full colonel adorned the epaulets of his uniform. His nametag read Smith.
Lintstone rubbed a hand through his thinning gray hair and cleared his throat. “There are indications the Islamic State is attempting to gain a foothold in our territory. They’ve already infiltrated a number of countries around the world. We’re trying to ascertain the validity of the intel before we make a move.”
“What’s the source?” AJ scribbled on a notepad while her boss spoke.
“Two sensitive contacts, both unconfirmed. One reported Islamic State purchased an old freighter from an Iranian corporation through a cutout. They’re using the Liberian-flagged ship as a floating command post. The other stated IS training camps are being set up in Colombia and Panama.” He shook his head before peering at them through thick glasses. “It might be a smart move on their part since no one would believe they had willing conscripts in these countries.”
Lintstone pounded a fist on his desk. The civilians flinched. “Dammit, people! We need collaborative intel. Fast! Someone check with NSA and Homeland Security. Find out if they can help. Call State as well, but I doubt they’ll be of any use.”
A tall, thin man with receding gray hair vaulted from his chair. “On it, sir.” He hurried from the room before Lintstone added any further instructions.
“Contact the British and the Canadians, too. Perhaps they’ll share with us, although there’ll be a quid pro quo.”
A bald man, on the heavy side, lumbered to his feet with the use of a cane. “Will do, chief.”
“Don’t offer any more than necessary.”
“Yes, sir.” The man limped through the doorway, banging the door shut behind him.
Lintstone glared at two women sitting at the end of the table. “Well, what are you waiting for? An invitation? Back to your computers and analyze. Contact NGA—see if the geospatial folks know more than they’ve shared. Find me something—anything to point us in the right direction.”
The women nodded and left.
“What about us, boss?” AJ gestured toward the colonel to include him in her question.
“This is Colonel Javier Smith, First Special Forces Operational Detachment. He’s here as an advisor. Colonel, meet AJ Bruce, my troubleshooter.”
AJ gazed at the colonel. “So you’re Delta Force?”
“Yes, but I’m not just here to advise.” He glanced at Lintstone. “This will be my last time in the field before taking up a new assignment at the Pentagon. That’s why I’m in uniform today. I met with my new commander earlier, and he’s a stickler for proper military etiquette and attire. Didn’t have time to change before this meeting.”
Both stood and walked around the table to shake hands. The colonel dwarfed AJ’s five-foot-ten-inch frame by six inches. AJ noted a thin scar running from his left ear to his chin. After a firm squeeze, both returned to their seats.
“You’ll be working togeth—”
AJ pursed her lips. “Sir, I work alone.” Oh great. Just what I need—a special forces guerrilla tagging along. But, least he’s cute.
“Not this time. Orders from above.”
“Don’t worry, AJ, you won’t slow me down.” His bass voice resonating, Colonel Smith smiled.
“Excuse me, Colonel, I don’t want you to be in my way.” AJ crossed her arms. A frown etched her face.
“You two finished?” Lintstone glanced at both of them. “Good. You’re working together—no debate.”

“Yes, boss.” AJ dragged the words out.

About the Author:

Randall Krzak is a U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. His residency abroad qualifies him to build rich worlds in his action-adventure novels and short stories. Familiar with customs, laws, and social norms, he promotes these to create authentic characters and scenery.

His first novel, The Kurdish Connection, was published in 2017, and the sequel, Dangerous Alliance, was released in November2018. Both placed in the 2018 Global Thriller Book Awards sponsored by Chanticleer International Book Awards, with The Kurdish Connection finishing as a semi-finalist and Dangerous Alliance being selected as one of seven first in category winners. The third novel in the series, Carnage in Singapore, was released in August 2019, and is currently a semi-finalist in the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards. He also penned "A Dangerous Occupation," a winning entry in the August 2016Wild Sound Writing and Film Festival Review short story category.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a general Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Focus, both from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. He currently resides with his wife, Sylvia, and six cats in Dunfermline, Scotland. He's originally from Michigan, while Sylvia is a proud Scot. In addition to writing, he enjoys hiking, reading, candle making, pyrography, and sightseeing.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

#52WeeksofGratitude - Week 17

Something You Take for Granted


I always think I’ll have enough.  But, I should know by now that I don’t.  I’ve loved and lost several very important people in my life way too soon, and it should have taught me the very important lesson of: ”you never know how much time you have left.”

Yet, I still procrastinate on the important things.  Do you?


Love and Peace,  


Why do this?

To exercise fingers on the keyboard.

It’s only one post a week.

Positivity is a great energy conductor.

I have lots to be grateful for!

It’ll be fun! (maybe?)

Join me, if you dare.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Author Kay Phoenix

How does one go on a midweek escape while in "The Great Pause"?  How about escaping into a nice book? 

Or, one of the things that I love to do is a little armchair traveling on Google Earth. Sometimes I have a destination in mind, sometimes just a country.  I've walked cobblestone paths in forgotten villages in France, and traversed busy freeways in Los Angeles.  I've re-visited the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem (a favorite of places I've actually been to).  I've researched streets of London for future travels, so I can pick hotels or air bnb's close to where I want to be.

I've even walked along streets so I could find the name of a restaurant that I visited once, so I could look them up and drool over the menu.

Armchair travel can be inspiring and fun.  You don't need sunscreen, or a map. You just need a wild imagination.

As an author who likes to include specific locations in her stories, Google Maps is one of my favorite tools. I never want to be that author that gets the directions or the time of travel wrong.  I've lived in Las Vegas all my life, and it bugs me when authors or directors get my city layout wrong.  :-)

So, take a trip with me. 

Title: Steele and Stone

Author/pen name:  Kay Phoenix

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication:  November 2, 2016


Number of pages: 133

Word Count:  42,000


Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She paints. She hikes. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks.

The only cougars Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.

But, when his acquisition firm sets its sights on Elle's family business, his tidy life goes awry. As things unravel, so do all his preconceived notions of love and what makes a perfect partner.

Buy links:


“So, how are you feeling today?” a familiar voice asked behind him. He didn’t have to turn to know who it was, but he turned anyway, temporarily forgetting about his sunburn until he saw the shocked expression on her face.
“Whoa! No sunblock either? I had some, you could have asked,” she giggled. “That’ll peel for sure.”
Blue! Brilliant, shimmering blue eyes. He hadn’t seen her eyes during their hike, as they’d been hidden behind sunglasses the whole time, and he’d always been a sucker for blue eyes. Her blonde hair hung long, loose and wavy as she leaned casually against the doorframe.
“I see you’ve already made yourself quite at home,” she said. “Randall told me he let you use the conference room.”
“What are you doing here?” he asked in a tone that sounded a bit too firm.
“Oh, no ‘How are you?’ or ‘Nice to see you?’” She tilted her head to the side, causing a loose curl to graze her breast.
He turned back to the coffee. “I didn’t mean to sound rude. You just surprised me.”

Author bio:

Ms. Phoenix is a rare bird herself...a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She belonged to Las Vegas Romance Writers and served on the board for ten years. She was also a member of Romance Writers of America with PAN status.

Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for fifteen years in the casino industry and holds degrees in both Graphic Arts and Psychology. Currently she works in an elementary school library. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and photography. 

Kay has been blessed to be able to travel many places, which inspired her to host a weekly author spotlight called “Midweek Escapes” on her blog. It features guest author’s favorite vacation destinations, their travel tips, and, of course, information about their book releases and occasional giveaways.

Author website and social media links:




Thursday, April 16, 2020

#52WeeksofGratitude - Week 16

Simple Things in Life

Food. Shelter.

Aren’t those the bare necessities?  My son had an assignment at school to write things that he needed as opposed to things he wanted.  One of the things he listed was ice cream, and he got marked off for it. 

But, it made me think…isn’t ice cream a necessity?  Isn’t a little play and fun, a simple necessity of life?  I think so.

Head to an ice cream shop and treat yourself today.  Why not?

Love and Peace,  


Why do this?

To exercise fingers on the keyboard.

It’s only one post a week.

Positivity is a great energy conductor.

I have lots to be grateful for!

It’ll be fun! (maybe?)

Join me, if you dare.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Author Kenneth A. Baldwin

The Crimson Inkwell
The Luella Winthrop Trilogy
Book One
Kenneth A. Baldwin

Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Eburnean Books
Date of Publication: May 8th, 2019

ISBN: 1095674749
Number of pages: 277
Word Count: 97,000
Cover Artist: Vikncharlie

Tagline: A Gaslamp Fantasy Novel

The Crimson Inkwell is a story about journalist Luella Winthrop. In her journey to become Dawnhurst-on-Severn's most acclaimed writer, she discovers that her city houses dark, magical secrets too uncomfortable to believe.

When an enigmatic carnival worker offers her a pen that can turn fiction to fact, she quickly learns that tampering with the unknown can be intoxicating, lucrative, and dangerous.

Book Description:

Magic exists where we cannot see.

It lives in unexplained phenomena, in attraction to strangers, in a pen and crimson inkwell, from a trunk, in a tent, at a fair, in the fog.

I didn't believe in magic.

Before he died, my father taught me the world was solid. Reporting was more like science, anyway. Hard facts. Logical inferences. Of course, I wasn't exactly an award-winning reporter so what did I know about it? But, when Detective Edward Thomas told me he had seen a phantom, something woke up inside of me. I could have tried to dismiss it as a trick of the lamplight, but how else could I explain the body on the cobblestones?

Instead, I simply believed him, and not just because he was arrestingly handsome. I was engaged, after all, to a sensible, though older man--the same man who published my articles, in fact.

No. I believed him because somewhere, deep down, I knew magic was real. What's worse, I knew it was a part of me. The detective's ghost story had just woken me up.

As soon as I accepted this truth, everything changed. My writing career, my family, my domestic prospects, and my freedom.

What woman, pray tell, can fit three men and a writing career in her life and still keep her sanity?

But there I landed.

Byron was my fiancé. He was sensible. He could provide a modest life of means for my sister and me. He could also continue to publish my little articles in his weekly magazine. He adored me.

Edward was my detective, so good and true, straight as an arrow and noble as a knight. He inspired me to be something more. But, I could never live up to such a high standard.

Bram was a mystery. Who could say where his life had taken him before he met me or what adventures he had endured. Everything he did was curious. I was drawn to him in ways I didn't understand.

Could I escape this journey with my engagement intact? Which course would lead me down a road to the woman my father always believed I should be?

And why did I feel so angry all the time?

My fingers still have that enchanted twitch even as I peck these words out on an old typewriter. Before another episode comes, let me tell you what happened that fateful autumn in Dawnhurst-on-Severn. . .


“Excuse me,” I said, after clearing my throat.
“Who’s missing?” The clerk didn’t look up.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Missing persons will file with Ms. Turner down the hall.”
“I’m not here to report a missing person,” I replied. This was enough to give the clerk at least a moment’s pause. He glanced his terrier of a face up at me and squinted one eye in the lamplight.
“Has your husband beat you?”
“I’m not married. I’m looking for Sergeant George Cooper.”
“Sarge, you’ve got a visitor!” he bellowed down the hallway behind him before turning back to me. “Right down the hallway, Miss. He’ll be happy to have a visitor that isn’t a felon. I guess, assuming you’re not here to turn yourself in… You aren’t uh, you know, soliciting wares and suddenly discovered religion if you catch my meaning?”
This I did not grace with a verbal response. Instead, I leveled my eyes at him the way I used to as governess of an impish child, took off my gloves menacingly, and started down the hall.
“Please have a seat,” said whom I presumed to be the Ms. Turner the clerk had mentioned. She wore a tweed skirt and vest, and her hair was done up into what was once a bun. She too was busy in paperwork, pounding away furiously at a typewriter. I brushed off a filthy chair and waited. I watched Ms. Turner for some time, wondering what pathway may have brought her to this desk. She appeared older than me. It’s difficult to guess the age of women around the middle of their lives, but the gentle lines around her eyes hinted to me that she was now closer to forty than thirty. I noticed no wedding ring.
I felt an almost immediate kinship to Ms. Turner. It wasn’t a large stretch to imagine that I was looking at myself in ten years, pounding away at a typewriter, perhaps trying to publish works of my own in my spare time outside of my professional duties.
I have Byron now. I had to remind myself about my fiancé so often. How silly. Even when I was here on his bidding, for his publication no less.
“I wasn’t drinking on the job, sir!” I heard a man’s raised voice through the sergeant’s door.
Ms. Turner slowly looked up at me. “They all say that.”
The door swung wide open, and I was struck by what I could only assume was the model for a police force figurine. The man had an acutely trim waistline that stretched up into a broad chest and shoulders. His hair was combed impeccably, as if each strand dared not stray from its assigned position. His eyes, alert and lively, were peculiarly warm for being steely grey. His brow furrowed, and his neatly trimmed policeman’s mustache curved downward into a disconcerting frown.
He swept through the office door and stood erect, as though he was at a self-called attention. Behind him, the large Sergeant George Cooper, a man whom I could only describe as a younger, meaner looking Father Christmas, filled the doorway.
“I don’t want outlandish stories, Lieutenant. I want arrests. I want brigands behind bars. I want young do-it-alls like you to stop trying to turn every little case into the next apocalypse,” Sergeant Cooper stammered. He was only mostly red in the face.
The young lieutenant stood and, though he looked thoroughly unamused, took the tongue lashing admirably.
“You’ve got a visitor,” butted in Ms. Turner. Sergeant Cooper looked at me, and his expression instantly melted into a rehearsed sympathy.
“Ma’am, my deepest apologies,” he said, putting his hand on his heart. “Do you have a missing person to report?”
“No,” I stuttered. “I’m here… do you get a lot of missing persons?”
“Most of the women we see in here are reporting a missing husband or, regrettably, a missing child,” he replied.
“I’m sorry to hear that. But, and, well, I’m not sure how to put this exactly. I’m here from Langley’s Miscellany, and I—”
Before I could finish my sentence, the warm expression on Sergeant Cooper’s face melted away.
“You’re a reporter. Thank you, Miss, but the door’s over there.” He turned and retreated back into his office. I stuck my foot in the door, which was more painful than I thought it might be.
“I don’t want to be a bother. I’m just curious about the latest. I don’t mean to fabricate anything or inflate your efforts. I just—”
“You just want to be first to know about the dreadful muck the police force deals with each day.”
“Well, yes,” I replied.
“Like I said, Miss, the door is over there. I have a lot to do.” He put on a pair of spectacles and sat down at his desk. I felt a burn creep up my cheeks. It was one thing to be denied, another to be rejected right in front of a woman I had suddenly come to admire and a deeply handsome police lieutenant. The propriety!
“Please, you knew my father,” I said. He looked up at me over his spectacles. They were comically small for his large face. “Gerald Winthrop.”
“Jerry Winthrop?” the sergeant said with a laugh. “Devils blind me. You were the scrap of a thing always hiding in the corner, thinking we couldn’t see you.”
I nodded. He barked out a triumphant laugh.
“Your father was a hell of a man! Always sticking his nose in places it didn’t belong. Any mate of his in trouble, he’d be here before a spit trying to talk their way out it.” He stared into the air as if he could see my father in the office presently. “How is Jerry doing? I got into more arguments with him. He could take a yelling and deal it out in turn. If only my lieutenants had half the backbone. We exchanged words like lads in a fistfight.”
“Well, I hope you got the last word in then,” I said. His countenance dropped sharply.
“You don’t mean—how’d it happen?”
“Fever. Or something like that. I never did get a straight answer from the doctors.” I hated doctors. A fair majority of them might as well be bunkmates with critics.
“Doctors are thieves,” the sergeant said.
“I’m very sorry for your loss, Miss,” said a clear voice behind me. They were the first words the lieutenant said to me. The purity in his voice took me off guard. After losing my father, I’d heard “I’m sorry for your loss” time and time again. In nearly every case, it was mere etiquette, obligation, and passing fancy, as though someone might check a box of a tidy little list somewhere by saying the appropriate thing. This man, whom I barely knew, sounded arrestingly sincere.
I turned toward him, and he bowed slightly. Behind him, Ms. Turner slid into focus with two very inquisitive eyebrows.
“Yes, well, this is Lieutenant Edward Thomas. He’s our resident… bleeding heart and imaginist,” Sergeant Cooper said. Edward extended a hand.
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” I said. His eyes were smothering. I couldn’t seem to escape them. He had no shyness about looking a stranger squarely in the face, that’s for certain.
“The pleasure is mine,” I managed. “Imaginist?” I inquired of the sergeant.
“No doubt in it. In fact, Lieutenant Thomas may be exactly what you’re looking for,” he said with a coy smile.
“I’m engaged,” I spit out.
Sergeant Cooper erupted into an ungraciously loud belly laugh. I noticed Ms. Turner turn her face down to suppress a giggle as well. Edward flushed.
“I’m sure you are. I meant for the stories you’ve been looking for,” Cooper said. I immediately felt feverish as itchy perspiration appeared on the small of my back. Luella Winthrop. Gift with words, I have.
“He has a story for me then?” I muttered, eager to move on.

“Aye. Lieutenant Thomas here claims to have seen a ghost!”

About the Author:

Kenneth A. Baldwin loves stories you can sink your teeth into.

He lives nestled under the Wasatch Mountain Range with his wife and dog. He writes historical fantasy. When he's not working on his next book, he can be found teaching story mechanics or sketch comedy writing.

Kenny has worked as a staff writer for TV, Radio, web, and comedy scripts for years. The Crimson Inkwell is his first published novel.

Get a free copy of the book through BookFunnel 
when you subscribe to the author’s newsletter

Thursday, April 9, 2020

#52WeeksofGratitude - Week 15

Things You Like About Spring

There are two little guys that come out to visit us every spring.  Their names are Tank and Hummer, my male desert tortoise brothers.  After brumating all winter deep in their hidey hole (probably watching way too much Netflix or Disney Plus), they emerge in spring, groggy and bleary eyed.  They keep us company all summer, until late fall when they decide it’s time to disappear again. 

I’ve had these guys for about fifteen years now, and it’s been great fun to watch them grow.  They’re so friendly they even try to eat the thistle tattoo on my leg. Cheeky little boogers.

Love and Peace,  


Why do this?

To exercise fingers on the keyboard.

It’s only one post a week.

Positivity is a great energy conductor.

I have lots to be grateful for!

It’ll be fun! (maybe?)

Join me, if you dare.