Bon Voyage, Ran!

ran shaipur3And the first installment in my serial novel, Ran Shaipur, is up on Wattpad. Read it Here, if you’d like.  I’ll be updating on Fridays and Tuesdays.

I have a lot of mixed feelings, angst, and trepidation about it all. It’s a quirky story that got both positive and anguished feedback from Beta readers. The anguished feedback was stuff like “people will think that you’re a bad person if you write this!” Alas, dear readers, I am not my characters and just because I can imagine a thing does not mean I am that thing, or that the thing is some deep desire from my subconscious. Goodness, do crime writers who write about serial killers get that kind of feedback? I hope not!

With Ran, I was going on the world-building premise that one day we humans would settle other planets. The settlers would be given supplies and support, but would mostly have to build their societies from scratch from local resources. And so while Ran is set in the far future, the local tech isn’t much above what we have right now.

Ran’s world, called Dobruja, is a forgotten backwater that’s somewhat resource-poor. While other planets may have managed to build and trade up to the highest tech and newest of everything, Dobruja’s been making do for a couple hundred years with no help from the rest of the galaxy. Don’t feel sorry for the Dobrujans, though! They (mostly) like it that way. Even so, as we open this story, Dobruja is in trouble, and more trouble is on the way. We’ll see what Ran does about it. Expect him to make a LOT of mistakes along. To paraphrase Firefly: “He’s a doofus, but he’s our doofus. Cut him some slack!”

Happy Father’s Day, Uncle Bill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to my Uncle Bill
half the town was Koettings
the other half Keelers
anyone else in that tiny place had just married in.

A 70+-year-old bright-eyed Koetting rogue
Youngest of 9 or 10 or 11. . . I forget. . .
I couldn’t keep count of all
those strapping German-Catholic babies.

Everyone loved him, and he loved
Hogan’s Heroes, not M.A.S.H.
(too many commies in M.A.S.H, not his war)
He gave fatherly advice but didn’t usurp the role.

Koettings and Keelers and them
that had married in. Everyone loved him.
Son of immigrants, proud VFW inductee,
Texas farmboy, my mother’s sister’s husband.

Beloved Uncle Bill.

My Favorite Martian

Phantasmagorical_painting_from_Pripyat_(retouched)

Detail of Phantasmagorical painting from Pripyat. Original photo by Simon Smith via Flickr, cc-sa2.0

I’d never met a boy like you
with green skin and a tender heart.
Your pain hid behind a goofy smile
My soul brother from the very start.

You were out of this world, fantastic
Above the earthling’s rough and tumble
And if you wanted to fit in
You never let us see, nor stumbled.

If fate does let us meet again
In another life or dimension
Share heart & wisdom one more time
I promise to pay better attention.

You were out of this world, fantastic
Your friendship always was sublime
My soul brother from the very start
Share heart & wisdom one more time.

( A eulogy for a friend who died unexpectedly.  Requiescat in pace, lab partner.)