I was born in Marshall, Minnesota on October 30, 1953 to Ron and Jeri Ullrich. My father passed in 1989 and my mother in 2010. I have five brothers scattered across the country. Steve, in Minnesota, Mark, who divides his time between Texas and Indiana, Dave and Tom, both in the Chicago Metropolitan area, and last but far from least, James in Pittsburgh.
I spent the majority of my formative years in Independence, Iowa. My parents moved the family there from Jesup, Iowa in 1960. I attended and graduated from St. John’s Catholic School in 1972 with honors.
I was awarded a scholarship from Iowa State University in Architectural Engineering, but my draft lottery number was low enough that there was a possibility I could end up in the Army instead. I chose to enlist in the Air Force and went on Active duty on September 20, 1972, with the intentions of earning a degree in Architecture via the G.I. Bill. However, that would not be the case. By the time I exited active duty, I was married with two children and headed for Corpus Christi, Texas. My first and only duty station with the Air Force was Randolph AFB, Headquarters MPC (Military Personnel Center as a computer operator/analyst. In 1974 I was one of three airman selected to begin working on what was called the “Remote Jobsite Entry” project. As a data-communications specialist I was fortunate enough to be involved in the ground floor set-up of what was destined to become the internet as it exists today.
When I arrived in San Antonio in January of 1973, I made my way to the Gulf Coast within a month of being assigned there. I spent my first day (and night, for that matter) at the end of the Mustang Island Jetty that protects the mouth of the Corpus Christ Ship Channel.That is when I fell in love with the sea, the sound of the waves on the rocks, the look of a full moon on the Gulf waters as well as the pelicans and sea birds that fill the air and beaches of the coastal shores.
I moved to Corpus Christi in December of 1976. I lived there with my first wife Dolores and our two children, Anthony and Jessica, until October of 1981 when I accepted a position with an oil distributor in Dallas. Writing had taken a back seat.
It took me until 2010 and my present wife (who just happens to be my true soul mate, the perfect companion, lover and best friend I could have ever hoped for) Kim, to get back to the Coastal Bend. I brought her to the Gulf Coast in August of 2009 and together, we fell in love with Rockport.
Hurricane Harvey, which hit Rockport on August 25, 2017 led to our relocation to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the city where her father grew up, and many of her relatives remain. I reside here now with my wife Kim, our two dogs - Banx and Cheyenne, and one very bossy Mackerel Tabby by the name of Katsumi. Here is were we plan on spending the rest of our days.
My writing evolved from my love of reading. a trait I inherited from my dad. He started me out with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Earl Stanley Gardner and Louis L'amour.
In my early teens I discovered THH White and JRR Tolkien and read everything I could by them. Over the years, there were many authors that influenced me from Edgar Allen Poe to Tom Clancy. Among those that had the most influence were James Clavell, Herman Wouk, Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Michener and one author destined to become my favorite, John Sanford. Although, of late, I have become a fan of Greg Gongrain and his "Immortals" series.e
I took several writing classes at Del Mar College and eventually at Tarrant County in Fort Worth which enhanced my desire to write.
As I said, the author who has had the most influence on me, publishes under the pen-name of John Sanford. It is his “Prey” series, featuring the life of Lucas Davenport that has captivated me through 26 books in the series, and I am currently reading number 27; “Golden Prey”. Not to mention the Virgil Flowers series.
I began writing with poetry and essays in the 80's, much of which I posted online as the internet grew. After getting clean and sober in 1992, I wrote several essays and shorts that were published by Narcotics Anonymous in their monthly magazine. I continued to develop as a poet through the 80's and 90's, gathering a collection of works that were not all good, by any stretch of the imagination, but all of them were mine.
I found the release in poetry that I had been looking for in alcohol and drugs and it became an integral part of my recovery.
in May of 2016 I released a collection of my poetry and musings, as well as photography, titled "Life and Death in a Single Breath". In publishing, I fulfilled a promise made to my mom and daughter Jessica that someday I would share my work.
In June of 2017, my first short story was published by Centum Press, (now Snow Leopard Publishing) in their Anthology "100 Voices." My contribution as one of the 100 writers featured is titled "Radar Love"; a story of a stray dog that wandered into my shop and heart and changed me forever.
In the last two years, I have added a second volume of poetry, a crime thriller "Evolution of a Killer; A Lazarus Solaris Thriller", "Memoirs of the (Not-so) Grim Reaper" (the most fun I've ever had writing a novel); and coming March 15th, the second in the Lazarus Series - "Family Matters".
All my titles are available through Amazon. I am an independent author, publishing my work through "Phantom Scorpio Productions", an enterprise I began in 2017 to give myself a platform to work from where I exercise my creative side.
My style of poetry can only be described as eclectic. As a writer, rhyming is optional and I rarely use punctuation. Some, I have been told, read like song lyrics while others. Others have been described as dark or depressing while others are filled with a message of love.
Read my poetry out loud
In essence, I write poetry on the spur of the moment. Rarely have I sat down with intent. I write when I am moved or motivated to try and capture a moment or feeling in time and space.
I also write to vent, hence the observations that some of my poetry is dark or depressing. If it is to you, then that is what you took from it.
One reader wrote me she enjoys reading one of my poems in the morning and then again at night. The result, in her words, can be amazing as to what she takes away from the piece.
My first novel is best described as a crime thriller; "Evolution of a Killer: A Lazarus Solaris Novel", the first in a series titled "The Lazarus Solaris Chronicles".
I now have five books available through Amazon.."Life and Death in a Single Breath", poetry and musings Volumes one and two; "Evolution of a Killer" a crime fiction novel release March 1, 2018 The first of the Lazarus Chronicles. The second in the series, "Family Matters" is scheduled to release on March 15th, 2019. My short story "Radar Love" is contained in the anthology "One Hundred Voices - Volume 3" by Snow Leopard Publishing.
"Evolution of a Killer" is holding its own on Amazon - in the top 10-20% of E-books and novels, particularly well in the Thriller genre.
On August 17th of 2018, I released a novel titled "Memoirs of the (Not-so) Grim Reaper". It was a serious departure from the crime fiction genre. The best way to describe it would be religious humor. It was greeted with several 5-star reviews, and a warning or two. "Sarcasm isn't for everyone & It could easily be seen as offensive." I note that in the forward. It's not offensive, but some will take offense. Give it a read, you might be one of the many who found the message hidden in the humor.
I always appreciate feedback on my site and my writing, even the one star I got on Goodreads - although an explanation would have helped!