Writer and Poet

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About Me

My background

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.    

 

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 spent the first half of my Junior Year at St. Mary's in Storm Lake, Iowa.)   

 

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. I literally sat on the rocks at the end of the jetty for almost 18 hours. 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; a move that I soon came to regret. During the years from 1977 to 1992 my main focus of employment was operations for distributors as well as some sales time in finished oils, lubricants and fuels.   I was divorced in 1983, and eventually moved back to Iowa in 1992. 


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, who shares my love for the sea, to get back to the Coastal Bend. I brought Kim to the Coastal Bend in August of 2009 and together, we fell in love with Rockport. The artistic flair, the live oak trees, the wildlife, the bays all around us and the proximity to Mustang and Padre Islands were all major influences in our decision to leave the frozen northlands behind! And, as fledgling bird watchers, we discovered the plethora of species that migrate through the area every year, as well as those that winter here. Rockport is where I will spend the rest of my life, and my wife shares that sentiment.   


I never intended to become a writer professionally. Over the last 35+ years I published numerous essays, short stories and poems anonymously over the internet and in the monthly Narcotics Anonymous publication “The N. A. Way”. I struggled with addiction and drug abuse for almost a decade before getting a wake-up call I couldn’t ignore. While I don’t make an issue of it, I have been clean and sober now for over 24 years. Those experiences shaped who I am today, and I draw from them in my writing   


I took several writing classes at Del Mar College and eventually at Tarrant County in Fort Worth which enhanced my desire to write. The author who has had the most influence on publishes under the pen-name of John Sanford. It is his “Prey” series, featuring the life of Lucas Davenport that has captivated me through 25 books in the series, and I am currently reading number 26; “Extreme Prey”.  My initial publication is an eclectic collection of over 30 years of poetry and random thoughts and musings. I had over 350 pieces to choose from, so it wasn’t an easy task. Some of my pieces have sprung from my heart and it is my hope that they evoke positive emotions and memories. Others were written in what my wife refers to as “the dark side of my soul”. Those are works that will rarely make you smile, and may very much offend some. Regardless, my only desire for the reader is that he or she feels something; positive or negative doesn’t matter to me. It is the emotional response that I seek.   


I am currently working on my first novel. The working title is “The Lazarus Chronicles: Changes in the Wind”. I have set the first of what I hope to be several novels about my main character, in Rockport and the Coastal Bend area. Without giving away too much, my goal is to make the reader sympathetic if not empathetic with the main character; Lazarus Solaris, a contract killer with a dark past and a potentially life altering experience while handling a contract in Rockport. I am finding it more challenging than I expected, but my editor-in-chief (i.e. my wife Kim) likes the way it is unfolding. She may be my wife, but she doesn’t pull her punches which is something that I love about her.   


Hurricane Harvey, which hit Rockport on August 25th of 2017 led to relocating to Stevens Point, Wisconsid, where I reside with my wife Kim, our two dogs - Banx and Cheyenne, and one very bossy Mackerel Tabby by the name of Katsumi. Here is werhehereplan on spending the rest of our days. we 

My writing roots

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 Lamour. 


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, author of the Prey series among many others.


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 monthy magazine. 


I conticued 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 Xlibris Publishing 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. 


As I said, some aren't that impressive, at least not to me, but others have touched the hearts and lives of others, much to my surprise and humble satisfaction. 


In June of 2017, my first short story was published by Cetntm Press 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. 


Both books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites, particularly Xlibris for my poetry. 


Give them a read - you might be surprised.

My style

My style of poetry can only be described as eclectic. Rhyming is optional and I rarely use punctuation. Some of my poems, or so I have been told, read like song lyrics. Others have been described as dark or depressing while others are filled with a message of love. 


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. Sometimes, my poetry spoken aloud can change the perception as well.


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; the first in a series I have in my mind. 


My goal is to create a sociopath who is as capable of random acts of kindness as he is violence. Lazarus Solaris is his name, and the first novel has the working title of "Evolution of a Killer - A Lazarus Solaris Novel". 


It tells the story of how a 6 year old orphan of immigrant parents evolves into an international assasin and the head of a world renowned philanthropical foundation. 


Lazars has a very well-defined, yet to him, simple set of values and standards he lives by and  and judges others with.


I am hoping to have book one out by the fall of 2018. I am presently in negotiations with a publisher, but I am not certain this willl be the choice for me to introduce Lazarus to the world.


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Robert M. Ullrich - writing as RM Ullrich

rmullrich@phantomscorpioproductions.com