IC Front Cover

Free Paperback: Intended Consequences

Intended Consequences is a collection of short essays about faith, life, and Christianity in America.  The range of topics includes charity, art, patriotism, addiction, freedom, gratitude, and Bruce Lee.

Robert Lampros is an author of Christian poetry, essays, and fiction who lives in St. Louis.  His books include Fits of TranquilityAfternoon, and Last Year’s Resolution.

Email rlampros27@yahoo.com with your US mailing address for a free copy. God bless. – Robert

 

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Mountain of Silver Dust, Part I

I.

Each grain of azurcose was a truncated icosahedron.  She remembered this from school as thousands of them avalanched into her crystal mug of dark brown coffee, “like a million tiny footballs,” she whispered.  Only these had flat faces, whereas the tiles on a football were convex, giving it its smooth rounded shape.  “Thirty-two faces…  Twelve pentagons, twenty hexagons, sixty angles, ninety lines.  Remember that the next time you slurp your darn SyraNova drinks,” she mimicked her Chem teacher’s gravelly voice.

Someone snorted a few booths away, the group of punks she’d clocked on her way inside, only other people in the diner besides the cook, the server, and herself.

She wasn’t going to make him stay in her life if he didn’t want to, baby or no.  How could she?  Korratrea was still a free country, unless there’d been a coup she hadn’t heard about yet, which was unlikely.

The short one slid in beside her, and two more across the table, while the cautious one sat lightly at the adjacent table to her right.  Clack-clack-clack, the man’s knuckles tapped on the hard plastic surface beneath her chin.  Clack-clack-clack.

“Did you order yet?” he asked.

“Nope, just trying to enjoy this coffee.”

“Nice ring.  Where’s your husband?”

“He said he was on his way.”

The man smiled to his friends, who laughed.  “Yeah, well, I think he’s crazy to leave you alone like this.  Middle of the night, strange neighborhood…  Uncivilized company.”  His friends laughed again.

“Funny, I was thinking the same thing.”

He reached around her shoulders with his left arm and let it rest on the back of the booth.  “Amazing girl like you, if I was him I’d be afraid someone might take you away.”

“Did you take Chemistry in high school?”

“What?”

“How about Geometry, do you remember Geometry class?”

He stared at her quietly, boldly, in offended disbelief.

“Because if you do, you’ll probably recall hearing about the Goldberg polyhedron.  It’s a multi-sided shape made up of hexagons and pentagons, the faces joined together at vertices like this, here.”  She picked up the azurcose shaker and sprinkled some out on the table.  “Every grain is like a—”

“Like a tiny football,” said one of the friends, before a dark glance silenced him.

“That’s right,” she continued, “and unlike snowflakes each grain is one hundred percent identical.  Zero variation, upon production at least.”

“Is there a point to this little lesson?”  He let his hand fall gently on the back of her left shoulder.

“There is,” she nodded.  “Because azurcose, due to its structural shape, has an amazingly high degree of both molecular strength and flexibility.  So if I were to say, smash this container on the wall, the stuff would fly everywhere.”  She swept the shaker up and crushed it on the wall to her left, simultaneously leaping out of the booth, eyes closed, and flipping backwards onto the tabletop behind them.  As the short man and other two sat groaning and rubbing their eyes the tall one darted from the farther table, his lightblade drawn and glaring.

Waiting for him to slash, she caught the knife under the sole of her boot and stomped it down against the plastic tabletop, pivoted on his hand, and caught the hinge of his jaw with the toe of her other boot.  Two seconds later she was out the door and in the pilot seat of her motordeck sailing up toward the storm cloud where she could lose them.  Their engines revved and hummed below, behind her, fading gradually as she launched into the flashing mist and set the coordinates for Jadengate 794.

*         *         *

The motordeck hatch shot open as she approached, and the vehicle maneuvered into position on the landing board.  Zipporah swiped the ignition card and stepped out before the pilotside door closed and the board raised the motordeck into the ceiling.  Removing her jacket, kicking off her boots, and pulling the elastic band out of her hair, she grabbed a bowl of leftover noodles from the fridge and plopped into the basket chair in the corner by the window.  Space looked cold and blue, like it always did.

After dinner she checked her mail, took a shower, and crawled into bed—the bed they’d shared until a few months ago, before he ditched her.  Her fingers dragged across the skin of her softly rounded stomach as she descended, away from consciousness, her mouth whispering, “Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways…”

The Egg in the center of the living room broadcasted the System Daily News from every angle, literally, as she cleaned up and made breakfast.  Dark matter readings off the Southeast edge of Chambrek’s orbit were “disturbingly disproportionate,” higher than any time on record.  The InterSolar Truth Observers commissioned a quantification team to investigate the anomaly.  Planet-wide political and social reconstruction on Taldrathon was coming along nicely, with fewer incidents of intra-species assaults-and-consumptions than in prior weeks.  System health in general was up, effective plague containment, lower cancer and terminal disease statistics, continued vaccinations on the Outer Four (less advanced worlds), and the Sun shone bright and strong despite the frequent outcries of the Implosion Hypotheorists.  Zipporah felt in her soul that it would be a good day.

While eating her breakfast salad the phone rang, she jumped up and ran into the living room.  “Egg off!  Hello and greetings…”  She stood waiting.

“Hello, honey.”

Her eyes dropped to the maroon carpet.  “Hi, Mom.”

“Don’t sound so excited to hear from me.  Where were you last night?  I called seven times and no answer.”

“Cabin fever.  I went out for coffee.”

“What happened to the coffee maker I gave you for Christmas?  Does that not work anymore?”

“No, it works.  I wanted some air so I went over to the sand fields for a short walk.  It was nice, actually.”

“Did you see anyone?”

“A few guys at the diner.  I’m fine, Mom, no worries please.”  Zipporah glanced at her boots next to the doormat, eyeing the brown crust on the right toe.

“You aren’t fighting again, are you?”

“Me, fight?  Pshhh, I…  Come on, I…  Pshhh.”

“Okay, just remember, ‘those who live by the sword will die by the sword.’”

“Will die by the sword,” she echoed, “yes, I remember.  Thank you, Mother.”

That afternoon she went for a jog around Power Town, the enormous generator in the center of their quadrant, forty-six cubic miles of engine machinery encased in a mammoth bubble of reinforced explosion-proof glass.  The platform of steel grating around its perimeter measured to just under fourteen miles, a little more than a half marathon.  She’d been running there for years and had completed the lap with no problem a few weeks ago, but that was before she’d started to show, and this time she only made it three-quarters of the way around before having to slow down and walk.

“What are you doing, child?” she said cradling her belly.  “Trying to make me a couch potato?”

*         *         *

Nights were quiet, slow, and lonely.  She took her mom’s advice about steering clear of the sand fields and the outlands in general.  The worlds were too dangerous these days, and the child far too precious.  She spent her free time listening to music, reading French Existentialism, praying, and dreaming of the day when Karrick would return.  He would return, she felt it, knew it to be true.  The only question was when.

On the fifth waning moon of Quintember the doorbell chimed at four o’clock in the morning.  No phone call, no warning, no guests expected, and by now Zipporah was visibly pregnant.  She approached the door in her husband’s boxers, a t-shirt, and one sock, and pressed a button illuminating the screen by the keypad.  Three soldiers appeared on the step, one in uniform and two in full body armor behind him.  Captain’s hat.

“No, no, no,” she bowed her head against the door.  Then, drawing a deep breath, punched a code on the keypad.  The door clanked, parted, and slid open.

“Zipporah Dallens?”

No, no, no…

“I have news from the Colonel, ma’am.  May I come in for a moment?”

“Just say it.”

“Your husband, Lieutenant Karrick Dallens, perished honorably in service of the KWPAF.”

 

PoetryCovers

Robert Lampros Poetry

Robert Lampros is an author of Christian poetry, essays, and fiction who lives in St. Louis.  His writing focuses on healing, love, and revelation through faith in Christ, as well as on the beauty of the natural world.    He currently has three poetry books available, entitled Fits of Tranquility, Illuminating Sidewalks, and What Is Sacred.

Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com

Reviews of Fits of Tranquility

“A great sense of connection with human nature and the human condition which I found refreshing…  A delightful read.  5 stars.”  – Lauren, LivingABookLife.com

“This book made me feel overwhelmingly good.  As a religious person myself, I felt like there were some lines that really resonated with me.  Even if you’re not religious, a lot of the poems deal with nature and the spiritual experiences that being outside can bring…  I definitely recommend.”  – Ashley, What’s She Reading?

“Each poem offers the reader something to reflect on that will lead to other meditative thoughts.  If you enjoy poetry, you will enjoy Fits of Tranquility.”  – Terry Delaney, Christian Book Notes

“Containing over 20 unique poems and short stories, this book ranges in topic from inspiring images of nature to thought-provoking stories filled with charming dialogue and everything in between…  I would recommend giving Fits of Tranquility a try.”  – Prairie Sky Book Reviews

“Ideas of hope, healing, joy, and faith mirrored in poems about family, lightening, life, and wilderness, the second part is comprised of prose about falling in love…  A book for avid poetry readers.”  – Jen Pen, Savurbks.com

“I enjoyed many things about this book, foremost is the author’s tone.  It is understated, but capable of conveying some deep thoughts quite effectively…  There is a religious perspective in this book, expressed with artistry, understatement, that avoids sentimentality.”  – Arthur Turfa, author of Places and Times

“One of my favorites is ‘Family,’ it describes the value in a heartfelt and touching way.  I also really liked ‘Invisible Arms,’ a vivid picture of how God protects us from physical and emotional harm.  I am a hopeless romantic so I appreciated the sweet moments described in the short stories.  I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading smooth thought provoking poetry.”  – Ivory M, Beautyful Word

Fits of Tranquility contains a variety of styles and structures which makes this collection immediately more appealing to the poetry connoisseur.  Lampros’s poetry contains a sensitivity and emotional eloquence which flows gently through his work…  Fits is a superior collection and I recommend it to those readers who want to read beautiful, family-safe poetry.”  – Karen Jones, The Poetry Bookshop

 

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Last Year’s Resolution

Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com

“I genuinely liked reading this book from beginning to end.  The writing was simple and felt like a classic book I should have read years ago.  The characters were well-developed and the gentle romance felt sincere and really carried the story well…  It is Christian enough to be called Christian romance but it’s also secular enough to pass as a simple love story.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that it intertwined the characters’ faith with romance and realistic events…  A comfortable cross between contemporary fiction and love.”  – Valicity Garris, Author

“I am continually amazed by some of Mr. Lampros’ imagery…  Thematically, I would say that this novel is about friendship, love, Christ… a real knack for dialogue and characterization through said dialogue, rounding out the characters even if the description of where they are and what they see is subservient to the plot and the overall thrust of the story.  Bravo!”  – John Morris, Author

“This is a very well-written Christian novel with a plot running in fast pace…  The author did a superb job creating characters that are lovable, and the book is definitely a boost to our faith…  I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who appreciate a well-written novel, very entertaining, with a strong Christian theme.”  – Roberto Mattos, BooksAndMovieReviews

“Great writing, great story!  I could’ve read it in just a few days but you kind of want to take your time with it and reflect on some of the passages and things that happen… a great book, fun and exciting and even edge-of-your-seat action at times.  I highly recommend it!”  – B. Hill, Goodreads Reviewer

Last Year’s Resolution is a well-written, clean, Christian story.  One of the more thoughtful depictions of a popular theme.  It is not an over the top horror-fest, but it is not sugarcoated either…  Those readers interested in such a topic will find this telling both entertaining and faith-affirming.  Not a bad feat to accomplish.  Enjoy!”  – Mike Siedschlag, Books are Theater of the Mind

 

SacredFrontCover

What Is Sacred

Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com

What Is Sacred is a collection of poetry and essays about faith, love, and Jesus Christ.

Robert Lampros is an author of Christian poetry, essays, and fiction who lives in St. Louis.  His books include Fits of Tranquility, Afternoon, and Last Year’s Resolution.

Title:  What Is Sacred
Author:  Robert Lampros
Paperback:  54 pages
Publisher:  CreateSpace, 07/21/2016
Language:  English
Retail Price:  $8.99
ISBN-13:  978-1535422192
Category:  Christian/Literature

 

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Foreword to Brave New World

From Aldous Huxley’s foreword to his novel, Brave New World:

Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment.  If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.  On no account brood over your wrong-doing.  Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.

Art also has its morality, and many of the rules of this morality are the same as, or at least analogous to, the rules of ordinary ethics.  Remorse, for example, is as undesirable in relation to our bad art as it is in relation to our bad behaviour.  The badness should be hunted out, acknowledged and, if possible, avoided in the future.  To pore over the literary shortcomings of twenty years ago, to attempt to patch a faulty work into the perfection it missed at its first execution, to spend one’s middle age in trying to mend the artistic sins committed and bequeathed by that different person who was oneself in youth — all this is surely vain and futile.  And that is why this new Brave New World is the same as the old one.  Its defects as a work of art are considerable; but in order to correct them I should have to rewrite the book — and in the process of rewriting, as an older, other person, I should probably get rid not only of some of the faults of the story, but also of such merits as it originally possessed.  And so, resisting the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse, I prefer to leave both well and ill alone and to think about something else.

Link to rest of Foreword

 

Navy Blue Cross

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.  He leads me
in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.  Yea, though
I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil, for You
are with me.  Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.  You prepare a table
before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup
runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

 

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Book Release: Last Year’s Resolution

Last Year’s Resolution is a novel about Edmund Stovender, a famous author who falls in love with Marie, a journalist who calls him for an interview just before the performance of his hit play.  Their lives accelerate through an epic adventure testing their faith, strength, and love for each other, as they discover that their story might pivotally influence the fate of the world.

Available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Robert Lampros is an author of Christian poetry, essays, and fiction who lives in St. Louis.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.  His books include Fits of TranquilityIlluminating SidewalksOm-BorkAfternoonEleven FloorsWhat Is Sacred, and Last Year’s Resolution.

From Last Year’s Resolution

Eddie spent the majority of his childhood as most children do, divided between mandatory school work and outdoor adventures with the other kids in his neighborhood.  He loved sports, but that love quickly faded at age thirteen when he took up smoking cigarettes, at which time he turned his attention to skateboarding and playing guitar. Proving successful at neither one of those activities, he spent more and more time reading books, watching films, and writing both fiction and nonfiction stories of his own.  By the time he graduated high school his writing had been published by a number of literary journals and featured in various newsletters, making his parents very proud.  After attending Illinois State University for two years, he dropped out to pursue his career full time, and moved to New York, because that’s what writers do.  Eight years later, Edmund Stovender was the author of three bestselling novels and a National Book Award-winning play, The Hopeful Sigh, then in its third year on Broadway.

This is where Eddie’s story begins:  He sits in a coffee shop, drinking a beer, a mile down the street from the theater where his play will soon start.  His phone rings.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Eddie?”

“Yes?”

“Eddie Stovender, the writer?”

“This is he.”

“Okay, hi.  My name is Marie, Marie Altnikov.  I’m a journalist with The Triune Times.”

“Sorry, I don’t do interviews with people whose middle and first names are the same.”

“You don’t—I’m sorry?”

“You said your name was Marie-Marie, I was making a joke.  Never mind, I’m an idiot.”

“Oh, ha-ha.  That’s… kind of funny.  I actually don’t want an interview, I’m calling because I’m going to see your play tonight, to review it for the Times, and I was hoping you could answer a few questions first.”

“How is that not an interview?  Answer a few questions, that sounds like an interview.”

She was silent for a moment.

“Hello?”

“I’m here.  Maybe it is an interview.  I hadn’t thought of it like that.  Do you have a minute?  I’m sorry to call you out of the blue like this.”

He checked his watch.  “Marie, the play starts in forty-five minutes.”

“That’s fine.  I only need ten, fifteen tops.”

“Excuse me, bartender, may I have another Blue Moon, please?  Sorry.  Alright, fire away.”

She cleared her throat and he heard papers rustling on her end of the phone.  “Question number one.  What inspired you to write The Hopeful Sigh, and what were your goals for this piece when you started writing?”

“Um…  Well, four years is a long time ago—that’s when I wrote the play.  Honestly, at the time I think I was trying to save the world.”

“Interesting.  And you thought writing a play could do that?”

“The right play, sure, if it performed its function correctly.”

“What is its function?”

“Sorry, Marie, I explained all this a long time ago in my other interviews.  Didn’t you read—”

“I don’t read newspapers.”

“But you write for one.”

“Yes, sir.  Do you mind answering the question again?  I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure, fine.  I thought The Hopeful Sigh, if I wrote it properly and it was performed properly, could help people realize… we’re not home yet.  The world we’re in now, it’s really just a stage, and what each of us does here, our work, our families, our dreams, the best parts of our lives, that’s what our true homes are going to be like, you understand?”

“Sorry, I’m writing… ‘what our true homes are going to be like.’  Okay.  I think I got it, like Heaven.  A place where dreams never die.”

“Exactly.  A place where nothing ever dies.”

“Question number two,” she said.  “Who is your greatest influence?”

“Whoa.  Can I do top three?”

“No, you have to choose one.”

“Why?”

“It’s the rules.”

“Then I’d have to say Shakespeare.  I mean everyone says Shakespeare, but it’s true, he really is the most influential writer we’ve got.  War, politics, love, faith, humor, betrayal, death, salvation…  It’s all there, packed into a neat entertaining format for real human beings to bring to life.”

“Lovely.  Well said, Mr. Stovender.”

“That’s what I do.”

“Question three, last one.  What would you say are the autobiographical elements of the play?”

“Huh.”

“If you don’t mind answering.”

“It’s not a matter of minding, it’s more whether or not it’s possible to answer.  Everything and nothing, really.  Nothing that happens in the play ever happened to me personally, but at the same time I feel like it all happened to me, like I’ve lived through those events somehow.  I don’t know.”  Eddie laughed, “Is that clear enough?”

“Not a problem.  I know exactly what you mean.”

“So, are we done here?”

“Yes, indeed.  Unless you’d like to add anything.”

He thought for a moment, watching the bubbles rise in his glass.  “Something I learned a few years ago, the first season, on opening night.”  He drank the last half of his beer.  “If you write a play that’s meant to take people up to heaven, you had better be willing to walk through hell.”

“Thanks for your time, Eddie.”

“God bless.”