Sharing a Friend’s Stories

A few weeks ago I posted about how excited I was to have finished writing a book. But I would not have written that book if it were not for a particular friend and mentor who I met as a child and who pushed me to write, to be confident that I could write, and who, in fact, was the one who suggested that I start writing the book that became Heaven’s Hunter.

Her name is Colleen Drippé, and today I would like to share her work with you. If you are interested in science fiction, first of all, you will like her work. She has a lot of fun building interesting worlds for her characters to live in. But even if you are not a hard-core science fiction person, you will still love the characters. Her characters deal with difficult and dramatic circumstances, but the hardest problems they face are–as it is for all of us–the ones within themselves. Seeing her characters struggle and overcome is both entertaining and inspiring.

To learn more about any  of the books, or purchase them, click on the picture, which will take you to the book’s page. (This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links pay me a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

 Freed by the annihilation of the corporation that owned him, archæological looter Eduardo Sabat goes into business for himself.  But why does he accept a search and rescue mission in the same region of Quele Colony where he suffered his most terrible experience as a corporate slave?  He isn’t sure, but he suspects there are still some things he still has to resolve.  In the end, the ever surprising Godcountry region has its own answers for him – answers that will change him beyond his wildest dreams.

I have read this one a couple of times, and it’s just plain a lot of fun, as well as an invitation to some self-examination. I highly recommend it.

 

Young Helen Kley of El Colony, a world dominated by women, doesn’t know what to make of the two young men who suddenly come bursting into her life, rescuing her from a humiliating kidnap attempt. That they are offworlders, she has no doubt, that they are corporate agents of some sort, she suspects. Otherwise why do they withhold their names, giving her only the number of a safe line to contact them? In the end, she becomes friends with the one she dubs “Pro” (the other she call “Con” because of their differing attitudes) and simply learns to think of them as her guardians. Only when she comes of age, two years later, and is by custom given her father’s name and an invitation to visit heretofore unknown relatives on his homeworld, does she learn the truth about her adopted guardians. In fact she learns truth after truth as she and Pro, whose real name she finally learns, must battle their way through one adventure after another as they seek her missing father while avoiding his enemies. In the end, she faces not only threats from the outside, but also the need to come to terms with her own values and background — to choose and to choose rightly. Everything she has learned to care about depends on her choice — her own happiness and the welfare of those who have become dear to her.

I just read this one recently, and I think it’s my favorite so far. It moves quickly, the characters are attractive and relatable, and I found the plot quite satisfying. It has plenty of action, good conversations, interesting monsters, and some really inspiring characters.

 

Treelight Colony has enjoyed more than a hundred years of peaceful, agrarian life, in isolation from the rest of the civilized galaxy. But now they have been bought by the unsavory Pesc Corporation, who plan to drag them into the modern world and make them part of the interstellar family.

Pesc sends Marja Sienko, a social engineer on her first assignment, along with her corporate slave and a robotic secretary, to prepare the colonists to be modernised. But it isn’t long before Marja suspects that the Corporation has something else in mind — something both sinister and mysterious. And she is meant to play a part in their plans — not as their delegate but as their victim.

While Marja struggles to modernise landowners who prefer to live like medieval vassals, the Star Brothers arrive for their periodic visit to check on the colony diocese, and Brother Brendan Stillman and his two semi-civilised Lost Rythan “helpers” discover that something is rotten in the “peaceful” colony of Treelight. Highwaymen abound, the bishop knows more than heís telling, and a group of “druids” have formed a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding forest.

Brother Brendanís superior, Father Moto, deploys Dust, a former criminal turned hacker, to snoop through the Pesc Corporationís files to discover what’s really afoot, while, back on Treelight, the native forest (whose “trees” are more than mere vegetation) slowly toils to reclaim the planet as its own.

I haven’t read this one, but it does sound intriguing.

 

Father Ruiz of the Star Brothers, sets off to convert the heathen of Fen Colony and finds himself in a moral rats’ nest.  Dealing with a totalitarian government, an invasion of rebels, an entrenched native hierarchy and warring tribes, not to mention the gelens themselves, who turn out to be moon worshipping semi-telepaths, his difficulties multiply.  When his first convert turns out to be a war criminal and the most powerful empath on the planet, things can only get worse.

I read this one a few years ago. Imagine the worst possible peer pressure you have ever experienced. Then multiply it by 100. Imagine that the people who wanted to influence you could actually get inside your head…. That’s what the main character of this book has to deal with–be prepared to share his pain. But you will share his victory as well.

 

Sequel to Colleen Drippé’s book Gelen, Vessel of Darkness continues the story of Fen Colony, home of the Drayak tribe and their psychically gifted gelens. Mutated from Earth normal, these semi-outcasts have now begun to find a place within the tribe. Vess Lorn’s son, known as Spear, a gelen himself, but also a member of the Drayak royal house, has been elected king of Drakendon — and things will never be the same. It isn’t an easy job, however. Spear must not only juggle an uneasy alliance with the stranded forces of Net Central, the offworlders, but also confront a new menace. Dilich Hayan, powerful gelen and North Islander, has arrived at the Drayak Citadel, carrying with him an ancient curse as well as the hopes of his own unbalanced people. Through his patterning, a bridge is formed with a new power rising in the west and suddenly not only the gelens but everyone in the colony is threatened. Dilich is not happy as the “vessel of darkness” and tries to fight free. But his own struggles are not enough — both king and queen (Ella Trenre, a gelen whose powers equal those of Dilich) must stake everything in the battle, along with Rac Marcus Wolfbane, a newly ordained priest, the pirate, Render, Spear’s two smuggler brothers, and Racka, a man tormented by the murder of his former mistress, who serves as the king’s advisor.

I haven’t gotten a chance to read this one yet, but it’s definitely on my list.

 

Finally, there’s the third book in the Gelen series, Dawnstrikers. It’s not out yet, but it sounds awfully exciting too. You can preorder it by clicking on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZLX82TF

Planet Fen, lost colony, is now cut off permanently from the rest of the civilized worlds. Unfortunately a lot of people are cut off with it: the occupying troopers and their families, innumerable bureaucrats, scientists, technicians and even a missionary or two. They are all outnumbered and culturally swamped by the native colonists, a mixture of half converted primitives and a contingent of ferocious xenophobes who want all offworlders exterminated.

In this, the third book of the Gelen series, the bishop and the commander at Havekgerem, both have their hands full. The former must rein in a group of Faring Guards, fanatical, axe-wielding Lost Rythan exiles who are determined to protect him at all costs, while the commander tries vainly to police the region with his disgruntled troops. And in the midst of this come the Dawnstrikers, native blackshirts blindly following their charismatic leader as he hatches a plan to not only kill all foreigners but also to wipe out their rival tribe. And they almost succeed —

I certainly hope you enjoy her work as much as I have.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate

As it is Saint Patrick’s Day, it seems like a good time to talk about celebrations. And so of course I will start with a quote from a well-known atheist–Ayn Rand. In Atlas Shrugged, a character comments, “Parties are intended to be celebrations, and celebrations should be only for those who have something to celebrate.” The character who said it was explaining why she found a particular party so insipid–everyone was trying to feel special by surrounding themselves with the trappings of celebration, but they had done nothing worth celebrating, and so it didn’t really work. They–and she–still instinctively felt the emptiness of the occasion and were deeply unsatisfied. 

You need a reason to celebrate

Now of course we can celebrate many things other than our own accomplishments. We also get to celebrate the accomplishments of our friends–especially the ones who have already died, like Saint Patrick. We do not earn the right to celebrate at Christmas and Easter; Christ earned it for us. 

Birthdays are also a good excuse to celebrate. I suppose an argument could be made that celebrating a child’s birthday is an excuse for the parents to celebrate their accomplishment in keeping their kids alive for another year. But people can be pretty wonderful, and a person’s wonderfulness is certainly worth celebrating at least once a year. The same goes for weddings, anniversaries, visits of out of town friends and relatives, and other such occasions.)

But the idea that celebrations need to be earned still has merit. You can’t just celebrate whenever and however you want, for no reason. It is meaningless and fundamentally unsatisfying. 

You need to celebrate when you have a reason

But if celebrations ought to be earned, then that means that when you have earned it, you really ought to celebrate. 

The first time I can recall really putting this idea into practice was the day I finished sewing my wedding dress. After months of planning, designing, sewing, and fitting, finally, a couple weeks before my wedding, it was done. I was so excited that I invited all my housemates to go out for frozen yogurt with me at the local frozen yogurt place. That was the most enjoyable frozen yogurt I ever had. I felt like I had earned the celebration, and I felt that my friends were happy at my success as well, and that made it all the more delicious. 

Since then I have tried to incorporate the idea of celebrating accomplishments into my life. 

I like to have dinner parties or go out for dinner with my husband to celebrate milestones on projects that are important to me. Somehow these parties or outings are just a little more special because of it. I have dinner parties just for the heck of it as well, but I think I genuinely enjoy the celebration parties more. (Maybe it’s partly that I get to tell my guests about my accomplishment, and so I know that others are celebrating my win as well. Perhaps it is because I have particularly wonderful people to call friends, but I think that they really enjoy celebrating my wins with me as well.) 

Celebrating helps you be more productive

So having an accomplishment to celebrate makes me enjoy my celebration more, thus making my life happier, but I have noticed the reverse as well. Knowing that I will celebrate my accomplishments makes me more motivated to accomplish things. When a project is very time consuming, it can get discouraging. It starts to feel like you will never ever ever be done. I have been translating a book that is over 700 pages long for the last few years, and even though I enjoy the work, that project has definitely sometimes felt like it would never be over. But I have been celebrating reaching the end of each chapter, and it really helps me keep going. I attack each new goal re-charged by celebrating the accomplishment of the previous one. 

The science of habit formation agrees with me here. In Atomic Habits, James Clear describes how habits are made up of cue, craving, response and reward. One way to encourage the formation of desired habits is to make the “reward” part of the habit particularly satisfying. This is where celebrating your milestones comes in. It’s the start of a new self-reinforcing good habit of accomplishing your goals. 

Do what works for you

Maybe hosting dinner parties doesn’t sound fun to you. (I would love to try to change your mind about that, but another time.) Or maybe you’re on a really tight budget. Celebrations don’t have to be complicated or expensive. And the accomplishments we celebrate don’t have to be earth-shaking. It can be as simple as enjoying a glass of wine with a friend when you finish painting your living room, or playing volleyball with friends after you take your finals. (Or taking a nice warm bath. Whichever is more your style.) Even just calling a friend to share your good news is a good way to celebrate. 

Next time you set a big goal for yourself, take a moment to think about how you will celebrate when you reach that goal. I think you’ll find that you will not only enjoy your celebration more than you expect, but that you’re also more likely to achieve your goal when you have a concrete plan to celebrate afterwards.