Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A New Quest: Returning Photos to Family

 Genealogy research has long been a passion of mine.  Ever since my mother left me a pile of old family photos and I built my own family tree, I have been fascinated by the endeavor to identify family members and their pictures when available.  While I have done extensive research on my own line, and have quite a number of photos from different lines, there are still a few relatives whose photos I am missing, and of course once you get back in the early 1800’s, you have people who were never photographed at all.  Still, I am always looking for more.

Elizabeth "Bessie" Tucker
 So, a few months ago, I was contacted by Kate Brian Kelly, a woman who has a most fascinating and altruistic hobby of reuniting old photos with family members.  She basically buys old photos in antique stores and the like, then does research to identify descendants.  What she does is truly amazing and inspiring, and she provides the photos free of charge, even though she spends her own money to acquire these lost family treasures.  She reached out to me on Ancestry.com because she had found a photograph of my cousin, Elizabeth “Bessie” Tucker.  She married a Canadian, Lorne Alexander Rapley, and I don’t know if she had any children.  While the original print went to another cousin, I was grateful to see a digital copy.

 Shortly thereafter, Kate contacted me again, having found a photo of Elizabeth’s father, William Newton Tucker, who was my great-great grandmother, Mertie Gamble Count’s, first cousin on both sides of her family.  Her father was the brother of William’s mother, and her mother was the sister of William’s father.  Therefore, they had nearly the same genetic similarities as full siblings.  It was amazing to get a picture of William in his youth.

William Newton Tucker

 Kate runs a facebook group, The Photo Angel, which highlights success stories of reuniting photos with family.  Among her finds, she also discovered baby photos of my great-grandfather's, George Sylvester Count’s, sister Florella and Brother Hugh.  I suspect these pictures may have once belonged to my Aunt Martha Counts who died in 2012, as they turned up in Connecticut where she lived, but I honestly don’t know.  Anyway, it was great to see these.

 Following these experiences, I have decided it is time that I did my part to bring lost family photos to life.  I have already purchased a few batches of old photos with identifying writing on them, and using online resources like Ancestry and Familysearch, I will see who I can find.  I know I am always grateful when someone brings a new family picture to light, and I am expecting that others will be equally pleased to reclaim a little bit of their own personal heritage that might otherwise be lost forever.

 Therefore, I’ve started a new blog, to detail my research.  Following this post, the photos and individuals highlighted here will not be my own family.  Anyone is free to copy and share the pictures I find and share on this blog.  I think posting them here will be the easiest way to disseminate them to as many relatives as possible.

 I am not seeking renumeration for my work, though that means I may not be able to afford to do as much as I would like.  It can get expensive buying photos that are 100+ years old.  Different people have different reasons for wanting them, and antique stores can drive prices up based on demand.  I’ll buy what I can, and research when I have the time.  Either way, it is one of my many passions, and I feel it is good work well worth doing.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Stupid Knees

 My life as of late has been unnerving.  With much in the way of family strife and physical hardships, 2021 has definitely been the most painful year of my life.  I’d like to say I’m nearly out of the woods, but it just seems like as soon as I start to feel that way, something new comes up.

The latest problem I am facing is recurring knee injuries.  A couple of months ago, I had a bout of patellar tendinitis in my left knee, and now I fear I’m dealing with a torn meniscus in my right.  The past week has been painful, and I’m currently waiting to see if bed rest and anti-inflammatories will allow it to heal (doctor’s orders).  I don’t know if I’ll be healed enough to work on Monday, and that is scary, as I’m close to broke, and I can’t afford to lose much more time.  People are counting on me, but my body is causing me to let them down.  I don’t know how I can deal with this.

I know a lot of people are understanding, but there’s only so much I can falter before they lose faith in me and consider me unreliable.

My physical body performs strenuous tasks that are beyond the norm for most people, and as I’m getting older it seems my super powers are waning.  I’m still capable most of the time, but I have to be careful not to go too far.  Yet, the annoying thing is, my physical problems don’t arise from anything particularly straining; they crop up unexpectedly when I’m not in Hercules mode.  It’s frustrating!  I’ll be walking on my day off and suddenly my knee will start hurting.  What the hell?

So here I am, lying in bed, wishing I could be working on something, but just waiting to see if I can even walk tomorrow.  Have I not suffered enough for one year?  Can I please get a good break?

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Kirtons of Hampshire

 It’s been a long time since I wrote about my Kirton ancestry.  I have discovered a few things over the years, and continue to pick away at it, seeking to push back the line ever more.  Here is some information I’ve discovered since I wrote my Kirtons of Kentucky blog entry, 10 years ago.

The earliest ancestor I’ve identified thus far is William Kirton, born circa 1762.  He and his wife Elizabeth (maiden name currently unknown) lived in Hampshire county, England.  There they had a son, Richard Shaw Kirton, born 13 November 1794.  Richard was a shoemaker, so it’s possible that his father was, as well.

Richard Shaw Kirton married Elizabeth Carpenter on 26 April 1818 in Maryleborne, Middlesex, England. They had 4 daughters and a son that I’ve been able to uncover.

Elizabeth Kirton (born 21 July 1820, died 5 December 1822)

Sarah Kirton (born 19 January 1822)

Ann Kirton (born 5 July 1824)

Richard Thomas Kirton (my 4x great grandfather, born 4 July 1830, died 22 February 1910)

Louisa Kirton (born 1835)

I am not sure when the Kirtons moved from England to the United States, but I suspect it was around 1850. Richard Thomas Kirton married Ellen Hyler in 1854, and he and his father appear separately on the 1860 census.  Richard Shaw Kirton lived in Cincinnati, while his son settled in Covington, Kentucky, just across the state border.

By 1870, Richard Shaw Kirton was living with his daughter Louisa “Lucy” and her husband, Elttin Edgely, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was also living with them in 1880 according to the census.

Louisa and her husband had two known children, Elizabeth “Bessie” Edgely (born 1856) , and George Edgely (born 1858).  Bessie married Charles Roberts and had children, but more research is needed on those lines.

Richard Thomas Kirton and his wife Ellen had two sons, Nelson W. Kirton and Sidney Alfred Kirton, and from there we run into my column from 10 years ago, The Kirtons of Kentucky .

A few added details are that both Nelson and Sidney Kirton also worked as shoemakers.  I’m having a hard time figuring out when Nelson died, as he simply vanishes from records after the 1880’s.  His wife, Sarah Drusilla Wallwork, got remarried on 24 November 1892 to Jerome Boyd, so I suspect Nelson may have died before then.

Nelson’s two sons, Newton Charles and Sidney Alfred, both started working as train porters around 1900.  Newton (my great-great grandfather) worked his way up to Fireman by 1910, while Sidney ended up becoming a house servant before his death in 1932.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Where I Am Now

 I'm loath to write about myself these days, because to be perfectly honest, it's painful.  The last few years have taken a toll on me, and the past six months have tested and tortured me.  Some of it I brought on myself with poor decisions and allowing myself to be manipulated, though much of it has been beyond my control.

Each day is still a trial.  I am anxious and sad, but I never have the chance to work on it because there's a constant series of events that keep getting in the way, and I'm too busy trying to address everyone else's problems.

I get triggered all the time by people and what they say and how they say it, but I have to suck it up or let it go.  That's what a lot of people would say a man is supposed to do, and it's what those of us who don't live in ivy-league, rose-tinted luxury have no alternative but to do, but it can suck having to ignore my own emotional needs.  The people who care about me don't realize the full extent of what I'm going through, but most people don't care at all.

Exactly when can I stop hurting?  When do my mental needs become a priority.

I still have a family that keeps me going, but they all have issues that I'm dealing with.  My youngest daughter has a mental disorder that requires that she have constant supervision, my son has had issues with substance abuse, and my middle daughter has bouts of depression and anxiety.  My father is elderly and back to being a workaholic, but he is willing to help, though he gives a bit of attitude and gets pissy about it sometimes.  That in itself isn't helpful when I feel bad enough asking for help.  And on top of that, I have a serious, live-in girlfriend who has her own emotional problems from an abusive childhood.

I feel like I'm writing way too much, but I have to do something to get this garbage off my chest.

Physically, I'm not doing as well, either.  I hide how sick I feel, and I'm not sure how much of it is just psychosomatic and what is actually illness.  I've been feeling weaker than normal, exhausted, achy, and I've been forgetting things.  My left knee has been a concern but the doctors said it was just patellar tendinitis.  I've felt my heart rate and blood pressure going up which concerns me.  I get headaches frequently, and sometimes "aura" headaches, where I see a glow which leaves me unable to see for a few minutes (though this is nothing new and I've had them on and off for my entire adult life).

So forgive me if I'm getting a little tired of playing with the puzzle pieces of my life and wondering when I'll get a break.  I'm still here, and I'm doing my best, but I need people to help me and stop beating me down.  In time, I might finally get back to a place where I can enjoy living, though right now I have to wait, and work to make sure others can find some enjoyment out of my continued existence.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

My Hyler Line

 Lately, I’ve been poking around with genealogy again, as I have on and off over the past 11 years.

In researching my mother’s line, I have long been perturbed by the Hylers.  It’s a small section that I know very little about, but I continue to look around and see what I can dig up.

It goes back to my 5x great grandfather, Anthony V. Hyler, who was born in New Jersey about 1794.  He was a shoemaker by trade.  His wife is unknown, and she died sometime before the 1850 census. They moved to Ohio and Kentucky, moving back and forth between the two states.  In 1830, they lived in Mason County, Kentucky, and in 1840 they were in Lewis, Ohio.  Anthony was living with his children in the 10th ward of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1850.

I’ve been able to identify 4 children through census records, though there may have been more that either died or moved out before 1850.

Ellen Hyler (my 4x great-grandmother, born August 1824, died 28 January 1901) married Richard Thomas Kirton in 1854.

Jeremiah Hyler (born 1828 in Kentucky, died 1891 in Cincinnati, Ohio), married Mary Ann Ralphy in 1850.  I’ve yet to identify any children they had.

Albert Hyler, born in 1834 in Ohio.  I have found little about him, though there is an Albert Hyler who joined the US Army on 9 December 1852, as an Albert Hyler born in Ohio is in a Register of enlistments.  In that enlistment, his civilian profession is listed as “shoemaker,” so this lends more circumstantial evidence.  After that, the trail is unclear.

Ann Maria Hyler, born in 1840 in Ohio.  She married Napoleon Marshall and they had 7 known children.

It is not surprising that Richard Kirton was also a shoemaker.  It was probably this trade that brought him into contact with the Hylers.  Ellen and Richard had 2 sons, Nelson and Sidney, Nelson being my 3x great grandfather, and a shoemaker as well.  He was the last shoemaker in the line as far as I can tell, as Nelson’s son, Newton, became a train engineer.

There still lies more possibilities along the Hyler line.  One interesting potential connection could be Adam Hyler (originally Huyler, or Hiler), a New Jersey whale boat captain of German descent who preyed on the English as a pirate during the Revolutionary War.  He could possibly have been Anthony’s grandfather.  There’s also a James Hyler, born about 1795 who could possibly have been Anthony’s brother.  Sadly, New Jersey records from the end of the 18th century are sparse.

So, the hunt continues…

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Getting Back Online

 Hello, everyone!

I'm sorry that it has been so long since I posted.  Actually, this is the first time I've been on the blog in over a year, and I see I've missed several important comments from family.  It has been a crazy few years, but as I continue to rebuild my life, I will find time to get into contact with everyone.

In the coming weeks, I hope to share more information about my personal exploits, and new publishing projects!  I have a new multi-author anthology in production, and I hope it will be a successful revival of my floundering publishing company.  I also want to find time to write again, as it has been far too long since I did.  All in good time.

I want to thank all of you who have been encouraging, even during these dark years.  Truly, there have been times where a few kind words have been the only things that have kept me from giving up.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Soul Searching 2020

It’s been a long time since I blogged, and it’s about time I got
back to it.  The past 5 years have really been hard on me, but at long last I’m beginning to feel more like my old self.  I’ve been through a lot, and had some major personal transformations in recent years.  I hope this year brings me back, full circle, to the man I once sought to be.  That being said, I see there is still a ways to go.

Starting the new year, I find myself with a heavy heart regarding a decision that I must make.

Last Thanksgiving, I finally broke down and purchased a DNA test from Ancestry.com.  It’s something I have wanted to do for years, and when they had a half-off special I couldn’t say no anymore.  So, the results came in just after New Year’s, and while the data I received pretty much confirmed what I’d already known about my heritage, it also has presented me with a critical decision to make.

Growing up, I was told a tale from my mother’s past, about a child she gave up for adoption when she was 16.  I won’t go into detail on this public blog, as it was and still is a very personal family story, but needless to say it’s something I have always wondered about.  Who wouldn’t be curious about a long-lost half brother?  But this adoption took place 18 years before I was born, and it was a closed adoption, where identities were kept secret, so I never thought I would ever know anything about him.

Yet, now my DNA has opened up a doorway to the truth.

Ancestry DNA gave me a match for someone I never expected. Mind you, it took a little bit of research to figure it out, as Ancestry can only approximate relationships with their tests, but based on my mother’s tale and the genetic makeup of the individual, I can say with little doubt that it is my half-nephew that took this DNA test.  Exciting, right?  However, it’s also a little scary, because I have no idea how to proceed.

I did send a short message to my nephew, basically saying that I noticed our close genetic link and offered to talk if he’s interested, but I sent it through Ancestry, and he’s not active at all.  I don’t even know if he received the message, or if he’d be receptive to talking... and I have no idea if his father, my long lost half brother, would want to either.

I’m afraid to be disruptive.

From the little digging I’ve done, I have learned that my half brother has had a fairly good life, and is seemingly happy and successful, so why should he want to know me?  I’m just from a biological mother he never knew, one who gave him away.  Would it be more than morbid curiosity to learn that I exist?  Could he ever consider me family?  Why should he? Blood is blood, but some people couldn’t care less about that, especially some raised by loving adopted parents.

So I’m not sure where I should go from here.  Part of me wants to try other avenues to contact my brother, but part of me thinks it might be better to leave it alone.  There’s this big part of me that just wants to tell him about the biological family he’s never had the chance to know, but it would hurt a lot if he didn’t care and turned out to be annoyed by my intrusion into his life.

This has also left me soul searching, looking at my own life and wondering what I’ve become, and if I’m worth knowing.  Really, I’m not the man I want to be lately, and thinking about meeting undiscovered family has me reevaluating some things.  I need to get back to being the man I dreamed of becoming years ago.  If nothing else, this dilemma has given me a new perspective on life, and I’d better not waste it.

As always, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Moving Along

Here's just a quick note for those of you who follow the blog, or run across it in the near future.  I'm having some technical difficulties with Facebook.  For some reason, they block all links to this blog, classifying it as "spam" and as a lot of networking happens on FB that is a major hindrance for me and for Martinus Publishing.  Repeated requests to fix this have been completely ignored, and nobody will even address this issue.

Therefore, as there is no way for me to share links to this blog on one of the biggest networking sites, I'm afraid there is no option but to move.  I will be setting up a new blog shortly, one that Facebook will hopefully not block as "spam."  I will share a link as soon as I have one, though it may be a few days or weeks before I find the right location.  In the meantime, all the old posts will remain here, for those of you who want to sample my wit and wisdom of the past.

Modern day censorship is a growing problem, and I am wary of Facebook's new algorithms, where innocuous content can be summarily blocked for undisclosed reasons.  I assume that some troll(s) decided to flag my blog as spam in complaints at some point, and that somebody at Facebook chose to simply block all links to it rather than investigate.  Though, nobody will actually respond to me, so I have no idea why they're blocking, other than I sometimes get a message saying my link is blocked because it is "spam."  Half the time, they just say it "violates their community guidelines," with no explanation how, other than a link to their "no spam, no porn, no hate-speech" page, which doesn't address any specifics, but just lays out their basic rules, none of which my blog violates.  That is, unless they want to say I can't tell people about Martinus Publishing books and where to buy them.  If that makes my blog spam, than the entire internet is nothing but spam!

Yes, I am a little angry about this, but I'll just have to move along, and hope they don't throw another roadblock in front of me too soon.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Have I Given Up Writing?

I have a few spare minutes, so I felt compelled to write a blog post, the first in a long while.  It used to be a daily thing, and topics would be so plentiful that I had to pick and choose which I would write first.  Now I have fallen out of the habit so badly.  It is rare that I have the time to tackle any serious writing, and it leaves me wondering if I truly have given up.

It has been years since I wrote prolifically.  To be fair, I can no longer call this a slump, but full blown abstinence.  Life took me for a ride, and drove me out of the art of storytelling.  I am now left wondering if I will ever find my way back.

Time is something I don't have anymore.  At least, not the quantity and quality that I require to produce worthy material.  I'm not in the right state of mind to craft stories.  Writing is something that should be enjoyable.  Yet, for me, it has become a source of stress, a grim specter of my past.  What was once a recreational exercise has devolved into a bitter reminder of failure and disappointment.  I can't say my divorce 4 years ago was the ultimate impetus, but it was certainly an overbearing weight.  I wouldn't call it the last nail in the coffin of my writing career, but possibly one of the first.  The shock and heartbreak accelerated and amplified my apathy toward writing, and the lack of time that occurred as I suddenly had four children to raise without a wife assured that I couldn't continue at that time, even if I'd wanted to.

Today, I'm in a much better place than I was in 2015.  I am happily remarried, my children are growing up little by little, and I am hopeful that I may actually have more free time again someday.  It is still very difficult to write.  I have so much work to do that isn't literary in nature, and I tend to wonder if I'll ever get caught up.  My father started building our house before I was born, and now that he has grown old I am taking on the task of completing it.  It is no exaggeration to say I have enough work ahead of me to keep five men busy for a year, but there is only one of me and I have no money to spend on additional laborers.  The winters that I used to "have off" to write are now an endless line of home projects.

So, the question remains, have I given up writing?  Answer:  I'm not sure.

The stories that used to burn in my soul are still there.  I think of all those tales that remain unfinished, the characters and universes that want to be explored.  I think of Zachary McCain and John Rage, and the half-written sequel to The Rogue Investigations.  I think of my West of the Warlock series, and the unpublished fourth book in the series, and its incomplete fifth volume conclusion.  I think of the unreleased fourth volume in the Virtual Saga that explores Morgan Asher's life after the catastrophic events in The Guns of Mars, and where I could take him beyond that.  I think of new characters and new series that I have not even penned yet!  Yes, I still think of it all the time, but with everything else going on in my life, it seems less important.

Whenever I think of getting back into writing, I look at everything I have going on, and I end up having to set it to the back burner.  Priorities are a bitch, but they're necessary.  I can't waste time writing books that nobody wants to read when I have firewood to cut and split, or my daughter needs a bedroom designed, or my son needs bookshelves, or my wife and I need an expanded bedroom… not to mention when I have to make money once the weather finally warms up again.

So while I can't say that I have definitively given up my writing, life itself has imprisoned my writing muse, you might say.  I lack the necessary elements to create great works of fiction.  Just a couple of things could spur me back into the habit, but right now it's not happening.  My dreams must sleep, while reality keeps me in a depressing grip of personal responsibility.  I can't say it's a hard life; at least not as hard as it could be.

I just thought one or two of you might actually like to read about this… one or two…

Friday, December 14, 2018

Forbidden Delays and a New Alt History Anthology!

It has been way too long since I threw together a blog post.  Living life really can take up your time!  Things are good for me, though, so I will not complain.  I hope to have more time to devote to writing and editing in the coming year, but work just keeps piling up.  It's better to be busy than not, I suppose.

First off, I have to apologize to everyone involved with the Forbidden anthology about the further delay in publication.  It is just taking a little longer to put things together for this collection, but it is 100% definitely going to be released in 2019!  I promise.  Once the final proofing and a couple of author rewrites are complete, we will be ready to set the final, concrete release date.  I don't want to throw out another date range yet, because I would hate to miss it again.  But be assured sometime during the first half of 2019.  Unless something disastrous happens, the book will hit the presses before next summer, possibly much earlier.  As soon as we get a firm release date, I will start posting the author interviews here on this blog to promote the book, as has become usual.

So, what else will be coming from Martinus Publishing in 2019?  I have a couple of projects planned, so long as I can allocate the appropriate time.  One thing will be a new short collection from one of my favorite contributing authors (more details once we finish planning things out a bit further).  And after a long wait, I will be setting up another new anthology, something in the Alternate History field again, though this time with a twist.  Without further ado, I hereby announce the next Martinus Publishing anthology:

This Never Happened!

~Alternate History Farce and Fantasy~

A new anthology devoted to the humorous side of alternative history fiction.  This collection will hold stories that are funny and outrageous, set in worlds where history differs from what happened in our own reality, with ridiculous consequences.  Tales that could not possibly have happened, or maybe they could have but would have just been absolutely hilarious if they did.  This Never Happened will explore what could have been, and what absolutely could not have been as well.  Make me laugh, and screw up history like never before for this wacky story collection!

You can find submissions details on the Martinus Publishing website here!

Let's see what happens in the new year!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Getting Back to It

Well, let's start this off with a look at the final cover version for the forthcoming anthology, Forbidden!

I am pleased to announce that editing and proofing has officially commenced.  I don't have a publication date yet, but it will be coming shortly.  I am hoping for a late summer release.

In my last blog post, I was feeling down, and seeking to reevaluate things in my life.  It is still an ongoing process, but things are moving forward.  This winter, I hope to set up a new anthology, at the very least.  get ready for more information about that as the year goes on.

In the coming weeks, we will begin to run author interviews for the Forbidden anthology.  Many contributors have agreed to the interviews, so you can all get a peek into the minds of these writers.

So very much to do, so little time...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Knowing When to Rest

The last month has thrown quite a few nasty surprises my way.  First off, I had my desktop computer die, and being lazy and careless, I failed to have some of my more recent files backed up.  Thankfully, I was able to retrieve those files from the hard drive yesterday, but it ended up costing me about a hundred dollars in hardware and software.  Now that the files are recovered, I will finally be able to resume work on the Forbidden Anthology, though there are other issues that make me reluctant to proceed.

This past week threw something even more troubling my way. I received a notice from Amazon, saying that they had received a communication from a Kenneth Romine of the "Veterans of Foreign Wars" organization, saying that the Martinus Publishing book “VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars” violated their "trademark" in some way.  Amazon instantly removed the title, stating that they do not involve themselves in "third party disputes.”

That alone was a shock, but a few hours later I received yet another notice from Amazon, saying that Martinus Publishing had published a "pornographic work," (which title they did not identify) and then they immediately suspended my entire KDP account.

I was quick to fire off a response to Amazon on both matters.  Shortly after writing them, I received a letter from Amazon saying they had "accidentally" accused me of publishing porn, and that my account was no longer suspended.  However, the VFW issue was apparently no mistake, and they doubled down saying they wouldn't get involved in the "third party dispute" and wouldn’t let the title back online until I provide documentation proving I have the legal rights to publish the work as is (what documentation they have refused to specify), or until Mr. Romine rescinds his complaint.

The only thing I can consider being a problem is the cover lettering.  If the Veterans of Foreign Wars owns the "VFW" letters as a trademark, I can understand the legal issues, though I had always assumed that the title of this book was protected as fair use.  I offered to alter the cover to remove the VFW lettering on the book's cover, but Amazon refused to consider it.  They now say the title will remain blocked until the “dispute is resolved by all parties concerned,” which could entail a costly legal battle with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which I have no money to fight.  It’s kind of ridiculous that an anthology written to honor veterans, many of the stories having been written by actual veterans, would be shut down by an organization set up to also help veterans.  It doesn’t make any sense.

I have been going over everything in my head for the last few days, trying to decide what the best course of action would be.  VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars hasn’t sold anything in the last six months, and in its entire run it only just about broke even, so there’s no real profit to be made at this point in keeping the title in-print.  Though, I find it upsetting that it has to end this way.

To be honest, I’ve felt like giving up this publishing business altogether.  It’s been hard the last couple of years, and this latest nonsense is just leaving a sour taste in my mouth.  I don’t want to stop, but so often it feels like I’m trapped, tied down by the weight of being an editor.  I don’t have the time to write my own material anymore, and I don’t seem to be helping the writers I care about.  Most of the collections I release don’t sell enough to make back their publishing cost, so how does that help anyone?

I still feel obligated to release Forbidden, though I am not sure where I’ll be going from there.  Part of me wants to gear up for another Alternate History anthology, as those are the only things that seem to make Martinus Publishing money, yet that isn’t where my heart is.  It would be just another job, which takes the fun out of it all.  I want to be a writer again.  I don’t know if I can truly do that if I am busy editing other people’s stuff.

At the very least, I think I’ll need a break.  I need a reset on my writing life.  I don’t want to shut down Martinus Publishing, though it may be some time before I’m ready to release another multi-author anthology.  I have stories of my own that need to be told, characters I’ve missed for too many years.  It's time I revisited them, and maybe made some new ones.


Last month, I woke up to a minor nightmare.  My desktop computer died.  It wouldn’t have been such a big problem, but I had been lazy and not backed up my latest work documents, in months!  All of the files for the latest anthology I’m working on (Forbidden!) were lost, along with the digital copies of my latest IRS Tax Return, the royalty reports from January for Martinus Publishing, and pretty much anything that happened in 2018.  On top of that, I don’t know where any of my photo back-ups are (it’s like they fell into a black hole or something).  So I seemingly lost almost every single family photo from the past 8 years, as well as the digital scans of many old pictures I’ve painstakingly archived over the years.  Needless to say, I was upset.

I will admit that I am no tech guru.  I muddle through with technology, being clever enough to figure out what I need to learn to make it work.  Yet, when it comes to the finer points of computer sciences, I am not an IT professional.  Unfortunately, I am rather poor, and lack the financial means to pay a real tech guy to fix my problems, hence the muddling through part of my existence.

So, I began by going on ebay and getting a used desktop.  I wasn’t in the position to buy a new one at the time, but I found a refurbished tower that was the same model as the one that had died on me.  It even had a fresh Windows 10 install.  After ordering that, and going over a few tutorials on how to slave a hard drive, I purchased an adapter to do just that.  Then, I waited.

The desktop arrived first, so I got that set up and added what files I had backed up, giving me head start.  Finally, today, the adapter came, and I was finally able to try it out.  Initial connection seemed good, but try as I might, I could not get into my files.  Sure, I could access some of the Windows operating system files, but my pictures and writing were all hidden.  The computer couldn’t detect any of my important files, no matter what I tried.  I was fearful that I had failed, and my laziness may have cost me so many irreplaceable files.

Then I did a little more research, and ran across a software retrieval program at easyus.com.  I downloaded the trial software and gave it a shot.  Lo and behold, my files appeared, waiting to be retrieved.  The only catch was I had to buy the full version of the software.  $73 dollars later, I finally had the program I needed to get my lost files off the corrupted hard drive and onto my new system.

Overall, this was a harrowing experience, one that should never have happened.  I know better than to go any amount of time without backing up my data, as soon as the rest of the files get transferred to my new computer (they are still downloading as I write this), I will be putting everything onto fresh SD cards.  I have a Kingston 128gig card that should fit most of the content, though the pictures will suck up most of it.  I’ll grab a few more once I have the money, and keep several copies of everything, just like I used to.  Really, after all I’ve been through in the past few years, I am finally learning to get back into the habits that I had been accustomed to for so long.  Sometimes, you need a wakeup call to remind you of why you should do certain things.  I’m really glad I was able to retrieve all that I might have lost.