Why bother with geneaology? Here’s why

I blog a lot about space — asteroids, planets, the cosmos in general — but I also write about my ancestors. In fact, I think everyone should find out more about their past.

There are plenty of reasons why you should find out more of your family history.

One thing, though: the 23 and me type of DNA tests don’t really reveal much. Why? As the wonderful NY Times article linked above says:

“Culture does not come from DNA. It comes from lived experience, traditions and stories passed down, from actual people who shape our perceptions of the world.”

It’s all about stories. Humans are storytelling creatures. We shape our lives, as our life experiences shape us and those around us. Motivations, desires, hopes, beliefs, fears, dreams…

Look to the past to explain the present and predict the future. Past and future aren’t dichotomous; they’re merely points on a never-ending continuum.

 

My Amazingly Insightful Interview at Smashwords

Yes, I have finally gotten around to “being interviewed” (by, er, myself) at Smashwords. In which I lay bare my literary influences. Ah, and also revel in my geekdom. Yeah.

https://www.smashwords.com/interview/mapple

Which means that, yes, I am preparing to (re)publish some of my work in ePub format. Hopefully, Adam’s Stepsons will be soon available for iBooks, Kobo, and some other apps/devices. Aiming at April 1st (since Adam’s Stepsons is currently enrolled in Amazon’s “KDP Select,” which prohibits me from distributing it as an ebook through other services until March 31st).

The Kindle (.mobi) price will be lowered to ONLY US $0.99 from Sunday! (I hope. Maybe Monday. Definitely by January 31st).

In the meantime, work proceeds apace on Bringer of Light! More coming soon. Very soon.

New Year 2019: Year in Review / Preview

Yes, it’s been yet one more year of writing, rejection, and reflection.

But let’s focus on the writing! Fortunately, more is on the way in 2019.

  • My science fiction novella Adam’s Stepsons continued to receive awards. Which is why I’m giving it away for free starting tomorrow!

That’s right: If you forgot to give a gift to a friend, relative, or neighbor, you’ll have your chance to gift a free ebook for five straight 24-hour Earthdays in January. I’d post the actual dates, but due to the laws of physics the dates change depending on where in the universe you are.

Titled Destiny in the Future, this 240+ page book also features a preface and introduction by yours truly that also analyzes and places it in proper time/place/societal context. All proceeds from this book will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Check back here for a preview in February 2019.

  • The long-awaited novel Children of Pella will be available by Summer 2019. The first draft has been beta-tested and as a result, three additional chapters are being added. The first in a series of (probably) three books about a new mankind settling Mars, the story revolves around a group of misfit asteroid hunters facing discrimination and political intrigue as the old nation-state order on Earth and the Moon collapses.

Check back here for free downloadable previews in March 2019. Advance review copy readers will get a free ebook and paperback copy. More info on the way!

 

Joseph Octave Lewis: Franco-American Trojan

JLewis-1850s(?)A few weeks before my mother passed away, I finally had the chance to do what I had wanted to do for years: Visit the sites where my French-Canadian ancestor had been.

The problem was, I could only figure out one specific location, and that was only due to guessing based on an old photograph: a “cabinet card.”

My mother had insisted for decades that she had French-Canadian ancestry. Her grandmother Carrie Lewis Connally was French, she claimed. But I always wondered.

Lewis doesn’t sound terribly French.

Continue reading

The predictive space powers of Linda A Langworthy

Apollo-Soyuz_Test_Project_patch.svgI’ve made good progress on my mother’s high school manuscript — up to Chapter 9 (out of 15). Taking notes while I type, particularly about cultural references and language usage, I came across one interesting prediction:

“The space program of the two major nations [US and Russia] were joined after the moon project because it was cheaper to outfit; also, with the world’s greatest minds working together, better vehicles could be built.”

This was written a full 9 years before the joint Apollo-Soyuz (or Soyuz-Apollo) Test Project in 1975 that basically ended the “space race” started by the launch of Sputnik.

Written by a 17-year-old in 1968. The reality was more complicated, but still, heck of a prediction. Go, Mom!

Thanksgiving Day without you

Two days ago I celebrated Thanksgiving Day, or as we call it, Turkey Day, with my relatives in the US. It was the first time for me to do so in over 20 years.

The myths about the holiday are well-known, so I won’t waste time relating them here (most Americans are happy to go on pretending the “Pilgrim Fathers” started this when really it’s just an excuse for a four-day weekend of stuffing yourself, watching football, and shopping).

In our case, it was the first holiday since my mother passed away. The next two will be even harder. But the oft-trite is oft-true: it was as if the empty chair at the long table was filled with her presence. This year was different.

A passing of the family torch. Dinner at my sister’s house, dessert with her in-laws. Boardgames with aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Family stories with grandpa. Skype with the grandkids overseas. Most of us drove seven or eight hours roundtrip just to spend one day together.

The grieving process continues. So does life. You can’t pick your relatives, but in some case you get real lucky.

Star trekking throughout the universe…

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The holidays are coming up, which always reminds me of old Trek.

No, seriously. When I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents’ house for the holidays, my mom’s parents. And they had a color Zenith (we had a tiny black and white TV at the time).

The first time I saw Star Trek was in the “TV room” of my grandparents’ house in Troy. In brilliant red-blue-green color. It blew my seven year old mind. Continue reading