Back At It

 Posted by at 1:07 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 282018

After my newest book, Big Lake Fugitive, came out on Thursday of last week, I planned to take the weekend off and then get started on the next John Lee Quarrels book on Monday. But that didn’t happen, and I blame Miss Terry.

I love all kinds of research, and one of my favorites is genealogy. I have been researching my family tree off and on for several years now, but for the last year or so I have stepped away from it because it can be very time-consuming. Terry kept nagging me to get back into it again because she knows how much I enjoy it, so I decided what the heck, I’d renew my account for six months and mess around with it now and then when I had the time.

The problem with that is that I easily lose track of all time and waste hours that could be better spent writing. Which is pretty much what I did all day Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon I started researching the Civil War history of my 2nd great uncle, Francis M Stephens, who was born in Kentucky and volunteered with the 128th Illinois infantry in September of 1862, at the age of 20.

The unit spent that winner stationed at Cairo, Illinois, where they suffered from what seems to have been a complete lack of leadership and discipline. Many of the men did not have uniforms or shelter, food was scarce, and the officers in charge didn’t seem to care what happened to them. By April 1,1863, their original manpower of 860 men was down to only 161, most of the rest having deserted. The unit was disbanded and its officers were thrown out of the Army.

Francis M Stephens was one of the men who stayed, and though he had initially only enlisted for six months, he reenlisted and transferred to the 9th Illinois Infantry, which became known as the Bloody Ninth because of all the combat they saw throughout the war. He served with them at the Battle of Chattanooga, the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, the Battle of Atlanta, and continued as they joined General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. I was so fascinated by the story that I kept working on it late into the night.

Yesterday I wanted to continue my research and find out what happened to Francis Stephens after the war, but I decided I really needed to do something more productive before Miss Terry got fed up with my laziness and kicked me to the curb. So instead, I started working on my next book and got about 5,000 words done by the end of the day.

While I was busy with all that, Miss Terry was working on a weaving project, dealing with some paperwork, and still found time to make a delicious deep dish chicken pot pie from scratch for dinner. That lady sure can cook!

After dinner we watched TV for a while, then I came back to my desk to answer some emails. My office is right off of a carport where we keep our trashcan and two plastic bins for recyclables. I heard a noise outside and turned on the light to look out and saw a raccoon checking out the plastic recycle bin. As soon as light came on he took off in a hurry. I guess it could have been worse, it could’ve been a skunk.

Today looks like more of the same thing. Writing, not genealogy, that is.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Raise your children, spoil your grandkids. Spoil your children, raise your grandkids.


Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Back At It”

  1. Isn’t it hard to call “your time” spent doing genealogy a waste? It’s “your time”, it’s something you enjoy, and yes it takes “your time” but it’s “your time”.
    It’s not like you’ll be fired & tossed into the street if you don’t get still another 5,000 words down today.

    Time is the one thing none of us can buy more of…

    Just an idle thought as I spend another 2 hrs of my life reading blogs, news & the comics in the morning 🙂

  2. Have you ever thought about writing historical fiction?

  3. It’s crossed my mind a time or two, Jodie, but between those folks in Big Lake always getting into mischief and now John Lee Quarrels and his troubles, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

  4. A free online storage alternative/addition for your family tree you might want to consider joining is Wikitree. The idea behind Wikitree is to make ONE tree for all mankind. We are, after all, all related. This differs from in that while wikitree does not have actual resources it does by contributing your tree allow you to learn more about your ancestors by connecting with others who have the same ancestor and might have huge amounts of information to share with you. I have met distant cousins who shared their resources with me… including very old family photos I had never seen. I was given a photo of my great grandfather who in the photo looks like a duplicate of his grandson.. my father.

    Wikitree promotes resource sharing by giving each person, living or dead, a single profile page. Anyone descendant from that person will connect through that profile page. For example here is the profile page one of my ancestors who came to this country before the revolution:

    As you can see from Christian’s profile page you are given plenty of space to write a narrative. You are also given almost unlimited space for photos.

    My profile page on Wikitree is at . You can see that some of the information at the top of Christian’s profile is hidden (parents, children, etc) on mine. That is for privacy with living people. In order to view that information a living person would have to put you on their trusted list. So privacy is important on WikiTree.

    Wikitree isn’t the easiest place to learn to use but you might find it worth the time investment. I’m just telling you about so you’ll have one other tool in your genealogy toolbox if you choose to use it.

  5. I’m writing as fast as I can, too. My computer is working again, but who knows for how long. The loaner i have is a Mac, so not all my stuff will run on it. Need to get some serious words cranked out today, but also have to work at Shagway. And the heat! How can you stand Florida?!

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