Apple iTunes Has (Accidently?) Turned Into Ransomware!

If you use Apple iTunes and you have ever changed the email address associated with your Apple Account (Apple ID), PLEASE READ THIS.

I use iTunes Version for Windows 10. Since 2007, I have has three different email addresses tied to my Apple Id (changes in ISPs), I’ve used iTunes on 4 different computers and 5 iPods, and I’ve never had a single problem at all moving my songs between computers, listening to my music, or syncing my iTunes with my iPod… until last week.

For the first time ever, when I plugged in my iPod to sync my music, iTunes told me that my computer wasn’t authorized for my iTunes account. I entered my Apple Id and authorized my computer (it’s new). When I tried to sync, I got the same error message, but it had pre-filled in the email address that I first had with my Apple ID (not my current email, which I’ve been using for over 6 years). Since that email address is no longer attached to my account, the attempt to re-authorize failed. At that time, iTunes locked out 62 songs that I had purchased under that email address (out of 650 songs that I purchased using that email address), and deleted them from my iPod. The files are still on my computer, but I can no longer access or play them.

I called Apple Customer Support, and after over an hour talking to 5 different “geniuses” in customer service, technical support, application development, and management, their solution was to suggest that I just repurchase those songs since Apple no longer had the purchase records from that email address. And to make things worse, they couldn’t guarantee that the rest of my songs purchased under that email address and the other old email address (over 1100 songs altogether), wouldn’t be locked out the next time I accessed iTunes.

Where I come from, any computer application that seizes files on your computer, locks you out of them, and then demands that you pay money to get them back, is called Ransomware, and that is exactly what iTunes has become. I escalated this to Apple Corporate, but so far they haven’t even done me the courtesy of acknowledging receipt of my complaint.

I absolutely refuse to pay to get back something that I already bought through iTunes and have had no problems playing for the 13 years that I’ve been an iTunes user, and I don’t believe that I should be victimized by Apple’s poor record-keeping. If they’ve lost old purchase records, that’s on them, not on me.

I don’t believe for one minute that I’m the only person who has had this problem. And if you’ve ever changed the email address tied to your Apple ID account, you’ll probably have it, too, at some point. We need to let Apple know that this is unacceptable and that we expect them to fix their problem. Demanding that we pay again for what we’ve already purchased through them is not a solution; it’s a crime. Don’t let them get away with this. Speak up.

#AppleSucks #iTunesIsRansomware #IWillNotBeAVictim

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Announcing the Release of My Latest Novel!

Announcing the Release of “The Legacy of Shadows – Book 9 of the Knights of the Saltire Series”

My latest Action-Adventure Novel was released today and is now available via Amazon at the following links! Other retailers will be carrying it soon as the title makes its way through the distribution channels.




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Have Your Manuscript Edited or Don’t Publish It

As a published author, I cannot say enough about the need to edit – multiple iterations of editing –any manuscript before it is published. And I also cannot say this strongly enough: the worst person to edit a manuscript is the person who wrote the manuscript! Authors are simply not objective enough to edit their own content ruthlessly, and our minds see what we intended to say, rather than what we actual wrote/typed on the page.

It typically takes me two years to complete a manuscript: 23 months of research, story development, outlining, and drafting the manuscript in my head, and one month to actually type the manuscript on my computer. Most people only see the last month and think that I crank out manuscripts wicked-fast. That’s not true, but I do type quickly once I get going.

I personally use a multi-layer approach to manuscript editing. As I complete a chapter, I have three members of my editorial team perform a grammar and line edit. That way, once I’m finished with the first draft, I’m also finished with the second draft. Then the manuscript goes into the content/continuity edit phase, where the story is mercilessly picked apart to determine if: the story is interesting, the story as written is entertaining, the pacing is appropriate, the characters and dialogue are believable, and all parts of the story agree with each other. This last part is key, because as I change one part of the manuscript, I have to remember to change the other parts that reference or build on the part that I just changed. I have had to change entire opening scenes before – including ones that I built the entire story around – because while I loved the scene, it really just didn’t work. I would not have realized that on my own; it took an editor to make me see it and force me to rethink major parts of my story’s plot.

Once the content/continuity edit phase is complete, I put the manuscript aside for a month or so. Then it goes into final edit, which looks for grammar issues created by applying the various edits (there always are some), and takes one more look at content and continuity. Only after that edit is finished do I submit the manuscript to my publisher.

However, that’s not the end. Sometimes, my publisher will suggest changes to strengthen the story or remove extraneous/inappropriate material, which then have to be applied to the manuscript. And once those changes are applied, my publisher sends the manuscript to at least two proofreaders, who look for any remaining typos or issues. Now, you’d think that all typos would have been caught by this point, right? Wrong. Editors and authors are only human, and things get missed. My newest novel, “The Legacy of Shadows,” just came back from the first proofreader, who found 65 typos. Sixty-five! And I’m grateful for every one she found. There’s nothing worse than a typo that takes someone out of the story, ruining the experience of the reader.

When it comes to editing, there are no shortcuts. It is a long, sometimes tedious, often expensive process, but without it, a great story will be lost amidst lousy writing. And with three million new titles published every year, no author can afford to allow lousy writing to be published. Do yourself and your readers a favor: have your manuscript professionally edited – multiple times – before it is published. If a quality story is what you’re trying to produce, you really have no choice.

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Emotions Are A Choice

Here is a truth that no one likes to hear:

No one else – and I mean NO ONE else – can make you angry, sad, or happy. Being angry, sad, or happy is a CHOICE that you and you alone make. Granted, people may do things or circumstances may occur that make it easier for you to choose to be angry, sad, or happy, but it is still your choice. Your emotional state is an extension of you, not a reflection of others.

If you want to be angry, then be angry. But Own It! Acknowledge that you’re not angry because of what someone else said or did, but because you CHOSE to be angry. If you want to be sad, then be sad. But Own It! Acknowledge that you’re not sad because of what someone else said or did, but because you CHOSE to be sad. If you want to be happy, then be happy. But Own It! Acknowledge that you’re not happy because of what someone else said or did, but because you CHOSE to be happy.

You are in complete control of how you react to the situations around you. Stop blaming others for your emotional state. If you enjoy being an enraged person or a pissy person or a frightened person or a worried person or a weepy person, then by all means knock yourself out. But if you want to be a happy person, then BE A HAPPY PERSON. Choose to be happy, and you WILL BE happy. It’s that simple. Stop making it complicated; it’s not. Make your choice, own it, and live it!


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The Secret Of The Universe

I’m going to share with you the true secret of the universe: there is NO road to happiness.

Happiness is neither the journey or the destination. Happiness is neither the getting or the having. Happiness does not come from a person, place, or thing. Happiness is not the result of something you did, something that was done for you, somewhere that you went, something that you achieved, someone that you met, someone that you love, a parent, a spouse, a significant other, a child, a pet, a job, a paycheck, a performance review, a car, a home, a city, a vacation, the start of something, the completion of something, or any other THING that you can think of. Nothing can make you happy, but then again nothing can make you unhappy. Think about that for a moment.

Happiness is a choice. Period. If you choose to be happy, you are. If you choose to be unhappy, you are. Happiness – true happiness – cannot be affected or influenced by anything outside of your own consciousness, even though the world will try to tell you that it can. Happiness comes from within and nowhere else. You control your happiness completely, absolutely. Just as finding love cannot make you happy if you choose to be unhappy, a painful breakup cannot make you unhappy if you choose to be happy.

Here’s a suggestion: choose happiness, and it will be all that you experience in your life. Choose unhappiness, and you’re trapped in a life not worth living. What a waste of your potential! We all have an infinite capacity for happiness. Why choose anything else?

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New Novel Coming Soon From William Speir

“The Besieged Pharaoh,” coming in 2019, will be William Speir’s 15th Novel and 5th Historical Novel.

Before the palace intrigue of King Louis XIV’s Versailles, before assassinations and corruption plagued the Roman Emperors, Pharaoh Amenhotep II of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty reigned over the greatest kingdom in the known world during one of its most dangerous times.

Amenhotep II sat on the throne of Egypt when the ten plagues of the Hebrews were visited upon his people. So terrible were these plagues that he finally allowed the nearly two million Hebrew slaves to leave, hoping that their departure would end the calamities that nearly destroyed all that he and his forefathers had built.

After the disastrous encounter with the fleeing Hebrews at the Red Sea, Amenhotep returned to his capital defeated and facing an uncertain future. The firstborn children of Egypt had been killed. Crops and livestock were virtually destroyed. Pharaoh’s people, recovering from infestations of insects and frogs, were grieving for their children and on the verge of starvation. Pharaoh’s queen was enraged that her husband was unable to get justice for her son. Pharaoh’s other wives all wanted their sons to be named as Pharaoh’s heir and were willing to do almost anything to achieve that. Pharaoh’s priests were humiliated that the “living god of Egypt,” as they declared Pharaoh to be, was defeated by the god of slaves. Egypt’s neighbors saw Egypt as weak and no longer able to defend itself, and Egypt’s conquered territories no longer believed that Egypt was strong enough to hold them. Even Pharaoh’s great army began to question if Amenhotep were the right king to lead them.

Amenhotep had only a handful of allies to help him navigate the plots and intrigue that plagued his palace upon his return. Will his enemies succeed in assassinating him and placing one of his sons on the throne, or will Pharaoh find a way to stay one step ahead of the plots and intrigue so he can save his people and return Egypt to its former glory? 

William Speir’s fifth historical novel takes you back to ancient Egypt during the aftermath of the Hebrew Exodus and explores what life must have been like for a Pharaoh besieged on all sides by his people, nobles, priests, wives, children, soldiers, neighbors, and enemies.

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The True Meaning of Parenting

In the 20 years that I’ve been married, I have learned many valuable lessons. Perhaps the most valuable lesson involves children.  Parents, once you have children, your right to make decisions that are in your own best interest ends right there.  Once children come along, EVERY decision that you make must be made in light of what’s in the best interest of the children, even if it means giving up everything you’ve ever wanted and everything you’ve ever worked to achieve.

When I got married, I became a father of two beautiful children on the same day. I had spent years building my career as a management consultant, and I was poised for promotion to executive management.  It was everything that I had been working so hard to achieve.  But my wife and children needed a husband and a father who was home every night, not someone they only saw on weekends and holidays.  So I walked away from my career and chose one that best served the needs of my family.  It wasn’t the easiest transition, and it meant moving every few years to go where the work was, but it’s what they needed, and as a parent, I understood the obligation that I had accepted when I agreed to be a father and a husband.

I have no regrets about how my life turned out, and when I look at my kids and how they turned out, I know that I did the right thing. They are what mattered, not my job or job title or income or prestige.  When I agreed to marry my wife and become their father, they became my whole world, which is the only right course of action for any parent, in my opinion.

Parenting is our gift to the future. It doesn’t matter what we individually achieve, it doesn’t matter what personal goals we met along the way.  All that matters is that we raised our children to the best of our ability, because that’s our true job – the only job that matters.

If we don’t put our children first in our lives, then our children are nothing more than accessories to be displayed as we pursue our personal wants and desires. If you just want an accessory as you march on toward what you want, buy a painting, buy a stuffed animal, buy a new car, but don’t have children.  They are precious, and they require everything that you are.  They don’t need your money or your house or your car or your country club membership, they need you to be there for them when they need you.  Be there for them!  In the end, it’s all that truly matters.

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