Imagine waking up one day to learn your last name isn’t your real name? That your grandfather changed your name decades ago to conceal a dark and tragic family secret. This happened to me and it took me on a journey to discover a painful truth that continues to reverberate to this very day.
My name is Kevin D. Miller. I am a U.S. Air Force veteran, a father, husband, grandfather and professional Web Developer/Technical Writer. Less than a decade ago I discovered some old yellowed newspaper articles from 1920 that appeared at a funeral for a family member. The articles detailed a tragic murder-mystery from 1920, Southington, Ohio. My great-grandfather George Puchalski, a well-to-do farmer was murdered while he slept on the night of September 13, 1920. Over a century ago. My 12-year-old grandfather, Stanley William Puchalski was sent by his frantic mother (my great-grandmother Stella Puchalski) to fetch the Sheriff. She had apparently been the victim of a robbery gone bad. She was said to have been bound and gagged and robbed of $600. A sizeable amount in the 1920’s.
Everything isn’t as it seems however. My grandfather and his siblings end up in a notorious orphanage in Warren, Ohio, alone and on their own. My grandfather, Stanley decided he would run away with the intent of finding work, saving money, and stealing his siblings from the orphanage and taking care of them.
After 3 years of research consisting of combing through all the original newspaper articles, reading all the related court documents of the murder and trials, gathering old letters from family members, interviewing family members and leaving no stone unturned, I decided to write a book about my family’s story. We were not the Miller’s. We are indeed the Puchalski’s. Descendent from Polish immigrants. My grandfather changed our family name in the 1920’s to bury a family scandal and protect his family’s legacy. This began my journey as an author. I needed to tell his story. A story he and his siblings swore an oath of secrecy never to reveal. His courage, love and compassion for his family inspired me to open the book of his life and reveal the tremendous Heart of Steel he possessed.
The book, Heart of Steel: Based on a True Story became a #1 Best Seller in one of it’s categories on Amazon in November of 2019. The book won a Bronze Medal Award from the Reader’s Favorite Book Contest and Awards in 2020. GKg Productions has optioned the book to create a Hollywood movie of the incredible story.
The book is available for sale on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and other places. To learn more about the story and order a copy, visit the website I built for the book at: www.HeartOfSteelBook.com.
My second book, White Skies Black Mingo was picked up by a small publisher and is also available on Amazon.com. To learn more about me as an author, visit my author website at: www.AuthorKevinMiller.com.
Becoming an author was something I did not expect at this point in my life. But as fate would have it, my grandfather’s courage and love is my inspiration for my new career as a teller of tales. I want to thank Author’s Lounge for providing the opportunity to share my story.