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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Made My Year


 Saturdays are my this and that day. Odds and ends. Typically, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house. Those sorts of things. Kim and I will relax in the afternoon. I’ll do some writing. Like I said, a this and that kind of day.

Yesterday was no different.

I was filling up my car with gas while a young man across from me was doing the same. Every now and then, he would smile at me. I nodded back. He finally asked if I was Mr. Lewis, the principal. I told him that yes, I was, but I had retired this past June.

He said, “You don’t recognize me, do you?” I responded, “No, I don’t. You look familiar, though.” He said, “My name is N_______ ______, and I know you remember that name.” I said, “Yes, I do. When did you graduate?” and he said, “2014.”

Now, my school graduated about 500 kids a year. 2014 was seven years ago, or approximately, 3,500 kids ago. Yet, I remembered his name.

He told me he had gotten suspended many times for fighting, popping off to teachers, “stuff.” Oh, I remembered! Yes, I surely did!

He told me that there was one thing I had said to him that had always stuck with him.

He said there was a meeting with his grandparents, his assistant principal, and me. It was during that meeting I had told him, “Your grandparents don’t deserve this. You can do better. You can make better choices, better decisions. If you aren’t willing to do it for yourself, look at your grandmother and your grandfather, and do it for them.”

It is something I might say to any kid who made a mistake. He remembered it, and this is what he had remembered from that meeting.

He was a good kid who had made poor choices. His grandparents loved him and wanted to help, but they needed some support. That happens. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I heard a parent or grandparent weep and say, “I don’t know what to do.” Heck, there were times as an administrator I felt the same way.

My philosophy has always been that all kids get it . . . eventually. Some get it sooner than others. Some get it later, hopefully before it gets too bad and before they get in too deep. But kids will get it.

It never paid to lose one’s mind over an action or a word. What good does it do? The kid did or said whatever he or she did. They know it. We know it. All that’s left is to apply a consequence, and hopefully learning comes from it. Hopefully.

What made my year and what brought a smile to my face and what warmed my heart was when he told me he had joined the marines, and that now he was a stockbroker.

Wow! Imagine that! He made my year!

A kid who fought, who walked the hallways angry and with a chip on his shoulder, a kid who was suspended repeatedly for violating this rule or that rule. A kid whose grandparents agonized over him and not knowing what to do or where to turn. A kid who finally woke up . . . not sure exactly when . . . but he woke up and turned into a seemingly fine young man. A smile on his face. A kid who seemed happy with life, with himself. This kid. Any kid. Really, all kids . . . eventually. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

 To My Readers:

The edits and revisions for the Lives Trilogy and Prequel are now complete! I am waiting to see the book covers. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I will keep you posted as to when they might be available for purchase on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

I Received a New 5 Star Review and Author Spotlight!

You can find the Review here:

https://writersinspiringchange.com/feature-review

and the Author Spotlight here:

https://writersinspiringchange.wordpress.com/2021/04/04/international-writers-inspiring-change-feature-book-review-betrayed-by-joseph-lewis/


I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.
On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. My most recent post introduces you to Detective Pat O'Connor. I also release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for book sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life. You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/

Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
 
Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis                             

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis     
                         
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis  
                                             
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis     

Photo courtesy of Ben White and Unsplash

 

 

 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

An Example


 There is one memory of my father that stands out among all the memories I have of him. It is permanently etched in my brain, and I can tell you it causes me to think about my actions and my words to my kids and to anyone I come in contact with. At least I try. Sometimes I fail, but I try.

We were living in the house by the river. I know I was little and shared a bedroom and bed with my younger brother, Jeff. I don’t remember how many brothers and sisters were living at the house at that time, but I would wager a good number of the ten of us. Probably my older sisters had moved out and had gone to college.

I know I had never thought I had lacked anything growing up, but I had come to realize that we were poor. The guy at the little market where dad liked to shop gave us healthy discounts on what was purchased. He was a friend of my dad. A good guy.

Again, I was little, maybe first or second grade at the time. We had gotten ready for bed, probably in bed, and I had gotten up for some reason. I remember walking past my parent’s bedroom, and I saw my dad kneeling down at the side of the bed, praying. His head was down. His hands were folded. He had stayed that way for quite a long time.

I watched, mesmerized. The kids in our family were brought up to pray. We went to church each Sunday, 9:15 AM at Holy Angels, third or fourth pew in front on the left. Heck, we could have had our names carved permanently in the wood. That was our place, all of us, each Sunday. During Lent, we’d pray the rosary as a family on our knees in the living room. A long prayer and it wasn’t comfortable. Back then when I was little, I couldn’t wait for it to end.

And while we prayed before meals, hands folded, head down and eyes closed, and while my little brother and I prayed each night before crawling into bed, I had no idea that my dad prayed by himself at night. I don’t know why I didn’t know that. I don’t know why I hadn’t considered that. It should have been a given, I guess. But it honestly hadn’t occurred to me.

But there he was, on his knees, hands folded, head down, in prayer.

I remember sneaking back once or twice after and saw the same thing. My dad prayed. By himself, with no one watching . . . except for me from a distance in the dark. And it stayed with me all these years.

I wondered, and still wonder, if my kids know I pray. My routine is the morning. I have a devotional I read that contains a scripture passage and a thought, which is followed by a short prayer. It starts my day out. At night, I’m usually in bed and I go over what I did or didn’t do. My mind plays and trips over all the things I could-have-should-have-but-didn’t-do. You know that game, right? I think we all do.

But I don’t know if Hannah or Emily know I pray each day. I don’t think I gave them the example my dad gave me. That bothers me. Prayer and spirituality play an important role in my life, but I don’t know that my daughters, or Wil when he was alive, knew that. Yes, we went to church. Yes, my kids were all Baptized. Yes, my kids had their First Communion, and many others since.

But . . .

It seems I left something out. They are older and have begun their own lives now. I reach out daily to them each morning and many times throughout the day, wishing them a good day. I do this with several of the kids I taught, or coached, or was counselor or principal for. But, do they know me in my spiritual life? Did I set an example for them? I wonder. Something I truly think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

The edits and book covers for the Lives Trilogy and Prequel are progressing. I redid and/or tweaked Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, and Shattered Lives, and I will begin the redo and edits on Splintered Lives this week. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I will keep you posted as to when they might be available for purchase on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

I Received a New 5 Star Review and Author Spotlight!

You can find the Review here:

https://writersinspiringchange.com/feature-review

and the Author Spotlight here:

https://writersinspiringchange.wordpress.com/2021/04/04/international-writers-inspiring-change-feature-book-review-betrayed-by-joseph-lewis/

 

I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.
On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. I release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for books sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life. You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/

Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
 
Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis                             

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis     
                         
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis  
                                             
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis     

Photo courtesy of Nathan Lemon and Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

How Did She Get Here?

 


Several years ago, Kim and I visited Hannah and Alex in Pittsburgh. We had a nice dinner, and after, Hannah and Alex showed us some of the sights. Kim and I had been around the city on our way to or from Wisconsin, but we hadn’t actually been in the city. Once or twice on recruiting trips, I had been on the outskirts, but I had not visited Pittsburgh.

It was a nice trip. I had no idea that Mr. Rogers was from Pittsburgh. We saw a large statue of him. We walked the water front and watched speedboat races. Listened to music. Then Alex drove to a lookout where we could see the city skyline. Pretty at night.

On our drive back to their apartment, we drove through both nice, upscale areas of the city, and some of the harder hit, rundown areas. On a couple of the corners, there were some of the homeless begging for change. An elderly woman, or at least who I thought was an elderly woman, pushed a grocery cart with what looked like all her personal belongings.

Alex turned to me and said, “Do you ever wonder how she got here?” I looked at him questioningly and he clarified, “You know, how did she ever come to this place in her life?” I tossed out the responses most of us had heard through media: mental illness, PTSD, addiction, alcohol. Yet looking at her, watching her push what was left of her life in a grocery cart, caused me to think.

How did she, or anyone for that matter, get from a home and three meals and a bed, bath or shower, to living on concrete in cardboard boxes with garbage barrel fires for warmth? How?

In 2018, Tenille Townes wrote and recorded a song, Somebody’s Daughter.

I drive home the same way, two left turns off the interstate
And she's always standing at the stoplight
On 18th Street
She could be a Sarah, she could be an Emily, an Olivia, maybe Cassidy
With the shaky hands on the cardboard sign
And she's looking at me

Bet she was somebody's best friend, laughing
Back when she was somebody's sister
Counting change at the lemonade stand
Probably somebody's high school first kiss
Dancing in a gym where the kids all talk about someday plans
Now this light'll turn green and I'll hand her a couple dollars
And I'll wonder if she got lost or they forgot her

She's somebody's daughter

How did she, or he, get there? Here?

I have to admit that like most everyone else, I see “them”, the homeless, the disposed, the unwanted and unwashed, and I go my own way. At times I see the same one or two standing at the same corner or walking to or from their spot. Like most everyone else, I drive by as I hurry here or there.

When we lived in California, Kim and I would visit Baja, and the kids and others would sell gum or beg for spare change. We were “advised” to not pay attention because if you help one or two, you will be flocked like pigeons after seed. On one trip, my brother Jack, Hannah and William were with us. Wil was adopted from Guatemala, and once upon a time, as recently as a year or so before he was adopted from an orphanage, he was one of those kids panhandling on the street. Shoplifting to survive. He gripped my hand tightly and wouldn’t look at the kids. His head down, eyes on the pavement, he’d walk by.

I used that experience in my book, Betrayed. Three fifteen-year-old adopted brothers, George (a Navajo), Brian and Brett (both from upper-middle-class homes) traveled through the squalor of and Navajo Nation Reservation. The thought Brian had was that he dared not look at George, because he understood that George was once one or two rungs up the ladder from where these kids played in the dirt streets barebacked and barefooted.

Aren’t we all? One or two steps away from living on pavement? Most of us, fortunately, will never know living in a cardboard box or under makeshift canvas tents. Most of us, fortunately, will never know life on concrete under bridges. Most of us, fortunately, will never know the gnawing feeling of hunger or thirst. But some of us will. Some of us will be somebody’s daughter. Some of us will be somebody’s son. Some of us . . . Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make a Difference!

To My Readers:

Great News!!!!!
I signed a 4 Book Contract with Black Rose Writing to Re-Issue the Lives Trilogy and Prequel! I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. This past week, I re-edited all four books, Taking LivesStolen LivesShattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. I will keep you posted as to when they might be available for purchase on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

More Great News!!!!!
I signed a contract with Black Rose Writing for my new book, Blaze In, Blaze Out that will be published January 6, 2022! Like the others, it falls in the thriller/mystery/crime genre, but this time around, it features my trio of cops: O’Connor, Eiselmann, and Graff. It will be more cops than kids, though you will always have a visit with the Evans Family! I will give you updates on when it will be available for preorder, as well as provide snippets from the book on my author website and Facebook.

I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.

On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. I release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for books sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life. You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/


 Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis 
                               
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis 
                             
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis 
                                                
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis     

Photo courtesy of Jon Tyson and Unsplash

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

It Begins . . . Again


I’m not usually one to get all excited for Spring. Having lived in Wisconsin, I’ve seen too many ugly winters prolonged into late March and April. Snow turns dark and dirty. Slushy. Everything is wet, rather nasty. There is still a chill in the air almost to May. Not a fan.

However, since we’ve moved to Virginia, there is a difference. It gets warmer faster. Snow doesn’t last or have a chance at becoming nasty. The sun is brighter, and more of it, longer than in Wisconsin it seems. A few of our windows are open year-round, but now there are more of them open, at least during the day. The air smell fresh, clean.

I wandered around our yard yesterday and spotted buds on our rose bushes. A few on the trees, and those will become many in no time. We’ll begin mowing either this week or next.

Life is changing. Life is growing. Life is becoming. It begins, again!

This past week was spring break, and Kim and I used it to travel to Wisconsin to see her parents. We’ve not seen them in a year and a half, and phone calls, while nice, don’t match physical contact that a visit can bring. All of us had both Covid shots, and her nephew who lives with her parents had his second this past Thursday. We also visited my brother and his wife, who had their two shots also. We were safe. We’ve been conscious of our, and other’s, safety. Have to be.

We limited who we were around purposely, unable to see many we had intended to see. Her parents are elderly, but in fairly good health. We had to be responsible to and for them with how we interacted with others. Washed hands. Masks. You know the routine. 

Spring.

Show of hands . . . how are those New Year’s resolutions coming? Are you still working on them? I’m guessing there are more hands unraised than raised, mine included. I think that is because it is harder to redo oneself in winter all bundled up from the cold. It doesn’t matter if one works out in a nice, warm gym. It seems to be a bit tougher, taking more time and effort.

We had a dark, dark year. Covid, while not beaten back, is at least an arm’s length away. It seems to be retreating as many are receiving their shots and as many are following guidelines and safe practices.

Spring.

Now, there are more people- young and old- out walking or jogging or riding bikes. There seems to be more smiles, more talking taking place. Perhaps, people are happier, but that could be my imagination.

Spring brings us an opportunity for renewal. Spring gives us, like nature all around us, an opportunity to be reborn.

Spring brings us hope, and besides love, one cannot exist without hope. Hope leads to faith. Hope leads to belief in oneself and in others. Hope gives us courage to take on that which we might not in winter.

Spring gives life an opportunity to begin again, once again. Birds build nests and lay eggs. Their babies eventually take flight. Other animals are born once again. Life is renewed; life begins again.

Perhaps we can use this time, Spring, to move forward with purpose, with energy, and with hope. So much hope. There is possibility and promise in Spring that isn’t there at other times of year. Let’s use it for the better. Let’s use it for each other, for ourselves. Let’s embrace the opportunity, the beginning, the chance. The hope. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make a Difference!

To My Readers:

Great News!!!!!
I signed a 4 Book Contract with Black Rose Writing to Re-Issue the Lives Trilogy and Prequel! I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. This past week, I re-edited all four books, Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. I will keep you posted as to when they might be available for purchase on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

More Great News!!!!!
I signed a contract with Black Rose Writing for my new book, Blaze In, Blaze Out that will be published January 6, 2022! Like the others, it falls in the thriller/mystery/crime genre, but this time around, it features my trio of cops: O’Connor, Eiselmann, and Graff. It will be more cops than kids, though you will always have a visit with the Evans Family! I will give you updates on when it will be available for preorder, as well as provide snippets from the book on my author website and Facebook.

Last Bit of Great News!!!!!
During a recent promotion, Betrayed, earned a Best Sellers Rank in Traditional Detective Mysteries on Amazon earning a high of #8 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
#1 in Traditional Detective Mysteries (Books)
#1 in Traditional Detective Mysteries (Kindle Store)
#8 in Crime Thrillers (Kindle Store) 
So far, Customer Reviews: 4.2 out of 5 stars with 43 ratings. I’ll take it!

I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.

On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. I release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for books sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life. You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/

 Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor 

A Five Star Review for my book, Betrayed:
“Having read all of Joe's books this is my favorite. I truly couldn't put it down. It was exciting to watch how his characters continue to grow up and develop in Betrayed. Although I suspect it could be read in isolation, it is so much better having read all of his previous books. It's a fast read that keeps you eager to turn to the next page. Thanks for reminding us that the word family can be defined in so many ways and most importantly that all kids, regardless of age or background deserve to be loved!  – KB

A Four Star Review for my book, Betrayed:
“The action keeps you reading and the emotions get you thinking on all and many things in life. Tough times and Friends.” – Jhari

Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis 
                                
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis 
                              
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis 
                                                   
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis     

Photo courtesy of Anders Jilden and Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Love is a Verb

 


On my author website, I wrote a piece titled Show, Don’t Tell (https://wordpress.com/post/jrlewisauthor.blog/132) . In it, I explained what the axiom means for a writer. The reader doesn’t want to be spoon-fed, but guided to use his or her imagination when reading.

I think the same is true in life. Words can sometimes get in the way. Even the explanation of a word, love, can somehow make love seem trivial when it isn’t.

Sometimes we say, “I love you!” and one answers, “I love you, too!” and I wonder how much is felt? I wonder if somehow, we’ve lost the meaning of the word. Sad, isn’t it? It’s a little like pulling your car out of the garage, hitting the remote to shut the garage door, driving down the street only to think, ‘Did I shut the garage door?’ And then you drive back to discover that, yes, you did shut the garage door. It becomes habit, automatic, and mindless.

In LinkedIn, I came across a video clip taken from a street camera. An elderly lady stood patiently at a crosswalk as cars sped by. She waited and waited. Finally, a guy on a motorcycle pulled to the side of the road, got off his bike, stopped traffic, and helped the lady cross the street. No horns honked. They waited until not only they crossed the street, but also until the man recrossed the street and got onto his cycle and sped away. That’s love.

I look over my years for examples of love where the word wasn’t spoken, just . . . done. 

My brother, Jim, when his youngest was still in a highchair, would take the food that was prepared and blow on it to cool it off so she wouldn’t burn her tongue. That’s love. My mother, choosing to eat the neck of a turkey or chicken so that us, her children, could have a real meal. That’s love. My brother, Jim, once again, giving up the last spoonful of a chocolate sundae, so his daughter could have it. My dad, working in the basement with me on my eighth grade science project, or my cub scout roller derby, getting it just right for me. That’s love.

So many examples from my life, your life, of love in action. So many examples. Yet, not one needing to declare, “This is love, dammit!”

No. The definition isn’t needed, because love is a verb. It is action. It is doing.

Yes, it’s nice to hear someone say, “I love you!” We need that affirmation as much as flowers need rain and sunshine. But love is also the planting of the flower in the rich soil and getting dirty doing it. That’s love.

Love is a verb. Love is meant to be a verb.

It’s more than a ring on a finger and a change of a last name. It’s more than a sexual act- so much more than that. But yes, it can and should be that as well.

Love is giving. It is hopeful and joyful. It is that suffocating feeling when your heart breaks, or when your heart is so full that it might explode. You can’t define it. You just know it because you feel it. 

John Lennon said, “It matters not who you love; Where you love; Why you love; When you love
Or how you love. It matters only that you love.


Leo Buscaglia said, “What love we've given, we'll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.

My hope and prayer for you this day is that you think back on all the times love was given to you without announcing it was love. To appreciate the wonderous gifts you were given by countless people, those known to you and those who remained anonymous. More than that, my hope and prayer for you this day is that you love by giving, by doing, by acting out. For after all, love is a verb. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.

On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books. I release snippets from those books. I let you in on any interviews I have done. I will let you know of any events coming up for books sales and signings. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life.

You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/

Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor 

Another Five Star Review for my book, Betrayed:
“If I sound inarticulate in this review, it's just me & don't blame the author. Just finished reading Joseph's latest book "Betrayed". Another masterful mystery/thriller. A must read. Once I started, it was difficult to stop. If you haven't read any of Joe's other six books, "Taking Lives", "Stolen Lives", "Shattered Lives", "Splintered Lives", "Caught in a Web" & "Spiral Into Darkness", you are missing out on some fantastic reads. Highly recommend all of his books. 
        – Diane M. Platten

Betrayed: A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
 
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
 
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis 
                                 
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis 
                                   
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis  
                                                  
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis     

Photo courtesy of Jon Tyson and Unsplash