One of my favorite vacation destinations is the beach. I prefer the ocean, but honestly, I’ll take any beach, anywhere. I like the west coast because the sunsets are gorgeous, but the eastern seaboard is growing on me.
This past summer, my family spent a week on the beach. In the mornings before there were too many people, I would take a walk in the sand. Dolphins played in the water close by. Crabs scurried here and there. I think my footfalls disturbed them so they did their crab walk to the safety of the holes they had burrowed into the sand.
As I walked, I noticed that there were footprints both ahead of and behind me. I was not the first one to walk the shore, nor was I the last. Some of the footprints were small, others large. Some made a deeper impression than others. Some were small and light, barely into the sand at all, but though faint, still visible.
Though I was on vacation, my mind drifted off to school. I thought of the new teachers and staff we hired. I thought of the new kids who would enter and make the school their “home” for the next few years. I thought of the kids who were returning, one year older.
I wondered how many wanted a fresh start, a new beginning. I wondered who among us might allow for that rather than placing their past front and center so that a fresh or new start might not happen.
And I thought of footprints . . .
Small or large. Light or deep. Some fresh, some faded by time and the elements.
We touch lives, all of us. We leave footprints on hearts and souls. Sometimes deeply embedded, while others light and small. We shape the lives of kids . . . and each other . . . by the words we use, by our actions. Sometimes we shape the lives of kids . . . and each other . . . by the words we don’t use or by the actions we don’t take.
Lives change, and we change them. Directions are taken and paths are created by us whether we know it or realize it or not. That is the essence of life, all of life.
With our footprints, it is within our nature, our control, to create a smile or a tear. With our footprints, it is within our power to build up and offer hope, or to tear down and create despair. With our footprints, we can create confidence or cause insecurity.
The thing is, each of us, and each of the kids we work with . . . the kids we see in the hallway or in the cafeteria; the kids who sit quietly in the classroom hoping against hope that no one notices them; the adult who stands in the mailroom or sits alone in a room; each of us has a story.
Each story is likely different from our own. Some stories are like a Disney movie where all is well and resolved at the end, while other stories read like a tragedy, and perhaps there is no satisfying ending and never will be.
And then there are those footprints . . . the ones that came before us and the ones who will come after us. The footprints we leave on hearts and souls and minds, treading kindly and softly, or roughly and hurtful. Footprints that might fade with time or last a lifetime. With each footprint, a story. A story added to the story already being played out. A story, good or bad, happy or sad. And our footprints only adding to the story.
What footprints will you leave behind? What stories will you help change . . . or create? We have that power, you and I. We use it or abuse it each day. What is our choice . . . Today? Tomorrow? It is our choice, our action or reaction. Our words or lack of them. Our footprints. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I have been absent for about two months. I needed to recharge. I read. I watched movies. I wrote. I spent time with my family, both immediate and extended. I needed it, so I hope you don’t mind.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Review had some wonderful things to say about Spiral Into Darkness:
“Joseph Lewis excels in building more than just a 'whodunnit' mystery. His is a novel of psychological suspense that weaves a 'cat-and-mouse' game into the equation of dealing with a killer who is much cleverer than anyone he's run up against in his career as a detective. Tension builds in an excellent, methodical manner as Lewis creates a scenario that rests firmly on not just the actions of all involved, but their psychological foundations. The result is a powerfully written work of psychological fiction that is highly recommended not just for mystery and police procedural readers, but for those who appreciate literary works well grounded in strong characters, plot development, and emotional tension. Great buildup, great insights, great reading!”
Readers Favorites wrote:
“If you enjoy thrillers, especially psychological ones, Spiral Into Darkness by Joseph Lewis will grab you good and proper in the opening two chapters. You will find yourself avidly turning pages as a serial killer accosts his victims, confirms their identities and blasts away their faces with a .38 pistol. If you are interested in both the good and bad sides of humanity and why we each turn out as we do, Spiral Into Darkness won’t disappoint.”
Best Thrillers wrote:
“The Bottom Line: A thoroughly compulsive police procedural by one of America’s most promising new writers. Joseph Lewis, author of our Best of 2018 pick Caught in a Web, is back with another crime thriller featuring world-weary Milwaukee detective Jamie Graff . . . While Lewis savagely explores romance, drama, and sexuality with his wider cast of characters, Jamie’s interpersonal life is refreshingly free of drama for a cop, enabling him to be the determined, resourceful rock capable of cracking the case. The result is a thoroughly compulsive crime thriller.”
And, Spiral Into Darkness has made it into the Top 50 Indie Books by Reader’s Choice!
You can find Spiral Into Darkness on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm and on Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiral-into-darkness-joseph-lewis/1129937958;jsessionid=0C9F7881E2F56139FAD36435022CB35D.prodny_store01-atgap18?ean=9781684332090
Best Thrillers had previously reviewed my book, Caught in a Web. It was named as a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Thriller Fiction! Best Thrillers called it “one of the best crime thriller books of the year!” I am both proud and humbled.
You can find Caught in a Web on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696 or on Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caught-in-a-web-joseph-lewis/1128250923?ean=9781684330249
Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis
If you do read Caught in a Web, Spiral Into Darkness, or any of my other books, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!
Spiral Into Darkness:
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:
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. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. 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, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.
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 Christopher Sardegna and Unsplash