Friday, September 27, 2019

Bad Days

About two or so weeks ago, I was struggling. Things weren’t going the way I wanted or hoped they would. An angry parent or two who didn’t bother to speak to me but directed their anger to someone else, who then informed me. An angry teacher. A couple of angry kids.

Admittedly, I was down. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, and my mood tends to show despite my efforts at hiding what might be roiling around inside me.

Into my office walked a teacher. Upbeat. Positive. Happy.

She sits down and the conversation went sort of like this:
“Is something wrong?”
My response was to shrug and say, “Just a bad day.”
She hesitated and said, “Well, I’m sorry if I add to it, but I felt I needed to tell you that my cancer is back.”

First of all, this young lady has been and is a trooper. She has battled and battled, and I have no doubt she will keep doing so. I cannot imagine the fear and anxiety she must have. Yet, the words didn’t match her outward mood. Knowing her for the past eleven years, that is typical for her. She is a walking, talking ball of energy, and a motivator. A class act in the classroom, in the hallways, among her peers, and in meetings. I like being around her because she is so positive.

And positive despite the cloud hovering over her. Despite her news, despite what she is going through.

Secondly, I felt like a heel, and a heck of a lot weaker and smaller than I’ve felt in a long time. My “bad day” is nothing compared to her “bad day.” Whatever “bad day” I might have is nothing compared to what she is going through.

How unfortunate that I might display my mood when all around me, there are many others who are going through so much more significant trials and troubles than I am.

I know of three kids in wheelchairs and will be for their lifetime, while I have the ability to walk and run. A young lady has to worry about someone’s perfume, cigarette smoke, vaping because she has an extreme reaction to most things we might not even notice, and when she does, she is carted away in an ambulance due to her asthma. Kids with peanut allergies who, if not acted upon quickly, could die from mere exposure to it. A young man whose personality and smile is so big and so broad he makes me smile just thinking about him. He suffers from a muscle disorder and his fine motor skills are lacking.

Marriage worries. Worries about children. Financial woes. The list is endless.

And yet, I had a “bad day.”

Nothing in my “bad day” compares to any of the above.

So perhaps . . .

I . . . and perhaps you . . . need to consider our own reactions to our own circumstances, and how this might affect not only ourselves but others. How does my . . . your . . . “mood” affect the moods of others? How does my . . . your . . . words and stories affect the thoughts, and feelings, and mood of others? So much of what we say or do impacts the heart and soul of others without our knowing it. It is tragic and criminal if we do know it and proceed anyway.

Perhaps we need to stop, or at least pause, to think before we speak, before we unload on someone. Perhaps we need to consider just how “bad” our day, our lives really are in comparison to the lives around us. We might be surprised that no matter what we are going through is nothing in comparison to what the guy or girl sitting or standing next to us, or walking down the hallway in the opposite direction is going through- even if she or he wears the smile and laughs at the joke. Something to think about . . .

P.S. To that teacher who is battling cancer who apologized to me for adding to my “bad day” I know you are reading this. I just want to say you are stronger than just about anyone I know. My thoughts and my prayers have been with you and will be with you. Take care and we’ll see you soon! You’ve got this! I believe in you! God Bless!

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

Connect with me on Social Media:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Good News!
Spiral Into Darkness has been nominated for Top Shelf Book Awards! That is quite an honor! I’ll find out more in late November or early December.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.                           

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.                           

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.

Photo Courtesy of Jason Barone and Unsplash

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