Follow by Email

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fury Outside, Peace Within



There are some days . . .

Perhaps it’s my age. Perhaps I’m just tired. Whatever the reason, there seems to be a lot going on. Sometimes I’m ahead of it. Sometimes I’m behind it. Sometimes I’m in the middle of it.

Any term will suffice, but I’ll choose overwhelmed. I know many of you feel it too, whether it is now or in your recent past or perhaps facing it in the future. Seems like we can’t get the sleep we need or the food we like or the people to see our needs- some of which we hide, some of which we display up on a billboard.

It is a struggle. For some of us, the struggle is each day, all day, every day. For some, the struggle hits us when we least expect it.

Sometimes the struggle begins when someone disrespects you. Perhaps when you feel taken advantage of or taken for granted. Sometimes the struggle begins when there is no acknowledgement of your effort, of trying. Sometimes the struggle begins when it is somehow communicated to you that you aren’t good enough or when someone compares you to another and doesn’t see you for who you are and what you have to offer.

The struggle hurts. Sometimes hurts so very much.

We don’t see the bruising that takes place, because the struggle is in the heart and soul. This struggle affects one’s health and mind. It can wreck you . . . me . . . us.

I wrote two posts back in 2014: “The Anchor Can Drown” (1-17-14) and “We All Have Scars” (3-11-14) that speak to this and can be found at https://jrlewis.blogspot.com One speaks to the battles, the struggles we encounter in life and the fact that we’re still standing, while the other speaks to the fact that some of the strongest among us, those who we look to for support and strength sometimes have the hardest of struggles because they have nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. There is the feeling of aloneness, of loneliness.

When my daughters are frustrated or worried or confused; when there are people who impose their own “crap” on them (on us); when life isn’t neat or orderly or particularly satisfying at the moment, my advice has always been the same: “You can’t control them or that. You can only control yourself and your reaction to it.” I remind them that they’ve encountered far worse and are still standing. I remind them that when they’ve encountered a setback or two or ten, they’ve kept walking and ended up, though a bit battered and somewhat bruised, stronger because of that struggle.

While there might be fury outside of us, there can be peace within us.

There are those who have far, far worse lots in life. There are those who have been dealt far from winning hands. We might be among them, and at times, I believe each of us have been among that number. Perhaps, some of us still are.

But as night ends the day, as the moon replaces the sun, and even when clouds darken the sky, a new day will come, the sun will replace the moon, and eventually, the clouds dissipate and we see blue sky once again. It happens. For you. For me. For all of us.

Perhaps it’s a good idea to remind ourselves that while there is fury all around us, there can be peace within us. Perhaps, we can remind each other of this truth, and perhaps, we can be a support- not a disturbance- for each other. Perhaps that is what we are meant to do. Perhaps that is one of the purposes of our life. Perhaps. Something to think about . . .

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. 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.
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 O0mix0O_Pix and Unsplash



Friday, October 11, 2019

Signals





I’m sure at some point when you’re driving down the road, you encounter a car with a turn signal on. You’re driving and wondering if and when that car will change lanes or actually turn. This could go on for yards or miles, one never knows! Perhaps the car eventually changes lanes or turns off. Other times . . . And embarrassingly, I have to admit that I’ve done this myself. The turn isn’t great enough to automatically turn off the blinker, so I’m driving along oblivious that my car is sending other drivers an unintentional signal.

At times, the opposite occurs.

You might be driving along when all of a sudden a car jumps into your lane without a signal, without a notice, and at the last moment. You have to slow down. Sometimes you slam on the brakes and lay on the horn. Maybe you’ve given them some other sort of silent . . . or not . . . communication. A hand gesture, perhaps (not that I’ve ever done that, mind you- at least not today, so far).

Our youngest, Emily, has been known to be oblivious to signals guys give her. While in high school, a guy texted her and asked if she wanted to go get ice cream at Carl’s. Now, this guy lives waaaay out and it would be quite the drive for him. Emily decided that she didn’t want ice cream. (Kim and I just shook our head). Days later, this same young man does the same thing. Again, Emily decides that she is in the middle of homework or a book or a movie or she’s tired or . . . Kim and I shook our head and one of us suggests that perhaps, the boy wasn’t so much interested in ice cream as he was in seeing her. She looks at us blankly and asks, “Really?” (Kim and I just shook our head).

Her current boyfriend tells the story of how they first met, or rather, sort of met. It took time.

He is a football player, Emily is a soccer player. They were on the turf field messing around, not at practice. Just messing around enjoying the sun and nice weather. He kept looking over at her. Emily mentioned to one of her teammates that “This guy keeps staring at me.” Her friend smiled and shook her head. Later that same day eating lunch in the cafeteria, Emily is sitting at a table with her friends when this same young man enters with a group of his friends, sees her and waves. Emily sees him and quickly puts her head down. Even she can’t explain why she did that. (As I write this, I shake my head).

Each of us send and receive signals to and from individuals around us all day long. Sometimes the signals are obvious, sometimes not so much. A smile. A frown. Head down and hands in pockets. ‘Sad eyes.’ A blush. Someone lingering nearby, sometimes someone’s absence.

Kids send unclear and mixed signals to adults. Perhaps it is because we’re adults and they are kids. Sometimes it is because of our title as teacher, as coach, as principal. And at times, we can send unclear and mixed signals to each other.

Sometimes what is said isn’t as important as the way it was said. Sometimes the message is hidden or couched in between the words used, and sometimes it is not so much the words used, but the absence of the words that could have been used that is the real message.

Think about that . . .

Hannah teaches fifth grade. Earlier this year, a boy asked her if she was married. She smiled and said, “No, but I have a boyfriend.” He blushed, nodded, and walked away head down.
There was a message that wasn’t expressed through his words.

Last year, Savannah, would see me in the hallway. She would stop and ask if I was okay. Lilly does that every now and then this year. I’m wondering what signal I’m giving off that caused Savannah to ask, and what signal I’m giving off that causes Lilly to ask. And, I wonder what signal those two young ladies are giving me by asking me if I’m okay. What is their signal, their message?

Kids approach us each day, all day long. We approach our colleagues each day, all day long. Sometimes the signals are upfront and obvious. Other times, not so much. Sometimes there is meaning behind the words, the gestures, the expressions. Sometimes, there is meaning in the absence of words, gestures and expressions. Signals all and nonetheless. Something to think about . . .

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. 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.
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 Hermes Rivera and Unsplash