Friday, October 4, 2019

Kids Like Popcorn

Kim and I have two daughters, Hannah and Emily. They are so much alike, but they are also so different from each other. One is a bit more reserved than the other. One likes to organize and plan down to the moment, while the other can plan if she wants to, but is more apt to roll with it.

Way back, I remember Hannah taking her first steps. Kim and I were at a friend’s house. Bret and I were in the living room eating pizza, when Hannah stood up on wobbly legs and walked across the room. I remember sitting there stunned. Kim and I expected it. We knew it would happen. We just didn’t know when it would occur. Then all of a sudden, it happened.

For the life of me, I cannot remember Emily’s first steps. I remember the “cruising” portion of her life where she would use a couch or a chair for support as she moved. Often, she would do this when tired. She would cruise in my direction, climb up on my lap and fall asleep. Kim and I would joke that I was Em’s teddy bear.

Same thing with reading. When we were potty-training Hannah, we’d sit her on her own “throne” and read a book to her. One day, we found Hannah’s teddy bear sitting on the “throne” and she was reading a book to it. We have the picture of her doing this. Both of us laughed, thinking that it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind, but oh well.

In Kindergarten, the teacher thought Emily had a reading problem. Weird. Kim and I never noticed that. She read early and often to be exact, so we didn’t know what she meant. I remember a time when she sat in her corner of the couch (think Sheldon Cooper on “Big Bang”). Hannah went into the kitchen, walked into the family room stopped in mid-step and stared at Emily. She said, “Emily, what’s wrong with your eyes?”

Emily was reading so fast that her eyes rocketed from side to side. In fact, Emily was so engrossed in her book that at first, she didn’t hear Hannah. I still think about that and chuckle. In 9th grade, Emily used post-it notes to organize “All Quiet On the Western Front” so she could better discuss it in class. The planner and organizer of the two.

Same kind of thing happened between my brother, Jim, and me. Jim is four years older than I am. In high school, he struggled mightily. He just didn’t “do school” well. Tried college and a tech school with pretty much the same result. Enlists in the Air Force, does a stint in Vietnam, comes back, goes to college and graduates with honors with a double-major in Art and Architecture. Ended up teaching business classes at a community college.

I breezed through high school. I think because I did, I ended up struggling in college. I never had to study, so I ended up not knowing how to study. It wasn’t until grad school that it “clicked” for me.

Kids are like popcorn.

Each kernel sits in the same pot. Same heat. Same oil. But they don’t pop at the same time. Some might pop only partially, while others might not pop at all.

And I think each of us are like popcorn. Why shouldn’t we be? We develop at our own pace and in our own time. Some of us “pop” quickly, while there are those of us who “pop” slowly and over time. That’s okay. For kids. For us. Kids . . . we . . . will get it eventually. We all do. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

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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.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe