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Friday, January 31, 2020

End of the Week







Friday is one of my favorite days of the week. I find that my mood is lighter, I’m happier, and I tend to joke around more. The “push” from the beginning of the week is almost over, if not over. There is, hopefully, a sense of accomplishment. Some goal, some task was met and achieved. Perhaps, there is simply a sense of relief. Most certainly Friday brings us time to pause, time to catch one’s breath.

Friday. Just saying it or reading it makes you feel happier.

Several thoughts with that . . .

The first is that, if we are reflective, we can look back at what we’ve done, what we’ve said, how we acted, and consider if we did the best we could when we could with whom we could. Or, did we hold back and did we leave a bit on the table, so to speak. Because the end of the week allows us to consider our job, our actions, our intents . . . our heart. Then we can use the weekend to recharge, relax, refresh so that when Monday comes around, we can begin anew. We can get it right, or at least attempt to.

The second thought about Friday is that there are some among us who don’t have much to look forward to after today ends. There might be a lack of food, a lack of comfort, a lack of someone to share something . . . anything . . . with. We don’t know what others might be going home to. A lack of support, a lack of love, a lack of . . .

Same day, two different views, two different feelings.

I know there is only so much I can control. I have my world and there are those who enter it from time to time, some for a long time, some for a quick visit. In that time whether long or short, I can do my best to bring a smile, to create joy, to lift or help carry a load. I can bring some level of understanding, and if not understanding, I can at least let whoever know I heard, that I can listened. Sometimes, that’s all that might be needed. Sometimes, that’s all I can do. Sometimes, that’s all any of us can do.

But I think it is important to reflect on this Friday, to reflect on any Friday.

What did I do to make the world, this place we share, a little more joyful, a little lighter, a little more peaceful?

Or . . .

Did I gossip, tear down, use my sarcastic wit to cast shadows and hurt? Did I share a story – true or not – and not care whether or not I hurt someone? Did I pause in my busy day to care about someone, to listen to someone, or did I just go about my day, my week, without thinking who might have needed me for a moment? Was I so into my own world I forgot that others are pulled along with me?

It doesn’t take much to do one or the other. Seconds, minutes. To smile or frown. To laugh or add to someone’s sorrow. To be in the present. To be there for someone other than just me and my own. It doesn’t take much. And if we did slip up along the way this week, don’t worry too much about it. Monday is just around the corner and we get to begin again. We get to start over. And before you know it, it will be Friday once again. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
Spiral Into Darkness was 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!
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 Frederick Tubiermont and Unsplash 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Three Songs


I have always been into music. Once I hear a melody that interests me, I tend to focus on the lyrics. There are three songs that I’ve been thinking about lately, and the three songs seem to be linked to the same theme.

“Big League” by Tom Cochrane and Red Rider is an older rock tune. It’s based upon a true story. After a concert one night, a father and son approached Cochrane and talked about how much his music meant to them. The son was in a wheelchair, a quadriplegic. He had been on the fast-track to a hockey scholarship and potentially a hockey career when a traffic accident ended that dream. Cochrane wrote the song for the young man and it talks about hopes and dreams sometimes not coming to fruition, sometimes taking a tragic turn.

“Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks is a nineties country song that has a twist to it. In it, he talks about the girl who he thought he liked and who he thought was his dream girl, who he thought he would end up with. It didn’t turn out that way. Instead, he reminisces about how he thought she was the one, but was happy that this particular prayer wasn’t answered the way he had first wanted it to end. His lyric, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers” seems to say it all.

In “Chapters” by Brett Young, featuring Gavin DeGraw, is a personal song about where Young’s life was, where it is now, and where it is going. At one point, Young was quite the pitcher and he thought that was where he was headed. But stress and strain and a doctor turned that dream into, well, a dream that became unfulfilled. Yet now, while he enjoys baseball, he is a successful country artist. A change in direction, whether he wanted it or intended it or not.

I think the theme, and there are several I suppose, each of these songs talks about is how life changes. It moves and breathes and doesn’t stand still even though we might want it to. A moment is just that, a moment. It happens, it passes and it is gone before we know it.

Life, and time, sometimes makes a fool of us all, don’t they? The life we think we have planned, takes a twist, a turn and we end up in a spot where we scratch our head and wonder, ‘How did this happen?’ And, time, well what can I say? Here a moment, gone the next. What we have plans for disappear because we didn’t act on them right away. The moment leaves us, people leave us, or we are called away. The moment we were in vanishes.

What we have left are memories and wistful thoughts and sometimes regrets, colored and clouded with age and time.

Each of us have wants, which are different from needs. Some are easily fulfilled, while others take some work, some planning and some time. In the end, they may or may not happen. Often, something better or at least different in a satisfying way comes along. Nothing is ever perfect, is it? There are bumps. There are the inevitable ups and downs, the struggles and strains, as well as smooth paths and patches where we can settle in, shut our eyes, smile and breathe deeply. Yes, that, too, happens, probably more than not.

Our lives are moments, chapters strung together. Desires and urges, goals earned . . . or not. But in the end, satisfying in its or their own way. As the chorus of “Chapters” goes:

             There's no perfect life, you can't hold back time
             But you hold on tight, hopin' you might find
             Every page you turn is a lesson learned
            Ain't we all, ain't we all just tryna get it right?
            These are the chapters of my life.

Yeah, just trying to get it right. Hopefully, with a smile and a deep breath along the way. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Good News!
Spiral Into Darkness was named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
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 Noah Silliman and Unsplash

Friday, January 17, 2020

New Book


I began a new book 17 days ago. It consists of 365 pages. It has 52 chapters. Not sure about the word count (big in the publishing world). I’m also not sure what genre it is (also big in the publishing world, since without a specific genre, publishers wouldn’t know how to market it). But I’m also not sure that this book is marketable.

So far, some parts have been happy, while others sad, and still others poignant. The book reflects struggle- both internal and external. Some of these struggles, I think, will be ongoing throughout the book, while others will come and go like the weather.

There have been interesting characters in the pages so far. Some frustrating, others entertaining, and still others I’m not quite sure about. A good book is like that, I think. There is always a protagonist, and there will always be an antagonist or two or six. It depends upon the action.

While it’s only been 17 days, this new book has made me think. It challenges me, causes me to question, to think. Good books do that if we take the time to dig in, right?

The New Book . . .

Each of us began a new book almost 17 days ago. For each of us, it’s the same length, more or less. It will likely be the same format of 365 pages with 52 chapters.

We started the book separately, but together on January 1st, 2020. We will read . . . and write this book for 365 days give or take. So far, we’ve written about three chapters, or 17 days of joy, sorrow, heartbreak, challenge, pitfalls, mistakes, triumphs. All of it.

Did you know that you can change the ending as you go? You’re not stuck in a predictable, boring ending if you choose. You can change it. With each page (day), each chapter (week), you can write your own ending. It might take effort. It more than likely will take thought. But the ending- each page (day), each chapter (week) is up to you! 

The protagonist is us . . . you and me. The antagonist, well, I’ll leave that to you to decide. This is your (and my) story for the next 365 (minus 17) days.

I ask the question of you- please take this seriously- how does your new book read? Have you taken an interest in it? Do you read each page and not remember the richness of the words? Is it predictable? Unusual? Interesting? With each page, each chapter, you can make it however you see fit. You are the author. Don’t give the pen to anyone else. Seize it. Embrace it. Live it. And most of all, Love it. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make a Difference!  


To My Readers:
I have some Great News to Share Shortly! Stay Tuned!
 
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Good News!
Spiral Into Darkness made the finals for Author Shout Reader Awards! I will know in January if it won an award. It has also been nominated for Top Shelf Book Awards! That is quite an honor! I’ll find out more yet this month 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 Patrick Fore and Unsplash