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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fear



As I have written several times, my wife and I adopted Wil from Guatemala when he was seven.  We were living in California at the time. I was a counselor, and Kim was a physical education and health instructor. He went to two different elementary schools, and he did well. When Wil was in fifth grade, he went to a large middle school, grades five through eight. Not sure why they configured it that way, but that’s what the grades were in the school. He was given the MVP of the track team as a fifth grader. The coaches thought that highly of him. Truly, he could fly.

One day, Wil came home and told us that kids were asking him what gang he was in. Hmmm. Yes, he was a dark-skinned Latino kiddo. But that question alarmed us. We lived in a nice area and the school was in a nice area. In the time we lived in California, Kim had lost an uncle and I had lost two sisters, and we decided that our kids were growing up not knowing their aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. So, we moved back “home” to Wisconsin to be closer to family.

We lived in a small resort town where I was a high school principal. When Wil was in sixth or seventh grade, he told us a story that alarmed us. He was walking home at night from the County Fair, only a few short blocks away. As he did, he heard a couple of high school kids yell something about “mud people.” Wil was street-smart enough to realize they were talking about him. The vehicle they were in moved slowly behind him in the same direction he walked. He began to run and made it home without incident. He was shaking when he got home. Like I said, that alarmed us. It made both of us angry. Kim and I were on alert from then on. Not just for Wil, but for Hannah and Emily, who were both quite a bit younger.

Then came Wil’s death. Walking on the street from getting lunch and shopping for a few things for his and his wife’s new apartment. Caught between two rival gangs, one intent on killing the other. Wil was struck in the back and died on the sidewalk that Saturday afternoon.

George Floyd. Others.

That video we saw and the narrative surrounding that video was sickening. It astounds and astonishes me. Kim and I can barely watch it.

Our youngest, Emily, and her boyfriend, Quaevon, celebrated their collegiate graduation yesterday. All of us went to Richmond to Hannah’s and her fiancé’s apartment to watch it. We took pictures, had a celebratory lunch. It was an enjoyable occasion, a happy day that we got to spend together.

George Floyd. Others.

Emily has written and posted on Facebook her experience as Kim and I, Wil, Hannah and Emily would go out to dinner, to the beach, shopping, wherever. The stares. The whispers. She has told us that she and Q, as we call him- as everyone calls him- get stares from people as they walk down the street, as they sit in a restaurant, as they drive around town. Stares. Two young adults enjoying themselves as many adults, young and old, do. Noticing stares. Noticing whispers.

George Floyd. Others.

I’m sure that as a parent, any parent, you are sometimes frightened for your kids, no matter how old they are, no matter where they are. Even as a non-parent, I have to believe there is empathy towards what I and others feel about our kids. We only want the best for them. To succeed better, reach farther, achieve more. As parents or caring adults, we try to help them as best we can. We don’t want to see them hurt. We don’t want to see them in pain. Their hurt, their pain doubles if you are the parent or caring adult.

Yesterday as we drove to see the house that Hannah and Alex bought, Kim and I talked with Q and Emily about George Floyd. I mentioned that when I saw that video, I immediately thought of Q. A gentle, thoughtful, kind young man who wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally. The first in his immediate family to graduate from college. A young black man dating my daughter. I worry. Yes, I fear for his and for Emily’s safety. I asked him to be careful. To stay safe. He told us he would. I believe he’ll do his best, not only for his, but also for Emily’s sake. Having gotten to know him as we do, he is now a part of our family and we love him as if he were our own. We want . . . need . . . him safe. To be safe.

George Floyd. Others.

Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference! (Please?)

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.

Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.

Tina O’Hailey, author of When Darkness Begins wrote: “Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
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


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Learning to Fly



We have three bird’s nests under our back deck nestled in the beams and rafters. Kim was the first to notice them. At first and from our angle, we saw a head or two peek over the top of the nest, only to hunker down out of sight. A couple of weeks ago, we saw tiny heads, beaks open, expecting their food as one of the parents sat on the edge of the nest. It flew away as it spied us spying on them. In the last day or two, Kim noticed the little ones, not so little anymore, were learning to fly.

She almost stepped on one of the babies in the grass. The momma and papa darted from fence to tree in warning, trying to keep her and the dogs away from the baby. Eventually, the baby found its wings and flew off to safety.

Yesterday we think one of the babies, and the only remaining bird among the three nests, flew awkwardly to the ground. Kim and I distracted the dogs long enough for the little one to hide until it flew off to safety. At least, we think it flew off to safety. Once we got the dogs back inside and went out again, the little bird was nowhere to be found.

Our daughter, Hannah, has a wedding planned for November. We hope that she and her fiancé Alex will be able to have it, and we hope people will be able to attend. With Covid-19, we don’t know. Only hope. They have planned their wedding, at least as much as they can at this point. Time will tell us more. She and Alex bought a house and move into it one month from today. A nice starter home that Kim and I would be happy down-sizing to. She is completing her second year as an elementary teacher and loving it. Her fiancé works full time at a job he loves. Their life together has taken off.

Our youngest, Emily, graduated (kind of) from college earlier this month. She was accepted into grad school for the fall and just registered for classes. She, her boyfriend, one of her roommates and her boyfriend found an apartment and will be moving into it in early July. They are excited as you would imagine. Emily had been working part time for a nonprofit and was offered a full-time position. Her boyfriend just passed his personal training exam, something he went to college for, and got a full-time job. While Emily and her boyfriend have a ways to go, they are on a happy path leading somewhere.

Those baby birds were cared for and protected and eventually flew off on their own. I have no idea if the mom and dad bird still watch over their young ones. Perhaps, perhaps not. I don’t know birds well enough to know about their habits and nature.

Hannah and Emily, on the other hand, will always be looked after and cared for. Hannah by Alex, and Emily by Quavon. By Kim and me, too. Obviously not so much nearby, but from a distance. I still text them each morning upon waking and each night just before bed. Sometimes I get a response, other times not. We talk on the phone once a week just to catch up and touch base.

But it isn’t the same. They are learning to fly. Perhaps they’ve already learned to fly and are now testing their wings.

Being a parent can be difficult. Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. When the baby is born, a manual doesn’t come with it. Yes, there are books - bibles of a sort, actually - but nothing like a manual. We get guidance from our parents, from others who have done it before us. But mostly trial and error.

And when it comes time for our birds to leave the nest and fly off on their own, it can be both a breathtakingly proud moment, and a painful moment. Their dependence upon us becomes less. We can only hope we’ve done a good enough job at preparing them for their flight. We can only hope we’ve given them the strength to make it on their own. Guided them by our example (and I have to admit that my example has not always been the greatest). Showed them “how” to live responsibly, with empathy, with compassion and kindness. And helped them develop the resiliency for life after the nest. Knowing that we’re only a text or call away.

Parenting is hard. There are proud moments, sad moments, frustrating moments. We wish we could have do-overs or a restart. I only wish and hope that Hannah and Emily know Kim and I did the best we could and loved them fiercely through all the ups and downs, the twists and turns. Hope so. Best we could do, knowing that we will continue to do the best we can. Hope so. 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.

Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.

Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay wrote a review of Betrayed:

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
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 of Birds in a Nest by Marty Southwell and Unsplash.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Three Rules




I surfed through channels yesterday killing time. Yes, I know that as a writer, I should have been chained to my laptop doing what I truly love to do, but I needed a break. Kim was out grocery shopping. The dogs were asleep, and the house was too quiet. I needed noise.

By chance, I happened to catch Joe Buck’s interview with Lou Holtz. I knew “about” him Holtz, but didn’t “know” him, and even after the interview, I have to admit I still don’t know him all that well. But I have to say that if I had the opportunity to sit and talk with someone for just a casual conversation, I would love to have the opportunity to speak to him.

Fascinating. Funny. Thoughtful. Insightful. Genuine. Happy.

He took programs that were at the bottom. Programs that were losers. Yet, he built them to be contenders and champions. As he said (forgive my poor paraphrasing), “Yes, I was always rebuilding, because if you’re winning, they keep you. The only jobs available are the ones that have poor programs.”

The way he did it, though, is what jumped out at me. For example, he sat three offensive stars at Arkansas for breaking one of his rules. Three offensive stars who accounted for 78% of the scoring. Those three offensive stars had to sit against Oklahoma in a bowl game. And Arkansas still won.

He believes that life is simple. Why complicate it? Keep it simple. And that is the basis for his three rules of life. Not just for football. Not just for business. For everything. For education, for family, for relationships. Three rules of life. Period.

#1: Do what is right.

Pretty simple, I guess. But at the same time, not necessarily easy to accomplish. We like to make excuses. We like to shrug one or two things off, look the other way. Fear. Embarrassment. Too much time or trouble. Uncomfortable.

Yet, I look at what is happening in our country, in our world right now and perhaps there aren’t enough people willing to do (or say) the right thing. We leave it to others. Someone else. Or we might think it’s okay to “let it slide just this once” only to discover that we let it slide all too often. It becomes our way of life, the way we deal with each other, with ourselves.

#2: Do everything to the best of your ability.

Sometimes we’re just too tired. Sometimes we might not give a damn. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “It is good enough.” Pretty easy to do. Feel that way enough, it becomes routine and pattern.

When I was in eighth grade, I won a silver medal in a science fair. The top three were invited to the Marquette University fair. I didn’t care all that much. Silver (or bronze, for that matter) was good enough. I didn’t like science. Music and English, yes. Science, not so much. But it was in the basement as we spruced up my project when Dad who told me, “If you do something, do it the best you can. Period.” My dad believed and lived by the same rule Holtz did. What’s with old guys anyway?

#3: Show people you care.

Sometimes easier said than done. There are some people we might not care about. We might not like him or her. So, why bother?

I believe it was perhaps this rule that turned Holtz’s teams into winning programs. He genuinely cared about each of his players from the first team star to the third team bench warmer. He cared. He showed it. His players felt it, saw it, and they responded to it . . . to him.

I have worked for supervisors and bosses who cared. They showed it. I felt it. I have also worked for supervisors and bosses who professed to care, but in reality, didn’t give a damn. You had to make them look good. You dare not make a mistake- big or small- for you will feel and know their wrath. You end up living and working in fear of doing the wrong thing, instead of living and working to do the right thing.

We can’t . . . I can’t . . . live like that. I can’t work like that. We die . . . I die . . . a little each day in that type of world.

Do what is right. Do everything to the best of your ability. Show people you care.

How can we go wrong if we live by those three rules? We will feel better by living those rules. We will make those around us feel better living those rules. Those three rules might be the real deal. 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.

Below is the cover design and the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
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

Betrayed book cover courtesy of David King and Black Rose Writing.
Photo of Lou Holtz found online.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Separation


Having spent 44 years in education, I’ve noticed a couple of things. The first is that with each title came various amounts of time commitment both at work and at home. As a teacher of social studies, primarily psychology, I would teach during the day and grade papers at night. Add coaching into the mix, I would teach, then coach, then grade. Because coaching is more of a year-round thing, there were times I would plan my vacations and events around the coaching. Fortunately, I was single during that phase of my life.

Then I became a counselor. No papers to grade. Some night duties. I would attend events at school to support my colleagues and kids, but most of the time, my work life was during the day leaving my evenings for me. Then I became an administrator. I worked during the day and attended games and events at night. Sometimes reports and paperwork came home with me.

My wife, Kim, taught her entire professional life. She coached for a time, but because she was a physical education and health instructor, there weren’t many papers to grade.

I lived closer to my school, but that made her the traveler. When we lived in Wisconsin, her commute was about forty-five minutes one way. It was a pretty drive, a relaxing drive through the country from home to work and then back again. She often stated that the drive was her way of unwinding, of relaxing, and she had the ability to separate her work life from her family and home life.

Now that we’re in quarantine trying to keep ourselves safe, we find like many of you that our work lives and our family and personal lives are mixed, blended. There are times when there doesn’t seem to be the separation between work life and family/personal life. I think it is because we have no where to go, no place to be.

We are stuck in the house, sometimes facing a computer screen waiting to answer the next email or for the next virtual meeting to take place. When there doesn’t seem to be anything we need to do at the moment, we fret and worry about what it is we’re missing, what it is we’re supposed to do, and feeling guilty about it.

We become anxious, nervous. We check email for the umpteenth time. We check the calendar “just to be sure.” We roam from the kitchen to the family room to the office. We check email again.

For me, a side-effect of the quarantine is that my writing has taken a hit. I am in front of the computer screen so often that I am reluctant to sit down in front of it to do what I truly love to do – write! And I have a heck of a story I’m working on.

I think most if not all of us feel that there is no separation from work to personal/family life. That, for me at least, is the hardest part of this quarantine. It all feels the same. Push play and repeat for days to come. I watch the clock tick away. In between, I eat something. I might take a walk depending upon the day and the amount of time I have in between meetings. Not enough walking and far too much sitting.

There is a feeling of helplessness. Anxiety. Sadness. The feeling that I never got to say goodbye. That the end, my retirement, is in one and a half months, and this wasn’t the way I wanted my last year to end. Tempers flare up for no apparent reason. Perhaps tears. For you, there may be other feelings in greater or lesser amounts. Some of it, all of it.

I don’t have any words of wisdom for you and for that, I apologize. Like you, I have no words (or at least none that I feel comfortable printing). I think the only thing we can do is recognize our own struggle taking place in everyone else. Each of us climb that mountain. Each of us plant ourselves in front of the computer screen watching, waiting. And each of us have become shut ins of sorts. I think recognizing the feelings you have in others will help us all. It will keep us from judging, hopefully, because each of us handles stress and emotions and feelings differently. That understanding might make this quarantine and the lack of separation easier to cope with. Now, I have to check my email and wait for my next virtual meeting. 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. I will post parts and passages on my author page on Facebook. I picked up three great advance reviews from three awesome authors:

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
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 Jose Antonio Gallego Vasquez and Unsplash