Follow by Email

Monday, September 28, 2020

To Forgive

 


I was thinking this past week about the number of times I’ve screwed up. Big or small, there have been way too many to count, both in the past and in the present. 

I can deal with mistakes that affect me only, however those are not as many as the mistakes that affect others as well as me. What are really hurtful are the mistakes that affect my family, who more times than not, are collateral damage to any mistake I make.

It’s easy for me to apologize. I truly mean it when I say to someone that I’m sorry. I don’t like hurting others and I don’t like it when people, especially those in positions of authority hurt others. There have been times when I’ve been cautioned about apologizing for things that were not my fault or things I didn’t do, but I believe I have some culpability in what was done or said. It happened on my watch. I hate this phrase, but at times – even though it is hard to swallow – the buck stops with me.

Sometimes my “humor” gets in the way and it can sting. I don’t mean to cause hurt, but sometimes . . . most times . . . sarcasm hurts. The joke is at someone’s expense. It isn’t called for and at the heart of it, it is mean and unkind. 

What is perhaps the hardest for me is when someone says or does something to or about one of my kids or someone close to me. My anger flares up. It lasts. Some hurts have lasted years.

There was a teacher who refused to follow my son’s accommodations. Refused. Wil had a reading problem. What ended up in his head sometimes didn’t make it to the pen and paper. Many times, what he read, he didn’t understand. He battled learning English. You see, his native tongue is Spanish (we adopted him from Guatemala when he was seven), though he was illiterate in that language because of never attending school before we adopted him. The teacher felt that by providing him with a “book,” (not just a reading book, but a large text) he could then read it and understand it on his own.

A learning disability didn’t and doesn’t work that way.

It took me a long time to forgive, though I have never really forgotten it.

One teacher told me that my daughter “wouldn’t get by in life with her cutesy smile and by batting her eyes.” He repeated that and other unkind things behind her back to her classmates. Some of her friends defended her, but the teacher didn’t seem to care. She didn’t deserve this. Aside from being unprofessional, it was unkind and unjust.

Just two examples, and I’m not illustrating them to badmouth the teachers. Teachers have enough on their plate, especially in this day and age. The demands on them are burdensome. No matter how many years one has taught, this is everyone’s first year because of virtual learning, the technology involved, and teaching in isolation. 

The point I’m trying to make is that these two examples took place years ago. I’ve not gotten over them. As a dad, one of my jobs is to protect them, teach them, mentor and nurture them. I take this responsibility seriously.

Personally, I try to be kind. I try to be compassionate. I try to be considerate. I try to look far enough ahead of a decision, action or word to see what might result from it.

But I cannot help but feel that at times, my inability to forgive negates my kindness, my compassion that I bestow on others. Sometimes, my inability to forgive negates the good I’ve done to or for others. Looking at it through a religious lens, if God or Jesus can forgive what I’ve done or not done, said or didn’t say, who am I to not forgive those who have wronged me or my family or my loved ones? How can He forgive me if I choose to not forgive others?

Lastly, holding onto a grudge is burdensome. It takes precious time and energy that can be best spent lifting yourself and others. Truly, I’ve wasted enough time and too many days (months, years) not forgiving. While I am not perfect – I’ve demonstrated that over and over again – it’s time I put my heart where my mouth is. Though hard, though seemingly impossible, I, and perhaps, we, need to forgive. Not only for the good of others, but for our own good, our own health both mental and physical. We need to work on it. We need to forgive. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

Betrayed is now available for Kindle preorder to KDP Select at Amazon at:
https://amazon.com/dp/B08GCTV2XH and it is also available in print at: https://blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/betrayed      
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.

Betrayed received two more outstanding reviews:

“The Bottom Line: A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder. While author Joseph Lewis has filled Betrayed with a large and compelling cast, the story belongs to Brian, one of several characters from Lewis’ excellent crime thriller, Spiral Into Darkness. The relationship between Brian and his family is incredibly well-drawn and often touching. Readers will be rewarded with an explosive adventure.”
-        Best Thrillers

"This novel is an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of settings and characters are extremely well done, and the pacing is perfect. The ending ties up all the loose ends, yet you feel (and hope) there will be more from these characters in the future. Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written page-turner from Joseph Lewis.”
-        Sublime Review

“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
-        Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated. 

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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at: https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis

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      

Photos Courtesy of Power of Positivity.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Used to Be


Kim and I went to dinner last evening at a place we’ve never been to before. We didn’t know the menu or what to order and, in some cases, had no idea what we were ordering. For all of that, it turned out pretty tasty.

As we were eating, I mentioned that this was a place Wil and Maria would go to. Kim answered that more than likely, it was a restaurant Maria would go to and Wil would follow along because that was Wil’s way. She liked to experiment and Wil was pretty much up for anything, especially if Maria was involved. We decided that it was also a place Hannah and Alex would go to. Emily, maybe. Q, not so much. He’s a southern boy and this was anything but.

On the way home, my mind flitted to one thing or another in between conversation with Kim. I saw a truck pulling a trailer carrying a jet ski. I remembered our trips to the lake with our jet ski. Emily and Hannah tucked tightly behind me. Wil taking it out on his own when he was a bit older. The time Uncle Brian loaded up Hannah, Emily and their cousin Jordan and took them out on it, only to tip over when they spotted something in the water. The balance got shifted and over they went.

That led me to the cabin Kim’s parents own in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. A small lake in the middle of forest. Loons calling back and forth. Campfires at night. Laughter and conversation. Card games and board games. More laughter and conversation. Sometimes fishing. Four-wheeling on trails kicking up dust and dirt, sometimes mud. The beach at one end of the lake where the kids spent hours soaking in the water and baked by the sun. King of the Raft was one of their games. Kim and I worrying when it got too rough.

That cabin was one of our favorite places. Fourth of July. Labor Day weekend. A week or two at a time. Other long weekends. Not enough of them. Never enough of them.

Raking leaves in the fall. Sprucing it up before we close it up for the winter. Cleaning as we open it back up in the spring.

Small, though it fit most everyone who showed up. Some sleeping on a couch. Or on the porch. Or in the recliner. Most in beds. 

My mind landed on our move from California to Door County, Wisconsin. The Farm, a place in the country where the kids would pet horses, goats, kittens and puppies. We’d stop for ice cream on our way home.

Bike riding through the neighborhood. Friday night football games. Concerts and plays. At a different house after another move, the girls playing together on Saturday mornings in Emily’s bedroom. Hours upon hours of laughter, talking in different voices as they mimicked this person, that person. Singing at the top of their lungs to songs that would come on the radio as we traveled here or there.

All the Used to Be’s. All the Hardly Evers or No Mores.

As we get older, it seems like the Used to Be’s are all we have left. The memories we have are looked upon and remembered through the window of time, frosted over, perhaps, in the way we choose to see it, remember it. We gloss over the rough times and land on the good times, often making more of them than they really were.

For older farts like me, the Used to Be’s are cherished. No one can take them away. We plan and ponder ways to make them come back, only to realize they never will. The Used to Be’s become the Hardly Evers and sometimes, unfortunately, the No Mores.

But we realize that if we built up enough of the Used to Be’s, then perhaps or kids will have their own cherished memories, their own “things to do” and “plans to make.” As they get older, they will create the same for their own children. Until then, we take solace in the Used to Be’s. Take comfort in them. Live at peace with them. Love them. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make a Difference!

 

To My Readers:

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Betrayed is now available for Kindle preorder to KDP Select at Amazon at:

A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.

Betrayed received two more outstanding reviews:
“The Bottom Line: A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder. While author Joseph Lewis has filled Betrayed with a large and compelling cast, the story belongs to Brian, one of several characters from Lewis’ excellent crime thriller, Spiral Into Darkness. The relationship between Brian and his family is incredibly well-drawn and often touching. Readers will be rewarded with an explosive adventure.”
-        Best Thrillers

"This novel is an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of settings and characters are extremely well done, and the pacing is perfect. The ending ties up all the loose ends, yet you feel (and hope) there will be more from these characters in the future. Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written page-turner from Joseph Lewis.”
-        Sublime Review

“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
-        Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated.

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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696 

Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at: https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis

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     

 Photos Courtesy of either Kim or me. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sunrise and Sunset



One of our favorite vacations is to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We’ve been there three times now, and even as I sit here on this September morning, I wonder when we might get back there again.

Each time, we stay at the same house. It is big enough for our family and still have room for others. This past summer, friends from Wisconsin joined us. Fun, laughter, stories, wild game nights. Pool time. Beach time. All of it. Warms my heart and is good for my soul.

As I said, we stay in the same house each of the three times we’ve been there. Not on the beach, but one road away. A two-minute walk, if that. In the mornings, I sit in a wooden rocking chair and stare out at the Atlantic. Sometimes, I see dolphins playing out in the surf. The surf is a constant thing. The waves licking the shore. The crash somehow soothing.

I am not up in time to see the sunrise most mornings. Kim is. She runs in the lightening sky and by the time she finishes, the sun is peeking over the horizon. Pale pink at the start, growing to red and then orange, too bright to look at.

Because we face the east, we drive to Jockey Ridge and the sand dunes to fly kites, but in time to watch the sunset. Surprisingly fast how it melts into the sound. Gentle, taking a bow as an actress might before she leaves us, inviting the moon to watch over us. Silver in its glow. As the sun did before, the moon shimmers on the water below us.

Sunrise in the morning. Sunset in the evening. The sun lightens our day. The moon lightly and gently watches over us at night. Each day. Each night. A never-ending cycle.

Purposeful.

I’ve written this before and I’m sure I will write it again.

Each day we begin anew. We begin once again. We live our lives. We struggle and mostly succeed- at least I hope so. We dream and we worry. We love. We struggle. We achieve. We fail. At times, we screw up and fall short of who we are and what we are meant to be, to do. That is life.

Think of it as the wave crashing upon the shore. It never ends. Never. The ocean gathers itself together and crashes once again, and again, and . . .

Our lives do too. Each morning as the sun rises, we rise to begin again. Another day, another step in our journey.

And at night, the sun bids farewell. Goodbye, only to usher in a night watch- the moon. To keep us safe, to encourage us, to let us know that we aren’t alone. We aren’t ever alone.

The sunset set is a good time to reflect on the day. What we did and failed to do. What we said and wish we could have taken back before it rings in the ear of the listener. How we succeeded or not. How we loved or not. How we cared or not. And I hope we cared more than we didn’t.

I’ve written of this before and I’m sure I will again. No matter. It’s worth repeating. A reminder, just at the sun and the moon reminds us. Just as the wave lighting upon the shore reminds us.

The sunrise gives us another opportunity, a do-over. Gives us the possibility to make it right, to do right. To love and not hurt. To care or not. To soothe and heal, rather than wound and hurt. The sunset gives us another opportunity to reflect upon that which we did . . . or didn’t do. To reflect on that which we said . . . or didn’t. The moon reminding us that we are never really alone. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Betrayed is now available for Kindle preorder to KDP Select at Amazon at:

A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.

Betrayed received two more outstanding reviews:

“The Bottom Line: A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder. While author Joseph Lewis has filled Betrayed with a large and compelling cast, the story belongs to Brian, one of several characters from Lewis’ excellent crime thriller, Spiral Into Darkness. The relationship between Brian and his family is incredibly well-drawn and often touching. Readers will be rewarded with an explosive adventure.”
-        Best Thrillers

"This novel is an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of settings and characters are extremely well done, and the pacing is perfect. The ending ties up all the loose ends, yet you feel (and hope) there will be more from these characters in the future. Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written page-turner from Joseph Lewis.”
-        Sublime Review

“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
-    Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book          Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated.

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. 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 Unknown   

Saturday, September 5, 2020

A Valley


I was in seventh or eighth grade the first time I saw the Rocky Mountains. My dad, mom, little brother and I traveled west to see Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. We drove through the Bad Lands, found a ghost town or two. A great trip and it is one of my fondest memories of my early teen years.

I remember traveling through the relatively flat terrain of Wyoming and seeing what I thought were unmoving clouds on the horizon. As we grew closer, I realized that the clouds were mountains. The first I had ever seen.

We traveled upwards at a steep grade. We pulled a travel trailer, so we couldn’t go as fast as other cars or trucks on the road. It didn’t matter to me. In awe, I remember staring up at the rugged beauty. Hairpin turns enabled us to look down into valleys and crevices. I remember my mom sliding over next to my dad. She didn’t care for heights and back then, we traveled so close to the edge.

Later, when I taught history, I would talk about the Oregon Trail, the early wagon trains traveling east to west, and how they had to hoist wagons, animals, and cargo, up and then down the mountains to reach the west coast. Folks died on that trip. People lost loved ones, precious items they brought from home, only to leave it on the side of the trail to make the load lighter.

There was a sense of false relief, I’m sure, as they reached a valley, because they realized that soon, there would be another mountain to climb.

These past two weeks, I’ve been a long-term substitute as a third grade teacher. First of all, I’ve not been in the classroom in thirty-five years, and when I was, I never taught a grade lower than seventh. I spent most of my career in and among high school kids: teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator. Other than having my own kids as third graders once upon a time, nothing I did in my career prepared me for life as a third grade teacher.

Couple that with our present virtual classroom, I not only have to learn a brand new curriculum, but I have to learn a vastly different technological way of teaching. Talk about being stretched!

I did the best I could, and am doing the best I can. The team of teachers I’m working with are phenomenal. They’ve provided me with lessons and my mentor guides me. I feel, in many ways, like an anchor to them. I sat in a planning meeting with them yesterday on our day off, and I had little to contribute. I don’t know third grade. I don’t know the curriculum, and the technology and platform the district is using is new to me- to them- though they had two weeks more than I had to learn it.

It’s frustrating to not be at my best. I don’t want to let the principal, a friend of mine, down. I don’t want to let the kids and their parents down. I don’t want to let the third grade team of teachers down. I follow blindly what my colleagues have given me. Tuesday, we begin a new week, new lessons, and for the first time this year, we begin teaching reading, writing, and math.

Like the folks traveling in covered wagons over the Rockies, I have to trust those I’m working with. I have to trust my instincts, limited as they are in this arena.

And on top of it all, I’ve been finding my way slowly in retirement. Struggling with it. I don’t know, didn’t know what to expect. My last post, Titles and Identity, talked about finding myself once again. Still struggling with that. While I try not to show it, I’ve been down. Sad. Frustrated and scared.

I think about those who traveled on those wagons. The loved ones buried along the trail. The possessions strewn along the way. The relief of the valley after having crossed one side of the mountain, only to gaze up at the next mountain to cross. Knowing that in the end, it will bring joy to have reached their destination. Like those travelers, I, too, am in that valley. Maybe I’m still climbing up that mountain. Not sure. I only know that I’ve not reached my destination just yet. I only know that I will show up on Tuesday with my best smile and will do the best I can. I will push play and repeat on Wednesday, and on Thursday, and on . . . for as long as I’m needed. I will do my best, and at some point, I’ll get out of the valley and over the mountain and I’ll arrive. Not sure when. Not sure where. But for sure, I will arrive. I always have. We always do. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

For My Readers:

Kindle Lovers! Now is your chance! Caught in a Web, the PenCraft Literary Award Winner and named “One of the best Crime Thrillers of 2018!” by Best Thrillers is available for only .99 on Sunday, 09-06-20. Find it at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  

Spiral Into Darkness, a Recommended Read by Author Shout Reader Awards, is available for only .99 on Tuesday, 09-08-20. Find it at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L15328K

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Betrayed is now available for Kindle preorder to KDP Select at Amazon at:

A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.

“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
—    Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated.

“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

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. 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 Simon Fitall and Unsplash