Sunday, October 24, 2021

Hungry and Alone


Kim and I watch NCIS on weekends and often during the week when there is a marathon going on. We like the show mostly because of the characters, their interplay with one another. The stories themselves are often secondary.

During the show, commercials air. Medicare. Vitamins. Lawyers wanting your business for possible injuries due to this or that product. More often than not, there are commercials about stray and abused animals, mostly dogs. Tough to watch. Lately, there are commercials about the abuse and illegal killing of elephants. Equally tough to watch.

The same thought runs through my mind when one of these commercials air: how can someone, anyone, hurt an animal. Why? To what end?

This past week, a story appeared in our local newspaper (yes, I still subscribe) about a woman sentenced to prison for abuse and neglect to her five-year-old son. Again, why? I realize there are adults out there who are ill-equipped to raise children. Mentally, emotionally, physically incapable. It frustrates, angers, and saddens me.

As a teacher, counselor, and administrator for 46 years (and counting), I would think I heard it all. You would think I would have toughened up, hardened up, and developed a shell by now. Yet, I hear a story like this and it still shocks me, saddens me, and angers me. Always does. I try to skip the story, but I can’t. And honestly, I won’t. Not sure why.

There is this young man in my class. His grade has plummeted. He does nothing. Literally, he sits for 85 minutes and stares at his fingers. Sometimes, he puts his head down and sleeps.

At first, I was annoyed. I mean, he’s a senior, and a high school diploma- as small as an achievement as that is, in reality- is still a doorway to another world out there for him. Didn’t he get that?

And then, like other kids I’ve encountered along the way, I find out his story.

He’s the oldest of several other siblings. No dad in the picture. Mom speaks little, if any, English. No money. Barely enough to eat. Might lose the apartment they are living in. Forced to work full time at night to help provide. Not enough sleep. No chance for homework.

And at this point, as much as I want to preach about the importance of a high school diploma, he and his brothers and his mother need to survive. Food and shelter take precedence. School? A distant point somewhere past the horizon.

And this is just one kid I know about. What about all the other kids I don’t know about? Kids who hide behind a smile, whose bellies are aching from a lack of food, who are drop-dead tired from a lack of sleep, or from sleeping on a floor or couch, or from having to help provide.

Some show it in indifference. Some show it in defiance. Some will comply as best they can, smiling through it all. All of them tough- far tougher than me. Perhaps tougher than you.

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are other religious holidays with meaning, too. And while we celebrate and eat and enjoy what we have and with whom we have it, there are those who don’t, who can’t. There are those who don’t have that luxury.

We might not care about dogs or elephants, but surely, can we care about kids, others who don’t have what we have? And not just care, but perhaps do something for those kids and others? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

Connect with me on Social Media: 
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My book, Caught in a Web is on sale for $0.99 for only two more days- Today and Tomorrow! Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by 

Caught in a Web is also Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback!

They found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador, controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes 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.    

This past week, my book, Betrayed, won its fifth award! It was named a PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! It felt special as I wrote it, and I’m happy and humbled so many have enjoyed it.

Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!

Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted.

Blaze In, Blaze Out, is now available for preorder. Use the promo code: PREORDER2021 and order it at the publisher’s website at:

Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko meant the end. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. A target is a target, and in the end, the target will die.

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, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

The Lives Trilogy and Prequel are now available in both paperback, kindle and nook through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble! The links are below! I appreciate all the texts, requests, and messages I have been receiving. Thanks for your support and interest. I edited and revised each book. I am pleased with the results. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I hope you will rediscover or perhaps discover the Lives Trilogy and Prequel.  
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 live in separate parts of the country, the lives of 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 Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out.
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner!
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 will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved.  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. 
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and possible death?  

Photo courtesy of Providence Doucet and Unsplash.




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