Thursday, November 25, 2021


Thanksgiving looks different for us today than it did for years. Typically, we have a family Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. We’d watch movies and play games. As I said, this year, it is different for us.

Hannah and Alex are on their honeymoon for the week. Well deserved, and a happy send off and start up for their years together. Emily is with her boyfriend in South Carolina, visiting his family. That leaves Kim and me with five dogs: our two, Hannah’s and Alex’s two, and Emily’s one. Kim and I jokingly call them our grandchildren.

It is also my birthday. I’m sixty-eight, still going strong, though slower. Semi-retired, and loving it. I get to work with kids directly again. I missed that. Kim still teaches and will do so for the next three or four years. Maybe less. Hopefully, less.

Kim is at cross fit. She already ran her six miles in the dark, but likes the additional workout. As she likes to say, it’s her morning cup of coffee. Me, I’m sitting at the kitchen table putting this post together, something I should have done a couple of days ago. Time got away from me. Odd, since I have more of it these days.

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. The whole purpose behind it is in its name: to give thanks. And I have much to be grateful for.

Hannah’s and Alex’s wedding was two weekends ago, and I’m still smiling. It was such a fun weekend. Emily has one more semester of grad school to go and then she will be a clinical social worker. She already has “nibbles” of jobs. Nice that folks think highly of her, even though she isn’t quite finished with the program yet.

I’m especially grateful for my family, both my own and my extended family. It’s always nice when we get together, and it seems it happens less and less. I’m grateful for my health. Nothing big, nothing ugly. Just trucking along quietly and comfortably.

I’m grateful for Fall. The colors of leaves. The crisp bite of morning air. Flannel and sweatshirts and jeans. The sun winking its good-morning over the trees in our backyard. The moon keeping watch at night.

The comfort of a warm bed, food to eat, a roof overhead. Books to read, and to write. Friends who keep in touch. Fewer decisions to make. Peace in my home and in my heart. Contentment with what I have, not really needing anything more.

Gratitude, being Thankful, is such a powerful emotion. It has love at its root. I don’t believe one can be thankful without love. I don’t think one can have gratitude without the firm foundation of love.

And I think there needs to be more gratitude in life. I think we need to appreciate what we have, as little or as great as it might be, knowing it can be less, and there are those who suffer because of the little they have.

I think we have to understand that there will always be those who have more than we do, while others will have less. Gratitude for what we have, thankfulness for what we have, is sometimes forgotten. And when it is forgotten, we are less happy, more grumpy, more negative. And in these days, in these times, we can’t afford any more negativity than there is now. Something to think about . . .

To My Readers:

I am pleased to announce that my book, Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy, has been named a Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards! That is the second award Stolen Lives has won. Previously, it received a Literary Titan Gold Book Award. I’m happy, as well as humbled, that there has been success with Stolen Lives.

Connect with me on Social Media: 
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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.

BetrayedA 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.

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.

Caught in a WebA 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.  
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 death?  

Photo courtesy of Libby Penner and Unsplash.




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