Sunday, February 13, 2022



All three of my kids received medals and trophies. Soccer and swimming, mostly. Some earned. Some “participation” medals. My kids cared little for the latter. They weren’t special. Nothing stood out. Each kid on the team received one.

The concept is good: to encourage a youngster to keep trying, to keep at it. Yet, when a kid seldom showed up for practice and expected to play nonetheless, the concept loses a little. Maybe a lot.

Do you remember half-time snacks? Each parent signed up for a game, perhaps two, where it was expected to supply the team with a small drink and a small snack. Orange slices were a good go-to. I’m still smiling at the memories.

All this jumped back into my head watching the Olympics.

Nathan Chen’s outstanding performance on ice. I was in awe. Heck, I can skate forwards a couple of circles before falling or crashing into the wall. Spin a hundred times? Not me. I would cover the folks in the first row in whatever I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Chloe Kim’s performance on her snowboard? The speed. The height. Me? I wouldn’t make it four feet before I’d end up face first and travel to the end line in the same position. Call it, “The Lewis Snowplow.”

One watched and had to feel the pain of Shaun White’s last Olympics on his snowboard. He never made the podium, finishing fourth. One had to feel Mikaela Shiffrin’s pain and disappointment failing or falling or whatever one calls it in her three attempts in three competitions. After all, both White and Shiffrin were expected to win, weren’t they?

The last year I coached high school basketball, I had a wonderful group of seniors. We had success and were ranked in state. We only lost a handful of games. A couple of those young men ended up playing at the collegiate level. I had decided in September of that year, I was going to “leave” with my seniors. When then played their last game- whenever that game was played, it would be my last game as a coach.

I remember the last practice on the night before the first game of regionals. Literally, it was the closing seconds of that practice. I actually had the whistle in my mouth ready to blow it when our starting center, Greg, came down with a rebound, landed on another player’s foot, and ended up with a high ankle sprain. He gave it a go in warm-ups the next night, but with tears in his eyes, he told me he couldn’t make it. We did the best we could, but ended up losing by single digits. I know Greg took that loss personally, despite what I or his teammates told him.  

A tough loss. A tough way to end the season. A tough way to end a career- and I’m talking about the young men who wouldn’t pick up a ball except for a rec league pickup game.

I think of White and Shiffrin who had trained and practiced for years in order to make it to the games in Beijing, only to fall short of expectations- theirs and ours. Yet, we forget the tons of success they had. We forget the effort, the hours, the pain they went through to get to Beijing.

I think of all the other athletes unknown to the viewing audience, who compete at these same Olympics, who never reach the podium, who never get the medal. They worked. They struggled. They put in time and effort. Yet, we don’t even know who they are. At some point, they went from orange slices at half-time to competing on one of the largest and most notable stages in the world. Yet, they do their thing. They get mentioned once, maybe twice on TV, but no one “expects” them to win a medal.

I take that back.

Those men and women expected to win. They expected to do and be their best, just like my team did in their regional game. They fell short, just as we fell short. Call it age. Call it nerves. Call it one being better than the next. We fall short. And that’s okay. They tried. We tried. They and we did our best. No podium. No medal. Only an orange slice or two. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

Blaze In, Blaze Out and I were featured in the monthly online magazine, The Big Thrill, published by International Thriller Writers. You can find it at:  BestThrillers selected Blaze In, Blaze Out as an Editor’s Pick. You can find it at:  I am pleased with the recognition, and I am pleased with the growing number of 5 Star Reviews and Ratings Blaze has garnered.

Connect with me on Social Media: 
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Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!

Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die.

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.

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 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.  
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! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
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 Ethan Wilkinson and Unsplash.






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