Wednesday, May 4, 2022

What Isn't Said


My background is psychology and counseling. The last years of my teaching before I became a counselor was spent teaching psychology entirely. I wrote the curriculum for it centered on having the students answer two questions: Who am I? and Why am I? Each activity we did in class was geared around answering those two questions. 

The culminating project for each student was for them to choose one of the personality theorists and describe their life from early on to the present day. It was as much fun for parents as it was for the kids. I remember one mom came to me in a grocery store one day after her daughter had graduated and with tears in her eyes, thanked me for having her daughter do that project. She still had it and considered it a keepsake.

This past weekend end, Kim and I dog sat. We had our two, Daisy (golden retriever) and Stella (lab, beagle mix), both rescues, along with Hannah’s and Alex’s two dogs, Teddy (golden retriever) and Chip (a rottweiler and shepherd mix, and a rescue). Stella is the oldest, and I think of her as Gladys Kravitz, the nosey busy-body neighbor on the old Bewitched TV show. All four get along, though Chip and Stella have developed a tolerance of each other. Chip leaves Stella alone and vice versa.

It was interesting watching them interact, or not, as the case may be.

I was reminded of something I picked up in one of my undergrad psychology classes. We studied Niko Tinbergen, a Dutch biologist and ornithologist, who spent a significant part of his life, and earned a Nobel Peace Prize, studying organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns in animals. 

Tinbergen was asked to consult on a child who didn’t speak. Not that he couldn’t speak. Just that the child didn’t speak. The mother mentioned that she wanted to know what he was thinking and wished he would talk. Tinbergen smiled and said something like, “I’m happy he doesn’t. We can find out the truth of what he is thinking by observing.” 

So, I watched the dogs interact with each other, and with Kim and me. Chip and Daisy played constantly. Teddy demanded his share of pets and would wedge his way in between the dog Kim or I was petting, so he would get his pets, too. Stella was Stella. She would observe from around the corner or from a distance, just like Gladys Kravitz. Not sure whether or not Stella approved, but she was content to watch from a distance.

More than once, I wondered what she and the other three dogs thought, and I thought of Tinbergen.

I was reminded of that as I observe the kids in my classroom. Some work diligently: head down, nose into it, and they don’t come up for air until the bell rings. Some work in intervals: not constantly, but will work for a time, then check their phone or stretch or look around the room or grab a book and read, only to go back and work on their computer. There are some who sleep without actually working. Using my computer, I can see if they are on pace or ahead, so I let them sleep. Others, if they are behind, I wake them up and they work for a small amount of time, only to rest their chin on their chest or their head on the table and nap. 

I watch and listen and observe. I wonder what is going on in their home life that causes them to come to school with bedhead, without deodorant, or without sleep. I wonder if they get enough to eat. We have sixteen school days left and I wonder what the summer will bring to or do for them. 

I engage them in conversation. I ask how they are doing or what their plans are. I listen and I watch, and sometimes, most times (I think), like Tinbergen, we get the truth by observing, and not what they say. Kids are protective of themselves. Their antenna is up and they observe and listen as much as I do. They know sincerity when they see and hear it. They know who is genuine and who is not. Don’t we all! Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished the edits on my ninth book, Fan Mail. I wrote the dedication, the author’s notes, and the synopsis/book blurb. It differs from the other books I’ve written. It is more coming of age wrapped in a thriller. It is longer than my other books, but it was fun and satisfying to write. Like I have done in some of my other books, I laughed out loud and wept in spots as I wrote it. It will tug at your emotions and will cause you to reflect.

I subscribe to the belief that a good book, any book, is never finished by the author. A book is finished by the reader. His or her feelings and experiences with the book color the book and make it his or her own, aside from the author. I am happy to share it with you upon publication to see what it will do for you, do to you.

I will let you know the publication timeline on Fan Mail as I find out. Meanwhile, below are my other books for your enjoyment.

If you have read one of my books, I would like to ask a favor. If you could go online and write a review or, at the least, give a rating on the book, it would be of great help. Both a review and a rating would be wonderful. The review could be one or two lines. It doesn’t have to be long. Just let others know you read it and hopefully, enjoyed it. Obviously, 4s and 5s are the best. Thanks for this consideration.

Connect with me on Social Media: 
Author Website
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
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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. They care nothing of collateral damage. 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. Greed can be all-consuming, and 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. So far, he has murdered eight people. 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. A violent gang, MS-13, 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. 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.  
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 Jeremiah Lawrence and Unsplash.






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