Monday, July 11, 2022


I’ve written on this topic before, but I’ve had an experience recently that caused me to pause and consider the topic again. I’m at the age when the “check engine” light comes on and it better be heeded.

In the last week or so, I took one of the home testing kits that has been advertised. I’ve taken it before, approximately six years ago, and it came back negative. No problems, all is good. However, this go-round, it came back positive. The doctor’s office contacted me and said I needed to see a specialist because of the possibility of cancer.


Kim did some research and found that a “positive” doesn’t always mean cancer, but rather, the test “detects something” in the body. And, the test has its share of false positives. My worry was still present, but it lessened.

I made an appointment with the specialist, a procedure was done, and the doctor sent two specimens to pathology, but he also stated with a fair amount of certainty that nothing was abnormal and I’d be fine.

Still, I began thinking of the many moments in my life that meant something to me. My marriage to Kim. The birth of our first child, Hannah. The adoption of our son, Wil. The birth of our daughter, Emily. The first book I wrote and published. Going way back, taking a team to a state championship and winning. My first teaching and coaching position in Wyoming. Being asked to coach at the collegiate level. My first and second master’s degree. Being a counselor. An administrator.

Watching my daughter play in a collegiate soccer game, earning several awards along the way. Watching both daughters graduate and receive jobs. Walking Hannah down the aisle with Kim at Hannah’s and Alex’s wedding.

I thought about the events in my life that were tragic. The death of our son, Wil. The illness and death of my sisters, Donna, Betty, and Joanne. The death of my father and mother.  

And I thought about the things I still wanted to do. Hold my first (of many) grandchild. More vacations with Kim. Holiday celebrations with my family. Other book ideas I want to put in print.

Just so much more . . .

I wrote and completed a new book recently. Fan Mail drops in March 2023. In it, there is a conversation that takes place between Brian, a high school kid struggling with his family and discovering who he is, and his basketball coach, Tommy Harrison. The conversation is one of the deeper moments in the story. Harrison says:

“… but when it comes to living your own life, there is no wrong or right. We are given a life. We are given moments. We have to make the most of those moments in our lives.”

When I wrote this and subsequent passages in that book, I did not know my home test would give me a positive result and no idea the result would be false. Yet, that test brought me right back to this passage in the book I had written. How my life parallels the lives of the characters I create in my books! Not totally, of course. The characters aren’t me. Yet, they are me because they come from me.

Just this week, there were/are several huge moments in my life. The birthday of my son-in-law, Alex, was July 9th. Today, July 11th is Kim’s and my anniversary. Tomorrow, July 12th, is the day our son, Wil, was shot and killed as he walked down a Chicago street. And there will be other moments to come, some I know about, others not until they happen.

There was a modern pope, and I forget which one, who on his deathbed stated, “I am ready. My bags are packed.” What a cool way to go out. When my time comes, I’d like to think that my bags will be packed, too. Right now, however, they aren’t. I have things scattered everywhere. There are things I still want to do. Necessary things? Probably not to others, but necessary to me. Yet, when the time comes, I want my bags to be packed. I want to be ready.

And like Harrison said in my book, Fan Mail, between now and then, I have a life to live and moments to embrace and cherish. I think all of us do, don’t we? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Positive Difference! 

To My Readers:

My publisher, Black Rose Writing, has a special tomorrow only! You can purchase the Kindle version of my book, Stolen Lives, for only $0.99. Again, this is only for tomorrow. If you’d like to start at the beginning of my books, this would be a great way to begin. Stolen Lives is the first book of the Lives Trilogy and introduces you to all or most of the characters in my subsequent books. Tomorrow only- $0.99 on Kindle.

My ninth book, Fan Mail, has been accepted by my publisher, Black Rose Writing. The publication date is March 30, 2023I am so pleased with this book. It differs from my other work in that it is a coming-of-age story embedded in a tight thriller. More to come on that- I promise!

While you wait for Fan Mail to hit, I hope you take the time to enjoy my other work. The last four books have won twelve awards, while my Lives Trilogy has won two awards.

And, 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
Facebook at:  
Amazon at: /

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 of Unknown, most likely family.


  1. Nicely written and reflects the way most feel I think!

    1. Thank you for checking out my blog. I appreciate it. Yes, I believe most of us feel this way.


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