Friday, December 16, 2022

You Are the Gift!

Like many of you reading this, our family is getting ready for Christmas, a short one week away. It is safe to say we are hyped for it! 

The kids gave us their list of hopes and dreams, and Kim and I gave our list to the kids. Kim and I are going simple this year. One gift for the both of us. It’s all we need and really, all we want. And you can imagine the list we gave to the kids is much smaller than theirs, and I figure that’s the way it should be. Alex, Hannah’s husband, caused a smile. For the fifth or sixth year running, at the bottom of his list, he wrote, ‘ All the riches of the world.’ 

It’s interesting how the kids’ lists have changed over the years. Toys and movies, books and CDs to, well, books and clothes, and household items. Except for a few odds and ends, Kim and I are almost done shopping for them. It will be a great Christmas for everyone.

My list is simple: give me a couple of books and let me be surrounded by Kim and my kids, and I’m good! Easy Peasy! It’s all that matters to me. To know my wife is happy and healthy and still enjoys hanging with me. To know my kids are happy and healthy and successfully chasing their dreams. That’s all I need. Will ever need.

At the school where I work part-time, the faculty and staff take part in Secret Santa. I’ve noticed that a number of kids do this with each other. There is a dollar amount, but it’s safe to say that the suggested amount is pretty much ignored. My Secret Santa has treated me super well! And I think it’s also safe to say that as much as we enjoy the surprise of what we might find in our mailbox, there is more joy in the giving. 

It isn’t so much what give or what we get, but rather, it’s really the thought behind it. It’s the effort taken to make us smile. It’s the warm feeling we get when we are gifted with something, and in turn, the warm feeling we get when we give something. 

Many of us won’t get the car sitting in the driveway with the pretty red bow on top. Most of us won’t get the newest, bestest TV, or the dream vacation. 

Most of us will be satisfied with something meaningful given with the warmest and best intentions. Doesn’t have to be great or grand, at least to anyone looking at it. But it will be great or grand because of who we receive it from and why it was given, whether or not it was big or small or fancy. It is the intention, the heart behind it.

In all cases, whether we know it or not, we are the gift! 

Sharing a joke. Listening to someone in need. Our presence when words cannot be expressed adequately. Our touch. Our smile.

The gift of knowing that if someone needs anything- a kind word, a ride, a gesture, a touch- we are there. Yes, we are the gift. Always the gift. And it doesn’t cost a dime. Something to think about …

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

Books make wonderful Christmas presents! Inexpensive, and a good story lasts and will stick with the reader throughout life. Hint: I have nine available, and I hope you gift someone with one of my books.

My newest, Fan Mail, is Available for Preorder at  

Use code PREORDER2023 to receive a 15% Discount. If you head over to my author website at you will find the cover to Fan Mail, along with the book trailer, and the first two chapters to preview.

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: 
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Amazon at: /

Fan Mail: New Release!

A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers. Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad.

As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart.

Would he once again have to put himself in harm’s way to save them? And if faced with that choice, will he?

Blaze In, Blaze Out: Best Action Crime Thriller of 2022 by Best Thrillers! A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Readers’ Favorite 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: Two Top Shelf Awards: 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; and Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; 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 Unsplash.




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