My daughters love the Hallmark Channel and the holiday movies it airs. Hannah, especially, will sit and watch for hours, one after the other. She even counts down the days before they appear near Christmas. But both Hannah and Emily will watch them throughout the year, and not just during the holidays.
The movies are sweet, if not sappy, and are predictable. So sweet, one could end up in a diabetic coma from watching them for too long. Predictable? Within the first few minutes, the viewer knows how it will end.
A typical plotline is: A pretty, vivacious girl is jolted, perhaps drifting in her current relationship. Maybe she isn’t even in a relationship, but her friends make every effort to get her into one. The girl meets a boy. More than likely, he is annoying and they don’t get along too well. But somehow, someway, they develop a relationship. However, something causes one or the other, usually the girl, to question it and eventually, call it off. But never fear. Fate causes them to get back together and fall in love. Happily ever after. Do I have it about right?
Different characters, different setting, maybe a different time of year, but the storyline is repeated, and the result is the same.
Honestly, I watch Hannah and Emily more than I do the movie. Their expressions are almost angelic. Big smiles, sitting a bit forward in their seats, daring not to move, shushing me should I make the near fatal mistake of asking a question or talking to them while the movie is playing.
I guess there is a reason these movies appear on the Hallmark Channel. The “hallmarks” of these movies, or the hallmark of the channel, are these types of movies. Wholesome. Loving. Family-oriented. Good stuff, even for me once or twice during the holiday season.
My mind drifted this morning as I thought of other hallmarks: what is the hallmark of our country? What is the hallmark of our leaders? What is our hallmark- while we are living, and when we are dead? In our jobs, at home when we are off the clock?
Tim McGraw has a brand new song out: Standing Room Only and it is a similar theme. The radio station I normally listen to had folks call in and give the DJs their thoughts on the song. One lady reported she thought of her father. Just before he died, he didn’t think anyone, or at least, only a few people, would show up for his funeral. He was wrong. The place was packed. “Standing room only,” she reported. So packed, they set up a video feed so people could watch in the basement because no more were allowed in the main church.
I think back to my son’s celebration of life in August 2014. None of us- not my wife, Kim, his widow, Maria, his sisters, Hannah or Emily, and not I realized how many individuals were affected by our 28-year-old son, husband, and brother. Impacted by a 28-year-old. The funeral home set up more chairs. People stood, still unable to find an open seat. They wept, or laughed when it was appropriate to do so. Maybe it was the circumstances of his death, but I think not. At least, not to those who spoke to us.
I’m not blind to the fact that some of my friends have passed away. Many of the singers, songwriters, and actors I grew up watching have passed on, too.
I wonder what my hallmark might be (is), what I might be remembered for at my passing. Sometimes, I wonder just how many or few there will be at my funeral. The only thing I can control is what I do in this life while I’m living to bring about happiness to those around me, to encourage love, being kind and considerate to those I encounter. In the end- pun intended- it’s all I can control. My words. My actions. The way I treat others. These are the things that will make up my hallmark, probably yours, too. What will your hallmark be? Something to think about …
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
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I recently took part in the Author’s Spot Podcast. It was a little about my life, my writing, and about my newest book, Fan Mail. You can find it at: https://podcast.theauthorsspot.com/1973858/12365749
I hope you take a little time to listen to it. After sitting for the interview in February, I listened to the edited and polished result this past weekend. I have to tell you the interviewer, K. E. Robinson, did his homework. He knew about my writing and my book, and as a result, it was as simple as having a conversation with him. I learned about myself and I gained some insight into my writing. I think you will enjoy it.
Need a New Book? I have nine available, and I hope you gift someone, maybe yourself, with one of my books. 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.
My newest, Fan Mail, is Available for Preorder at https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/fanmail
Use code PREORDER2023 to receive a 15% Discount. If you head over to my author website at www.jrlewisauthor.blog/ you will find the cover to Fan Mail, along with the book trailer, and the first two chapters to preview. You can also PREORDER the Kindle Version on Amazon at: amzn.to/3WBbRps
**If you are a blogger, librarian or reviewer, Fan Mail is available on NetGalley for free.**
Fan Mail: New Release! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner!
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. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
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! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
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
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. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
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. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
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. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
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. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
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? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photos Courtesy of Sandy Millar and Unsplash
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