Sunday, March 19, 2023


Growing up in Wisconsin, one of the first signs of spring was a robin singing in the tree in our backyard. It was a ritual, much like the groundhog, but way more reliable. Wisconsin is also known for sometimes not following the adage: In like a lion, out like a lamb. Witness this March with sub-freezing temps and mounds of snow. 

But there was always, always, the robin. How he/they survive the “in like a lion, out like a T-Rex,” I’ll never know. 

One thing I never enjoyed about early spring in Wisconsin was the Yo-Yo weather it can have. Up one day, down the next. But even worse was the ugly melting when it finally warms up.

Fresh snow, when it falls and lands atop roofs and tree limbs and fence posts, is white as powdered sugar. But when it melts, it is wet and dirty like unkept bed linen. Car exhaust and road dust darken it to gray and black on roadways. Puddles are everywhere, and when you drive through them, they splash up onto your car along with the salt used to help melt snow and ice. It creates rust and damages the undercarriage. Sometimes, if the temps drop, underneath the melting snow is black ice, and one never knows until you test the breaks and feel the slide forward and the pitch sideways if one isn’t careful. 

Still … there is something about spring that brings relief. Hope, if you will. 

Spirits lift. There seems to be more smiling and laughter. People shed some of the nineteen layers of clothes one wears in a Wisconsin winter. Families begin planning their summer trips. More people are out and about- shopping, hiking, walking, running. 

There is more life happening in and around you.

I’ve noticed here in Virginia, in the small woods beyond our backyard, there are crickets chirping and frogs croaking. I’ve seen several blue birds and a couple of cardinals. And of course, the robin. 

Mostly, when I think of spring, I think of hope and rebirth. Grass, brown and dormant in winter, turns green. White, sometimes pink and red buds breakout on trees, and after, trees grow back their leaves that had been shed during winter’s harshness and cold. 

Just as there are different seasons in nature, I believe there are different seasons within each of us. I notice this especially as I grow older. While my thoughts turn outward, rather than inward with what I might do to improve myself and get better at … life, I notice there is a willingness in myself to get and be active. Not only in my walking, but also in my reverie and meditation.

I notice a willingness within myself to move beyond self. To reach out, to shed my shell, much like a tree budding and leaves growing. To become more, somehow.

I think this is one of the great lessons of nature that sometimes isn’t noticed, or, if noticed, seldom thought deeply about. We need to grow; each of us needs to grow. To become better- not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. If nature demands that of itself, shouldn’t we? Something to think about … 

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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A lot will happen when it does! There is a Seven Day Book Blog Tour that begins with three book bloggers sharing their thoughts on Fan Mail on the 30th, and that continues for the next seven days. There will also be special activities associated with the book in the weeks that follow.

April will be a busy month! I have two book sales and signings taking place at two different local libraries, along with a regional craft fair I’m taking part in. If you go to my Facebook and Instagram pages, you will find details as they get closer.

I 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:

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  

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. You can also PREORDER the Kindle Version on Amazon at:

**If you are a blogger, librarian or reviewer, Fan Mail is available on NetGalley for free UNTIL MARCH 30TH.**

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.

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?  

Photos Courtesy of Arno Smit and Unsplash


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