Saturday, April 8, 2023


I grew up in a traditional, rather conservative Catholic family. My brothers and sisters and I all went through Holy Angels Grade School in our hometown of West Bend, Wisconsin. Every Sunday, we attended 9:15 a.m. mass at Holy Angels church, sat in one of the front rows on the left side, and sang in the choir when the occasion called for it. We were baptized, received our first communion and our confirmation in the same church. 

Jack and Jim attended a seminary briefly before coming back to the city’s only high school. I attended a private boarding school about sixty miles away for high school and graduated from it, while my youngest brother, Jeff, started at one high school, but ended up graduating from a different high school in a different city because mom and dad moved. 

Mom and Dad would invite priests for dinner, and we visited the nuns during holidays. Because I toyed with the idea of becoming a priest and had contacted several orders, traveling priests would come visit on a kind of recruiting trip. I even spent an overnight at one monastery. It was interesting, and while I considered becoming a priest throughout high school and college, even as a young teacher and coach, I came to the conclusion that life and calling wasn’t for me. 

My journey is like one of my characters in each of my books, Jeremy, who is the adoptive father of the seven boys in my fictional family. He shares that characteristic with me. Or should I say, I shared mine with him. 

Still, I consider myself religious. I pray throughout the day. I do my morning meditation and I read the Bible. From the religion classes in grade school and high school (even though it wasn’t a Catholic high school), I remember so many stories and characters of scripture. I have my favorite Bible verses. Matthew 7 verse 7 is my all-time favorite: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.That verse means so much to me. It is a statement of faith, a challenge, if you will. To believe enough to ask, to knock, to seek, and you will receive answers.

Psalm 23 about the Good Shepherd is probably my favorite psalm. It describes Jesus for me: His caring, concern, protection. His presence. The idea that if one sheep, one lamb is lost, He would seek it, find it, and bring it home. That’s comforting to me, knowing how much we might stray, how much trouble we might get ourselves into, He is there to find us, bring us home, and protect us. That, and even though “we walk through the valley of death,” He is there with us. Kind of like the story about the footsteps in the sand. At first there were two sets, then just one. When asked why did you abandon me when I went through such a tough time, He answered, “There was only one set of footprints because it was then that I carried you.”

I have several favorite characters and stories from the Bible, but my favorite story is that of the Prodigal Son, and my favorite character is the father. The story is about the younger son who asked for his inheritance, went off, and lost it all. Wild women and booze. He ended up working for a farmer, cleaning the pigpen, and eating the scraps.

Finally, he came to his senses and went home. But the father “saw him from a distance” which meant that the father had searched for his son all the time he was gone, longing for his return, hoping and praying for his return. The son reached his father and offered to work and live like a slave if his father would have him back.

But what did his father do? He ordered his slaves to bring a clean robe for his son, to put a ring on his finger, take a fatted calf and cook it up because they were going to have a feast. The father was just happy to have him home. Not only was the father looking for him all that time, he was happy he had returned. Losing his inheritance was forgotten. He was home now, safe and sound. The family was together. 

The father didn’t hold a grudge. The father welcomed him back, welcomed him home. That’s faith, as much as it is kindness and compassion, concern and empathy. I want that in my life, knowing that I’ve screwed up countless times and in countless ways. And faith is knowing that I do have that in my life. We all do, really. The only thing we need to do is come to our senses and come back “home.” Something to think about … 

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I have a surprise for you, a Gift! 

Beginning tomorrow, April 9 through Tuesday, April 11, my newest book, Fan Mail, is FREE on Amazon Kindle at   

Here is your opportunity to read a thrilling, yet heartwarming story of a family of seven adopted boys and their caring parents. A coming-of-age story wrapped in a thriller-crime-mystery. Get yours today, or tomorrow, as it were.

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Fan Mail: New Release! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner!

Beginning tomorrow, April 9 through Tuesday, April 11, my newest book, Fan Mail, is FREE on Amazon Kindle at  

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 Karl Fredrickson and Unsplash




  1. Hit the link to Silence, but found myself scrolling down to Faith. Third time this week the prodigal son parable has worked its way into my life. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for stopping by. I sincerely appreciate it, and I am happy you were able to get something out of it.


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