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Friday, January 19, 2018

Hope And An Opportunity



As I reflect on the past month and perhaps focus just on the past two weeks, the normally mild climate I live in got hammered with cold and snow. For not the first time did I wonder whether or not I had actually left Wisconsin for warmer weather. As I write this, Emily gleefully texted me that her college in Greensboro cancelled classes the last two days and started late today.

I’ve seen pictures of blizzard and whiteout conditions from Texas to Wisconsin that stretch to the East Coast. Snow drifts and icy patches. Drivers white-knuckling it as they motor along treacherous patches. Passengers equally concerned and anxious as they sit rigid, eyes taking it all in whether they want to or not.

And yet, at least here, it’s getting warmer. Days are getting longer. Hardly any snow, if any, on the ground. Nature gracefully taking over as she always seems to do.

Which brings me to today’s thought.

Any seasonal change, pick one because it doesn’t matter . . . any change from day to night and back to day . . . brings with it Hope And An Opportunity.

I’ve said this before in other posts, but isn’t this a wonderful gift? Each of us, whether we want it or not, need it or not gets a Do Over.

It’s the feeling that no matter how badly the day (or evening) went, no matter how ugly and put upon we are, it can and most likely will change the next day (or evening). Even though it might be a longer period of time (a season), the next one (season) is coming and with it Hope. With it, An Opportunity.

Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for another change. Hope for another Opportunity.

And Hope gives birth to Opportunity: to do better next time; to right a wrong; to straighten out a damaged or hurt relationship- with others or with yourself; to Do Over and Begin Again. Hope gives each of us another chance.

So . . . the choice is once again up to us . . . you and me.

We can take full advantage of each Opportunity given to us . . . or we can frit it away, waste it. We can continue with the same destructive patterns of thought and action and word choice, or we can change. Worse, we can ignore it all and just settle for what we’ve always done, what we’ve always thought, what we’ve always said and what we’ve always expected.

But . . .

If someone was to come up to you and offer you $10 or even $50 with no strings attached, wouldn’t you accept it? Wouldn’t that cause you to smile? I mean, folks play the lottery all the time and most come up empty, so why wouldn’t you accept a sure thing?
I can’t think of a better gift than Hope. Without it, we are lost and defeated before we even step out on the field, before we even jump in the shower, before . . .

Hope is a gift. And Hope gives birth to Opportunity. Endlessly and on a perpetual basis. Nonstop. Forever. Why don’t we take full advantage of it? Why is it we squander it? Why is it we sometimes don’t even recognize it? If this isn’t something to think about, I don’t know what is . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I sent the final edited copy of my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web to Black Rose Writing. It will drop in April of 2018.  You can check out the cover if you travel to my author page at https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author  I am working with Black Rose on several publicity campaigns so when the “drop” nears, I’ll keep you posted. There will be an opportunity for preordering Caught in a Web, so when the link becomes available, I’ll make sure you know. Unlike my others, this one will be available in bookstores as well as Amazon.

Good News!
I am actively seeking agent representation for Spiral Into Darkness. It is more of a psychological thriller but with an attitude.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                           

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /                                        

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction and are looking for something to read over the winter, check out my novels:

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 don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis                     

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis                   

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                    

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis

Friday, January 12, 2018

What's In Your Cup?



I had a conversation with a co-worker way, way back my first year as a counselor and it stuck with me all these years. She was sad and it didn’t take long to recognize it. When I asked her how she was doing, she described her husband, a Vietnam veteran as having “issues.” There were times he’d lash out over what she thought were small, almost petty things. There were other times when he’d not respond at all over something when she fully expected a blowup. Unpredictability, I guess, was his hallmark.

She said there were times he’d tense up. Times he’d be sullen and uncommunicative. She never quite knew what to expect from day to day, sometimes from morning to night.

But the part of the conversation I recall that had the biggest impact on me was when she said, “He tries to keep the ooze in a box in the drawer. But sometimes, there is so much ooze, it’s bound to leak out and get messy.”

I think each of us can relate to that statement because either we or someone we know, perhaps someone we work with, even kids, have ooze. And sometimes as neatly wrapped and tucked away as we think it might be, the ooze overflows and gets messy.

I’ve never been a coffee drinker, not even in college. Once upon a time, I drank quite a bit of tea, especially the flavored ones. When Kim and I go out to eat, I generally go with unsweetened tea with lemon. Kind of flavorless, a little bitter.

Since I’ve been on a diet, I’ve increased my water intake. I know it’s good for me, essential really, but there isn’t a whole lot of taste. Still, I make sure I down my required sixty-four ounces or more each day.

If you haven’t noticed, I have to fess up and tell you that I am a Diet Coke-aholic. I know the warnings and cautions associated with the drink, but I like the taste. Yet because of my diet, I’ve actually cut back on my favorite drink. But still . . .

So today, I ask the question: What’s In Your Cup?

I’m not talking about your coffee or tea or water or soda, but rather, metaphorically speaking, What’s In Your Cup?

Think about that for a moment . . .

What is it you are carrying around with you, inside of you that might spill out? What is it that you’re not talking about, not sharing with someone that has the potential of oozing out of the box in the drawer?

A setback of some sort? Some hurt feelings perhaps? A conversation or action that went sideways? Money trouble? A relationship? A recent diagnosis for yourself or a friend or loved one? Loneliness or aloneness?

What’s In Your Cup?

Some unhappiness undefined, unrecognized and unwanted but stuffed in a drawer in your cupboard lurking, waiting for the ill-prepared for wrong-time, only to leak out and ooze onto your shoes in front of everyone else to witness? The mess that might cause someone to comment on the mess we are and try to hide?

Because Whatever is Inside Your Cup is what spills out. Whatever we keep tucked away inside the box in the drawer might leak. Maybe not at this moment, but sometime. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. At the most inopportune time: a meeting, a get together, some function. Perhaps an even worse time: when we are alone and most vulnerable.

What’s In Your Cup?

When life comes along and shakes you, trips you and knocks you down, whatever is inside you will come out. So ask yourself, “What’s In My Cup?” When life gets tough, what spills out?
Will it be joy, peace, compassion, kindness and humility or will it be anger, bitterness, sarcasm and harsh words? Maybe each of us, you and I, need to check now and do some heavy duty cleaning before it oozes out of the box in the drawer. Before it spills out of the cup. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I sent the final edited copy of my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web to Black Rose Writing. It will drop in April of 2018.  Earlier this week I received a mockup of the cover. Sleek and simple, yet thought provoking.  You can check it out if you travel to my author page at https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author I am working with Black Rose on several publicity campaigns so when the “drop” nears, I’ll keep you posted. There will be an opportunity for preordering Caught in a Web, so when the link becomes available, I’ll make sure you know. Unlike my others, this one will be available in bookstores as well as Amazon.

Good News!
I am actively seeking agent representation for Spiral Into Darkness. It is more of a psychological thriller but with an attitude.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                          

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /                                       

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction and are looking for something to read over the winter, check out my novels:

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 don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis                    

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis                  

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                   

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis

Friday, January 5, 2018

Most People Are Good



Anyone who reads my writing understands that I am an eternal optimist. Always have been and always will be. That’s just the way my brain is wired, the way my heart beats, and optimism probably makes up the majority of my DNA.

I look back on portions of my life that could have, maybe should have convinced me otherwise, but somehow, some way, I’ve weathered the storm and remained upright. Don’t know how, exactly. Could have been my faith. Could have been my belief that hope and love conquers all. Could have been my belief in and the support of the people around me.

For example, in October of 2013, my nephew was struck by a car and died. He was an only child. It was tragic because he was such a great young man with so much promise. The world would have been better had he lived. I believe that. In April of 2014, my mom peacefully passed away at age 99. She saw a lot, lived a lot and even at the end, showed her strength and resolve.

It was the summer of 2014 that really hammered my soul and shook our family to its core. That July, my son was shot and killed as he walked down a street unaware of what was taking place behind him. One bullet out of ten that were fired hit someone, our son, and Wil died on the sidewalk. One month later in August, Kim’s and my best friend succumbed to cancer. Like so many others, that tragic disease took his life.

I haven’t been tested like that before or since. As I said, my family and I weathered that storm. What should have, could have caused me to lose my faith in mankind, in people, didn’t. Some of the people I work with didn’t let that happen. My family wouldn’t allow it to happen to us, to each other.

I’ve experienced setbacks in my writing. I think I’ve received enough rejection slips from agents and publishers to wallpaper the family room of our house. But all it took was one yes and someone to say, “Yeah, I like this!” and four books later, I’m published with another due out in April of this year.

Most People Are Good!

They really are. Sometimes one has to look long and hard and might deep, but there is goodness. As many ugly stories as you might see on the news, I can point to an equal or greater number of stories that uplift and celebrate and sometimes bring tears to one’s eyes. Stories that melt a heart.

Luke Bryan has a new song out titled, Most People Are Good and it has come to mean a lot to me. If you have the opportunity, Google the lyrics or give it a listen. The last two lines of the chorus are:

            I believe this world ain't half as bad as it looks;
I believe most people are good.

I think he’s right.

I wrote a post several weeks ago titled The Dot and it urged us to not dwell on the negative but on the positive. Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to do. I mean, there are times more often than not that we are hit in the face with murder, death, disease, greed, loss of one kind or another. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending onslaught.

But that’s where each of us . . . you and I together . . . each other . . . come in. We are always stronger together than we are separately. Sometimes when we are so close to breaking, all it takes is one or two others to take hold of a hand, to place an arm around a shoulder, to be present to let us know that we have each other’s back. That together, we’ve got this. And sometimes it is safer, easier to hunker down, wait the storm out and peep your head out of the foxhole to see what is still standing.

Remember, even though it gets dark at night, the sun will rise. Even though there might be dark clouds and rain, the sun is still up there and will make its appearance eventually. It always does. If it sounds like I’m an optimistic fool, I’d rather that then the alternative. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I sent the final edited copy of my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web Black Rose Writing this last week. It will drop in April of 2018.  I am working with Black Rose on several publicity campaigns so when the “drop” nears, I’ll keep you posted. There will be an opportunity for preordering Caught in a Web, so when the link becomes available, I’ll make sure you know. Unlike my others, this one will be available in bookstores as well as Amazon.

Good News!
I finished the edits on Spiral Into Darkness and I’m working to find an agent for it. It is more of a psychological thriller but with an attitude.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                         

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /                                      

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction and are looking for something to read over the winter, check out my novels:

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 don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis                   

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis                 

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                  

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis