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Friday, August 31, 2018

The Invisible


School begins on Tuesday after Labor Day. For the past two weeks, we’ve been preparing for the kids to arrive. New teachers started it out spending one week getting acclimated to our district and to our school. Lots of hope, a little trepidation.

This week, the veteran staff joined them. Nice to see them back and nice to see them mix. Veteran and Rookie together. Learning from and sharing with one another. Something I’m always interested to watch.

We spent quite a bit of time on relationship building, on the importance of seeking out the Invisible Kid. You know the type, if not who they might be.

The kid who goes along all day without making waves. The kid who smiles to mask and disguise the fear, the loneliness, the desperation. The kid who might not garner the accolades, the recognition. The kid who has it tough at home because parents are absent one way or another. The kid who might be a little less clean and not have much to eat. The kid who might not have the trendiest clothes or shoes. The kid who doesn’t sport the latest cellphone.

That kid. Those kids. The Invisible Kid.

Hunter Hayes sings a song, Invisible and it contains these lyrics:
            Crowded hallways are the loneliest places
For outcasts and rebels
Or anyone who just dares to be different

There are a lot of kids walking the hallways, sitting in classrooms, riding the bus, eating (or not) in the cafeteria who find it lonely. The kid who is the outcast, the rebel. The kid who dares to be different. These kids try to find themselves, their place, in the world . . . their world . . . and struggle doing so because no one is there to guide them, help them, nurture them.

Or, are there?

The sad thing is that not all teachers, not all coaches, not all adults recognize the power they have over kids, their hopes and dreams, their future. They don’t recognize the power they have over each other. It’s untapped. A moment . . . time . . . is wasted and passes before our eyes.

Sometimes.

There is beauty in capturing and connecting with a kid, with another adult, with The Invisible. I mean, beyond the grade, beyond the test, beyond the curriculum, beyond the football or basketball, beyond the cello and coronet, and beyond the theater stage or teacher’s planning area. Not only beauty, but potential. For that kid, for that teacher, for that coach, for that adult.

I end each post with a charge to the reader: Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

What more noble an exercise is there? What more noble profession is there than the one of teacher, of mentor, of counselor, of nurse, of care-giver, of . . .

We have the power and the ability to change lives. We have the ability to make a difference where and when a difference is so very needed. All we need to do is seek out, to spot, The Invisible. It’s what we got into this for, right? It’s what we signed on for, isn’t it? I hope so. For the kids’ sake. For each other’s sake. For your sake. Something to think about . . .

Hunter Hayes’ song, Invisible can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiUqgL5urWc   t’s worth a look and a listen.

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

In addition to my book, Caught in a Web, interest in my other four novels has increased. I think because of the critical acclaim Caught in a Web has received. Currently, it’s sitting at #19 on the Online Book Club’s List of Best Selling Books and is #3 in Crime-Thriller-Mystery on that same list. And after 8 Months, Caught in a Web is still on Best Thrillers list of Best Thrillers of the Year. I’m humbled and pretty darn pleased.

So thanks to them and to all who have taken a chance on reading Caught in a Web. If you are interested in a copy on either Kindle or in Paperback, you can find it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  or on Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caught-in-a-web-joseph-lewis/1128250923?ean=9781684330249

And if you do give Caught in a Web a shot, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!

Caught in a Web:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha 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, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

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, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696

Book One, Stolen Lives:
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://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis  

Book Two, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis  

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14 year old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.

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 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 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://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Connect with me on Social Media:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dye Your Thoughts


Did you ever wash a load of laundry, say a load of whites, and a stray something or other that’s bright red or blue or green gets thrown in by mistake?

Recently, we had some guests and I did the laundry. Towels, mostly, but I decided to save a little time by throwing in a table cloth. The towels were snow white. The table cloth was mostly red. And . . . I ended up with nice pink towels. I found out when Kim said with a groan, “Oh, Joe!”
Yup, I had some ‘splainin’ to do.

Over the years, there have been faded this or that, oddly colored undies, mostly by my hand, I’m afraid. I learn from it or try to learn from it and move on.

Then there are those things we intend to dye. Every Easter, we dyed eggs. Sometimes fingers and hands take on a nice shade of blue or purple that has nothing whatsoever to do with cold or circulation. We make sure newspaper covers the table, but every now and then, the wooden table top picks up a stray color.

And when the kids decided they needed to tie-dye shirts, they did so. Our backyard took on the look of a cheap sweatshop. All in good fun.

From his book, Meditations, Marcus Aurelius writes, “The soul becomes dyed with the colour [sic] of its thoughts.”

Lots of different meanings for that quote, I think. Each of us might take something different from it.

For me, I believe it means that what I dwell on, I become. If I choose to see only the negative, the nasty, the bad luck, and the heartbreak, my view of the world . . . my world, becomes as I think it. If, on the other hand, I choose to see the beauty, be it in struggle, in the attempt, in the effort, my view of the world . . . my world, becomes as I think it.

It all comes down to perception and perspective.

I can choose to see a “no” or “not interested” as an affront, as a setback or even as a dead end. Or I can see “no” or “not interested” as an opportunity, as a “not yet.”

I might spill the coffee or juice. I might spill something on my shirt or slacks. I might get stuck in traffic on the way to work. Any inconvenience, annoyance or any disruption from what you or I might have planned can be cause for negativity, might be cause for proclaiming loudly once again, “This always happens to me!” And indeed, it might because we sometimes expect it to happen.

In the same book, Aurelius writes, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

I might add the “constancy” and the “consistency” of your thoughts.

And lastly, Aurelius writes, “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

My nephew, Jared, in his short life taken way too early, listened to the song, Play That Funky Music because in his own words and with a smile that would light up the darkest room . . . the darkest heart, “You can’t possibly listen to that song and not smile!” A pretty cool philosophy on life! Might want to give it a try.

You see, there will always be those who have less than we do, just as there will always be those who have more than we do. Always. There will be those who seem to have all the breaks, while others, perhaps ourselves, who seem to get swallowed up by each break. But if we take good ol’ Marcus at face value, perhaps it is our perception, our own thinking that sets us up for a rise just as our own thinking sets us up for a fall. Perhaps.  

Take solace in the fact that we were able to get out of bed, breathe, shower, and drive off to pursue a job, a dream, an opportunity . . . life. That’s always a good thing, isn’t it? Perhaps check what it is we choose to use to Dye Our Thoughts. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

My book, Caught in a Web has picked up some terrific reviews recently. “…cruelty of bullying, unfairness of dying young, horror of drug addiction; a writer who has seen what he writes about.” Authors Favorites “. . .probes the worlds of teens and gang members...precise, staccato details . . . the right blend of tension and intrigue . . .” Midwest Book Review "Important, nail-biting . . . one of the year's best conspiracy thrillers" Best Thrillers. “An epic journey through the quagmire that teenagers are subjected to in today’s schools . . . focuses on inexplicable issues where there are no neat answers as to why these things happen or how to eradicate the scourge.” AuthorsReading

In fact, for the last Eight Months, Caught in a Web has been on the Best Thrillers of the Year List by Best Thrillers! And, it is #28 on the Online Book Club Best Books of the Year List, and #4 in Crime-Thriller-Mystery on that same list!

If you are interested in finding out more about who I am or why I write what I do, I had the great opportunity to have been interviewed recently on two video shows. You can find them one hosted by Joseph Carrabis titled Author Plunge at http://www.josephcarrabis.com/2018/08/08/joseph-lewis-teens-drugs-and-gangs-o-my/#more-1443  The other is Author's Corner Live! Here is the link for the interview! https://www.facebook.com/Bridgetti.Live/videos/741588262840014/

So thanks to them and to all who have taken a chance on reading Caught in a Web. If you are interested in a copy on either Kindle or in Paperback, you can find it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696  or on Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caught-in-a-web-joseph-lewis/1128250923?ean=9781684330249

And if you do give Caught in a Web a shot, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!

I have some exciting news:

Black Rose Writing, the company that published Caught in a Web has accepted for publication another of my books, Spiral into Darkness and it will be out in January 2019. On my author page on Facebook, I will post passages and snippets from time to time and keep you updated on the publishing progress. It is currently in the editing process.

Connect with me on Social Media:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


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