Here, in no particular order, are five of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned so far.
- Nobody’s perfect – It turns out, I like writing about people with flaws. Specifically, people who strive to rise above their flaws. I like to read about them too. Sometimes the flaws are pretty deep and painful. But then, that’s life isn’t it? Don’t most of us get a little damaged by unfortunate events and disasters? When I connect with a character or characters in a book, watching them rise to all challenges makes me very happy. I’ve learned to look at my own character flaws as challenges as well. Some days, I lose the struggle, but then there’s always tomorrow and a new opportunity to do better.
- Shit happens – Bad things happen. Stop whining and do something about it. Watch the news for five minutes and you’ll find out that a natural disaster is happening somewhere, right now, in the world. People die and accidents occur. The only way to make yourself happy and strong is to act. Do something about it. In 2016 my entire city was evacuated for a month because of a monster wildfire. Ever since then I’ve made an effort to do something every day to make me happy. I write, read, and paper craft. Find what makes you happy and do it.
- Assholes are everywhere. We all have to deal with them, so think…what does your asshole want? Instead of arguing with your asshole (which almost never results in anything good), find out what they really want. Ask how questions, not why questions (why questions make people feel judged in a negative way). Ask them what would make them happy (this usually shocks the shit out of most people). Ask them what they think the next steps should be. Ask them what they’re willing to give up or what work they’re willing to do to get what they want. Challenge your asshole to change, become something better.
- Heroes are everywhere. They are. They’re the neighbor who mows your grass because your leg is broken. They’re the store clerk who helps you find the best deal or the best outfit for the event. They’re the people who stop after a car accident to help the injured. They’re the teenager who helps a lost driver by giving directions. What makes a hero isn’t a strong body or a super power, it’s a state of mind. It’s the quiet courage to help other people in their time of need, or to just offer a hug. You can be a hero. Find a cause and champion it or just do something nice for someone else.
- Happy endings are awesome. Seriously, I wish I could bottle the endorphins that happy endings give me. Writing them has taught me that one of the most powerful motivators is the ability to imagine positive stuff in the future. See yourself achieving goals, winning competitions, and reaching milestones. It’s hard to get to a destination when you don’t have one in mind. Decide on goals, then go after them. Earn your happy ending then live it every day.
Dr. Carmen Rodrigues, CDC’s Outbreak Task Force director, is on the hunt for a killer–– an airborne virus spreading from Florida across the States, gaining traction with each passing moment. Although she’ll never forget her one night with sexy bodyguard John Dozer in Afghanistan, his protective nature is one distraction she doesn’t need right now.
Ex-Army Intelligence officer John Dozer will put his life on the line for beautiful, independent Carmen. Every. Time. Even when she pushes him away. And now, with her struggling to contain an outbreak likely triggered by domestic bio-terrorists, maybe even insiders at the CDC, she needs him more than ever. He lost her once. He’ll never let that happen again.