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Margaret Lashley is the author of Absolute Zero and Glad One, the first two novels in the hilarious and irreverent Val & Pals Series. Be on the lookout for Two Crazy, the third novel due out this summer. She also penned How to be Happy When Life Treats You Crappy: 14 Unusual Secrets of the Super Happy, based on her world-wide travels in search of inner joy. Margaret is a native Floridian and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
More from Megs
Like the characters in my novels, I haven’t lead a life of wealth or luxury. In fact, as it stands now, I’m set to inherit a half-eaten jar of Cheez Whiz — if my siblings don’t beat me to it, that is.
During my illustrious career, I’ve been a roller-skating waitress, an actuarial assistant, an advertising copywriter, a real estate agent, a house flipper, an organic farmer, and a traveling vagabond/truth seeker. But no matter where I’ve gone or what I’ve done, I’ve always felt like a weirdo. I was always certain someone was going to walk up at any moment and tell me, “Hey! You don’t belong here. Get going!”
As a child I lived in my own pretend world of tickling fairies and talking cats. I began writing when I found an ancient black typewriter on my grandparent’s back porch. (Inspired by my two annoying younger brothers, at the age of eight I wrote Boys are Stupid, my first masterpiece.) As an adult, after a divorce and loss of one of my beloved brothers, I went on a quest to find deeper meaning for my life, and to discover what makes some people unshakable in their faith and happiness. I traveled literally around the world, interviewing happy people I found along the way. In 2010, a friend introduced me to the Law of Attraction — the concept that our thoughts help shape and create our reality. Well now, that was something I could relate to!
Always a realist, I needed cold-hard facts. So I started reading the latest quantum physics theories and studies of the effects of human consciousness. I was surprised to find they corroborated the Law of Attraction, substantiating the idea that focused human intention can indeed influence physical reality. In other words, we actually do create things with our thoughts! Here I’d spent forty years searching for The Creator, only to discover it was me! Ha ha! Now that’s a cosmic-level joke if I ever heard one! I wrote How to be Happy when Life Treats You Crappy to share these and other amazing insights I learned along the way.
And I have to say, I’ve learned a heck of a lot in my life. But getting to know myself has been my greatest journey. Today, I know I’m smart. I’m direct. I’m jaded. I’m hopeful. I’m funny. I’m fierce. I’m a pushover. And I have a laugh that makes strangers want to join me my table at restaurants. In other words, I’m a jumble of opposing talents and flaws and emotions. And it’s all good.
In some ways, I’m a lot like Val Fremden, the main character in the Val & Pals Series. My books featuring Val are not autobiographical, but what comes out of her mouth was first formed in my mind, and sometimes the parallels are undeniable. I drink Tanqueray and tonics. I had a car like Shabby Maggie. And I’ve started my life over four times, driving away with whatever earthly possessions fit in my car. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that friends come from unexpected places.
I don’t own a TV. I only watch comedies and romances on Hulu, Netflix or DVDs. Who needs any more sad crap bringing them down? Life is a comedy and a mystery. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that attitude is everything. Glad One was rejected by over a hundred publishing agencies. I got many nice replies saying how they liked my writing style, but they couldn’t take a chance on a novel that didn’t fit nicely into a genre, and whose main character, Val, was outside the mainstream. Geeze! I thought being original was the whole idea!
So thank you for being a fan, and for helping me prove there’s a place for us weirdos and outsiders. Even ones as off-beat as me! Your support helps keep my attitude one of gratitude. I hope I return the favor – along with a belly laugh or two!