Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Guest Blog Death and Donuts by Stan Schatt
Finding Your Gift
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet more than the average number of people in very different professions. Much like the Tony Curtis in The Great Imposter, I changed careers as casually as some people change clothes before going to the theater. Did you recognize me when you spotted that medical student and autopsy assistant using a saw to open a brain for study? Maybe you identified me as the English professor, the telecommunications consultant, the network manager, or even the market research executive. If not, maybe you recognized me as a novelist or a biographer.
The older you get, the more you begin to look back in an effort to make sense of your life and the lives of those around you. I have come to the conclusion that everyone does have a gift, something they can give the world. It is also something that gives them joy every time they give this gift.
So, in effect, finding the meaning to your life does not really require you to visit a guru or climb a mountain to meditate. It does require you to examine what you do well and what that contributes to other people. Someone whose gift is an ability to nurture, for example, might find joy in the teaching or nursing profession. Similarly, an athlete who feels joy whenever he excels might bring that joy to others who experience joy in watching him perform. Michael Jordan is a good example. By all accounts he is not a particularly nice person. His competitive zeal caused him to fight with teammates and coaches. He never found happiness off the court. Still, he confided to reporters that the only time he felt really at peace was when he was playing basketball. His superhuman abilities on the court also brought joy to those who saw him play.
Finding your gift can take much of a lifetime or it can happen very early. My brother, for example, already knew by the age of nine that he wanted to be a journalist. He was never happier as a kid than when he brought home copies of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Arizona Republic and read them cover-to cover. Over the years he worked his way all the way up to Editor, but I never thought he considered what he did as work.
In my case, I loved teaching college students, but left that profession when I became enamored with the computer industry. I spent some time in computer sales. I hated the cold calling, but I enjoyed explaining why the product was worth buying. Later I became a market research executive. Once again, what brought me joy was communicating the value of the research.
So, it’s clear to me that my gift is my ability to explain complex subjects in a way people can understand them. I’ve written several college textbooks and now teach on a volunteer basis. Even when I write fiction, I tend to take on complex issues and try to explain them in the story without being preachy. One mystery, as an example, delves into the complex issue of gender identity and transgender people. A science fiction novel I wrote explores the possible implications of a first contact between humans and extraterrestrials. That’s a subject so interesting to me that I self-published a non-fiction book on that topic.
My Frankie and Josh mysteries reflect my fascination with the topic of life after death and the paranormal. They also reflect my interest technology and its impact on our lives. My scientist friends are always offering me new compelling ways for a villain to kill a character and make it even more challenging for my Detective Frankie Ryan to solve the case.
I am very fortunate that I can spend my time writing novels –something I enjoy doing. Maslow came up with the term self-actualization to describe people who reach a level of psychic satisfaction once their basic physiological needs are met. It’s another way of describing people discovering their gift, the unique quality they bring to this world. If you’ve ever wondered what your gift is, then the best way to learn that answer is to start by interviewing yourself and jotting down all the tasks that bring joy to you. The next step is to determine what these tasks have in common. Let’s say you sell insurance all day but live for the valuable time when you’re not working so you can spend time woodworking or carving figurines. Clearly you have a gift for building things with your own hands. Whether that means you should expand your hobby into a small business or find a job that will allow you to spend more of your time doing what you love, you should consider finding ways to spend most of your day doing what you love.
Death and Donuts
The Frankie and Josh Series
Genre: police procedure /mystery/
Date of Publication: 11/22/2016
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 59000
Cover Artist: Kelsey Rice
Hollywood stars! Politicians! Betrayal! Murder! And a by-the-book cop just trying to do her job in the middle of it all.
To solve the murder of a movie star just weeks before the Academy Awards, Detective Frankie Ryan has to navigate through a web of Hollywood secrets and political landmines, not to mention the "old boys club" in her own police department. The presence of a new designer drug and the deaths it is tallying up threaten to hinder her investigation and leave her without a suspect—and maybe out of a job. Even with the aid of psychic reporter Josh Harrell, there is more confusion around every corner. Trusted friends will turn on her, leaving her unsure who to believe and who might be in on the murder and conspiracy.
Can Frankie discover the killer before it is too late?
Note: this is book 3 of the series but each book stands alone
Frankie nodded and stepped inside the curtain. Daniel Martin
wasn’t a large man, but now he seemed even smaller in the over- sized hospital bed. He stared at Frankie with glassy eyes.
“I guess now I’m one of the usual suspects to be rounded up,” he said with a voice just above a whisper.
“We can pin attempted murder on you for Belmont and probably link you to Hobbs and Gordon, but we can make things a lot more manageable for you if you just tell me who is behind Ruby Red.”
Martin’s face broke into a rueful smile. “You just don’t get it. You’re dealing with forces much bigger than you or me. You’re just a pawn, and so am I.”
Frankie drew her face closer. “You might not have much time. I can have a priest or minister here if you want to make your peace. Don’t die with this on your conscience.”
Martin’s smile turned into a sneer. “The old circling the drain argument. Does that ever work? You’re not even good material for a Grade B cop movie from the ’40s. You keep digging into this, and you’ll be busted down to walking South Central on the midnight shift.”
“Is someone in the department dirty?”
Martin just stared at her while his lips broke into a grim smile. His face became flushed, and his eyes lost focus. An alarm sounded,
and the room was flooded with nurses. Frankie led Josh out. She shook her head.
What could possibly be scary enough for a man on death’s door- step to keep him from talking?
About the Author:
Stan Schatt is the author of forty books including mysteries, science fiction, biographies of Michael Connelly, Daniel Silva, and Kurt Vonnegut, and even college textbooks. His novels draw upon experiences he has had in a wide range of careers that include college professor, police department administrator, autopsy assistant, telecommunications consultant, and market research executive. Schatt has been cited for outstanding teaching by the University of Southern California, the University of Houston, and DeVry Institute of Technology.