Today’s post is a dedication to all the people who helped me get to the point I’m at right now: On the brink of my first major publication.
My first thought is, “Crap. I’m going to forget someone.” So I’ll just start way back at the beginning, and work my way up to the now.
So here it is… my list of Rising Stars (see what I did there?) Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am now. This is not lost on me, and I am forever grateful for you… each and every one of you.
First, I need to thank my cousin Max and his whacked sense of reality way-back-when. Without his very sincerely held beliefs in werewolves as a teenager, I’d never have gotten my idea for Rising.
Next, I must thank my forever-BFFs Jennifer Nichols, Joyce Bowen and Nicole Elliott (not necessarily in that order) for listening to my incessant telling of crazy stories. In particular, Joyce used to listen to me go on and on about story ideas while we rode horses through the woods of the Key Peninsula (where Rising is set). Jennifer entertained my belief in werewolves. And Nicole read my stories and poetry and offered sincere feedback. The three of you are just the best friends ever.
Also from high school, and on into college… wow… Aran Clausen, Terra McKeown, Sarah Butt (Duck!), Lawrence Clayton, Frannie Clayton, Laurie St. George, Chance Folmar, David Ahrens, Brian Capes, Mark Zebehazy, Jason O’Connor, Debby Rudy, Warren Madden, Sharon Madden… and everyone else I’ve ever gamed with. All those hours of playing Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek, Star Wars, GURPS, etc…. you have no idea how much I’ve gleaned from those experiences in terms of character interaction, characters doing bizarre, crazy and random shit, epic story creation… that list goes on and on. Without a doubt, gaming shaped me as a storyteller, and you all played a part.
Anyone and everyone who ever proofread, beta read, critiqued or just simply read anything and everything I’ve ever written. Colleagues at Sverdrup, Lexis-Nexis, Sun Microsystems and AAA. Friends met online and through meetups. Friends met elsewhere who love to read my work and offer feedback. Debby Rudy, Hillary Norton, Sarah Houghtelin-Koerner, Jessi Lee, Judie Kupillas, Jason Maddox, Ellen Buikema, Gale Leach, and so many more… Y’all are saints. I take every critique to heart… even the ones I don’t necessarily use. In my eternal drive to improve my writing, you’re always willing to lend your wisdom and give constant encouragement. Thank you.
My mentors and muses (aka teachers) who continually pushed me, encouraged me and heaped on the praise when I got something right. In particular, Pam Herring and Jimmy Chesire. Pam – wherever you are – you pushed me to achieve my first publication. And Jimmy… he believed in me when I needed it most.
I must call out one friend in particular: Michele Jacobsen. Hello, my dear! In 2014, you gave me exactly the nudge I needed, and pushed me off the platform where I’d been standing, waiting and watching. You encouraged me to jump on the NYCMidight contest. That ball, once set in motion, hit the track of dominoes and everything fell into place. I jumped from NYC to NaNo to OMG I finished a novel! It would have happened eventually… but you helped me get off my ass and get movin’!
My dearest, dearest beta readers: Courtney Herz, Ken Smith, Abby Hess, Hillary Norton, Jason Maddox, Michele Jacobsen (yes, some of you get double-shouts and even triple-shouts 🙂 ) I cannot tell you how much your feedback shaped the moldy lump of goo that was my beta draft. Beta readers are saints!
My editor, Vicky Hay. I’m only 10 chapters through incorporation of your comments, but you are worth every dime. The end result is going to go from ho-hum-pretty-good to rock-solid, and I have you thank in heaps and loads.
My typesetter/cover-designer/late-night-web-chatter, Courtney Herz. How many times have we told each other to keep going? Is it in the millions yet? I’m forever thankful we met.
My daughter, for being a constant source of inspiration. And my son, for his sincere belief that I’m going to become a famous millionaire by next year.
And right here, holding up this list in due fashion – Ken Smith – my best friend, partner in crime and love of my life. I’m your block of wood, and you’re my Mahoney – thank you for believing in me and bringing me to life!
Coming Soon! Rising: Book One of the Adept Cycle
Release Date: December 11th