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For Cindy


Thank you for sharing so much with me and for inspiring this story. You are living proof that human beings can take a lot, bounce back for more, and go on to do wonderful and courageous things. I appreciate your inspiration, your encouragement, and especially your friendship.




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


A project as crazy as this—writing a novel and “publishing” its first draft for all the world to see—couldn’t be done without the help and support of friends, family, and even comparative strangers. Those who know me know that story telling has been a love of mine since I could formulate thought. But a story teller is nothing if no one hears his stories. I would like to thank the following people for making this blognovel possible, for keeping me on the right track, and for reading.


I would, of course, like to thank my wife. Melanie, you are my light and my encouragement. You trust in my abilities and never let me forget that I have a talent to share. I love that you are a serious reader and, therefore, my greatest critic. Thank you for being in my life, and thank you for making my life the ‘life in heaven’ it has been.


I would also like to thank the most amazing beta reader a blognovelist could ever hope for. ‘becca Hittle has been a co-worker and a friend, and now she is my persistent encourager. Not letting a day go by without commenting on a chapter or asking me where the next one is, ‘becca has been the driving force behind this entire book. If you liked it, you can thank ‘becca. I may not have finished it—especially in three months—if not for her continuing support. ‘becca, thank you so much for everything. I hope to have you with me for the next adventure.


I want to thank Patti Tobin Davis for creating such wonderful and inspirational art, and for giving me that nudge to pursue my own form of creativity. I also want to thank Jeff Olejnik, the unexpected reader whom I never pegged as someone who would enjoy my storytelling. Thank you to my sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Al Schau, for checking in on my blog and showing your amazement in my productive capabilities—I never knew I had it in me either.


It’s impossible to remember everyone who has e-mailed me, passed me at work or on the street, and said, “Hey, man, I caught part of your book online. That was awesome,” or even, “I read a chapter. You used the wrong ‘there’, and the guy’s shirt changed color three times.” Whichever the case, thank you for giving me the feel of greatness brushed. I appreciate your passing praise or criticism. Even the smallest acknowledgment is a spark of encouragement. The smallest criticism a lesson learned.


There were so many other friends and readers who kept me going, most I don’t even know by name. I’d like to thank the anonymous e-mailers who kept the constructive criticism coming, and inspired me with their words. I would also like to thank fellow authors—some of whom rose from humble ‘podiobook’ authors to New York Times bestsellers—for their encouragement. Even the smallest “hello” spoke volumes to me. That said; thank you Scott, J.C., Mur and Matthew. I hope to see you soon.

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