In each book, authors get the chance to put in acknowledgements and dedications. And I'm not going to lie, since Red Moon was my first book, I was so overwhelmed by the prospect of those two necessities that I deliberately underwrote them. I never imagined I'd ever have to write them in the first place.
But now that the book is released, I feel like it's even more important to thank those who have helped me on my journey.
To Angie and The Book Seller - Angie first introduced me to romances, a la One For the Money by Janet Evanovich. When I wrote a (woefully inadequate) first novel for my senior project in high school, Angie read it, supported me, and gave me courage that maybe someday I'd be a real writer. The Book Seller is an independent bookstore in Grass Valley, California, and they are still alive and kicking in this era of ebooks. I adore this store, their staff, and try to support them whenever I can, even from Alaska. Their website and Facebook pages can show you their support of literature far better than I ever could.
To Robyn Rychards - I owe this woman big-time. Robyn (also an Escape Artist) urged me to submit Red Moon to Escape after my first official rejection. She's been a voice of wisdom and humor on the Harlequin online community boards, and her gentle refusal to let me off the hook is a large part of the reason I'm here today.
To the Harlequin online community members - I know I thanked them in my acknowledgements, but they deserve another shout-out. I joined this community during last year's SYTYCW, terrified at that first step. I have learned so much from these women (and some of our men who pop in from time to time!) about crafting novels, supporting each other in good and bad times, and expanding my horizons to a variety of different romance genres. I am convinced that someday I will see all their names in print.
To Miguel Tejada-Flores - He was my screenwriting professor in college. He forced me to learn how to write dialogue. He helped me break down my screenplays to critical moments of body language and dialogue. From him, I learned that description isn't everything, a huge problem I'd had writing novels in the past. He had crazy long discussions with me about all sorts of random shit. And he taught me how to use the word fuck. And I'm fucking grateful that that barrier was crossed.
To my other college professors - College was a huge rebirth for me. I was far from home, obsessed with obtaining the same perfect grades I had in high school (after all, if you don't do it right the first time, why do it at all?), and I didn't really fit in with many of the other college kids because I was focused on my goals. Oh, and I didn't party. My professors became my lifeline. They pushed me past my comfort zone, exposed me to new information, new authors, new writing styles, new beliefs. They never pulled punches with me. They treated me as an adult, and I reveled in that. Coach Smith took my love of football seriously. Professor Snyder discussed religion and spirituality with me, a topic that always seems to weave its way into my writing. Professor Kernberger helped me love English literature and introduced me to Marie, a beautiful soul who yearned for the immortality the arts can provide. Professor Runciman helped me love poetry again. Professor Seidman taught me to never be ashamed of who I am. I cannot thank them enough for their influences.
To my teachers - For pushing me. For letting me read books under my desk in class. For never once telling me that I couldn't be whatever I wanted. Even if that meant you read stories that were 25 pages, handwritten, single spaced, instead of the 1 you requested.
To my family - I will never be able to express my thanks to them enough. They've always given me unconditional love. They always will. Life has few constants, but they're one of mine. God has blessed me more than I will ever deserve.
To the Escape Publishing staff - These people are awesome. Kate, Julia, Lilia, Adam, Robert, and everyone else who I haven't met yet but probably will because of my inane questions and random freak-outs have made the journey to publication easier than I ever dreamed it would be. There was no stress during this journey, just excitement. When I say that I'm celebrating my release day, I genuinely mean that, and they're the reason why.
To any readers (past, present, or future) - Thank you for your kindness and support. It's terrifying to put a little piece of your soul out there, but knowing that there are gentle hands waiting to catch it makes the prospect a little less terrifying.
To God - I am blessed, I am blessed, and I pray for humility. Matthew 16:26 - For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
I'm sure I'm forgetting people who deserve to be on this list. I hope they'll forgive me until I remember and thank them too.