I like to use my "go down into the word mines" analogy about writing, as if it presents this image of me as this lonely old prospector, heading down into the depths with pick-axe over my shoulder.
Of course, that's not how it really works. You can't do this without people having your back.
I've got a lot of people, but if I had to narrow it down to the inner circle, I'd have four names.
1. Dan Fawcett -- Dan's been my friend since seventh grade, and has been my constant sounding board for story ideas, worldbuilding concepts, and generally putting up with my ramblings. He would probably hesitate to take any credit, but Thorn of Dentonhill and the rest of the books in Maradaine wouldn't be what they are without his influence. Heck, I'm pretty sure he's the one who suggested "Maradaine" as the city's name.
2. Mike Kabongo-- my agent, who has stood with this work in the time it took us to sell it, who encouraged continued projects while Thorn and others were out shopping, and who read a manuscript that wasn't ready, but saw enough potential in it that he was hooked.
3. Sheila Gilbert -- my editor at DAW. There are plenty of other people at DAW as well, half of whom I don't even know their name, who are all doing things for me and my work. But Sheila is front and center, making Thorn be the best it can be when it hits the shelves in February.
4. Deidre Kateri Aragon -- my wife. Of course she's on this list, because it would have been impossible for me to achieve this without her. She's the one who kicked my butt so I stopped being the person saying, "Yeah, I'd like to be writing books" and made me actually write books. And just as I'm working every day on writing, she's working every day so I'm able to. But we both work from home, so we get to sit across from each other at our big table. So it's the best of all things; I get the space I need to work, but I have my favorite person in the world right there with me.
Are there more people? Yes. Tons. I could go on, but that's what acknowledgement pages in books are for, right? And even there, I probably missed a few.
That said, it's time to make the most of their support. Off to the word mines.