First and foremost, I thank my fierce mother and best friend, Dianne Hartsock. Your wisdom and love inspire me. Be that as it may, I’m still sore you didn’t keep my 2-page pirate story from 2nd grade.

I thank those who inspired characters or coached me (both in life and in my writing) when I was stuck. You are the roots to this story: Steve Robinson; Robert Weiss; Chris Noe; Mary, Doug, Greg, Rob, Corky, and Charlie McClean; Carol Klatt; Rose Killion; Marie Kersting; Claireassa H.; Rich; Osti; Joseph (Mac Daddy Superstar T-Rex the 5th); Sean Lewis; Brett; Lawrence Benitez; Haleigh Novak; Eric Sloss; Pastor Jim Ramos; Josh Yandell; Rachel Holbrook; Susannah Thompson; and JKC.

Thank you to Dane Crist, Elizabeth Carlton, Chris McClean, and Eric Sloss for your invaluable commitment to critiquing the entire manuscript. And thank you, C. Lee McKenzie, Lori Ehrman Tinkey, Chessie Alberti, and Obie Slavens for critiquing various sections. I also greatly appreciate those who helped me write an effective query letter and a synopsis — there are so many of you. I would be lost without your critical eye, patience, and tireless support.

Thank you to my former employers, Carol Fredrick, Michael Finch, and Lisa Parr — and Officer Harmon — for directing me through a court scene. I’m not sure it will ever end up in the final draft, but the puzzle was a great experience.

And thank you, Carl Sagan, for your exploration of science and religion.


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