Words of Thanks
While the following appears at the end of Secrets the Walkers Keep, I also wanted to share my (maybe too) many words of thanks for all those who were wittingly (or…unwittingly) inspirational in the development, completion, and publishing of this book.
Writing a book is . . . well, hard. But having wonderful people around me makes it worth it. They give my life purpose, perspective, and flavor.
First, there’s my family. There can be no question that this book would not exist without them. They provided the inspiration for many of the characters you’ve met. They’re similarly large, loud, and twisted . . . and I love them.
My mother deserves first billing—in fact, this entire book is dedicated to her. She’s been my champion, my sounding board, and my friend. She was my first reader, and remains my biggest fan. She taught me how to dream, but more importantly, she raised me to actually believe that dreams can become reality. If I were to ever question these teachings, all I’d have to do is look back at this book.
I have much to be grateful for in my aunt, Donise, and my respect and love for her are deep. She has taken many roles in my life: second parent, confidante, spiritual leader, friend. She gave me a home when I needed it most. And, of course, she was an early reader of this book, looking past the imperfections of a draft to offer encouragement while still asking the tough questions.
Now, if I continue on like this about every family member, you’ll need to read another novel (I have more family than Hat Walker). But there are a few others you need to know about.
My brother, Doug, who has a self-confidence and strength that I have always admired and will continue to try to emulate. Without him, I’d have no one to chase after the waitress when our food is taking too long.
My sister (in law and in spirit), Charlene, who is a beautiful person inside and out. Without her, I’d have no one to calm my brother down when the food is taking too long.
My sister-cousin, Rebecca Cheryl, whose friendship spurred some of my favorite dialog in the book. If I were going to jump off a bridge, she’d be the first person I pushed off in front of me.
My cousins, Yvette, Megan, and Dan, who were all early readers of this book but late friends in life. There are no three people I’d rather dig through the trash with.
And all the family who were here with me, offering support (and plugs for characters to be based on them), even if I couldn’t always see them. My dad, Aunt Joan, Uncle Kenny, and Lucky.
Then there’re my friends.
The first you need to know about is Lisa, who has been the most involved in this book’s creation, production, re-creation, and re-production. She has been my accountability partner, my grammar consultant, my business strategist, and the mediator for the voices in my head. Her support in this process has meant everything to me, but her opinions and insights have meant everything to this book. When the person who doubted the story the most was me, she was the one that gave 397
me the perspective I needed to shut up, get working, and get better. I could not be more thankful.
Rebecca “Lemon” Lambertstein is both a close friend and this book’s proofreader (if you find a typo, her email is . . .) She is my partner-in-crime and the perfect currency when bartering for freedom in a random city.
I’m going to get gushy about my friends if I don’t stop. But before I do, I have to thank a few others for being amazing. Claudine, Leah, Andrew, Monique, Kristine, Travis, Mike, Sara (but not Sarah), Jackie, Jen, Carson, Tim, and Chris.
And, I’m not done yet. There are also so many others who have contributed meaningful things to this project.
Kimberly Peticolas, my editor and publishing consultant, who didn’t try to kill me for using British-English words or constantly changing my mind about formatting.
CJ Anaya, my writing/publishing consultant, who ended up becoming a mentor (whether she wanted to or not), talked me through some of my crazier ‘author’ moments, and taught me to trust my gut.
Fiona Jayde, my cover designer, who held up in the face of my intense distaste for all things normal or standard, and created unique artwork that gave Hat Walker form.
My cat, Cat (yes, that’s his name), who reminds me daily about the powers of persistence, relaxation, and humor.
Tom Sommerfield, who gave me the tools and patience (his . . . I don’t have any of that) to tackle tough areas of the book.
Michelle Ciccaglione, who took on the role of my spiritual sherpa without begrudging it and is helping me navigate the pothole-filled journey of my life.398
Brené Brown, the researcher/storyteller who showed me why creativity cannot exist without vulnerability. Even though we haven’t met (yet—hey Brené, call me!), I am certain that without her work I never would have, in her words, stepped into the ring.
Gary John Bishop, the author of Unfuck Yourself, whose book emerged from a sea of mostly bland and homogeneous self-development material to become my unofficial guide to life (I have it in print, digital, and audio).
Lastly, and most importantly, I have to thank one more person. It’s that person I didn’t forget, but whose name I didn’t add here, and is reading this going, “What the hell, man?” This is for you.