First, the thank-yous.
To J. Ellen Smith, owner and publisher of Champagne Book Group, and Judy Griffith Gill, for seeing the potential in this story and being willing to support it. To author liaison Kat Hall for all her answers. To editor Virg Nelson for adding encouraging notes where the story made her giggle, even while she questioned every had, said, was, semi-colon, and em-dash in the manuscript. They all showed infinite patience with my learning curve. And to the whole Champagne Book Group family, editors and fellow authors, who are unflagging in their support for a newbie.
To Richard Hugo House in Seattle, where I learned about craft, met terrific fellow writers, and learned the joys of reading my work to an audience.
To the friends and family who encouraged every step and who let me hear them cheer out loud. There are too many of you to mention by name, and if you don’t already know who you are, shame on me.
And to the real Buddy, aka Charlie the blind mini-Schnauzer from Mars, who saved my life lots more than twice. To the love of all the Martians – er, dogs who take care of us even when we don’t deserve them.
Next, the disclaimers.
If you know me, and think you see yourself in one of the characters in this book: if it seems to show the best of who you are, you’re right. If not, then remember, this is fiction. If you think you see someone else you know in a character, remember – this is fiction.
If you think your teenager would like this book: read it yourself first. It has some rough language, (not too graphic) violence, and many descriptions of human failings. It’s probably not for anyone younger than teens.
Finally, the heart of the story.
This is a tale of people who keep trying to do what they know is impossible. They try anyway. Whether they are humans, aliens the color of bad lime Jell-O ™, or dogs from Mars, they try anyway. At one point or another, they want to give up. That’s when they need each other the most.
I like to say this book is for anyone who’s ever looked at your boss and thought: you must be from another planet. (In other words, everyone.) But it’s also for anyone who’s ever faced the impossible head-on, and thought I can’t do this, only to find you can. (In other words, everyone.)
Now I hand this one off to you, readers, with the great and probably impossible hope that you will enjoy the ride of An Alien’s Guide to World Domination as much as I have.