This book is dedicated to my children, Connor Williams and Devon Beale, who as I write this are still small but extremely powerful. They amaze me every day.
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Someday, when they are grown and their mother and I have ambled on to the Fields Beyond, I hope the two of them will be warmed by the knowledge of how fiercely we loved them, and a tiny bit embarrassed by how wickedly they took advantage of it, charming, funny little buggers that they are.
No book is written without help, and few authors need as much help as I do, so . . . on with the parade of gratitude!
Many thanks, as always, to my fabulous wife, Deborah Beale, for her unfailing support and brilliant help and discerning reader’s eye, and to my most excellent agent Matt Bialer, for having my back when the quibbles are flying.
Thanks also to our talented assistant, Dena Chavez, who keeps Deborah and I as close to sane as we are ever likely to get, in part by immense organizational skill, in part by preventing my beloved children from helping me too much when I really need to finish something.
My overseas editors, Tim Holman in the UK and Dr. Ulrike Killer in Germany, have been big supporters of my work and give me a great deal of confidence with all the projects I undertake. They have my overwhelming gratitude, too.
And of course all my friends at DAW Books–who also (conveniently!) happen to be my American publishers–including Debra Euler, Marsha Jones, Peter Stampfel, Betsy Wollheim, and Sheila Gilbert, cannot escape much vigorous thank-ification. Betsy and Sheila have been my editors and partners-in-crime since I started on this wild book-writing endeavor twenty years ago, and the more years that pass, the more I come to realize what a great gift that has been and how lucky I am. Thanks, guys. We’ve had fun, huh?
Last but not least, I must also mention that this particular book owes a huge debt of gratitude and inspiration to all the mad, wonderful folk on the Shadowmarch.com bulletin board, a repository of wisdom, support, silliness, and recipes for rhubarb like no other. Thanks for Shadowmarch (the online project) are especially due to Josh Milligan and the incomparable Matt Dusek, the latter still helming the site as Tech Wizard in Residence. I hope many of you new readers will come and join us–I spend a lot of time kibitzing on the board there, and I’d enjoying meeting you.