a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s
Michael and his wife, Teresa.
Photo by Alex McMahan
In 2004, I had the pleasure of working for LaVERDAD Marketing and Media in Cincinnati, Ohio, and its founder, former Green Beret, and Procter & Gamble Company marketing and branding executive, Mike Robinson; a man I consider a true friend and mentor. Early on in my employment, Mike shared with me his strong belief in the concept of there being "power in numbers."
Although it seemed logical and simple enough, it was not until I witnessed the strategic manner with which Mike put the concept to use that I realized the true benefit in bringing diverse partnerships together to achieve common goals and interests.
This novel - Six Bits - is a prime example of there being "power in numbers." I say this, because I had so many people willing to preview the manuscript and offer their reactions and suggestions. This being my first published novel, I could not bypass the opportunity to thank all those who helped and have meant so much during this process. Of course, it always starts with those closest to you.
First, there was no one more inspiring or instrumental in helping me get through this process than my wife, Teresa. Her love of literature reignited my own passion for the written word, and inspired my drive to complete this project. She accepted many evenings alone while I hammered away at the keyboard, yet pushed, persuaded and supported when I needed it most. As my time at the computer intensified, especially in the last two years, so did her urging. Her faith in my abilities never wavered, nor her doubts that this moment would one day arrive. I thank her for her love and patience, and for sharing this dream with me.
I must thank my sister, Patty Tomerlin, brother-in-law, Jay Tomerlin, and stepmother, Susie Ringering. Although I had originally not intended letting anyone read the book until complete, I thought it wise to get feedback while going through the process, in hopes of lessening the editing on the back end. They each read along as I wrote, sometimes waiting months in between chapters. For anyone who has started a book, put it away for three months, picked up where you left off, then repeated that process over a couple year's time, I'm sure you can appreciate how very difficult that is, especially when tasked to catch errors and inconsistencies. Their commitment and feedback kept me between the lines I had defined for the storyline.
Knowing the challenges I'd be facing as an unknown author peddling a 195,000-word manuscript, I knew for certain I had to eliminate as many x-factors in this process as possible in order to get the attention of an agent or publisher. One of those potentially catastrophic factors is submitting copy poorly written and littered with errors and inconsistencies. Fortunately, due to my line of work, I've developed relationships with many copy editors over the years and managed to secure the services of three of the best, in my opinion. Erin Reder, a longtime dear friend and colleague from my days working with the Cincinnati Reds, Bridget Garland, friend, colleague and current editor of the East Tennessee Medical News, and my publisher's editor, Cindy Kimbrough, each did an incredible job getting me through the process and helping to deliver a clean manuscript.
I'm sure most will agree, we are very little without the love and support of our families. I'm so blessed to have immediate and extended family members who understood and appreciated how important this project was, then offered support and assistance in ways I could not have expected or anticipated. My brother, Johnny Barnerd, whom I consider one of the finest men I've had the pleasure of knowing, was a true source of inspiration, support and feedback, and one of the biggest "fans" of my work that I know. I want to thank my mother and stepfather, Jack and Judy Barnerd, and my father, Clint Ringering, for their ongoing support and feedback, and for providing me with the necessary life tools to get to this moment. I could not have done this without them. I would like to thank my sister-in-law, Becky Baysden, for her support and encouragement; my uncle Larry Ringering, who provided counsel for an important scene in the book; and my aunt Sharon Ringering, for her critique and suggestions.
Speaking of family, I'm equally blessed to have developed great friendships with many of those who I work with at University Surgical Associates. My sincere thanks to Sonya Westbrooks, Tyra and Greg Gray, Kayse Rigsby, Melissa Hale, Marsha Bock, Cindy Shoemaker, Carol Davidson, Teri Elliott, Angie DeBord, Dr. Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, and Heather Mixon for taking time to review the manuscript and offering feedback.
Close friends and colleagues who went way beyond the call include my two best childhood friends, Mike Logan and Dr. John Kell; my dear friend and literary mentor, Linda Provance; my publisher, Keith Provance; longtime family friend, Mae Kasten; and Sam Derusha. I'd also like to thank business colleagues and associates Melissa Pendergrass (Parkridge Hosptial, Chattanooga), Rachel Oesch (former news anchor, WDEF-TV, Chattanooga), Jed Mescon (news anchor, WRCB-TV, Chattanooga), LaTrice Currie (news anchor, WRCB-TV, Chattanooga), Steve Porter (sports editor, Alton Telegraph), Dr. Christie Kleinmann (assistant professor, Lee University), and Carmen Garland (Murray State University). A special thanks to Mr. Palmer Solberg, who so kindly detailed his life growing up in the Wisconsin countryside, and my good friend from Dublin, Ireland, Josh Inglis, who assisted in editing the dialogue of one of the main characters in the book.
I offer you all my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for your support and willingness to walk down this path with me.