As you may have read or heard by now (if you haven’t – where the hell have you been?!), I’ve done a memoir – which will be released by the University Press of Mississippi in April 2020. As I was wrapping up the manuscript for the book, I put together an acknowledgements page, where I listed people who either helped me by being a beta (or early) reader, offered editorial advice, or publishing industry advice. Since I think there’s no such thing as too much appreciation, I’m going to give them all an early shout out here, on this Thanksgiving weekend.
My first Thank-You goes to a non-people: I dedicate my book to Moby, the sweet vizsla who sat quietly and offered only an occasional yawn to let me know he was bored beyond description (poor Moby!) while I wrote pages at my desk in the living room of our house in upstate New York. Moby was with me on all the staycations I took to get the manuscript done. He only required that I take him outside to pee and play fetch every now and then. Sometimes we started as early as 5 a.m. and worked through the day and night to around 9 p.m. So we had some long days together. If the weather was nice, I’d take my laptop outdoors, where I worked in our screened-in pond house. That was much better for Moby because he could romp around a bit and not be confined to the sofa next my writing table inside. So, THANK YOU, Mr. Moby! I hope to see you again one day in the wherever. (Main Photo: Moby and me in the holiday spirit in the living room in upstate New York, where “Stone Motel” came to be.)
I also must give a big fat Merci Beaucoup to each of my siblings (pictured above). Though they often had varied recollections about how things happened, and many times had opinions that differed significantly, they each nonetheless gave me genuine, big-hearted encouragement, so THANK YOU, Ardoin Clan (listed in order of birth):
Thanks to those in my big family who have passed on: my parents, Eliza Mae and Zanny Ardoin. To my grandparents, Ortense and DeJean Thompson, and my little brother Thomas Ardoin.
And thank you to my husband, Aubyn, who lathered up as much positive energy throughout the writing process as he could – often tip-toeing around so as not to induce a landslide of my yammering about where I was in the book. (PS: Aubyn designed the beautiful and haunting cover for the book.)
And I salute you, Early Readers!
My Catskill writers’ group: Andrew Amelinckx, Annick de Bellefeuille, Niva Dorell, and Kara Thurmond. We met monthly to read each other’s pages, offer advice, and discuss the book business.
And all the early readers (they got one of the first versions of the manuscript before it was finalized): Margaret Barry, Jay Blotcher, Cathé Charlier, Esther Cohen, Kimberly Elliott, Ginger Gannaway, David Meechie, Karen Miller, Ginger Portnoy, Fabian Thibodeaux, and Nannette Toups. Each offered feedback, some good, some less good, and some downright mean (just kidding! – mostly). And to Valerie Andrews, who, unbeknownst to me (at first), served as one of the book’s peer reviewers (arranged by the publisher).
To my publishing industry advisor Kathy VerEecke. She runs an online group where she puts members in front of agents, editors, and publishing executives to help us sharpen our queries (pitch letters), develop our proposals, and gain confidence and insider information on the very difficult-to-crack publishing industry. Kathy and group members gave me loads of helpful feedback.
And a special shout-out to a friend from my LSU-Eunice days, Dr. Philippe Vidrine – who corroborated several arcane/obscure details about Ville Platte, La., where my family has its roots, and where he now practices as a dentist.
And finally to the whole team at the University Press of Mississippi. A big, wet, Cajun mwah to you all!
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