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I feel very comfortable saying that if it wasn't for Mike, I likely wouldn't be a freelancer today. The first article I submitted to Dragon fell on Mike to edit. And, let's just say I gave him a lot of work to do on that article. It would've been easy for him to pass on it; instead, he opted to polish the turd. And the damn thing shined like a diamond when he was done with it.
But he didn't leave it there. He encouraged me to keep sending him queries. He answered any question I asked about how to be a better writer - including explaining passive voice to me (more than once) because I either wasn't taught that in school, or that was taught on one of the many days I skipped.
We had plenty of conversations that weren't writing, too. His friendliness shone through even in his emails, and he was ridiculously easy to talk to.
By the time the magazines were moved off to digital-land, I had managed to get 13 articles printed in Dragon. And out of that work, everything else followed. And I'm quite sure that after that first article, if it wasn't for Mike's encouragement - "Send me more queries! Whatever ideas you have!" - I'm pretty sure that would've also been my last article.
Thank you, Mike. For your encouragement. Your guidance. Your mentorship. And, especially, your friendship.