Dear Reader: Thank you for choosing this book! I am forever grateful for you – after, all, if it weren’t for Readers, books would simply be trees falling in an abandoned forest.

It is my sincere hope that you find this book both entertaining and helpful. That’s right, helpful. While it clearly has all the elements of a story – characters, theme, plot, dialogue, conflict…you know, the stuff that makes a tale enjoyable – it also contains opportunity. And the opportunity, my Reader, is what I expect you will find helpful.

As you read, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a character (or perhaps more than one), to reflect on a situation, and to consider what this all means to you. And, very importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to act – to try something new, to do something special, to engage in a different way. You’ll have the opportunity to look at things through a different lens, to use talking-points to express your own emotions, to take a story about a fictional character and use it to strengthen your bonds with those closest to you. My vision for you, my Reader, is that this book is a seed from which a healthier, happier, more productive, and more successful life grows.

To help with that, I’ve created Discussion Guides for you. One is for the “young adult” Readers, going through life and trying to navigate the many challenges of growing up, of having a dream, of winning and losing, and of viewing the world beyond your own nose. The other is for the “not-so-young adult” Readers, the parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and other grown-ups in the Young Adults’ lives. In the Discussion Guides, I offer reflective prompts, suggestions for introspection, tasks to tackle, story-elements to analyze, and questions that encourage discussion with each other. This journey is far too complicated and challenging to travel alone, so partnership, communication, love, and togetherness are there for you to take. That’s your opportunity.

You may already know that most authors write about what they know. That said, this book is based loosely on actual events. In a way, it’s semiautobiographical. Names, locations, events, interactions, plot twists, dialogue, and just about everything in here is a collage of memories, yarns, and tales, all cut and pasted and rearranged with a healthy dose of creative liberty. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. Coulda been fact, coulda been fiction. And in the end, that doesn’t really matter.

What’s important is that your find it both entertaining and helpful.

Pete Hall, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — September, 2020