In the realm of things to be grateful for as far as career goes, I have far too much stuff to list. Because of that, I'm going to go for two people who might not expect to show up on a posting about gratitude, but both have had an impact on my writing.
Elizabeth Boyle and subsequently RWA- I won't say how many years ago it was, but it was before Elizabeth had been published, much less before she became a New York Times best selling author. She and I worked for a large software company that shall not be named. We belonged to an email group of writers within the company. Elizabeth sent out an email inviting anyone who wanted to sit in on a local RWA meeting. I went and have been a member ever since. I can't say enough about the generosity of RWA members. It was at those meetings that I learned the difference between external conflict and internal conflict. I found my critique groups (I've been through a few - because no one group will be a good fit for all people - nor will all people be a good fit for an existing critique group. Gotta find the right vibe.) It is entirely safe to say that were it not for RWA, I wouldn't likely be published. Therefore, without Elizabeth sending out an email invitation to a group of writers, I wouldn't have found and joined RWA.
My second debt of gratitude goes to a kid I grew up with, as much as a pair of Air Force brats can grow up with one another. He and I may have been siblings in a previous life and the fact that we weren't siblings in *this* life meant that we could be friends. The kind of friends were it doesn't matter how much time has passed since last you spoke - the minute you get on the phone or see one another in person - it's as if no time had passed at all. As kids, he and I came up with stories, all science fiction, all action oriented. If no one was shooting at us or chasing us down in our playground spaceship, the story wasn't going right. I grew up to go to acting school and to become an author. He grew up to go to the Air Force Academy where he studied astroengineering and astrophysics. He became a test pilot, worked on satellite systems, and eventually ended up working in the Pentagon. Right about the time I started seriously working on the story that became my debut novel, I hadn't had a chance to talk to him in a few years. But I needed some physics reality checking for my story. I emailed. And had an answer almost immediately. He was one of the people I called right away when I got the call that the book he'd helped me with was going to be published.
I am very lucky to have a group of good friends who've seen me through rejections, rewrites, self-doubt and yet more rewrites. They've been here for me when I needed an emergency read on a project. We've all worked together through any number of books. I'm grateful for every single one of them - but I get to see them and talk to them all reasonably often. I get to tell them thank you on a regular basis.
Not so with Dr. Kurt "Spuds" Vogel, LtCol, USAF (retired). So I wanted to say thank you, today. I'm grateful for the kind of friend who'd see me through from the time we were kids running around school playgrounds with Lego guns (on weekends, when no one would call the police on us for pretending we had blasters) to now - and still agree to answer my science questions. We still don't talk as often as we should, really. Though he did manage to butt dial my phone and leave a muffled message. He informs me I was listening in on the Pentagon and a couple of guys should be by shortly to. . . oops. Someone at the door.