Oh, my. When one gets linked by PZ Myers, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Neil Gaiman in the course of a few days, traffic suddenly goes through the roof, and new readers show up.
Allow me to quote Rowan Atkinson: "My god, there are a lot of you."
Let me just state this clearly and upfront: you are the reason writers write, and I'm incredibly grateful too see you all here, whether you've come for a single post or plan to stick around a while. Without you, I'd have nothing to drive me onward through those lonely dark hours, no reason to strive for the right word in the right place at the right time. I'd still write for only myself, but not half so much or half so well. So, thank you. I'd pour you a drink of your choice, only we're in cyberspace, so I'm afraid you'll have to pour one for yourself. Hopefully, some of us will remedy that someday.
So, introductions would seem to be in order. You're very likely busy people without time to delve the archives. A few facts, then:
I'm Dana Hunter, which isn't the name on my drivers license but is the name I go by in all situations but legal transactions and at work, so I consider it my "real" name. I started out using it because my birth first name got filched by one of my characters, who won't give it back, and my last name is awesome but leads to horrible retail jokes. And Dana Hunter is now more than a 'nym, but me. But if you really want to know my original name, I'll tell it to you when we meet in the physical world, and you will probably laugh.
Those wanting the story behind the 'nym, see here.
I have a homicidal cat. If you stick around, you will be subjected to pictures of her. Fair warning.
I'm not a professional geologist, but a passionate amateur with a lot of friends who are professional geologists. I write about geology a lot. I live in the Pacific Northwest and came from Arizona, which both have the kind of geology that leaves you awestruck by the magnitude of it. But that's not the only science that catches my fancy, so you'll see bits on biology and chemistry and physics and whatever else grabbed me by the lapels and said very firmly about an inch from my face, "NOTICE ME." I research my posts as thoroughly as I can and try not to say inaccurate things, but if you catch me in an error, by all means say something. I don't like letting mistakes stand uncorrected.
I write SF. Someday, I will even publish SF. Those who want an advance peek at my fiction and non-fiction projects can shoot me an email and become a Wise Reader. Yahoo knows me as dhunterauthor. For those in the audience who like reading about the craft, I do up a Dojo right here on ETEV every Tuesday, wherein writing is discussed and the wisdom I've obtained from others and via my own experience is passed on.
I'm a Gnu Atheist. That's "New Atheist" to those without a sense of humor. I am not fuzzy and accommodating to religion, but if you're one of the faithful and your religion is tough enough to take it, we'll all be fine. This is just by way of fair warning (which the folks who arrived here via Pharyngula don't need): I write about atheism and religion, and I do not do so moderately. Oh, and I'm a liberal Democrat. I started out as a potty-mouthed progressive political blogger and sometimes return to my roots. If those two things don't scare you away, then we're a good match. ;-)
I read each and every comment on every post, but with two book projects, this blog, a full-time job that has nothing to do with either, an erratic but existent social life, a weird paranoia that acknowledging one person means I've just disrespected the others, time management skills that can only be described as teh suck, and the memory of a brain-damaged gnat, I don't respond as often as I should. I'll try to do better, but I can make you no promises. Just know that I do actually appreciate each and every comment. Live for them, actually.
Right, I think that'll do as an overview. Now on to the really important matters: the readers and fellow bloggers who have been here for a long time.
If I tried to get specific, I'd miss some of you and feel horribly about it. So I won't try just now. You know who you are, and you know I'm talking to you right now: all of you geobloggers, my long-time Twitter tweeps, my intrepid companions and my cherished commenters and friends. All of you who have been there mixing it up in the comments threads and saying things on Twitter that make me tear up while punching the air, because to have done something that made you happy, to have written something you liked, is the ultimate. You know how much I love my cat, but if some freakish circumstance forced me to choose between you and her, I'm afraid she'd have to go.
You're everything I ever wanted when I began writing, all alone, oh so many years ago. You are the wise and the wonderful people, so often smarter or kinder or more talented than me (or all three), who somehow yet find something of worth in the words I write. You egg me on and lift me up and apply the judicious prod to the buttock when necessary. You correct me when I'm wrong, and give me sound advice, and cheer and jeer and basically just provide me all the reason I'll ever need to brave carpal tunnel and all the other hazards of the writer's life. You make me believe that this whole writing-for-a-living thing may just be possible. And you show me wonders. You give me intriguing new paths to explore. You inspire me. You make me do things I've never done but turn out to have been a fabulous idea. A lot of you ends up in what I write, and a lot of what I write is for you.
Without your links and retweets and recommendations, this blog would be nowhere. I cherish each and every one. I'm always astonished and flattered and incredibly grateful when you deem something I've written as worthy of sharing.
And if my wildest dreams come true, and fame and fortune are achieved, I will never, ever forget you. You're all coming with me.
It can never be said enough: Thank you. Thank all of you.
And now, introductions and paeans achieved, I shall get on with giving you all the very best I am capable of, because you damn well deserve it.