This first post is long, but please read it. If you like anything about BALANCE POINT, then please direct a full share of your thanks to Mr. Lucas for creating the GFFA, and then to Shelly Shapiro, Sue Rostoni, Lucy Autrey Wilson, Allan Kausch, Jim Luceno, Mike Stackpole, Bob Salvatore, Tim Zahn, Aaron Allston, Troy Denning, and Dan Wallace! The NJO is a team effort. Every one of those people contributed directly to BP, especially to the parts that you folks have complimented already. Also, I want to publicly thank the Lord I serve: for the gift of imagination, for so many new friends, and for joy in the middle of those seemingly interminable labor-pains of producing a book. He is light, and in him is no darkness at all! Regarding the biggest spoiler: if you?re pleased, then you really do need to thank Shelly Shapiro, who liked my proposal and said she?d go ahead and suggest it to LFL. Thank Sue Rostoni, who approves or disapproves just about everything in the EU, and thank anyone at LFL Sue consulted before she approved my final outline. Mara?s pregnancy was my suggestion (and yours), but later I learned that Shelly, Sue, and the others were already considering it for later in the series. I urged them to move it sooner, believing the NJO needed more bright moments early on. And, selfishly, because I wanted to write it! I have read the "Thank You, Kathy" thread. I bounced up and down on my chair and hollered for joy and scared the living daylights out of my poor cats. You?re welcome!! Now thank those other folks, too ? and our own administrators, and all the TFN Books people who knew how to keep secrets ? not to mention the other internet reporters, who have been awfully Good about Holding back Entertaining News Till Zero-hour. Thank YOU, those of you who have already said kind things about BP, TAB, the Firebird books, and my other works. I?ll try to give a good answer to every reasonable question, even if the answer is only, "I don?t remember!" ? but in return, I ask that you read the previous questions before you add your own. If it?s already answered, please don?t post it again. I'm sorry, but I can't comment on (or endorse) your websites or fanfic stories. I see that as a fairness issue -- how could I possibly get to them all? Another request: no cussing or vulgarity. If you want to know why I?m sensitive on this issue, go to http://www.kathytyers.com and follow the link on the bio page. I know BP isn?t perfect, and I can take honest criticism (if I couldn?t, I would not survive as a professional writer). Every author has strengths and weaknesses. I won?t wilt if you take thoughtful exception to something I wrote (and I won?t stop liking you for it, either), but I do have feelings. That?s why I?ll confine myself to this thread for a while. And now, please don?t feel compelled to read any farther if you?d rather not have the book spoiled. I plan to check this thread regularly for weeks, and there?s a chat coming up at JediNet (November 17, '00 -- a detailed announcement will appear). You can ask questions later. I think it?s much more fun to experience a story along with the characters, as it happens! Okay, friends. Fire when ready. SPOILERS AHEAD. . . . . . . . . . . . .