Shelly over at Market My Words is running a Pay it Forward contest. If you want to join in, tomorrow is the last day. (Yes, I deliberately delayed my entry so I'd have less competition.) The winner will get her (okay, or his) personal referral to Shelly's own agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin (Trident Media Group).
To enter, I have to reveal the person who has helped me in my writing or in my personal life. That's easy: Robyn Carr. I told the story of how I "met" Robyn on her recent Authors' Advisory conference call, but I didn't mention what a wonderful inspiration she is.
She protests that she doesn't do enough for me to be labled my mentor but even though she can't critique my writing (she has no spare time for that, even if it wasn't unwise), she has constantly encouraged me for years now. She suggested that I look into writing YA, then told me my story idea sounded rather juvenile... and, after I explained it more, agreed that it just might work. Without her prodding, support, and approval, I'm not sure if I would have ever had the gumption to finish the thing. I can't wait for the day I can mail her her own signed copy. She'll have to read it then. :)