I remember when I first thought up the concept of this story, when I was almost through writing Breaking Into The Music Industry, I didn't think the characters of Nelly and T.I. would fit together the way they have ultimately come to. I honestly thought that the story would not attract any readers and I would get slammed for having such an idea to put the St. Lunatic rapper Nelly together with the Atlanta rapper T.I.; I prefer calling him Tip. I told myself that it was worth a shot and to just go for it though because it was just for entertainment and if people didn't enjoy it then there really wasn't anything I could do about that. I can't say I feel the same way now because of what a phenomenon Collaboration had been over this past year.

I never expected to get so many e-mails on a daily basis telling me how good the story was and to keep writing. I never considered my writing to be that good by any means but all you readers began changing my mind with each e-mail you sent to encourage me to keep up with the story. That is what honestly kept me writing. I did always like the idea of Nelly and Tip but I didn't think anyone else would so I was a bit apprehensive about it. I'm sure I've told most of you this but I try to come up with pairings that the slash world has never seen before. I like my pairings to be unique and use that strategy when I'm choosing my characters.

I would always try to find a good story with Nelly on the net. I can't tell you how many countless fanfiction sites I've been to looking for a story about him. It was so rare when I did find one but, not to knock on those authors or anything, they didn't appeal to me in the least. I never found one with the flare and raw emotions I tried my absolute best to incorporate into mine. Needless to say, I decided to write about him in my next story because I figured there were people out there like me. People that wanted a story with Nelly in it but also wanted more than just a quick one with sex and no plot. Again, not to say anything about those authors because everyone has different writing styles and motivations, but I don't like those types of stories because I see no practicality in them. They're just meant to get the reader off and that's pretty much about it.

I've always wanted my stories to be more than just that. Of course sex plays a big role in the stories but it was not going to be the whole story itself. I write a lot of events and sequences and even dialect between the characters that the reader is meant to read "in between" the lines so to speak. To take the information they are reading and process it on a personal level. When they do this, I believe that it is much easier to relate to the characters and feel what they're feeling and going through. In a way, this writing technique gets the reader involved and in the end, that is what all authors want because that's what keeps the reader interested in their stories. I'd like to think I did this, at least to a certain extent, with both of my stories so far.

Writing this story was so much fun for me. I've basically told you all how busy my life got at times but I always found time to sit and write, whether it was for a minute or a couple hours. And if I wasn't physically writing or typing it on the computer, new thoughts were always formulating themselves in my head and just waiting to be drawn out on paper. I wasn't expecting it to go on for as long as it has but as I go back and reread it now, I realize that it is a good story. It has humorous and joyous scenes as well as scenes of despair and turmoil all laced throughout its fifty long chapters. I kept getting idea after idea in my head about what they would do next or what should happen next that it was impossible to silence them. Added to the fact that all the e-mails kept giving me the confidence to keep going with it, I couldn't refuse even if I tried.

Nelly and Tip have a huge fan in me because I not only love their music, but I also respect them so much as true artists and as well as people. This is important because Collaboration is not meant in any way to slander their public names or insinuate anything about their personal lives. I simply wanted to write a story that people would enjoy but still know that it was fiction and held not a single stem of authenticity to it. There was no profit gained by me or the Nifty organization for writing this and I am more than fine with that because it was never about money for me. Writing is one of the creative outlets I utilize when I'm stressed out or bored or have nothing to do. The last one is rarely ever the case but having nothing to do or worry about does happen to me on occasions and I cherish every time it does happen. My story was not meant to harm these two artists in any way and shouldn't be seen as such because it was not the ultimate goal and never the intention by me. I have nothing but respect and admiration for both Nelly and Tip because, unlike most of the music industry, they have pure talent and that is why they are where they are now in terms of their careers.

The main reason for this author's note is to thank all you readers for your words of advice, encouragement, and wisdom over the past year and couple of months. I truly believe that the story would not be nearly as successful if not for your comments, criticisms, and overall understanding and acceptance of it. Quite a few people have told me they feel that Collaboration is the best story they read on the Nifty site. I still don't believe this because I'm a modest person but it is flattering to know that people hold the story in such high esteem. Thank you. Thank you all for following this unfolding story of two rappers who simply ended up finding love in its most perfect form with one another and didn't care about the boundaries that their love came with for the past year. There were times when some of you wanted to strangle me and then there were times when you wondered what the hell was going on with me or what I was thinking. We got through those times though and have a beautiful love story as evidence of that. It was a fun adventure but like it has been said so many times before, "All good things must come to an end." And finally, Collaboration has come to its end.

Looking to the future, I am definitely going to be writing more for Nifty. I already have my next story plotted out in my mind. I don't have a title but I usually come up with one a day or two before I post the first official chapter on the site. That's what I did before with both my other stories so I guess it's like a new tradition now. It's funny because I had the whole plot, and basically the whole story, written out in my mind but I didn't have the characters to fit together and embed into it. This is the first time it has happened like this for me but after taking into consideration all the pairings that various people have e-mailed me with as well as the artists who have practically no stories written about them on the net, I have decided on the final pairing. I'll keep the actual pairing a mystery for right now however. Although I stated that I have this new story worked out in my mind, it is still very much in the pre-production stages at this moment. Not a single word has been written down on paper yet so it will be a while before you see me again on Nifty. The target time I'm shooting for to post the first chapter on the site will be early next year. The month of January to be specific. I know it's still a while off but I want to do this story right and not rush it on any level. I will still keep with the updating technique I'm using now in that I'll update one every week on Saturday. It's easier for me that way. Just wanted to give you all a heads up so you can look out for that in the not to distant future. (Four months will go by in no time watch and see.)

Again, I want to thank everyone who has supported me in my story and I truly hope that you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. The hardest thing is staring at a blank piece of paper and having it stare back at you. I got writer's block so many times during this story that I don't know how it managed to be as long as it is. Plus the added pressure to top myself with each subsequent chapter did get to me on a few occasions but I'd like to think that all that fueled me to make the story the best it could be. Thank you all for your insightful words either directed at me or the story. Speaking of, since Breaking Into The Music Industry I saved every e-mail that the readers have sent me in regards to my stories. I have over two hundred and eighty of them and rapidly reaching my inbox quota. I'll just have to make up a new e-mail address when the boundaries are finally broken. The reason I mentioned this is because I read some of them from time to time to inspire me. They manage to do the trick almost always. I just wanted to share all that information with all you guys. You'll see me again. For now though, I'm just going to relax for a while and become a reader once again.

As always, questions and any kind of feedback on the story as a whole are welcomed at jc71883@hotmail.com.

à Shane

(For those of you who didn't know, that is my real name.)