Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who Do We Love?

We Apocalypsies have had a whole year of fun, crazy, and sometimes scary "firsts". First book deals. First deadlines. First launches. And on this Valentine's Day, we wanted to honor the very important people who have spent the last year (and much, much longer) cheering for us, reading for us, making sure we don't forget to eat, never giving up on us, inspiring us, and sometimes just flat out putting up with us. 

You're about to meet some amazing people: Our Valentines.

Simon & Schuster . June 12, 2012

An open letter to my Valentine, Andy Graham.

Hi Honey, remember me?  I’m the hunchback at the computer who occasionally yells at you through the floor vent for turning the TV on too loud.  Perhaps you recall one of our brief interactions in the kitchen last week, such as, “Defrosted Trader Joe’s Dinner #3” or  “Can You Pick The Boy Up After Ski Club Tomorrow?”

Still not ringing a bell? I’m the one who’s so focused on my writing that I let the wood stove burn out every day, even though sticking a stupid log on the fire every couple of hours shouldn’t really be all that much to ask.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I love you, and how much I appreciate your support, not only in my career, but also as my friend, co-parent, and husband.  Hope to run into you in the kitchen one of these days.  Or even in other rooms of the house (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) just as long as it’s after Reunited’s release date.

Your loving wife, Hilary

Emily Danforth
Balzer + Bray . Available Now!

Warning: Extreme Amounts of Sappiness Ahead.

Erica Edsell and I have been E2 (E-squared) since our junior year of college. (I won't tell you just how long that's been, exactly, but awhile. Definitely awhile). During the entirety of this time she has been UNBELIEVABLY supportive of me "making-a-go at this writing thing," even though I'm not sure that such dedicated support has been, frankly, always warranted on my part. 

Emily & Erica (a.k.a. E-squared)
Shortly after college she packed-up and moved across country with me to the mountain town of Missoula, Montana (some 2500 miles away from her family in Pennsylvania) so I could enroll in the MFA in fiction program at the university there. 

Luckily: we both loved Missoula--it's a beautiful, vibrant place. (And, hello individual glazed lemon poppyseed Bundt cakes from the Good Food Store: we'll take twelve.) Then, two years later we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska so that I could get my Ph.D in English from UNL--despite that neither of us a knew a soul in Cornhusker country before moving there. We bough a money-pit of a fixer-upper house from 1900--a place with a--unbeknownst to us--severe snake infestation--and stayed for five years, during which time I completed and sold my first novel. I should mention, here, that Erica has a job that requires her to travel 225+ days a year. And that she's had this job for seven years, mostly to help support her poor-grad-student, struggling-writer-partner. AKA: me. 

But it's not just  life-changing moves and taking on a mortgage that show Erica's support and love, it's things like the notes of encouragement she leaves around the house for me to find while she's away. Or the  treats she hauls home from our favorite bakery in the Minneapolis airport--just because. Or that she'll say, frequently (and mean it), "I really, really wish that you had more time just to write," even though the two of us have just spent 3 hours catching-up on our DVR queue of crappy cable programming. 

A good friend of mine who's also an author recently said to me "You can have blah, blah (his boyfriend) and I'll take Erica. Let's trade." He was joking, of course, but my response wasn't: "No way," I told him. "Go find your own Erica. And good luck with that, because there aren't anymore out there."

Penguin . May 10, 2012 

Greg and I were high school sweethearts. At 15, we were just friends for a while, but we ended up dating about six months after we met. He never actually asked me out; we just sort of “grew together.”  A friendship that had caught fire I used to say.

Greg and Lynda
To be practical, we went to separate colleges and agreed to date others if we wanted, but neither of us really did. He rarely brought me flowers like my friends’ boyfriends did. However, one snowy night at UConn when I was praying that my feeble car with even worse tires would get me to student teaching the following day, someone told me that he was in the parking lot. Since his college was over an hour away, I thought it must have been a mistake, but I headed out to the lot to see for myself.

And there he was. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, taking off my old tires and replacing them with four new snow tires. I think it was that night when the meaning of real love crystallized in my mind. Those tires were far better than long-stemmed roses because of what they meant. That he worried about me on the roads. That he wanted to protect me. And in typical Greg fashion, he treated it like it was no big deal.

After 21 years of marriage, I love him even more than I did then. And I still never drive in the snow without snow tires. 

Walden Pond Press . March 27, 2012

Jen and Barry 
This literary valentine goes to my agent, Jen Rofé, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, which as best I can tell is some sort of Paradise Island of Wonder Women Agents. 

If you’ve met Jen or been in proximity to her vibrant hum of boundless energy, you’ll know why I associate her with the hummingbird character in my book: her tenacity-to-weight ratio is incredible. 

My book was not an easy sell, and in the three-plus years it took I was closer to giving up than she ever was. How lucky I am to have found the perfect agent for me, who found me the perfect editor and house, and who made sure I didn’t screw it up between sale and publication. 

If this were third grade I would give you a card with a comical train on it that says “Thanks for Choo-Choo-Choosing to Represent Me!”

Razorbill/Penguin . August 21, 2012

Nikki, Cameron, and Drew
Who knew that writing a children's book would take so much of an author's time away... from her children? 
When my first book sold last February, I knew it would mean a lot of changes. What I didn't realize is the constant, quick deadlines, the nervous press to write another manuscript (or two, or three!) to fulfill the contract, and the ramping up of publicity and "buzz" would take the same time my kids and I used to spend hanging out, riding bikes, and reading together. But my boys have been amazingly supportive. 

So maybe I don't read to them every night before bed anymore.  Instead, they jump off the bus and race home with me, excited to hear me read my own newest chapters out loud all afternoon. They've learned to make wonderful omelets when Mom's forgotten dinner (again), and how to do the laundry, take care of the chickens and dogs, sign their own school permission slips... wait. I don't think it's gotten that bad... yet. 

Happy Valentine's Day to my dear little editors, Cameron and Drew. You are my heart! 


Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster . September 21, 2012

John, captivated by So You Think You Can Dance.
I had to send two pictures so you wouldn't only see him snoozing at the So You Think You Can Dance live show at Radio City.  If you haven't guessed, this is my hubby John and he likes to spoil me... even when it means staying out late on a work night. Luckily for him, not much gets me out of the house on a school night... but SYTYCD is a favorite of mine.  

John's also my biggest fan and the hardest working guy I know.  He NEVER gets enough sleep, (as you might have guessed.) I can't stress enough what a wonderful and dedicated husband and father he is. He commutes 2.5 hours to work each way--each day--so we can live in the community we grew up in and be near family.  He does this for me and the kids and we appreciate it more than we could ever express.  

Kimberly & John
But that's not all, his hard work also allows me the ability to go to conferences aka "Daddy Party Weekends."  He's been having these special weekends with the boys for years now and it allows me to go off and see my friends, learn about writing and be inspired.  And if that wasn't enough--the best part is that there is no one more excited for me when I have good news to share--he always hears it first.  

Thanks for everything, Johnny... I love you.

Feiwel & Friends .  Available Now!

Marissa & Jessee
My nominee is my husband, Jesse. This past year, he's in turns been my event photographer, phone-call maker, swag orderer, travel companion, and presentation tech guy. 

He brings me coffee in bed every morning and always seems to know when to tell me to stop slacking and get back to work or when to take the night off and just relax. 

Between the book release and getting married last October, it's been an insane year, and he's been awesome for every moment of it. <3

Side note: I'd also love to give a shout-out to my parents who at times seemed even more excited than I was about my book coming out. Their over-the-top pride made even the smallest accomplishment feel spectacular!

Tamara Ireland Stone
Hyperion . October 9, 2012

Mike and I met through a mutual friend at a San Francisco Giants game. We started talking. He seemed nice. I thought his dark hair and bright blue eyes made a stunning combo. But then he made me laugh, and that was pretty much the end of me. Nineteen years and two kids later, his eyes still knock me out and we have two decades of inside jokes no one else would ever find funny. But after the last few years, I have a whole bunch of new reasons to appreciate this amazing person I got to marry.

Mike could have told me I was crazy to write a book when I already had a busy career and two small kids, but instead he told me I was an “author” and strategized with me to find an agent. He became my first editor, and my story became better because of him. He never got tired of talking about time travel. He sent me songs to add to my playlist.

After it sold and I entered the world of deadlines, he became the family chef, the guy who does laundry, and the one who makes sure we don’t run out of milk. He picks up the kids when I “just have to get this one last scene down” and helps them with their homework. He brings me water so I stay hydrated and tells me he's proud of me. When I'm stressed, he makes me laugh. And he does all of this while working an intense job and being the world’s most loving and supportive dad to our kids. He rarely complains, even though I think he deserves to.

My adorable, Michael, "love" is too weak a word for what I feel. I luuurve you, I loave you, I luff you. And I'm so glad I went to that Giants game.

Walker-Bloomsbury . October 2, 2012

Tiffany & St. Matt
St. Matt Schmidt. Anyone married to me deserves to be sainted. I know obtaining sainthood is a lengthy and complicated process, so I've gone right ahead and dubbed him St. Matt without all the rigamarole. 

Just look at him, can't you see his halo peeking out from behind his angelic head? Meanwhile, I'm clearly plotting impish hijinks. And he puts up with my anyway. Makes me smile and laugh -- and makes me coffee after up-all-night writing sprints. I've yet to create a hero nearly as swoony as my saint, but I'll keep trying. He's perfect inspiration. 

Jennifer Bosworth
Farrar, Straus and Giroux . May 8, 2012
Jennifer & Ryan

My husband, Ryan Bosworth, claims he knew the moment he set eyes on me that I was destined to do accomplish something great. But everything I've achieved that I'm proud of, I know I would never have managed without his support. Ryan believed in me before I ever did, and he never stopped, even when he read my first book, which he claims to love, but which I know in my heart was an awful mess. Even when he read my second book, which might have been even worse than the first. Even through the endless revisions on my novel that eventually sold. His faith in me was unflagging. 

Ryan is the most generous, encouraging, and reassuring husband I could ever ask for and ever want. He gives me a reason to succeed. If writing were only for me, it wouldn't be enough. It's for both of us. 

And, Ryan, it goes both ways. I've always known you were meant to create something amazing. I always have and always will believe in you.

Pyr . March 6, 2012

Eugene & Carrie
If it weren't for Carrie, I might never have written Fair Coin. Back when I first told her about the book, not long after we had begun dating, she not only listened attentively to my rambling, disjointed ideas, but she gave me some key plot suggestions, helped me rediscover YA fiction, and encouraged me not to wait until I felt "ready" to write it--to just start it. 

Then when I finished the first draft, she read it and not only didn't dump me, but she gave me my first editorial letter--13 pages of amazing feedback--and line-edited later drafts. 

As a former children's book editor, her critical eye has been indispensable in shaping the book. (You also can thank her for Fair Coin having about 75% fewer puns.) And she has just been so supportive of my writing in general, encouraging through the agent querying and submission process, and understanding when I need more time to write. She's been a partner in developing my writing skills and career every step of the way, and I'm so happy I can now share its publication with her.

Sarvenaz Tash
Walker Childrens . Aprile 24, 2012

I have to be honest: Valentine's Day as a holiday is not really my thing and I'm also not terribly into PDA either. But the truth is I couldn't pass up this opportunity to gush about my fiancé, especially when it comes to how supportive he's been when it comes to "THE WRITING."

Sarvenaz & Graig
Over the past 5 years, Graig has listened to me cry, laugh, scream and do an awful lot of babbling as we went through everything from rejections to a book deal, the perilous world of first drafts to the anxiety of cover art. 

A huge part of being a writer and being in this business is centered on uncertainty. But one thing I am certain about is that Graig is the Goose to my Maverick, the Fred to my George and the Dean Proffitt to my Annie Goolahee. I love you, Graig. I'd be a terrible writer and a terrible person to be around without you.

Elisa Ludwig
Katherine Tegan Books . March 13, 2012

My husband Jesse is kind of supernaturally awesome, and I’m not sure I could do this writer thing without him. 

Every day he bravely ventures into my office, never knowing what he’s going to find—I could be elated and giddy with the day’s work, or completely despondent. Now, keep in mind, this is a man who loves David Foster Wallace, 1970s video art and avant garde jazz. Teen fiction is not exactly his preferred genre. Still, he has dutifully read everything I’ve written and offered comments. 

He was an early champion of my novel June of Rock (now self-published as an ebook), encouraging me to query agents with it. (His record collection was also an inspiration for the love interest’s music taste. And even though I have stolen many Jesse-isms for use in my characters’ dialogue, he has never once complained.) Lo and behold, June of Rock was the book that landed me an agent. He was there to jump and down with me. And when it didn’t sell he was there with appropriately supportive comments: “Someone will get this book” and “You can’t give up.” 

These days, when I get stuck with a tricky plot twist or logistical challenge, he patiently helps me talk through it out loud, and usually comes up with some amazing suggestions for solving the problem. He also stocks my iTunes with inspiring music for my WIP. So what can you glean from all of this about Jesse? He’s brilliant, funny, caring, intuitive, emotionally generous, and pretty hot to boot. Basically, if I were to invent a fictional love interest, he wouldn’t even hold a candle to my real life man. 

Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day, love!

We'd love to meet your Valentines! Who cheers you on and inspires you? 


  1. What a great post! I just couldn't get my act together to get my Valentine info in! You did a great job with this Tamara!

    Kami (Apocalypsie)

  2. Aww, this post totally warmed my heart. Personally, my biggest cheerleader and my best friend in the world is my boyfriend Macky! He's been an amazing presence in my life for the past six years and I look forward to many, many more.

    Happy Valentines Day Apocalypsies!

  3. Love this post sooo much! :D Happy Valentine's Day, Apocalypsies (and Tamara, for putting this beautiful post together)!

    1. Thanks! I felt blessed (and a little selfish) for getting to read these stories two weeks before anyone else did!

  4. I think this is my favorite post ever! Eugene! That is such an amazing photo :)

    1. Thanks! It's one of our favorite engagement photos, by the talented Ellen Wright. I'll be sharing another one on a different site around my book launch.

      So many loving photos and tributes here. Tamara's the best!

    2. Thanks, Zoraida! We're some lucky, Apocs!

      And thanks, Eugene. Sorry again about my mixup this morning. Thanks for being the super cool superhero you are!

  5. This was a great idea!!! I loved reading these--thanks, Tamara!!

  6. This is such a sweet tribute to the people who stand by writers! I may borrow this idea for the Lucky 13s next year. We're all starting to abandon our loved ones for revisions.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  7. Aw, I love this post! So fun to see the loved ones behind each of us. Happy Valentine's Day, Apocs! I'm so happy to be part of this brilliant group.

  8. I read your posts first thing this morning and thought it was a cool way to kick off Valentines Day—but I didn't comment. I did, however, go give my Valentine and extra big… you know, and I've been thinking all day about what an amazing support system I have as a writer, so I've come back to say THANK YOU!