Catherynne Valente is proof that the universe intends for all us fairy tale girls to find one another, given enough time, enough space, and enough raw need. Our paths wound through the same wood for a very long time; the last ten years of my life are peppered with mutual friends offering to introduce us to each other, and it just not working out. And I'm glad, I'm so glad, because we needed to reach the same stage in our stories before we could recognize each other. I'm the Lily Fair to her Snow White; she's the Ozma to my Dorothy; she's the sister I didn't know I was looking for, for so very long. And she's amazing. She really is! It's not just because I love her: I am actually very critical of her, because I love her. Her Russian political fairy tale, Deathless, is out in paperback today, and I give copies of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making to every little girl I know.
Jim C. Hines was one of the first people to welcome me to DAW when I signed with them for the October Daye books. He was friendly, he was knowledgeable, and he made a scary process a little less unknowable and terrifying. For that alone, I would love him always. So of course he has to be funny, and smart, and an awesome blogger, and a great writer who re-imagined some of my favorite fairy tale characters into ass-kicking heroines who don't need saving, by anyone other than themselves. He's like the Lego of fantasy authors, constantly being reconfigured into something new. The awesome, gender-neutral Lego of my childhood, not the sexist, pink-and-purple Lego Friends of today. He's a gentleman, a scholar, and one of the best men I know. I'm proud that he's my friend. You should read all his books.
Elizabeth Bear always struck me as vaguely terrifying. She was smart, she was loud, she wrote lots of books, she won a Campbell Award, she had a Giant Ridiculous Dog...terrifying. And then I met her, and realized she was terrifying because in another lifetime, she was my best friend all the way through school, and echoes of the time she shoved me off a roof in that reality kept overwhelming my sense of this one. It sounds weird, but it's true: we met, and I instantly knew that I'd known her forever, and wanted to keep knowing her forever, because not knowing her made my life less awesome. Her upcoming book, Range of Ghosts, is one of those things I shouldn't have loved, and did, because it was just that well written, and that infused with the raw awesomeness of the woman who had written it.
Paul Cornell still thinks I'm capable of being shy when put in front of a microphone, and wrote some of the best Doctor Who novels ever conceived. Also some of the best episodes.
John Scalzi sometimes shows up in my dreams, usually taking poor, confused me by the hand and leading me to where I'm supposed to be (often, it's a plane).
Tanya Huff changed my life forever with her books, and then changed it again with her friendship. I am beyond blessed to know her.
Amy McNally is planning to fiddle the Devil for my soul when he comes to collect on the crossroads bargain that I clearly made when no one was looking.
And then there is Vixy.
If Cat is my sister in story, Vixy is my sister in soul: she's the wicked girl I was looking for all my life, without ever knowing what I was trying to find. Some of the happiest moments in my life have included her, and they were all the more amazing because of it. I am eternally grateful to the filk community, for throwing us into the same space, and to OVFF, for giving me an excuse to say "hey, you want to sing with me?" Vixy makes me a better writer, a better performer, and a better person, because I feel the need to live up to her example. She makes me a better friend. For that, I am so grateful that there aren't any more words.
I can't list everyone in the world, or my fingers would fall of. So I say to those who read this: Happy Valentine's Day to each and every one of you, and if you don't celebrate Valentine's Day, happy Horny Werewolf Day. May you be happy, may you be loved, may you be warm and safe and dry. May you have stars to steer by, wish on, and follow, and may you find your sisters and brothers and lovers and children in these woods, waiting for you, where you always knew they'd be.