I don’t remember meeting my best friend in the entire universe Valerie in preschool, but apparently we did.


I remember meeting her the second time in 3rd grade.

Dance like no one’s watching…

And have been friends ever since. I was waiting for the bus, and I saw her, probably with a kindergartner-age K-Dawg (her little sister) in tow. We talked for a while about I don’t know what, but I think we realized that at one point we were friends and became friends again.

Senior year!

When I started writing Alliances in the summer of 2006, Lizbeth (first called Lee Carter) was always kind of based on Valerie. I loved the odd couple part of our relationship – she’s this tall, blonde-haired, green-eyed, always happy prom queen and I’m the short, brunette, big-boobed, nerdy hobbit. Somehow or another, we work.Val and my relationship has always been something like sisters, I suppose. I don’t have a real sister, so I don’t know. But it’s one of those things where even if you don’t talk for six months, you can pick up the phone and talk and it’s like nothing ever happened. She’s always there for me in my darkest moments, and I don’t know where I would be without her.

Six mo preggers and helping me at Pensacon 2015. True best friend!

At the same time, she can be a real ball-buster and her cranky spells are legendary. As Lizbeth formed on the page, I also realized that Valerie’s other great asset was the way she calls me out on my bullshit.

The thing I love most about my Pookie is that while she’s obviously drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also quite possibly one of the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet. She is just pleasant to be around, which is why everybody loves her. Litchrally – it’s hard to find a person in Pensacola to say a bad word about her.

She has this face, y’all, and this tone of voice that just makes me squirm. She knows exactly when I’m not being truthful, especially when I’m not being truthful to myself. I don’t know how she knows, but she does.

The prettiest bride ever (And Rybo’s not half-bad either)

Alliances is being released on Val’s wedding anniversary (because making you guys wait until her birthday in May was just too much), and in the spirit of our friendship, it is dedicated to her. She’s one of the biggest reasons why I’ve decided to move home; I miss having her in my life, and I feel like I’ve been a shitty friend to her. For as much support as she’s given me over the years, I have a mountain of karma to repay to her.

I may start by spoiling the hell out of her baby girl…

Baby A and Auntie Sush – just 5 days old!

Kid’s got good taste.

We stylish.