Siobhan Fallon’s Secret Weapon

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Book tours can be absolutely amazing.

But they can also be very, very scary.

You never know who will show. If anyone will show.

I have been to events with forty chairs set out most eagerly and expectantly, only to have two people show up to fill them.

You write your book and are ready to do whatever you need to do to bring it to readers. But you don’t realize how often your ego can get beaten to a pulp.

But on this tour for my new novel, The Confusion of Languages, I had a military grade weapon on my side.

Military spouses.

And more specifically, military spouse artists. Who came out. Who dragged their friends and sisters and children and husbands along. Who smiled encouragingly up at me from chairs that would have been woefully empty without their warm and lovely bodies filling them.

So if you don’t mind, since I have only been back in Abu Dhabi for a couple of days and my four year old hasn’t yet gone to bed before 1:00 a.m., I’m going to do a mini photographic tour of these fabulous women, these writers, bloggers, dancers, yoga instructors, mothers, all of them busy women who surely had a million other things to do with their precious time but decided to come to my faraway reading and cheer me on.

What a beautiful community we are part of!

Please check out the astounding work of the women below, their Facebook pages, their books and blogs and book reviews (and in the case of Andria Williams, her crazy Lego literary scenes).

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Sarah McCoy, international bestseller and author of The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico, The Baker’s Daughter, and The Map Maker’s Children. She drove out from Chicago to be at my book’s “opening night” at the Book Stall in Winnetka, IL. Her husband was a military doctor when we first met a few years ago. She ‘endorsed’ my new novel (which means she said something so nice about it that my publisher proudly put her quote on the front cover) and sat in the front row telling everyone how much she loved my story. She’s a dynamo and sweetly prolific, and, from her Facebook posts, makes a mean cup cake.

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Andria Williams, mil spouse, author of The Longest Night, blogger and uniting force behind the most excellent Mil Spouse Book Review (, who drove a party van full of folks from Colorado Springs down to Tattered Cover, Denver, in a massive show of mil spouse artist support. Rebekah Gleaves Sanderlin, also a mil spouse writer and editor and a riot to have dinner with, merrily went along for the ride.

Another example of how awesome Andria Williams is: her “Book Tour First Aid Kit” gift—and I used every single thing. (The first thing to go was the mini bottle of Amaretto…)

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Mary Chase, Army spouse choreographer and dancer, who was also featured on this fabulous Military Spouse Fine Arts Network site, also came out to Tattered Cover, Denver, even though she has a small child and the movers were coming to pack out her house early the next morning for an international move. MIL SPOUSES CAN DO ANYTHING.

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The amazing Kathleen Rodgers, who had Tom, her retired Air Force pilot husband, drive her from Dallas all the way to the Barnes & Noble outside of Fort Hood, TX. Kathleen and Tom were THE ONLY PEOPLE who came to this event. Dear Lord, not sure what I would have done without her beautiful, smiling face. She wandered around this massive Barnes & Noble and started grabbing total strangers and telling them about my book. She was my fairy godmother that night and I will love her forever for making what should have been a total failure of an evening into a memorable night. Please check out her novels The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately, and Seven Wings of Glory.

Michele Crutchfield, whose husband just retired from the Air Force, a tireless yoga instructor and voracious reader, flew to Wichita, Kansas, in order to meet up with old friends and drag them all along to my reading at the amazing Water Mark Books there.

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Hilary Barrineau, an Army Signal spouse and the events coordinator at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Va. Authors, this store was so warm and lovely, check it out if you are in town!

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Sorry, this photo was clearly taken by the very drunk and tilted man at the bar we all ended up in after my event at Hooray for Books. Beautiful gals behind me are military spouses I first met when my husband was stationed in Hawaii back in 2001, and the lovely women to my right are mostly current State Department friends from US Embassy Abu Dhabi. Small world! And the little lady next to me in bright green is the military spouse writer Victoria Kelly, author of the critically acclaimed poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, as well as the great novel, Mrs. Houdini.

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My final book tour event was at the most amazing DC book store, Politics & Prose. Here I am with equally most amazing Alison Buckholtz, author of the groundbreaking spouse memoir, Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War, and also author of a great review of The Confusion of Languages that got picked up from the Military Spouse Book Review and ran in a national newspaper. See how weirdly and sweetly connected military spouses and the networks we create can be?

Thanks to everyone who read this blog post all the way to the end! And thanks to Military Spouse Fine Art network for letting me shares these wonderful moments!

But my most heartfelt thanks goes to all of these ladies above, who not only supported a nervous author prone to stage-fright, but helped make my book tour an extraordinary adventure of meeting like-minded artists who are carving out meaningful careers and passing on a little kindness and generosity along the way. You are all beautiful.

Find out more about the artists mentioned in this article by visiting their websites:

Sarah McCoy Sarah McCoy

Andria Williams

and her military spouse book review

Rebekah Sanderlin

Mary Chase Doll

Kathleen Rodgers

Victoria Kelly

Michele Crutchfield

Alison Buckholtz Standing By website

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