Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Proper Thank You


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Don’t get me started on thank you notes. Whatever happened to thank you notes? If you send someone a gift, then you MUST send a note. And I’m pretty sure, though I may be a dinosaur, that email notes don’t usually count. Not for a real THING. Not for a big thing.

But how about, as the talented Claire Booth wonders, the little things? And do we all take enough time to realize how kind people can really be?

I’m trying to figure out how to cleverly segue the title of Claire’s newest book A DEADLY TURN into a discussion about GOOD turns. And I can't. So let’s just say—Claire’s thinking about the fun parts of being an author.

How do you measure up?   Has this happened to you? How do you handle it? And see below for a giveaway!
  
CLAIRE BOOTH:  One of the joys of writing is all the people I cross paths with along the way. Not while I’m chained to my desk agonizing over story structure and word count, of course, but afterward—when my books become reality, and I get to go out into the world and talk about them.

I meet a lot of new people this way. They come to my book signings or to events like crime fiction conventions because they love mysteries, so we find one another by way of our mutual love of books. Many of them have become dear friends.

The other ones there when my books come out are my tried-and-true, the family and friends whose support is rock solid and guaranteed no matter what I’m doing.

But today I want to talk about the people who fall in between.

These are ones I knew—either in passing or at a very different stage in life—who have gotten in touch because they heard through the grapevine that I wrote a book. People who I’d never have renewed contact with if not for their generosity in reaching out.

My elementary school librarian (hi, Mrs. Walter!). A former boss. A neighbor who played with my younger siblings when we were all growing up. Another one whose daughter I walked to the bus stop with every morning.

And none of them had to do this. That’s what blows me away. They don’t live in the same town or share a friendship on social media or have a similar kind of attachment that would make outreach easy. No. Instead, they took time out of their busy lives to track down and communicate with someone they hadn’t seen or thought about in years. To me, that goes beyond nice and enters the realm of spectacularly thoughtful.

They certainly made me feel all warm and happy inside, but guess what else? They made me take a hard look at myself and realize that I wasn’t a very good “in between.” I’ve heard a distant someone’s good news, sure, but then did I reach out with a compliment? Not often enough. So now I try harder. Because I know from being on the receiving end just how much a short note can mean.

Have you ever had an “in between” pop into your life? Have you ever been an “in between” yourself? Tell me about it in the comments!

HANK: SO interesting ! (My home ec teacher came to one of my readings--I almost burst into tears. She's about 90. And she asked me if it's learned to sew yet. )Also. Let’s say someone send you a thank you gift.  Then you kind of have to send them a thank you for the thank you, which then they have to rely to. And then you have to acknowledge that you got the reply, then they have to acknowledge that.
And the whole exchange devolves into:

See you soon!

Then finally dwindles to:
Xx

What a can of worms!

What do you think, Reds and readers? How do you feel about thank yous--paper or email? Necessary or not? And a copy of A DEADLY TURN to one lucky commenter!

AND THE WINNER OF AS DIRECTED by Kathy Valenti from yesterday's giveaway is MARY SMITH! Email me at hryan  at whdh dot com with your address!


A DEADLY TURN
Sheriff Hank Worth thinks he’s scared a car full of teens straight when he pulls them over for speeding on a Saturday night and lets them off with a stern warning and instructions to go directly home. When he responds to an urgent call minutes later, he realizes he made a fatal error of judgement—every teen is dead. Struggling to come to terms with his role in the crash, Hank begins to suspect foul play. While notifying the parents of the children involved, his suspicions grow when an unidentified body is discovered in one of their homes and a teenage girl is found after apparently attempting to commit suicide. Hank believes the incidents are connected, but those around him disagree. Is Hank right, or is his guilt making him search for answers where there are none?



Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily www.clairebooth.com, or follow her on Twitter @clairebooth10 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/claireboothauthor.
newspaper reporter, spending much of her time covering crimes so strange and convoluted they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mysteries take place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in—yes—strange and convoluted ways. The latest in the series, A DEADLY TURN, comes out March 1. The first two, THE BRANSON BEAUTY and ANOTHER MAN’S GROUND, are available now. Find out more at

A DEADLY TURN LINK:




87 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new book, Claire. “A Deadly Turn” sounds quite captivating and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    I’m certain I’ve been an “in between” because I’m very good at the wallflower thing and not nearly as good at the reaching out thing . . . .

    As for thank you notes: Definitely required. Hand written. On paper. Mailed.

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    1. Hi, Joan! Reaching out can be difficult, can't it?

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  2. Of course you are! You are the backbone and spirit of jungle red, and we are grateful for you every single day! Love love love you.

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  3. The book sounds great, Claire. I enjoyed "The Branson Beauty", but somehow missed "Another Man's Ground", so clearly I have some catching up to do. Must uphold Missouri pride and all that--I grew up around Springfield.

    I'm a firm believer in writing thank you notes and little spur of the moment notes, too. Last year one of our long-time subscribers (I work for a classical music group) went into the hospital for a long-term rehab. He's a great guy, who used to drop by the office from time to time, and I knew he was bored and scared and spending too much time thinking about all the end-of-life stuff, so I dropped him a little note to let him know I was thinking of him, and he was so grateful. I think we all need to know that people see us, and care about us. It's part of what stitches a community together. Plus, y'know, it gives me an excuse to buy boxes of pretty note cards and load up that fountain pen.

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    1. So wonderful of you! And yes, such a treat to get new notecards...

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    2. Missouri pride! Yes! And that's exactly what I'm talking about--what you did for your long-time subscriber. And ahh, pretty note cards. Yes! (Although I've never quite figured out how to work a fountain pen.)

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  4. I'm fine with email thank-yous, maybe because I have been using email my whole adult life and it's pretty much the communication norm for me. And I have found some "in-betweens" are actually more supportive of my writing than the close friends and family you would expect. I have one former coworker who buys all of my books, but we never really talked much when we worked together. It's an unexpected and welcome gift to find such people. And your book sounds great, Claire (I also love how your sheriff's name is Hank!).

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    1. Oh, Hank the sheriff is so fun to read--but it stops me every time. Fries my brain a little bit--but in a good way!

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    2. You guys should have seen my to-do list last week. One item said, "Check in with Hank." I stared at it. Why would I need to check in with my character? Then ... "Oh, the REAL Hank. That's what I meant!" So my brain fried a little, too. :)

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    3. Ha ha! There is only one REAL Hank!

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  5. I was just having a conversation with a friend last night about thank-you notes, hand-written ones. I wish we all still did them and she does, too. I was quick to send thank-you notes to some friends who made a special effort to come to my sister's funeral in December, but I'm not always that good about it. I try, but I wish I were better. I know I like to receive a thank-you note from people, especially when I've done something beyond the norm nice. Or, at least an email or a FB message. Someone I know received a wonderful honor, an award, and I searched high and low for just the right gift, actually more than one gift, and the person never mentioned it again, how it was used or appreciated or thrown out with the trash. I guess you could say it bothered me, and I felt much under-appreciated. Not that it will stop me from doing something like that again. But it did make me take stock of how I thank people and if they know just how much I appreciate the kind acts they do, whether a gift is involved or not. It's one of the things I want to be mindful about this year and on. I have to say that my younger granddaughter is a great note writer, and she's started including some drawings in her notes, too. I'm so happy that my daughter has encouraged her interest in this.

    Claire, I think we can all up our "in-between" game, making sure we reach out to those who have achieved something they would enjoy some kudos for. I do like FB for being able to reach out this way, and I've had people from my past reach out to me via FB. j

    Your book sounds so good, Claire. I have got to read it for sure!

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    1. That is the MOST annoying. Truly. ANd that's what drives me crazy. I know giving the gift is supposed to be enough--but I have to try to remember that we're doing it for THEM, not for us. What knows what battles they're fighting. But still.... GRRR.

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    2. That is really disappointing, Kathy, about the person with the honor. But don't let that stop you! And it's wonderful to hear about your granddaughter. The next generation getting it right!

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  6. I'm really bad about staying in touch with people. I always say I'll make the effort...tomorrow. And I never do.

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    1. Yes, we always have the best of intentions....

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    2. You do show your support and care in other ways, Mark (a certain review blog, for instance . . .). :)

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  7. I'm really interested in Claire's new book having first seen it over on BOLO Books this week.

    As for staying in touch with people, I do it with people I care about. But mostly over social media these days. I don't do a lot of paper writing for thank you notes or any kind of year end "This was what happened to me this year" update.

    When I get a gift, I say thank you if it is in person and I send an email or FB message if it comes in the mail. It may not please old fashioned etiquette but I'm not all that interested in being in Miss Manners Gold Circle Club anyway. :D

    As for in-betweens, social media has made that easier for people to do. But generally, if I wasn't interested in being your friend in real life, I don't feel it necessary to be online friends either. It is very rare when I send out a friend request to someone. I do admit that I do need to do a better job of staying in touch with my aunts and uncles though.

    Hank's mention of her home ec teacher coming to her one of her signings reminds me of when Hank herself did a signing at my hometown library. My senior year English teacher being in the back of the room hearing Hank compliment me as a very good book reviewer was a nice moment. No tears bursting for me, but I did think, "My teacher heard that.", when she said it.

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    1. I remember that! Awwww.

      And the Miss Manners Gold Circle Club! You are hilarious! xoo

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    2. Well I try to come up with a funny thing once in a while!

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    3. Hi, Jay! That is a great moment with your teacher in the room. Sometimes those little things just give you a nice feeling for days, don't they? And I'd love to hear what you think of A Deadly Turn!

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    4. Claire, yes they do. It was a nice thing to get to share on my Facebook page as well.

      And just as soon as I get my hands on 'A Deadly Turn' and read it, I will post about it on Goodreads and then tweet out the link and post on Facebook.

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  8. I work in fundraising,so handwritten thank you notes are a regular part of my life. It always amazes me how warmly they are received!

    In my personal life, I sometimes do handwritten notes and sometimes email notes, depending on who I am thanking. I feel like some people -- especially those a good bit younger than me -- appreciate an immediate email as much or maybe more than a hand written note that arrives in a few days.

    Aren't those in-betweens delightful? This wasn't in recognition for an accomplishment, but I was tracked down a few years ago by someone I went to kindergarten with. My family moved away but he grew up in that same small town, and apparently the classmate lost after kindergarten left a hole that was more noticeable to him since the rest of the class pretty much proceeded all the way through school together. I was very touched. (And we remain in touch, so I can assure you there was no creepy side to it -- his motives seem to have been nothing more than renewing acquaintance.)

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    1. I have worked in fundraising, too, Susan, and those handwritten notes--or little personal notes added to otherwise mass-mail letters--really are important. But have you ever been in that spot where, as a donor, you gave to your organization and then, as a fundraiser, had to write your own thank you note? I have, from time to time, and I make them elaborate love letters to myself because it makes me smile. Who doesn't like getting a love letter?

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    2. Yes, of course! Go crazy! It’s all in the name of good deeds!

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    3. I hadn't thought of fundraising, but that's so true, Susan. You must have beautiful penmanship! It's a profession I think I'd be disqualified for immediately, because no one can read my handwriting!

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    4. Gigi, you crack me up. And what a great idea to just do--I'm going to write myself a thank you note tonight!

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    5. When I coached youth basketball, the league had sponsors for every team. I usually ended up chasing down a few sponsors each year to get a check. For 3 or 4 years, I had this sub shop as my sponsor.

      I made sure to thank him each time he sponsored the team, got him his sponsor shirts, frequented the place A LOT to give business to him and then the year we won a title with him as the sponsor, I called him from the gym to let him know that we'd won and then stopped by to get dinner afterwards.

      And yet, he still complained when he didn't get a thank you card from the league. (I was not responsible for doing the league's thank yous). But I mean, I kept him involved and in the loop from day one, you'd think that would've made him at least not nag me about the darn thing.)

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  9. Claire, your book sounds like my kind of thing!
    As for thank you notes, hand written are really the best but I'm okay with email thank yous except for the reason Hank said - the thank yous for the thank yous. How far do you take it before one of you gives up and pulls the plug?

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    1. Agreed! It’s one of those hilarious realities of contemporary life!

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    2. Judi, thank you for that (kidding). Yes, is there etiquette on pulling the plug?

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  10. Yes to thank you notes.
    Yes to "thinking of you" cards. I take arty close-up flower photos and turn them into cards. A friend who battled a long illness told me the flowers on cards didn't wither and die, and remind her of her own end.
    Once in a while I connect with someone from my past on social media.

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    1. Oh my goodness, that is so touching… how do you make them into cards?

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    2. 4 x 6 glossy print glued to cardstock. That's the limit of my crafting expertise.

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    3. Oh, Margaret, people treasure those cards, I guarantee it! I get one every Christmas from a news photographer I used to work with, and it's the one I look forward to the most. They go on the corkboard over my desk. And make me happy all year. So keep doing it!

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  11. The book sounds riveting.
    As for thank you notes, they are very necessary. I am Southern so note cards have been a part of my life forever. Let me tell you a story. My sister and I send Christmas gifts to our nephew (son of third sister) and it's like sending them into the Black Hole of Calcutta. Nothing. When our mother died, a longtime friend (in and out of our house all through high school and college) and who is now a priest, asked to speak at her funeral. One of the things he talked about was her insistence on thank you notes. Guess what? We now get thank you notes from our nephew! Mother would be so proud!

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    1. Yay, Atlanta! How more perfect of a hint could you get than a gentle observation like that? And it makes for such a wonderful story!

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  12. Congratulations on the new book, Claire. I hope you are into the second printing by the end of the day.

    Thank you notes: I don't really care if they are snail mail, rare these days, e mail, phone, or in person. None of my grandchildren got the memo however. Is this because I made my children sit down and write the note before they got to enjoy the gift? Probably. They never got to old to rebel.

    One of them, the 14 year old, calls me twice a year, birthday and Christmas, to say thank you, stern parent (daughter in law) standing by with a stick. The two older ones, in their twenties now, have rarely said thank you, but its a none-issue because to them I send cards only, no gifts. Bad manners came to bite them in the end, no pun intended. The youngest ones, 6, 8, and 10, will thank me if I ask if they received the package, but they rarely remember what was in it. They are close to going the way of the older ones. But not yet. At present I hold their parents responsible.

    Am I a curmudgeon? You betcha.

    On the other hand, my friends and I always send thank you notes, usually e mail, for dinners, gifts, whatever. We are another generation. My desk is full of note cards, but my hand are full of arthritis, so e mail is much easier. As my older grandchildren can tell you, I don't even write checks any more!

    By the way Reds, thank you for being in my life.

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    1. Ann, take heart; they do grow up. I never used to get thank you notes from my grandson, but after giving him cash for his birthday on the 16th we got a pleasant notes from him, less than a week later!

      Will wonders ever cease?

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    2. Oh, and, you are a treasure. And we are all sending you thank you notes via the blog every day! Xxxx
      And yes, forcing the grands to send thank you notes. Someday they will send one. I hope. They are pretty hilarious at thank you videos, so I think that is perfect exclamation

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    3. Thank you so much, Ann! Fingers crossed for a second printing. :) And I don't blame you a bit for decreasing things down to a card with the grandkids. Maybe a priest to do some chiding, like the one in Atlanta's comment? And goodness, thank YOU for being a part of Jungle Reds. I always look forward to your comments.

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  13. Claire, I have chills, thinking of the potential reasons for all those teenagers' deaths.

    My husband is actually better at writing thank you notes than I am, but I do try to acknowledge social events, gifts, and kindnesses with a handwritten note. Life is very hectic these days, though, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.

    We gave a check to a young relative for his marriage, and when the thank you note finally came, I thought it was written by a second-grader. Both the bride and the groom are in their early-mid-twenties, and neither of them were taught to write cursive. The note itself was sweet--I think. The handwriting was so poor it was nearly illegible.

    Hank, you are really good at the in-between stuff. It was your invitation to have tea with you at the Indianapolis Bouchercon that started me on so many real friendships with authors. You and Alexandra Sokoloff both reached out to me to meet in person at that event. I thank you for your warm kindness, my dear.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Karen, I had no idea! Thank you thank you thank you!
      And you know why people that age have terrible handwriting? Because they never really learned how to write! I was so worried about my 16-year-old grandson, until Jonathan reminded me… He only texts and emails and does social media and types! He does not write!

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    2. This is so true! Kids aren't taught cursive anymore. Which hurts them--there were studies done (of course now I can't remember where I read about them) that learning cursive does wonders for some parts of the brain. I doubt you can say the same about typing, right?

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    3. My grandson taught himself, although it's not the greatest handwriting I've seen. But at least he can READ cursive. How can kids grow up not knowing how to read handwritten information? I am mystified by the through process behind such a decision.

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  14. Does anybody ever sit down and write real letters anymore? I have a time or two within recent memory, and it's always fun to get a response--whether by phone, e-mail, or return mail. A millennial co-worker once told me that people his age are thrilled to get Real Mail because it's so rare, and they know it took time and effort to send it.

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    1. I love letters--but it just takes too long. It's almost too time-consuming for me to write an email, amazingly...I mostly dictate now. Ah.

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    2. That's heartening to hear about millennials, Gigi. And from now on I'm capitalizing Real Mail. It's a proper noun as of now!

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  15. Congratulations Claire! I am old school and have always sent thank you notes and still continue to since it is special and meaningful. I do not care for e-mailing thank yous since it does not give the same feeling as a hand written note. I was brought up to mail letters to family and friends and send out thank you notes. Most are either too lazy, don't know the practice and can barely compose a sentence. I enjoy this important and unique communication.

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    1. SO agree! But do you think we are holding on to something that's beyond old-fashioned? I keep wondering about that.

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    2. Thank you, traveler! It is a unique communication now, isn't it? And I guarantee you make a person's day when they receive a note from you in the mail!

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  16. Because really, if you can send an email instantly, and the person gets your thanks instantly, why isn't that better?

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  17. When I was growing up we sent out thank you notes for all the gifts which we received. It was a practice which we followed, knew about and never questioned. It was common courtesy and expected. I realize now that no one is aware of this and it is a lost tradition. I send birthday cards,gifts for new babies, and gifts to lift their spirits for people who were sick and needed cheering up. Unfortunately I never did receive the thank you. I enjoy sending notes which are an unexpected surprise.

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    1. It does get demoralizing, doesn't it? I appreciate your effort!

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    2. Yes, it's SO much fun to get the notes, and ridiculously annoying when you;re waiting to get them. And waiting and waiting. I fear you are right about the lost--or vanishing--tradition.. ANd you can't keep an email. Meaningfully, at least.

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  18. When I was a kid, I always wrote thank you notes. As an adult, I have been lackluster about doing this. I am trying to remedy that. I think it is important to write thank you notes when someone gives you a gift. Some people think it is sufficient to write a thank you via email. Sometimes people do not get the email because of spam filters or spotty Internet connection. I think it is nice to write a thank you note on recycled paper.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, recycled paper is a great idea! And you're right that sometimes you're not sure an email has gone through.

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    2. Claire and Hank, thank you :-)

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  19. What makes me super proud is that my kids write terrific thank you notes. On paper. And send them.
    The truth is I'm happy to get a thank you in email.

    Claire, congratulations on the book! Sounds wonderful.
    On the betweens... they're the great gift of social media, and of having a career that has opportunities to travel and connect.

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    1. Thank you, Hallie! And you're right that this career has so many opportunities to travel and connect. I hadn't expected it to this extent, and it's been such a wonderful surprise!

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  20. Congratulations, Claire! A Deadly Turn looks like a real page tuner, also, I love the cover! As for thank yous, I always write them. My mom badgered me into it as a kid, and I believe it still matters. The hooligans were taught to sit and write them as well, but now that everyone has phones, they send thank you texts instead. Now, you'd think, that's lame (I did) but it actually turns into conversations. When Hooligan 2 texted a thank you to my mom, they ended up texting back and forth until the next thing I knew they were planning a trip to Costa Rica together and I was all -- Wait! What? How did this happen? From a thank you text. So, there you go.

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    1. Jenn, my mouth is hanging open. Costa Rica from a thank you text?! One, I need your mom's phone number. :) And two, maybe I need to rethink those modes of thanking people. If the point is grateful interaction, it was certainly achieved with that conversation between your son and your mom!

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    2. That's adorable! And very reassuring...

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  21. Claire, the flap description of A DEADLY TURN makes me want to crack it open and start reading right now!

    As for being the "in-between", in my family, it's my sister. She's brilliant at staying in touch with EVERYONE. I'm the opposite - I have dear friends with whom I will go for months without communicating. It's something I've tried to get better at, but my reforms have never stuck. Sigh. It was a great trial to my mother, who was also a communicator par excellence.

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    1. I'm the same with some dear friends. I'll think about it and then never get around to it. I'm very lucky that they love me anyway and that they're the same with communicating infrequently. I'll bet yours are similar?

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    2. Julia, my mother sounds like yours. She'd sit down and hand write these very long letters that would go on for pages and pages.

      I'd look at her and say, "Wouldn't it be easier to just call the person on the phone?"

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    3. Julia, that's my mother. She is 89, and now the matriarch of a large, Catholic family, but she is the one who remembers everyone's birthdays and anniversaries. And not just from a Facebook reminder, either. Her phone rings constantly, with family members calling her.

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    4. Yes, one really has to work at it. I am miserable at it...

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  22. Claire, congrats on the book! I've been thinking about the premise all morning, so am going to have to put the book on my TBR list!

    And you are so right about "in betweens" being one of the bonuses of this weird writing life. I, however, could be SO much better at making those extra little efforts to keep up with people, to send notes, to write actual paper thank you notes. My daughter puts me to shame. She writes notes for everything, and even though we live so close, I'm always tickled to get a real note in my mailbox. A very important person in my business life doesn't acknowledge Christmas presents, which makes me crazy. I'd like to at least know that she got them!

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    1. Thank you! I'd love to be on your TBR list! And you make a very good point about another function of a thank you note--did you get the darn gift in the first place?! It's a valid question because we all know that the postal service, UPS, etc., are far from perfect, right?

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    2. Yes--so important just for the "yes I got it" element. SO frustrating!

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  23. I don’t mind if people thank me in person, on the phone, by email, or by snail mail, My own handwriting is illegible due to fingers deformed by arthritis, so I tend to postpone sending snail mail thank you notes. It’s just so darn painful! Even I don’t understand my writing. I can control my fingers a little better if I print instead of using cursive, but it’s still somewhat difficult. As far as I’m concerned, a Thank You in any form is fine!

    DebRo

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    1. Deb, you and Jenn are starting to change my thinking. :)

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    2. Yeah, I'm thinking about this too. My handwriting is so bad that I get emails from people saying I got your note, but what does it say?

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  24. I don't care whether a thank you note is written, emailed, or even texted. I want to know if the gift made it! My granddaughter is terrible about it. I have been on her case for years about writing notes. Unfortunately her mother never wrote notes so didn't teach her daughter to. At least granddaughter texts me now. I'll take it! My mom and my son had a running joke for years about his writing her thankyou notes after birthdays and Christmases. He would thank her in person and she would reply that she still expected to get a note from him. Then they would both grin, knowing that wasn't going to happen but one or the other would bring it up throughout the year. I write notes to friends who remember me at Christmas. This year both efforts turned into long letters that both appreciated. Each commented they loved getting a real letter, but both replied by email because it is so much easier to type than handwrite. I have to agree with them. It flows better for me too if I'm not handwriting. As for in-betweens, I'm not very good at it. When we returned to Houston 12 years ago I saw a familiar name in the obituaries. I went online as you do now and left a note for the daughter of the deceased. I had known the daughter beginning in 6th grade and through high school until my family moved. She'd always had a healthy opinion of herself and tended to brag. Anyway she contacted me through email to welcome me back to Houston and let me know about a 40th class reunion of our H.S. After seeing her briefly at the reunion and getting another email from her I realized she hadn't changed a bit. So that in-between died a natural death and no regrets!
    I read your first book and really enjoyed it! Somehow missed the second one so now I have some catching up to do.

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    1. Pat, I'm glad that in-between died out for you. Some of them aren't meant to continue and that one certainly sounds like it. I'm thrilled to hear that you liked the first book! Let me know what you think of the others!

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    2. Hmm...that's a quandary. If you thank someone in person, do you have to send a note. I'd say: it depends. And that's my definitive answer!

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  25. Yes to the thank you notes. I recently went to a really over the top wedding and gave a very generous gift. I was really surprised when a couple of months later I received a generic card that they had ordered off internet and I'm sure was sent to everyone that gave them a gift. I realize they are busy, but I felt it should have been a handwritten note.

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  26. For a wedding, I absolutely agree, Diane! Handwritten!

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  27. I'm definitely a fan of the handwritten thank-you note! Most of mine are to my MIL who is quite generous with sending out checks for birthdays, holidays, just because, and life events. She worries about banking stuff, so I always send an e-mail thank you to let her know it was received. Then a note, generally with a care package--she can no longer make her own homemade jam, so I send her a few jars of mine. When she gave us a generous house warming gift after we recently bought our first home, I sent a note and knit her a pair of socks, as she was always admiring the ones I wore. I can't match her financially (and she certainly wouldn't want me to) but a gift that represents my time I think goes a long way. And she's passing on the handwritten note tradition! I still have a letter written by one of her great-grandchildren a few years ago, who must have been about 5 at the time, thanking me for the strawberry syrup she'd had on pancakes for breakfast. (MIL addressed the envelope, which greatly increased the chances of the note being delivered!)
    And your book sounds fabulous, Claire!
    -Melanie

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    1. Oh,Melanie, that is such a wonderful story. And completley proves the added joy of a handwritten note. Wonderful.

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