Sunday, August 22, 2021

Missing My Friends!

 RHYS BOWEN: Recently I've realizing how much I miss my friends. When I first started writing mystery novels I had no idea that I'd be part of such a warm, welcoming community or that I'd make true, lasting and deep friendships--almost like the sisters I never had.

It's been two years since I hung out with my fellow Jungle Reds at Bouchercon in Dallas. And what a great time we had. Lots of good meals and laughter. I'm just praying that all is well by next year's Malice and Julia and I can have our moment in the sun as Guests of Honor.


But lately I have had a couple of treats. I had coffee with Jacqueline Winspear last month and last week I spent a delightful morning at the farmer's market with Cara Black and her husband, who then came back to lunch at our house.

We talked about how we missed our tours together. For many years Cara and I had a book released at the same time in March and set off on a book tour together. We had our share of adventures: the motel I booked because it was on the beach and looked delightful only to find they turned off the hot water during the day and we needed to shower before a bookstore appearance.

Or the time we spoke at a bookstore and were dining with the owner when the whole cafe shook and rattled. Earthquake (it turned out to be quite a major one with people killed). The next morning I was giving a speech at a writer's conference in the Marriott hotel when the chandeliers on the ceiling danced like crazy making a loud tinkling noise. My audience rushed for the doors, leaving me wondering whether I was supposed to go down with the ship or I too could flee.

Cara's experience on that tour was to speak to a ladies Hadassah luncheon. at which they all ate from brown bags but never offered her even a glass of water!

However our most unusual experience was speaking to a nudist resort. That's right. Nudist. We were invited with David Corbett, who was more nervous than we were as we drove up into the mountains. Luckily it was a freezing cold evening and most people were clothed. They made me speak first (Cara always does that!). I'm at the podium when a man walks across, right in front of me. He is wearing a beard and a VERY SMALL BACKPACK. That's it. Strolls slowly in front of me.  I keep talking. He strolls slowly back. I'm dying to say "I've seen bigger and better" but I'm a professional. I don't bat an eyelid.

I reminiscing today because Cara's publisher is highlighting her latest book, THREE HOURS IN PARIS. If you haven't read it, DO.  It is a tense, brilliant thriller set in the early days of WWII and it's at a special price this week.

Here are the details:


The US ebook of THREE HOURS IN PARIS is $1.99 for a limited time.

it’s a Nook Daily find on 8/23
Kindle Deal of the Day 8/25
Bookbub 8/26 
amazon link here

And here's to hoping we can all meet up again very soon!




53 comments:

  1. My goodness, what adventures!

    I suppose it’s not until something is lost that we discover its true value . . . I don’t think anyone will take those simple pleasures [like having coffee with a friend] for granted ever again . . . .

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  2. Thanks for reminiscing here about your friends and your adventures. Your memoirs would be fun to read! I bet the Nudist Colony memory is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. LOL

    I have met with some friends recently, too. It's divine to reconnect. I had dinner out on Friday night with much loved cousins and the sidewalk tables were packed. There was joy in the air, such a beautiful night, people reconnecting. (Irwin stayed at home while the new a/c unit was installed.) But mask mandates are back for inside here and people are still getting sick.

    Hunkering down now. Hurricane is on the way.

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    1. I hope you and Irwin are able to ride it out in style, Judy.

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    2. Oh Judy. Stay safe. And sending out good wishes to Roberta, Hank, Hallie, Julia

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    3. Thank you all! There is plenty of Scotch here if all else fails!

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  3. Lovely memories, Rhys. We had two couples for a garden party yesterday prior to the hurricane hitting today, but no hugging again.

    Fingers crossed for Lefto Coast Crime and Malice!

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    1. I've been hugging friends and family. A slight risk, I know, but we live in an area with maybe 40 new cases a day among unvaccinated, of whom there are few.

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    2. I envy you that, Rhys. It is crazy here in Texas. No hugging or visiting for the foreseeable future.

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    3. So discouraging, Debs. We are well vaccinated up here, but the spike has us all back wearing masks and rethinking hugs.

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  4. I see friends and neighbors at a distance, and we have plans to go out to lunch on Wednesday, outside on the canal -- that's the Erie Canal. But I'm already having second thoughts. Now that I hear that Jesse Jackson and his wife, both vaccinated in January, same time I was, are now hospitalized with covid.

    Kudos to Hallie for her Zoom presentation yesterday afternoon. She was impressive, and we both enjoyed it very much. What a teacher!

    Hallie, darling, I'm not sure how you did it. You have depths of reserve still unplumbed.

    Much love.

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    1. Thanks so much, my dear... being able to teach remote and still connect with writers has been a silver lining of this awful epidemic. Imagine if this were happening before the Internet? Before cell phones and FaceTime?

      Rhys, your tete a tete with Cara sounds lovely. And I adored that book.

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    2. Dang, I missed it. Hallie is always the best teacher around!

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    3. Hallie, you are such a strong person.(And a great teacher)

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  5. Love to hear the fun memories! I moved just before the lockdown with the full expectation that I would see my friends in KC and my cake friends through the year. Doomed to disappointment, I was thrilled to learn to zoom. While it’s not as good as in person we can still see each other and laugh together. And it let us share my niece’s last year of life. I am so very ready, and nervous about, getting out and being with friends.
    And perhaps once more sharing hotel rooms and keeping the neighbors up with our laughter.

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  6. What wonderful memories. Let's all cheer the day when new ones are ready to be made. Cara's book sounds delicious and I'm off to order.

    To all in Henri's path, stay safe and for heaven sake head for higher ground with your critter family if you even suspect it might be necessary.

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  7. I haven't really hung out with many friends but the good thing is that I don't have that many to begin with. But my friend Ann has been the one I've hung out with the most. Whether for lunch or a couple times I was over to her place as we watched something on Netflix (Lucifer Season 5 and The Old Guard).

    I met up with Edith for dinner a few months ago as we sat outside and talked books. And my sister cooked me a birthday dinner back in March.

    But I don't miss people like most others seem to do. Probably because I'm generally fine on my own.

    I will say that I was bummed that all the resurgent Covid ruining my plans for the first two weekends of November left me a bit peeved though.

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  8. Sorry to have been MIA since June but my wonky lopsided vision prevented me from reading long text online. I missed interacting with the Reds and readers here! Now that I had my second cataract surgery, I am slowly getting back online. Close-up vision is still blurry but I am getting there.

    Even Ottawa has 85% of the population partially vaccinated and 78% fully vaccinated, we have never lifted the masking or in-person restrictions, so all author events are still virtual. And with the Delta variant cases rising here, I don't see that changing into the fall.

    Hoping to see some of you at LCC2022 in Albuquerque next April.

    Those in the path of Hurricane Henri, please stay safe!

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  9. "I've seen bigger and better." Oh lord, that made me laugh!

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  10. Time with friends, something we almost took for granted once. Not any more. It makes me so mad that many of us did the right things and sacrificed, and now we are deep in the muck again.

    Road trips can be fun. For several years I traveled with a friend (also named Karen) to consumer shows. Most of the time we drove, but sometimes we flew and rented a car together. We had many memorable, and sometimes hilarious, incidents, but the one that I will never forget was our very first show with our own booth. I was sick with a horrible cold, but we'd already paid for our booth, shipped product, and had driven 300 miles, so I was trying to get rested for the first day. However, two young men had apparently jointly hired a prostitute, and she kept going between their two rooms on our hallway, one of which was right across from ours. At one point, they stopped letting her in, and instead of banging on doors and slamming them, there was shouting and kicking going on. It was probably 3 AM before the beleaguered local cop got involved.

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    1. The reason for the screaming was that they just didn't pay her, after all that.

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    2. That must have been a swell hotel, Karen. In a great neighborhood.

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    3. Actually, it was a nice hotel, and in a very safe neighborhood in Novi, Michigan. But it was also Halloween, and the cops were busy, plus the desk clerk did not take me seriously. They sent someone up to suggest that the guys be quiet, but they didn't kick them out. I strongly suspect there is a lot of that kind of thing happening in hotels and motels all the time, just not necessarily so drunken.

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  11. I was invited out to dine with my grandson a couple of weeks ago, and I just couldn't do it. He's fully vaccinated. So am I. But there's just too much Delta going around out there, and now he's home isolating because he was exposed. His test comes back on Monday but so far he says he feels fine.

    I felt privileged to be included in some of those Jungle Red dinners at the Dallas Bouchercon, where I first met you, Rhys. Such a lovely group of fun, funny, highly accomplished women. Lucky for me, I'm in Deb's bubble so we've gotten together several times for tea, or to drool over fountain pens and ink. In times like these, we are easily amused.

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    1. GIGI: I understand your reluctance to dine with your grandson. Delta is a different beast. About 30% of new cases each day are with people fully vaccinated here.

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    2. I haven't seen the 30% figure, Grace, but it doesn't surprise me. We're getting anywhere from 400 to 1,000 new cases a day, but nobody is saying anything about breakthrough infections because that would be sharing actual public health information and Texas is officially not in favor of admitting that COVID exists at all. Idiots. My grandson and I are Zooming later this afternoon. I'm glad to hear that you're okay!

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    3. The Ontario government decided to include statistics on number of people unvaccinated, partially and fully vaccinated with the daily COVID case count a few weeks ago. We are back over 700 cases a day. Although Ontario reached the milestone vaccination rates to reopen to stage 4, the province has refused to do so. People have been letting their guard down since July and the steady rise of cases and breakthrough infections are a wake-up call to stay vigilant.

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    4. Interesting, I’m in the Bay Area of California. We are 87% vaccinated. Almost no new cases here and breakthrough cases are less than 5 percent, The problem with reporting breakthrough cases is that it is defined very differently, I find the 30% figure not believable, the medical data in Israel does not support that high of a figure. My husband works for Kaiser, a health care provider with hundreds of hospitals in the US, and they are saying new cases of covid are approximately 8% of their patients. The problem in Texas is the large number of unvaccinated not breakthrough cases of the vaccinated.
      Life here is normal, everything is open concerts are happening and everything is open. We do wear masks inside.

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  12. RHYS,

    How is Jacqueline Winspear doing after surgery? I am so glad that you got to see her for coffee. I was starting to worry because I have not seen her Facebook post since May!

    Here's hoping that there will be vaccines for children under age 12 soon. Hope that the pandemic will be over by next year so we can all get together at the mystery conference. It is really hard for me to understand why some people are against vaccines. When I was a kid, the vaccine shots made me cry and I never got the diseases that killed children when our grandparents were children. So vaccines are important even if we do not like them.

    Definitely miss seeing family and friends during the pandemic. We got to see relatives last month for tea outside. That was wonderful.

    Happy Sunday!

    Diana

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    1. Jackie is doing well, Diana. She’s living in Washington State , trying to decide if she likes it up there

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    2. Happy to hear that Jackie is doing well. I visited a dear friend and her family several times on one of the Islands off the coast of Seattle.

      Diana

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    3. I had been bingeing Maisie Dobbs, taking a break now to catch up on some friends' new releases. Sorry Jaqueline had to have surgery. Just another reason to want in-person conferences - so I can meet her!

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    4. EDITH,

      Every year while I am waiting for the new Maisie novel in March, I start bingeing the entire Maisie Dobbs series. U fell in love with the books after receiving the first book for Christmas. I was nervous the first time I met her and she was very kind. I was fortunate to have Jackie and Rhys at the Book Passage Mystery Writing summer program several years ago.

      In-person conferences would be really wonderful once the pandemic is over!


      Diana

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  13. Despite the fact that I get to go to work on a daily basis, I miss larger amounts of people when I never thought I would. I am not a people person, I stand in the corner of a room. I don't communicate comfortably, especially face to face. But that freedom of movement that we all took for granted, so easily took for granted? That part I miss.

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  14. Your story about speaking for the nudist group reminds me of a famous story. It may be apocryphal, but it's so good it should be true.
    A man flashes open his raincoat in front of a woman. She looks carefully all the way down and then all the way back up. Her response: "You should be ashamed to take that out in public."

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  15. Rhys, I love the story about the nudists! I can't say I've ever had book event quite that interesting! You and Cara always have so much fun. I've missed doing book tours with the Todds--we've had some great times together, especially the little motel in central Florida where there were alligators all around the restaurant. The food was great, though!

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    1. I remember your tale of getting flu in mid tour!

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    2. That was in Germany. And then the volcano in Iceland blew up! That was a trip to remember!

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  16. We all have some of the most ridiculous adventures on trips. I miss them. I am tired of putting off travel! All my family have been vaccinated and are being careful. My niece's husband got exposed at work and brought it home to my niece, so they both have covid. Mild cases fortunately, but he has no sense of smell or taste right now. I last saw her last fall when we did a quick exchange of pecans.

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  17. I see family but it’s always slightly worrying

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    1. Yes, slightly worrying. The baby children are thinking of coming next weekend, and I am SO worried about it.

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  18. Rhys, the nudist book tour stop! How hilarious! Glad you could keep your British stiff upper lip when the naked guy strolled across, and glad he was without stiff. You and Cara seem to have lots of fun.

    I miss seeing my friends in the mystery community up close and personal. If something good has come out of staying home, it's that I have talked to some of those friends on the phone, both video and not, on a regular basis.

    I am not going places or traveling yet, except an occasional visit to my daughter's. Since my darling granddaughter doesn't turn twelve until the end of this week, I am trying to be extra careful for her. She will get the vaccine as soon as she can, and for that I am grateful. That means everyone in my family will have been vaccinated. Of course, the Delta variant is a wicked trickster that can infect even the vaccinated. Our state is in the red zone, all of our state, and yet my community continues to have events that draw large crowds from out of town and out of state. I don't understand the lack of concern.

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  19. Oh, I loved Cara's book! Also, NUDISTS, I am in stitches when clearly they weren't!!! LOL.

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