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December 28, 2011


Margaret Maron

Images-9As one who came late and planned to leave early, I’ve been amazed by the realization of how very much I’m going to miss all of you . . . all y’all, as we say down here when we mean everybody in the room plus your kinfolks, too.

Normally, I post my comments several days in advance.  I pick a subject, write five- or six-hundred words, then slot it into the queue so Mr. Typepad can publish it online at the proper time.  This time?  I’m four hours away from deadline and I’m at a loss for words.

How can I say goodbye easily to the place where I learned about lip paint?  Where I “met” Karen and sent her wild phlox seeds in exchange for forget-me-not seeds?  Where I finally learned what IOCHFTS means (and realized I wasn’t holding up my end in Me, Margie’s department)?  Where I discovered all over again what a great bunch of women my fellow writers are?  In the short 18 months I've been here, we’ve laughed and commiserated with each other, scolded and praised, cried and cheered.

I feel as if it’s the last week of high school. Images-13 Oh, we swear we’re gonna keep in touch—that we’ll call and write and drop in on each other whenever we’re in the neighborhood, and for a while, we probably will.  But in our heart of hearts, we know that it’ll never be the same, that inevitably we’ll drift apart as time carries us further from each other.  

I had a list of stories and topics I wanted to share with y’all so I could hear your take on them:  declassifying jack rabbits at the Pentagon, nutpicks, gargoyles and rainbows, the real life murder I planned but didn’t commit, buzzard lore, family reunions—

Okay.  A family reunion story.  My grandmother was one of ten siblings. Every June, the “children” would take turns hosting the whole family on the Sunday nearest their mother’s birthday (30 June 1860). The host provided the plates and cups and tubs of sweet lemonade and iced tea.

Images-14Every family came with hampers of food and a long table would be spread under the oaks or pecan trees.  The crispy fried pork chops! The ham biscuits! The competing potato salads, ditto the deviled eggs!  The fried chicken and first tomatoes of summer!  Desserts had a table to themselves:  pecan pies, lemon meringue, red velvet cakes, banana pudding, my own grandmother’s famous 7-layer chocolate cake.

The year we moved back to North Carolina would be our young son’s first reunion since we left New York. He was still miffed that we’d brought him to a place where the Mets games were not automatically televised and nothing about the reunion interested him till we were getting into the car and I told him that the it was going to be at my grandmother’s brother’s house.  My Great-Uncle Willie.  His eye grew round.  “He’s my Uncle Willie, too?”

I was pleased that he was excited until I heard him crooning happily in the back seat, “Uncle Willie. . . Uncle Willie Mays!” 

I really hated to have to break it to him that our Uncle Willie was an old white guy who not only had the wrong color skin, but who also had never played for the Mets. Images-15

But the thing is, aren't we all related now on some psychic level?  And won't we’ll feel that kinship whenever news of someone we met here works its way through the grapevine?

Images-10Karen sent me forget-me-not seeds and I’ll think of TLC every time I see a clump of blue around the farm. 

Forget any of you? 

Not likely.



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Bootlegger's Daughter was one of the first books we read in my Women Lawyer's Book Group at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Still one of my favorite series.

It was great to get to know you a little better through TLC. Please keep writing those wonderful books!

Awwww Crap. The code is back.

"All y'all." I love it.

But "the real life murder I planned but didn't commit" --you can't leave that just hanging there! I'm dying of curiosity here.

Some people get the code. Some people don't get the code. The code knows.

PS - I did not get the code. Heh heh heh.

I do not get the code, but apparently Mr. Typepad did not like my link to the Bill of Rights yesterday.

I won't forget you ladies and gentlemen either.

And the Princesses may have been to too many book sigings. They now look forward to seeing Aunt Elaine. Ok, her last visit included gooey butter cake (YUM!!).

Aww. And our garden will be full of forget-me-nots this spring, too. Now it's clear who I won't forget.

Interesting, too, how the books are forget-me-nots, too. We'll see the covers and think--hey, I know her!

Missing you already..xoo

Exactly, Hank! Or I'll be skimming through someone else's blog and see comments from Lil or Reine or Marie and I get a warm feeling of recognition.

Alan, we usually have cake at my book signings, too. Come on down!

Thank you, Kathy. Women lawyers have so many interesting stories. Love talking with them.

Sorry, Ramona. ....although I did use it as a basis for a fictional short story several years ago.

Ham biscuits.

Just saying.

Margaret was the first mystery writer I actually met, spoke with, bought a signed book from. We talked about writing (I was a romance writer back then, and trying my hand at a mystery) and she wrote a lovely note inside my copy of Bootlegger's Daughter. (It's right here on my "special" shelf!) I was intimidated to ask you to join the blog, and I was flabbergasted and delighted when you became a blog sister. And, of course, I still love your books. Thank you, Margaret!

*I* got a code!

But not the second time. Yeesh!

I was so excited last year when you joined my favorite blog. I've been reading your books for a long time and was happy that I'd be getting to know you better from your chosen topics here on TLC. I'm hopeful that someday you'll choose to come to Mystery Lovers in Oakmont and I'll be able to meet you in person.

I've been so sad ever since the announcement concerning the "end of days" for the TLC world. The sad resignation I feel at the end of the TLC era will linger long. January 1 is fast approaching.

Now you authors all know how it feels for us humble readers to own signed books from you. It's lovely to have a book on a shelf to serve as a physical reminder of a connection with a cherished author friend.

Margaret, I have a feeling we need to meet in person some day. I'm pleased and proud, and a little weepy, to know we share garden goodies.

(I was the lip paint girl, too, by the way. So happy to know you "found" it!)

You're so right about graduation. However, my school friends, now that we're all 60, are meeting monthly instead of waiting five years. Whoever is around shows up at the gathering, and it's been a lot of fun to renew old acquaintances. I am still holding out hope for a TLC reunion, wherein many of us will meet in person for the first time. Could we set this up now, please, before everyone is too scattered to find each other?

Well, here I am, crying again. Too broken up to say more at this time. By the time January 1 rolls around I will probably be dehydrated from all the sobbing.

I will miss all of you SOOOOO much! The only positive thing in all of this is that I'll have more time to read Tart-written books!

I had the code thingy yesterday; wonder if I'll get it now? (Ramona, your comment about the code scares me:-)

No code! Hurray!!

Okay...I'll be the first to out since I have no link. I am on facebook but never go there. People have filled my wall with fotos and I get comments in my e-mail.
I mean I still teach dance with cassettes!
So my e-mail is my stage name. I hate guessing who clever folk are so if you get an e-mail from me it's me.
Xena is my other personality chosen by my friend's son so that's my password.
I hope we can keep our little world connected. 10 brother's and sisters is amazing to me. I love you all!
I'm absolutely dreading the 1st.
Say it ain't so!
Come visit anytime! I'll write back. I promise!

Margaret, I am so happy to have met you here on the blog.
I so enjoyed A CHRISTMAS MOURNING and am glad to have a new series to dig into.
Although I feel like a little kid kicking and screaming, hanging on to my mom's legs as she walks out the door, I observed the pang and wistfulness in my daughter's eyes when on her first day back to work after her baby was born.
She went for the door and looked back and it reminded me of when my kids got married and left home.
I wanted to proverbially grab on to their legs, kicking and screaming but I got through it.
I am left with great memories of them growing up.
My daughter and I stood over the baby's crib the other night and we agreed that we had good times as they were getting bigger.
I feel the same. I am kicking and screaming but we've had some good times here haven't we?

Good times!! The reunions sound fantastic . . . and the Uncle Willy reminded me of taking my niece, at age three or four, to my Weight Watchers meeting. I couldn't quite figure out why she was so excited about meeting our leader, though I had mentioned how very nice and funny Minnie was. Then she piped up, "Will Mickey be there, too?" Another niece thought our neighbor was Dorothy from Oz, all grown up. I do love kids!
Now, about that murder . . . ? and I'm glad you didn't actually do it. Did you use it in a book? I put my intended murder into a short story, because I don't like messes, and I didn't think I'd like prison either.

Margaret, I enjoyed reading "Three Day Town." "Christmas Mourning" is next on my list. It was a pleasure to blog with you, and I hope I'll get to see you at Malice Domestic, the mystery lovers convention in the DC area.

I'm going to miss this place. It's been a wonderful place for socially awkward me to hang out and even participate. Much as I may like to, there's not much chance I'd ever show up for a live meeting. Fifty-seven years of experience has proved that without work to do (a built in excuse to keep moving) I lock down and become tongue tied in groups. Alcohol helps, but there's always that one sip too many. I'll just have to hope one of you posts lots of pictures on facebook. It has been a real pleasure spending time with everyone here with a bonus of many new books to read. And, Margaret, I can't wait to read about socially awkward Sigrid out of her element in North Carolina!

Recently, my DH expressed concern about me. He mentioned that my mental health was being compromised when I announced the oncoming demise of TLC.
I said mentally "What are you talking about, Willis?"
Me cry? Me curled up in a ball in the corner with with blankie and thumb in my mouth?
Secretly, I think he is relieved that I will not be able to pounce on him with the latest TLC news.
At one point he said he did not want to hear that word "BLOG" again. So I would poke him and mouth the word and then relate the latest about my blog friends.
I would sometimes give descriptions only of that lady who was a former movie star (Harley) or that man with the two princesses and the fabulous lady (Elaine) who overcame a health crisis and is sailing along, now.
The lady (Karen) from OHIO who was so capable and so knowledgeable that she sometimes put me to shame.
That suave debonair gentleman from Texas aka William who could charm the..well you know.
The lady from Pitts burg (Nancy) who was like an earth mom to me.
The retired school teacher (Mary) who everyday was so wise.
The lady from Arizona (Reine) who is valiant and dear.
That feisty lady from Vermont (Sarah) who could make me laugh and think at the same time..easy for you not easy for me.
No wonder DH wanted to put his fingers in his ears and say lalala.
I will miss Doc, Gaylin and so many others.
Meanwhile, I will continue poking DH when I read your facebook entries.

Marie, you darling. Will miss you, so much.

You folks are so cool. It's was like a special moment. like the Beatles or something. Thank you for all the great books, and words, and I love the story about Uncle willie. (He started as a Giant, y'know) Forget me nots seem like the appropriate flowers for TLC :)

Margaret, your books always bring me back to my family roots, which weren't in the Carolinas, but were big family, simple habits, etc.

I was delighted to see on FB this morning that you are thinking about possibilities for Judge Deborah . . . it has been such a pleasure to get to know a bit of who you are through your blog posts. I've said it before, but it can't be said too often: Nancy M., you and the Tarts have done a good thing here, and I appreciate you and all the authors I've been introduced to as a result!

Marie, too bad we can't just all bring our glass (of water, wine, beer, cocktail, whatever) to your house and toast your dear hubby, and YOU!

Take good care, everyone. I'll see you around on FB--remind me if I don't know you're a TLC person, would you?

Mr. Typepad gave me a free pass for several days, but today, The Code. Sigh.

So far Mr. Typepad's being a gentleman.

Nancy, you were one of my Best First nominees, weren't you? For the Agatha. For those who don't know Malice, I always moderate a panel called "New Kids on the Block" or "Catch a Rising Star" -- the nominees for Best First Novels. That's how I first met Nancy M. and Sarah and maybe Elaine? (Yes, I'll be there, Elaine.) And a dozen more who are now household names (in households that read mysteries.) Anyhow, thank you for inviting me, Nancy.

Marie, Lil, Carol, Laraine, Mary, Deb, Xena -- I've so enjoyed y'all's comments. Just wish I'd known Rita.

I am going to miss this place so much. I am there for a real-life reunion!

Margaret, I remember finding one of your books in the library and promptly going out and getting more of them. I was thrilled when you arrived here at TLC.

When I miss all the authors here, I can just go to my bookcase for a visit.

When I miss the readers, hopefully we will all connect on FB.

Oh and Margaret, I would eagerly go to your family reunion rather than ever attend another one with my family. We had one, it was weird, I decided that maybe I was adopted . . .

Margaret, the first book of yours I recall reading was SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT, as BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER was already checked out at the library. Love the Deborah Knott series!

I remember when our dear NancyM. announced we may get "Margaret Maron" to blog, then thinking, ha-ha, April Fool's Joke, or something like that. THEN, you showed up! Couldn't believe it!

Like others have said more eloquently before me, I'm so happy that I got to know you a little bit more! I've so very much enjoyed your blog posts. I think we're all sort of sad to lose this ONE PLACE where we came together as a nice community, and could express our feelings and our love for the written word.

Hope you carry fond memories of TLC, esp. when you look at Karen's lovely Forget-Me-Nots.

Everyone who has contributed to TLC has enriched my life in many ways. (Getting weepy now) Maybe we'll meet in real life someday. I'm not sure I'm ready to graduate just yet! I know we'll move on, but must it be so soon?!I've now gotten a new FB acct. but it won't quite be the same, as there isn't one gathering spot for us, like Cheers!

Will miss each and every one of you TLC'ers. xoxo

Oh, Margaret, Margaret, Margaret!
I thought I'd be able to come back here later in the day and be more articulate, less weepy, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe later, after dinner...I am consoling myself with the reminder that although I may not be reading your blog comments any longer, I will still be able to read about Deborah Knott, one of my favorite fictional characters, and it has nothing to do with her first name. (My middle name, by the way, is Margaret.)

I believe that you and Nancy Pickard are the Tarts that I have "known" the longest. I can't remember when I started reading your books and Nancy's but I feel like I've been reading books by both of you FOREVER. And it's been GOOD.

Lynn in Texas said she's not sure she's ready to graduate. I KNOW I'm not ready!! A World Without Tarts?? Oh, my!! I don't know if I can handle it!! I feel like I know all of you as well as I know my sisters!! I "talk" to all of you (would you say "all y'all" Margaret?) more often than I talk to most of my relatives! Okay, break over, my brain cells are fading, and somehow I must get back to work... Hope I will be more articulate after dinner.

Margaret, I just cannot say good-bye. I cannot. I am not even motivated to try. Couldn't I just give you a big hug? xo

Maybe Sylvia the Great, my brilliant new hair stylist and championship horseback sharp shooter, can fix this?

So do we need to vote on a reunion place?

Malice Domestic? (end of April, 27-29)
Bouchercon? (October 4-7)
Festival of Mystery? (May 3)

Some other time/place?

Lil, I loved your comparing us to the Beatles. I guess Sunday will be when we take it to the rooftop for one final performance.

Lynn, have to admit I have a soft spot for SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT because of the corn-growing scene. It was not a bad one to start with.

Gaylin, if we still had family reunions I'd invite you to mine. I feel as if I know a lot of you better than cousins 4 or 5 generations down from those original grandparents.

Karen, I'm up for Malice!

Heh, and we probably all like each other better than some of our own relatives, too!

I've always wanted to go to Malice. Anyone else?

Where is Malice? Does it change from year to year? I am definitely going to think about it.

I am thinking about how interesting life can be: the first time I got together with people I had originally met on line, they were folks I had met through an on-line support group for people who had family members who suffered from a particular mental illness. (At the time, I was sort of a caregiver from afar for my youngest sister, who has had a lifelong struggle with mental illness, and who is now in a nursing home due to a combination of mental, physical, and cognitive disabilities.) For DAYS ahead of time, I had nightmares about what it would be like to meet "those" people. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life, and only the first of many such gatherings for me. Friends I have made through that group are some of the funniest people I have ever known! I often walk away from our gatherings aching from laughter! Now I am thinking of getting together with people who share an interest in murder. Hmm...I wonder what my friends will think about this new development? Murder mysteries have been my "escape", my way of relaxing and putting my own concerns out of my mind. (And by the way, my best friend is someone I met through that other group.)

Google Malice Domestic 2012 for all the info. It's held in Bethesda MD, a short Metro ride from airports and central DC. But you need to register before the 31st when the rate goes up.

Gaylin, if you were adopted, maybe have we been separated at birth. Then you going west,speaking english and me going east,speaking french.
As the other known canadian here, as another woman living well alone and now as a person who would feel more at ease in a tart's family than in her own, I have always felt a kind of sisterhood with you.
One of many that I will miss.

Sorry to be so late!! We've been on the road all day heading back home to Boone from Alabama. Spend a few days with Donald's family for the holidays.

Anyhooooooo - Margaret. There's not one thing I can say here that I haven't said a beezillion times. So short and sweet and from my heart - I love ya, girl. You're stuck with me (and Donald!) for life. Hugs, my friend - great big ones.

Danielle, ma soeur! Okay, I don't know french, I had to google that.

I also googled Malice - there was a certain panel talk that was very Tart friendly.

I'm also here at my (usual) late hour. Margaret, I had read your work before you joined TLC, and it's been great reading you here.

I might be able to do Malice Domestic - I've been thinking about it for a year or so. Having a TLC reunion might be just what I need to actually make it there!

Gaylin, you should have been there last year. Elaine, Nancy P, Hank, and I, along with Dorothy Cannell had such fun being on the same panel.

Kaye, dear ..... like crazy glue.

Mr. Typepad's acting up again. Ate one of my messages, refused to let me on no matter how many passwords I gave him, demanded codes, and then suddenly opened the gate and let me in. Him I won't miss for a minute.

Margaret, I loved your books long before you came to TLC. I was so glad to see you join the blog, and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know you a little bit here. I will continue to love your books long after the blog's demise, but they will have a little more depth now, after having learned more about you.

Thanks for the years of pleasure and entertainment you've provided with your stories.

Forget-me-nots are blue -- and so am I as we wind down here. I still keep thinking that at least a couple of you Lovely Sweet Tarts will make a New Years' resolution to keep the blog going, even if just once a week.

I have SO much work to do on Facebook. Please look for me! If you don't already know, I am Deb Romano. See you there!

The death watch continues...sniffle... WAAAAAH!!!

Karen . . . Tucson? Festival of Books? Authors, come to Tucson. We have a really huge, like the biggest ever, book festival. From here you can go to The Poisoned Pen in Phoenix, over to LA or the other way, like to New Mexico, or Texas, Louisiana, and you know - the South.

Oh, Deb. Have one of my tissues.

Thank you, Laura.

No, no, no, Karen! Ignore Reine. Come to Malice!

Ohhhh Margaret! It would really be fun to go there. Could we do barbecue?

One of those pig things you write about?

Margaret I too read your books before your joining TLC. I started with the Sigrid Harrold ones and on the strength of those picked up Bootlegger's Daughter. At the time I was sick of mysteries set in the South but your series made it all OK again. I was very glad when you joined TLC and I love your posts. All things must come to an end, but rarely is it a painless process. Thank you for being a part of this marvelous community.

Al_S - Thank you so much for your words.

Reine, it's called a "pig-picking" and I doubt if the Malice hotel people would let us roll in a pig cooker out back.

Bye, everyone!

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