Christmas Cards are Killer

I love Christmas cards … sending them, receiving them. It’s always been a big deal to me. Takes me a long while to manage my card list, as I write a note in every one, and I include one of those newsy letters with fancy fonts and pictures (of dogs). I usually start on the project the first of November, writing the notes during the commercials of football games. This year I trimmed my list a bit and sent only eighty-some … most of the cards featuring pug dogs and the Green Bay Packers (amazing the sort of Christmas card sets you can find on eBay).

I have a lot of friends, but during the year I don’t have time to reach out to all of them … folks from back to my grade school days through high school, college, gaming, various states I’ve lived in or traveled to. Christmas cards are my chance to say ‘hey, I think about you, stay safe and warm.’

I’ve received AWESOME cards this year … a lot of dogs. My friends know where my heart is. Tin from New York sent me a pug card. Juliana sent me a stand-up card with dogs that look like some of the ones who wrap around my feet. I got a Snoopy Dance card (’cause I Snoopy Dance sometimes), gorgeous handmade cards (thanks, Mary Z) with all the glittery stuff inside, electronic animated cards with dogs and dogs and snowmen. I treasure all of them and save most of them. I have a box stuffed with my favorite Christmas cards, including many from Gene Wolfe. Some of the cards appear in my books, especially the Piper Blackwell tales … as she lives near Santa Claus, Indiana, and all things merry.

Christmas cards were why I started writing Piper Blackwell and the Dead of series. Honest. Christmas cards started my career as a mystery writer. I was getting so many cards from my friends — beautiful cards with foil-lined envelopes — and only their names scrawled inside. No note. Not even a sentence. I was a tad flummoxed. Why go to the expense to buy fancy cards and mail them, and not even write a few words inside? I figured if I was a serial killer looking for victims, I might pull out my stack of Christmas cards and go after the folks who only signed their names. That’s the basis for The Dead of Winter, my first Piper Blackwell book, which was originally called Christmas Card Killer and was the runner-up for the Claymore Award.

I’ve since relaxed my brain. I just appreciate my friends sending cards, even though some of them just sign their names. It is a busy busy busy world, and so I am thankful that I am thought of and on their card list. And I understand some folks do not have time for more than that.

A lot of my friends who have read The Dead of Winter send a note in the card … including Randall Lemon, the soul who was the inspiration for the book.

Can’t help but smile over that.

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