Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trick or Treat

There have been several excellent posts here this month about costumes and dressing our characters, so I thought I would take a bit of a divergent path with my post today. 

Have you ever stopped to think that life is so much like the bag of Halloween candy that we used to get when we went out trick-or-treating? The bag would fill up with all kinds of unknown things as we dashed through the darkness going from house to house shouting, "Trick or treat."

The air was filled with electric excitement as we anticipated enjoying all the goodies that were filling our bags.

Then sometimes as we walked along the sidewalk, we'd reach into the bag and pluck something out, not really knowing what we were going to get. Maybe it would be something really scrumptious, like our favorite candy bar. Or maybe it would be just a simple piece of peppermint wrapped in plastic. Or the dreaded apple.

Life is like that.

Often we reach into each day and we don't know what we're going to pluck out. Sometimes it's something sad. A loss in our family or circle of friends. Or scary, like some of the things we see happening in the news today.

But sometimes it's something sweet and wonderful.

Like a great day at the computer when the words flow in great unending streams. And the characters talk to us. And we end our day feeling so very good about what we have accomplished.

And sometimes there's a wonderful surprise in our email box like one I received recently. I was notified that Stalking Season, the second book in my Seasons Mystery Series received top honors in the John E Weaver Excellent Reads Award for 2017 in the Police Procedural Mystery category. The cover design is also in the running for the best cover in that category, so I am doing the happy dance with my editors and my graphic artist.

The Seasons Mystery Series features two women homicide detectives in Dallas, and I do try to dress them appropriately for the job. Unlike so many women officers on television, they do not wear spike heels and blouses that barely contain their breasts. As Sarah, one of the protagonists says, "There isn't a perp alive who gives a damn what we're wearing."

Sarah's costume of choice includes jeans, a tee shirt - not too tight - and a blazer. Angel, her partner, prefers a bit more of the professional look with a suit, although she did switch from a skirt to slacks after her first day as a detective. She found it was much easier to run in slacks when chasing someone down the street.

What surprises have you found in your "bag of life" recently? Does the good candy outweigh the icky stuff? Please do share.
Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor, and sometimes an actress. She has written a number of mysteries, including the critically-acclaimed Season Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. 


  1. As you note, Maryann, life encompasses the good, the bad, and the ugly, as well as everything in between. Interestingly, those categories may differ with each of us. While bad is fairly generic in many instances--although not all--the others can be individual-specific. What is that saying? Into each life a little rain must fall? It even rains in the desert. I know--I lived in one for years. That's why I have an umbrella; I brought it with me from Seattle. The size of our umbrella may at times contribute to our perception of the bad, and we may make lemonade out of those lemons. Two more things: Congrats on the honors you are receiving for Stalking Season (definitely a good). Second, I want to read the books in your series, so Amazon will be getting a visit today (another good). :-)

    1. Thanks so much for the new insights on the rain. It is interesting the way we all have a slightly different perspective on what we consider "bad." Although I do contend that the bruised, wrinkled apple in our Halloween bag was always bad. LOL

      Thank you so much for the visit to Amazon. I do hope you enjoy the reads, and would love to get some new reviews. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

  2. Congratulations on the Stalking Season honors, Maryann. I can imagine how good that feels.

    My nice surprise in the "bag of life" came from Publishers Weekly! I received a review (my first from PW) for Wishing Caswell Dead that included some very nice quotable comments. I even like the fact they called my novel "odd." :D

    1. Congratulations on the nice PW review. Chuckling a bit about "odd." What exactly does that mean? LOL

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Diana. Stalking Season has gotten some good recognition, and I am hoping for the cover award.

  4. Glad you made a point of dressing your female cops appropriately. It's a bugaboo of mine when the gals on TV are wearing 4" heels, low necklines, and skirts. Seriously? Congrats on the award.

    1. Thanks, Polly. I have been known to throw things at the television when another woman officer appears on screen with the heels and tight shirts, buttons straining on the blouses. I'll have to see if there are episodes of Hill Street Blues streaming anywhere, as I am trying to remember if the women were dressed like that on that show. I'm thinking not, but then it's been a long time.

    2. Betty Thomas dressed like the cops I see on the street. Nothing sexy. Most of the others were attorneys on that show. Most realistic.

    3. Thanks for the Hill Street Blues update, Polly. I still want to find the show, though. It was a favorite of mine and part of the reason I write police procedural mysteries.

  5. Your analogy comparing life with a bag of Halloween candy is great!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Elle. I am still smiling and dancing.

  7. I forgot to congratulate you on your award!


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...