Monday, October 11, 2010

Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace: Guest Halloween Blogger

To further expand on my Halloween Mystery List,  I've asked "Halloween Crime Writers" to Guest blog about themselves, their books and their Halloween Experiences. Boo!

First up is Camille Minichino. She has published eight novels in the Periodic Table Mysteries series, featuring retired physicist GLORIA LAMERINO. The series continues in short stories on Kindle and
As Margaret Grace, she's published five novels in the Miniature Mysteries series, featuring miniaturist GERALDINE PORTER and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Maddie.
As Ada Madison, she's poised to release a new series, the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries, featuring college professor SOPHIE KNOWLES.

A Halloween Carol by Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace

I can't say enough about a month that starts out National Dollhouse Month, and ends with Halloween.

Throw in all that fun-size candy, those glittery costumes, and the anniversary of Sputnick (October 4, 1957), and you have 31 party-filled days every year. Well, except for October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles read a script derived from "The War of the Worlds" and scared millions in the radio audience more than any ghosts, evil witches, or giant spiders' webs could have.

In October, all the whites are safely put away and the orange comes out: pumpkin scones, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin ice cream. No wonder I love this season.

I always wanted to live on a street that treated Halloween with respect, taking orange and black decorations seriously. It didn't happen, so I created one of my own in my fifth miniature mystery, "Monster in Miniature."

The residents of Sangamon River Road, in the fictional town of Lincoln Point, California, hold a competition every year for the best, most elaborate Halloween sets. I had the most fun time with this book, sparing no expense in outfitting the street with cauldrons, low-flying bats, jack o'lanterns, skeletons, gravestones, black cats ready to attack, and electronic nooses (yes, that's nooses, not noises, though there's also sound everywhere). In front of every house is a large pumpkin shaped bowl filled with treats, mostly chocolate.

My childhood fantasy come true. Why else write fiction?

"Monster in Miniature" revolves around a scarecrow that comes out every year on a certain porch on Sangamon. The scarecrow is wired to scream and flail its arms when anyone approaches. Children, including those who know what's in store, run away even as they squeal with delight.

Except this year, the scarecrow doesn't move. It turns out (not a spoiler; it happens right away) the scarecrow is alive. Well, dead, but formerly alive.

Not to worry—the town miniaturist and her precocious eleven-year-old granddaughter are on the case and the story ends with a rousing Halloween party where Shakespeare's three witches show up.

It's not a coincidence that National Dollhouse Month is the same month as Halloween. Dollhouses and Halloween go together just as Mysteries and Halloween are a natural combination. Every miniaturist has built at least one haunted house.

I wish there were Halloween carols to sing. But failing that, I've programmed my smart phone with a new ring tone: He did the mash. He did the monster mash.

It will have to do.


Camille Minichino said...

"Thanks for hosting me, Janet," I say as I start on my second bag of candies. But they're MINI, of course.

Janet Rudolph said...

Thank you for writing. Be sure and stop back to answer any questions or comments. :-)

Yvette said...

The season of corn candies. What could be bad? Your post made me smile so much, Janet. Plus you introduced me to some new writers and books.

Janet Rudolph said...

Thanks, Yvette, and this post is by Camille/Margaret Grace.

Yvette said...

Oh jeez, sorry about that Camille and Janet.

Camille Minichino said...

Yvette, are you one of those people who eats candy corn a certain way? Starting at the top or bottom? (I'm the kind to shove three or four into my mouth at once!)

JournoMich said...

How fun! The miniature theme sounds interesting in and of itself, then add in Halloween...I bet these are as fun to read as it sounds like they are to write.

Thanks for opening my eyes to a new author, Janet.


Priscilla said...

Thank you, Camille, for honoring my favorite season so well. Love the idea of a skeleton being formerly alive, but my biggest thrill was when you mentioned "The Monster Mash"! I still get a chill of delight when I hear the first few words...

Camille Minichino said...

Same here, Priscilla! Monster Mash is one of a kind.

Yvette said...

Hi Camille, truth to tell corn candies are TOO SWEET for me. I eat a few (one at a time) and then I go 'ugh'. But I do it every year. Ha! Primarily I just like seeing them in a glass jar for decoration. How boring am I? ;)