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Tomorrow is my Toys For Tots book signing! It’ll be at the Harrison County Library from 1-4. I’ll have this year’s benefit anthology, THE GIFT OF MURDER, and last year’s, DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND and SWORD AND SORCERESS XXIII. I bought a truckload of SSXXIII, for some reason. I could built a freakin’ house out of them, I got so many. I think they’ve been multiplying like coat hangers.

Anyway, I don’t have all that many copies of TGOM. I bought a bunch, but I’ve been selling them, and now I hope I’m worrying with good cause. It would totally suck if nobody showed up, especially since there’ll be a toy collection box there.

Meanwhile, I’ve been zipping away on DOWN AND DIRTY DEATH. I have over 40,000 words, way ahead of schedule, but right on the mark for my personal goal. I think I’m ready for the story to take another turn. Wheeeee!


writing prompt: Have a character go shopping for a child/elder that he/she doesn’t know.

The contest again: Okay, here is the costume I wore to Halloween on the Square. Many people liked it, but nobody knew what it was. If you think you know what it is, post a comment. AnyoneCostume who guesses correctly will have his or her name put into a drawing. On October 31, a winner will be drawn from any correct guesses. If there are no correct guesses, I’ll put all INCORRECT guesses into a drawing. The winner gets a copy of THE GIFT OF MURDER, Wolfmont’s 2009 Toys For Tots benefit anthology.

Clues and hints, some new today: I’m the title of a book published in the last part of the 20th century. It’s a non-fiction book, but most people think of it as fiction because it reads like fiction. I’m all in black, but I was sprayed with sparkles. My earrings are moons and stars. All the rest of my jewelry and the trim on my shawl are floral, except for a Jiminy Cricket pin.


I made a really good sammich the other day. Got me some pepperjack cheese and put that and some ham on rye bread schmeered with mayonnaise and grilled it. Made my mouth so happy! This morning, I made latkes:


  • defrosted potato shreds (sometimes called hash browns)
  • egg
  • flour
  • onion or onion powder
  • salt/pepper
  • oil

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Combine other ingredients. Just enough egg and flour to coat everything and bind the potato and onion together. I use onion powder rather than real onion. Fry until golden brown on both sides.

After I took the latkes out to drain on paper towels, I threw a couple pieces of ham into the pan (Did I say it was a kosher meal? Did I? Let me see…. No, I don’t believe that I did.) and ate it all with a dainty and ladylike glob of apple jelly. Yum!


writing prompt: Does your main character like sparkly things, or does he/she think sparkles are tacky?

Yesterday was a blast. Today I have ch-ch-ch-ch-church and then an all-day party for Charlie’s family. Wheeeeee!

Tomorrow, I’m going to run a contest. You have to try to guess what my costume is. Nobody could guess yesterday, and I thought it was pretty obvious. Ah, well, that’s what happens when your brain works sideways, I guess.

Winner gets a free copy of THE GIFT OF MURDER, this year’s mystery anthology from Wolfmont for the benefit of the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation.


writing prompt: Send a character to a masquerade party wearing a costume nobody else can identify, much to his/her disgust and chagrin.

Not like real housekeeping. Not like mopping the floor and dusting the tchotchkes and stuff. I mean metaphorical housekeeping. Like:

Yesterday or whenever, I posted Three Sisters Casserole but I didn’t say why I called it that. Some of my five regular readers already know this but, for those who don’t, The Three Sisters is what food history peeps call the three mainstays of American Indian agriculture and cuisine: beans, corn and squash. Since those were the primary ingredients of the casserole….

Recently, a friend whose sense of humor sometimes takes a dry turn, announced that she had read another blog to which I had posted and that it was very funny–“Marian can be quite witty. You wouldn’t expect it, but she can be.” The lady sitting next to her went all wide-eyed and jaw-dropped and gasped, “That was kind of a…left-handed compliment, wasn’t it?” I was glad I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee during the exchange or I would have lost it.

THE GIFT OF MURDER is available for pre-order (a little cheaper than the full $15 price). THE GIFT OF MURDER is the winter-holiday mystery anthology Wolfmont publishes every year to benefit the Marines’ Toys for Tots Foundation. I have a story in it, “The Spirit of Spadena Street”, featuring LeJune and her mother June Rose, who live together on Spadena Street, a two-block neighborhood of Storybook Style houses. The neighborhood is planning a holiday party, trying to decide on what holiday they’re going to celebrate (not all the neighbors are Christian, but June Rose says she must have a “sweet little baby Jesus” or she won’t be happy). One of the neighbors is mugged and left with the warning, “We know where you live.” The thought of desperadoes stalking Spadena Street makes LeJune’s and June Rose’s blood boil. They won’t have it, and they put their minds to figuring out what’s behind the mugging and how to keep their neighborhood safe. In the process, LeJune goes ass-over-tip and finds herself staring up the nostrils of a corpse.

I’m hoping to get to the coffee shop today or tomorrow to work on updating my web site. I would like to move my blog to my web site. If I do that, I’ll close this blog down, just leaving a page with a link to the new one. Everything on this one would be moved there, and still be available, except for the Culinary Chronicles that are here now. I’ve stopped writing those, having passed the happy task on to Karlis Streips, so I’ll rename that page something else and change the ones here now for newer ones, and maybe even write a new one now and then instead of keeping the same ones up forever.

Better go, or I won’t have any time in town.


writing prompt: How would you have reacted, if you heard what sounded like an insult between friends? Put a character in that situation.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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