Welcome Back Guest Mary Angela!

I’m so delighted to welcome back Mary Angela! She is one of those people that you instantly like when you meet them and she’s a talented novelist. Halloween books are so much fun. Here’s a little about her newest book Midnight Spells Murder the second book in the Happy Camper mystery series:

Spirit Canyon’s annual Spirit Spooktacular weekend is on, and for local amateur sleuth Zo Jones, it’s boom time for business at her Happy Camper gift shop . . . until a murderer drops in for a browse.

To celebrate Halloween at the Happy Camper, Zo schedules a talk by successful author and self-proclaimed witch Marianne Morgan. Although Marianne’s benign brand of witchcraft is more about feminine empowerment than black magic, her presence is still not welcomed by everyone. Then on a midnight stroll home, Zo spots what seems to be a new Halloween decoration propped up outside the Happy Camper. What she finds is not a mannequin but a dead Marianne, her lifeless body dressed in traditional witch’s garb. But why would someone send this good witch back to the spirit world permanently?

Soon Zo realizes that plenty of folks have motives for murdering Marianne. What’s worse, nosy TV newsman Justin Castle plans to broadcast a report associating Marianne’s murder with the Happy Camper. Zo calls on her partner in sleuthing, local forest ranger Max Harrington, to help her find the culprit before Justin’s report airs. Otherwise Zo’s business just might go bust. But to catch this killer, Zo will have to risk much more than just her reputation . . .

Mary: What do you think of when you see the word witch? Green face, crooked nose, large wart? Or perhaps something akin to a mean girl: pretty, snobbish, and spoiled. Maybe neither but a beautiful witch like Samantha Stephens from the television show Bewitched. When I first started writing Midnight Spells Murder, I had a celestial person in mind, for certain a woman, and perhaps one in tune with nature. What I discovered was another possibility.

My amateur sleuth, Zo Jones, invites an author—a witch—to her Happy Camper gift shop for a special Halloween book signing. Like many authors, this one decides to do a talk about her book, and it includes a little of what I myself discovered about witches.

While doing research, I came across an article about a book titled Witch: Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic by Lisa Lister. A few clicks later, I’d bought the book and was several chapters deep. Lister herself is a third-generation witch and discusses the negative connotations associated with the word. I recognized them instantly. What I didn’t immediately comprehend was the far-reaching history behind them.

Of course, certain people and organizations would take umbrage with women who claim to have power, including the power to heal others. Women are taught at a young age that they are the fairer and weaker of the sexes. A woman who asserts power might be threatening to some who expect authority to come from doctors, scientists—men. By turning witches into hideous creatures (or in Samantha Stephens’ case, a cute mischief maker), they effectively revoke her power. The witch becomes evil, cruel, or cute, but always incapable.

Much of what Lister talks about is memory. She reminds readers that women are powerful. By reawakening the power within themselves, women can connect to a deep heritage of other powerful women. One doesn’t have to be pagan or religious to recognize the power. In the simplest definition, a witch is an “unapologetic woman” who “trusts her inner authority and doesn’t look outside herself for validation and/or approval.”

Reclaiming one’s power isn’t as otherworldly as it might seem. Sometimes it’s as simple as standing up for others, one’s self, or important causes; understanding Mother Nature; or not holding back. The book includes exercises to help readers reconnect to their inner witch and achieve these goals. Some of them are physical, some of them are mental, and, in my opinion, all of them are fascinating.

Witches have power, but words have power, too. It’s a message we relearn again and again. In Midnight Spells Murder, Zo discovers a witch isn’t a bad person. In fact, she’s a very good person for whom Zo must find justice. Luckily for her, it’s Halloween in Spirit Canyon, and this witch has a little magic up her sleeve! All Zo needs to do is trust herself to solve the mystery.

Readers: Did you have a favorite Halloween costume? Were you ever a witch?

Bio: Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

Instagram: www.instagram.com/maryangelabooks/

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Twitter: @maryangelabooks

Website: www.maryangelabooks.com

25 Thoughts

    1. Hi Dru! A witch is the easiest costume in the world, isn’t it? A black hat and black clothes, and you’re good to go!

  1. My favorite costume when I was a kid was as a gypsy. I now have an Elvira costume which my husband loves. I got for a Halloween cruise we went on a few years ago. I had a witch’s hat I would put on when giving out candy when we lived in a neighborhood where we got over 200 kids. We did up our front yard like a spooky graveyard. We had a candy dish that scared the little kids so I got a different one for the little ones. Now where we live we are lucky if we get one kid. It’s all retirees around here.

    1. A Halloween cruise?? That sounds fabulous (and so do your costumes). I can only imagine how much fun you had on a boat full of Halloween enthusiasts!

  2. Mary, welcome to the blog! What a fabulous backstory to the new book. Midwives were long regarded with suspicion, for the same reasons.

    I love dressing up in costumes, and as adult, putting on puffy black wig and going as someone I’m not!

    1. Thank you, Edith! It’s interesting how women of certain talents were treated with suspicion, isn’t it?
      And I love wigs of all kinds. Any time I can conceal my curly hair it’s a win!

  3. I remember my mom buying us those costumes in a box with those plastic masks that were awful to wear! I definitely wore a witch’s costume, but I think I had the most fun going as a hobo, wearing one of my dad’s old sport coats, beat up hat, and smudge on my face. I love seeing the costumes my trick-or-treaters wear nowadays, so creative!

    1. Hi Kathy! Oh my gosh, I remember those plastic masks. Not comfortable at all! I love seeing all the trick-or-treaters come to my door, too. They make the holiday so much fun.

  4. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a humbug when it comes to Halloween and costumes. I’m just not into it. Although when I was a senior in college, my friend and I went to the 200 Daze party as a box of crayons. We were each one half of the box and we wore little pointed caps made of colored paper and clothes in a matching color to be “crayons.” That was fun.

    1. Hi Liz! The crayon costume sounds really fun, especially the caps. I can picture that in my head.

  5. Never a witch. My favorite costume was a tiger. I only remember one “store bought” costume when I was a kid. My mom was a talented seamstress and make-up artist so the face paint was always fun.

    1. Ooh, a tiger sounds really interesting! My parents were not big on purchasing costumes either although one year I did get to buy a Tina Turner wig and thought I was pretty cool.

    1. Thanks so much for having me back, Sherry! I appreciate all your kind words and support.

  6. As a child, our costumes were homemade with what we could find which sometimes dictated what we were. I can only remember having one bought costume and for some unknown reason it was a hotdog. 🙂 As an adult, since hubby and I were clowns, I know how much fun it is to become someone else. Behind the grease paint, I could act childlike or funny and not be thought of as nuts or having a few screws loose. While at the same time, bringing smiles to others which is heart warming for sure. Just in recent years, I have taken the makeup and created other characters. The last one I was a puppy dog with my hair in “dog ears”, painted face and plaid shirt I went as a Scottish terrier.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay! Your costumes sound so creative. It’s nice to step out of character on Halloween, isn’t it? I love the freedom the holiday brings.

  7. Thanks for visiting with us today, Mary! I really enjoyed your post! All of my favorite Halloween costumes are ones my children wore. Like children, it would be impossible to choose a faovrite!

    1. Thanks, Jessie! I loved my kids’ Scooby-Doo costumes, especially my daughter’s Velma wig. So fun!

  8. My favorite costumes were the ones I made for my son. His earliest were devil & vampire, my favorites were a NinjaTurtle & Calvin with a stuffed Hobbes.

    1. Hi Judith! I had nephews who LOVED the Ninja Turtles. Good memories.

  9. I hated those plastic mask costumes, too, so when my daughter was ready for Trick or Treating, I made her costumes. Nothing too elaborate, a butterfly, Robin Hood, and once, my husband made a robot costume complete with flashing LEDS and sound effects.

    I was the Wicked Witch of the West in a playlet for a reunion. I got to say my favorite lines from the movie and managed the voice very well. I was told it was typecasting! 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing your Halloween memories! I love the Wicked Witch of the West. She would be fun to play … “Oh what a world, what a world!”

  10. I was never a witch. Or a warlock for that matter. My go to costume seems to be Mr. Incredible. Not that I’m complaining since it means I get to wear sweats (instead of tights).

    1. Hi Mark! Mr. Incredible is always in style, and sweats are always a good idea. =)

  11. Yes. As a child, I was a witch one year. I remember being Raggedy Ann as well as a Baby doll. Thank you for bringing back great memories.

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