I have two things to share today. The first is my Halloween/scary book recommendation: The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson. I started it yesterday, and had to stay up really late to finish it, because I needed to see some kind of resolution. I couldn’t possibly go to sleep with all those ghosts running around.

It’s a good book with strong characterization. There was a point just shy of the middle where I was really and truly scared, and that hasn’t happened to me (because of a book, anyhow) for a while. The last one before this was Marina Cohen’s Ghost Ride, incidentally, and I highly recommend that one as well.

I don’t tend to seek out scary stuff, but I really love Maureen Johnson’s books.Last night, reading The Name of the Star, I was creeped-out, afraid-of-the-dark, not-wanting-my-husband-to-go-walk-the-dog-because-she’s-too-cowardly-to-protect-him kind of scared. In fairness to the dog, of course, I did manage to set that one aside. And the book got less scary after that point, although still gripping.

So the upshot is, I recommend it for your Halloween read. Or your anytime read.

The second thing I wanted to share is a Halloween-related thought. Today is dress-up day for a lot of kids. It’s the day they get to be someone else. My daughter is dressing as a princess (a mediaeval princess, she likes to specify). Actually, I think princess has been a recurring them in her Halloween costume choices over the years.

I like to dress up. I usually pull together a costume of some sort to hand out candy at the door. I have a really cool witch’s hat, which, unfortunately, I can’t seem to find this year. Last year my husband and I went to a Halloween-themed Jack-and-Jill party as Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler (yup, a middle-aged, brunette Rose Tyler. Just what this world needed).¬†Incidentally, there was someone else at that party dressed as a nerd; Aaron and I were mildly offended. But the point, I guess, is that it’s fun to dress up as something that you’re not.

But writing is even more fun. Because in writing, you don’t just get to “dress up” in someone else’s skin, you get to play pretend as well.

When my brother Mike was a kid, he and his friend Darren played with little plastic G.I.Joe and Star Wars figures. Listening to them, it seemed that every other sentence started with “say I.”

“Say I get to the top of the mountain.”

“Say your guy shoots but he misses.”

“Say I can fly.”

Anything was possible, as long as the other person agreed.

Writing is the best way I can think of to play “say I.” So, having dug out the Halloween decorations and made sure my daughter’s costume is sorted, I’m going to spend this afternoon playing dress-up in the best possible way. At my computer, writing.

Happy Halloween!

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