Marshmallow Suspense

mystery, suspense, unopened box, blogDebra unties the ribbon around the mysterious box and slowly opens it. Her puzzled look doesn’t leave her face when the side door rams open and two men enter. (

“If you want to help your friend,” the stockiest man growls, “empty the box and show us the rest.”

Debra laughs, but not with humor. “Are you kidding me? You must be the agent Eugene told me about last week.”

The man’s face falls as flat as a bad soufflé. “He told you about me?”

The second man, tall and thin, walks into the kitchen with a scowl and sits in one of Debra’s mom’s old pine chairs. “How much did he tell you?” he asks.

Debra reaches for a bottle of Zinfandel in the corner wine rack and three glasses. “What kind of game are you playing with Eugene?” She pops the cork and pours a half glass for each of them. The two men shake their heads no, but they both take a large sip of the dark red wine. manuscript, self-publish, writing

Debra continues: “At first your firm acted interested in the six chapters he sent you, and you asked for the full synopsis and the rest of the book.”

“Which he didn’t send us,” the first man retorts.

Debra raises her eyebrow. “And your name is … ?”

“Frank, president of ‘Frankly Frank Agency’ in New York. This is Bud, my assistant.”

“Well, Frank and Bud, you’ve wasted a trip. Eugene is not interested in your firm. He’s decided he doesn’t need your services.”

Bud leaps out of his seat and grabs the pink-ribboned box. “Is this the rest of the manuscript?”

Debra grabs it out of the man’s hands. “I’m guessing it is. Two weeks ago Eugene gave me the first ten chapters to read. Strangers in the …”

“… Dark,” Frank finishes for her.

“Yes, and Eugene promised to give me the rest of the chapters when he completed the book. The suspense is a page-turning masterpiece. The twists and turns are brilliant.  My advice to him is to self-publish. With the right promotion, the book will sell like marshmallows at a cook-out.”

suspense, romantic suspense, mystery“We want to be the graham crackers and chocolate bar to sell the whole package,” Frank retorts, swallowing the rest of his wine and staring at the box in Debra’s hands like a dog eyeing a treat.

“You don’t get it,” Debra explains with triumph in her voice. “I’ve worked in marketing for years. Granted, my products are usually food-related, but I’ve been waiting for a chance to dig my teeth into more satisfying merchandise. Eugene’s manuscript fits my new portfolio perfectly.”

With perfect timing, the author-in-question arrives through the front door.

“Eugene!” Debra exclaims, surprised at her own exuberance. Hmm, over the course of a day and a half, her neighbor has become more appealing with his black-rimmed glasses, half-smile, and unruly blonde hair. His jeans are wrinkled and worn thin at the seat.

Ignoring Frank and Bud, Eugene stares at Debra and blurts out, “I was up all last night finishing it. What do you think?” 

“I don’t need to think a second more. I accept your invitation to be your publicist,” Debra answers. Then she turns to her two uninvited guests. “This party is over, gentlemen. See you at the Frankfurt Book Fair next October.”wine, toasting, mystery

As they depart dejectedly, Debra pours a glass of Zin for Eugene, and they clink glasses.

“To Strangers in the Dark,” they say simultaneously, realizing that THE END is far from over.

romantic suspense, fiction giveawayCongrats to the TWO winners in my “What’s in the Box?” contest. The first person to guess a manuscript was Robbie of Robbie’s Inspiration. Robbie was part-way there, wondering if it was Debra’s ms.  (Kudos to Anneli ,Leslie, and Barbara C. for their quick-witted book/manuscript guesses in later comments.) Second winner is Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit, who guessed “words” in the box because I’m a word woman. Honorable mention to Harula of wordsthatserve, who soon after guessed the box contained Eugene’s book!

117 thoughts on “Marshmallow Suspense

    • I suppose I didn’t give enough clues in the first part of “Strangers in the Dark,” but if I mentioned that Eugene was a writer in the beginning, too many clever readers here would have guessed it right away. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I always click the LIKE on your posts even before I read them. “Why is that,” you ask. I am always surprised, delighted, or intrigued here, often with word plays Thank you, Pamela!

    Yes, the END is far from over . . .

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    • To be honest, I knew there was a manuscript in the box when I wrote the first part of this mystery, but no idea WHOSE it was or why. So I had fun letting Eugene and Debra show me the way… Happy Happy weekend to you. Here in NE we’re walking under orange and red trees.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! I had missed the first part, glad I got to go read it. Perfect ending, love how you related it to marshmallows at a cook out and the chocolate and graham crackers! So cool! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra started talking to the agents and she’s the one who blurted out the fun marshmallow comment (thank goodness our characters come alive when we write and let them talk). Or, on the other hand, maybe I just have marshmallows on the brain as the weather cools here and we start thinking of hot chocolate. 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Friday, October 5th, 2018 – Jenny in Neverland #onlinefriends, Pamela Wight #shortstory and N.A. Granger #review | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

    • The teacup pig ran away when I tried to catch him; he just wouldn’t stay in that box.

      And, ahem, my guy would like to dissuade you of the notion that real men don’t drink ZInfandel. He just uncorked a bottle last night! 🙂


    • I was so nervous when writing the second part of this mystery, Balroop. Didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I mean, jewelry and airplane tickets and gold coins would have been a fun box mystery, but in the end, what’s better than the manuscript of a book-in-progress? 🙂


    • Whew, glad you liked the ending Yvonne. Yes, I DID have fun with it, and I must admit, when I wrote the first part, I knew it was a manuscript in the box, but I didn’t know why or whose. This is why I like writing suspense – I let the characters tell me as I write their story. Thanks for enjoying, and yes, I’ve got many of them hidden in my writers’ well. 🙂

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  4. Well this was the coolest thing that’s happened all weekend–if not all week! So fun reading the Mystery Ending. Who would have thunk? Looking forward to seeing your words up close and personal. 🙂

    Thank you!

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  5. Love the story, Pam and it’s so obvious with the manuscript … once I read it! Great story and writing and how true it is never The End with self-Publishing! 😀Well done to Robbie for her spot-on guess! Have a lovely week! ❤️🌺

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    • I was a bit stressed about getting the 2nd part of the story “just right,” Annika. But then I just had too much fun writing to worry about it. 🙂 Agents and Indie publishing and wine, oh my! xoxo

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  6. Love it Pam! Your sense of humour, and the pace of your writing is such a joy! And I appreciate your empowered indignation at the treatment some writers receive from their agent – good on you the courageous self-published! Bless you for the honorable mention 🙂 Love and blessings, Harula x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, how many times does an Indie writer/author get to make up a fun story with agents-gone-bad and authors gone wild? 🙂 Thanks for enjoying and playing the guessing game, Harula. ❤


    • You’re funny, Kate. But true – if the end is just the beginning, who knows what Debra and Eugene get up to next? Since I’m an optimist, I’ll say that Eugene has a bestseller on his hands, with the help of his publicist Debra.


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