The Story Behind “The Brotherhood of Tricks and Treats” — Francelia Belton

Today I’m happy to welcome author Francelia Belton to the blog as she shares about her latest story.

I am in a group called Crime Writers of Color and there was a call for writers interested in participating in a second volume of the Festive Mayhem anthology. I had missed the opportunity the first time around because I wasn’t a part of the group then. So, when I found out about this second one, I jumped at the chance. The theme, of course, was still the holidays. However, this year all the stories needed to be about a culinary cozy mystery or crime.

I was thinking, the holidays and food? Easy-peasy! Well, not so fast, buckaroo.

Coming up with a story idea for Festive Mayhem 2 was neither quick nor easy.

After deciding I would do Halloween, in order for us to have a variety of Fall and Winter holidays, I was stumped coming up with a culinary aspect for a holiday, quite frankly, I don’t generally celebrate myself. I didn’t have a personal recipe I could use, and I hadn’t a clue to where I would start. So, I did the most logical step when you don’t know the answer for something, I Googled: what kinds of dishes or treats are typically at a Halloween party? Some answers were: apple cider, caramel apples, s’mores, Halloween themed cupcakes, among others. But none of the treats felt quite right.

However, one day while pondering my options, I was chatting with my friend Susan on Facebook, telling her about a short story I had just finished. She was telling me she was whipping up some treats for her nieces and nephews that were on their way to visit her soon. She uploaded a delightful picture of what looked like popcorn balls. They looked amazing, and I told her so. She explained to me how she invented the salted caramel popcorn ball cocoa krispie combos for Halloween years ago because she couldn’t decide between Rice Krispies Treats or popcorn balls.

I expressed how great that sounded and how it just so happened that I needed to write a culinary cozy mystery/crime story for an anthology, and perhaps I could use her krispie combos in my story.

Needless to say, she said Yes! and the rest is literary history—Vincent Ballard and “The Brotherhood of Tricks and Treats” was born. I am forever grateful to Susan because without her recipe, my young protagonist and this story would have never existed. I hope readers will enjoy the story as much as I had writing it.

Tell me, what is your favorite Halloween treat? Or if Halloween is not your favorite holiday, which one is?


Festive Mayhem 2: Seven Holiday Culinary Cozy Mysteries

Seven crime writers of color have teamed up for the second year running to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Halloween to New Year’s, cozy mystery fans are bound to find a favorite holiday represented in this limited-time collection of exclusive, never-before-published seasonal short stories.

Bonus recipes are included for each story!

Available at: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo


In celebration of their new release, the authors are hosting a multi-book giveaway. Visit the Rafflecopter Giveaway page from October 1 through October 29 and enter for your chance to win.


Francelia Belton’s love of short stories came from watching old Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents television shows in her youth. Her fiction has appeared in various publications and she was a finalist in the 2020-2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. You can read more of her stories at https://Francel.Be/Writing-Stories.

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11 thoughts on “The Story Behind “The Brotherhood of Tricks and Treats” — Francelia Belton

  1. Good morning, Leeann! Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog this morning. In answer to my own question, I know it’s cliché, but Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations, the music, and how generally everyone is in good spirits. 🙂

  2. I loved reading about how “The Brotherhood of Tricks and Treats” came to be! So thankful you and Susan had that chat, and thank you, Leeann, for getting the behind-the-scenes scoop! As for Halloween treats, I’m mostly vegan so my candy options are limited, but I always grab at least one box of Trader Joe’s pumpkin Joe-Joes this time of year.

    • Hi Marla! It is always amazing how story ideas come from the littlest things. Thanks for stopping by the read my post. I don’t usually shop at Trader Joe’s, but I think I may make a special visit just to try their pumpkin Joe-Joes. 🙂

  3. Francelia, thanks for sharing the story behind your story. I love reading about what inspires people. Your friend’s generosity makes “The Brotherhood of Tricks and Treats” a collaborative effort, in keeping with the anthology itself. That makes it even more fun! Your story’s great, and I can’t wait to try Susan’s recipe!
    Christmas is my favorite too!

    • Hi Rhoda! I’m the same way. I love knowing the story behind the story. It’s why I love watching the DVD extras on movies too. And yes, my story was truly a collaborative effort. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

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