Sunday, June 30, 2019


JULY 2019

As usually happens, nothing went as planned in my life during the months of May and June. The surgery to replace my left shoulder scheduled for May 20 got rescheduled for June 10 and then got re-rescheduled for July 8. As far as I know, my left shoulder will be replaced on July 8.
Heaven only knows how long it’ll take to recover from that surgery, but I aim to take full advantage of any down-time. My darling niece, Sara, will be coming from Portales for a couple days to help me out while I’m one-handed, and my dogs will be so pleased to have me sprawled out on the sofa for a week or two instead of sitting at the computer all day, every day. At least I hope they will be. They keep telling me I need to spend more time with them. No, really. They do.
Anyway, DARK SPIRITS, the audiobook, is still not up and ready on Audible for reasons too numerous to mention (although they include having to pry a book cover from the source, ACX being dilatory, and everything just going more or less sideways). However, Denice Stradling did a splendid job reading it, as she does all my Daisy books, and it will be available soon. Then I’ll give away copies as soon as my new shoulder heals. Since I don’t know who the winners of free copies will be at this moment, if you’d like to enter my giveaway for it, feel free. Just send me your name and email address at alice@aliceduncan.net
There’s really not a whole lot left to write about at the moment, so I’ll merely post a picture of the DARK SPIRITS cover and go away for a while:
I'd add a link here if I had one. Sighhhhhhh.
 
Um, anything else? Well, there’s always Daisy Daze. I love Daisy Daze. Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded the DAISY DAZE Facebook page. On this page, people post all sorts of historical stuff about Pasadena, sewing machines, entertainment and fashions from the 1920s, houses in which the people in the books might live, and lots and lots of other historical (1920s-era) stuff. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925
I think that’s it! Thank you

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


MAY 2019

May, 2019, might well be an interesting month! Not only am I scheduled to get my left shoulder replaced on May 20 (although this date might be pushed back some, depending on whether the hospital ever calls to schedule the CT-scan the surgeon claims he needs in order to create a map of my shoulder. Guess he’ll use the map and his scalpel at the same time or something. Ew), but the brilliant and talented folks at ePW will publish another Daisy Gumm Majesty box set on May 7! Not only that, but they’ve renumbered the entire series so that SPIRITS REVIVED, the true seventh book in the series, will no longer have the number #6 1/2 on its cover. In other words, Brian and Nina Paules are going to a colossal amount of trouble for Daisy’s sake, and I appreciate them enormously.

The new box set will contain SPIRITS REVIVED, DARK SPIRITS and SPIRITS ONSTAGE. I’m particularly fond of the last one, because in it Daisy gets to play the mean and nasty villainess, Katisha, from Gilbert and Sullivan’s THE MIKADO. Daisy, who has to be nice and polite even to the silliest and most frustrating of her clients (she’s a fake spiritualist-medium, if you haven’t read the books) relishes the opportunity to be awful and not get scolded for it.

Here’s the newly minted link for SPIRITS REVIVED, which will have #7 on its cover (although it doesn’t yet). If you follow me on Facebook, I’ll give everyone the skinny as it happens. I’ll also post the link to the new box set when I get it:


The recently released SHAKEN SPIRITS features not merely Daisy, Sam, Peggy and Joe Gumm, and Aunt Viola Gumm, but a relic from Peter Brandvold’s books (Peter Brandvold is a best-selling western writer whom I met when I edited his books for Five Star). Mean Pete kindly allowed me to borrow Lou Prophet who, in his salad days, was a rip-snorting, hard-drinking, womanizing, deadly bounty hunter. By the time he ends up in Pasadena, California, in 1925, he’s… well, not. But he’s so much fun to write; I hope Mean Pete allows me to keep him forever. Here’s the link for SHAKEN SPIRITS, should you feel inclined to have some fun with Daisy and the gang:

Not only that, but the immensely talented Denice Stradling, who has been narrating my Daisy books for audio, has finished reading DARK SPIRITS, and it should be available soon! I’m listening to it now, and I’ve never known Daisy to be as downright insufferable as she is in this book. On the other hand, she’s dealing with the Ku Klux Klan, so perhaps she should be forgiven a few lapses into snarliness. I’m kinda sorry I made her so obnoxious, although I didn’t notice this trait when I was writing the book. Must have been in a bad mood or something. Anyway, here’s the cover art, and I’ll post a link on my Facebook page when the audiobook is available for purchase. If you’re interested in reading Daisy as an unspeakable brat, here’s the Kindle link:
Also, Wolfpack continues to republish every single one of my back-list books! This is so kind of them! The Pack is beginning with the Pecos Valley series, a series I aim to continue once I finally finish editing all the books I have to edit and am able to return my attention to writing. These books are mega-fun for me because they’re set right here where I live (darn it) in Roswell, New Mexico. However, because I didn’t fancy being sued or anything, I changed the name of the town to Rosedale, although a whole lot of the stuff you’ll read about in the books comes from stories my mommy told me. My mother was born right here in Roswell, NM, in 1913. Shoot, that’s more than a hundred years ago! Does that mean I’m old? Oh, dear. I fear it does. Anyway, here they are in order.


After Wolfpack republishes the Pecos Valley books, they’ll move on to the “Meet Me at the Fair” series, which are fun. They take place at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (the Chicago World’s Fair, in other words). I’m really happy that my early books will be back in print soon!
Because I’m not sure I’ll be able to move my arms much by the end of May, I do believe I’ll forgo a book giveaway at the end of this month. However, I’ll gather names and addresses for June’s giveaway, if you’re interested. I think I’ll give away audio copies of DARK SPIRITS. What the heck, huh? Anyway, if you’d like to enter (and please remember Bam-Bam won’t be munching up names from his special contest doggie dish until the end of June), just send an email to alice@aliceduncan.net 
According to Bam-Bam, who is a special dog and extremely dear to my heart (he was bred and grew up in a puppy mill in Big Spring, Texas, and never quite learned how to be a dog), the wieners of copies of PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND are:
Brenda Williamson (I’ll be happy to send it to your P.O. box), Sue Farell and Vickie Shaw! Congratulations, ladies.
Confession time: I had carpal-tunnel surgery in early April and didn’t get my March books sent out before the surgery. Therefore, I’ll send them soon. Promise. And I apologize!
Um, what else? Well, there’s always Daisy Daze. I love Daisy Daze. Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded the DAISY DAZE Facebook page. On this page, people post all sorts of historical stuff about Pasadena, sewing machines, fashions from the 1920s, houses in which the people in the books might live, and lots and lots of other historical (1920s-era) stuff. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925
I think that’s it! Thank you.

 

Monday, April 1, 2019


        APRIL 2019

Yippee! PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND will be published in early April! Here’s the lovely cover art and a pre-order link. I’m really excited about the re-birth (well, re-publication, anyway) of my entire inventory of back-list novels. As I think I mentioned in another blog, I’m not accustomed to good things happening to what I laughingly call my writing career.
 

The Pecos Valley books are dear to my heart. My mother’s family moved from Georgetown, Texas, to Roswell, New Mexico, in the early 1900s. In fact, my maternal grandmother bought the property upon which my house sits in 1903! Most of the things I describe about Rosedale, New Mexico, are stories I heard from my mom.

By the way, my maternal grandmother was born in Switzerland. Her family immigrated to the USA before Ellis Island was the incoming destination for immigrants. I think her family docked at the Battery. Her ship also hit an iceberg on its way from England (departure point for all of Europe, I guess) to New York. My grandmother was so seasick, she wanted the ship to sink, but I’m kinda glad it didn’t. Don’t know her feelings on the matter. The Titanic disaster disturbed her a lot, even though Titanic hit that iceberg about thirty years after her own ship collided with its berg.

Anywho, until she was an adult, my maternal grandmother believed her last name to be Ischy, because the man whom she regarded as her father was named Christian Ischy. It wasn’t until she grew up and wanted to get married (to a fellow named Daugherty) that her mother admitted that the father of my grandmother, Emma, and her sister, Lina, was a gent named Krieg. Only she didn’t seem to consider him a gent. Emma Krieg (or Craig, which is the name I used for several of my earlier novels) died before I was born, but she used to tell my mother (Wilma Rachel Wilson, which explains another of my pseudonyms) the only thing her mother told her (Emma) about her father was that he was a “wonderful musician.” I used to weave romantic fancies when I was a kid about my great-grandfather being some famous old-time composer, but I couldn’t find any who were Swiss. Maybe Franz Liszt visited Switzerland a time or two? Frederic Chopin? Hope to heaven it wasn’t Richard Wagner!!!! In reality, he was probably a championship yodeler or something.

Oh, and my maternal grandmother married William Jones Wilson when she became a widow. Her first husband, the Daugherty in question, died of tuberculosis after they’d been married less than a year. My maternal grandfather died two days after my mother was born, so poor Emma was left to rear five of her own children and, I think, something like six kids from Will's prior marriage to his first wife, Emma’s best friend, on her own. At least she had a vocation: seamstress. I still have the mirror upon which eager brides-to-be would scrape their rings in order to see if they were real diamonds. That mirror holds scratches from lovesick maidens of yore, by golly!

Anybody confused yet? My father’s family is so much easier to trace. Oh, well.

By the way, according to an author friend of mine who lives in Georgetown, Texas, there are still Ischys running around all 0ver the place there. I guess technically we aren’t related, but what the heck. Here's a photo of my grandmother and her children. This picture was probably taken in 1920 or thereabouts, and Emma was maybe 49 years old. Left to right are Bill Wilson, Maren Wilson (who owned the house I gave to Mrs. Bissel in my Daisy Gumm Majesty books), Jesse Lee "Red" Wilson, Wilma (Mom to me) and Adolph Wilson. Rough life:

So… as for the rest of my life, things are pretty much back to normal, as normality relates to me personally. Not only did I have to replace my refrigerator in February, but March also provoked a call to an electrician and one to my very favorite plumber of all time. This favoritism is probably because I have to call him so often, and we’ve become pals. Good thing he’s a nice guy, because I think I supported his family last year.

And now for the medical issues. I already knew I’d have to have carpal-tunnel surgery on my right wrist. Had similar surgery on the left one last year; easy-peasy. Right wrist’s surgery’s scheduled for April 8th.

In the not-so-easy category is my left shoulder. Blasted thing has been hurting like heck for months. So I figured I’d probably torn the rotator cuff or something. Ha! I should be so lucky.

On Friday, March 29, I went to see Dr. Bryant, who fixed my left wrist last year. This time I wanted him to look at my wonky left shoulder. So he had his tech take X-rays. I think he was the only person happy with the results.

Honest to dog, he was positively THRILLED when he went through those X-rays! First one: "Wow!" Second one: "Will you look at this!" Third one: "This is amazing!" Evidently most people with shoulders like mine can't move their arms at all. Medical miracle here. Oh, and it’s not a rotator-cuff injury. It’s pure-D osteoarthritis. No cartilage between the socket and the ball joint. He then aspirated about a quart of some kind of fluid that shouldn’t have been in my shoulder (telling his nurse, “Wow, look at this! You don’t see this very often! I sure wish a med student was here so I could show them this procedure!”). I live to give joy to surgeons. Anyhow, whatever parts need replacement will be replaced as soon as I recover from the carpal-tunnel thing.

Funniest thing he said, however, is that he's never seen such terrible, widespread osteoarthritis in a person as young as I! He called me young! Peter Brandvold, who should know better, asked if he was speaking in tortoise years. But I’ve got two of his book under my personal editorial control, so he’d just better be nice to me. If possible. Can’t expect too much from that source, I reckon.

What else to report? Poor little Jazzy has been having ear problems. She began shaking her ear as if one or both ears were itching. So I called my vet only to learn HIS OFFICE WAS CLOSED UNTIL APRIL FIRST!!!! How dare they be closed when Jazzy needs them? Besides, Dr. Smith is the only veterinarian in Roswell whom I trust. Another vet murdered my wonderful, sweet, darling Bella; another one ripped me off for too many hundreds of dollars; and, well… never mind.

So, since I didn’t know what else to do, I called Jazzy’s Founding Father, Jacob Torres. Jacob found her running along the highway to Ruidoso, collarless, tagless and chipless, so he picked her up. He intended to keep her, but Jazzy proved too much for him, so he gave her to me and took up the breeding and showing of long-haired Chihuahuas. Jacob told me to bring her in, so I did.

He cleaned out her ears, having found a little ear wax build-up. But Jazzy began shaking her head again today, and now her ears (or maybe only one of them) hurt. So I’ll try Dr. Smith again on Monday, the day I have to pre-register for carpal-tunnel surgery. And I have 597 books to edit and 7,000 of my own books being re-published any old day now. Life always picks the least convenient times to go wrong, you know?

Here's Jazzy, the Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. She's gorgeous, and her head's full of cotton fluff. And she doesn't care! She also doesn't really have green eyes.


But enough of that. Bam-Bam has chosen wieners of March’s book-giveaway. They are:

Sue D’Amico, who wins a copy of UNSETTLED SPIRITS,
Kristie Dilcher, who wins a copy of SPIRITS UNITED,
And Kathleen Lauri-Lewis wins a copy of SPIRITS UNEARTHED!

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can.
At the end of April, I’ll be giving away a few copies of PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND! Providing I can use my left shoulder then. But don’t worry. I’ll get ‘em sent somehow or other.

My Daisy publisher, ePublishing Works, has also set up a pre-order page on Amazon.com for SCARLET SPIRITS, the next Daisy book, which will be published in the fall of 2019. Yay, me! Haven’t a clue what the cover will look like, but here’s the Kindle link if you have a burning desire to pre-order it:


Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

I think that’s it! Thank you


 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

February 2019


Mercy sakes, January’s over. That happened fast, didn’t it? The coming month will feature the eleventh birthday of my great-granddaughter, Kasumi. That happened fast, too. I remember visiting my grandson and his family shortly after Sumi’s birth, when they lived in Kansas. And now Sumi’s turning eleven. Worse, Andrew, her older brother, is going to be fourteen in May! Well, I don’t mean worse precisely, but I have almost-grown great-grandchildren, and that makes me feel old, which is only right since I am old. So I’m trying to remember my age in order to minimize falls, etc. I’m not used to being old, and I don’t like it. Too bad. So sad. Sigh.

But enough of that. SHAKEN SPIRITS was released in January, which made me happy. People seem to appreciate the addition of Lou Prophet to Daisy and her gang. Old Lou is extremely fun to write, so I hope Peter Brandvold (who created him and writes about Lou when he was in his salad days) lets me keep him. So please go out and buy several copies! You know. For gifts and stuff. Here’s the cover and the Kindle link:
 
Also, if you want to read about Lou Prophet when he was a young, vigorous, womanizing, hard-drinking bounty hunter and still had two legs, please go and buy several copies of BLOOD AT SUNDOWN, too. It’s a great read, in my not-very-humble opinion. Here’s the cover and Kindle link for BLOOD, too. Hmm. That title doesn’t shorten awfully well, does it? But it’s a good book!
 
 My Daisy publisher, ePublishing Works, has also set up a pre-order page on Amazon.com for SCARLET SPIRITS, the next Daisy book, which I just finished writing. Yay, me! Haven’t a clue what the cover will look like, but here’s the Kindle link if you have a burning desire to pre-order it:


Two extremely good things regarding what I laughing call my writing career happened in January, although I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself if I write about them here. But what the heck. If I’m jinxed, I’m jinxed.

The first extremely good thing was that Five Star finally relinquished the rights to Daisy’s actual seventh adventure, SPIRITS REVIVED. Therefore, ePublishing Works (run by the fabulous Nina and Brian Paules) are going to reprint the whole series and number them correctly! That means the books will follow one another in a logical sequence, SPIRITS REVIVED will be #7, and the rest of the books will be numbered accordingly. I’m so happy about this I could squeal, but I don’t want to scare the dogs.

The second extremely good thing to happen is that a person who hates to be thanked for anything and whose name I won’t mention here (Peter Brandvold. Okay, so I lied) told me about a publisher called Wolfpack run by a fellow named Mike Bray. Mean Pete suggested I send an email to Mike Bray with “Mean Pete Sent Me” in the subject line. So I did and included a list of all the books I’ve written (around 60-something). Mike Bray got back to me and said he’s extremely interested in re-packaging and re-publishing my entire back-list (the ones to which I own the rights, I mean)!

Wow. It would be spectacularly nice to make some money on books I wrote way back when, and I’m super-excited about this possibility. Wolfpack will probably begin by re-publishing either the Pecos Valley historical cozy mystery series (beginning with PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND, and going on through PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL and PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW) and starring Annabelle Blue; or my post-Titanic-disaster series, featuring three women who survived the sinking of Titanic. The books in order are A PERFECT STRANGER, A PERFECT ROMANCE (my personal favorite), and A PERFECT WEDDING. All three books feature Loretta Linden, a fabulously wealthy San Francisco woman who is devoted to helping everyone around her, whether they want her help or not.

The bitter truth about the Titanic series is that I totally loathed writing the first book (A PERFECT WEDDING). That’s because I thought Daisy Gumm Majesty was dead and floating belly-up in the goldfish bowl of publishing, and I only wanted to write more Daisy books. I got over it and enjoyed writing the second and third books. It probably helped a whole lot that Daisy got a new lease on life, thanks to Five Star. And now ePublishing Works has done a totally fabulous job on the Daisy series. In fact (this is embarrassing to admit, but what the heck), ePW is the very first publisher I’ve ever had (and my books have been published by most of them) that has ever made any money for me. I love Nina and Brian!

Very well then, let’s get to the important stuff. The people who won copies of SHAKEN SPIRITS are: Meredith Hillenbrand, Tammy Corcoran (who lives in Minnesota, poor frozen thing), and Teena Stambaugh (who lives in Ohio. Not sure what the weather’s like there). I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can get to the post office, ladies.

As for books I’ll be giving away at the end of February, lemme think for a minute. Okay, I’ll give away a copy of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, a copy of FALLEN ANGELS and a copy of SIERRA RANSOM. SIERRA is an historical romance novel, but it’s pretty good anyway. Due to the high cost of postage, I’ll only be able to send physical books to people residing in the USA. However, if you live in a far-off place and win, I’ll be happy to send you an ebook (Kindle or Nook).

Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

I think that’s it! Thank you!

 

Monday, December 31, 2018


2019????


When I was a kid, I once calculated how old I’d be in the year 2000. I couldn’t even imagine being fifty-four years old! Well, guess what? I not only achieved the astounding age of fifty-four, but have surpassed it. I’ll be seventy-four at the end of November, 2019. This would be totally unbelievable to the kid I used to be. Unfortunately, these days, it’s not only believable but real. Not quite sure how I feel about it, although I do know I’m not handling the aging process gracefully. In fact, I resent the heck out of it, for all the good that does.

At any rate, I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who’s happy to see the end of 2018. It wasn’t a great year for lots of us. Personally, I was deathly sick during much of the early part of the year, bronchitis and sinusitis finally deafening me completely in my right ear and destroying my vocal chords. Since singing was about the only thing I liked to do that I still could do, this wasn’t a happifying outcome for me. I re-joined the Methodist choir I used to sing with anyway because … well, why not? Of all the things I’ve lost as I’ve aged, including four inches, my left hip (which has been replaced by a metal one), the ability to run, dance, walk long distances, cook huge feasts, and sing, the thing I miss most is my voice. Too bad; so sad; la-di-dah. The only thing I can do now that I couldn’t do when I was younger is set off alarms at airports. Since Roswell, NM, is a relatively small place, the airport doesn’t have X-ray equipment, so I always get patted down before I board an airplane. Heck, they had to pat me down at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, too, since the X-ray only went so far. Only women security folks are allowed to pat down female passengers, so even that’s boring.

However, I attended my—gulp!—55th high-school reunion in October and had a whole lot more fun than I expected to have! I wasn’t a big kid on campus, and that’s not counting the fact that I was only 5’2” tall (I’m even shorter now). But I managed to reconnect with two women with whom I used to play flute in the Eliot Jr. High School Band (Altadena, CA). It is so good to have Phyllis McKown and Janet Levine Goldberg in my life again!

As soon as I left California, the entire state went up in flames. The Woolsey Fire got to within a mile or so to my younger daughter and her husband. That fire began in Thousand Oaks the day after that monster murdered so many people at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Fortunately, neither my daughter nor the above-mentioned Janet Goldberg was burned out, but lots of people weren’t so lucky. The Camp and Hill Fires in Northern California were even more destructive. I love my home state and really wish it didn’t have so many fires.

Both of my wrists needed surgery to repair problems associated with carpal-tunnel syndrome. Got the left wrist done. Still have to have surgery on the right, because stuff intervened to make having that wrist fixed in 2018 impossible. I aim to get that done in 2019.

Had a serious bout of colitis, too. Spent a hideous five hours at the local ER, and eventually lost ten pounds I didn’t exactly need to lose, but what the heck. A woman can never be too rich or too skinny, right? I’m still waiting for the rich part of that equation to catch up with me.

I lost my problem child, Giblett, this year. I mourn Giblett, although he was kind of a monster dog. Still, he came to me after being abandoned in a home where a murder-suicide had been committed, so I cut him some slack. Poor Gibbles was so scared when he first came to me, he refused to leave his crate. He got over that problem a little too quickly for my taste. Still, I miss him, even if he did take every opportunity he could find to bite the heck out of me. Here he is, doing his favorite thing: destroying and unstuffing fluffy squeaky toys. 
 
The House of Howling Hounds (and fluff) was enriched this year by another dog, Bella-the-Biter, who came to me via a lovely woman in Albuquerque. Bella has wild, squinchy eyes; a little pink nose; a furrowed brow and origami ears. She doesn’t bite as many people as she used to, which is a good thing. It’s also a good thing not too many strangers visit my house, because I really don’t need to be sued because Bella bit someone. Oddly, Bella is the only one of my five dogs who worships me the way I should be worshiped. Wish I could convince other humans and canines of this pertinent fact. Oh, well.

The rest of my herd remains well. Bam-Bam is still scared to death of anyone in the universe who isn’t me (and so many people aren’t, you know?). Jazzy remains a Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. Scrappy, the friendliest Chihuahua on the face of the earth, is well and healthy, although he’s getting really gray around the gills.

Cookie, my mixed terriorist, is well, although she suffered a terrible attack by a neighbor’s dog right before Christmas. She’s okay now, and my wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Charles Smith, charged me virtually nothing to fix her. He kept her two nights in his hospital, sedated her, shaved her, flushed out her wounds, sutured them, sent her home with a bottle of pain pills and a bottle of antibiotics—and the saintly man charged me a piddly few bucks. I can’t think of another veterinarian in the world who would do such a kind thing. I took him and his staff two dozen tamales (a dozen red and a dozen green) from El Charro which, according to the guy who cuts my hair, is the best place in Roswell to get them. It was a very small thank-you for taking such good care of Cookie, and two dozen tamales doesn’t cover a fraction of the gratitude I feel for those folks. Not only that, but the woman whose dog attacked Cookie, came by today and reimbursed me! How often does something like that happen?

In 2018, many of my friends were diagnosed with ghastly diseases, from cancer to scleroderma to lupus. In fact, my older daughter, Anni, was just diagnosed with lupus. Because the only person I knew whom I knew had lupus(if that makes sense) died of the fell disease in the 1970s, I thought a diagnosis of lupus was an automatic death sentence. I’m ever so glad to know I was mistaken! Lupus won’t be a lot of fun for Anni, but it can be dealt with. Whew!

A few good things happened. Peter Brandvold gave me his character, Lou Prophet, to play with. By the time he came to me, Lou was old, weathered, cranky and one-legged, having lost one leg in an accident when one of the floozies he was with drove a car loaded with bootleg liquor off a cliff in Santa Monica. Lou was the only one who survived the accident, although one of his legs didn’t and had to be replaced by a peg. Boy, did I have a fun time with Lou Prophet! Although Mean Pete hates it when I thank him for giving me Lou (even though he waited until Lou had one foot in the grave and the other … well, a peg), I thank him anyway. I’m madly working on finishing SCARLET SPIRITS, which will be my second Daisy Gumm Majesty book containing Lou Prophet. Lou kinda stole SHAKEN SPIRITS, Daisy’s upcoming adventure, but that’s okay by me. I love Lou.

Speaking of SHAKEN SPIRITS, the paper book will be released on January 1, and the ebook will be available on January 15! What’s more, you can begin leaving reviews for same on January first! That’s just a teensy hint. Reviews are important to authors. If an author’s book gets enough reviews, bookstores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble will actually recommend it to people! So leave a review! Heck, leave several reviews! I’d appreciate it a whole lot, and so would Daisy, Sam, Lou Prophet and Spike the Dachshund! Here’s a link: 
 My wonderful publisher, ePublishing Works, has also set up a pre-order page on Amazon.com for SCARLET SPIRITS! I don’t have the cover art yet, but here’s a link if you’d like to pre-order it. I’m buzzing right along with it and should have it finished shortly after the first of the year, thank goodness! And then my reward will be to write another book! There seems something slightly askew about this picture, but I’m not quite sure what it is:

 Okay, down to the good stuff. Emily Newman wins a hardback copy of HIGH SPIRITS, Joy Isley wins a hardback copy of HUNGRY SPIRITS, and Nancy DeLoera Arellano wins a copy of ANGELS OF MERCY! The last book is a trade paperback (which means it’s a largish paperback). It’s my only self-published book (so far), but I like it anyway.

Now. Since SHAKEN SPIRITS will be released in January, I’ll give away a few copies of it at the end of the month. If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and address: alice@aliceduncan.net . Due to the high cost of postage, I’ll only be able to send physical books to people residing in the USA. However, if you live in a far-off place and win, I’ll be happy to send you an ebook (Kindle or Nook).

I think that’s it! Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ . If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

In the mean time, HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US. We are, in order from left to right (more or less) Jazzy, Bam-Bam, Bella, me, Cookie and Scrappy!
 
 
Thank you!

Friday, November 30, 2018



December? Whew!


Well, blow me down with a gentle breeze, another year’s nearly bitten the dust. They seem to fly by faster and faster, the older I get. That doesn’t seem fair somehow. Ah, well. Such is life.

However, I can show you the great cover for SHAKEN SPIRITS (created by the brilliant and talented Nina Paules), Daisy Gumm Majesty’s… Oh, Lord. Here we go again. This is Daisy’s 14th adventure into publishing, but the book cover says the book is her 13th. As I’ve often mentioned before, the actual 7th book (SPIRITS REVIVED) is one for which I haven’t yet been able to get the e-rights back. Therefore, as an audiobook, SPIRITS REVIVED is #6½. When it comes out in print and e-book format again, it will still be #6½. Publishing is a strange and mysterious business, if you’re me.

Anyway, back to the cover of SHAKEN SPIRITS. Here it is! That’s Daisy reclining pretty much underneath the wheel of that automobile—which is a 1923 Cole Sportster Sedan—and Spike, her loyal dachshund, valiantly attempting to rouse her. Somebody paid somebody else a lot of money to mow poor Daisy down. The car actually slaps her up against a pepper tree (pepper trees lined Marengo Avenue, where Daisy lived, in those days). Daisy is quite shaken up by this non-accident, which occurred right after the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day, 1925. Her shaken-ness doesn’t abate when she realizes someone actually is out to get her. Below the picture of the cover is a link where you can read an excerpt from SHAKEN SPIRITS. Moreover, you can buy it, because there are links to every e-reader, paperback and hardback site known to man. Well, maybe not all of them, but close enough:
(and read an excerpt if you'd like to)
 
About halfway through SHAKEN SPIRITS, Lou Prophet, a washed-up, one-legged former bounty hunter, shows up. The elderly Lou was given to me by Peter Brandvold, bless his heart (don’t tell him I said that. He cherishes his image as Mean Pete) after I’d already written nearly half of the book. Anyway, when Lou came along, I had so much fun writing him into Daisy’s life, he darned near stole the book! I’m trying to tone him down in the book I’m writing now, SCARLET SPIRITS, although he still plays a role. If you want to read about Lou before he hit rock-bottom and ended up in the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, California, in 1925, here’s his latest book (by Peter Brandvold, of course), BLOOD AT SUNDOWN (to be released December 19, I believe). In Mean Pete’s book, Lou’s about forty-five years younger than he is in Daisy’s day, and he’s a wild and woolly, hard-drinking, womanizing, irreverent, rascally bounty hunter. He looks good, too. When he hits Pasadena, he’s still a little woolly, but he’s old and not nearly as wild as he once was. He resents it, too (and I don’t blame him, being in the same fix myself, although I was never a hard-drinking, womanizing bounty hunter):
 
Um… Oh, yes! I need Bam-Bam (who went to the vet this morning for a checkup and trembled the entire time) to pick a November wiener for my book-giveaway! Bam-Bam, while terrified of pretty much everyone in the universe who isn’t me, at least doesn’t scream as if he’s being tortured when he goes to the vet like Jazzy does. Of course, Jazzy is a Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. She’s also an incredible drama queen. In fact, here’s a photo of Bam-Bam the Not-Very-Bold and Jazzy the Drama Queen. They’re lying on my bed, which has on it a crinkly silver thing that’s supposed to keep dogs off the furniture. You can see how well it works:

 
And (thank you, Bam-Bam) the wieners are: Julianne Sparks, who wins a copy of CACTUS FLOWER; Karla Jans, who wins a copy of SIERRA RANSOM; Marilyn Silverstein, who wins a copy of THANKSGIVING ANGELS; and Mary Jane Hopper, who wins a copy of FALLEN ANGELS. I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can drag myself to the post office, ladies.

Let me see… I’m sure something else exciting happened in November. Oh, yes. I remember now. Right after I left Southern California, the whole blasted state caught fire, and my daughter and her husband barely escaped being burned to a crisp by the Woolsey Fire. The Woolsey Fire started in Thousand Oaks the day after that horrible man shot all those people in the Borderline Bar. That bar is where Robin and Gilbert (my daughter and her husband) go with pals to watch sports and stuff. Fortunately for my family, everyone in it was spared. Far too many other people weren’t so lucky, and the entire town of Paradise, CA, was burned to cinders in one of the fires in the northern part of the state. Here’s what it looked like in Robin and Gilbert’s neighborhood while firefighters were gallantly attempting to save it from total ruin:

 
For what it’s worth, rains have come recently, and California has experienced terrible mudslides in the burn-scar areas. Fortunately again, Robin and Gilbert and their neighbors were spared. However, the air still stinks to high heaven. I fear it’s going to take a lot of work and planting and more rain to make my home state beautiful again. I love California, so this makes me sad. Sniffle.

Oh, yeah. Here’s something not-so-awful. Joyce Abbate, a long-time friend and dancing pal, sent me some pictures from when I belonged to the dance company, Gypsy. Here I am. These were the good old days. I could still hear, had all my original body parts (and they worked) and I could sing and dance and have fun. I miss those days. Deep, theatrical sigh here. Hmm. Maybe Jazzy takes after her mommy in some ways. But never mind that. Anyway, the Gypsy Folk Ensemble has a Facebook page, if you want to visit it: https://www.facebook.com/Gypsy-Folk-Ensemble-168129599867691/?hc_location=ufi
 
Oh, yes! The very best thing that happened in November (for me) was that Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger created a special Facebook page for Daisy! It’s called Daisy Daze, and it shows photographs of things that were around in Daisy’s days and that Daisy and her friends and kin might have used. For instance, they found a copy of SIXTY-FIVE DELICIOUS DISHES MADE WITH BREAD, the cook booklet Daisy used when she was coerced into teaching a cooking class at the Salvation Army. Poor Daisy, who can burn water, hated teaching that class. Worse, she didn’t learn how to cook while she did it. If you’d like to participate in Daisy Daze, click on this link: DAISY DAZE .

Let me see… What books should I give away at the end of December? Beats the heck outta me. Lemme think. Ow. That hurt. However, I did find a few books I can give away. Some lucky folks will win an original hardback version (these are first editions, by golly. If I were famous, that might actually mean something) of HIGH SPIRITS or HUNGRY SPIRITS, and I’ll also give away one of my Mercy Allcutt books, ANGELS OF MERCY. If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and address: alice@aliceduncan.net . Due to the high cost of postage, I’ll only be able to send books to people residing in the USA. However, if you live in a far-off place and win, I’ll be happy to send you an ebook (Kindle or Nook).

I think that’s it! If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Wow. It’s November. Already

 
Before I begin whining about how another year’s almost bitten the dust, which seemed to take all of five minutes, here are the names of this month’s wieners. The following folks will receive a copy each of SPIRITS UNEARTHED: Lisa Brooks, Margaret Somebody-Or-Other who lives in Virginia Beach (she didn’t give me her last name), Tracy Thurber and Kat Sadi! Kat just retired, so she’ll have more time to read now.

Okey-dokey, so. About October. It wasn’t a terrible month, overall. The hearing in my right ear is evidently gone for good, and when I talk I sound like a sick bullfrog. However, a lovely woman named Dawn Willis (she’s a nurse here in Roswell) gave me some hearing aids. These hearing aids were donated to St. Andrews Episcopal Church by a widow whose hubby used to wear them. Dawn, whose husband goes to St. Andrews, snabbled a pair for me. So I got an expensive pair of hearing aids for absolutely nothing. Well, a guy had to die, but we all have to do that eventually. Also, even though my voice is shot, I re-joined the Trinity United Methodist Church choir. I figure nobody else in the choir can sing, either, so I fit right in. It’s fun to sing again, even though I’m a relatively rusty tenor nowadays.

The best thing about October was that I got to visit my California friends and relations (my two daughters and my younger grandson) and attend my fifty-fifth high-school reunion.

A few old (well, vintage) dancers and I got together at Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles, where we had fun and I ate pastrami! I love pastrami. Here are John Pulver, Robert Jablon, Me, Art Aratin,  my daughter Robin, and Nicki Aratin. Had a great time. I miss my friends.
 
 
I had more fun at the John Muir High School Class of 1963’s fifty-fifth reunion than I thought I’d have, mainly because I got to see the two other women with whom I played flute in the Eliot Junior High School band. We haven’t been together as a threesome for… well, more than fifty-five years, anyhow. Here we are: Phyllis McKown, me, and Janet Levine Goldberg. It was such fun seeing them again!
 
 

Also took a little trip to Kernville, where my older daughter and her husband live. Kernville is a charming place, and Anni and Razmik live right across the street from the Kern River. It’s beautiful up there. Here are Anni and Robin feeding ducks and squirrels beside the Kern River:

 
Anni is a knitter of almost everything. She gave me some dog sweaters that were too small for my dogs, but that fit my buddy Jacob Torres’ Chihuahuas admirably. Here they are:
 
 
Robin also took me to see the Los Angeles Memorial Pet Cemetery and Crematorium in Calabasas. This cemetery was established in 1929. Petey from The Little Rascals is buried there, along with hundreds of other pets, from dogs and cats to birds and pot-bellied pigs. Some kindhearted volunteers revamped the place in 2003. Guess it had become rather run-down in the years between 1929 and 2003.
 

Whenever I visit California (where I was born and lived for most of my life), I always try to eat food I can’t get here in Roswell, New Mexico, because Roswell is in the precise middle of nowhere and has no East Indian, Middle Eastern, or Japanese restaurants. I managed to scarf down three (count ‘em) falafel wraps. Not all at once.

My great good friends, Karen and Dale Boggs, allowed me to spend the night after the reunion at their spectacular house in La Canada. Dale is a mad scientist (PhD in math and physics), and he can rule the entire house from his armchair in the living room. Karen and Dale have a cat named Molly, who isn’t generally fond of strangers. For some reason Molly liked me. When I told her I wanted to take a picture of her, she stuck her butt in my face. I considered this a delicate courtesy on her part, so here’s a picture of Karen along with Molly’s butt.

 
And here are Karen, Dale and me, sans eyeglasses, which evidently shone too much for the camera.
 
 
The day after the reunion, Karen and Dale went with me to Yes! Sushi. There we were joined by my younger grandson, Riki, who is also a mad scientist and got along with Dale like gangbusters (where’s that expression come from, anyway?) Riki got the all-you-can-eat sushi. The waiter kept showing up with platters of various sushi rolls, and Riki ate it. All. Amazing sushi-eater, Riki:
 
 
And then, because I whined about my thinning hair on Facebook (I’m almost 73, so thinning hair should be expected, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be liked), people began telling me about on-line wig shops, and I bought a wig! I think it’s charming, although the wig has a heck of a lot more hair than I ever had. Here's an incredibly unflattering picture of me in my wig, holding my new cane. That's Scrappy nosing the floor beside me:
 
 
And now I’m home again. With hearing aids, a wig, and a lovely new pink-and-blue cane (which can be seen in the above photo). I’m trying to think of something good to say about Roswell. Oh! I know! You can always find a parking space in Roswell. That’s a major advantage for someone who’s shaky on her pins and gets wobbly and falls down from time to time. It’s not overcrowded either, which can’t be said for the Los Angeles and Pasadena areas. I still miss Pasadena, but oh, well.

So let’s move on to the book giveaway. I gave so many books away in October, I hardly have any left, but lemme see what novels currently reside inside the boxes in my office. Aha! Found some. It’ll be hardback time at the House of Howling Hounds in November. At the end of the month, I’ll give away two of my historical romance novels: SIERRA RANSOM and CACTUS FLOWER (there’s a line in this book that always makes me laugh, although I’m not sure why); and two Mercy Allcutt books: THANKSGIVING ANGELS and FALLEN ANGELS. FALLEN ANGELS won the 2012 Arizona/New Mexico Book of the Year Award for mystery, by the way. Not bad for someone who doesn’t enter contests, huh? Someone else entered it for me, which was nice of him.

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!