Friday, May 1, 2020


May 2020

Merciful heavens, but life can change quickly, can’t it? Last month when I wrote my newsletter, I had no idea Covid-19 would make such a huge impact on the world. Silly me.

The truth of the quarantine, at least for me, is that life hasn’t changed a whole lot. Because the hounds and I live in Roswell, New Mexico, there’s nowhere for us to go and nothing for us to do anyway. Church services have been held via video for a few weeks, and choir practice has been suspended for the duration, but that’s about it. The dogs still take me for our daily drag around the neighborhood (if I’d ever managed to train them properly, they’d walk like good little doggies, but I never did, so I get yanked). That’s on me. Mind you, if I could still afford to live in California, I’d probably be pining away, but I don’t, so I’m not.

Did that make any sense? Never mind. It really doesn’t matter.

In recent weeks I’ve heard from a few people in other parts of the world (other than the USA, I mean), telling me they enjoy Daisy’s and/or Mercy’s adventures but can’t quite equate what they’re reading to what they know in their world. I understand this situation completely, since I love reading British mysteries. So far, among other things, I’ve learned the boot of a car is our trunk, the bonnet is our hood, a fish pie is a fish concoction with mashed potatoes on top (I think mashed potatoes are just mash), and flapjacks aren’t just another word for what we call pancakes. In fact, Carola Dunn sent me her mother’s recipe for flapjacks. It looks delicious, although I haven’t made any yet.

Anyway, because people seem interested, I decided I’d create a more pictorial newsletter than usual, showing Daisy’s street, her house, Mrs. Bissel’s house, etc. And even, because someone asked, I'm posting a photo of clam chowder (pronounced CHOW-dah)! Not my favorite dish, but don’t tell my father. Well, you can’t because he’s dead, but . . . never mind again.

 
 
All right, on to Marengo Avenue, where Daisy and her mother, father and aunt live. This is approximately what Marengo looked like in Daisy’s day:

 
Here’s a lousy photo of Daisy’s house. Below it is approximately what her house would look like if anybody took care of it. They’re not the same house, but they’re close:
 
 
Daisy goes to the Pasadena Public Library a whole lot. This is the library she went to. It was replaced in about 1927 (maybe 1929), but this is the one she went to. It sat in its own park with a pond and a gazebo for sitting and reading in:


 
Here’s the new self-starting Chevrolet Daisy bought to replace their old 1909 Model-T. In fact, here’s the Model-T, too. It had no door on the driver’s side, which created some problems in Fine Spirits:

 

And here's Sam's big, clunky black Hudson:
 

Here’s Harold’s bright red Stutz Bearcat:

 


And here’s Harold’s new Kissel Gold Bug Speedster (which makes its first appearance in Exercised Spirits, which I promise I’ll finish writing soon):
 
This is Mrs. Bissel’s house. This house is of special import to me, because my aunt used to own it, and I pretty much grew up in it. It was a huge part of my life. I used to dream about it all the time. Since I gave the house to Mrs. Bissel and began writing about it, it doesn’t show up in my dreams so much. While I’m showing you Mrs. Bissel’s house, I’ll also show you a monkey-puzzle tree, one of which used to grow in the middle of the circular driveway in the back yard. The leaves on that tree tore up my own personal legs more than once when I was a kid!
         

This is the breakfast room, in which Daisy conducted the séance in which she conjured the ghost of a poor murdered young man, much to Daisy’s (and pretty much everyone else’s) horror. My aunt used to serve dinner in this room unless she was hosting a huge gathering, as on Christmas Eve, etc. Notice the door to the right? Not the door into the kitchen, but the one next to it? That door leads to a suite of rooms (a sitting room with a fireplace, a bedroom and a bathroom). I expect when the house was first built and occupied (early 1900s) that apartment housed the cook/housekeeper. My aunt used to rent it out:

 
And here’s Daisy’s church, where she sings alto in the choir: the First Methodist-Episcopal Church on the corner of Marengo Avenue and Colorado Boulevard (back then it was Colorado Street). It’s pointy!
 

Um . . . I can’t think of any other photos to post. Oh, wait! Boston baked beans. These are the same beans folks in the UK eat, pretty much. At least that’s what I ate when I visited. My daddy made them with either salt pork or bacon (or maybe both), and he served them with home-made New England brown bread, which is sweet and is baked in a tin can. It’s a little too sweet for me, but again, don’t tell my dad. Oh, that’s right. Never mind:


 
Of course, I need to show Daisy’s White sewing machine! According to Leon Fundenberger, who knows about sewing machines, this model dates from later than the 1920s. However, it’s mine, I used to make clothes for both of my daughters and myself on it, and I love it. It’s electric, and it has a side pedal, which runs the thing. I think in the Daisy books I called it a treadle, but that’s incorrect. I’ve learned a whole lot of stuff from Leon and his pal, Iris Evans, who not only collect sewing machines and do tons of sewing, but who also do a lot of fun dress-up stuff:
 
 
Egad! I almost forgot to show you Daisy's engagement ring, made by Sam's father, much against his will (Sam's father's, not Sam's). Sam's family objects to Daisy being neither Italian nor Roman Catholic:




Okay! On to the new book front! Um . . . there’s nothing to say, really. I’m actually getting close to finishing Exercised Spirits, which was supposed to have been published in May but can’t be because I haven’t finished writing it yet. I’m sorry!

I did go through the first book in the to-be-republished “Meet Me at the Fair” series, Coming Up Roses. Boy, oh, boy, I was blabby 25-30 years ago. I slashed and burned my way through that one and felt like a blooming idiot. For one thing, I no longer write romances for a good reason (I don’t want to) and for another, there were just too many words in it. Still have to go through the other two books, Just North of Bliss and A Bicycle Built for Two, and I really hope they don’t require so much editing. Y’know, editing other people’s books and having my own books edited has taught me a lot. I still tend to repeat myself when I’m writing (it takes maybe weeks to write a scene you can read in five minutes), but I’m attempting to curb my repetitive tendency. Just so you know.

A reminder: I no longer have a post-office box, so if you want to get in touch with me, please do so through my web page or on Facebook. Or send me an email at alice@aliceduncan.net. If you absolutely must snail-mail me something (preferably several checks for large sums of money), lemme know and I’ll give it to you. My address, I mean. Oy.

Because I have no clue how long everyone will be on lock-down and don’t want to mail paper books to anyone unless they’re willing to wait six months or so until this little old lady can get to the post office, I’ll be sending ebooks (or regular books if you don’t mind the wait) to the people whose names Bam-Bam has chosen from his special contest doggie dish. And those people are (for April’s giveaway):

Peg Ghrist, to whom I’ll send a NOOK copy of whatever book you want,

Carol Wright, to whom I’ll send a book of any sort if you’ll let me know which one you want and whether you want an ebook or a paper book, and

Teresa Henson, who will get a paper copy (let me know which one you want) as soon as I feel safe going to the post office!

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll send your books as soon as I know which book you want and (in Teresa’s case) when can I get to the post office!

As for May’s giveaway, why don’t we just do the same thing over again? Any old book you want (that I’ve written). Just lemme know either now or if you win which book you’d like. As ever, please send me an email to alice@aliceduncan.net, and I’ll toss your name into Bammy’s dish. Oh, there’s one more thing that might be important to know. When it comes to mailing paper copies of books, I can only send them within the USA. I can send e-copies of books to people pretty much anywhere (or, come to think of it, audio copies, if you’re willing to download the Audible app), but postage to foreign climes is just too expensive.

Okay, what now? I know! Daisy Daze! If you enjoy the Daisy and Mercy books, or if you’re just fascinated by the 1920s (as I am), please feel free to join Daisy Daze. I adore Daisy Daze. Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger (whom I’ve already mentioned regarding sewing machines) founded the DAISY DAZE Facebook page on which people post all sorts of historical stuff about Pasadena, sewing machines, automobiles, buildings, fashions from the 1920s, houses in which the people in the books might live, stars of the silent screen, 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/ . If you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Journal of the Plague Month

Wait. I mean Newsletter for April, 2020!

 
Well, isn’t this a whole bunch of fun? I hope everyone who receives this newsletter (and everyone who doesn’t) is well and healthy and stays that way. We’re living in strange times, with Covid-19 knocking us all for a loop.

Hope all the folks to whom I sent books got them. Now that the plague is upon us and most of us are quarantined, who knows when April’s books will be sent to those who win them. Which reminds me . . . Bam-Bam has chosen!

Slight detour first: I’ll send whatever book you want (I can send e-copies easily. The post office will probably take some serious time to reopen to people my age, so I hope you all have a Kindle, NOOK, or whatever other e-device exists if you win a book.

 Okay. Back to Bam-Bam. The winners of March’s books are:

            Vstark! I don’t have a first name or an address, but I do have your email address, so please just tell me which book you want.

            Crystal Toller (I have your email address, but no home address, so I hope you want an ebook), and

            Rebecca Wahr! Rebecca told me she has a NOOK, so if you’ll tell me which book you’d like to have, I’ll zip it to you for your NOOK!

 Thanks, everyone!

On the book front, not a whole lot is new here. I’m still doing my best to finish writing Exercised Spirits. Because I can no longer pull an all-dayer (much less an all-nighter), but have to rest, it’s taking more time than I wish it was but oh, well.

Denice Stradling, who has and will continue to narrate my Daisy books, has offered to read A Perfect Wedding, which is the third in my Titanic series. Another narrator read the first two and then pooped out on the third. I appreciate Denice so much!

Okay, so what exciting things happened at the House of Howling Hounds in March? Um . . . not a whole lot, actually. I got a huge surprise one windy day, when the back gate blew open. Jazzy, Cookie and Bam-Bam all decided to go on an excellent adventure! The first two didn’t surprise me, but Bammers????? The dog who fears every human being in the world who isn’t me????? Fortunately, my neighbors and I rounded them up safely and got them home before anything less than excellent happened. We live a block away from the busiest east-west street in town, so I’m glad none of them ended up squashed on the pavement.

Oh, and Jazzy finally received a token that will announce her royalty to the world. While it’s true most of us already acknowledge her as the Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys, until recently she had no crown or tiara announcing the fact. Then my neighbors (Ann and Barry Lasky, who helped me find the runaways) discovered a tiara for her. So here she is in her new royal regalia:
 

Because I have no idea how long everyone will be quarantined, and don’t want to mail paper books to anyone unless they want to wait six months or so until this little old lady can get to the post office, I’ll be sending ebooks to the people whose names Bam-Bam picks out of his special contest doggie dish. Any old book you want (that I’ve written, natch). Just lemme know either now or if you win. As ever, please send me an email to alice@aliceduncan.net, and I’ll toss your name into Bammy’s dish.

Oh, and there’s actually one thing might be important, to a degree. I’ve decided to give up my post office box. People seldom, if ever, use it since most folks use email these days. Therefore, if you need to get in touch with me, please do so by email (alice@aliceduncan.net) or my Facebook page (link below). If you absolutely need my home address, just ask. Thanks.

Okay, what now? I know! Daisy Daze! If you enjoy the Daisy and Mercy books, or if you’re just fascinated by the 1920s (as I am), please feel free to join Daisy Daze. I adore Daisy Daze. Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded the DAISY DAZE Facebook page on which people post all sorts of historical stuff about Pasadena, sewing machines, automobiles, buildings, fashions from the 1920s, houses in which the people in the books might live, stars of the silent screen, 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/ . If you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925
Thank you!

Monday, March 2, 2020


March 2020

How come February has two Rs in it? Never mind.

It galls me to admit this, but I have to begin this newsletter with a profound and abject apology. Not only did I fail to write a newsletter for February, but I also haven’t sent books to people to whom I owe them. Picture me groveling. Or maybe you’d better not. It’s not a pretty sight.

Anyway, I’ll send Scarlet Spirits to everyone to whom a copy is owed as soon as I possibly can. People whose names Bam-Bam slurped up from the special give-away doggie dish at the end of January are:

Rita Wray, who gets a copy of Genteel Spirits,

Kat Sadi, who gets a copy of Scarlet Spirits, and

Margaret Cronk, who gets a copy of Fallen Angels!

At least, perhaps, I am at last getting better after my final surgery of 2019, which I had in December. It’s been a rough ride. Recovering from a doctor carving a huge chunk out of one’s guts is no darned fun. Trust me on this.

However, there are one or two good things to be perceived (dimly) on the horizon. One of them is the re-publication Thanksgiving Angels, Mercy Allcutt’s fifth adventure, which is being published this very month! Here’s the cover and the Amazon Kindle link:
As for the next Daisy Gumm Majesty book, Exercised Spirits, I’m writing it as fast as I can, but that’s not very fast. I’m trying, okay??? Which reminds me of when I was a kid. Every time I told my mother I was trying, she’d say, “You sure are.”

The completion date of the next Mercy book, Angels Adrift, is anyone’s guess. But please don’t guess too soon. I’m sorry. Truly.

Um . . . I have absolutely no idea what book to give away at the end of March. If you have a preference, please let me know. Just send me an email at alice@aliceduncan.net. If you want an ebook, tell me which device you use (Kindle, Nook, etc.). If you want a paper book, you’ll need to send me your address, and it will depend upon if I have a copy. I think I have copies of most of the Daisy and Mercy books. E-copies of most of my books (all 65 or thereabouts) are always available, even to me, and even though I’m not awfully swift with technology. However, if you want an e-copy of one of my books (if you win one, I mean), I can get it to you. Somehow. I’m pretty sure.

Another good thing is that ePW aims to publish my old “Meet Me at the Fair” series, which might get a new title. These books will be by me writing as Rachel Wilson and will get spiffy new covers and so forth. These historical romance novels are set during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (in other words, the 1893 World’s Fair) and feature a variety of people, including a trick rider in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West (he didn’t like to call it a “show”), an up-tight belle from the South and a hootchy-kootchy dancer. I think they’re fun, although I may be biased.

Wolfpack intends to publish three box sets that will include many of my western historical romance novels (One Bright Morning, Phoebe’s Valentine, Wild Dream, Sweet Charity, Cactus Flower, Rosamunda’s Revenge (which contains my favorite opening paragraphs and a Yorkshire terrier), Texas Lonesome (which contains dachshunds), Secret Hearts, Spirit of Love, Cooking Up Trouble, Gabriel’s Fate and Sierra Ransom), but I don’t know much about them yet. More new about the box sets and the World’s Fair books will be announced in future newsletters (I hope).

So far nobody is lining up to re-publish my post-Titanic-disaster series. I consider this a darned shame, since the books contain my second-favorite heroine of all those I’ve created: Loretta Linden (Daisy’s my first-favorite). Loretta’s rich, feisty, naïve, and wants to save the world from itself. I had to write these books after the first two Daisy books tanked. Kensington made me take a new pseudonym (I chose Anne Robins, as those are my daughters’ names) and write three historical romance novels. I didn’t want to. I was grieving for Daisy, and I hated writing the first book in this series. After that, they became less onerous. In fact, the last two were actually fun to write.

If you’re interested, the books are, in order: A Perfect Stranger, A Perfect Romance, and A Perfect Wedding. My fave is the middle book, which is Loretta’s story. Loretta absolutely cracks me up! Haven’t any idea why nobody wants the books. Oh, well. Thanks to the marvels of self-publication, they’re all for sale on-line, and two of them are available in audio format. Denice Stradling, who makes a spectacular Daisy, will be narrating A Perfect Wedding soon, bless her. I appreciate Denice so much!

Anyway, enough of that. If you enjoy the Daisy and Mercy books, or if you’re just fascinated by the 1920s (as I am), please feel free to join Daisy Daze. I adore Daisy Daze. Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded the DAISY DAZE Facebook page on which people post all sorts of historical stuff about Pasadena, sewing machines, automobiles, buildings, fashions from the 1920s, houses in which the people in the books might live, stars of the silent screen, 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/ . If you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!