Monday, December 31, 2018


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 Of all the things I’ve lost as I’ve aged, including four inches, my left hip (which has been replaced by a metal one), the ability to run, dance, walk long distances, cook huge feasts, and sing, the thing I miss most is my voice.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 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: . 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: . If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:

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:
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: . 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: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:

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: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:

Thank you!


Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Saga of Daisy Gumm Majesty’s Publication

Before I begin telling you about Daisy’s epic publishing history, here are the wieners of September’s book giveaway (SPIRITS UNEARTHED): Elizabeth Keene, Paula Adams, Jon Ludwig and Linda Ames-Boman. Congrats! I’ll get your books to you… eventually. Truth to tell, I only managed to mail August’s books yesterday. Sigh.

But back to the subject of this month’s newsletter, let me tell you that keeping Daisy published wasn’t easy. Here’s why.

The idea for the Daisy Gumm Majesty series came to me in the early 2000s. The books were supposed to be historical cozy mysteries, and they were supposed to feature as their main protagonist a fake spiritualist-medium named Daisy Gumm Majesty, a young woman married to a crippled veteran of the War to End All Wars (it wasn’t, more’s the pity). Daisy plied her art during the 1920s in Pasadena, California, my old hometown.

In order to achieve publication of this series, I gathered what few wits I had left and sent a proposal for the first two books to my publisher at the time (Kensington). The Powers That Were liked the idea, the characters and the period, but they said there wasn’t enough mystery. That’s undoubtedly true, and it’s also pretty much the story of my life. Their fix, however, was for me to take out the dead bodies, add a subsidiary romance (since the heroine was already married) and they’d market the books as romances.

So I did, they did, and STRONG SPIRITS and FINE SPIRITS were published. They tanked. Big-time. Broke my heart. I loved Daisy. More, I loved Pasadena, California, and the era in which Daisy lived. Nevertheless, Daisy and her pals seemed to be floating belly-up in the goldfish bowl of publishing, and there was nothing I could do about it. The late, great Kate Duffy called and apologized for mis-marketing the books, but that didn’t help a whole lot. My heart remained, squashed and pulsing with grief, on the floor at my feet.

Nevertheless, I did as the Kensington goddesses asked, took yet another pseudonym (I think this made six of them), and I wrote a series about survivors of the Titanic disaster. I used a combination of my daughters’ names for my pseudonym and churned out A PERFECT STRANGER, A PERFECT ROMANCE and A PERFECT WEDDING as Anne Robins.

Then, because I was editing books for Five Star-Cengage, I asked if I could submit a book for their consideration. Five Star doesn’t acquire books on proposal, but I already had the third Daisy book written. Therefore, I sent it in, and they acquired it for their women’s fiction line. I was delighted, even if the books still weren’t dead-body-cozy mysteries. And then Five Star closed their women’s fiction line. I managed to get book #6 (ANCIENT SPIRITS) published as a romantic suspense novel, and then I got to turn Daisy’s books into cozy mysteries! Yay!

Five Star published SPIRITS REVIVED, Daisy’s seventh adventure, as a mystery! Wheeee! Then Five Star closed their mystery line.

Um . . . I wasn’t sure what to do after that. However, a lovely woman named Jeanne Glidewell, whose cozy mystery novels I’d edited for Five Star, told me she’d found a great publisher and suggested I get in touch with them about my Daisy books. So I did. ePublishing Works (Brian and Nina Paules) decided to reprint the entire Daisy series, give the books new covers that clearly defined them as cozy mysteries (“branding” is, I think, what this is called), and they even put the series number of each book on the front cover! Wow. You can’t get much better than that. What’s more, ePW actually promotes their authors’ books! This has never happened to me before in my life. I’m actually making money with ePW. Whatta miracle!

The only thing neither ePW nor I can do is get the rights to SPIRITS REVIVED back. Therefore, there’s a hole in the middle of Daisy’s series. However, when the narrator reading the Daisy books for audio (the extremely talented Denice Stradling) got to SPIRITS REVIVED, Nina Paules made a lovely cover for it and numbered it 6 ½. I tell you, those ePW folks are clever.

Anyway, book #12 (actually, it’s #13, but I just explained the reason it’s not numbered as such) was published in July of this year. SPIRITS UNEARTHED begins at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California. It’s not as gruesome as it sounds (to start with, anyway) because Daisy and her fiancĂ©, Sam Rotondo, are there to visit their late spouses’ graves. Daisy’s dachshund, Spike, begins the action by finding a shoe. Unfortunately, the shoe contains a foot. And so the fun begins.

By the way, I grew up and lived in Altadena and Pasadena for most of my life, so it didn’t occur to me that having only one cemetery to serve an entire community was in any way unusual. I’ve since been told by my number-one beta reader, Lynne Welch, librarian extraordinaire, that most cities have little cemeteries dotted all over the place. In Altadena and Pasadena, it’s either Mountain View or an urn on somebody’s mantel, I reckon.

A running theme in the Daisy books is the magnificence of Viola Gumm’s cooking. Vi is Daisy’s aunt-by-marriage and is a genius in the kitchen. That’s a good thing because neither Daisy nor her mother can cook a worth a lick. They all live together in a sweet little bungalow in Pasadena. One of Vi’s recipes appears in SPIRITS UNEARTHED. In order to make Vi’s Swedish-style smothered chicken, you first have to haul out your Scotch kettle. Don’t know what a Scotch kettle is? Neither did I. So I did some research, and it turned out to be a Dutch oven!

Daisy’s 13th (actually, her 14th) adventure is titled SHAKEN SPIRITS, and it will be published in January of 2019. This novel features a character created by another author for his own books. Peter Brandvold (who writes terrific westerns) gave me his very own, personal, made-up character, Lou Prophet, to play with. Mind you, Mean Pete waited to give Lou to me until he was old, weathered, falling apart and one-legged, but Daisy and I had a whole lot of fun with old Lou in spite of his antiquity. Daisy thinks Lou is quaint. Lou, who was once a hard-drinking, violent, womanizing, dangerous and tricky bounty hunter in the wild and wooly Old West, would not be happy with Daisy’s assessment. Being a woman of understanding and compassion, Daisy will never tells Lou she thinks he’s quaint mainly because, if she did, Lou would hobble out of her life as fast as he could. Please pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS if you feel so inclined.

What the heck, you can get Lou Prophet’s latest story (written about his early career, when he was young, virile, handsome as heck, and not quite as cantankerous as he ultimately became) right now if you want to:

Now I’m writing SCARLET SPIRITS, Daisy’s 14th (actually, her 15th) adventure. Lou Prophet’s in this book too; however, even more fictional Old-West characters show up in SCARLET. I made up all these new guys, though. In fact, a proposal for a western novel no one ever showed interest in publishing (because westerns are supposed to be jam-packed with adventure, and all my characters ever do is sit around chatting with each other. Well, and they eat a lot), is helping me with SCARLET’S plot. Never let a good plot go to waste is my philosophy. In truth, it isn’t, but it sounds good.

I tell you, publishing is a strange and confusing industry.

At the end of October, I’ll be giving away even more copies of SPIRITS UNEARTHED. I seem to have about fifty billion copies of that particular book for some reason. If you’d like to find out more about Daisy and the gang, please visit this page ( ), where you can read an excerpt from SPIRITS UNEARTHED and learn more about my Daisy books. That page also contains links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere else if you’d like to buy the book. If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:

Thank you!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

How'd it get to be September Already?

First of all, I proffer my sincere apologies for being a week late with my newsletter. Another bout of illness (in this case colitis) felled me. Well, it didn’t flatten me, precisely; it just doubled me over in pain. Phooey. Whoever called old age “the golden years” was either lying through his/her teeth or making an extremely bad joke. They’re more like corroded copper or, in my case, rusted steel. I used to be fit and healthy and danced and sang and had a good time with this formerly fairly nice body. Now, although I still live in it, I seem to have no control over what happens to it, inside or out. Totally unfair. Whine, whine, whine.

Huh. Now that that’s over with, I probably should mention a few things that actually happened in August! For one thing, Peter Brandvold’s book, STAGECOACH TO PURGATORY, was published. In order to understand precisely how Lou Prophet, a rugged, hard-drinking, womanizing, wild and woolly western bounty hunter, ended up a one-legged old crock in Daisy Gumm Majesty’s Pasadena in 1925, you can read all about it in the forward to STAGECOACH. Therefore, I recommend everyone get a copy or three. Here's the Kindle link, and after you read the forward, you may also read the rest of the book if you want J
After you’ve done that, please feel free to pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS, Daisy’s next adventure, which will be published in January, 2019. Here’s the Kindle link for SHAKEN SPIRITS, along with a place-holder in the real cover’s stead. I can’t wait to see the cover art for this book. I’ve been in the book biz for more than 25 years and have 65 or so published books under my belt, but the most exciting part of the whole process, even to this day, is seeing the cover art for the first time. In SHAKEN SPIRITS, someone or some ones are attempting with all their skill and might (using motorcars, guns, knives, and various other weapons) to kill poor Daisy. They don’t succeed, but they sure bang her up a lot, and she recovers, but not without damage to her poor self. Pasadena Police Detective Sam Rotondo, Daisy’s fiancĂ©, helps capture the rascals, as does poor, worn-out, one-legged, amazingly anachronistic Lou Prophet. Lions (beasts of the jungle, not a sports team if there is one) even come into play, by gad.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: it still amazes me that Mean Pete gave me Lou Prophet to play with, even as a damaged old coot (Lou, not me, although I guess we both fit that descriptor). I’d never, ever, in a zillion years, entrust another author with one of my characters. I don’t care how old, senile, wretched, poor or broken-down one of them gets, and no matter how many body parts have gone missing, I’d still never let another author have her. Or him, but most of my books have female protagonists. In fact, I think they all do.

Anyway, after you’ve ordered or pre-ordered the above books, I should tell you about Boomer. As a member of New Mexico Dachshund Rescue, I have had many foster hounds in my care over the years. I don’t know how many dachshunds I’ve owned since being given my very first wiener dog, Hansel Schnitzel Fritzel von Pancho Pooh Puddle Monsieur la Puppy Stink Duncan, but I’ve owned a bunch of them. Haven’t done a whole lot of fostering in recent years, primarily because I live in Roswell, which is in the precise middle of nowhere. Roswell is about 200 miles away from a city larger than it is. You can drive 200 miles in pretty much any direction and, if you don’t die from boredom, you’ll eventually run into Albuquerque, Santa Fe, El Paso, Las Cruces, Lubbock, Midland, etc. Most of our adoptees go to Albuquerque or environs, so there isn’t much call for fosters in this neck of the woods. However, it has been a pure pleasure to foster Boomer, a long-haired, black-and-tan, seven-year-old darling of a dachshund. He’s about the most adorable dog I’ve ever even known, much less fostered, and I’m going to miss him a lot. Here’s Boomer:


It’s too late for you to adopt the precious Boomer, because an approved adopter has already been found for him. However, if you ever feel the burning need for a dachshund to give you comfort and solace in your life, please visit NMDR here:

Oh, and for the first time in all the miserable years I’ve lived in Roswell (feels like about a thousand, but it isn’t quite that many), scorpions invaded the house in August. Scorpions. In the house. Come on. Scorpions have an entire desert to roam around on. My dogs and I have this one small (maybe 800 square feet) house to live in. If I could read and write Scorpion, I’d issue warning signs: DANGER TO ANY SCORPION WHO CROSSES THIS THRESHHOLD, but I don’t. Even though the scorpions around here aren’t particularly venomous, their sting hurts like heck, and I don’t want my dogs to tangle with one of them. Death to indoor scorpions, say I. And so do the hounds.

Another terribly exciting thing happened in August. My hot-water heater broke. On a Saturday morning. The plumber, a very nice fellow who also sings in various venues around Roswell, had already been to my house earlier in the week to grind roots out of my water pipes. Well, not my personal pipes, but those belonging to the house. So I guess he’s got his utility bills covered for another month, thanks to me. Sigh. Not that I’m not a charitable person or anything, but I’d be happier if I could select the charities to which I donate. Not that he and his family aren’t a worthy cause, but, well, sheesh, y’know?

Um… what else? Oh, I probably should tell you who won last month’s book-giveaway, huh? The people who will receive copies of BRUISED SPIRITS, Daisy’s tenth adventure (it’s actually her eleventh, but… oh, never mind) are: Vickie Shaw, Donna Durnell, Pat Thayer and Marelou Azares. Congratulations, ladies! I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can stagger to the post office.

Since I just restocked my supply of SPIRITS UNEARTHED, Daisy’s 12th adventure (that’s what the cover says, although it’s really her 13th, but… never mind again), I’ll be giving copies of that one away at the end of September. By the way, if you live outside the United States, I’ll be more than happy to give you an e-copy of the book, but postage to places outside the country is mega-expensive. I remember fondly when I heaved books to people in Germany, Turkey, Australia and even China. Not any longer. Oh, well. Sorry, but since I’ve recently begun supporting my friendly neighborhood plumber, I just can’t afford postage to areas outside the USA.

If you’d like to enter September’s contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one newsletter a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!



Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It’s August!

Does anything exciting happen in August? Around here, school begins in August. When I lived in California, kids went from September to June, but here it’s August to May. Not sure why. And I really don’t much care, either, so I’m not sure why I mentioned it. Maybe because August is otherwise such a dull month? Oh, never mind.

Anyway, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, has selected the winners of July’s book, SPIRITS UNITED (he’s such a good dog, even though he did just bark madly at a huge scorpion his mommy had to squash for him. I hate doing that). The winners are: Lisa Brooks, Paula Adams, Brenda Winslow and Sandra Miller. Congratulations, ladies! I’ll send your books to you as soon as I can make it to the post office.

All sixteen of my regular readers will probably be delighted to know I finished writing SHAKEN SPIRITS, the next Daisy Gumm Majesty book. I’m hoping it will be published in October, but I have to go through it one last time and take out the boring bits. After Peter Brandvold gave me his character, Lou Prophet, to play with, there were no more boring parts. Even if Mean Pete did wait to share until Lou was old, broken-down and one-legged. But that’s okay. Daisy, Sam and I had a lot of fun with poor old Lou, even in his elderly guise. Daisy is even learning a new language: Old Westish.

Regarding carpal-tunnel surgery on my left wrist: It went perfectly! So few things do, you know? But the surgeon knocked me out (he used drugs, thank heavens), went snip-snip, and voila (or viola, as Julia Child sometimes said when she was in a funning mood), the wrist was fixed. It didn’t take long to heal, and I’m hoping to get the right wrist operated on before I head to California in mid-October. I’m right-handed, so this upcoming surgery might take a little longer to mend, but I was really happy the surgery was so trouble-free. People I know who had carpal-tunnel surgery some years back didn’t get off so easily. The surgery had improved lately, for which I’m grateful.

Any other news? Other than being a bit wobbly on my pins and taking the occasional fall in front of hordes of spectators in Cahoon Park (Roswell, New Mexico) as the hounds take me for our daily drag every morning, all is just swell. It’s really stupid for a crippled little old lady to walk four (sometimes five) dogs, as my younger daughter is always telling me, but if I walked them one at a time or in bunches, I’d be walking dogs all day long. And If I didn’t walk the dogs, I’d feel guilty. So. There we are.

Regarding August’s contest… Why don’t I give away copies of BRUISED SPIRITS, Daisy’s tenth adventure? All righty then, I will.

In the meantime, please feel free to pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS:


If you’d like to enter August’s contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one newsletter a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

Okay, so it’s a little early to be wishing everyone a happy Fourth of July. I’m having carpal-tunnel surgery on my left wrist on June 27, so I’m catching up ahead of time. If that makes any sense.

Regarding June’s give-away, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, has selected the winners of June’s contest, in which I’m giving away copies of some Mercy Allcutt books. They are:

LOST AMONG THE ANGELS, which goes to Carol Goerz;
ANGELS OF MERCY, which goes to Lisa Brooks;
FALLEN ANGELS (winner of the Arizona/New Mexico Book of the Year award in 2012. I’m not a contest-enterer as a rule, but this one cracked me up. New Mexico & literacy don’t normally end up in sentences together. That’s not very nice, is it? Oh, well), which goes to Donna Durnell; and
THANKSGIVING ANGELS, which goes to Mary Ann Hopper.

At the end of July, I’ll give away … I dunno. Let me see here. Okay, the book will be SPIRITS UNITED. I’ll give away four copies of that one, in which a librarian is murdered! By, needless to say, a dastardly fiend. But Sam Rotondo and Daisy save the day. Well, not for the murdered librarian, but for other would-be victims of the villain.

When I recover from having my left wrist operated on, the surgeon will fix the right wrist. I’m actually looking forward to this, because I’ve had trouble with carpal-tunnel syndrome for … oh, I don’t know. Twenty or thirty years or thereabouts. It’s past time to get my wrists un-crimped. Maybe my handwriting will improve! It used to be kind of pretty, but now, what with arthritis and carpal tunnel, my writing looks rather like that of a spider on meth.

On to the good stuff. Last month I told everyone Peter Brandvold (Mean Pete, as he prefers to be called) gave me one of his characters, Lou Prophet, former bounty hunter, to play with in SHAKEN SPIRITS, my next Daisy Gumm Majesty book. This is probably the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, writerishly speaking. Of course, when Mean Pete writes about Lou in his books set the 1880s, Lou is a young man in his late twenties or early thirties. When Daisy gets hold of him, he’s in his seventies, has lost a leg in an accident involving (naturally) wimmin and booze, and is living in the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, CA. He’s craggy, slightly grumpy, still good-looking for an old guy, and I absolutely love him!

Mean Pete’s next Lou Prophet book, BLOOD AT SUNDOWN, will be released by Kensington in August of this year. I hope everyone goes out and buys a copy or three. Here’s a picture of Lou Prophet as a young, womanizing, and incredibly handsome man. I’m including a link so you can buy Mean Pete’s book. I didn’t get to edit this book, but I trust Mean Pete’s Kensington editor. A little:
If you’d like to enter July’s contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one newsletter a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

June is bustin’ out all over!

Or maybe it isn’t. Busting or not, it’s sure hot here in SE New Mexico. May’s blog was sort of a downer (actually, it was a major downer), and I apologize for that. Nothing much has changed in my world, which means my niece still has scleroderma, although there’s been no biopsy to confirm the synovial carcinoma thing, and that’s good. Probably. I still can’t hear out of my right ear, and I’m peeved about it. But enough of that!

To start with, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, has selected people’s names, and the winners of May’s contest are:

SPIRITS ONSTAGE: Annie Amos and Virginia Winfield
UNSETTLED SPIRITS: Diana Smith and Johnna Smith (I don’t believe these two ladies are related. For that matter, I don’t know if they’re ladies, but I’m pretty sure they are).

 Believe it or not, something not merely good, but exceptionally good, happened to me in May. I’ve had more than sixty books published since 1994, and I used to be incredibly single-minded and gung-ho about writing. After all, writing books was the only thing I ever really wanted to do. And puh-leeze don’t give me that “Writers write” nonsense. I was a single mother with no money other than my crummy earnings as a secretary (a job I hated, if anyone cares). My kids’ father didn’t see any need to pay child support, so I worked one and sometimes two jobs in order to make ends meet. Rearing two daughters alone, working full tim, and taking care of everything by myself ate up all my time. There wasn’t any time for this writer to write, dad-gum it! Every time I hear some snobby person say, “Writers write,” meaning, of course, that no matter what, you’re supposed to be writing, I want to strangle that person. It’s probably a good thing the arthritis in my hands is so bad, I can’t. But honestly, do the “writers write” folks not care if their kids starve to death? I did, and if that was wrong of me, so be it.

Oh, dear, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? I didn’t mean to sink into negativity. Ahem.

Let’s get back to the exceptionally good thing that happened to me in May. After being published for so many years, earning so little money for my efforts pretty much sapped my writing energy. It wasn’t fun any longer, and I had trouble thinking up plots. It takes a long, long time to write a book that can be read in hours, and if the author isn’t making any money doing it, why do it, y’know? Fortunately for me, all those books having been published led some folks to think I knew what I was doing. Therefore, I was offered an editing job by a publisher. Which means, of course, I actually was making through my writing, although not precisely the way I’d imagined it would happen.

Anyhow, I began editing books written by Peter Brandvold. Mean Pete (he calls himself that; I’m not being unkind) writes really, really good westerns. His books are full to the brim with action, violence and sex. He has several ongoing series featuring people like Bear Haskell, Deputy US Marshal; Yakima Henry, a half-breed wandering law officer (he does other stuff, too); Mike Sartain, a Cajun who takes it upon himself to enact justice on people who would otherwise get away with their fell deeds; and Lou Prophet, a dissolute, funny, big-hearted, foul-mouthed bounty hunter. All these guys are young in the books Mean Pete writes about them in the 1880s and thereabouts. My books are set in the 1920s.

But you know what? Mean Pete gave me Lou Prophet! Mind you, Lou’s kind of a broken-down crock by Daisy Gumm Majesty’s day, but he’s still a firecracker, albeit an elderly and one-legged one. You see, after his youth was spent on tangleleg and loose women and he got too old to continue as a bounty hunter, a film company in Los Angeles hired him to be a consultant on some of their western flickers. Old Lou had himself a high old time for a while there. Then one night he got into a motorcar with two ladies of the night and a case of bootleg hooch, and somebody drove the car off a cliff in Santa Monica (which is right on the Pacific Ocean for anyone who doesn’t know). Lou was the sole survivor, although he lost one of his legs during the accident. Therefore, in 1925, poor old one-legged Lou, while still a foul-mouthed, uncouth sort of fellow, has fallen on hard times. In fact, in SHAKEN SPIRITS, the Daisy book I’m writing now and in which he has a part, he’s living at the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, California.

Doesn’t it just seem inevitable that Daisy and Lou should get together? It did to Mean Pete and me. Daisy and Sam break him out of the Odd Fellows Home, and Lou is now helping Sam figure out who’s trying to kill Daisy. I haven’t had this much fun writing a book in, literally, years.

So thank you, Peter Brandvold! You’re not as mean as you like people to think you are. Most of the time. Here’s a picture of Mean Pete and me when he drove through Roswell on his way to Arizona to get away from the Minnesota winter for a month or so (he lives in Minnesota).

For the record, if you’re of a mind to, you may pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS, which will probably be published in October of this year (providing I have time to finish it. Editing cuts into writing time, dang it).

In the meantime, if you want to read Daisy’s latest adventure, SPIRITS UNEARTHED, in which Daisy’s dachshund, Spike, finds a shoe with a foot in it at the cemetery and chaos ensues, please feel free to do so:
Now. Whatever should I give away at the end of June? Beats me. Oh, I know! I’ll give away some of Mercy Allcutt’s books. There will be no more Mercy books, by the way, until I can get the rights back to the last one. At any rate, I’ll give away a copy each of LOST AMONG THE ANGELS, FALLEN ANGELS, ANGELS OF MERCY and THANKSGIVING ANGELS. If you live in a country other than the USA, you’ll have to settle for winning an e-book, because sending books all over the world is too expensive for this little old crippled lady.

If you’d like to enter the contest, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one blog a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!