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 Of all the things I’ve lost as I’ve aged, including four inches, my left hip (which has been replaced by a metal one), the ability to run, dance, walk long distances, cook huge feasts, and sing, the thing I miss most is my voice.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!