Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Spirits United!

I apologize for last month’s blog. I was so down in the dumps, I just couldn’t bear to be funny. Losing a best friend and another friend losing her daughter to murder just sort of wiped out the joy in life for a while. For the record, the murderer of my cousin’s daughter has been found and extradited to New Mexico to stand trial. So maybe he’ll be convicted and imprisoned. That’ll be okay, but it won’t bring Anita back, you know? And I doubt there’s any way a mother can ever recover from the loss of a child, especially to murder, so my friend whose daughter was murdered in June (and whose murderer then committed suicide) is pretty much doomed, I guess. As another friend of mine said, if a person decides to commit a murder-suicide, it’s better to commit the suicide first. I think that’s a brilliant solution to a dire problem, but I doubt it’ll catch on, people being what they are.

Anyway, enough of that. I’ll be in touch with the winners of July’s contest via email since I didn’t specify a book to be given away. You get to pick your choice if you’re a wiener. I mean a winner.

SPIRITS UNITED, Daisy’s eleventh adventure (actually, it’s her twelfth, but who’s counting?) was just released, so here’s the cover art and links to it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:


Okey-dokey, a little bit about SPIRITS UNITED. I was afraid the book would be terrible. You see, I had such an emotional investment in BRUISED SPIRITS, I figured the next book would be a flop. However, people seem to be enjoying it! Go figure. I’m happy about that, and I’m working diligently on the next Daisy book. It seems to be coming along nicely. In order to prepare for it, which is titled SPIRITS UNEARTHED, I’ll be taking photographs at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California, when I’m in California next week for my friend’s memorial service. Feel free to speculate from there.

As for SPIRITS UNITED, it begins at Daisy’s home on Marengo Avenue in Pasadena, but Sam Rotondo (Pasadena police detective and Daisy’s betrothed) comes over just as Daisy is about to visit the library (she hangs out there a lot). Therefore, Sam goes with her on her jaunt to the library since he doesn’t trust her not to stumble over a dead body if she visits there alone. Doesn’t work. A woman is murdered in the biography stacks while Sam is with Daisy at the library. Horrors! Worse, Daisy’s friend, Robert Browning (not the poet), is discovered holding the bloody knife used to murder the poor dead woman. This naturally puts Robert at the top of Sam’s suspect list, although Daisy doesn’t believe for a second he did the dirty deed.

Anyhow, Sam, still recovering from the gunshot he got in BRUISED SPIRITS, and still hurting from it and forced to use a cane, is cranky as heck. Nevertheless, he gets to work.

Daisy gets to work, too, although Sam doesn’t want her to. Eventually the murderer is discovered, thanks to a lot of snooping on everyone’s part. Not only that, but Daisy is thrilled that she’s become a matchmaker. Again. She’s almost as good at matchmaking as she is at sewing and spiritualist-medium-ing.

Oh, and in SPIRITS UNITED, it’s Sam’s Voodoo juju that acts up rather than any of Daisy’s spiritualist paraphernalia. Sam neither believes in nor appreciates its help.

In order to get a feel for the library where SPIRITS UNITED begins, I wanted to see pictures of the Pasadena Public Library as it was in 1924. The present library was opened in 1929. I used to practically live there when I resided in Pasadena, and I worked for quite some time in the children’s room there. Love that library and still visit it when I’m in Pasadena. However, that’s not the library in which Daisy’s latest body was found. Here are photographs (found for me by my lovely niece, Sara Krafft, and a wonderful Facebook buddy, Andie Paysinger) of the old library. It looks like it was a beautiful place:

The only truly awful thing about SPIRITS UNITED is that I murdered a librarian in it. It’s not my fault! Lynne Welch, a valued friend and excellent beta reader, is a librarian, and she told me she’s always wanted to bump off a librarian. So I did it for her. I still feel guilty about doing so, too.

I’ll let folks pick any old book you want from my backlist at the end of August. If you’re name is chosen from my special contest doggie dish by Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, I’ll send you the book you select, providing I have a copy.

Oh, and a word about my monthly contests. I love giving my work to people; however, I found out quite by accident a few months ago that sending books to Great Britain, Australia, and other countries outside the United States is beyond my monetary capability. If a resident of a nation other than the United States has an e-reader, I’ll happily supply that person with an e-book. If a person doesn’t have an e-reader and still likes to read book-books, he or she is on his or her own. I’m sorry, but what I laughingly call my writing career hasn’t made me wealthy yet. And it probably won’t, but let’s not get in to that, because it always depresses me. So. That’s that.

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-mail, 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!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blog: A new month

Good Morning Bloggers,
My agenda this month is a very busy one. I still have several books to read and review.
I want to watch several things on Acorn and Netflix. What I have been watching lately is Ozark, Winston Churchill Documentary,  on PBS we are watching "MY Mother and other Strangers."  "George and Author." 
Quilting Seasons on PBS and in August we will be privy to a new season of "Endeavour." I can't wait for this to start as I am a huge fan.

On a personal note, we have a grandson getting married on August 12th so the family will be gathering for that and we will have company.
There is also a full month of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Garage Sale Mysteries are a huge plus.
There are some new books being released in August. A Sue Grafton "Y Is For Yesterday." is one and after coffee, I might think of more.

Okay until next blog,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blog: Books/Series/Binge watch

Over the weekend I finally went out of town. This is a big deal for me as I usually can't ride in a car because of my vertigo and it did make me feel not so hot a couple of time.
However, my daughter and husband helped by keeping my mind on other things.
Series: Now I want to jump ahead for a minute and tell you I watched the most terrific new series show tonight. It's called MIDNIGHT TEXAS and it's by Charlaine Harris. It is amusing, thinks outside the box and very funny.
Great lines, actors, I am hooked and I usually do not care for this type of shows. It's so original and the perfect blend of entertainment.
Okay back to my scheduled words of wisdom. 
I wrote a review on our blog but in case you missed it. I enjoyed the "law and author mystery" by Erika Chase. Such a good series and a great book
Now I've been binge watching many shows.
First I have watched many Hitchcock Movies. First STRANGERS ON A TRAIN,  REAR WINDOW AND ROPE.
Now shows I have binge watched lately are Midsomer murders, Perry Mason, Columbo, Vera, Shetland, Murdoch Mysteries, Harry Potter and Crocodile Dundee Movies.

The new show I want to see in the fall is the one that stars Jeremy Pivin.  I don't remember the title but it looks interesting and I am happy to him in another series.
 I'm currently reading is MURDER HAS NINE LIVES by LAURA LEVINE. 
I will write reviews and post them on our blog.

Tonight at the library I picked up one mystery and it is titled: BOOKED 4 MURDER by J.C. Eaton. 

Summer plans involve family. We have a grandson getting married on August 12th so is the next big deal to attend.

Meanwhile, I stay in and only go places (such as walks) in the evening and morning hours.

Okay until the next blog post this is all I have for now.

I will add that I am close to finishing a couple of cross stitch samplers and to add to my cross stitch hobby I'm collecting buttons. I decided this the way I'm going to finish a lot of my sampler projects.
I think I stated this before but anyway I am stitching an hour every morning and then on Saturday and Sunday I stitch in the morning while I watch my quilt shows.
Goodnight all,

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: law and author by Erika Chase

Bob Miller is a retired police chief and while he enjoys his retirement there are days when he wishes life was a little more exciting and when his twenty-one-year-old granddaughter Darla arrives in town and at his door, he views it as a second chance to get to know his granddaughter.

However, she brings trouble in many shapes and sizes. First with a boyfriend, also a stranger is murdered and since he's part of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society the members are not about to let one of their own suffer his burdens alone.
Molly Matthews is not only a member she is a whose big heart and helping hands have come in handy more than once.

Lizzie Turner is dating the police chief of Ashton Corners and Mark Dreyfus doesn't take kindly to law breakers. This time he has to make sure that the investigations are done to the letter of the law.
There seem to be drugs running a muck in town, strangers turning up dead, secrets and lies.

When it turns out Darla is afraid, and her boyfriend has been abusing her Bob has a hard time keeping things within the letter of the law.

law and author (Ashton Cornes Book Club # 5) is an enjoyable mystery that has many twists, turns and Erika Chase knows how to keep readers turning the page.

The whole series is great but this one stands out and shines as one of the best series books I have read this year.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

What Can I Say?

The winners of UNSETTLED SPIRITS, my June giveaway book, are Sharon Sambuca, Anne Harris, Marge Hagan and Tracy M. Thurber. I’ll get your books to you probably the week after next. I’ll also be mailing copies of SPIRITS REVIVED to June’s winners, since I didn’t get them mailed in June. Stupid month, June. Mostly mayhem; very little, if any, magic.

In fact, June, 2017, was one of the worst months in my life. I had yet another surgery and, while I’m recovering nicely, I’m tired of various body parts going out on me.

The worst thing that happened in June was the death of one of my very best friends, Barbara Masters. When I lived in Pasadena, California, we did pretty much everything together. Our kids grew up together, we went to exercises at the now-defunct YWCA together, we took our kids to the beach together, we went to see all the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas we could find, we held yard sales together, we saw a whole bunch of things at the Ambassador Auditorium together, and Barbara came to all the holiday feasts I prepared in my little Pasadena shack. The only good thing to come of Barbara’s death (for me) was the renewal of my acquaintanceship with her daughter, Kira Steinberg. I hadn’t seen Kira for at least 20 years, and it was great catching up with her. Kira is a dog-rescuer, as am I, and we both agreed we didn’t really understand crazy in people until we began rescuing dogs. We both have stories, which I won’t go in to here.

My grief at Barbara’s passing, however, can’t hold a candle to the grief another author friend of mine is experiencing. Her daughter was murdered by her (the daughter’s) husband in a murder-suicide a couple of weeks ago. I personally don’t care if people want to kill themselves, but think it’s reprehensible to kill another person merely because you’re mad at him/her. I don’t, from personal experience, know how one copes with the loss of a child, thank heaven. To have a beloved child murdered passes my comprehension.

About the only good thing to come from June, 2017, was seeing the cover art of my soon-to-be-published book, SPIRITS UNITED, which should be available soon. Here it is:

I think that’s it for July’s blog. I don’t have the heart to write anything else at the moment. Or to be funny.

I’ll let people choose their own book from my backlist in July, since I’m too befuddled to choose one myself. If you’re name is chosen, I’ll send you the book you select, providing I have a copy. 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 newsletters, 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!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Ruffed-Up Murder by Susie Gayle and a frustrating trend in cozies

Will an Sarah live in a small Maine community which they want to stay as it is.  As a result of a loophole in zoning regulations, a man is killed who was selling his land to a Sprawl Mart chain.  

This book was more like an outline of a story to me than a fleshed out book.  The characters have very short interactions and no development.  The basic story is okay and could have been pretty good if it was less superficial.  what was 80 pages should have probably been twice that - with more enriched characters and dialogue.  So that I could like or even dislike then  -- instead of not caring at all.  

I didn't hate the book or anything, I just feel like it will be totally forgotten in a few days.

I am afraid this a trend I am seeing more often these days.  Basic story -- bare bones.  No real surprises or twists or interactions other than a few moments of questions to a few people.  I want authors to write and give us stories where we care what happens.  Not just spin them out every couple months without much development or growth.  There is a huge different between fleshing out a story and throwing in fluff to add words.  I think some authors are afraid of the IDEA of fluff and leave too much out to really give us a well rounded book.

A lot of reviewers will just not review a book they don't care much for, but I think it is important to review what works for US and what doesn't.  I don't want to be cruel -- I support authors and want them to succeed.  I just think this trend is sad.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

It’s June, by gum!

Good grief, the year’s half over. Seems like the older one gets, the faster time flies.

I’ll be in touch with May’s winners of SPIRITS REVIVED individually. And at the end of June, I do believe I’ll be giving away copies of UNSETTLED SPIRITS again because I have lota of copies of that one.

Anyhow, since I just had surgery to repair a piece of personal plumbing, this blog’s not going to be very long, but I had a lot of help and fun collecting its various parts.

It all started when my neighbor brought me a jelly doughnut (because he and his wife know I adore jelly doughnuts, but don’t eat them often because I try to eat healthily – I know, how stuffy, huh?) Anyway, he said he got it “from the bottom of his spleen.” That got me to thinking about some of the sayings I grew up with, and I asked folks on Facebook to lend me some of their remembrances. I’ll start with my own home.

When my dad thought someone was a meanie, he said the person had a scab over his liver. If he thought someone had done something particularly bone-headed, he’d say, “One more brain, and you’d be a halfwit.” My dad and my nephew Stephen were both in the U.S. Navy for eons and of course, for them both, creamed chipped beef on toast was always shit on a shingle. Stephen also mentioned that his mother (my half-sister, by gum) would say something was slick as a fart in a mitten.

My younger grandson, Riki, called Albuquerque “Albu-turkey” for a long, long time before he learned the proper pronunciation (well, the way New Mexicans say it, anyway).

My daughters both called hamburgers “han-gurmers.” Ever since I was given a black dachshund by a friend of mine, my kids said I was Weenie’s (that was the hound’s name) “grammoi.” So I am now Grammoi to my grandsons and both of my great-grandchildren.

My mom’s cousin’s husband, Miles Gilbert, when asked how he felt, would generally say, “Fine as a frog’s hair split four ways.” I’ve heard other people say “Fine as frogs’ hair,” but Miles had his own unique take on the expression.

Here are some other gems folks added to the list:

J.M. Cornwell produced these: Hope the crick don’t rise; lyin’ like a rug (when someone was fibbing); looks like the running gears of a katydid (when someone is skinny); gimlet butt (for someone who doesn’t have big hips); dumb as a box of rocks; a few bricks shy of a load; and a revolving door on her bedroom.

Judy Reutebach recalls her mother telling her “Your face will freeze like that” when she wore an unpleasant expression.

David Bedini’s family’s philosophy was, evidently, “Todays plums are tomorrow’s prunes.”

Vicky Fannin offered this from her dad, Byron: “Never say only and money in the same sentence.”

Carola Dunn’s son used to say donedies for donuts. To him all four-legged animals were “maus” (probably for meow).

Nina Paules’s grandmother, when asked what was for dinner, would say, “Layovers for meddlers.”

Diane Jasperson offered these charmers: Those maniac drivers passed me by like a dirty shirt; as well as: drunk as a skunk; purdier than all get-out; coffee is strong enough to curl your toenails; and does a bear poop in the woods.

James C. Work said his mom, when entering a dark room, would say, “It's dark as Egypt in there." His father thought she had mistaken "darkest Africa" but was too polite to mention it. James also remembered these: Somebody sure put a burr unner his saddle; don’t know him from Adam’s off ox; and dead as a doornail.

Here are some delights from Charlotte Westbrook McDaniel: So poor you don’t have a pot to piss in; ain’t that a kick in the head; about as useful as teats on a boar (or a boar-hog); It’s fixin’ to come a gully washer (hard rain).

Marcia-Lee Finocchio’s mom used to say she’d do something “after I eat this egg.” Marcia-Lee still doesn’t know quite what it means. Nor do I, but I like it.

Kathryn McIntyre grew up with these: She looks like the wreck of the Hesperus; time to bring out the brass monkeys; there’s frost on the pumpkin; like chasing a fart through a bucket of nails (when something is entirely futile); colder than a well-digger’s shovel.

Vicki Lemonds’ grandmother would say: It’s cold enough to freeze your pockets off and, when something didn’t go as planned, “Must not have been holding my mouth right.” For some reason, that last one really tickles me (editorial comment).

Sue Krekeler recalls hearing: S/he looks like five miles of dirt road (when someone is really tired).

Sherry Davis Fritz’s father would say something was colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra; and something was “knee high to a tall Indian.” I have to admit I’d never heard that last one. I recall something being “Knee-high to a grasshopper” (editorial comment #2 or 3 or something).

Donna Weatherfield (another intrepid dachshund-rescuer) recalls the following: Hell’s bells and panther pants; Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger; and as nervous as a whore in church.

Debbie Sanders’ husband’s Pawpaw (whoever that was) used to say: Busy as a one-legged man in a butt-kickin contest; if frogs had wings, they wouldn't bump their butts when they hopped. Her mom liked to say: He don't have the brains of a piss ant; she don't know shit from apple butter; and you’d better straighten up and fly right.

Gina Gilmore offered the following: S/he don’t know shit from Shinola; and s/he looks like s/he’s been rode hard and hung up wet.

Susan Eggers grew up with these: Enough blue sky to make a Dutchman’s pants; it looked like the itch (if something looked really bad). I’m extremely partial to the second one (another editorial comment).

Ann Watson Smith’s kids used to say nip-nops for flip-flops and pasghetti for spaghetti. My own kids said the last one (editor again).

Julia Anderson grew up with: Mad as a wet hen; I have so much wind, if I could finger it just right, I could play “God Bless America.” The latter was generally said after a meal containing beans, which “Stretch a meal and also cause gas.”

Debra Iverson recalls people looking as if they’d been drug through a knothole backwards.

Jeanell Buida Bolton recalls hearing Hells bells and little fishes.

Johannah E. Zimmerman (and I, too, actually) recalled people being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Susie Lonsinger remembers, when someone was getting uppity, s/he’d be told to get down off your high horse.

Lea Hood’s dad used to say she and her friends were a bunch of “wild Bohemians” when they were having fun (maybe too much fun).

Tabitha Hall and I remember calling a refrigerator the ice box. Becky Muth recalls the refrigerator always being the Kelvinator.

Thanks, everyone, for your input! I came away from this particular Facebook experiment with a whole bunch of new (to me) colorful expressions to use when life is dull.

If you’d like to enter June’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 newsletters, 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!

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Spirits United! I apologize for last month’s blog. I was so down in the dumps, I just couldn’t bear to be funny. Losing a best friend...