Monday, April 5, 2010

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

I was really hoping that, after my miasmic February, March would be a good month. Well . . . it began with a groin injury that I wouldn’t wish on my one and only enemy in this world, it was so painful. Then my computer crashed. Then my glasses broke.

HOWEVER, things have improved since then. Not only are the dogs and I back in our house, with lovely floors that have been refinished by my very kind cousin, Jerry Wilson, but the fifth of my Daisy Gumm Majesty “Spirits” books, GENTEEL SPIRITS, has been bought by Five Star, and will be released in July of 2011. That makes me happy.

Also, the original Angels Flight, the almost vertical funicular railroad in Los Angeles that runs between Olive and Hill on a very steep street, is now functional again! If you’re ever in Los Angeles, you really ought to ride on Angels Flight. There are two cars, Olivet and Sinai, and it only costs a quarter. Of course, back when the heroine of my “Angels” books, Mercy Allcutt, took Angels Flight every day to work at Ernie Templeton’s P.I. office in 1926, it only cost a nickel. By the way, Mercy’s next book, FALLEN ANGELS, will be released by Five Star in May of 2011.

Of course, that means I’ll have three books coming out in 2011, which is going to create a nightmare as far as promoting them goes, since I have no money for self-promotion (whine!) What’s more, they’re all historical cozy mysteries set in the 1920s, even though they’re not all being marketed as such. In order, they will be:

January 2011: PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, in which Annabelle Blue discovers the identity of a vicious murderer during the annual cattle drive and rodeo in Roswell (called Rosedale), New Mexico, in 1923.

May 2011: FALLEN ANGELS, in which Mercedes Louise “Mercy” Allcutt discovers the identity of a vicious murderer in Los Angeles, California, in 1926.

July 2011: GENTEEL SPIRITS, in which Daisy Gumm Majesty discovers the identity of a vicious poisoned-pen letter-writer in Pasadena, California, in 1922.

Gee, do you sense a pattern here? The funny thing is that all of these books sprang from the original Daisy book, STRONG SPIRITS. I had very much wanted Daisy’s books to be a series of historical cozy mysteries. My publisher at the time, Kensington, said there wasn’t enough mystery in the first book (in which conclusion they were probably correct), and decided I should take out the dead bodies, add a subsidiary romance since the heroine was already married, and they marketed them as romances. This decision flopped magisterially, which fits the name, but didn’t do the books any good. They tanked, as so many of my books do, and I had to move on to another name and another romance series (my Titanic books which, while perfectly good romances, weren’t what I wanted to write). So there I was, stuck in 19th century romance, when I wanted to be in a good, roaring 1920s mystery!
Thus is was that Mercedes Louise Allcutt was born, and I sent her from her ivory tower in Boston to the mean streets of Los Angeles in 1926, where she’s longing to get experience of the “real world” so she can write books about it. According to Mercy, when you live in an ivory tower, the “real world” is as far away as the moon. Or Mars, which is what L.A. sort of resembles even to this day.

Before Mercy was bought, Mimi Riser, a wonderful writer and friend of mine, asked if I wouldn’t mind penning a book for a publisher with which she was working, New Age Dimensions, in Florida (I think I mentioned this in a previous blog). So I did. I wrote PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND, a historical cozy mystery set here in Roswell, NM, in 1923. NAD got wiped out by Hurricane Wilma, and PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL sat around for a few years until I decided to send it to Five Star, and they bought it. So that leaves only one book of mine, a historical romance novel (and one of my better one, by gum) lolling around unpublished. I’m considering putting PHOEBE’S VALENTINE on Kindle, but will have to think about it some more before I come to any conclusions. It’s a great book about . . . oh, never mind. I’ll think of something to do with it. I hope.

By the way, PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, my first two Spirits books (STRONG SPIRITS and FINE SPIRITS) and my first and second Angels books (LOST AMONG THE ANGELS and ANGEL’S FLIGHT) are all available on Kindle! Check ‘em out if you’re fortunate enough to own a Kindle ( Personally, I can’t afford one, but that’s because I write for a living. Did I mention whining earlier in this blog? Well, here’s another whine for the heck of it 

Don’t forget that you can read the first chapters of HUNGRY SPIRITS (Daisy’s fourth adventure, which will be published in June of this year), PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, FALLEN ANGELS, and GENTEEL SPIRITS, all of which will be published next year, on my website ( Whew! That’s a whole lotta books!


  1. I hear you on promotion. I only have one, maybe two, coming out in 2011 and I'm already sweating over promoting. Your books sound fascinating. I'm going to head over and check out the first chapters on your website.

  2. Wow, you will be busy. Good luck.

  3. 2011 will be here before you know it. Wow three books in one year now that is my kind of year, but you're right PROMO will be tough in 2011.


  4. I enjoyed your post. You have a witty way to tell a story. Your books sound fascinating and I'm also going to check them out on your website.

  5. Alice, I love your witty mysteries! And I love your funny blogs! By the way, did you know Amazon has a FREE Kindle reader download for your pc? As you mentioned, FREE is the right price for my budget.

  6. Thanks, Anita. I hate self-promotion. I nearly had a heart attack when they asked me to do this monthly blog! And paying for promo stuff for more than one book/year is really a stretch. Sigh.

    Guess I will be busy, Mare. I'm going to have to think of cheap or free (preferable) stuff to do, maybe on-line to advertise the books. The really bad part of it all is that I can't make a living writing, even with three books out in one year! Sheesh. Why do I do this. Maybe I'm a masochist or something.

    Thanks, Roseanne! I hope you enjoy some of the excerpts. If you have a Kindle, you can buy some of the older ones for cheap :)

    Oh, my, I didn't know that Caroline! Free is the right price for my budget, too! Thanks for the info.


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