Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

It’s HUNGRY SPIRITS month! HUNGRY SPIRITS is Daisy Gumm Majesty’s fourth adventure, and she’s in for the ride of her life in it. Not only does she have to teach a cooking class at the Salvation Army (Daisy. Who can burn water), but she gets unwittingly involved in a criminal plot. Catastrophes ensue. HUNGRY SPIRITS got a really good Booklist review, which made me happy, although the first sentence in the review made me feel kind of like groaning: “This enjoyable series deserves to be much better known.” Yeah. I’d agree with that J

I love Daisy. She came to me out of the blue one day, perhaps because I’d been trying to think of how to use Pasadena, California, in a book. After I moved to Roswell, NM, I became rather nostalgic about Pasadena. Then I visited my daughter there and decided once again that Pasadena as it is now isn’t the Pasadena as it was when I was a kid in it. If that makes any sense.

What I wanted to write about was the Pasadena of the Good Old Days (which probably weren’t any better than our days for the people who lived in them) when it was a haven for wealthy easterners who wintered there and Hollywood folks who wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of work.

Of course, I know nothing about how rich people live, having been poor all my life, but I do know that rich folks need the rest of us to provide services for them. Then, all of a sudden, a hardworking phony spiritualist who has too many burdens to bear appeared as if by magic in my head, and Daisy was born! I’d recently met a woman here in Roswell, NM, whose last name is Majesty and she said she’d be glad to lend Daisy her last name. I gave her Gumm as a maiden name (don’t ask me how or why. These things just happen), an aunt who is possibly the best cook in the world, a supportive family (hey, authors always make things up) and a husband who’d been grievously wounded in the Great War, and I was set to go.

I had intended, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, my “Spirits” books to be historical cozy mysteries, but that the Powers That Be at Kensington asked me to take out the dead bodies and add a subsidiary romance (since Daisy is already married to the love of her life, Billy). They marketed the first two books as romances, which they aren’t, so the series died unsung (actually, they weren’t entirely unsung. The few people who read them seemed to like them. Heck, the first book was a Romantic Times Top Pick and was nominated for a Reviewer’s Choice award). The books might have died easily, but their demise hurt me terribly, since I love writing Daisy’s stories and, as I also may have mentioned before, Daisy is my very favorite character of those I’ve created. I was absolutely thrilled to death when Five Star, a publisher that primarily targets libraries, decided to pick up the series with HIGH SPIRITS.

And now it’s HUNGRY SPIRITS time! What’s more, you might be able to win yourself a copy if you enter my contest. I hold a monthly contest, by the way, and allow my winner-picking wiener dog, Daisy (gee, I wonder who she’s named after), to select names from her special contest doggie dish. All you need to do to enter is e-mail me at alice@aliceduncan.net, giving me your name and home address. Who knows? Maybe Daisy the Dachshund will gum up your name at the end of June (Daisy’s had some dental work done and is missing a few teeth).

I think it’s really funny that a penchant for spiritualism actually runs in my family (on my dad’s side). My brother Al told me he used to be dragged to séances all the time when he was a boy. I didn’t even know that until a couple of months ago! But I guess this spiritualist bent is in the genes J

If you’d like to read the first chapter of HUNGRY SPIRITS, click here. If you’d like to see Pasadena, California, in Daisy’s day, click here. Heck, if you’d like to see a picture of Daisy, my winner-picking wiener dog, click here. I’m afraid Daisy the Dachshund, like so many of us, is getting old. Sniffle.

Don’t forget that you can get the first three books in the series (STRONG SPIRITS, FINE SPIRITS and HIGH SPIRITS) for your Kindle or your iPod, so you can read ‘em in order J

By the way, the cover art for HUNGRY SPIRITS is probably my favorite cover of the . . . um . . . let me count them. Well, of the 50-odd books I’ve had published. 50 books. And I’m poorer than your average church mouse. There’s definitely something wrong with this picture!


  1. Alice, I love Daisy Gumm Majesty. I'd probably love Daisy the Dachshund if I knew her. And I love your blogs.

  2. Alice, I already have all the earlier Spirits books (and what beautiful covers they have!). I recommend them highly! Must see about adding Hungry Spirits to my collection....

    BTW, my writing partner and I just finished a book that has a character named Daisy. Alas, she's a ghost. I love the name Daisy but will confess I didn't actually choose it. My partner is in charge of names. I only stick an orr in if I can't live with the name for a whole book. ,-)

  3. Thanks, Caroline. I appreciate people who appreciate Daisy :) Daisy the Dachshund is a total sweetheart. I was afraid I was going to lose her earlier in the year, but she's MUCH better now.

  4. Thank you, Lunar Eclipse! Talk about interesting names :)

  5. Thanks, Norah! You're so nice.

    In case anyone's interested, Norah and I share a birthday, only I'm approximately a hundred years older than she is :)

  6. I was scared from a certain to blog or not to blog debate that this post wouldn't be found, but it's great to see such a lively piece and plenty of comments! I found the background you shared about Kensington and Five Star particularly interesting. Two different houses, saw two different things. I wish you the best of luck at your new home, Alice!

  7. Thank you very much, Jenny! I appreciate the good wishes. The good Lord knows, I need them.

  8. Daisy definitely deserves resurrection. Glad Five Star provided the miracle so we can all enjoy your wonderful novels. I love all your novels. They are witty and charming. Best of luck with this one. I know it already has excellent reviews!

  9. Thanks, Jacqie. I really appreciate it!

  10. Great blog, Alice! And your Daisy is a fantastic character. I'm sure your Daisy is, too.

  11. You did a great job with this blog even though you were apprehensive about it. Have a great day.

  12. Thanks, June and Susan! Daisy is a wonder dog, actually. On the second of January of this year, her hind legs gave out. She couldn't even stand up. After staying at the vet for a week getting cortisone shots, etc., she's up and about again. I thought I'd have to have her put down, so she's a miracle doggie in my book. Of course, I'm still paying off the vet, but you can't have everything.

    I think the thing that scares me about blogs is that I can't hide behind my characters, Susan. I'm afraid nobody will like me if they get to know me. Or something like that. I don't know. All I know is the mere thought of blogging gives me hives -- and I just agreed to do another one on June 16. God help me!


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