When it’s my Daisy Gumm Majesty historical cozy mystery series!
I swear this isn’t my fault. The idea for the series came to me in the early 2000s. The books were supposed to be cozy mysteries, and they were supposed to star a fake spiritualist-medium named Daisy Gumm Majesty, a young woman married to a crippled war veteran (The Great War) who plied her art during the 1920s in Pasadena, California, my old home town.
In order to achieve 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 probably 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 is already married) and they’d market them 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 much. My heart still lay, squashed, 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 three-book series about survivors of the Titanic. I borrowed my daughters’ names for my pseudonym and wrote 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 take 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 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 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 then. 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 for 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 the books as cozy mysteries (“branding” is what this is called. I think), 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 in my life. I’m actually making money with these guys. Whatta miracle!
The only thing neither ePW nor I can do is get the rights back to SPIRITS REVIVED, Daisy’s seventh adventure. Therefore, there’s a hole in the middle of the series. However, when the narrator who is reading the Daisy books for audio (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, Daisy has a new book out. Book #12 (actually, it’s #13, but I just explained the reason it’s not numbered as such) has just been published. 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 fiancé, 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 in Altadena 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. However, 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 guess.
A running theme in the Daisy books is the magnificence of her aunt, Viola Gumm’s, cooking. Vi is a genius in the kitchen. That’s a good thing because neither Daisy nor her mother can cook a lick, and 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!
Anyway, 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: http://aliceduncan.net/. And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925
In an effort to avoid what she knew she should be doing, Alice Duncan folk-danced professionally until her writing muse finally had its way. Now a resident of Roswell, New Mexico, Alice enjoys saying no to smog, no to crowds, and yes to loving her herd of wild dachshunds.
Alice has written historical cozy mysteries under the names Alice Duncan, historical and paranormal romances under the names Emma Craig and Rachel Wilson, the Titanic series as Anne Robins, and western adventures as Jon Sharpe.
A prolific author, Alice has been praised for the Mercy Allcutt Mystery series, a cozy series called “a silly madcap romp” and “great fun.”
Her thirteen-book series, The Daisy Gumm Majesty Mysteries, is set in the roaring twenties in Pasadena, and is “absolutely endearing and linguistically spot on” with a “funny, spunky heroine” who works as a spiritualist and medium. “There is pluck, and then there is Daisy.”
She’s also known for The Dream Maker series, Meet Me at the Fair series, the Pecos Valley Diamond series, and many others. Visit Alice at www.aliceduncan.net.