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Kindle Thriller Special Offer!


What readers are saying:

This is an amazing story of strength

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Black Friday deal on a Wednesday?


For yourself or as a gift for the thriller reader:

And Justice for Her, a boxed set of my 3 mystery/suspense Kindle thrillers, priced right for the season.

Only $.99

And Justice for Her – Amazon Kindle

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November 27, 2013 · 9:04 pm

Let’s Welcome Fabulous Author, Alice Duncan

In August of this year, GENTEEL SPIRITS, the fifth book in my “Spirits” series starring Daisy Gumm Majesty, will be published. This makes me very happy, since for a while I thought Daisy was dead in the water. But she lives on!

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 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). My favorite blurb of all time came from Booklist’s review of last year’s HUNGRY SPIRITS expresses my sentiments to a T: “This enjoyable series deserves to be much better known.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

The books might have died easily, but their demise hurt me terribly, since I loved writing Daisy’s stories and 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 almost GENTEEL SPIRITS time! In GENTEEL SPIRITS, Daisy is hired to be the spiritual advisor to a spoiled-rotten silent-screen star named Lola de la Monica. Daisy’s bete noir (and her husband’s best friend), Sam Rotondo (a name lent me by a cousin, whose last name is Rotondo) is also on the set. He’s a Pasadena police detective and is pretty much always sure Daisy is up to something dire. Add some poison-pen letters and some folks with deep, dark secrets to protect, and Daisy’s really in the soup. It’s a good thing Daisy knows how to swim and doesn’t mind the heat.

I think it’s really funny that a penchant for spiritualism actually runs in my family (on my dad’s side). My late
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 about a year ago. But I guess this spiritualist bent is in the genes.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of GENTEEL SPIRITS, click here. If you’d like to see Pasadena, California, in Daisy’s day, click here.

Also (happy thought) you can get the first three books in the series (STRONG SPIRITS, FINE SPIRITS, HIGH SPIRITS and HUNGRY) for your Kindle or your iPod, so you can read ‘em in order. If you’re interested in doing so, click here.

By the way, the cover art for GENTEEL 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!

However, there’s nothing wrong with this picture! It’s the cover art I just got for ANCIENT SPIRITS, Daisy’s 6th adventure, which will be published in January of 2012. I don’t like it quite as well as the cover for GENTEEL SPIRITS, mainly because the lady’s nose is a little . . . well, longish. Still, click here if you’d like to see it. I’m especially pleased with this cover, because I asked the Powers That Be to allow Daisy to be riding a camel on it, and they actually did it! How often does that happen? I can tell you: not often.

Please feel free to visit my web page at www.aliceduncan.net (where you can see a photograph of my grandson, Dai Oshita, who is an Army Medic, and who was just promoted to sergeant) or to write me at alice@aliceduncan.net


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I just received the news that Beyond the Quiet has hit Amazon’s top 100 Bestsellers in the Kindle Suspense genre.

And I’m thrilled. I’m going to take a screen shot so that no matter what happens from here, I’ll always remember the thrill I’m feeling right now.

I’ve received quite a few reviews in the past few days, some good and some pretty darn terrible. And that’s ok. I know not everyone will like my stories. I don’t like everything I read and I’m even disappointed at times by my favorite authors. When we make our work available to the public, we put ourselves at risk. Par for the course.

But most of the bad ones refer to the sex scenes and I’m surprised. I’ve seen graphic sex in some of the major publisher’s books, so I didn’t realize how many people were still offended by them. One said it was ‘gratuitous sex’ but on that point I have to disagree. I gave a lot of thought to those scenes and decided to go all the way – no pun intended. I wanted to show my character’s ‘flowering,’ in every way and that even a woman who has been married over twenty years can still be awakened by someone who loves her.

Maybe I’m a romantic at heart, maybe I still believe you can find true love while finding yourself. And this is the journey my character undertakes. Most of all, she’s on a journey to find herself.

I love this story, and no matter what I’ve written since or will write in the future, Beyond is still my favorite. Perhaps because, as a few readers have guessed, I put a lot of ‘me’ in the story.

I just haven’t found my Terry O’Neal yet, but Lisa’s story gives me hope.

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Free! 1st Chapter Chapbook

Hi everyone. My publisher just released a Free First Chapter Chapbook as a promotional tool. So if anyone would like to read the first chapters of my books for free, simply send an email to me:


and enter the word, Chapbook, on the subject line, and I’ll send the pdf file which includes the first chapters from Beyond the Quiet, Ten Times Guilty, and Plot Your Way to Publication.

I think it’s a great idea and I’d love to share it with you.

bq-front-small-copy4 small-ttg-front-selected2 p2pub-small

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Interview With Brenda Hill

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I don’t know how old I was, but I remember crying over Lassie, Come Home, when I was in grade school. A few years later, a friend brought one of her mother’s books to school and I started reading it and loved it. It was Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrrow.

What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I read a variety of genres as long as the story appeals emotionally to me. If you go to my site, http://www.brendahill.com you can read excerpts from both novels.

What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Usually I’m thinking about a piece long before I sit down to write. If it’s an article for the newspaper, I think about how to best structure the article, how to open. If it’s a new novel, I may start with an idea, then I think about the main character and the problems she/he may encounter. I think about everything, the setting, time, place, then I think about the events that could happen, liking this idea, rejecting that one. Then I about the opening possibilities, even down to how to word the first sentence. I may start a notebook and jot down my ideas, so I can refer back to it later, such as the correct eye/hair color for the characters. By the time I sit down to the computer, I have a good idea what scene I want to write.

If, instead of creating, I’m editing someone else’s work, then I do the same thing. I’m constantly thinking about whatever piece I’m currently working on. When editing, I do a first read-through, and if ideas on how to make it better occur to me, I make notes. Then I go back to the beginning and do whatever I feel is necessary to bring that work alive. Sometimes it involves moving sentences or entire paragraphs, or I may cut it entirely. I’m always looking for the best way to present my clients’ work to the best advantage. In editing, I use Word Track so the client can always see what I’m cutting or moving, and as always, the final choice of whether or not to accept the changes is entirely up to the client.

What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
No matter the genre, all stories must have action, emotion, and suspense. It doesn’t have to be the life-threatening kind of suspense, but writers must incorporate certain elements of suspense in their stories. Questions must form in the readers’ minds – Will Kyle get his raise? Will Tyler and Claire overcome the obstacles and finally make a life together? Without suspense to keep a reader turning pages, the article or novel will be as exciting as the telephone book.

What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
It depends on what the type of novel I’m writing. In my first one, Ten Times Guilty, I told the story from three different viewpoints: the female main character, the cop, and the perpetrator, and I wanted the reader inside each character’s thoughts, so I used third person.

In Beyond the Quiet, my second novel, I used first person. First is not as popular as third since the entire story is told only from this character’s viewpoint, but in this case, I wanted the entire novel to be about this woman’s experiences, taking her from grief, bitterness, rage, and then to love, and I hoped that by writing in first person, the reader would experience the emotions and changes along with the character.

What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
As a writer, I must create all facets of a character’s personality – the good, the bad, the likeable, and the unlikeable. What makes this character do what she/he does? What do they want, and what do they need as much as they need air to breathe? No one likes to read about the perfect character. Perhaps it’s jealousy, but I tend to disregard the perfect person, whether it’s in a novel, on tv, in the movies, or a person’s life-story. The best stories, in my opinion, are about someone I care about overcoming the obstacles in his/her life. If they’re already perfect, why should I care?

Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I can be very entertaining – to children. If you tell a story with passion, children tend to go along and be captivated. But adult audiences are more critical, and I sometimes freeze. I’m much better with words on the page. Then I can go in and edit, edit, edit, before anyone sees what I’ve written.

Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Women in crisis. Me. I need to know that I can make it better, and I want other people who suffer to know there can be a tomorrow.

I better understood a lot of things about my own life after I’d completed the research for Ten Times Guilty. The same with Beyond the Quiet. By exploring the full range of Lisa’s emotions, I explored my own as well. It’s amazing what you find when you really look with an open mind.

Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Oh yes. See above.

Does reader feed-back help you?
Feedback in invaluable. Most writers constantly think about their stories even when they’re away from their computers, and one of the most difficult techniques in writing is transferring what we see in our heads to the paper. Since we ’see’ it, we assume that we’ve accurately described a situation, an emotion, so the reader can ’see’ it as well, but that’s not always true. A reader can point where we need more work.

Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Occasionally another writer and I share our work, but I share only with this one writer.

Do you believe you have already found “your voice” or is that something one is always searching for?
Each piece I write is different. I don’t know if I’ve found my voice or not. I write and revise so whatever words I’ve written flows according to the rhythm in my head.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
When I’m working around the house, I love to listen to music. I’ve tried listening to music while I write, but I’ve found I cannot. Instead of working on my story, I find I’m listening. So now I keep it quiet. Perhaps one day I can develop the discipline needed for both, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Some writers like to write first in longhand, then transfer their writing to the computer. They say the like the process. Not me. I remember trying to rearrange something I’d written back in the typewriter days and I feel awe for all the writers who worked miracles using a typewriter. Give me the ease of my computer and I’m happy.

What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
When I take a break, even a short one, I like the company of other writers to see what’s new or for general information about the publishing world, for techniques to improve my craft, so I belong to a couple of different writer forums. Wizard of Words is excellent, Absolute Write, and PublishedAuthors.org.

What are you working on now?
Beyond the Quiet and my plotting how-to, Plot Your Way to Publication has just been released, and my previous novel, Ten Times Guilty, will be rereleased spring/summer 2009, so it’s all very exciting. But now I’m planning and outlining my next novel.

What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
It depends on how you feel about them. If, when you reread what you’d written years ago, you still fell the excitement you experienced when you first wrote them, then by all means, go over them, revise, smooth, and start sending them out. If that’s too difficult, join a writers’ forum and post some of your writing on the critique threads. Criticism is never easy, but it’s better when you don’t have to look at that person when they’re offering advice. But remember that criticism is offered to help you improve. And it’s always up to the writer whether or not to accept the advice. Study the craft, take lessons. Read how-to books. If you’re passionate about writing, I say again, learn the craft.

Good writing has to be learned just as any other profession. You may have a natural talent at the piano, but it takes learning the skills, mastering the techniques, and a lot of practice to learn to play well enough for other people to pay to listen. It’s the same with writing. You may be a natural storyteller, but it takes learning the craft to be able to write well enough for others to want to read your book.

Thank you.



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