September 27, 2012

Welcome to Carlene Rae Dater, author of Mind Echoes

Today I extend a special welcome to dog lover and multi-published author Carlene Rae Dater, who will be guest posting here twice a month! Yay!

Carlene has authored a number of books including MIND ECHOES, a murder mystery featuring a veterinarian who shares a special psychic gift with her canine patients, to romantic suspense, and a writing guide, How to Write a Mystery.

Carlene could be my writing twin, though she's ahead on the book count! She also comes from a journalism background and then got into writing fiction. She began writing hard news, feature articles and humorous essays. She has sold short stories to magazines in the horror, confession, religious and humor markets, and nonfiction articles to a variety of national and local magazines.

Carlene has published nine novels, three novellas and two non-fiction books. She has two novels due out early in 2013. She teaches writing classes through Community Education at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. She writes full-time from her home in Coos Bay, Oregon where she lives with her husband and two huge Labrador retrievers.

Learn more at her blogs:,, and, and on

Meet Carlene and her dogs, Tara and Duke:

Carlene says, "I have lived with dogs for 40 years. I currently share my life with two yellow Labs. We got Tara as a puppy 10 years ago. She’s pure bred – with all the problems! Hip dysplasia, blew out her ACL and had surgery to repair when she was only four. Had horrid allergies for years. Now she’s getting cataracts so I’m not sure how much she can see but….I love her to pieces.

"We got Duke a little over three years ago as a rescue. He’s about six now and just delightful. He LOVES people! Especially children. When we walk them in the park and he sees kids, he pulls at his leash and yodels! Too funny. They are both very large dogs – 110 lbs each. We’re kind of looking for another dog for Duke to play with as Tara is slowing down. I’m sure we’ll find one someday. Right now my husband and I volunteer at the animal shelter and walk dogs."

Love the dogs! Carlene will share more about her dogs, rescue work and her books in upcoming posts. For today, check out her dog-related mystery with a psychic flair, MIND ECHOES, which definitely sounds good. See the excerpt below.

From the scene of a brutal murder, to the rescue of kidnapped child, the action in MIND ECHOES will keep you turning pages until the exciting, climatic end. Veterinarian Brody McAlister has communicated with animals all her life, but tells no one about her gift. San Diego Detective J.T. Flynn knows there is something unusual about the vet but he needs her help. Together they follow clues and piece together evidence until they solve both crimes . . . with a little help and a few MIND ECHOES from dogs. Genre: Mystery/Romance/Suspense Thriller

Excerpt from MIND ECHOES:

Man sick.

The telepathic words shot through Veterinarian Brody McAlister’s mind so strong they rocked her back in her seat. Pain sliced into her head, searing and hot. She took a deep calming breath, slid out of her Explorer, and slammed the door. The noise reverberated through the quiet neighborhood like a pistol shot. With shaking hands, Brody hoisted her medical case, rotated her head to ease the tension in her neck, and started toward the house. Her stomach roiled and she clenched her chattering teeth.

Ordinarily she’d be home by now, sipping a glass of wine, thinking about which frozen TV dinner to nuke, but her client, Mr. Wiser, had called and asked to stop by on her way home. He was a nice old guy, always paid in cash, and treated her like a long-lost granddaughter, so here she was.

Brody had only gone a few steps when she tripped over a garden hose snaking across her path. She stumbled to a stop and froze. Dim shadows washed over the uneven concrete walk. A hot blast of desert air shot through the trees, bringing with it the scent of night blooming jasmine and something else, a strong chemical odor from near by. Brody stood still, waiting. She nibbled at her lower lip, while her eyes probed the gloom, debating the wisdom of going on instead of returning to the safety of her Explorer. She squared her shoulders, kicked the hose out of her way, and kept going. Her tongue slipped out to moisten her dry lips.

Darkness wrapped around the front of the residence, which was unusual. Mr. Wiser’s fading eyesight must have made walking around the house a chore even in daylight. The minute the sun sank below Mission Bay, he switched on every light in the house. Now, even the porch was inky and filled with silhouettes. Brody started up the first step when she heard a snuffling noise in front of her and stopped abruptly.

Man sick. Fix?

A chill rippled down her spine. It sounded like the same animal she’d heard in her SUV. Nausea burbled in her gut. She set her medical case on the wooden step and fumbled in the pocket of her smock for the tiny flashlight she always carried. The metal tube was cold in her sweaty palm. She clicked it on. When she pointed the pale shaft of light toward the house, a dog shambled out of the shadows.

Relief washed over her body at the sight of the familiar animal. “Hey, Boomer, what’s the problem, Buddy?” The pudgy Beagle ducked his head and moved forward a few steps. Once again his mind echo pierced her senses: Man broken—help? He waddled closer to her, hesitated, then turned and disappeared into the gloom. The dog’s agitation was coming across loud and clear, and it scared the hell out of her.

Aware the front porch needed repairs, Brody focused the light in front of her. The cone of illumination slithered along the wooden floor until the beam bathed the dog. He cowered near the wall of the house, his head turned away.

“Come to Brody, Boomer. I won’t hurt you,” Brody said in a quiet, even tone of voice.

He refused to come toward her; instead he pointed his muzzle at the sky and howled. Hair stood out all over Brody’s icy trembling body. Alarm bells clanked in her mind. This wasn’t at all like the dog. The ten-year-old had always been friendly and eager to please when she’d treated him in the past.

Brody moved forward, crouched down, fumbled for a dog cookie in her pocket, and held it out to coax the animal to her. “Come here, Boomer. Where’s your daddy? Is he okay? Are you?”

Boomer shuffled a few steps in her direction, the lure of the treat too tempting to resist.

When Boomer slithered near enough he grabbed the cookie, chomped twice, and swallowed. His mournful eyes never left her face. Smelly boy hurt. Fix! The mind echo screamed into her brain. This time when he disappeared into the gloom, Brody followed.

Boomer sat next to his master’s body, one paw on the man’s still chest. Blood drenched the front of Mr. Wiser’s shirt, spilled out on the porch, and formed a halo around his head. A knife still protruded from his belly.

Fix? Boomer’s mind echo splashed into her brain.

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