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.

September 26, 2012

It's Official! New book coming, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie by C.A. Verstraete

(Image: Girl from the original film, Night of the Living Dead)

Coming in 2013!

Paranormal, sci-fi, romance, crime, YA

GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie by C.A. Verstraete

Current blurb:

Life can suck when you're sixteen. It can suck even worse when you're not- quite- dead.

Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager's biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.

Becca's life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he's becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.

The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for. Then she meets a good-looking part-Z like her and fears falling for him. After all, how can he, who shows hardly any Z symptoms, be interested in someone like her?

But time is running out... Becca needs his help as she and her cousin Carm search for their missing mothers and fight off hungry Zs.

Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late...

(c) 2012 C. Verstraete/CAP

September 20, 2012

New Dog Posts Coming!

A fantastic author and dog lover will be joining us here at Candid Canine. Stay tuned for more details!

September 17, 2012

Vote for a Beautiful Mini Steampunk Doll

* Contest is over. She didn't make it to the finals but is still a winner! Thanks for voting.

Today (Monday,9/17) Anna Hardman's amazing miniature Steampunk doll is a semi-finalist vying to be on the cover of DOLLS Magazine. She could use your votes!

If you're on Facebook, go to the DOLLS Magazine page and click LIKE under Anna's doll photo and that's it!

Wouldn't it be great to see such a wonderful doll on the cover?

The doll is an original dollhouse size sculpt and is ball-jointed too! (Click her name to go to her website, click New for more details on the doll.)

September 14, 2012

Welcome to Morgan Mandel, author of the new romantic comedy, HER HANDYMAN

Today I welcome back author Morgan Mandel, who just released her fifth (!) book, the romantic comedy, HER HANDYMAN. (The novella is only .99 cents and free to Prime Members on Kindle.)

Isn't that a great title and cover?! Keep reading for a little about Morgan's writing, and love of dogs, and...

One lucky commenter will receive a choice from one of Morgan’s other e-books: the romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, the mystery, Two Wrongs, the romantic suspense, Killer Career, or the romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, in their choice of Kindle or other e-book format. Be sure to provide your e-mail address. (See more about all Morgan's books here.

About the Book:
A novella length romantic comedy, with a dash of the serious. Longer than a short story, shorter than a full-length novel - just the right size for a busy reader!

Throw a crazy canine, a handyman, and an artist together and you've got mayhem!

Who'd guess it's Jake, the handyman, who needs rescuing when he answers a call by the distraught artist, Zoe, to stop a toilet flood begun by her crazy canine, FuFu?

Jake's engaged to a sexy, perfect woman, and she's even a great cook! There's no room in his life for a quirky, rich artist, who eats raw vegetables and probably can't even boil an egg -- or is there? Are Jake's perfect plans about to be disrupted?

Heeere's Morgan!

Q: Why did you decide to use a dog in Her Handyman?
A: I love dogs. I’ve owned various dogs since I’ve been married, which is going on 40 years. Each one owns a special place in my heart. I remember them all with love. The present dog who owns me is Rascal. (pictured below)

Q: Is this the first time you’ve used a dog in a story?
A: Actually, a dog plays a very minor role in my romantic suspense,KILLER CAREER; but in HER HANDYMAN, the Chinese Crested FuFu plays a pivotal part of the plot. Without her, there would be no story.

Q: Why did you pick this breed?
A: I’ve always been fascinated by the uniqueness of the Chinese Crested breed. They often win ugliest dog contests, yet there’s something endearing about their unusual looks.

Q: What does your choice of dog breed bring to the story?
A: I aimed at an offbeat, humorous romance, with a slight touch of the serious, and FuFu seemed a perfect addition to the mix. She’s small, but mighty. How Jake and Zoe respond to her illustrates their true nature.

Q: What’s the key to writing romantic comedy?
A: I don’t know if there’s any special key. For example, I don’t always laugh at many of the jokes my husband thinks are hilarious. He loves The Three Stooges, and to me they’re silly. In HER HANDYMAN, I show the ways the hero and heroine are distinctly different, and how it’s difficult for them to relate. I fashioned their inner and spoken dialogue in a humorous vein, threw in some plot twists, and I must confess, resorted to a huge pratfall.

Excerpt of HER HANDYMAN from Chapter One:

When he stepped out, a finely grained walnut door cracked open to reveal a thin, waif-like blonde with long, flyaway hair, from which a purple orchid dangled on one side. A peace sign hung from her neckband.

The waif’s clothes consisted of a gauzy, billowy white blouse, multi-colored gypsy skirt, and high furry sandals. He barely caught the mood ring on her finger, before his eyes were drawn to the wiggly yapping critter in her arms. What the hell was that?

Her eyes grew wide at sight of him. She clutched the weird animal tightly as if for protection. The critter growled and flashed dagger looks at Jake.

Jake restrained a grin. He’d been right about his client, but it seemed she’d been way off about him. Her slight stature compared to his six-two, well-muscled one had to put her off.

He’d seen this reaction before. For some reason, first-time clients envisioned an old guy, like the Maytag repairman. Maybe it was his deep voice.

His lips twitched. “Jake Witkowski at your service. You can call me Jake. You have a bad toilet, Miss?”

“Yes, water’s leaking everywhere. It’s awful.”

“Well, then, I better take a look.”

Her eyebrows puckered. Did she think he was referring to her and not the bathroom? He could enlighten her that he preferred brunettes with more meat on their bones, like his Angelina, but that would be mean. Also, bad for business.

About the Author:
Morgan Mandel lives in a Chicago suburb with her husband, commonly referred to as Good Paul, and their lovable pit bull, Rascal. She’s not ashamed to admit her vices: chocolate, ice cream, pizza, and a great love of slot machines. Her favorite pastimes are reading, writing, going to garage and rummage sales, attending festivals, and watching romances and mysteries on TV and DVDs.

Her Handyman is Morgan's fifth book. She's also a contributor to. The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories (BBT Cafe Authors)

** Learn more at:
* Morgan's Author Central page
* Facebook
* Twitter: @MorganMandel
* Blog
* Romance Blog
* Excerpts and links to all of Morgan's books here

September 10, 2012

New Ebooks This Week....

Several authors - Morgan Mandel, Deb Baker, and Jim and Joyce Lavene, have great sounding new mysteries and a romance out this week. Details over at Acme Authors Link