by Jacqueline Vick
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the latest book in this series A Scaly Tail of Murder, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Ask any pet parent if their animal “talks” to them and the answer is an emphatic, YES! It’s true the cocked canine head or flicking feline tail can communicate a pet’s thoughts as clearly as words, but what would it look like if we could delve into their furry and feathered brains and hold a two-way conversation? That’s the question I needed to answer for my pet psychic mysteries.
When I made Frankie Chandler an animal communicator, I had to find a way for her to connect with her clients that didn’t include words. In each story, an animal witnesses the murder. My novels would be flash fiction pieces if the dog, cow, or snake could simply name the killer.
Gathering the information gleaned from my research and interviews with clairvoyants, I gave each non-human character a signature “wavelength” and made tuning into a particular pet akin to adjusting a radio dial from static to a clear broadcast.
Once Frankie makes the connection, the animals send images, feelings, and, occasionally, a single word, leaving the pet psychic to figure out what it means.
For instance, in Barking Mad at Murder, a Golden Retriever witnesses a murder. The image he sends the pet psychic shows the event taking place in a jungle. Frankie is flummoxed, as there aren’t many jungles in Arizona. It isn’t until she crouches behind a Ficus plant to hide from one of the suspects that she realizes, from the dog’s perspective, the leafy foliage resembles a jungle.
To make Frankie’s connection with animals more realistic, I wanted her to take on her subject’s qualities, which meant learning fun facts about each species. Dogs have up to three hundred million scent receptors in their noses. We have six million. When a client pulls moldy cheese from the refrigerator, Frankie, connected to the family dog, has a fit of barely controlled ecstasy.
In another short story, the police house a confiscated rattlesnake in a cold back room at the station to await the arrival of a herpetological rescue. I researched the effects of temperatures on vipers. As soon as Frankie unites with the reptile’s mind, she becomes sluggish, barely able to get the words out. Her metabolism slows, reflecting the snake experience.
I have had a few near misses. In one story, Frankie felt a rumble in her chest, mimicking the satisfied purrs of a tiger. Just in time, I discovered the stiff cartilage running from a tiger’s hyoid bone to their skull prevents them from purring. Rewrite!
Sometimes I fake it. My latest mystery includes a Fiji crested iguana. There isn’t much information available on this endangered species, so I looked at the behavior of other types of iguanas.
Stressed out hamsters. Angry cockatoos. Disgruntled horses. Every animal gives off clues to what they’re feeling. After enough research into animal behavior, maybe I’ll be able to have that two-way conversation with my favorite pooch.
To enter to win a copy of A Scaly Tail of Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “tail,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 11, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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