Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

A day in the life with Giulia Driscoll by Alice Loweecey

Never say never. My grandmother used to tell me that when I was in high school and the nuns had their annual Vocation Day. I came home three years running with a colorful brochure about how wonderful the convent was. I’d show it to the family and say “Never” and toss it in the trash.

So what did I end up doing? Entered the convent right out of high school.

You’d think I learned my lesson.

Skip ahead thirteen years. Driscoll Investigations is always busy. So busy sometimes I’ve considered finding a bigger office and hiring a minion for Sidney and Zane, my multi-talented staff.

Everyone knows the rule for a successful business is “don’t turn away work.” But there are limits. We don’t take divorce cases anymore. I have a standing objection to angry, drunk spouses invading the office with violence on their minds.

Then came Stone’s Throw Bed & Breakfast with its staged haunting and loopy hired psychic. Because of that case, DI acquired a ghost hunting reputation. The phone’s been ringing off the hook and my email is overflowing.

New clients; yay?

No. No Ouija Boards. No ghost hunting. No exorcisms.

Are you waiting for the shoe to drop? It was a big shoe. A size 23 in the form of a wisp of a woman who thinks her house is haunted.

Never, I said.

Until her eccentric cousin showed up and said the real trouble was the woman’s business partners: They were trying to force her out of her business. Oh, and maybe the house really was haunted. On top of that, the woman’s housekeeper followed the cousin to our door, insisting the only way to win the woman’s confidence was to go along with the haunting idea.

So now we’re Driscoll Investigations, Ghost Breakers. I’m learning Tarot and my brother-in-law the priest is schooling me in exorcism. I’m having fun with EVP and EMP apps on my phone.

Because it’s all in fun. Ghosts don’t really exist. Never have.

Right?


You can read more about Giulia in The Clock Strikes Nun, the fourth book in the “Giulia Driscoll” mystery series.

When terrified Elaine Patrick knocks on Driscoll Investigations’ door and insists her house is haunted, Giulia Driscoll’s first response is “we don’t handle ghosts.” When Elaine’s housekeeper and crackpot filthy rich cousin descend on Giulia and demand she find out who’s trying to steal sweet, fragile Elaine’s family business out from under her, that’s a different story. They want DI to provide Tarot readings, ghost hunting sessions, and even an exorcism.

Ghost hunting? There are apps for that. Tarot readings? Experts in the skill are right across the street. Exorcisms? Having a priest for a brother-in-law comes in handy. Giulia plunges into a crash course in all things supernatural, convinced everything happening to Elaine is stagecraft.

Except when it isn’t. Giulia’s about to discover a new dimension to sleuthing, if she can survive attempted murder long enough to see through the web of lies around her client.

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About the author
Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Achilles, K-9 Sidekick by Carolyn Mulford

Footsteps woke me. I sprang to my paws. Still night. I sniffed. No stranger, no danger. Annalynn was pacing again, grieving for her dead mate.

Phoenix, my human, stirred. No need to wake her. I would comfort Annalynn. I trotted across the hall to her.

She knelt to hug me. “Oh, Achilles, I miss him so. The congressman’s accident last night brought back that horrible moment I heard Boom had died.”

I whined my sympathy and licked her hand.

She gave me a gentle shove. “I’m okay, sweet boy. Go back to sleep.” She closed her door the moment my tail went through it.

Her door was still closed at daylight. Phoenix and I kept quiet until we went outside. As usual, she wore her gun under her jacket. As usual, I checked for intruders while she stretched. Then I took her on our morning run. I headed for the park to meet my friend Toby. There Phoenix threw my Frisbee for us to catch. I gave him a head start. After all, a Belgian Malinois is much bigger than a terrier.

When I came up to take my human home, Toby’s human was sniffling. Phoenix patted the woman’s shoulder.

After I led Phoenix away, she said, “I hope the dog walker’s wrong, Schatzi. She thinks the congressman’s death wasn’t an accident. If Annalynn hasn’t heard that from her political contacts, I won’t tell her. No need to know.”

I barked my disapproval. Annalynn got angry when Phoenix said “no need to know.” So did I. Secrets meant trouble.

We had a quiet morning. Annalynn talked on the phone. Phoenix worked at her computer. I patrolled for cats, chased squirrels, and practiced running hurdles. Bored, I barked for Phoenix to join me. I tempted her with a clean tennis ball.

“Sorry,” she said. “I have to find an abused wife a safe place to live.” She rubbed behind my ears. Wonderful. “This afternoon we’ll go inspect where the congressman’s car crashed. That should be interesting.”

I looked forward to going. Until Phoenix got behind our car’s steering wheel and told me to curl up at Annalynn’s feet. Only a terrier could fit in that space. I whined.

“It’s a short drive, Achilles,” Phoenix said. “Ride there or stay home.”

Annalynn moved her seat back to give me more room. “Come, Achilles. We need you.”

I jumped in, settled on Annalynn’s feet, and studied them. Phoenix was calm. She hadn’t put my bullet-proof vest on me. Annalynn was sad. She didn’t wear her gun. I relaxed.

Soon the car stopped. A back door opened. Two women climbed in and sat on my seat. I put my paws on Annalynn’s knees to raise up to see the passengers.

“Down,” Phoenix said to me.

The two women ducked out of sight.

Odd. I dropped down.

Annalynn talked with the women in my seat. I didn’t understand their words, but I heard grief. I sat up to rest my head on Annalynn’s arm.

I smelled fields. I don’t like fields. Bad humans shoot at us in fields. The car went down a giant hill. Phoenix stopped the car at the top of the next hill. Cats and toads! We knew this hill. A bad, bad place. I whined a protest.

All four doors opened. I hopped out so Annalynn could move. Smells smacked my nose. Many people and cars had been here. Bad! We should go home. I pushed past Annalynn to jump back into the car. I ignored her coaxing me to come out.

Phoenix came to me. “It’s okay, Achilles. No shooter today.” She held up the thin gloves she wore for searching. “We came to find.”

I loved to find. And poor Phoenix couldn’t smell drugs or explosives. I jumped out. We walked down the hill. One woman cried. She and Annalynn went back to the car. Phoenix walked off the road into a field. A car had run over baby trees. A mistake? A bomb? I loped down the car’s path sniffing for explosives. None. No drugs either. I turned back toward Phoenix.

“You’re right, Achilles. No marijuana, no meth, no bombs. Find a glove, please. Find—uh—whatever doesn’t belong here.”

I didn’t understand. Was this a new game? No, not a game. I put my nose to the ground and moved in bigger and bigger circles. An unexpected odor. Crushed grass covered a cell phone. Not a weapon, but not right. I signaled Phoenix.

She praised me. We all three searched. The woman found a glove. I, of course, made the big find, a thermos of coffee. I smelled it from far away. Too far away.

Phoenix picked it up and took off the top.

Whew! Danger! I barked and nudged her hand to warn her. She put the lid back on. “Thanks, Achilles.”

The trouble started there.


Phoenix Smith rather than Achilles tells the story in Show Me the Sinister Snowman, the fifth book in the “Show Me” mystery series.

Former CIA covert operative Phoenix Smith must play detective again when Achilles, her K-9 dropout, sniffs out a unique murder weapon at the scene of a congressman’s “accidental” death. Suicide? Murder? Collateral damage? Phoenix suspects either a corrupt political insider or an enraged abusive husband set out to kill. To catch the culprit and protect intended victims, Phoenix and Achilles accompany her friend Annalynn to a candidates’ gathering at the late congressman’s antebellum mansion in rural Missouri. A blizzard traps them in the isolated house with multiple suspects dissembling inside and a snow-loving psychopath lurking outside.

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About the author
Carolyn Mulford worked on four continents as a nonfiction writer/editor before switching to fiction. Her award-winning Show Me series features Phoenix Smith, a former CIA covert operative who returns to rural Missouri and adapts her tradecraft to solve crimes with old friends and a K-9 dropout. You can read the first chapters of the five books in the series on her website at carolynmulford.com.

Giveaway: One person (a U.S. resident) who leaves a comment by May 30, 2017 will be selected at random to receive a print copy of Show Me the Sinister Snowman Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Mackenzie Harris by Jenn McKinlay

Did you ever have that one life changing event? That one moment where you made a decision that changed the course of your life forever? I’m Mackenzie Harris, Mac to my friends, and this was mine.

Three days back in town and I was late meeting my friend Emma, so I took a short cut through an alley and was striding quickly down the uneven pavement when I heard a fierce growl that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I stopped and slowly turned to my right.

There behind a dumpster next to the shattered remains of what looked like several pots of tulips was a brown dog, baring its teeth and looking like it wanted to rip my throat out.

“Easy, boy,” I said. My heart thumped hard in my chest and I glanced at the end of the alley to determine if I could escape if I ran. I had visions of trying and having the dog chase me down and clamp its powerful jaws on my leg or throat. I’d never make it.

I glanced back at the dog. It growled, keeping low to the ground. It had a big blocky head and from what I could see of its shoulders, it was built strong. Oh, man. Why couldn’t it be a Yorkie or a Shih Tzu?

I took a cautious step away and the dog growled, deeper and meaner. Then I heard a thumping sound. It was wagging its tail. What was that supposed to mean? I took another step away. The dog growled and it rumbled low and deep from its chest.

Okay, so the stepping away thing wasn’t really working for the dog. I stood still and studied the face staring at me from behind the dumpster.

“You don’t want me to leave, do you?”

The dog whimpered and I felt my heart clutch in my chest, maybe the poor thing was hurt.

“Listen, I don’t speak dog,” I said.

I glanced around, looking for help. There was no one, just me and the dog. I slowly crouched down, watching how the dog reacted.

“It’s okay,” I said. I kept my voice soft and kind. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The dog whimpered and then wagged. Maybe it was hungry. I wished I had a dog treat, but then I remembered the granola bar in my pocket. Maybe some food would make the dog trust me.

I carefully pulled out the granola bar. I took off the wrapper and noticed that the dog never looked away from me.

“It probably tastes like rocks and sticks to you but it is food, I swear.” I held out my hand. The dog stared. I moved closer and the dog lowered itself to the ground, making me tense up and then it wagged.

“You’re really giving me mixed signals here,” I said.

I inched closer. I didn’t know what I’d do if the dog attacked her at this point. Die, I supposed.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “I promise.”

My legs were beginning to cramp and I was sure we were going to be in this stalemate until nightfall when the dog belly-crawled toward me just a few inches and stopped.

“Good dog,” I said. “That’s right. I got you.”

The dog crawled forward again, stopping just in front of my hand. I waited. The dog’s tail was still wagging and its ears were flopped to one side. The warm brown eyes never left my face. I really wished I could tell what the puppy was thinking.

To my surprise, the dog nudged the granola bar aside with its cold nose and pressed the top of its head into the palm of my hand.

“Oh,” I said softly.

The dog’s head felt like warm velvet beneath my fingers and it looked up at me with big brown eyes that seemed to have witnessed a world of hurt.

“It’s okay, baby,” I said. “You’re going to be okay.”

The dog made a deep shuddering sigh as if it was psyching itself up for something, then it cautiously climbed into my lap. The dog’s posture was rigid as if bracing for rejection. There was no question it was taking a huge leap of faith in trusting me. I felt my throat get tight as I looked into the dog’s earnest face, I could see the pretty eyes imploring, Please don’t hurt me!

“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” I said. I hugged the dog close until I felt it relax against me.

Now what to do? It was a ridiculous question. There was only one thing I could do. I had to take the puppy to the one guy I’d been avoiding like a case of the flu over the past few days. Gavin Tolliver, the town veterinarian, and the one man my poor heart had never forgotten during my seven years away from home. In short, I had to see a man about a dog.


You can read more about Mackenzie in About A Dog, the first book in the NEW “Bluff Point” romance series.

Fall in love with a little help from man’s best friend in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s contemporary romance debut.

Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar—and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding—safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.

But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love. . .

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About the author
Jenn is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting her women’s fiction series on May 30, 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars. Visit her website at www.jennmckinlay.com.

All comments are welcomed.