Strange but True: Tales from Authors with Jacqueline Vick

Strange but True: Tales from Authors . . . Here's where we'll learn the weirdest or possibly the most ambitious thing authors have done or learned for their writing. As an author I know that we often come across incredibly odd facts in our research, and sometimes, we endeavor to learn things firsthand, so we can describe it better in our stories. Has an author gained a new skill, traveled somewhere dangerous/exotic, tried a crazy sport? Inquiring minds want to know. 

Today, we welcome the fabulous Jacqueline Vick as she explains her deep dive into animal behavior to write one of her 'not quite cozy' humorous mystery series. 

Researching the Pet Psychic’s Feathered and Furry Friends 

One of the joys of writing the FRANKIE CHANDLER PET PSYCHIC mystery series is I get to spend time researching animals. In my books, every murder is witnessed by an animal, leaving Frankie to figure out what the clues mean. My research isn’t only fun, it’s necessary.

To make the “communications” authentic, I must know animal behavior as it applies to the species. Are there any quirks I can use to add humor? For instance, an angry Tom Turkey will purr, something an unexperienced pet psychic might find charming…until it’s too late.

Speaking of purring, research also keeps me from making egregious errors. In a short story first draft, I had a tiger purr. I don’t know what made me verify purring in a big cat. All cats purr, right? Thank goodness I did. The rule of thumb is any cat that roars, can’t purr, and vice versa. The technical explanation has to do with a length of tough cartilage that runs up the hyoid bones to the skull. This cartilage, found in big cats, prevents purring but helps open the throat to produce a roar. Unfortunately, this means your kitty will never roar.

In my current work in progress, Some Like Murder Hot, one of the main animals is a rare white tiger who gives birth. While I was working out a timetable, I discovered that tigers only ovulate when they mate. The lucky gals also don’t show until about ten days before they deliver. These facts paired perfectly with my plot.

Even when the animal is as familiar as the family dog, research helps add some zing. I plan to give THE HARLOW BROTHERS a dog, but I want something special. A chow? A Jack Russell? Then I stumbled across a Catahoula Leopard dog, and Max came to life.  It’s an intense, protective, serious, large dog, perfect for my boys.

Since my books are humorous fiction, I often bend facts to meet the story, such as the layout of an actual hotel. But I try to never mess with the animals. That might cause a riot.

Learn more about Jacqueline and her entertaining stories below:

The Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic Mysteries

When Frankie Chandler, a perfectly happy charlatan pet psychic, receives a message from a frightened dog, her life changes forever. Even after she finds a way to block out the incoming chatter (a gigantic mental door that brings to mind torch-wielding villagers) animals still find a way to break through. And they rarely want her help with something simple. Or safe.

With her perennially perky best friend, Penny, who believed in Frankie even when she was faking it; Detective Martin Bowers who can't bring himself to acknowledge her thing; and a cast of characters human, furry, and feathered, Frankie struggles to use her ability to solve murders, satisfy pets, and, if possible, stay sane.



Meet the Harlow Brothers

Everybody loves Aunt Civility's etiquette books. However, only ‘her’ secretary, Nicholas Harlow, has ever met the author. That's because the genteel, grandmotherly Aunt Civility in reality is his short-tempered, former football-playing older brother, Edward.

Edward gives lectures as the official representative of the allegedly agoraphobic author, and upon arriving for such an event at the isolated Inglenook Resort, the discovery of a corpse in the room next door sends his ordered world spinning out of control.

With Edward in danger of losing his manners (and blowing his cover), Nicholas convinces him to team up to solve the crime, but soon teamwork turns into competition. Nicholas will do whatever it takes to beat his brother, but as the body count rises, so do his chances of becoming the next victim.



Jacqueline Vick writes mysteries that include farcical situations and satirical humor. She writes about characters who are reluctant to accept their greatest (and often embarrassing) gifts.

She is the author of THE FRANKIE CHANDLER PET PSYCHIC MYSTERIES about a woman who, after faking her psychic abilities for years, discovers animals can communicate with her. The series evolved out of her desperate attempts to train a rescued mutt with fear-based aggression. Two visits with animal communicators inspired the article Calling All Canine Clairvoyants for Fido Friendly Magazine, and, later, Frankie Chandler.

Her second series, THE HARLOW BROTHER MYSTERIES, features brothers Edward and Nicholas Harlow. Edward, a former college linebacker, now ghost writes the Aunt Civility etiquette books. Nicholas is his secretary and general dogsbody.

Her first mystery, Family Matters, was a semifinalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Future Mystery Anthology Magazine and The Best of Everyday Fiction Two Anthology. Her Harlow Brothers novella, Lovely As, was a finalist for the Black Orchid Novella Contest. When she isn’t writing, she “helps” her husband with his jigsaw puzzles or, worse, tests new recipes on him. 

Catch up with her on her website & on social media at: Facebook & Instagram


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