Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Guest: Judith Lucci

My Guest this week is not alone. She has brought a friend of the four-footed kind with her. It's not often an author brings one of their characters to a spot on this blog. Now, where did I put those treats? Ladies and Gentlemen...

Judith Lucci

The Inspiration for Angel

I LOVE DOGS!  I have five of my own, and would have more if I could manage it. If I had my life to do over again, I’d be a veterinarian, and after I paid for groceries, I’d be a free vet so I could offer care for millions of animals whose owner can’t afford expensive vet care. There, I bet you can see it, I’m a bona fide animal lover who oftentimes love animals more than people.

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For me, there’s nothing in this world more wonderful than dogs. They love us unconditionally. They don’t need college funds or designer labels. Their adolescence is short-lived and if they get mad at you, they poo in the kitchen. So what… A simple pick-up… not a trip to the local jail or a $1,500.00 retainer for legal representation.  Dogs don’t have traffic accidents, need cars or prom gowns. They need you, your love and attention. Of course my dogs aren’t working dogs. They’re companion dogs. In my family, I work for the dogs but it doesn’t matter because they bring me love, laughter and pleasure. There’s no wonder I have a hero dog, Angel, in the Michaela McPherson crime series who is a major character.  Also of mention is that Alex Destephano, the protagonist, in my medical thriller series was recently gifted Shogun, a retired military working dog, by her law-and-order Congressman Grandfather. I’m not exactly sure what Shogun will do in the fifth book of the series because I haven’t finished it. Of course, if you’ve read any of the Alex Destephano Medical Thrillers, you know Alex has had lots of escapes from madmen and flirtations with death. The fifth book, currently titled Malicious Maleficence is scheduled for release in the spring of 2017).
Dogs are our best friends, but it’s even bigger than that. Dogs save lives. Police, military and medical dogs are major contributors to society. Contemporary dogs in military roles in the United States and United Kingdom are referred to as police dogs, military working dogs (MWD), or K-9s.  As of 2011, there were over six hundred U.S. Military dogs actively participating in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and in war zones across the world. I suspect that number has gone up based on the efficacy, efficiency and research on canines in war.
Dogs have been used by law enforcement agencies for over a hundred years.  The English used bloodhounds while searching for Jack the Ripper in 1888, and allowed canines to accompany Bobbies on patrol.  In 1899, in Ghent, Belgium, police started formally training dogs for police work.  This enhanced the popularity of dogs for police work.  By 1910, Germany had police dogs in over 600 of their largest cities.  In 1938, South London introduced two specially trained Labrador Retrievers to the Metropolitan Police Force to accompany Bobbies on patrol.

In the 1970’s dogs in law enforcement took a foothold in the United States. Canines’ are considered an integral part of the police force, and often have their own badges. From the hundreds of dog breeds, there are some that are widely known for their presence in law enforcement. The most widely trained dog for regular patrol work is the German Shepherd. Other exemplary breeds include the Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois, and the Dutch Shepherd. Certain breeds have been used for special purposes, such as detecting illegal drugs or explosives, and tracking fugitives or missing persons.

Dogs are also critical partners in the military as well.  All MWDs in use today are paired with a single individual after their training. This person is called a handler. While a handler usually won't stay with one dog for the length of either's career, usually a handler will stay partnered with a dog for at least a year, and sometimes much longer. The latest canine tactical vests are outfitted with cameras and durable microphones that allow dogs to relay audio and visual information to their handlers.
Dogs have played key roles in military operations since the beginning recorded history. Early dogs functioned as trackers and sentries, but now dogs are full members of the military team. Contemporary dogs in military roles are also often referred to as police dogs, K-9, or Military Working Dogs or in the United States (MWD).  A military working dog worked with Seal Team 6 on the capture of bin Laden. These dogs are unsung heroes with their ability to find missing persons, sniff out explosives (IEDs) and uncover illegal drugs.   As of 2011, 600 U.S. Military dogs were actively participating in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Medical Response Service Dogs.  While not all service dogs

possess the ability to detect a medical crisis before it happens and alert to it, that does not mean they cannot have jobs that are crucial to their handlers' safety! There are innumerable things service dogs can do to assist their disabled handlers in response to medical crises. A service dog can be trained to respond in what is often a life-saving manner, once the handler begins to experience a medical crisis. These types of service dogs are referred to as "Medical Response Dogs."

Some skills that medical response dogs can be trained to perform include, but are not limited to, seeking out another individual when their handlers are experiencing a medical crisis and need help, positioning their handlers in a manner that will keep them safe during a seizure, retrieving emergency medication, dialing 911 on phones equipped for use by service dogs and a wide variety of unique skills that not only give the gift of independence, but can also mean the difference between life and death for their handlers.

In the Michaela McPherson crime series, Angel is a highly trained, experienced police canine. Angel is Mic’s retired police canine partner. The pair served together for several years before Angel was retired - with honors - from the Richmond Police department after he took a bullet and saved Michaela’s life. What’s important to note, is Angel’s heroic behavior didn’t change after his retirement. He remains a hero even in his retirement which you can read about in The Case of Dr. Dude and The Case of the Dead Dowager. Some might argue Angel is the best character… I’m not sure.

Reviews about Angel from The Case of Dr. Dude

The combination of Michaela, the Countess and the police (oh, and the retired police dog, Angel) is a wonderfully satisfying mix where they all come at the problem from their own distinct individual angles. I look forward to the next one.”

“Dottie is quite the gutsy character! Love her!!! Dr. Dude is a weird dude for sure. Angel, what can you say about a sweet, protective doggie? He just made the story that much better!”

Early Reviews about Angel from The Case of theDead Dowager

I love Michaela and Dottie… they are both such original and real characters and Angel, well, retired police dog Angel is just the bomb and the star of the show.”

“Loved it. Reminds me a bit of Miss Marple, but boy, I just love Angel…”

The Case of the Dead Dowager comes out on Kindle December 2 and can be preordered for .99

Many thanks for reading and have a great Holiday Season and Happy Reading


Dr. Judith Lucci is an Amazon bestselling author who writes what she knows. She is the author of the Alex Destephano Medical Thriller Series and the soon to be released Michaela McPherson, Private Eye, a series centered on a retired homicide detective from Richmond, Virginia who really can’t retire.

“Before I wrote fiction, I was an academic writer who published research, theoretical works, text books and just about anything a clinician or college professor needed to publish to survive in the ivory tower. The differences in academic writing and writing fiction are dramatic. Writing what I know propels me to pull from my clinical experiences, some good, some not and use popular fiction as a means to teach and advocate for others. My books have three purposes, to engage the reader, to entertain them and to educate about healthcare and perhaps, the darker side of hospital life. 

"I am a nurse and hold graduate and doctoral degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. I have always been a reader and a writer and I love it. I am a member of the Virginia Writers Club, The Gulf Coast Writers Association, The Shenandoah Valley Writers and Sisters in Crime.

"When I’m not writing I’m probably teaching or painting on silk, canvas or watercolor. I am a multi-media artist with five dogs."

Books and Author Links:

Thank you, Judith, for a fascinating peek at the world behind one of your characters from your Michaela McPherson series. Readers, I was privileged ro read an advanced reader copy of The Case of the Dead Dowager and, believe me, you are not going to want to miss this one! Dottie, Mic and Angel face off against one of the most insidious and spine-chilling foes every created in modern fiction. Pre-order your copy today on Amazon.

Eric @

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