Author's Shaggy Dog Story the Stuff of Laughs, Lessons

Mystery goes to the dogs in award-winning novelist Don Bruns' latest novel

Dec 01, 2010, 12:00 ET from Oceanview Publishing

LONGBOAT KEY, Fla., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- When mystery novelist Don Bruns has an idea for a story, a character or a location, he is the first to admit that it never turns out quite like he pictured it.  And his newest release, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Bruns' ninth mystery novel, is no exception.

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A December 6, 2010 hardcover and eBook release from Oceanview Publishing, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff started with Bruns' idea of setting the mystery against the backdrop of a traveling carnival where the rides come off the tracks and people are killed.  His protagonists, stumbling, bumbling, and wildly hilarious James Lessor and Skip Moore, are hired to investigate the situation and nearly end up losing their lives.

Bruns started with the idea for the carnival, which grew when he passed a farmer's field one day where wandered a sundry assortment of donkeys, goats, pigs and other unusual animals.  This strange cast of animal characters gave Don the idea to add a petting zoo to the carnival. 

When he shared his idea with his longtime publicist, she suggested (or rather, begged) that Don make her ten-and-a-half-year-old, blind, 125-pound, Old English Sheepdog, Garcia, a character in the petting zoo.  So Bruns added Garcia to the mix, and found that the old dog could learn new tricks.

In writing Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Bruns quickly realized that Garcia was going to be more than a bit player in his novel. In the end, Garcia literally steals the show and becomes a major force in the story. 

When his publicist read the first draft, she immediately decided that the real Garcia needed somehow to be featured in all his shaggy glory and proudly had Garcia photo-shopped into Bruns' author photo. 

Admittedly dog-less due to a hectic travel and book signing schedule, Bruns says he enjoys having honorary ownership of Garcia—even if only in a book.  In appreciation to Bruns for his newfound fame, Garcia has taken to Twitter to share news about his book and his views on life as Garcia. Given his lack of opposable thumbs, Garcia has enlisted the aid of some friends to help with the typing. Follow him on Twitter @AmazingGarcia .

Bruns, who has auctioned off character names to raise money for charities in the past, says this shaggy dog story has served as an important lesson. According to Bruns, "Fiction writers need to remember that you never know where a story will lead—and you never know where the ideas will come from. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff is a result of an idea, driving by a farm, and an off-the-wall suggestion from my publicist."

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff is dedicated to Bruns' friends, The Smothers Brothers.  Bruns commented, "I have always been inspired by their humor, their sense of timing and the joy they brought so many people over the years." When Bruns recently presented Tommy Smothers with his copy of the book, Smothers glanced at the author photo, then at Bruns.  His comment? "Well, at least the dog is good looking."

Don Bruns is an award-winning novelist, songwriter, musician, and advertising executive who lives in South Florida. He is also the author of Stuff to Spy For, Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, Stuff to Die For, Bahama Burnout, St. Barts Breakdown, South Beach Shakedown, Barbados Heat, and Jamaica Blue. Oceanview Publishing ( is an independent book publisher headquartered in Florida. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (ISBN: 978-1-933515-79-3, Hardcover, 312 pages, $25.95, Mystery) will be available wherever fine books are sold on December 6, 2010.

SOURCE Oceanview Publishing