Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Spotlight - Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Don Burns

Today I'm shining my spotlight on  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Don Bruns because my good friend Maryglenn at Oceanview Publishing is the proud Mommy of the star of this book ~ Garcia.  She's very proud of his success and I wanted to help her share the great news.

 Author’s Shaggy Dog Story the Stuff of Laughs, Lessons:
Mystery goes to the dogs in award-winning novelist Don Bruns’ latest novel

LONGBOAT KEY, FL. -- 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.

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.”

About the author ~ 
When renowned mystery novelist Sue Grafton read Don Bruns' book manuscript, she fired off eight pages of criticism, pointing out numerous structural problems, plot problems and character problems. Sometimes sarcastic, sometimes caustic, her comments stung the fledgling writer. After reading her remarks, Bruns told his wife Linda that he may as well give up on any attempt to get published. Two days later Grafton called him and asked if he was ready to shoot himself or her. .

Grafton, the successful writer of the Alphabet murder series suggested that Bruns throw away the proposed book and using her suggestions and comments, attempt to write a new one. Bruns had purchased her critiquing services as part of a charity auction during a mystery convention in Tucson, Arizona in March 2000. Grafton agreed to read the second book for free. She told him she felt he had the makings of a good writer, but he needed to pay attention to details.

Nine months later Bruns finished the second book, Jamaica Blue, a mystery novel about the murders that seem to follow a Jamaican rock band. Grafton read the book in one sitting and called him the next day.

Bruns' second book, Barbados Heat, was released in 2003 by St. Martin's Press, along with the paperback version of Jamaica Blue and cassette and CD renditions. The writer has traveled to 15 states on book signing trips and was welcomed last November at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

"It's a dream come true," says Bruns, "to be published and to have Sue Grafton as a mentor." What more could you want?

Bruns' books explore the seamy side of the music business, flipping the industry on it's back and looking at the underbelly of power and corruption. Protagonist Mick Sever is a journalist who chronicles the history of rock and roll, and uncovers murder. "There's enough crime, corruption, drugs, and slimy people in the music business to keep Mick Sever busy for a long time," Bruns says.

Bruns himself is a road weary musician who made a meager living traveling and performing throughout the United States, working with acts like Ricky Nelson, the Platters, Ray Charles and Eric Carmen. He's released a CD of original songs called Last Flight Out. Two of the songs have been recorded by other artists.

Bruns, an advertising executive, has a lot of irons in the fire. He and three friends converted an old 1905 neighborhood grocery store into a very cosy, nostolgic used book store, Bookends Used and Rare Books. Living in Ohio, the author travels to Florida and the Caribbean on a regular basis. 

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His Newest Book ~ 
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 

It's official: stumbling, bumbling James Lessor and Skip Moore are licensed private investigators. Now, that's some scary stuff.It could take time to get Moore or Less investigations off the ground, so James takes a job with a traveling carnival show.But this show has a dubious reputation, having had a string of accidents and at least one death in the past year.When they're hired to investigate what's caused the carnival chaos, James and Skip set into motion a dizzying, roller coaster chain of events.After a terrifying trip on the Dragon Tail ride, a not-so-fun dust-up in Freddy's Fun House, and a host of threats, James and Skip realize they'll get anything but cooperation from this cantankerous cast of carnies.But when a carnival worker is murdered, James and Skip will have to act fast-because they might be next in line.For James and Skip, the only thing sweeter than the smell of corndogs and fried dough will be the sweet smell of success-but in this case, "success" means getting out alive.This investigation is going completely off the rails.  

Release date ~ December 6, 2010

Other Books by Don ~