Please welcome guest Susan Kroupa and her Doodlebugged Mysteries:

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Christmas Goes to the Dogs, er, um, Sheep

The Doodlebugged Mysteries are humorous cozies narrated by Doodle, an obedience-impaired labradoodle who flunked out of service-dog training because in his mind, “smart and obedient don’t always go hand in hand.”

After a career change, where he’s trained to be a bed bug detection dog, Doodle gets adopted by “the boss,” Josh Hunter, and meets Molly, the boss’s ten- year-old daughter. Between Doodle’s nose and Molly’s independence, the two of them always seem to be in some kind of trouble.

The newly released fourth book, Bad-Mouthed, takes place over Christmas, and working on it got me thinking about dogs and their place or lack of it in Christmas tradition. There are plenty of songs featuring sheep and shepherds, and there are legends about donkeys and camels. But dogs?

Do a Google search on “dogs and Christmas” and beyond The Barking Dogs singing Christmas carols, there not much to find. No touching stories about dogs helping the baby Jesus or stories of dogs at the North Pole. Even in the song “The Friendly Beasts,” dogs are left out.

Of course, being a dog, Doodle’s knowledge about Christmas is limited to his experiences such as, “I know all about Christmas trees from my service dog days, of course, since our bosses took us into all sorts of stores, rest homes, and schools that had them. We learned that we were not allowed to eat anything on the tree, or even sniff it, and we absolutely weren’t allowed to lift our leg anywhere near it. Just sayin’.”

Doodle is baffled by the idea of a white Christmas. Does the day come in colors? And what’s with all the gift-giving? He notices that dogs don’t get mentioned much at Christmas, something he gripes about when he has to play a sheep in a pageant because his labradoodle coat is thick and curly. As he tells it, “I’m a sheep. Not really a sheep, of course. I’m a labradoodle who works as a bed-bug detection dog, which means I have a finely tuned, highly trained sense of smell . . . But in this Christmas pageant, I’m supposed to be a sheep. So, here I am onstage beside Molly and her best friend, Tanya, who are dressed as shepherds in long robes, wearing odd scarves held on their heads with thick ropes. I have what are supposed to be sheep’s ears—no sheep scent on them at all— tied onto my head. Why anyone would prefer a sheep to a dog is beyond me, but it seems to be a Christmas thing.”

Naturally, Doodle gets into trouble and he and Molly end up with mysteries to solve and, inDoodle’s case, bad guys to chase, but along the way, Doodle learns a lot more about Christmas. Because this is one book where Christmas goes to the dogs, or, um, dog.

Called “the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and laugh-out-loud doggy observations,” by best-selling mystery author Virginia Smith, the Doodlebugged mysteries have delighted dog and cozy mystery lovers from ages 9 to 92. In Bad-Mouthed, Doodle’s back for another adventure.

Who knew chasing a rat in the middle of a Christmas pageant could cause so much trouble? Certainly not Doodle, the obedience-impaired labradoodle who works for “the boss,” Josh Hunter of Hunter Bed Bug Detection, nor Molly, the boss’s ten-year-old daughter. But then Doodle’s the first to admit he doesn’t quite get Christmas.
Doodle’s antics during the pageant draw the attention of a popular video-blogger, who asks to do a feature on his sniffer-dog skills. But when the blog airs, pretty much the opposite of what Molly and the boss expected, the boss’s phone rings off the hook with distraught customers who think Doodle’s bed bug “finds” can’t be trusted.

Throw in a handful of threatening letters, some lost dogs, and a devastating fire, and Molly and Doodle have their hands—well, in Doodle’s case, his paws—full finding out just who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
Available at most ebook retailers and will be released in paperback on Dec 18th.

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Susan J. Kroupa is a dog lover currently owned by a 70 pound labradoodle whose superpower is bringing home dead possums and raccoons and who happens to be the inspiration for her Doodlebugged books. She’s also an award-winning author whose fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, and in a variety of professional anthologies, including Bruce Coville’s Shapeshifters. Her non-fiction publications include features about environmental issues and Hopi Indian culture for The Arizona Republic, High Country News, and American Forests. She now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwestern Virginia, where she’s busy writing the next Doodlebugged mystery. You can find her books and read her blog at http://www.susankroupa.com and visit her Amazon Author page at http://amazon.com/author/susankroupa.

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