Welcome to the World of Pepe!

We’re so glad you arrived here at the official web site for the Barking Detective series of humorous mystery novels.

Our fifth book in the Barking Detective series, The Silence of the Chihuahuas, will be out soon. The publication date is October 27. We’ve got some special promotional events we’re planning to announce the books (a signing October 24 at Seattle Mystery Book Shop and a book launch party at Elliott Bay Book Company on November 15) and good news! Our Christmas story from last year, A Chihuahua in Every Stocking, which was only available as an e-story will be included as a special bonus in the back of the book. For more information check out our Events page or sign up on our mailing list.

The first novel featuring Pepe is called Dial C for Chihuahua. It came out in October 2012. The second book in the series, Chihuahua Confidential, debuted on April 1, 2013. And the third book in the series, The Big Chihuahua, was published in October 2014. The fourth book, The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice, featuring Pepe’s adventures at the lavender festival in Sequim, Washington, launched in December 2014.You can order all of Pepe’s adventures: find the books at your favorite bookstore.
Thanks to Krista Brooks of RetroPets® for permission to use her art work for the header on our web site.
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Special Promotion

Dial C for Chihuahua Mech.inddFor four days from May 5 through May 9, 2016, Dial C for Chihuahua will be for sale on KOBO for $1.99. And you can order here.

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The Voice of Pepe: Laura Darrell

_MG_7860instaWe’ve been delighted by listening to the audio versions of our books which are available from Audible. All of them have been read by the same talented actress, Laura Darrell. Waverly was curious about how Laura began doing this work and what she enjoyed about it so we interviewed her.

How did you get started reading books for Audible?
My voice and speech teacher Susan Cameron at NYU Tisch thought I would make an excellent narrator so when the school hosted visitors from Audible talking about the process and setting up auditions, she referred me! Shortly thereafter, I took the train to Newark, auditioned for them and they hired me! My first audiobook was an Amish romance!

What are the challenges?
The biggest vocal challenge is of course protecting and taking care of my voice. Since I use it so much as both a narrator and an actor, I have to make sure to stay very hydrated, well rested, and take breaks every hour. The engineers and producers I have worked with have been really good about respecting the need for breaks. On an acting level, the challenge is always differentiating the voices, whether it be pitch, tempo, or just tone of voice so readers don’t have to guess for too long about who’s speaking.

What do you find rewarding about it?
The rewarding part and my favorite part of being a narrator is being able to get lost in a great story. I have always loved reading; I started at a very early age. I remember going into classrooms and reading to the lower grades in grade school, and I absolutely loved it. I love how reading, and reading aloud, allows everyone’s imaginations to really blossom, which gives everyone a unique and personal experience, more so than any other medium in my opinion.

laurareadingHow long does it typically take to read an entire book?
It really depends on the book. How many crazy words or names there are, how well the sentences flow… Every now and then a narrator inevitably stutters or mispronounces something and has to start the phrase or sentence over again, so generally I say about 1.5 times the finished hour.

Do you have to go back and make corrections afterwards?
If I make a mistake, and we’re aware of it, we re-do it right away. That’s why it helps to have a great engineer working with you because they’re an important second set of ears. On rare occasion we might get something back from Audible with a few minor corrections, which of course we attend to right away.

What skills or experiences did you bring to this job?
I would say before I started reading audiobooks, my greatest skill set came from being a theater actor. As an actor who works on stage, I’ve had to focus a lot on articulation, diction, making smart vocal choices, clarity of tone and thought, as well as a lot of character work. It’s the best training in the world!

Do you learn things from this work that you can use elsewhere?
I think since doing a lot of audiobook work, my number of character voices has grown. Before this I never had a Pepe Sullivan voice, but I do now and it’s tons of fun! I think my vocal creativity has also grown. I’m still figuring out new ways of differentiating characters.

We love the way you subtly change voices when reading different characters. Do you have any special techniques you use to get in character?
To me it’s all in the writing. Great writing means vivid characters, and once I have a strong mental image of the character I make quick choices on how they talk, often changing my body posture in the recording studio to help me. For instance, I’ve noticed I lean forward in my seat a lot more when reading Pepe, as opposed to a character who is more languid and laid back. Pepe is usually very high energy and alert so I can’t read him lounging in a recording chair. For me it just doesn’t work. :)

We know you probably liked our books best, but could you tell me about other books you’ve enjoyed reading?
Your series is absolutely one of my favorites. I love a good mystery and a smart, funny talking dog, even better! I’ve also really enjoyed reading a series of books by Ginger Scott. I just read one called Wild Reckless, and before that was Going Long and Waiting on the Sidelines. Her genre is young adult, teen romance, which I admit I love, and her characters are also so vivid and relatable. There’s tons of humor, a lot of emotional depth in them, and I have a lot of fun digging into my inner teenage angst :)

What’s your favorite of our books?
Oo, this is a hard one,  I don’t know if I could possibly have a favorite! That’s like choosing between my children! I always feel like the last one I read becomes my favorite. I really loved The Silence of the Chihuahuas. Pepe’s blog posts cracked me up and the rehab center freaked me out a little bit in a good way. The Big Chihuahua has stayed with me too. Dogawanda was a lot of fun and extremely memorable. Of course, the dancing with dogs show was a brilliant concept too.

lauraandsamwise2We’re also curious about if you have a favorite character from our books?
My favorite character has to be Pepe Sullivan. There’s simply no one like him. I love his passion, his talent for sniffing out a crime, and his humor is simply the best. I am a proud owner of a mischievously smart mini poodle named Samwise (yes Lord of the Rings fan, I know, I know) and my mother owns a chihuahua named Ella, who is definitely “the queen.” So I have tons of inspiration!

To hear Laura’s interpretation of Geri and Pepe, here’s a link to the Audible version of A Chihuahua in Every Stocking. You can also hear excerpts and purchase the audio versions of Dial C for Chihuahua, Chihuahua Confidential, The Big Chihuahua, The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice and The Silence of the Chihuahuas at Audible.

_MG_7689instaLaura trained as an actress at top drama schools in LA, NY and the UK (BADA), splitting her undergrad between Tisch, NYU and USC in Los Angeles, graduating a Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude scholar. Laura has acted in dozens of independent features and shorts (most notably “Creedmoria” staring Stef Dawson of the “Hunger Games” series) many of which have appeared in major festivals, including Sundance. She has also performed lead roles in theaters off-Broadway, across the country, and internationally (Canada)! In addition to theater and film, she helped raise money for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program with a Maine PBS special, for which she was nominated for a New England/Boston Emmy Award. She also can be heard in an animated feature film, “A Very Wompkee Christmas”, produced by Con Fullam, as well as in several professional video games and audiobooks sold internationally. (From Laura’s IMDB bio which was written by Tsu Tsu Stanton)

 

 

 

 

 

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A Chihuahua for Christmas?

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I’m hoping to adopt one of these adorable Chihuahua puppies in the next week. This pregnant Chihuahua mom was rescued from a shelter, and is currently being fostered in Yakima, Washington. If you have room in your life and heart for a Chihuahua, contact the Lil Waif Puppy Rescue which is the non-profit rescue organization that organizes the adoptions. They have better photos on their website too!

If you don’t have room for a Chihuahua in your home–maybe it’s already ruled by a Chihuahua or two!–there’s a lovely Christmas story in the back of our latest novel, The Silence of the Chihuahuas. Find all the places it’s available here.

And we were just informed by our publisher that the first book in the Barking Detective series, Dial C for Chihuahua, is available for 1.99 from Kobo during the holidays.

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Pepe’s Blog: Sidekicks

Detecting for Dogs from A to Z

Ola, amigos. Bienvenidos to the first book ever written about private detecting by a dog. Many books have been written from the point of view of humans but we all know a dog is better deigned for detecting a human Thus an entirely new manual is needed. And who better to write such a document than the famous detective dog, Pepe Sullivan, senior partner of the prominent Seattle detective agency: Sullivan and Sullivan.

If you have any reason to doubt my fame or experience, you need to read the novels about my success as a crime fighter: Dial C for Chihuahua, Chihuahua Confidential, The Big Chihuahua, The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice and The Silence of the Chihuahuas.

Acquiring a Sidekick

My dear perros, the first thing you need to find if you wish to be a successful detective is a sidekick. Think Holmes and Watson. Think Bones and Scully. Although you will want any number of attractive and submissive canine assistants (and I am accepting applications—see my Job Posting), a human sidekick is desirable for several reasons.

1) Language. Humans have the ability to communicate with other humans. And this will turn out to be useful to you when you wish to interrogate suspects. Humans also are handy as translators. For example, what if you are asking for a piece of bacon and someone thinks you want to go outside in the rain. I know! Ridiculous! How can any human make such an elementary mistake? Unfortunately there are currently no programs teaching Canine. So it is useful to have a human who can translate for you.

2) Driving. Humans are rather indispensable for driving a car, especially for a small dog like me. Of course, I could press down on either the gas pedal and brake pedal if I were on the floorboard of the car. I could also steer the car simply by stretching my tiny body across the steering wheel, hanging on by my fore paws and hind paws and shifting my weight from side to side. However, I could not do both at the same time. Thus a human chauffeur is necessary to get to the scenes of the crimes and to chase down criminals (Geri and I very much enjoy car chases).

3) Providing of food and drink. When on a case, it is difficult to procure your own meals. And a hungry detective is less effective than a well-fed detective. (Although not too well fed—a certain edge of hunger sharpens the sword of justice!)

4) Interviews with media. Again, the translator role of the human partner is of utmost importance. I could, of course, just smile and act cute, which would cause many flashbulbs to go off and many cameras to snap like crazy. But for the substance of the interview, a human is required. And again, my choice is Geri Sullivan, and not just because she speaks a little Spanish. No, it is because while she is quite pretty, she does not try to hog the limelight. On the contrary, Geri always acknowledges my role as the primary detective.

5) Asking stupid questions. Some may object to the adjective. You may substitute the word “ingenuous” instead if you prefer. The point is your sidekick’s inquiries allow you to showcase your thinking. As when your sidekick asks, “Who do you think entered the building?” And you can reply: “Someone who had just eaten a peanut butter sandwich and an apple, and was wearing a pair of Birkenstocks, with socks, a fashion faux pas,” thus dazzling them with your extraordinary ability to identify scents and your supreme fashion sense.

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Dog Days Reading & Recruitment

Hola, amigos!

I must inform you of a special event to be held at 6:30 PM Saturday, August 1, at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, a large bookstore north of Seattle at 17171 Bothell Way. The chroniclers of my adventures, Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert, will be there, along with two other authors who truly appreciate dogs: Tracy Weber who writes the Downward Dog series of mysteries about a yoga teacher who adopts a German Shepherd named Bella (Tracy just happens to be a yoga teacher who has a German Shepherd named Tasha–interesting, no?) and Dori Hillestad Butler who has won awards for the books she writes for kids featuring Buddy, a dog who solves mysteries, much like moi! (I don’t know if she has a dog named Buddy).

Anyway, well-behaved dogs are invited to attend this reading and I am not invited! Neither is my personal non-fictional representative, Pepe Fitzgerald, who happens to live with Waverly Fitzgerald. Waverly says that Pepe does not play nice with other dogs because he likes to be the only dog in the room. I can totally appreciate that sentiment as I feel in a similar way. But right now, I do need to contact as many dogs as possible as I have just appointed myself the Human Resources Manager for the Sullivan and Sullivan agency and I am recruiting well-behaved dogs (preferably female) to serve as a cadre of scouts digging out clues wherever they lurk.

I have asked Waverly to take photos of the dogs at the event so if you are interested in this opportunity, you should plan to attend. I hear there will be treats for both humans and “well-behaved” dogs.

For those of you living outside the greater Seattle, I hasten to assure you that I will also accept applications online. Just send a photo of yourself and a description of your special skills.

The gorgeous dame in the pool is the famous and accomplished Bebe, who lives with Nikki of Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder. She would be my first pick for Girl Friday but I am sad to say she lives all the way across the country in New Jersey.

Hasta la vista,

Pepe

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Meet Pepe’s Newest Friend

We had a great time at our book launch at Elliott Bay Book Company on Saturday, December 6. Unfortunately I forgot to ask anyone to take photos so I have only the ones I took of the signs advertising the reading.

One of the many prizes we raffled off was the opportunity for a dog to appear in the next Pepe book. Kiwi, the lovely Australian shepherd was the winner. She was not present at the reading to receive her prize in person (in dog?) but her person kindly sent us these photos of her. Curt has already worked Kiwi into the fifth book, The Silence of the Chihuahuas, in a rather clever way.

Isn’t she gorgeous? Kiwi at the groomer. Pepe does have a good eye for the lady dogs.

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Winter Holidays with Pepe

We hope you are enjoying the holidays with your pets, and if you are looking for an animal companion to share the joy of the season, consider rescuing one from a shelter or a rescue organization.

If you want to hang out with Pepe, the Chihuahua who inspired the Barking Detective series, come to our book launch on Saturday December 6 at 7 PM at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company. Pepe will be holding court for his admirers, plus we’ll be giving away a free audio version of “A Chihuahua in Every Stocking,” pet-sized Christmas stockings (supply your own Chihuahua) and a chance to have your dog named in our fifth book, The Silence of the Chihuahuas.

If you would like a virtual Chihuahua instead of a real one, consider buying our e-short “A Chihuahua in Every Stocking,” or our latest paperback, The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice.

All of us at Team Pepe wish you and your pets happy holidays.

 

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Pepe at Auburn Days

Pepe Fitzgerald, the Chihuahua who inspired the Barking Detective series, is coming to Auburn for Auburn Days, accompanied by Curt Colbert and Waverly Fitzgerald. Pepe will be the featured literary figure at 1 PM on Saturday August 9 during the Literary Festival at the Auburn Theater. Waverly and Curt will read from Dial C for Chihuahua while Pepe will perform his main and only trick: being cute.

We’re preceded by the Women Who Kill at 10 AM, our Sisters in Crime: Susan Schreyer, Joyce Yarrow and Jeanne Matthews and ollowed by another Sister in Crime, Bernadette Pajer, who has written a wonderful series of historical mysteries about Professor Bradshaw, who is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the UW at the turn of the century.

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Pepe Predicts…

At our book reading at Third Place Books, Pepe (with the help of a Magic 8 ball) predicted that the Seahawks would win the Super Bowl! Looks like he is well on his way to being right!

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Book Launch for The Big Chihuahua

We had a great time at the book launch for our third novel, The Big Chihuahua, on Friday, October 19.  We were welcomed by fabulous booksellers, Casey and Brandy, at one of our favorite book stores: Elliott Bay Book Company.

We played off the theme of magical and mystical powers since the novel features Geri and Pepe dealing with a cult which worships an ancient warrior dog whose wisdom is channeled through a Weimaraner and his human, Crystal Star.

Pepe, as usual, stole the show. He wowed the crowd with his predictions, channeled through a Magic 8 Ball.

 

And then Curt amused the assembly in his incarnation as Karnak the Magnificent. One of our lucky audience members won a copy of the Dog Tarot.

As we have for every book launch, we gave a dramatic reading, from Chapter 10 of the book, which introduces several important characters, including Crystal Star and Dogawanda.

We also provided delicious dog-bone shaped cookies, for humans.

 

 

And signed books, with the star of the show, who contributed his paw print. 

Thanks to Shayla for taking the photographs and Stephany for Pepe wrangling during the event.

 

 

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