by Susan Kroupa
Native advertising. Ever heard of the term? I hadn’t until recently when I clicked on a link about native advertising thinking it was going to be about Native Americans. I wasn’t even close. The term means a blending of news and advertising in a way that makes it difficult to distinguish one from the other. Click on any “news” site today, and you’ll be flooded with lists: ten foods you must eat to be healthy, seven foods to avoid at all cost, eight ways to look younger, etc. It can be difficult to determine whether or not a list happens to be funded by one or more of the things it promotes, but the chances are high that it is.
Between native advertising and social media’s racing from one cause to another—just click on your favorite site to see today’s candidates for admiration and for condemnation—we’re flooded with information. Careers are made; careers are destroyed and straining truth from the silt in the flood waters is pretty much a hopeless proposition. As Theodore Roszak famously wrote, “Data data everywhere but not a thought to think.”
Of course, Doodle, the labradoodle narrator of the Doodlebugged mysteries, doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t care much about social media. Doodle works as a bed bug detection dog for the “boss”, Josh Hunter, but his independence, mirrored in the boss’s ten-year-old daughter, Molly, often gets the two of them in trouble. Being a dog, he takes things literally. Truth is to be found in scents, in body language, in tone of voice. But mostly in scents. If false news had an odor, Doodle would be all over it. For example, Bad-Mouthed, the fourth book in the series opens with Doodle onstage in a Christmas pageant, when his nose tells him something:
“I smell a rat. That's a phrase that humans use to mean something isn't right, at least that's what I gather from the TV shows Molly watches, but I mean that I smell a rat, a live one, and he's not very far away.” Doodle never doubts his nose. But when he takes definitive action against the rat, he throws the boss and Molly into a spotlight, a place where the videos of a popular blogger might end up destroying the boss’s business. Native news rears its ugly head.
And then there’s all this Christmas stuff, something Doodle finds baffling. He understands gifts—they’re the human equivalent of dog treats—but why does everyone want a “white” Christmas? Does the day come in colors? And how come dogs never get mentioned in any of the Christmas carols but sheep—such silly creatures--are talked about all the time?
Add in a lonely boy, who wishes to go live with his out-of-state father, a devastating fire, and some lost dogs, and Doodle has his work cut out for him. But it takes Molly’s computer sleuthing and courageous actions in addition to Doodle’s nose to distinguish fact from fiction and set things right.
Bad-Mouthed will be available in paperback and ebook formats in early December from most retailers. Visit me on my webpage, or sign up for my newsletter (no spam or address sharing ever, I promise) and be the first to know when it comes out. Meanwhile, Laurel Fork Press is currently running a promotion of Bed-Bugged, the first Doodlebugged mystery. For a limited time, you can get a copy for free on almost any site—(here’s the Amazon one) and learn just how Doodle got himself into the bed bug detection business, and, more importantly, how he met the boss and Molly.
Is this native advertising? Nah, it’s straight promotion. But keep an eye out for the next MSN news article, Six Books About Labradoodles That Will Help You Lose Weight and Find Romance. Bad-Mouthed just might be mentioned! J