Category Archives: corgi capers
It’s the middle of the Corgi-Versary celebration, and what better way than to add some “Verse”? Here are four limericks introducing the four main characters of the series:
He was afraid of things right and left.
But he put away fear
And perked up his ear
And discovered the cause of the theft.
Whose demeanor left her quite happy.
Her favorite thing was her food,
Her bed, toys, and scarf, too—
Loving everything, she squealed, loud and yappy.
Lived in her secure, text-messaging world.
But a burglar broke in
And stifled her grin,
Leaving her teenage world all awhirl.
Like a detective, he knows where to look.
He’ll solve any crime
With just enough time
To read to Zeph from his new comic book.
Happy Corgi-Versary! As part of the celebration, I’m offering the chance for two readers to name a character in the next book in the series. To enter, take the quiz below, which is based on events in the Corgi Capers series. The two readers earning the highest score will win! In the case of a tie, I will conduct a random drawing of those with the highest score.
Winners will get to name and describe a character from the upcoming Corgi Capers 3. Each winner will also receive an autographed copy of the book when it is released.
The first character is a feline. Many of the ideas from my book come from real-life events I experience with my corgis. But I decided even before I finished Book 2 that Book 3 would feature a cat even though my corgis had never really encountered a cat before. As if fate could read my mind, a cat has recently entered their lives. It began with a blue collar found stuck in the fence of our backyard. Then a cat started showing up in the drainage area behind our house. Now, taking the corgis for a walk means Cat Control. The corgis’ new purpose in life seems to be patrolling the area for signs of two cats—a grey and a calico. The winner of this contest gets to describe and name the feline character in Corgi Capers 3. While we’re talking cats, check out this free short story about the corgis and their discovery of a neighborhood kitty!
The second character is Adam’s friend at the firehouse, where he volunteers. This can be a male or a female but should be close to Adam’s age (anywhere from 8 – 14 years old would be appropriate).
Two winners will get to choose the name and description of a feline or human character that will be featured in the upcoming Corgi Capers 3. Winners will receive an acknowledgement in the book as well as an autographed copy (for US addresses only; International winners will receive an electronic copy). The book is meant for children ages 7 – 12, so final approval of names and descriptions will rest with the author and publisher. Names or descriptions that are incendiary, suggestive, or allude to people or characters of ill repute, or under copyright or other restrictions, or that are likely to create other problems, will be rejected, and winner may choose an alternate name and/or description. Contest is open to entrants 18 years of age and older. Children under 18 wanting to enter the contest must have a parent/guardian enter for them.
Use the link below to answer the 9-question quiz. If you’re stuck, you can find the answers in Corgi Capers (or likely by poking around http://www.CorgiCapers.com!)
Ready to Name the Characters? Take the quiz here, and be sure to enter your email and character names in the last question! Good luck!
To kick off the Corgi-Versary Celebration, I’m offering the first chapters of the novel for free–right here on my blog. I hope you enjoy! If you’d like to read more, check out the links at the end of this post.
A Princess’ Premonition
In the little Pennsylvania town of Stoney Brook, at the end of a rocky road, was a place where the crickets chirped just a little louder. A place where the summer grass smelled just a little sweeter. A place called Pickwick Farm. Pickwick Farm was home to two people, twelve chickens, two goats, three sheep, a horse, and six dogs.
Six corgis, to be exact.
On this cool August morning, one of the dogs, Owl, was already awake. He patrolled the farm faithfully by the side of his favorite Person, Farmer Pickwick.
“We’ve got to make sure the farm is in order,” Farmer Pickwick told Owl. “We’ll have some special visitors today.”
Owl barked twice and twirled around in the dewy grass.
Inside the small farmhouse, four sleeping puppies and their mother heard Owl’s excited barks. They yelped and jumped up all at once. Their warm comforter became a tangle of paws and ears.
Sparkles, their mother, stretched and turned over. “Go back to sleep, puppies,” she yawned.
The largest puppy plopped down next to her, cuddling on the comforter. “Good boy, One,” Sparkles said. One, the first to be born, was the largest and most obedient puppy.
“Three and Four,” Sparkles called. “Back to sleep!”
Four, the smallest of the puppies and the only female, was tugging on one of Three’s tall ears. She wagged her tail and bit down hard. Three yelped and skittered back to the comforter to cuddle next to his brothers. Four’s ears darted back, and she ran in frustrated circles near the stove.
“I want to play, play, play!” she yelped.
But Sparkles and the other puppies ignored Four. Before long she sulked back to the comforter to talk to her favorite brother.
“Three, Three, Three!” she cried.
“Go back to sleep,” Three said.
Three fought drooping eyelids. “Why?”
“I have a feeling about today.”
“What kind of feeling?”
“Like something special’s going to happen. And I dreamed a strange word.”
Three’s eyes popped open. “What word?” he asked, his tail wagging.
“Princess,” Four said. “What does it mean?”
Three wanted very much to discuss Four’s new word, but he had to be quiet: footsteps echoed on the stairs.
“Shhhh,” Sparkles whispered. “Here come our People.”
“I said the word was princess,” Four pouted. “What does it mean? Tell me, tell me, tell me!”
But before Three could answer, Grandma Pickwick appeared at the kitchen door. The puppies ran over to greet her, their tails wagging and their ears pressed happily back against their heads. And in the excitement, even Four forgot all about her strange new word.
~ ONE ~
A Lucky Break
Adam Hollinger was the last boy left at practice. Again. Patrick, Coach Harris’ son, sat next to him in the shade under the bleachers. The two were covered in dust from the field. A clay-red skid mark stained Patrick’s pants from his slide into third. The boys’ Lancaster Reds baseball hats were lined with sweat from the morning’s practice. While Coach Harris spoke on his cell phone, the boys read the newest edition of The Adventures of Logan Zephyr and the Stellar Squadron. This volume was titled Logan and the Sapphire Kingdom.
“Why?” Adam asked.
“It’s where Logan Zephyr finds a space dog.”
“A space dog? Cool!” Adam smiled, looking at the green puppy with three tails and two antennas.
“Wouldn’t it be cool to have a space dog as a pet?” Patrick asked.
“It’d be cool to have any dog,” Adam sighed. “My parents have been promising me a dog for over a year now.”
“Why don’t you get one, then?”
“Dad doesn’t really want one. He’s always busy with his architecture business. Mom says it’s hard for him to be working for himself. He’s always either in his office or meeting with clients. Every time I mention a dog, Dad changes the subject. Besides, my parents don’t think Courtney’s responsible enough.”
Patrick laughed. “I don’t think your sister’s responsible enough, either!”
Patrick had known Adam long enough to see Courtney’s bad attitude worsen since she started middle school.
“I think my mom would like a dog, though,” Adam said. “She had one when she was a kid. If we could only convince Dad…”
“Speaking of your mom,” Patrick said. “Where do you think she is?”
Adam shrugged. “I don’t think she’s ever been on time.”
A tall shadow blocked the sunlight, and the boys looked up to see Coach Harris standing over them. He had finished his phone conversation.
“Well, boys.” He sounded disappointed. “That was Bryce’s mother. I found out why Bryce wasn’t at practice today.”
“What happened, Dad?” Patrick asked.
“Last night Bryce was skateboarding. He fell and broke his wrist. His doctor told him he won’t be able to pitch for the rest of the season.”
“He’s going to miss Autumn League?” Adam asked.
Autumn League was the post-season travel league made up of the best players in each region. The biggest honor for players Adam’s age was to be selected for the all-star team.
Coach Harris sighed.
“He was our secret weapon,” Patrick sighed. “He could strike out anyone!”
“Our games start in just a week,” Adam added. “What’ll we do?”
“The only thing we can do. We’ll find someone else on the team who can pitch.” Coach got a little sparkle in his eye. “While we’re here waiting, let’s give your arm a try, Adam.”
Adam’s ears turned bright red, something they did when he was embarrassed or nervous. “Me? Pitch?” He was an outfielder. He’d always been an outfielder.
“Sure, why not?” Coach insisted. He was halfway to the field, catcher’s mitt already on his hand.
Adam shuffled out from under the bleachers. He pulled on his red cap and gave Patrick his comic book. “I guess I’ll have to finish reading this later.”
“You can borrow it,” said Patrick. “I’d give just about anything — even my limited edition Logan Zephyr comic — to see you try to pitch!”
Want to read more?
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at Corgi Capers. If you’d like to read more, you can purchase the book at the following locations:
Halloween and the Imagination
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and as a kid I never understood why. But this year, perusing a Halloween store and then driving around a rural area and observing all the Halloween decorations, I think I understand.
Halloween lets the imagination free—like a ghost escaping the grave for its yearly romp around the world.
Winter is too sleepy and dreary to allow the imagination full reign. It’s dulled by cold nights and dark mornings.
In springtime, the imagination is too fulfilled with relief that winter is gone. Spring cleaning and yard work take precedence.
During summertime, the mind is too happy enjoying summer. Whose imagination has time to reign when there are pools and beaches, barbeques and vacations?
No, during those first parts of the year, the mind is busy saving up experiences. It’s during the fall that the mind can finally spend them. The heat of summer cools, and the air takes on that crisp quality, with the sweet scent of decaying leaves always lurking. The trees turn the world into a surreal, magical place. And at Halloween, there are no rules. Yes, Christmas is imaginative, but as Jack Skellington proved, there are rules that cannot be broken. Christmas is all about warmth and happiness. As countless English teachers and professors have pointed out to me, happiness doesn’t make for good literature. It doesn’t push any boundaries.
Halloween has no rules. Halloween stories can be happy. They can also be sad, melancholy, nostalgic, macabre, twisted, and imaginative. Literally, the imagination is the only limit, and that’s what I love so much about this time of year.
In my newest book, Corgi Capers: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook, Adam Hollinger lets his imagination run away with him—to the point that he is convinced his new neighbors are a pair of witches. Using his detective skills, he must (reluctantly) face his fears to determine whether they are, in fact, witches. It’s still got baseball and bullying and—of course—lots of corgis to help with the detective work. But this second book in the series is all about imagination at the most imaginative time of the year.
As part of this blog hop, you have a choice of one of the following books: Corgi Capers: Deceit on Dorset Drive (the first in the series); Corgi Capers 2: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook (Halloween-themed); or For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal (a trio of time-travel stories for ages 16 and up—romance, post-apocalyptic, and sci-fi-fantasy). You can check out the descriptions here.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I spent the past weekend at the first annual Fredericksburg Pet Expo in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The two-day event was even more crowded on Sunday, so word must have spread about all the great events and vendors. Even though I was stuck at my booth most of the time, I got to see some of what the show had to offer, and I recommend it for animal lovers everywhere.
The event coordinators did a fabulous job. Everything looked great when we arrived, making it easy to set up:
On Saturday, I left the corgis with a family member–10 a.m. until 6 p.m. seemed long for them, and Leia completely freaks out when there’s so much action. Instead, I brought Corgi the Corgi Mascot. He spent his down-time well, playing one of his favorite video games when he wasn’t posing for pictures:
On Sunday, the show only ran from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and at the suggestion of a fellow vendor (specializing in dog training), I brought Yoda along, leaving Leia with a family member (she got to spend the day with a new dog friend!).
The trainer gave me a few simple techniques to use, telling me that soon enough, I would look down and see Yoda on the floor, relaxing or sleeping. Sure enough, it worked:
At the end of the show, we got to go around and chat with the other vendors. Eric’s favorite was the vet booth next door, which featured a strange lizard:
There were other animals as well–farm animals, reptiles, and a variety of pets that came in costume or in special hairdos. One patron even stopped by with the calmest cat I’ve ever seen simply resting on her shoulder as she walked from booth to booth.
Because the corgis’ birthday is September 25, Eric said we could buy them each a Halloween bandana.
It was a busy weekend for everyone, and the dogs slept like little corgi-shaped logs all the way home. A special shout-out of thanks to the event coordinators at the Fredericksburg Expo Center for hosting such a great event… and a shout-out to the guy from Doody Calls who spent the whole weekend circling the Expo Center floor with a mop and bucket to clean up after all the dogs!
This summer, I decided to create a corgi mascot costume for use at book signings. Since summer signings are too hot, though, I delayed the project until recently. But with fall book signings starting to multiply, I decided to tackle the project. Here’s how I did it:
A special thanks to my husband for donning the costume all night. Hey, at least with all the dancing, he got in his exercise for the day!
Stay tuned–Corgi Capers Book 2 is coming soon!
Detective Adam Hollinger here. I’ve been busy getting back to school. Most kids don’t like going back to school–I must be the only kid who does. Anyway, I’ve been gone long hours–Autumn League is really picking up, and I have baseball practice almost every day after school now. Coach is using me to pitch more and more. Dad even says I might get a scholarship for pitching one day, but he has to remember that I’m only in fifth grade!
Anyhow, the corgis are still getting used to me being gone so long. Courtney comes home right after school, so I have to trust her to take care of Zeph and Sapphie. I’m not sure she’s doing such a good job, and here’s why:
Zeph’s been more scared than usual. I think it’s because Sapphie’s been crazier than normal. Sapphie’s an energetic little dog. She was the runt of the litter, and she makes up for her size with her energy. She needs lots of attention, and she just doesn’t get enough while I’m at school. Courtney really needs to play with her more, but she’s always obsessed with her cell phone and some new friends she has.
I came home from school today and found this:
It’s the metal covering to the air-conditioning duct in the kitchen floor. It was lifted clear out of its place. After I snapped the picture, I put it back. It weights a good two or three pounds–solid metal. And to lift it out of its place, it has to be raised three or four inches in the air. I don’t know how Sapphie moved it, but I know it was her. Zeph wouldn’t do a thing like that. Even if he wanted to, he’d be too scared. And besides, that silly-looking pink toy? It’s one of Sapphie’s favorites. There’s one more thing. Zeph’s snugly rocketship bed was wet when I came home. That’s right: someone had peed on it! And I doubt Zeph would pee on his own bed. Besides, Sapphie’s the one being difficult with the housebreaking.
So I was wondering if you could help me out. What do you think happened in the picture above? How did that heavy metal grate get moved? Why was Sapphie’s favorite toy left nearby, and who peed on Zeph’s bed (and why?)? I’ve put on my detective hat and started to think about it, but I could use your help. Let me know what you think. I’m just glad Sapphie and Zeph have grown big enough so they can’t fit in the vent shaft. Can you imagine? Sapphie crawling through the ventilation system of our house? How would we ever get her out?
Well, time to finish my homework so I can get to sleep. I was pitching all afternoon and need my rest. Be sure to check back soon. You’ll be able to read about my newest adventure in just a few short weeks. It’s called Corgi Capers: Spinelli the Sorceress. It’s a Halloween-themed tale.
While you’re waiting, take another look at the picture, and let me know if you can figure out what happened!
Last weekend, I participated in The American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life event. It was organized by Brenda Mahone of Hanover, PA, and was the first event of its kind there—but it was a great success. We had a beautiful day at the West Manheim Township Recreational Park. This is a huge park, lush and green, with rolling hills and two large fenced in dog-play areas (one for small dogs and the other for large ones).
The walk commenced with a one-mile fun walk for dogs and their people, and the day ended with dog contests and a search-and-rescue demonstration. Bark For Life raised over $500 to help the fight against cancer. Being a dog person, I enjoyed a major theme of the event, which is honoring dogs as caregivers to humans, especially those affected by cancer. (See this article for details ) Most of us know someone who is or has been affected by cancer. Sometimes, all it takes to reverse a bad day is a happy look from a dog and a wagging tail.
Overall, the day helped to reinforce the positive side of human beings. With so much negativity in the world, and so many challenges (cancer being one of them), it’s good to know that people can come together and rally for a good cause. The day was filled with optimism and good cheer, with people glad to know they were helping to raise money for a good cause, with stories of cancer struggle and survival—and everyone already looking forward to next year’s event.
It goes once again to prove that dogs do help make the world a better place. So no matter how bad your day or life seems to be going, just think that it could be worse: we could live in a world without dogs.
To see more pictures of the event, check out the West Manheim Township Recreational Park’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WMTpark (photos courtesy of WMT Recreational Park).
Last night, when our People put us in our crates, they latched mine nice and tightly, but they didn’t latch Zeph’s all the way. When he turned around on his blanket, the door popped open. You know what I would do if my door popped open? I would spend all night running around the kitchen in big circles. I would try to knock over that delicious smelly thing that people call Trash, and I’d eat as much of it as I could. Then I’d roll in it until I smelled delightful. After that, I’d dance in my water dish the way I love, tracking dirty pawprints all over the kitchen floor. That would be a fun night!
That’s what I would do if my door weren’t properly latched.
But you know what Zeph did?
Nothing! Nothing, nothing, nothing!
He just sat there in his crate, turned around twice, and curled up.
“Zeph!” I shouted.
“I don’t give a darn what our People said,” I told him. “Your crate door is open.”
“So that means you can escape. Run around the kitchen. Do whatever you want.”
Zeph just looked at me like I had three eyes. I don’t think a naughty thought has ever even crossed his mind. “Zeph, Zeph, Zeph!” I tried again. “Push open your door. Run around wild. It’ll be fun.”
But he just ignored me and went to sleep. In the morning, when our People came down, they saw that Zeph’s door was open, and they saw that he was still sitting inside.
“What a good boy, Zeph!” Adam said.
Zeph sat up and wagged his tail, but he STILL DIDN’T GET OUT OF HIS CRATE. In my opinion, there’s a line between “good” and “stupid.” And Zeph crossed that line. Anyway, Adam kept telling Zeph how good he was. By this time, I’d had enough, so I was clawing at my crate to get out.
“Out, out, out!” I barked.
But Adam turned to me and said, “Sapphie, Shhh!” The nerve of him!
Then he went to the cookie jar and got one cookie. Just one. I thought surely it would be for me as an apology for not leaving my crate unlatched, too. But then—Adam did the unthinkable. He walked over the Zeph’s crate—Zeph was still sitting in the crate—and gave Zeph the cookie.
“Good boy,” Adam said again. “You could have escaped and made a mess, but you didn’t.”
A cookie, for barking out loud! Zeph misses the opportunity of a lifetime, and he’s rewarded with a cookie! The injustice of it!
Well, I just thought I’d post that little incident so that the world could see how unfair things get here at the Hollinger household. Can you imagine, being rewarded for staying in a crate! Because of the injustice of it, I thought it would be nice if all of my online readers took pity on my situation and sent me a cookie. If each of you just sent me one, I’d have more cookies than I can count. You can just send them to the Hollinger household, care of “Sapphie Corgi.” I’ll make sure they get to the right place.
Anyway, I hear Zeph playing with his favorite squeaky toy. And you know what that means—it’s time for me to take it from him.
Happy Barking! And send me those cookies!
Until next time,