Monthly Archives: October 2012

Howl-o-ween Blog Hop + Giveaway

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?

by Marji Cooper

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.

Corgi Capers Book 2

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:
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Corgi Capers: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook

I’m happy to announce the publication of Corgi Capers Book 2: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook. This Halloween-themed mystery for young detectives is out just in time for Halloween!

Corgi Capers Book 2!

Corgi Capers: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook

Book Two in the Corgi Capers series, Corgi Capers: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook embroils Adam and Patrick in the scariest caper yet. The old Frostburg house has new tenants, and to Adam and Patrick, they look like witches. Belle and Cassie dress elaborately, speak strangely, and seem to know way too much about the Hollingers. Adam and Patrick read about how Logan Zephyr, their favorite comic book hero, defeated an evil sorceress and wonder if they, too, are facing real witches. When Belle asks Adam to rake leaves for her close to Halloween, Adam decides it’s a great excuse to investigate the house—or is it the perfect way for the witches to cast a spell on Adam and his best friend?

Targeting middle-grade readers (ages 7 – 12), the novel switches perspectives between the corgis and their people, offering humor and insight entertaining to adults and children alike. While trying to solve the mystery of his new neighbors, Adam confronts other challenges as well: it’s the Autumn League playoffs, and the team is counting on Adam to pitch his heart out; Adam’s sister is hanging out with a high-school bully, and the two have nefarious plans for Adam; and Marnie, a girl at school, has been fighting the other girls over who gets to take Adam to the Harvest Dance—to Adam’s chagrin.

The title is a nod to my parents, who both graduated from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. Stoney Brook is the fictional town in Pennsylvania where my series takes place.

Where to buy:

Corgi Capers 1 (Amazon) (Publisher)

Corgi Capers 2 (Amazon) (Publisher)

Or, you can check out my store for an autographed copy!

Excerpt: 

Chapter One

The Stranger

A corgi barked from the kitchen window as Coach Harris’s pick-up truck pulled into the driveway. Adam Hollinger stepped out of the truck and waved up at the kitchen window.

“Hi Zeph,” he shouted. Adam slung a school bag over one shoulder and a baseball bag over the other. “Bye, Patrick,” Adam yelled as the truck pulled away.

Patrick Harris was the coach’s son and Adam’s best friend. Their All-Star baseball team, the Lancaster Reds, practiced hard every day after school. They were determined to win the Autumn League State Championship.

Adam turned to see the cool October sun disappearing behind the hill of Mr. Frostburg’s house. Or rather, the house in which Mr. Frostburg used to live. Ever since Adam and his corgi, Zeph, caught Mr. Frostburg burglarizing neighborhood homes, no one had seen Mr. Frostburg. He’d been arrested, and Mr. Hollinger said it might be a long time before anyone saw the likes of him.

For the past month, a large ‘For Rent’ sign stood near the end of the driveway, and the house remained vacant. Adam always got the creeps when he looked at that empty house, but this time was even scarier than usual. On the front porch that used to belong to Mr. Frostburg, stood a robed and hooded figure. When the wind blew, the robe lifted and swirled so that the figure seemed to hover like a ghost. The wind flicked the robe, and a strand of long, blonde hair came loose from the hood, blowing like a kite tail in the wind. Then the hood blew back over the figure, shrouding it in shadow. Adam closed his eyes and counted to three. When he opened them again, the figure was gone.

Adam raced the setting rays of the sun into his house, where Zeph barreled down the stairs to greet him. Zeph’s happy howl made Adam forget—at least for now—the strange figure on the hill.

“Where’s Sapphie?” Adam asked Zeph. “Not in trouble again, I hope.”

Zeph wagged his stubby tail and ran up the stairs, beckoning Adam to follow.

Upstairs, Adam and Zeph stopped in front of Courtney’s bedroom door. Courtney, Adam’s older sister, was a seventh-grader now. Ever since school started, she spent most of her time in her room with the door closed.

Zeph barked and scratched on Courtney’s door.

“What do you want, stupid?” Courtney asked, opening her door only a crack.

At the bottom of the door, a tiny nose poked out. It was Sapphie’s. She sniffed and cried and clawed at the door until Courtney let her out. Sapphie jumped high in the air, springing into Adam’s arms. Zeph barked jealously as Sapphie licked Adam’s ear.

“Mom’s gonna be so mad,” Courtney said.

“Why?” asked Adam.

“When she sees what you look like, she’ll be mad—with the new neighbor coming over.”

“What new neighbor? And what do you mean, what I look like?”

“Ever heard of a mirror?”

Courtney flung her door wide open and pointed to a full-length mirror on the wall. Adam looked beyond the magazine clippings of celebrities that decorated the mirror and examined his reflection.

His sweatpants were dusty from running drills. Coach spent most of practice making the team work on base running and sliding. Adam’s face was scuffed with white chalk from the pitcher’s mound and his red hair—now covered in dust—stuck straight up, as if he’d rubbed it with a balloon.

“Don’t you know anything? There’s a new neighbor moving into Mister Frostburg’s old house.” Courtney said. “Mom invited her over for dinner, and we’re supposed to look nice and be polite.”

Adam glanced at his sister. Courtney’s face looked like she had covered it in makeup and tried to rub it off when she heard Adam coming. Adam started to question her about it but then changed his mind.

“Have you seen the new neighbor yet?” Adam asked. “I was coming home from practice, I looked over, and I saw a really weird…”

But before Adam could finish, Mrs. Hollinger came up the stairs carrying Adam’s school bag. Her eyes widened when she saw Adam.

“You’ve got to get cleaned up,” she scolded. “Miss Arabella will be here soon, and I want you looking your best.”

“Who’s Miss Arabella?” Adam asked.

But Mrs. Hollinger didn’t answer. She was too busy pushing him into the bathroom, shoving a stack of towels and washcloths into his hands. Mrs. Hollinger closed the bathroom door on him before he had a chance to protest.

Links:

Val Muller’s website

Where to buy:

Corgi Capers 1 (Amazon) (Publisher)

Corgi Capers 2 (Amazon) (Publisher)

Or, you can check out my store for an autographed copy!

Fangs, Fur, Fey, and… Corgis!

This one’s for the kids. There’s nothing furrier than a corgi growing its winter coat, and that’s what’s happening right about now in the Hollinger household. The cold October chill is bringing creeps of its own as fifth-grader Adam Hollinger juggles All-Star Baseball with mystery. Not only are the two new neighbors the creepiest people he’s ever seen, but his seventh-grade sister has a new group of friends that bring goosebumps to his skin.

Corgi Capers Book 2: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook. Available in just a few days with DWB Publishing!

In this Halloween-themed mystery novel for young detectives, Adam must discover whether the two new neighbors really ARE witches. Almost as important, he must crack the case to find out what his sister and her new friends have planned for Halloween. According to her, it’s the best prank yet. And all the while, the corgis are there to help.

Oh, and an interesting fact about the Fey. Did you know that legend says fairies used to ride corgis while running their mischievous errands? It’s why corgis have a “fairy saddle,” that white stripe around their collars. Legend has it that the special coloring was left from where the fairies would sit. If Sapphie the Corgi is any indication, the fairies just might still have a hand in daily corgi life!

For this giveaway, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Corgi Capers: Deceit on Dorset Drive (book one). If you live in the US, you can choose either a Kindle or PDF version or a paperback. If you live internationally, you can win a Kindle or PDF version. Enter using the Raffle Copter form below:

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