Category Archives: giveaway
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