boston terrier

The Adventures of Zelda: The Four Seasons

Laugh your way through four seasons with Zelda Pug and Peach! 

Zelda the pug is back for her fourth book of adventures with her Boston terrier sister, Peach. Together, Zelda and Peach face the evil vacuum cleaner. Zelda discovers fireflies, and Peach learns to ice skate. But one question remains. Will Peach finally catch a duck?

The Adventures of Zelda: The Four Seasons is now available for sale. Pick up your copy at  AmazonApple iBooksBarnes & NobleKobo, and Google Play.

For those new to the Zelda series, read the first chapter below! Or you can watch Zelda and Peach pick winners for my pawtographed Zelda book giveaways. Watch Zelda's video here and Peach's here to see how they picked a winner! (The videos are ridiculous, I know. I apologize for my craziness.) The winners were selected from my email list. I give away signed books and gift cards every month, so join my list!

Chapter 1: Vacuum's Return

My sister, Peach, and I stay indoors during the bright hours of the hot summer days. When the light fades in the evening, we play in the backyard or take long walks with our family. But after many dark sleeps of this pattern, I begin to long for days with adventure and nights filled with mysteries to solve. The calm and quiet are not for a pug like me. 

One day I search the house for new toys. In the backyard, I sniff the entire fence looking for traces of squirrels. On our walks, I inspect the light posts, and Peach searches the mailboxes. We find nothing. 

With no adventures in sight, I slip into a pug depression. I wake up only to eat. I can’t help it. I can’t get excited about the same old routine. Peach, on the other hand, is her normal, spunky self. She jumps on my head when I’m sleeping under the blankets, and she tries to play with me. If that doesn’t work, she barks in my ear until I give in. We run laps around the living room or play keep away with a toy or a ball. Usually, Peach riles me enough that I pug sprint through the whole house with her chasing. When I break into pug sprints, I feel joy again. I’m glad Peach forces me off the couch. 

After today’s round of chase, I daydream on the couch about past adventures. I think about the snowman, Squeaks, the skate park, and Vacuum. 

Vacuum!

I haven’t seen Vacuum in a long time. What happened to her? Finally, I have a mystery to solve. 

Peach is sleeping next to me on the couch. I nudge her with my paw. She blinks a few times and then closes her eyes. I push her a little harder. She groans at me. She is a pain to wake up! I bark twice, and with another loud groan, Peach opens her eyes. 

I jump to the floor. After three more groans, Peach hops to the ground. I lead Peach around the house, sniffing each door for signs of Vacuum. Peach follows me, but she is confused. I don’t think she has met Vacuum yet. 

Where could Vacuum be? 

When we hear Ben and Lucy walk through the front door, we sprint down the stairs to greet them. With my tail dancing, I jump in circles around them, licking their hands. 

“Hi, Zelda!” Lucy says. Peach jumps in the air, and her long tongue licks Lucy’s face. 

“Hi, Peach!” She laughs. Ben pets both of us on our head. 

“How was school?” Hannah asks, walking into the living room. Ben and Lucy drop their bags on the floor. Lucy hops on the couch. Peach joins her, giving her more kisses. Ben stoops to pick up a ball. He throws it, and I scurry after it, knowing Peach isn’t far behind. 

The Vacuum mystery is pushed to the back of my mind over the next few days. With the sun no longer burning our backs during the day, Peach and I spend more time outside. Peach chases the birds that fly through the backyard. I watch the leaves swirl in the air, knowing the leaf piles will appear soon. I can’t wait to run and jump in them. 
After a walk with Nate, Ben, and Lucy, Peach and I step into the house. A well-known scent fills my nose. 

She’s back!

I dash through the house. I smell her everywhere, but I don’t see her. I run up the stairs with Peach on my tail. The smell of Vacuum is stronger upstairs. I follow my nose to a door in Hannah and Nate’s room. The door is closed, but she is behind the door. I know it. I scratch at the door, trying to pry it open. Peach barks behind me. She doesn’t know what I am doing or why, but I can’t explain Vacuum without showing her. I bark back. 

“Zelda, Peach, leave it,” Hannah says. She stands in the doorway of her bedroom. I scratch again at the door. 

“Fine,” she says. Hannah walks over to us, opens the door, and then walks away.

Vacuum stands before us. She doesn’t make a sound, but I feel her glare. I lunge for her and bark. Peach sits next to me staring at Vacuum without a trace of fear in her eyes. If Peach only knew …

Over the next few days, I check on Vacuum in the closet. After my walks or any time outside, I sprint up the stairs to the closet. I bark at Vacuum and then run away. Some days, I bark more, hoping to get a reaction, but nothing happens. Peach follows me to Vacuum, but she stops after a few days of the same pattern. I know she thinks I am crazy. 

Several more dark sleeps pass by, and the whole family is home on this day. It’s a warm day, and I notice the breeze flowing through the windows into the house. Hannah lets us outside in the backyard. We run to the back fence and sprint through the yard. While we sprint and tackle each other, I hear a strange noise. I stop and listen. 

Vacuum! 

I bolt for the back door. On my hind legs, I scratch at the door. Peach joins me. I can’t see Vacuum, but the noise is present. I scratch and bark, hoping someone will hear us. 

Finally, Lucy wanders into the kitchen. She sees us at the door and lets us in the house. I scamper in the door and sprint up the stairs. I find Vacuum and Hannah together in Lucy’s room. 

Not Lucy’s room!

I charge at Vacuum. Vacuum backs up, but Hannah is right behind her. I bark and take a nip toward her tube. Hannah and Vacuum move away from me to the other side of the bed. I run after them. 

“ARFFF! ARFFF!” 

Peach is next to me, with her high-pitched bark. She lunges at Vacuum, and I know she gets it. We bark and lunge in unison at Vacuum again and again. 

The noise stops. Peach turns to me. I look up at Vacuum. Hannah stands behind her, shaking her head. 

“Fine. I will put the vacuum away,” she says. She pushes Vacuum back into the closet. Peach and I prance out of the room together. Vacuum is back, but now it’s two against one! 

 

Writing in the Silence (or how I am becoming a more productive writer)

It's almost November, so writers of all sorts are scrambling to get ready for NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month). If you aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel in the month of November. That averages to about 1,667 words a day. It's a fun challenge, and The Photograph was born out of NaNoWriMo. But I am not participating this year. I'm in the middle of revisions for two novels, so it doesn't make sense for me to put those down right now to start something new. But for those who may be trying NaNoWriMo for the first time, I thought I could send some tips your way to help with your productivity.

Three years ago, when I wrote the Photograph during NaNoWriMo, 1,667 words a day sounded terrifying. These days I set a goal of 3,000 words a day (usually in 2-3 hours time) when I'm in first draft stage. I know some of the productivity increase is because I have more words under my belt. The more you do something, the easier it gets. However, I know the biggest boost in productivity comes from writing in silence.

What is writing in silence?

It's exactly how it sounds. I remove all possible distractions and write. Here's the steps I take.

  1. I get a drink (usually caffeinated) and sometimes a snack and sit down at my computer in the office.
  2. I turn off the wifi on my computer. (If you may be tempted to turn it on, I suggest just flipping off your router)
  3. I put my iPhone on silent mode and flip it over so I cannot see the screen. (I'll be honest, nobody calls me, but if they did, and it was an emergency, I could still answer it).
  4. I get to work.

 

It's pretty simple, but it's been super effective for me.  Without distractions, I get in the writing zone quicker. Usually after writing around 1,000 words, I'll get up and take a break for five minutes. Then it's back to it.

Like I said, writing in silence has helped me write faster. If you are trying NaNoWriMo, I suggest you find a distraction free area to write. It will help tremendously.

I do acknowledge that distractions can come up despite your best intentions. This happened to me the other day.

Photo on 10-27-14 at 9.29 AM

I was on my computer hard at work when Peach jumped into my lap. I don't even know how she managed to land on my lap and not hit the desk. She's crafty. Anyways, momentary distraction. I carefully removed her from my lap (much to her disapproval) and went back to work. Sometimes removing the distraction can be difficult if it's a spouse or a child, but I think you can manage. :)

That's my tip for the NaNoWriMo folks. Enjoy November and good luck! 

What are your productivity hacks? 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Holiday

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Holiday is finished!

What is this pug holiday book?

It's a PDF with six stories. Five are holiday themed Zelda stories from the first three Zelda books. (You can see the list below). If you haven't read any Zelda books, the holiday collection is the perfect introduction. The stories are great bedtime stories for children and the collection is free.

If you already read the Zelda books, don't despair!

Batpeach

The sixth story is a brand new exclusive story. It's the first in a new Zelda spinoff series starring Peach! Well, really it's starring Batpeach, and the spinoff series will continue with more volumes in the future.

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Holiday is free, but only available to my email list. Simply click here and sign up. I also email my list 1-2x a month about new releases, promotions, and stories, so you receive a free pug book and updates on when to grab my books for cheap!

I hope you enjoy the pug holiday fun!

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Holiday

A Pug Scary Story from The Adventures of Zelda: The Second Saga A Pug Thanksgiving from The Adventures of Zelda: The Second Saga A Pug Christmas Story from The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale Zelda Meets Peach from The Adventures of Zelda: The Second Saga The Easter Egg Hunt from The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach Batpeach - Volume 1

An Interview with Zelda and Peach

To continue in the launch week fun, Zelda and Peach agreed to a short interview with me to talk about the books and what they have been up to lately. You can watch the ridiculousness below!

If you haven't picked up your copy of The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach, now is the time! Visit the launch page for the links to buy a copy. 

The Zelda and Peach Photoshoot

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I had a grand idea for a photoshoot with Zelda and Peach to help promote the release of the third book in the Zelda series The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and PeachI grabbed my camera, the dogs, and my husband and off we went to get some good pictures. I thought it would be a piece of cake. Last week, we went canoeing and managed to get some great shots of them while in a canoe with doggy life jackets!We jumped in the jetta and took a short ride to a nearby park. This was the first shot. As you can see, Peach and Zelda were not cooperating–double snaggleteeth and a tongue. We tried a few more times with no luck, so we switched locations, out of the sunlight.

At this point, Zelda's photogenic powers returned. She jumped onto this ledge on her own and was a champ while we snapped some pics.

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Peach, on the other hand, was still not cooperating. In fact, I think she wanted to kill us for putting her on this pedestal.

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We left the park and returned to our neighborhood and familiar territory. Peach was much happier here and we were finally able to get some good pictures. Well, almost.

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Peach refused to display her best feature–her ears. This was the closest we could get to a picture with Peach's ears standing up in all of their magnificence.

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Here's the shot I like the best. No Peach ears, but no weird sunlight or shade and more importantly, two happy dogs!

Don't forget to join in the launch week fun for your chance to win some Zelda books! Check out this post to learn how you can win some books or where you can buy the latest book in the Zelda series.

The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach

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IMG_1232 Zelda, Peach, and I are excited to announce that today is launch day for The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach! This book is the third in the Zelda series, and we think they get better every time. If you are new to the Zelda series, this video will tell you a little more about the series or you can read the first chapter here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgDNxsRI21k]

We hope that Zelda can move up the Amazon charts, so if you are thinking about buying The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach for yourself, for your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandkids, or the kids across the street, go ahead and take the plunge. All Zelda books are available in ebook and paperback form. In addition, you can now order a personalized, pawtographed paperback copy!

Buy Now:

AmazonApple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo.

Click here to order a paperback book signed by the author and Zelda!

If you are new to the Zelda books and you want to start with book one, head over to my Zelda series page to purchase the first book.

We also encourage you to check back here on the blog each day this week for more Zelda, Peach, and pug fun.

How to Win Pawtographed Books

On Wednesday September 3, I will be giving away three pawtographed books to #pugchat winners. Join the pugs on twitter from 7pm-8pm. For those unfamiliar with #pugchat, here is an introduction.

You can join the Facebook launch party on Thursday September 4 from 7pm-10pm EST. I will be posting fun pug and Zelda facts, hosting Zelda trivia, and giving away signed Zelda books.

Finally, I will be hosting a #zeldachat on Twitter from 8pm-9pm on Thursday September 4th for my twitter and #pugchat friends. During that time, Zelda will be taking your questions, and participants have a chance to win a pawtographed set of Zelda books! Simply follow the hashtag #zeldachat during that time.

 

 

Sneak Peek Snippet: The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach

I am starting a new series in an attempt to post more of my fiction on this blog. The goal is to post a snippet or chapter from a work in progress (not published yet) here on the blog every few weeks. This week I decided to post the first chapter from The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach. Pug and Peach (the third in the Zelda series) officially launches on September 2, but for those who want a sneak peek, here you go. 

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The Mouth Game

I jump on Lucy’s bed and curl up under the covers with her for the night. I close my eyes and let the exhaustion take over. My pug body is tired after a long day of playing and chasing my brand new sister. My sister is my Christmas gift. She was the best gift ever—making me the happiest pug on the planet. She is a Boston terrier, and her name is Peach.

Peach is a little bigger than I am, with tall, pointy ears, droopy lips, and a pug-like smashed face. Peach doesn’t have nearly the number of wrinkles I do. She is dark, brindled-brown with patches of white, including a white stripe down her head to her nose, and a small peach spot on her nose. I think that’s why she is named Peach. Although she is a good-looking dog, Peach is not as pretty as me, especially since she doesn’t have a curly tail. Her tail is short and a bit crooked. Honestly, I don’t really care what she looks like; I am just excited to have a canine friend. 

When I open my eyes the next day, light shines through the window, and the spot next to me is empty. Lucy is awake already. I stand and stretch—my body isn’t used to all this exercise during the cold season. I hear movement downstairs as I go through my morning round of sneezes.

My family is gathered in the living room and eating breakfast. I see Peach nestled in a spot between Lucy and Hannah on the couch. Lucy is laughing as Peach repeatedly licks Lucy’s face. I feel a pang of envy rip through me, but I ignore it and walk into the kitchen.

I smell bacon!

Nate is cooking in the kitchen, so I sit patiently next to him. If I stay calm, I am sure he will give me a piece of bacon. But it is so hard to remain calm when bacon is at stake. I sit and stare. I can’t see the bacon, but the smell is overpowering.

Ruff. Ruff.

“Zelda, quiet,” Nate says. I sit again. I didn’t mean to bark, but I couldn’t help it. Peach wanders into the kitchen.

“Hi, Peach,” Nate says. “Do you want some bacon?” Peach trots over to Nate and starts leaping into the air.

She is springy!

“I think that means yes,” Nate says, laughing. I inch closer to him. He better not forget about me. Nate grabs a piece of bacon. I do my best sit and stare at Nate with my bulgy, brown eyes.

“Good sit, Zelda,” he says. “Peach, can you sit?” Peach continues to leap for the bacon while I wait patiently like the model pug that I am.

“No, Peach,” he says and tries to get Peach to sit.

How long will I have to wait?

Finally, Peach sits, and Nate gives her a piece of the bacon.

“Good girl, Zelda,” he says and gives me the remaining bacon. I scarf it up in a second.

“Okay, that’s it for now. You’re free,” he says. I walk to the living room. Peach follows.

I find a comfortable spot on the couch next to Lucy. Peach jumps onto the couch and squeezes into the spot next to me. I look at her, and she nips at my face in a playful manner. I bite back, aiming for her mouth, but she shifts out of the way. I try again; this time she opens her mouth as mine approaches. We lock mouths, attempting to maneuver our mouths over top each other’s.

We shift and squirm as the game continues, trying to get an advantage. Peach ends up upside down on Ben’s lap. I jump on top of Peach, confident that I have her mouth cornered.

“Mom, what’s happening?” Ben asks. I snap at Peach, but she dodges to the right. I pause for a moment to listen.

“They are playing, don’t worry about it,” Hannah says.

Oh, good. Hannah understands.

While I am distracted, Peach nips for my neck. I jerk backward just in time.

“They seem like they are trying to hurt each other,” Ben says.

“No, this is how dogs play. If they were trying to hurt each other, you would know,” Hannah says. “Although this is a funny game they are playing.” I go in for the final bite.

I have her mouth!

“It kind of seems like they are trying to figure out whose mouth is bigger,” Ben says. Hannah laughs.

“It does,” Hannah responds.

I have Peach’s mouth for only seconds before she wiggles her way out of the hold. But the moment of victory supercharges me. I leap off the couch and sprint around the coffee table, into the dining room, sliding as I go, and back to the living room. I jump to the couch and give Peach a quick nip, urging her to follow my next move. I leap again, but this time I run up the stairs and away from the slippery floor. I hear thumps behind me, and I know Peach is following. She catches up to me quickly, and I run under Lucy’s bed. She’s unable to fit, so she stops and barks at me. I lie on the floor panting for a few minutes. Peach keeps barking.

“What’s going on up here?” Nate asks. He walks into the room. Peach stands on her hind legs and licks his hand. I crawl out from the bed.

“Oh, hi, Zelda. Come on, let’s go downstairs,” he says. We follow him downstairs to the living room. I see an open blanket.

“It looks like they are done playing the ‘Whose Mouth Is Bigger’ game,” Ben says.

For now, but we will play again. 

Zelda 3 Cover Reveal

Kristen_Otte_Book3-Front_CoverThe Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach

The adventures continue with double the sneezes, wrinkles, and slobber…

Coming September 2, 2014

The third book in the Zelda series is ready to go. The big release is a month away, and I have some fun ideas to promote Zelda's third book (and Peach's first!).

On release week, I will be posting interviews with Zelda and Peach, a photo shoot, a sneak peek at the book, and more. Stay tuned... And get excited! Zelda and Peach are ready to take over the Amazon charts with your help! More details will come later this month.

Don't you love the cover?