Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story


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What’s Next? (And a Zelda Launch Debrief)

Hello Friends! I hope all my blog friends and followers enjoyed the pug palooza on the blog last week. If you didn’t, I have good news–the pug posts are back to a once a month schedule.

In all seriousness, thanks to those who helped publicize the launch of the third book in the Zelda series: The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach. Zelda fans have commented the third book is the best so far.  I agree–I feel like the Zelda saga hit a fantastic groove with the introduction of Peach in the third book.

As for the launch success, I had great publicity and traffic on the blog and on social media. The conversion rates could have been better, but I am getting a better sense of what works and what doesn’t work for promotion of children’s books.

For the most part, advertising or email list sites don’t seem to do much for Zelda book sales. I have a theory they may do better if the first Zelda ebook was free. On the other hand, working with the pug community sells books, and they are super supportive. I mean who doesn’t love Chubbs the Wampug?

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So what’s next for me?

I’m taking a hiatus from the Zelda series for several months to focus on my young adult and longer fiction works. I’m currently halfway through the first draft for my second full length young adult novel. It is a follow up to The Photograph, but I hesitate to call it a true sequel or series. This book takes place several months after the end of The Photograph, and follows the story of Lillie Gable, who was a secondary character in the first novel. I should finish the first draft in the next two weeks. After the first draft, I will go through and do my first round of revisions, then send to beta readers. I’m thinking a late winter of 2015 release (maybe February?), but it’s too early to say yet.

I also have a completed first draft for the first book in what will be my Ozais series. The Ozais series is a fantasy project that I am super excited to write. I wrote the first draft this summer, and I will be working on revisions when Lillie’s story goes to beta readers. I’m hoping for a spring release for the first Ozais novel. This is by far the most ambitious of my current projects, so I’m taking care to make sure this series is well-planned.

Finally, I will sneak in some Zelda writing this winter for the fourth Zelda book. I already have plenty of ideas for this fourth book–it’s amazing that the stories for Zelda and Peach continue to emerge. I expect the fourth Zelda book to release in the summer of 2015.

The above projects are on my plate for the fall and winter.  I’m doing very well with time management right now, but basketball coaching starts at the end of October, making my schedule much trickier to manage. However, I’m writing faster and better with each project so I’m hopeful I will meet my goals.

What are you writing this fall?


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An Interview with Peach

Zelda gets much of the attention in our house since she is the star of own book series. She has many #pugchat friends and her cute little wrinkly face has been plastered over the internet. I think all this pug attention is giving Peach a bit of complex. She asked if she could be on the blog today so the world can get to know her. I thought it was a great idea, especially since the third book of the Zelda series is The Adventures of Zelda and Peach. 

Can you tell us a little about your life before Brian and Kristen adopted you?

I don’t really like talking about my life before Brian and Kristen. I was stuck in a cage. I had lots of puppies and they were taken away from me.

Okay. Let’s switch gears then. What is your favorite toy?

I have a hard time picking which toy is my favorite. I like the owl, the duck, the skunk tail, the angry bird. Oooooh and I love my blue nylabone too. They are all great. Sometimes I gather all the toys together and lie on top of them!

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What do you think is your best quality as a Boston Terrier?

The obvious answer is the ears. My ears are pointy and tall and they can forecast the weather. My ears signal if I am in a good mood or if I am on the prowl for squirrels. I also love my tongue because it gives kisses to people. I love giving kisses!

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What is something you like to do with your sister Zelda?

I love chasing Zelda and stealing her toys. We have tons of fun in our new home running in circles.

Can you give any hints or information about the storyline in The Adventures of Zelda and Peach?

All I can say is the book has a polar vortex, a squirrel chase, an Easter Bunny and lots of snoring.

Thanks so much to Peach aka PDoodle for taking the time to share with us today. Look for her in the upcoming book The Adventures of Zelda and Peach.


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The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Scary Story

Zelda Dino

I am currently working on a sequel to The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale. Since it’s Halloween week, I thought my reader’s might enjoy this story. Enjoy!

A Pug Scary Story

It’s a cool autumn evening, and the family is away so I am keeping watch over the house. The house is completely dark this evening; Hannah and Nate forgot to leave the lamp lit in the living room. I head upstairs to Hannah and Nate’s bedroom looking for any traces of light. Luckily the curtains are open, providing a few streaks of light. The light bounces off the wall creating shadows. I sit on the bed, staring out the window, looking for any signs of life. The nearly empty tree branches are swaying with the breeze, but not a soul is on the street.

Without any adventures in sight, I lie down on the bed. I am not sleepy, but I can’t think of anything else to do. And before I know it, I drift to sleep.

Crackle, Crash! 

I lift my head, listen, and wait. I hear a rustling noise from downstairs. I jump off the bed and creep down the stairs. The noise stops when I reach the bottom of the steps. I wait for a minute. I turn to head back up the stairs when I hear it again.

Crackle, Crash! 

It sounds like the noise is coming from Vacuum’s closet. I side step to the closet and peer inside. The darkness is overwhelming. I use my nose to guide me. I smell nothing unusual except for Vacuum’s terrible odor. My eyes adjust and I see her resting in the corner under the coats. The remainder of the closet is empty.

Strange. 

I back out of the closet slowly, waiting for any movement or noise. I wait for a few minutes and head back to my bed upstairs. Maybe my ears deceived me. In another few minutes, I am on the verge of a fabulous nap.

Crash. Boom.

The noise is louder and more distinct. It is definitely inside the house. Once again, I walk downstairs and investigate again. I check over and under the couch. I check the the dining room. I check every nook in the kitchen. I see nothing unusual. I move back to the living room and check Vacuum’s closet again.

Wasn’t Vacuum on the other side of the closet last time?

She was under the coats last time. But this time, she is standing at the entrance. I bark and wait for a response, but as usual she stays silent. Vacuum only responds on her terms.

Instead of going back to the bedroom, I find a comfortable spot on the couch. I will be ready if I stay down here. Once again, my pug nature gets the best of me and I drift into dreamland.

RRRRROARRRR.

What is that? 

I spring to my feet and jump off the couch in the direction of the closet. I don’t waste any time, sliding straight into Vacuum at the entrance of the closet.

RRRRROARRRR.

Vacuum thunders toward me with her front light blazing.

What is going on? 

I turn around and run for the couch. I land safely on my perch on the top of the couch cushion, but the visibility is terrible. The darkness seems to be growing.

I hear Vacuum approaching. I freeze and sink into the couch. If I don’t move, maybe she won’t be able to see me. Where is she? She must be right next to the couch by now.

What is she doing?

As soon as I ask the question, I have the answer. Vacuum’s arm swoops toward me. I jump the opposite direction and run for the stairs. I will be safe upstairs. Vacuum can’t climb stairs on her own.

The noise fades and stops; I know Vacuum is resting now. I relax and try to figure out what game Vacuum is playing with me. She was making the noises to get me downstairs. I am sure of it, but why?

Thump. Thump. Thump. 

There she goes again. I ignore the noises this time; I won’t give in to her games. The thumps continue several more times.

RRRRROARRRR.

I turn and see Vacuum at the bedroom entrance.

How did she get up the stairs?

Vacuum moves toward me, quicker than I have ever seen her move. Her arm is outstretched, reaching towards my body. I realize this isn’t a game anymore. If Vacuum gets any closer, she will suck up all my wrinkles and curly tail. Without my wrinkles or curly tail, I won’t be a pug!

I jump off the bed and dart past Vacuum. I run down the stairs and find a place to hide under the coffee table.

Thump. Thump.

She is coming down the stairs.

Thump. Thump. 

The thumps stop. I know she is close. I try to lie still, but I am shaking with fear.

RRRRROARRRR.

I feel the suction of Vacuum’s arm on my tail. I’m in trouble. I try to squirm away, but if I run I might lose my tail. My best chance is to try and rip Vacuum’s arm off again. I turn and try to grasp for her, but I don’t have enough room to make this move under the table. Instead, I move towards Vacuum’s body. I move out from under the coffee table bringing her arm with me. I know I only have a split second. I reach for her arm with my jaw. I grab hold and yank it off my tail. The force of my yank frees my tail while I lose control of her arm. The arm flies through the air and lands on my forehead.

Not my wrinkles!

But it’s too late. I know it. It doesn’t matter if she releases or not. The wrinkles are gone. My tail might not ever curl again. My life as an adorable pug is over. I close my eyes.

* * *

“Mom, why is Zelda twitching and making noises in her sleep?” Lucy says. I feel a small hand on my forehead.

“Lucy, dogs have dreams just like us. I bet Zelda was running and barking in her dream,” Hannah says.

“Does Zelda have nightmares?” Lucy asks.

“Probably,” Hannah says. I open my eyes and look at my fluffy, curly tail. I breathe a sigh of relief. I get up and walk to Vacuum’s closet. The door is open; she is sitting at the entrance staring at me.

Thud. 

I turn around. Vacuum’s arm has fallen next to her, but I am not taking any chances. I run to the couch and sit in Lucy’s lap. I look back at Vacuum; she has a devilish smile on her face.


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Zelda and the Pillow Thief

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I thought my readers might enjoy an update in The Adventures of Zelda saga.  I wrote this quick story last week, but expect a few more to pop up here over the next several weeks. To read more of the pug tales, pick up a copy of the book. Also, if you have read the book, I’d love for you to leave an honest review at Amazon.  Thanks friends!

Zelda and the Pillow Thief

I love bedtime. In fact, I haven’t met a pug who doesn’t love bedtime. Every night, I curl up under the covers with Lucy and she pets me until we fall asleep. I wake up the next morning refreshed and ready for another day of adventure.

But, for the past week, I’ve had trouble sleeping. After I get comfortable under the blankets with Lucy, I try to fall asleep, but I can’t. It’s too hot and the air is stuffy. I feel like I am going to sneeze the night away. So, I move out from under the blankets and sleep next to Lucy. I end up waking up every few hours; she tosses and turns all night. I just can’t win.

I tried sleeping in the living room on the couch or in my dog bed, but I don’t like sleeping alone, and it’s a bit chilly in the living room at night. I tried Hannah and Nate’s bed, but they kicked me out. Ben is worse than Lucy at tossing and turning so I didn’t even last in his bed for one whole night.

So I am back at square one, trying to sleep in Lucy’s bed. I need to get my pug beauty sleep, so I have enough energy to chase squirrels, run through leaf piles, and do well at school.

Tonight, I find a great spot next to Lucy, under the covers at her feet. I don’t feel hot like normal so I close my eyes. I am jerked awake with a kick to the butt from Lucy. Aggravated, I crawl and lie next to her stomach, out of harms way. But, she feels like a hot, sunny walk, so I keep crawling until my head is out of the blankets, resting next to Lucy’s on the pillow. My head sinks into the pillow; I breath in the fresh air and relax.

I wake up a few hours later overheated again. Lucy has rolled away from me so I scoot up and spread out across the pillow. My whole body sinks into the pillow. It feels incredible; the pillow is by far the best bed in the house. I fall asleep and wake up when Hannah comes in to wake Lucy up for school. How have I not slept here before?

The following night I have no hesitation. I jump on the bed and go straight for the pillow. But, Lucy’s head is right in the middle of the pillow.

She stole the pillow! I have to get it back. 

I lie down right next to her with my head on the pillow, hoping she will move away from me, relinquishing the pillow on the way. I lie waiting, when a big yawn comes over me and the next thing I remember is light peeking through the curtain the next morning. I open my eyes and Lucy is right next to my head on the pillow, eyes closed, fast asleep. My plan failed.

The next night, I jump into Lucy’s bed before she does and sprawl out on the pillow. It is wonderful and I fall asleep instantly. I awake to a conversation.

“Look Mom, Zelda stole my pillow,” Lucy says.

“She sure did,” Hannah replies with a smile. “But you can move her out of the way, she’s only a pug.”

Only a pug?? I don’t think so. 

But, at that moment Hannah grabs me and moves me off the pillow. I squirm and fight it, but it’s too late. Lucy has claimed her spot on the pillow. And I’m stuck sleeping next to her again.

I crawl my way to my spot, head to head with Lucy on my pillow, when I devise the perfect plan to get my pillow back.

I stay awake and wait for Lucy’s eyes to close and her breathing to become regular. And in a few minutes, she is asleep. I crawl up the pillow and step across her head and lie down with my body sprawled across the pillow and her head.

Sure enough, in a few minutes, Lucy wakes up confused and rolls out from under me to the other side of the bed. I am so excited I almost get up and lick her face, when I remember, she might take that opportunity to steal the pillow again. Instead, I lie down on the pillow, with my front paws touching one end and back paws at the other end. And soon enough, I am dreaming about a world with endless peanut butter, steak, and a friend to play with everyday.