Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story


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Sneak Peek Snippet 3: The Evolution of Lillie Gable

The release of my second young adult novel is getting closer. I sent the manuscript back to the editor for the second round of edits, and the cover designer booked. Right now, I’m aiming for an early March 2015 release for The Evolution of Lillie Gable. Until then, expect many snippets and teasers! Here’s an excerpt from chapter one!

“Let’s play boys versus girls,” Lillie said with a devious grin. Her chestnut-brown hair blew with the lake breeze. She turned to Rachel who sat next to her on their blanket in the sand.

“We can take them,” Rachel said. She smiled, but her brown eyes were sizing up their boyfriends, Brent and Jake. The boys were standing a few feet away tossing a football to each other in the sand.

“Let’s play, then,” Jake said. He walked over to the blanket and offered a hand to Lillie. His messy, blond hair and blue eyes were hard to resist, but Lillie waved him away.

“I don’t need any help from you,” she said. “You guys are going down!” Lillie vaulted forward, sending sand flying in all directions. A few nearby sunbathers turned in their direction offering up dirty looks to Lillie. She yelled “Sorry!” on her way into the gentle, cool waves of Lake Erie.

Due to a mild summer, the lake water remained chilly until a week or so ago. The cold water hadn’t kept Lillie out of the water earlier this summer, but she was bummed that the warm water had only returned in time for school to start.

Lillie, Rachel, Brent, and Jake waded through the rocks and waves to the sandbar. The water reached Lillie’s shoulders before she felt the sand between her toes. On the sandbar, the shallow water rose to Lillie’s waist at the deepest sections—perfect for a game of water football with the boys.

“Okay, what’s our strategy?” Rachel asked. Lillie stood a few inches taller than her best friend, but whatever advantage Rachel lost in height to Lillie, she made up with speed and tenacity.

The boys were talking to each other several feet away. “Beat them,” Lillie said.

Together, Lillie and Rachel were a tough pair to beat on the basketball court. When they weren’t on the court, they didn’t like to lose, even in a game of water football with their boyfriends.

“The good news is we weigh the same as the boys,” Lillie said. Rachel laughed. Brent was tall, maybe an inch or two over six feet, but his body was typical of a runner–skinny and toned. Lillie guessed she weighed more than Brent with his three-percent body fat. Jake’s frame resembled the typical male high school athlete’s. He didn’t play any sports at Eastbrook anymore, but his free time was spent at the gym. He was close to six feet tall with broad shoulders, toned arms, and six-pack abs.

“That’s not a plan,” Rachel said, glancing over her shoulder at the boys.

“I don’t know. Hit them where it hurts?” Lillie said. “Let’s play, we don’t need strategy.”

“The end zones line up with the buoys,” Brent shouted across the water as he pointed to his left and right. “Ladies can have the ball first. Ready?” Lillie and Rachel looked at each other, then both gave a thumbs up.

Brent launched the football into the air toward the girls. Lillie backed up a few paces, waving Rachel off. She caught the ball.

“Block for me!” Lillie shouted. She started running, but her dash for the end zone through the water resembled a power walk. The water slowed her down, but Brent looked like he was gliding through it without any resistance. As he closed in on her, his blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight, and Lillie knew she was in trouble. She looked over her shoulder. Rachel jogged behind her, so Lillie slowed down.

“I’ll take care of Brent,” Rachel said. “Let me lead!”

They ran forward. With Brent a dive away from Lillie, Rachel dashed in front of Lillie and took a flying leap at Brent. She caught him off guard, sending both of them crashing into the water. Lillie laughed and kept running.

With Brent down, Jake remained the only obstacle to Lillie’s touchdown. She knew he wanted to tackle her, to feel her body close to his, but she didn’t want to give him that joy during this game. She had a touchdown to score. If she barreled through him, she could make it to the buoy.

Lillie put all her strength and speed into forward motion and steamrolled Jake. She elbowed Jake in the stomach and a knee landed below the belt. He crumpled into the water, so Lillie hesitated. He resurfaced seconds later and leaped for Lillie, wrapping his arms around her waist. She pressed forward, looking at the buoy several paces ahead on her left. Her legs burned from the heft and weight of Jake, but a touchdown was within her reach. Dragging Jake behind her, Lillie used her remaining strength for a final push to the goal line. She lunged forward.

“Touchdown!” she shouted, crossing the imaginary goal line. Jake released his grip on her. Lillie threw her arms in the air and then spiked the football into the water, splashing both of them. Rachel celebrated from across the water with cheers and arms raised, and she failed to see Brent until he tackled her. They both fell into the water. Lillie laughed.

“We let you have that,” Jake said as he approached Lillie.

“No, you didn’t,” she said. “We scored on you fair and square.”

“I’m not sure I would call a knee to the groin fair,” he said.

“Sorry about that,” Lillie said, turning to him. “Let me make that up to you.” She wrapped her arms around him and let her lips dance with his. His wet, muscled body was warm against hers.

“Maybe you can make it up to me later?” he asked between kisses.

“We’ll see,” she said, pulling apart from him. “First, we have a game to finish. She grabbed the football and swam to Rachel.

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Sneak Peek Snippet 2: The Evolution of Lillie Gable

I finished the third draft of The Evolution of Lillie Gable last week. I will go through one more pass on it and then it goes to the editor in a week’s time, but I thought it was time to share another snippet. I shared a snippet from Chapter 3 a few weeks ago. Here’s a short snippet from Chapter 5 with a special cameo.

Lillie pulled into the Brandt’s driveway without incident. As she walked to the front door of Rachel’s house, she heard a loud, deep bark. Lillie knocked on the door, and the barking grew more frantic. Lillie waited outside, confused. The Brandts didn’t have a dog. Rachel’s grandmother, Nana, opened the door.

“Hi Lillie,” she said.

“Zelda, quiet,” Rachel shouted. Lillie crossed through the doorway and saw Rachel sitting on the couch, holding a small, fawn pug. The pug was barking, and squirming to get out of Rachel’s arms.

“We are dog sitting this little mutt,” Papa said from his recliner.

“As you can tell, Papa isn’t too fond of Zelda,” Rachel said. “I think she’s pretty cute.” Rachel set Zelda on the floor. Zelda darted at Lillie, but stopped at Lillie’s feet. She reached down to pet Zelda, but the pug ran in the other direction.

“She will warm up to you. She’s just a little feisty when you first meet her,” Nana said. “Richard, let’s go upstairs to give the girls’ the living room.”


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Sneak Peek Snippet: The Evolution of Lillie Gable

I am busy revising and editing The Evolution of Lillie Gable, but I’m at the point where I can start sharing snippets. So here’s one from Chapter 3!

Lillie grabbed a beer from the cooler and walked inside. The house was quiet, but she looked through the house to make sure she was alone. She returned to the kitchen and opened the fridge. When she saw the small red bottle of hot sauce, she grabbed it. She poured out a third of the beer and then poured a small stream of hot sauce in it. She put the hot sauce back and walked outside.

Lillie took a long way around the patio to approach Angela and Jake from behind. She took one step at a time, careful to not draw attention to herself. When she was within striking distance, she paused. Jake was laughing at Angela’s words. Lillie switched the beer cans so the hot sauce beer was next to Angela. With Angela’s beer in hand, she walked away and circled back to the front of the patio.

“Need another beer?” Lillie asked as she approached Jake and Angela. Jake shook his head, so Lillie turned to Angela. Angela lifted her beer in the air.

“No I’m good,” she said, taking a sip. Angela started coughing and gagging. She stood and hurried into the yard. Lillie saw her bend over, heave, and empty the contents of her stomach into the grass.


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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.