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Author Spotlight: K. R. Martin and The Pirate Princess

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 20 January 2018 · 253 views

Today on the blog I want to welcome fellow Clean Reads author K. R. Martin, with her novel The Pirate Princess and a fun interview you won't want to miss!

K R Martin

And now, for the interview!

LP :Your book sounds amazing — a princess-to-be/pirate gains some mad swordplay skills and uses them to fight injustice, fight for her kingdom. What was the inspiration for the novel?

KRM: It's been so long since I wrote the first draft that I'm not entirely sure where the inspiration came from. Other than the fact that I grew up with Disney Princesses, so I love that fairy-tale style story, but I also enjoy sword fighting, and a girl who can hold her own with guys. 

LP: I grew up on Disney Princesses, too, and I love the feisty, strong ones! That's one of the reasons The Pirate Princess sounds fantastic! What’s your favorite scene from the novel?

KRM: I think my favorite scene is when Renee first meets her pirate crew. She doesn't realize they're actually good at the time, and it was fun writing about her taking them on, especially when a really large man joins in. 

LP: Sounds like a fun scene! I'm excited to read it :). How long have you been writing? 

KRM: I've been writing for fourteen years. It started in high school with small short stories, and I haven't been able to stop since.

LP: Tell us about any other projects you have in the works.

KRM: I'm actually working on the sequel at the moment, hoping to have it finished before too long.

LP: Are you a plotter or pantser?

KRM: Definitely pantser. Although, I've had to do a little plotting with the sequel, mainly to make sure things line up with the first book. 

LP: How did you connect with our publisher, Clean Reads? 

KRM: I met them at an RT Convention, actually. I have a friend who was published through them; she introduced me to them, and I was able to pitch my story.

LP: If you could choose any fictional character to meet for a day, who would it be and why?

KRM:  Hmm, that's a tough one. I think I'd go with Belle; after all, she is the bookworm princess.

LP: Do you have advice to share with aspiring authors?

KRM: Keep writing and reading; the more you read the more you can see what works and what sounds off, and keep writing because, like they say, practice makes perfect, or at least you grow as a writer. 

LP: Fantastic advice, and thank you for an awesome interview, Karen! :) Thanks for joining me on the blog today!



Do You Dare To NaNoWriMo?

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 10 December 2017 · 146 views

Just in case you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, it's an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Each November, intrepid writers of all ages and genres (including fanfiction) attempt to do something wild and adventurous -- write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. That works out to about 1,667 words per day in order to reach that goal. You can do word sprints with others to challenge each other to write more, hang out in the forums to chat with other writers and get inspiration and help resolving plot issues, even track your daily progress. Oh, and consume copious amounts of caffeine.

The classic way to do NaNo is to start fresh with a new novel, but you can also use your time that month to complete, or at least make a lot more progress writing, a novel you've already begun. And whether you reach that goal of 50,000 words or not, you can feel great about having participated. You'll have had fun, connected with others, and experienced the exhilaration of stretching yourself as a writer. You'll have written more amazing words than you otherwise would, or imagined you could, and you might even find the month has helped you develop a good writing routine that will carry over long past November. Oh, and in my inbox at NaNo, I just discovered they have a new goal tracker you can use to set your writing goals for other projects, like editing that NaNo novel, and track your progress toward your goal.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? If you did, how did it go, and what did you write? I'd love to hear from you. This was my third year doing NaNo. On November 1, I decided on the spur of the moment to jump in and start writing a Harry Potter fanfic that's been swirling around in my head for awhile and managed to achieve about 18,000 words, most of which came in the initial days of the month. I'm not the fastest writer, and it's super hard for me to turn off my inner editor. Here's the summary of my story and a little excerpt for you:

Fem!Snape Selena has other plans for her life than becoming a Death Eater, but her skills in spellcraft and Potions have placed her in Voldemort's sights. Meaning, she has to walk a fine line in Slytherin house and play politics if she wants to survive long enough to escape his clutches. For now. On her worst day, after THE fight with her best friend Lily, a new ray of hope comes into her life. Her mother is finally leaving the abusive situation with her father, and the Prince family has welcomed Eileen and Selena back into the fold. Now, with a new last name and a wonderful opportunity to complete her education on a Caribbean island that is the Prince's winter home, a tropical paradise far from Voldemort's reach, Selena may just manage to reach her dreams. Unfortunately, Voldemort's forces are not so willing to let her go, drawing Selena inexorably into the coming war.

Chapter 1: The Worst Day
The sun burned into Selena’s back as she trudged across the grounds of Hogwarts to her favorite tree by the lake. Echoes of the Marauders' taunts at the end of their Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL followed her, crowding out any joy or pride she should be feeling right now after acing the exam. Her greasy, hooked nose had been buried in her paper as she wrote, they’d said. All that black hair hid her ugly face like a mop of moldy limp noodles, they’d said. She had skin as pasty as the school ghosts, and any day now she’d start to float away with them – not like the ghosts would want anyone as horrible as Slimy Selena  among them – they’d said. It made her blood simmer and bubble, a poisonous potion corroding her insides. Okay, so she wasn’t pretty, vivacious, and sparkly like her best friend Lily, but her marks placed her near the top of their class, right up there with Lily. Sure, Potter and Black did well enough without even studying, but Selena far surpassed them in intelligence and magical skill, not to mention an insatiable appetite for learning, and they all knew it.
Oh, how she loathed the Marauders! They’d made her life at Hogwarts, a place meant to serve as her haven, her refuge from her drunken father’s abuse, almost as miserable as her so-called home life. Just the thought of what awaited her when she returned to Spinner’s End in a few days caused knots of anxiety to twist in her stomach. Selena did not want to return there, not now, not ever again, but she had no other option. Some of the Slytherins had offered to have her stay for part of the summer. That would get her out of her predicament for maybe a week or two here and there, if her parents let her go. It wasn’t enough. Her father, as controlling as Tobias Snape was, wouldn’t allow her to get a job to escape the house. No, he wanted her there under his thumb, helping her mother Eileen keep the house and prepare his meals. Which really amounted to it all falling on Selena, as had been the case for the past few years. Her mom had become so beaten down by life, by her father, that she’d become an empty shell of herself and tiptoed through life meek as a mouse, as though she’d break into pieces at any moment.
Just two more years, she reminded herself. Two more years and she’d never have to see them again.
Selena reached her tree and heaved a sigh of relief to find it unoccupied. She slung her tattered backpack, with its faded grey and black stripes and tattered seams, off her shoulder and dropped it to the ground. Unburdened of its heavy weight, she sank down beside it and rested her back against the tree trunk. Tomorrow, she had her Potions OWL, her best subject next to Defense, so this year should end on a high note for her. Maybe she should find a way to quit listening to anything the idiotic Marauders said about her. Or did. After almost getting killed by Black’s thinly disguised murder attempt, which they tried to pass off as a stupid prank of all things, she probably should ignore them. What did she care that Lupin was a werewolf, anyway? If the Headmaster wanted to risk the lives of students because of some bleeding heart need to see the spineless prankster get an education, far be it from her to argue. Selena cared little what he was. What she cared about was that he was too weak to keep his even more monstrous friends in check, which led to their latest prank that could have gotten her killed. Obviously, Lupin had already forgiven them for setting him – and her – up, even though it could have cost him everything, too, by exposing him as a werewolf. A killer.
Having time to herself to think about all these thoughts swirling around in her mind was giving her a rather nasty headache. Selena rubbed her temples before reaching into her book-laden backpack to retrieve her Potions text. Finishing an exam early had its advantages, as it gave her the chance to get a head start on studying. Not that she couldn’t recite the exact recipe for every single potion they’d covered this year, and every single interaction among the various ingredients to an intuitive degree way beyond any of her year-mates. No, Selena didn’t have a need to study Potions. She had a need to distract herself, and immersing her mind in one of her favorite subjects was the best way to do that.
“Hey, Lena,” a cheerful voice called sometime later, drawing her out of her reading. The owner of that voice plopped down beside her in a flash of red hair, brightened to a golden glow in the afternoon sun. Lily grinned at her, tossing her books onto the grass between them, already forgotten, and leaning back onto her hands with her face tilted upward toward the sky.
“Lils, hey.” Selena returned the grin with a true, genuine smile of her own, one rarely given and only in the company of her best friend. The two girls had been drifting apart in recent years, their friendship strained by their housemates pulling them in different directions, trying to poison them against each other. More and more, it seemed to be working, so it came as a relief that Lily had actually come over to talk to her. “Took your sweet time finishing up, I see, not that you had to.”
“How did your exam go?” Squinting, Lily turned to her, sitting upright now that the subject had come up. She twisted her hands together and worried her bottom lip. “Not that I need to ask. I’m sure you got top marks, and don’t think I didn’t notice you were one of the first ones done. I’d have been out here sooner, but it just made sense to take the time allotted to check everything over first.”
That was Lily, exuberant and carefree in spirit, yet meticulous and detailed when the situation called for it.
“Well…yes,” Selena admitted, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “It did go well. Hey, don’t be nervous, and stop fidgeting, will you? I’m sure you scored almost as high as me. Are you ready for Potions tomorrow? I was just starting to study.”
Lily waved away the question and lay back on the grass with a sigh. “Argh! Can you think of nothing but exams? It’s getting me all anxious when I really need to relax before I even start thinking about the next one. Let’s talk about something else.”
Selena chuckled. “You have no reason to be anxious because you’re more than ready for tomorrow, but fine.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Lily said with a snort.
Laying back next to Lily, just like they’d done years ago, when they’d whisper their secrets to each other, Selena grew serious and met Lily’s skeptical but amused gaze. “It’s true. Anyway, believe me that I have way more than mere exams on my mind. Listen, Lils, there’s so much that I want to tell you about what’s really going on. What my plans really are.” Now, before too many other students gathered out here, especially the ones she could ill afford to overhear this conversation, seemed like the perfect time.
Following her lead, Lily’s voice fell to a hushed whisper, “Like what?” Shock and confusion warred for dominance in Lily’s brilliant green eyes, and Selena understood why. They didn’t talk about this stuff usually, except for Lily complaining about the awful curses Mulciber and Avery used against Lily’s Gryffindor friends, and Selena pointing out that the hexes the so-called Marauders used were no better.
“Like the fact that I don’t…”
But a snide voice, that hated voice of Potter, interrupted what Selena was about to say. “Well, if it isn’t Slimy Selena. Can’t you leave Evans alone, you snake? She doesn’t need the likes of you clinging to her.” He ran a hand through his hair, as if he thought the manic-crazy, windswept look actually made him look cool. A gentle breeze blew through the tree branches, causing a rustling sound as they swayed in the wind. A few petals from their flowers drifted down into her hair and Lily’s.
“Hey, let’s teach the slimy snake a lesson,” Black chimed in, slinging an arm around Potter.
“Go away,” Lily declared, sitting up and brushing a petal from her face. “What’s Lena done to you, anyway?”
“It’s more the fact that she exists, you see,” Potter said, flashing Lily what he must have thought a winning smile before turning a sneer on Selena.
Selena rolled her eyes. She had no patience for fools, and Potter had time and again proven himself the biggest fool of all. “Or maybe you’re just jealous that yet again I beat you at your best subject, transfiguration, and I’m going to beat you at Defense. It would be such a shame if your marks didn’t earn you the NEWT level classes you need to become an Auror. Oh, and with Potions tomorrow, can you really afford to be spending time blathering at me when you should be focusing on your weakest subject?”
While Lily tugged on her arm, saying, “Let’s just go, Lena. It’s not worth antagonizing them,” a look of rage crossed Potter’s face.
Distracted by Lily’s attempt to drag her away, Selena reacted too late to protect herself when she heard James’ spell: “Levicorpus!”
Her shout of “Protego!” didn’t work in time, and Selena found herself toppling upside down, suspended by her feet and hanging in midair as from an invisible rope. To her dismay, her robes fell down her body, displaying her underwear beneath. As she fought to cover herself and reach her wand, her face warmed, and not just from all the blood rushing to her head. Great. Now her cheeks must be turning beet red.
“Much better,” James laughed, a loud, hearty, obnoxious that made Selena want to punch that smile right off his stupid face. Except, she couldn’t. She hung there in helpless fury, unable to do anything against him or Black. “That should teach you to talk back to people who are better than you. And really, such language. Didn’t your parents teach you to talk to people in a more civil manner? You should wash your mouth out with soap. Scourgify!”
Soap bubbles filled her mouth, choking her, drowning out any of the words she wanted to hurl at him. She wanted to tell him that she’d do much, much worse to him as payback. That he was a pathetic, insecure little person if he had to go around insisting that he was better than others, because after all, people who actually were better didn’t have to point out that fact. Oh, and he should be careful because that line of thinking, placing himself above others, sounded very much like something the dark lord would say. He’d hate that comparison.
Selena had no choice but to open her mouth, letting the foam drip to the ground. Still more bubbles formed, a never ending torrent that soon ballooned to cover her nose, too, and now she couldn’t breathe.
Now, true panic set in, even as other students gathered around to stare and laugh at her. The sight of her gagging and convulsing, at Potter’s mercy, must be truly hilarious. Lily locked eyes with her, emerald eyes going wide.
“Let her down, right now!” Lily shouted, grabbing for Potter’s wand arm. He danced away from her, grinning at the chase. Gasping for air that wouldn’t come, inhaling soap bubbles that seemed to fill any available space inside her, Selena could only watch the scene dim and her vision fragment to pieces. Even her eyes were covered with soap now, and she had to close them. Too late. Her eyes stung and burned, even when tears — from the stinging soap, not the humiliation, mind you — leaked from beneath her lashes. “Can’t you see she can’t breathe? This isn’t funny.”
“Aw, Evans, go out with me. Then I promise I’ll leave old Slimy Selena alone.”
“I’d rather go out with the Giant Squid,” she heard Lily say. “Anyway, unless you and Black here want to get expelled, or worse, sent to prison for murder this time, you need to end the spell now and let her down. Wouldn’t want that on your record to keep you from becoming an Auror, would you?”
Potter huffed. “Fine. As you wish, milady.”
The next thing Selena knew, she was falling, falling, and struck the ground hard. She lay in a crumpled heap, her body aching everywhere. At least the soap bubbles had dissolved, and Selena gasped for breath with lungs greedy for air. When she could manage to move her limbs, she reached up to wipe away the lingering soap from her eyes. Her vision swam into focus, and now an even larger crowd had gathered to witness this. Heat and rage flamed her cheeks again, and she glared at them all, defiant, as she stood and tried to still her trembling hands. Of course if she retaliated right now, she’d get blamed for the whole thing. Potter might not even get into trouble. Dumbledore had too much fondness for the Gryffindors to punish them for their misdeeds. No, it would be better for Selena to bide her time and strike when she wouldn’t be caught in front of witnesses. Revenge as a dish best served cold, and all that.
A clucking sound from somewhere in the crowd caught Selena’s attention, and she turned her head to the right to find Avery and Mulciber at the back, shaking their heads in dismay. Just wonderful that they were here to witness her humiliation. Well, at least they might help her plan her retaliation later, but if they caught her here with Lily, Merlin knew what they’d do to her muggleborn best friend. They didn’t like Selena hanging out with muggleborns like Lily, and had begun to torment Lily’s closest Gryffindor friends to drive a wedge between the two girls.
Their threats against Lily had been the reason Selena drifted away. So long as Selena stayed away, Mulciber and Avery would set their sights on other targets, and her best friend would stay safe.
Lily, unaware of the threat, rushed to her side. “Lena, are you okay? Oh, what am I saying — of course you’re not. I’m so sorry. Those guys are such arrogant toe rags, and —“
“Don’t touch me!” Selena hissed, jerking back out of Lily’s reach. Her gaze strayed to where Mulciber and Avery watched the interaction with interest, and she prayed that Lily would follow. Hating herself, but having no choice, she bit out her next words. “I don’t need help from a filthy mudblood like you.”
Lily blinked. “Fine. Oh, just so you know, you’d better wash that underwear, Slimy Selena. They’re stained. Better yet, do yourself a favor and buy some new ones that aren’t granny panties.”
I will not cry, Selena told herself. I will not cry.
Laughter erupted among the crowd, with Potter laughing the loudest of all. It didn’t drown out the sound of her heart turning to glass and shattering into a million pieces, broken and irreparable. She’d officially lost her best friend. Even when things were strained to their worst between them, Lily had never turned cruel like this. Maybe Selena deserved it for what she’d just said, but it still hurt more than anything in her life, more than all the insults and bruises heaped upon her by her father over the years put together, that Lily couldn’t see why she’d had to call her that hateful name.
For a second, Selena allowed herself a thrill of hope that maybe Lily had caught on and was playing along, but she quickly quashed that hope. And anyway, Selena couldn’t talk to her here in front of everyone to find out.
“Whatever,” she said, her voice turned ice cold. Raising herself to her full height, she stared Lily down. Being tall had its advantages. She hoped her face masked her pain so nobody else could see it. Spinning on her heel, she stalked away from Lily, pushing her way through the crowd and back toward the castle. Nobody tried to stop her.
“All right, what was that?” Mulciber demanded, trailed by Avery as they fell into step beside her.
“What do you think? Potter being his usual self.”
“No.” Avery said, a hard edge of disappointment in his voice. “The point is, you let him catch you off guard.”
“No,” Selena retorted, fixing him with a stern glare. “Potter attacked when my back was turned. I was leaving before…all that.” True enough. Mulciber and Avery didn’t need to know she’d been about to leave with Lily.
“A coward’s move,” Mulciber observed. “One wonders how he ended up in Gryffindor. So, let’s go plan our payback. It’s time to make the so-called Marauders regret ever messing with you. And I have something very special in mind, something they won’t see coming.”
Despite her morose mood, a smile quirked Selena’s lips upward. “I appreciate it. Let’s go.”
“Hang on,” Avery said, and stopped. The others followed suit, staring expectantly at him. “You weren’t going to leave with the mudblood, were you?”
Selena arched an eyebrow, though inside her stomach was doing a somersault. “Just because she was there, don’t read too much into it. It’s a nice day outside. Everyone’s out enjoying the weather.”
Except for herself, of course. Oh, no, Selena didn’t get that luxury, and fate would see fit to ruin what was supposed to have been a great afternoon.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ve got more important things to do.”
With a tightness in her throat and chest, as if a noose had wrapped around her, Selena followed them inside.



Spotlight: Thomas Templeton and the Whispers of Branson Manor

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 15 August 2017 · 351 views

Hello, lovelies! Today I'm thrilled to welcome fellow Clean Reads author Emily A. Steward to celebrate release day of her latest novel, a children's fantasy adventure/mystery. It sounds fantastically spooky!

Title: Thomas Templeton and the Whispers of Branson Manor
Author: Emily A. Steward
Back Cover Blurb: Thomas has only vague memories of the night his parents vanished, and the memories haunt his dreams: an old mansion, a game of hide and seek, and panicked screaming.
After their aunt threatens to split them up, Thomas and his two sisters journey to the abandoned family mansion looking for clues to their parent’s disappearance. Soon after they arrive, terrifying messages and apparitions make it clear that someone or something doesn't want them there.
When another person close to Thomas disappears, the children must work quickly to stop the sinister force before they become the next victims of Branson Manor.
Tagline: A sinister force awaits…

Author Photo:

Author Bio: Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.


Evie stood in the doorway of the room just ahead. She seemed frozen to the spot. “I think it’s in here,” she said in a loud, breathy whisper.
I looked past her into the room. It was empty except for a full-length iron mirror in the right corner. The knocking came from the opposite side of the room. As I stepped inside, I signaled for my sisters to wait and crept closer. The sound was definitely getting louder and was way too consistent to be an animal. It sounded like a pattern. Just as I reached the wall, the knocking stopped.
“Thomas . . . ” Sarah’s voice came out thin. “Let’s go back to the living room.”
I ran my finger along the edge of the peeling wallpaper. Some faint markings were beneath it. “Just a second,” I murmured, pulling the paper back. There was definitely something written under here. The letter t?
A loud thud sent me sprawling. It sounded like something was trying to get out. I scrambled to my feet and backed up to where the girls were waiting. The knocking resumed, louder and faster now.
“Thomas,” she said in a low voice. “I think it’s . . . I think it’s Morse code.” Sarah and I had spent a whole summer learning Morse code. We wanted a way to communicate without our aunt understanding. Turning my head, I listened hard. The knocks came in short quiet raps and louder distinct pounding. This might represent the dots and dashes. I tried to concentrate. The first one sounded like an h . . . no, an r. Rats, it was too fast for me and I couldn’t make it out. Sarah had always been better at it. She squinted in concentration as she counted under her breath.
“It’s just one word over and over.” As she spoke her face went pale.
“What is it?” I asked, afraid to know the answer.

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Goodreads Giveaway for The MirrorMasters

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 14 May 2017 · 253 views

It's here! The print version of The MirrorMasters is here, and you can now get it through Barnes and Noble and Amazon! So, to celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of the paperback on GoodReads. To enter between May 15th and May 23, 2017,  just click on the widget below. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

#teen #YA #fantasy #goodreads #mustread #cr4u


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        The MirrorMasters by Lora Palmer



          The MirrorMasters

          by Lora Palmer


            Giveaway ends May 23, 2017.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway



Spotlight: Insurrection Trilogy (YA Sci-Fi) by Kadee Carder

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 09 May 2017 · 330 views

Today on the blog, I'm featuring my fellow Clean Reads author Kadee Carter with her amazing YA science fiction trilogy, Insurrection. I'm excited to have her on the blog to celebrate the release of Volume Three, Indelible! This is a series I can't wait to check out, so look for my reviews to come on Amazon and Goodreads.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them. That’s the basis of Saylor’s story in Kadee Carder’s young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection. Volume One, Insurrection, and Volume Two, Incomplete, is now available on iTunes, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook, and Volume Three, Indelible, will be available May 9th! Scintillating gadgetry, crackling romance, and endless riddles fill the pages of this trilogy, in a fresh adventure for the restless reader.
Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy. Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.
Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to Breame’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood?
Saylor must decide.
Humanity will always be worth fighting for.

Excerpt from Insurrection (book One):
“I have to stay with my sisters. Protect them. Are you serious, is this a lifelong contract? How about we settle for a two year?” I leaned back in the chair.
A half smile crossed the Commander’s face. He looked amused. He was pleased? “Private, any moment on the field could be your last. Do you understand that?”
“I do, sir.”
“You choose to join the ranks of the elite?”
“I refuse to be toast.” Sitting up and throwing back my shoulders, I let my own smirk play on my lips, recalling my first harried day of training.
His jaw set in place, in a familiar habit. Those navy eyes searched mine.
My lungs filled with vigor and valor, as well as a smidgen of oxygen and a hint of audacity.
“Very well, then.” The Commander sighed, as if he were content from a large meal. He reached down to the side of his desk and pulled open a large drawer, taking out a manila envelope. Withdrawing a long sheet of paper, he placed it on the desk in front of me. “Here are your papers. I am advancing your rank to Private First Class. You are assigned to Echo Company Bravo, effective today. Lieutenant McConnell will remain your supervising officer and provide further instructions at Front Deck.”
I bobbed my head up and down, glancing at the piece of paper. The blanks had already been filled out. He knew what I would choose.
“Sign at the bottom on the back page,” the Commander said, placing a pen parallel to the top of the paper.
I read through the legal jargon, picking up the pen, and scanning the lengthy words. Henceforth. Litigate. Propagate. Disseminate. Prohibited. Deceased.
He leaned forward. “Once we accomplish our goal, we will move on to the next assignment, and then the next, regardless of how long it takes. You do not get to leave this island unless you opt out right now.”
With a flourish, I signed my name. “Then I suppose I need to go suit up.”

Excerpt from Incomplete (Book Two):
Silent, smooth, and undefined, he slipped beside me, the two of us watching the horizon and the navy sky, dotted with starlight and swaying under the breeze. In the same way that chocolate nestles down slowly and sweetly on the taste buds, or like a crisp spring morning drifts dew over the dawn, he slid his right arm around me, pulling me close. Satin brushed against cotton and hope dashed against the rough breakwater of changing tides.
“Against my own rules, the other day I allowed in the thought about what losing you would feel like,” Tucker said. “Those monsters hovering over you were a greater risk than the Commander’s orders. Holding you in my arms after you fell, motionless,” he shook his head. “That was the flip of the switch.”
Several clouds meandered overhead, blocking out starlight and passing by, finally clearing out again, and I could once again accept oxygen into my lungs. Letting a smile tease my lips, a rosy glow burned across my cheeks.
“I'm terribly challenged in the area of accepting someone loving me,” I admitted. “I have buckets of love. But they’ve been boxed up, packed away, and I don't know how to carry them."
He turned to me, his eyes glinting in the light, probably imagining my struggle with big gray metal sand castle buckets.
"Well, that's convenient," he answered, somehow moving closer, arms circling, tightening around my waist, until we faced each other. "I have pretty strong arms. I'd be pleased to help you carry them."
Somewhere, innocent lips blew the wispy seeds from a dandelion bud, somewhere passionate lips sputtered rhetoric and jargon, and somewhere else, lips dripped with lies and temptation. But his smoldered.

Excerpt from InDelible (Book Three):
“Look.” I squared off, planting my boots, shoving my fists in the pockets of my pink jacket. “Many of you were sent to Isla Barina, or joined Alliance, thinking your last stop would be the Caribbean. Now you’ve gotten a taste of home. I know the risks ahead outweigh common sense. Breame equipped me to take on this project on my own. I am stable, but to a certain extent, I’m extremely dangerous. I can’t promise—”
“What are you saying, Mack?” Annoyed, Logan scuffed one boot in the dirt.
“You can all jump ship if you want. No judging. It’s not even jumping ship. It’s getting out of the sinking ship and reclaiming dry land. This is the last stop before it’s too late. I’ll be fine on my own. I’ll get a plane and make it overseas and take this on. If I fail, I fail, and nobody’s worse the wiser.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Not at all. I don’t want to take anybody else down with me.”
“That’s not your call,” Logan argued.
“I feel a little insulted right now,” Micah said, whipping her head toward me. “Who says you get all the fun?”
“What?” I asked.
“And the glory,” Logan added.
“No, I’m trying to give you an out here.”
“No, thanks. I love swimming.” Logan leaned back on his heels. “And besides, it’s not up to you.”
“Fine!” I rolled my eyes. “You each get to decide. Your contracts with Alliance are being reviewed, I’m guessing?”
Logan exhaled, before a slight nod. “Possibly. The chips are still settling. Contracts have yet to be renegotiated.”
“Well, then.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” O’Leary jumped in, “I made ECB because I wanted to. And I’ve stuck around this far, so I might as well finish this war.”
Chisholm nodded. “Too many hours of training to give up right when we get the upper hand.”
“But guys,” I tried to wave them off.
“You have no argument.” Canaan radiated enthusiasm.
“We’re the team. You’re stuck with us. Plus, you need someone to run the coms. So, I’m in.”
“There’s no guarantee about this,” I reminded. “We don’t have — we may not—”
“Never had a guarantee,” O’Leary stated. “Except that we’d face dangerous circumstances. That’s why I signed up. You don’t get to kick me out the second it gets rough. Rough is my playground.”
“Yeah!” Other voices agreed, rallying.
Eight faces shifted, eyes shining, reflecting those immense stories.
“Alright, then.” I accepted, my team lining up to face the field and our Commander. “Play ball.”

Another Excerpt from Indelible:
“You could have killed us,” Tucker uttered, sounding surprised.
Drawing in my own sharp breaths, my shoulders shuddered. “I didn’t think you’d be in danger.”
“Oh, and you don’t mind if you are?”
“Well.” I began to shrug.
“You have to — you have to think, and to hold on.”
“I was holding on.”
“Saylor! It’s not a word game. That out there!” He pointed out the window. “You have to—”
“What?” I cut him off. “I have to, what? You tell me. Lecture. Go ahead. Just like everyone else!” I spat out the words and a little sea salt. “Tell her, like she has no clue what to do!”
“Obviously you don’t!”
“Oh no?” I straightened up.
He did too. “No-r!” That little ‘r’ on the end of his words sounded so adorable. If only I hadn’t been steaming mad at him.
“I don’t have time for this.” I crossed my arms, tapping an impatient heel.
“If you haven’t noticed, Saylor, you have all the time in the world for it. Look around.”
“I am looking around!” I screamed, trying to be heard, trying to be superbly, uniquely, distinguishingly resonant. “And all I see is chaos! I see loss! I see broken!”
“Saylor.” His voice calmed and he held up a palm.
“No! I feel every little ripple of every wave we roll over! I hear every creak, every pin drop. I smell the salt and the curdling, bitter taste of disappointment. I see the fault in every plan. I sense the strategies not connecting. I dream in colors, hearing sounds that have no name. And I ache.” Holding up my own palms to keep him away, I stepped backwards. “I ache for the rejection that I face, from my father, from my fellow soldiers, from my — from my — from everyone who falls away, whether they mean to or not. It’s all a big, ugly game, this life! My insides are on fire. And I’m sick — sick — of waiting for some untimely death to come waltzing my way.”
Tears had pooled up, finally welling over, intermingling with the ocean on my cheeks. Wiping them away, I shook my head. Nobody understood.
“May I approach?”
“If you want.”
“I like to think I’m a simple guy. I run toward the danger when others cannot.” He shifted his weight, one foot at a time, drawing near. “You are a product of challenge. You’ve seen a lot of hard days. But when I look at you, I don’t see someone who backs away from a problem. You solve it, no matter the riddle. You find a way to beat it. In some cases, you tend to have a flair for the dramatic.”
“Who, me?”
He smiled. “That’s just one part of you I like. Maybe you’re on fire, but consider, maybe that’s a good thing.”
“Ah. Tucker.”
Shoes scuffling. Red cheeks. Heated lips. His hands on mine, his pulse intertwining with mine.
“Don’t think you’re done. Not when you’ve got so-r much life in you.”
“I guess I’ve got thousands of little lives inside me.”
“Not that. I don’t mean any kind of artificial intelligence. Those could go away, and you’d still find a way to make the earth shudder beneath you.”
“Are you saying I’m scary?”
“I’m saying . . . You got moxie, mate. Embrace it. But don’t strangle it.”


Deep in the heart of Texas, Kadee Carder resides with her husband and daughters. Carder earned a BA in Public Relations at Howard Payne University and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. She teaches English courses on the university level and plans her schedule around coffee availability. When she’s not dancing around the living room with her daughters, she helps at church activities, creates encouraging blogs, and orders pizza like a boss.

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Website: kadeecarder.com
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I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com. The book is called Ignite and offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

Purchase Insurrection, Incomplete, or Indelible for only $4.99 each:
Insurrection (Book 1) on Amazon:

Incomplete (Book 2) on Amazon:
Indelible (Book 3) on Amazon:

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"I loved this story. The characters are so witty, well developed and real. The growth Saylor goes through is touching and had me rooting for her every step of the way. The technology introduced is intriguing and frightening. Like what would happen if your favorite pastime started fighting back and you were thrown into the deadliest game of baseball you could ever imagine? In the midst of the awesome kick butt-ness are the girl giggles of a first crush that will have you swooning and wanting more.

An amazing series that I can already tell will become one of my favorites.

If you are looking for a unique science fiction book you need to pick this book up! You will be memorized by the story, the wonder of the strange island, the romance developing, and the unwavering friendship."
~ Amy

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Spotlight: Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 29 April 2017 · 209 views

Today I'm excited to welcome on the blog my fellow Clean Reads author, Tamar Sloan, with her new YA paranormal fantasy, Prophecy Awakened. It sounds like a fantastic read, and it's already getting some great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon! I've got my copy already, so look for my review to be posted on those sites in the near future.

About the Book:
Eden - shy, wounded...all she wants is to finish her senior year and escape to college.
Noah - the guy who’s spent two years drifting aimlessly, not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has. 
When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.
A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed.
A prophecy others are willing to kill for.
As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.
Prophecy Awakened (ISBN: 978-1-62135-652-3, Clean Reads Publishing) is now available at www.tamarsloan.com and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
Website Link
Amazon USA
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads Link

About the Author:

Tamar Profile Photo
A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy Series. Her debut novel, Prophecy Awakened, is an epic story of a love that defies boundaries.
When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush
Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related. You can find her at www.tamarsloan.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com.au/tamarsloanwriter or Twitter www.twitter.com/sloantamar.



It's Here! The MirrorMasters is in Print!

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 28 April 2017 · 137 views

For those of you who were waiting for a print version of The MirrorMasters, your wait is over. You can now get The MirrorMasters in print, and I'm so excited to share it with you! I just found the the link on Amazon yesterday.

Check out the back cover.

Yesterday was my first time seeing the design, and it's so pretty! I love everything about it, from the font to the gorgeous mirror with its shattered glass effect, to the scenery. Oh, and it even has one of my lovely Amazon reviews. As soon as I'm holding it in my hands, actually holding my book, I'll post a picture for you.

#coverlove #ya #fantasy #books #cleanreads



The MirrorMasters is Going Into Print!

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 26 April 2017 · 128 views

Hailey kitty wants to announce that a print version of The #MirrorMastersis forthcoming! Mrowr. Further details will be announced as soon as they become available, so stay tuned. #books #ya #fantasy #mustread 



The MirrorMasters is in the InD'Tale Magazine Creme De La Cover Contest! Your Vote is Needed!

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 20 April 2017 · 131 views

Hi, all! I'm so excited to announce that The MirrorMasters cover by the amazing Cora Bignardi of Cora Graphics is in InD'tale Creme De La Cover contest! I just got the email today, and I'd love it if you'd take a moment to vote to help it win! Thanks, guys, for your vote! You're all awesome :)




Spotlight: Interview with Sara R. Turnquist, Author of Hope In Cripple Creek

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 27 February 2017 · 371 views

Today I'm thrilled to welcome on my blog fellow Clean Reads Author, the amazing Sara R. Turnquist, with a super fun interview and the scoop on her latest novel, Hope in Cripple Creek. I hope you all enjoy this spotlight!

1. Tell us a little something interesting about yourself :). Well, I have a great many interests...I have a degree in Biology/Chemistry (focusing on Pre-Med), and though I worked in a hospital for a while, my science career was mostly in zoos and museums teaching about animals and science. That was my true passion for quite some time. I love sharing about wildlife and wild places and how the decisions we make can impact them in positive ways. I have worked for several zoos, including Disney's Animal Kingdom.

2. How long have you been writing?  I've always been a strong writer as far as essays and whatnot. And I've always written short stories and fan fiction, but when I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor, a vet…or an actress. I know, I know…those are very similar goals. When I started playing with a fan fiction challenge that blossomed into the idea for my first book, I became more serious. I continued to work on the book for years (I was pursuing the Pre-Med degree at the time, so time was limited) and finally completed it. Then I was inspired to write another. And my interest in writing grew from there. But I would call myself a “closet writer”. I had completed four novels before I began querying to get the first one published.

3. What is your most recent novel, Hope in Cripple Creek, about, and what inspired you to write it? During the last great gold rush in Colorado (in the 1890s), a schoolteacher is caught between marrying the many who may have caused her best friend’s death or letting two orphaned children be separated and sent away. What is a girl to do? She feels a particular responsibility for these children because of a connection with their mother. This is her story amidst a town gone haywire because of the true historical events of the fall out of this gold rush.

I was inspired by stories set in this time period and similar locales. I had the set up for the love triangle in mind and I wanted to place the story in Colorado. My husband had visited Cripple Creek and we began researching the history. This amazing story of this strike fell into my lap.

4. What is your writing process like - are you a plotter or a pantser? I am a pantser at heart. And my published novels are all written with very little planning or outlining. I have, after more training in craft, become more of a "plantser", where I do more plotting on the onset on my characters before pantsing my way through the story. But my plotting is primarily on character development. Though it is incredibly deeper than what I ever did before.

5. Where is your favorite place to write? I have several places I write: my office, a local coffee shop, the back deck...my favorite place would probably be the coffee shop. I have three children who are still quite young. So, getting out of the house, away from the mayhem and the piles of "to do's" is a must! But I have to have to have to share the day's scenes with my husband when finished. I just need the sounding board and instant feedback.

6. Do you have advice to share with aspiring authors? Two suggests: Have determination and believe in yourself. You have to be your number one advocate and cheerleader. I have a wonderfully supportive husband who spurs me on, but I have to have faith in my own work. It feeds my determination. And that determination is what gets me up and writing on those days I don't feel like it. Because some days you don't. But I have found that if I will only be faithful to sit down and start going at it, the ideas and juices will start flowing. It only takes that initial determination to get started.

7. If you could choose any fictional character to meet for a day, who would it be and why? I have thought about this question quite a bit. And I'm going to go with my first instinct...Elizabeth Bennet. She is such an intriguing character. I've always thought she and I would have rather interesting conversations. And I'd like to hear her thoughts on some of this modern day craziness :-)

8. Anything else you'd like to share that I didn't already ask? I always like talking about what's next. I am getting ready to submit the sequel to my first novel (The Lady Bornekova) and I have three other novels in various states of editing. (Yes, I am rather prolific.) And I have been invited to teach at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. The faculty will include bestselling authors Brandilyn Collins and Cara Putman, among others. If you are anywhere within reach of this conference, it is going to be a good one!

Author: Sara R. Turnquist

Title: Hope In Cripple Creek

Publisher: Clean Reads

How to reach me:

Author Bio:

Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Middle Tennessee where they currently reside. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. She enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write clean Historical Romance. Sara has made several trips to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also the author of The General’s Wife, Off to War, and Hope in Cripple Creek and a member of ACFW.


Tragedy strikes Katherine Matthews and the small town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. An epidemic teams her with an old enemy, Wyatt Sullivan, the town’s doctor. In the midst of desperation and death, Katherine has decisions to make. But she has no idea to what extent they will affect her daily life and livelihood.

The town is turned upside-down when the gold miners go on strike. The owners bring in outside reinforcements, ready to break the resolve of the Western Federation of Miners. Everything in an upheaval, Katherine faces a crisis of faith and hard choices. Will life ever be normal again?

Buy Links:

Enjoy a Cute Meme:


Chapter One
The stagecoach moved along, bumping and rocking as it went. Trees and other green scenery whisked by the window. Views of mountains and open plains were visible from the seat of the coach, vistas familiar to its occupant. Katherine Matthews was coming home. She returned to Cripple Creek, no longer the scared, unsure teenager who had left to further her education so many years ago with hopes and dreams of a new life in a new place. No, she had matured into a confident young woman who had grown in stature and in beauty. Her hair was no longer the mousy color she always hated, for it had deepened into the same beautiful chestnut brown she had always admired in her mother’s appearance. She’d grown out of her awkward teenage features, and was now well regarded among her peers as a rather handsome woman.
Returning to Cripple Creek brought many rather-mixed emotions to the surface. Imagine, one of her first postings would be at the same schoolhouse where she received her educational start. When her mother wrote to her of the interim need, she was glad to help out. What an odd coincidence that the letter would find her, too, in transition. Would this turn into a permanent placement? Did she want it to?
The mountain scenery became more recognizable, and she thought back on her childhood. There were so many happy times here. Unbidden, her mind wandered to the day of the great tragedy that had marred her spirit—the day Ellie Mae died.
Even all these years later, she carried the scar in her heart. The events of that day had left her broken. Why must thoughts of Ellie Mae plague her so? And all the more as her return became imminent? She shivered as the images from her nightmares the previous evening flitted across her mind. They would not stop.
These same visions visited her in sleep night after night. All the more frequently these last weeks.
Closing her eyes, the hazy images took form and became memory. It was as if no time had passed. She and Ellie, walking through the schoolyard just as they did every other day . . .
Hooking arms with Ellie Mae, Katherine stepped out of the schoolhouse and into the yard. A rather large group of students gathered off to the right near the old tree. It didn’t bother Katherine. She turned her attention toward the path that would lead home.
“What do you think they’re up to?” Ellie Mae whispered.
Katherine glanced in that direction and noticed Betsy Callaway at the center, flapping her jaws. Why would anyone listen to anything she said? But they did. The class at large seemed to adore Betsy. It didn’t make sense.
Clenching her teeth, Katherine grabbed for Ellie Mae’s hand. “Whatever it is, we don’t want to be involved.” She pulled Ellie Mae along as she walked on, trying to pass the gathering.
“I know Miss Matthews couldn’t do it,” Betsy said loudly.
Katherine froze in her tracks. What had she just said?

The crowd of students parted and glared at Katherine and Ellie Mae.

“Let’s keep going,” Ellie Mae pleaded, tugging on Katherine’s hand.

She should listen to Ellie Mae and not become a part of whatever game Betsy played. But she could not let Betsy get the best of her. What would everyone think of her?
So, she turned to face her accuser. There stood Betsy with Wyatt Sullivan, the most popular boy in school, right beside her. Betsy’s blonde pigtails, tied back with perfect pink ribbons, shone in the sun. Her dress was no less perfect, pink with just the right amount of lace and even a slight puff to the sleeves.
“Do what, pray tell?” Katherine shot back. Her heart beat furiously in her chest.
“Go down through the mine shaft.” Betsy folded her arms in front of her chest and raised an eyebrow.
Katherine’s heart skipped a beat then, but she tried not to show her fear.

Ellie Mae’s grip tightened on her hand.

“I assure you, Miss Callaway, it’s not that I can’t do it. It’s simply that I have better things to do than to be traipsing about a mine shaft.” She turned to leave and hoped that would be enough to silence Betsy.
“Prove it.” Betsy’s voice rang out after her.
Katherine’s eyes slid closed. Was there any way around this? “I have nothing to prove to you,” she called back over her shoulder.
“Fraidycat!” Betsy laughed.

The other students joined in.
Katherine’s face burned. A fire had been lit within her. She was not afraid of anything! Releasing Ellie Mae’s hand, she then whirled around. “I am not afraid!”
“There’s only one way we’ll believe that.” Betsy’s hands moved from her chest to her hips.
There was no way this would be a one-way challenge. “Are you going?” Katherine poked her chin out, putting her own hands on her hips, attempting to puff up her chest as much as she could.
“Of course,” Betsy said, though her voice caught.
“Then, let’s go.” Katherine grabbed after Ellie Mae’s hand and headed out in the direction of the old mine shaft. She hoped Ellie Mae didn’t feel how her palms had started to sweat. Perspiration covered her whole body. How was she to keep up this façade?
The group of students followed, a din of voices behind. As they neared the cavernous opening, they became quiet as they halted several feet short of the forbidden place.
Wyatt pushed through the crowd once they had stopped. “Now, girls, this is foolishness. Talking about it is one thing, but you’re not actually going down there, are you?”
Katherine glanced at the mine opening. It looked dark and ominous. Not what she wanted to see. Then she eyed Betsy. She had everything— the popularity, the most handsome boy in school ... But she would not have Katherine’s pride, too. “I am.”
“Then I am, too.” Betsy stared at Katherine, matching her glare through slitted eyes.
“Kath-rine,” Ellie whispered, tugging on her hand.
Katherine looked over at her friend.
Ellie’s eyes begged her not to go.
Katherine wondered again at the danger. Her friend had every right to be concerned, she supposed. But it would not last. Betsy would go but a few steps in and give up. Katherine was sure of it. So, she would not be dissuaded.
Wyatt’s eyes moved from one girl to the other. A couple of years older than the girls at their thirteen years, he stood a good head taller than Katherine. At last, he threw his hands up in the air. “Then I’m going too.”
“And so am I,” came Ellie Mae’s quiet response.
Katherine leaned toward her friend. “Ellie, you don’t have to go.” Her eyes held Ellie’s. What was she going to do? She couldn’t take Ellie into that place. But something had eased in her when Ellie Mae volunteered to go. Was it selfish of her to want her friend to accompany her?
“Yes, I do.” Her voice was firm, though her chin quivered. “I’m sticking with you.”
A bump in the trail jolted Katherine from her reverie. The scenery outside became blurred. Or was it her? Touching her face, she felt moisture. She wiped at the tears. This would not do! Whatever happened when she returned, Katherine was determined she would face it with as much bravery she could muster.
Not for the first time, she wondered what had become of Wyatt Sullivan and Betsy Calloway. She had avoided this subject in her correspondence with her parents over the last few years. Knowing Wyatt, he had gone on to bigger and better things and gotten himself out of Cripple Creek. And Betsy had probably caught the first stagecoach that took her wherever Wyatt went. So that was that.
The coach slowed and the town she knew so well appeared in the distance. In a matter of moments, she would be home. What a state this trip had left her in! With gloved hands, she smoothed over her dress and straightened her jacket. Her fingers worked to once again secure the pins that held her hat in place as the coach turned. Then they trotted down the main stretch into town.
Some of the changes her parents had written her about became visible. Cripple Creek had become a mining town. When Ol’ Bob Womack filed his claim, which he’d named the El Paso Lode, he’d started another gold rush, this one in Cripple Creek. She remembered the old man. Everyone thought he was crazy and at first no one paid attention to Ol’ Bob until a mining man formed the Cripple Creek Mining District, bringing in thousands of miners and prospectors within weeks. And then a stranger to their town, a Mr. Winfield Stratton, struck gold as well. Not just a little bit of gold, but such a lode that he became the first millionaire to grace this part of Colorado. That did nothing to deter interest. Some of these things were part of her memories, some her parents had told her through letters, but the events blurred between the two.
The stagecoach came to a slow stop, and the door opened. Katherine coughed at the burst of dust that flew into the coach. Once that settled, she was thankful for the fresh air. She gathered her things and stepped out of the coach.
Taking in the sights around her, she was struck at the amount of activity that filled the main thoroughfare. The main street appeared quite different with tents, makeshift cabins, and lean-tos set up all along the way. At the same time, it amazed her how little Cripple Creek had changed. As she gazed down the street, she spotted the bank, the church, the General Store... Katherine could almost see Ellie Mae standing there at the corner of the street, waiting for her so that they could walk the rest of the way to school. Blinking back tears,

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