I'm so excited to take part in Courtney King Walker's Release Day Launch for MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN! Check out the book below and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway!
Hidden somewhere in the fog of the San Francisco bay lies Blue Rock Island, home to the bay area’s two best-kept secrets: Bell’s Bluff, the old, abandoned prison on one side of the island, and the Night Train, a mysterious train ride on the other. When twelve-year-old Molly Pepper receives a secret invitation promising a night of magic and adventure aboard the Night Train, she is skeptical. In her experience, most promises prove too good to be true. The fact that she lost her mom is proof enough. Still, Molly gives hope another chance. Together with her loyal friend, Noah Wonderly, they sneak out of the house and follow a string of clues leading to the Night Train. But when the train stops at Bell's Bluff, Molly discovers the real reason she was invited. There, she starts to wonder if hope and magic not only fix broken promises; but make you believe in them again. Goodreads | Amazon
The Real Face of AdventureWhen she opened the mailbox on the first day of summer break, Molly Pepper found three pieces of mail. The first two items did not seem all that interesting: one, a Woman’s Day magazine; two, her final report card on which she already knew mostly C’s would be hogging all the white space; and three, a small, crème-colored envelope with her name on it. That was the most interesting discovery. Molly could not recall the last time she had ever received anything in the mail. Not only was the crisp, smooth envelope addressed to her, but it also lacked both a return address and a stamp. No stamp meant somebody had sidestepped the entire mail system altogether and placed this exact letter into her mailbox, probably this very day. Molly popped a cinnamon bear into her mouth and peered over her shoulder for any chance that the owner of the envelope might still be watching her. All she discovered behind her, however, was the sound of the distant ferry whistling through the salty air, and the passing by of an old, white convertible spewing a fume of exhaust in its wake. She coughed in protest, and then ducked behind a lone, thick palm tree, in case she was mistaken. She wasn’t going to take any chances. Who knew what might be out there, hiding in the shadows, watching her every move? For twenty-point-five seconds, Molly chewed on the remainder of cinnamon goo in her mouth and held her position while surveying the neighborhood for any sign of bedlam. But, she hated to admit; everything appeared just as it should. Same as always. With a sigh, Molly tucked her report card into her back pocket for safekeeping and reemerged from behind the palm tree, doing her best to appear carefree. But it was more difficult than she’d hoped, especially after her detour to the side of the house where she deposited the Woman’s Day magazine into the recycle bin. Secretly stashing unwanted mail had been her routine for the last few months. She’d taken it upon herself to bury any rogue reminders of her mother under a pile of crumpled newspapers before her dad ever had a chance to see them. Molly figured it was better she deal with the mess of their new life than him. Especially today, the first day of summer break that was supposed to be filled with the promise of adventure…not reminders of broken promises. The house was quiet when Molly stepped inside, except for the sound of her dad’s daytime snores flooding the hallways like an occasional blast of an off-tune trombone. That sound this time of morning always put Molly in a despondent mood because it meant change—an unwanted, unrequested change she hadn’t yet grown used to. Secretly, she wished her dad would learn how to sleep in silence. Then, she could live under the ruse that her life remained the same as last summer when the world was still the kind of place in which most people liked to stay put. At the kitchen table, Molly pushed aside yesterday’s mail to make room for the letter. Her letter. Now, the moment of truth. She hesitated before opening it, trying to guess just what it could be…a note from a secret admirer? A party invitation? Russian correspondence? She sucked in a deep, audible breath. Then, on the count of three she exhaled and popped open the pointed flap. A thick, crème-colored note slipped out onto the table, revealing a simple sentence printed in black ink, each line spaced evenly from top to bottom.
IS YOUR DESIRE
174 CANDLESTICK HILL
AT NINE O’CLOCK TONIGHT
Chapter 2The car backfired when it pulled into the neighborhood, which was the last thing Ruby Dodd wanted to happen seeing as how she was supposed to be undercover. Why the bureau didn’t give her something a little more inconspicuous, maybe something made in this decade instead of the one in which she was born, was beyond her. But, she had a job to do, and complaining about vehicle options was not it. The ferry ride over had been uneventful, just like every other day for the past month. Although, this morning Ruby couldn’t figure out how the ferry captain could see through the fog enough to land safely on Blue Rock Island instead of crashing into the rocks at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. She was relieved when they docked right on time at ten am. The drive to Penny Lane was a mere five minutes, and she parked in her usual spot around the corner from the stucco rambler, close enough to see the front of the house…but not so close that she would be spotted. Ruby eyed her watch and started counting down. She had a feeling something would happen today. It was June 13th, Moody’s five-year anniversary. Just thinking about it made her exhausted—five years of following clues all leading to dead-ends. Until now. She was this close. This close! At the thought of victory, Ruby smiled, until a UPS deliveryman wearing brown shorts and a brown shirt emerged from the fog. She sat up straight in her seat when he stopped in front of the small, stucco house and placed something the size of a letter inside the mailbox. Ruby looked around for any sign of his truck. Certainly he had other packages to deliver? But, just as she suspected, the UPS man walked to the end of the street, turned the corner, and disappeared. The fog seemed to blot out his existence. Ruby panicked. She didn’t know whether to chase after the man or try to intercept the correspondence inside the mailbox before it was discovered. She jumped out of her car, ready to spring to action, but stopped at the sight of Molly Pepper already standing in front of the mailbox, peering inside. Shoot! Now it was too late. The UPS man had vanished, and Molly Pepper had already found his message. That left Ruby with no other choice. Today she would follow that girl’s every move.
About the Author
Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. Her YA debut, ON THE FRINGE, was published in 2011 by Lands Atlantic Publishing.