Celebrating the release of C.L. Walters’ book, The Trials of Imogene Sol!
Title: The Trials of Imogene Sol (The Ring Academy)
Author: C.L. Walters
Genre: Teen & Young Adult Sci-fi Mystery
Release Date: June 14, 2023
Imogene Sol has had to work twice as hard for everything she has earned as a cadet at The Ring Academy on Serta. An orphan of notorious parents who killed hundreds of thousands of people in a bombing against the Federation, most people hate her by name alone, others have gone out of their way to make her life difficult. Though she’s managed to acquire a handful of trusted friends over her years at the academy, most of her peers loathe her. But she’s made her mark in the top ten of her cadet class and she’s ready to compete for what’s next.
As the Year Seven Final Trials begin—a series of tests to determine placement within the Federation—Imogene knows all her hopes are riding on her performance. But when she’s framed for an offense that could not only get her expelled from the academy but also incarcerated, Imogene must discover who’s behind the threat against her. When her greatest competition, Timaeus Kade, offers to help her solve the mystery to clear her name, Imogene must decide if she’s willing to trust him. The stakes are high. Only the mysterious saboteur strikes again, justifying she needs his help, proving the stakes aren’t just her future anymore but her life.
The door slid open with a whoosh.
Jenna, human like Imogene, swiveled in her chair to face Imogene, grinning, her twin dimples deep in her cheeks and her hazel eyes twinkling. “Since when do you knock? Usually you’re yelling at me.” Her smile lit up her cherubic face. She had round, rosy, apple cheeks with wide eyes that appeared innocent (she totally wasn’t). Add to that her golden hair and engaging smile, Jenna was adorable.
“I always knock. A yell is a knock. I just wasn’t sure you’d be alone.” Imogene wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and walked into the room, the door slipping closed behind her. She flopped on Jenna’s bed. The room looked like most dorm rooms of an upper-classman who monitored a unit—just like Imogene’s. A bed, shelves, wardrobe, and a desk whose perks included a small kitchenette and a small bathroom with the centrifuge independent of the hall. Jenna had her room decorated with colors that reminded Imogene of images she’d seen of the sea on Jenna’s home planet, Lavi II. “Who knows what might be happening behind closed doors when you’re seeing someone.”
Jenna blushed and swiveled back to face her Com glowing with the text. “Good thing you weren’t here earlier, then.” She tapped the screen adding the open document for one of her classes.
“Why? You did have a special guest?”
“Several of them.” Jenna glanced over her shoulder with a grin.
Imogene threw one of the fluffy pillows at Jenna who ducked and laughed. “Oh?” She pushed a pillow behind her back and pulled another into her lap. “Does this harem have a group name?”
“The Fly team.”
Imogene laughed. “I bet Vempur could make that happen if you asked nicely.”
Jenna blushed again. “Stop!”
“You’re blushing. Since when do you blush?”
“I’m kidding,” Jenna said and turned her back to Imogene.
“Me too.” Imogene studied Jenna a few more beats, watching as her friend made finishing touches to her essay and wondering if there was something she was missing. Jenna wasn’t typically a blusher. She was audacious and funny, rarely embarrassed about anything. And though she’d shared that she was seeing someone—someone she hadn’t introduced to the group yet because she “wanted to make sure it was a real thing first”—Jenna didn’t often check herself. Of their friend group, Jenna was the impetuous one.
That’s how they’d met, in fact. During a lunch at some point early as Year Threes, Imogene and Vempur had been eating in the Globe, at their usual table alone. A norm. Jenna—who they’d never met—had plopped her food tray onto their table and sat with a vibrant and disarming smile. “This is okay, right?” she’d asked and proceeded to eat her lunch. Imogene remembered exchanging a wary look with Vempur, both of them positive they were being set up somehow, but lunch after lunch passed with Jenna returning to their table until that became the norm.
“Speaking of Vempur,” Imogene started, “where is he?”
“How should I know?” Jenna asked, straightening her desk. A nervous tick. Imogene knew another of her habits was braiding her hair, undoing it, then braiding it over and over. “You talk to him more than I do.”
Imogene observed Jenna adjust her Com, then readjust it as if deciding she didn’t like it where it was and moving it to a new place on her desk.
“Everything okay? You only fidget when you’re nervous.”
Jenna turned in her chair and clasped her hands together. “Stop studying me. It’s unnerving. And I’m not nervous. Everything is fine. Why wouldn’t it be? How are you? Better than after spar?”
A change in topic. Curious, Imogene thought. “You already know how I feel. I think I expounded on my feelings ad nauseam at the Globe earlier.”
Jenna nodded. “Understandable. And Timaeus–”
Imogene grunted at the sound of Kade’s name and hated that imagining him made her body feel sort of weightless. “He knew what he was doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“He picked hand-to-hand. Obviously, he would have the upper hand.”
Jenna made a noise that hummed from her nose. “And how would you have felt if he’d picked something where he didn’t?”
“Great!” Imogene said, her voice a bit too bright.
Jenna swiveled back to face her and narrowed her eyes. “Really? Because I can imagine that conversation. In fact, I think we’ve had it before. Damn him for thinking I’m weak,” she said, dipping her chin to her chest and pitching her voice like Imogene’s, “–and need an advantage.” Jenna lifted her brows in challenge.
Imogene wanted to argue the fact but knew Jenna was right. “That does sound like something I’ve said.”
Jenna smiled. “You know what I think is interesting.”
“I don’t know if I want to know.”
“You sure do a lot of talking about Timaeus Kade.”
As a kid, CL Walters, world revolved around two things: stories and make believe. She’s built a real life around those two things: a teacher of stories and a writer of make believe.
With four books now published, she’s looking forward to her fifth release October 13, 2020, a YA Contemporary Romance called The Stories Stars Tell.
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