Indie Spotlight: The Women in Me

*Not a book review. Book review coming soon.


Are you caring for your chronically ill husband? Did you grow up with suicidal, alcoholic parents? Are you searching for a loving relationship? Have your efforts at starting a fulfilling career been thwarted by someone determined to hold you back? Maybe you’ve postponed your own dreams in order to keep from making waves with a significant other. Does your life seem to be heading a long way from where you’d wish it to be? Any of these can steal your happiness or keep you from achieving your potential. All can crush your hopes and dreams.

This is the story of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional family, was trapped by a predator at age eight, was suffocated by an abusive marriage, grappled with being a single mother, finally found her soulmate, struggled with a blended family, juggled the incompatible roles of wife and caregiver, yet maintained her faith, at least most of the time. She did it thanks to some special women who supported her in ways she didn’t recognize until she unconsciously drew upon their influence.


Nancy Maloney-Mercado was born in Chicago, IL., but spent most of her adult life living in San Jose, CA. She began teaching in her late 20s, and she has happily walked that career path ever since, along the way building a reputation as a valuable member of many educational programs and institutions. When her latent artistic talent pushed its way to the surface, she began drawing and painting. Soon it was an integral part of who she was. In 2019 her beloved soulmate, Raymond, passed away after a long illness. She spends as much time as possible with her two daughters and granddaughter. As the existence of this book indicates, she continues to teach, at the same time finding new techniques to let her art express her life, experiences, and beliefs.

Jackie O’Donnell is a CA native. Her life has been spent in teaching, writing, and editing. She has four adult children—a devoted, caring son and daughter-in-law, plus another son and daughter who are far more than “step”—plus three grandchildren. Her beloved husband, Frank, succumbed to Agent Orange complications in 2016. She has published seven books, including one on saving money while helping the environment, another on everyday activities to make our world kinder and more just, one about helping people with disabilities cope with new 141 parenthood, and a volume of poetry (descriptions on her website (link below). Follow her on Twitter at

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Indie Weekend: The Girl Who Feared Trains #1918Pandemic #Great Depression #IndieAuthors @mpgerler


Over one hundred years before COVID-19, the flu pandemic of 1918 sweeps through Georgetown, South Carolina, claiming the life of young, pregnant Alice Virginia Freeman Pow. Alice’s little girls, three-year-old Tante and five-year-old Dixie, board the train for Savannah, Georgia to live with their grandmother, Aunt Sissy, leaving their beloved father alone in Georgetown. When, after seven years, Daddy remarries, Tante and Dixie return to their father and his new wife, losing yet another mother, Aunt Sissy. Shortly after the girls’ arrival, The Great Depression engulfs the country, followed closely by Daddy’s sudden and tragic illness. Tante equates train rides with tragedy and loss, but, despite the heartache of separation and the uncertainty that awaits at the end of each journey, the young woman recalls a childhood of family who loves and nurtures her and the Real Mother who promises she’ll never leave.


This is a true story and a tribute by the author to her family. After the 1918 pandemic kills her mother, 3-year-old Tante and her sister Dixie leave South Carolina and board a train. Their father will remain behind and they are going to stay with their grandmother. Several years later, when their father remarries, they board a train and go to live with him and his new wife, leaving behind their beloved grandmother. Then the Great Depression begins, and her father falls ill. The author beautifully weaves together the story of her family, filled with love, loss, and train rides,

This is a gorgeously written novel in which trains become a symbol of heartbreak, loss, and new beginnings that aren’t exactly welcome. It is the coming-of-age story of the author’s mother, but also a history of significant events in the early 20th Century United States. The author brings her departed loved ones to life and introduces them to the reader so well that they become dear friends. The love of family and their resilience in hard times make this a hard one to put down. I must also mention the amazing cover, which immediately draws you in. Highly recommended to fans of US historical fiction.


Padgett Gerler was born on the coast of South Carolina but grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, in the heart of the Alleghany Highlands. (Padgett’s husband, Ed, calls it Dick and Jane Country.) She has spent most of her adult life in the Coastal and Piedmont regions of North Carolina. She graduated from North Carolina State University (in a brief 28 years) with a degree in accounting and enjoyed a career as a CPA in public and corporate accounting. In 2010, when her love of writing leapt way ahead of her love of accounting, she left her hard-earned profession to pursue a career in fiction writing. Because of her immersion in southern culture and dialect, Padgett writes of the southern experience, from the mountains to the coast. (She is a scholar of y’all, y’all’s, and all y’all’s.)

When she isn’t writing, Padgett loves reading, especially other authors’ takes on the southern experience. She also enjoys the beaches of North Carolina, travel, aqua aerobics, knitting, NC State basketball, and doing nothing.


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New Look for Self-Published Saturday #Indie Weekend

Hi everyone. I am reimagining the Self-Published Saturday feature. It is not going away by any means, but it’s getting a new name: Indie Weekend! As always, I will highlight, promote, and review Self-Published/Indie books, but the name is more inclusive, and the posts will not just be on Saturday. They will be posted anywhere from Friday to Sunday. That frees up my schedule a bit. The Self-Published Spotlight, which does not include a review, will now be called Indie Spotlight, and can still go up any day of the week.

Please let me know below what you think of the change.

Top Ten Tuesday #Booksthatimpressedme #Indiebooks #Favoritebooks

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.


As bloggers, we get a lot of books. Many of them are ebooks, and if I find one that I truly love, I might buy the hard copy or the audiobook. Below is a list of 12 of those, as I could not stop at ten. They are in no particular order.

I loved the ebook version so much that I decided to buy the audiobook.

This is my favorite book of all time, and I have it in ebook on both Kindle and Apple Books, and two or three copies in paperback. I also purchased the audiobook. This is an older book and longtime favorite, so it was never received for free, but I felt it worth mentioning because I maintain so many extra copies of it to make sure I always have one.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s. My favorite time travel series by the amazing writer Jodi Taylor. Above is the first book. Click on the cover to see all the books. I have this in ebook, hardcover, paperback, and audible. I re-read/listen to it often. That’s how much I love it.

I received a temporary digital copy of this cookbook by the Great British Baking Show star and King of Bread Paul Hollywood and had to buy the hard copy for my kitchen.

I am fortunate to have edited this book and I love it. It’s an Indie book that has done very well and has received 351 reviews on Amazon so far with a 4.5 star rating. It recently won a Reader’s Favorite Silver Medallion. I have this on ebook and I cherish the signed print copy I received from the author Gail Meath. It is the first book in the Jax Diamond cozy mystery series set in 1920s New York City. The second book, Framed, is also out, and the third book, Deuce, will be out September 20th.

This is a wonderful Christian poetry book by Louise Belanger. She has two out right now: Your Words and Your Words, Your World. The third in the series, Your Words, Your Heart, will be available for preorder soon. Your Words, Your World was recently awarded a Gold Medallion by Reader’s Favorite. I have it in ebook and a much-loved signed paperback.

I was so impressed by this space adventure penned by young Indie author Ian Wall that I had to purchase the ebook even though I already had a free copy for review.

Adria Carmichael’s Juche series, a young adult dystopian series set in a concentration camp in North Korea, is both action-packed and heartbreaking. Although I receive free review copies, I always buy the books too because I am so impressed with this series and this author.

This was one I received in ebook from The Historical Novel Society for review, and then I bought the audiobook because I enjoyed it so much. It’s WWII historical fiction about a prisoner of war camp that was actually located in the United States.

This Indie thriller by Tim Dittmer about Hmong mysticism, the Vietnam War, and so much more was so fascinating that I had to buy the ebook even though I read it for free.

Also set during the Vietnam War, this is a fascinating and meticulously researched Indie novel written from the perspective of a South Vietnamese soldier. I read it on Kindle Unlimited but also purchased it as an ebook and also received a signed print copy from the author.

I purchased this book outright and was introduced to the wonderful writing of Liz Gauffreau. Check this book out by clicking on the cover.