Indie Spotlight: Chronicles of the Golden City #YA #Fantasy

*Not a book review. Book review coming next week.


In fulfillment of his childhood dreams, Harper journeys to the city that is unlike any other, the Golden City, to become an honorable soldier in its service, and to join in the storied history of the city’s legacy of warriors. But when a battle with the dreaded Southern Tribesmen turns from peculiar to disaster, armed with little more than raw hope, Harper must fight his way back, not only to the endangered city that he loves, but to the young lady to whom he gave a promise.

Crushing sorrow, vicious evil, dark mysteries, and above all else, undying hope combine like a storm within the pages of Chronicles of the Golden City to tell an inspiring story that, in the annals of the Golden City, must never be forgotten.

A clean fantasy for young adult and new adult audiences.


Andy isn’t the stereotypical author. Not only would he prefer a Dr. Seuss book to a classic, but he’d also rather have a ball in his hands than a keyboard under his fingers. But one day a story popped into his mind that he deemed too important not to write, and upon endless hours of typing, deleting, and retyping, his writing career began. If you’re searching for a young adult clean read that is as stirring as it is inspiring, then crack open one of Andy’s books.

A Midwesterner to his core, Andy prefers the simple life: shooting hoops, chasing pop flies in the outfield, hanging out with family, and scarfing heaping bowls of chocolate ice cream.



Click on the cover for the link. *Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read this book for free.

Self-Published Saturday: Unfathomable Plan #Q&A #BookReview

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is a review of a young adult space opera, Unfathomable Plan. It is Book two in the Cosmic Gem series. My review of book one, Unfathomable Chance, is here.


It has been six months After Cosmic Adventure, and just when Diana feels like everything is getting back to normal, the new Bearer of the Cosmos and future Empress of the Universe goes missing. Worse, the very people she’d turned down that very position to, want her help. Because Diana is unwilling to get involved a second time and break a litany of promises she made to her friends and family, Dimar goes in her place. When he disappears while searching for the new Bearer, however, Diana realizes she can’t keep her feet on the ground. Once more, she is thrust across the universe, this time in search of Dimar and her replacement. As Diana zigzags across space in search of Dimar, she begins to suspect that the Heart of the Cosmos might still have a plan for her.


K.T. Munson delivers a solid space opera adventure that fans of young adult science fiction will love. This book has everything from a talking Guardian Cat to a space search across the galaxy. There is even some mythology woven into the story. The world-building is literally out of this world, and the author’s ability to create fascinating planets and their inhabitants is impressive. There is an underlying theme of not being afraid to reach for your destiny, or literally reach for the stars. The characters are captivating, and I connected with them easily. I definitely want my own Guardian Cat! The plot is engaging and enjoyable. Get in your spaceship, bring your cat, and start this adventure now!

4.5 stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites without a half star option.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.


K.T. Munson is an independent author. First published at 5 years old in the young writer’s conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog,, which is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.


I’m so glad to share with you a great interview I did with author K.T. Munson below.

Let’s go beyond the bio. Tell me something people might not know about you from reading your bio?

My bio mentions I’m an Alaskan, but what it doesn’t say is that I draw on a lot of experiences from growing up in Alaska. Everything from archery (both recurve and longbows) to experiencing all the diverse ecosystems the Last Frontier has to offer. I used to play in the wilderness and concoct all sorts of daring adventures.

What was your inspiration for the Cosmic Gem series?

It was the culmination of a few items; as is typically the case. Much of Diana’s dialogue and quirks are based on funny jokes, stories, and/or messages I received from a good friend of mine, Caitlin. She’s always supported my writing and it is something that I hope connects us even when life tries to get in the way. I also wanted to try my hand at a sci-fi setting and a YA-friendly book. Thus, the birth of the Cosmic Gem series!

My favorite character is Kal Zed.  Who cannot love a guardian cat?  Is there a real-life cat who inspired this character?

Yes! Emma-bear (who has sadly passed away) was very much the inspiration for Kal Zed. She was a unique and lively cat that was for sure my little furry companion. She brought so much joy to my life that it just felt right to include a cat as a companion in the books! Also, for anyone who has a cat, please tell me they aren’t aliens!

You have done a fantastic job of world-building a complex space adventure series.  You created more than one world and its inhabitants.  How did you organize and tackle such a big job?

This one is tricky to answer since world-building has always come so naturally to me—I just ‘see’ different worlds or ideas and bring them to life. When it came to building an entire cosmic universe, I wanted the first book to focus only on what Diana knew, so very little science, much more about what is observable. To accomplish this I already had ideas formed for the one-off interactions that were basically surface level. Then for the places she visited more, I started writing down what kind of experience I wanted the reader to have or what kind of world made sense for the people on it. I applied the same thinking for book two, but Diana knew more, therefore, the reader got more glimpses into technology and its different applications. As Diana learns more about the cosmos in each book, so will all of you!

Diana was chosen for a great position in book one, but did not want to accept it.  She frequently admits feelings of unworthiness to herself.  Was it important to you to introduce this theme?

The idea of feeling unworthy or ‘imposter syndrome’ was more to introduce the concept that Diana wasn’t ready. She didn’t feel ready to take on this powerful role at that time. I wanted to show that it is okay to not be ready when opportunities arise, but you have to live with the consequences of those choices. The second book explores the fallout from her ultimate choice in book one and how to deal with regret while not letting it paralyze you from moving forward.

What were the challenges you found when writing about space travel?

I knew I wanted the story to start off with a very soft sci-fi that gets a little more complex but still stays in the YA realm. That meant I had to make some very specific decisions about the rules, not only of the overall space travel but the limits of the universe or multiverse as a whole. With the limitless potential, it would be easy to lose the story and characters to the sheer world-building needed for a space-opera of this scope. I had to limit myself to only so many new worlds. Otherwise, I would have just kept building like an endless game of hopscotch.

How many books do you plan for The Cosmic Gem series?

There are four books planned for the series, so halfway done!

You have self-published several books.  What have you learned along the way that you can pass on to other self-published/Indie authors?

Find a good editor. Bookselling is much like selling a home you’ve lived in for years, the buyers won’t love it is as much as you do. Along that same vein, not everyone is going to love your book(s) and that’s okay. Figure out which parts of the process you aren’t good at, find other writers who are able to help and do the same for them, or hire someone who fills that role. Find a good editor.

Thanks so much, K.T., for your great answers! We appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.


Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Self-Published Saturday: July 17th, 2021

Here is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight great self-published authors and introduce you to their books. As you know, self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope for this feature is that it helps authors in their marketing efforts. This week I am featuring Riders of Fire and Ice by Brett Salter. This is the second book in the Talisman series, a middle grade/young adult fantasy series with dragons! See my review below.

As always, if you decide to buy the book, make sure and leave a review. Reviews are very important for self-published authors, and really all authors, as it helps spread that so important word-of-mouth that can make your book a success. Please also share this post on social media by using the Twitter and Facebook buttons below. Feel free to reblog this as well. We need our self-published authors to get as much attention as possible.


Rome is a boy, but has learned he is really a dragon who can take human form. Julian is from a family of well-established knights. Together they are a brotherhood, and they are descendants of dragon/knight alliances of old. They have been searching for complete Synergy, and although they have found a shadow of it, full Synergy is still not in their grasp. Full Synergy will give them the use of all of their powers. They head off in search of answers in order to fight the evil that is coming.

Rome and Julian head to London on a school trip, chaperoned by a principal who is giving Rome suspicious vibes. Although they do plan to educate themselves on this trip, it has nothing to do with school. They want to find out more about Camelot and its connection to Synergy. Along the way, they meet new friends and new enemies, get the answers to more questions, and develop more mysteries to explore.

Although this is the second book in a series, it can be read as a standalone because there is a synopsis of Book 1 in the prologue. If you want to avoid spoilers, read Book 1 before looking at the prologue. Rome is really growing as a character, learning about his abilities, and questioning his background. Julian still has a lot of character flaws and his treatment of others sometimes annoys me, but the author begins showing us the reasons behind his behavior. The battles in this book, as always, are fierce and entertaining, as Rome grows in strength and wisdom and faces even fiercer enemies. Julian’s character development is much slower, but there are hints of maturity to come. More clues are provided in the mystery of the talismans, and Rome gains some much-needed allies.

This is an engaging and creative YA/MG fantasy that continues to ask the question: What if you found out you were a dragon? The answers take Rome on the adventure of a lifetime.

Four and a half stars, rounded up to five on sites with no half star option.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read the whole series, which currently consists of four books, for free.


Brett Salter

Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss.  In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty.  As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series.  He has published four books in this series so far:  The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.

BUY THE ENTIRE TALISMAN SERIES ON AMAZON (Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Can Read It For Free)




Self-Published Saturday: May 29, 2021

Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.

Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.


Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.

In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.

Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.

This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories.  As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.


Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.

Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.

Dr. Sloan’s Website

FASCINATING Article by Dr. Sloan About Why He Wrote The Hamelin Stoop Series




*If you are a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber, you can borrow all three books for free.

#Book Review: The Demon of Yodok

This is a great combination of both dystopian and historical fiction, as it is really 1994 and the Kingdom of Choson is, of course, North Korea, and the Great General is their leader at the time, Kim Il Sung. This is not just about an evil Communist dictatorship, although much is exposed. It is about the great resentment Areum feels towards her parents and sister and the fact that she doesn’t feel a part of her own family. Her resentment is shocking at times and is so well described.

The descriptions of the horrible treatment of the citizens of the “Kingdom of Choson” and the way that evil actions are portrayed as good things is heartbreaking. Adria Carmichael paints a vivid picture of a society filled with fear, and leaders who look on those in their charge as less than nothing. Through it all runs the concept of Juche, a North Korean version of communism/totalitarianism as invented by Kim Il Sung. Carmichael takes us to a society that tells its people how great it is while they starve and murder them. Her idea to present North Korea as the setting of a dystopian novel is a good one, because it really is a dystopian society right here on Earth. The story is riveting from start to finish. This is a great debut novel from the very talented Adria Carmichael.

Link to Order Book 1: Juche: The Demon of Yodok

Link to Order Book 2: Juche: The Weeping Masses

Link to Pre-Order Book 3: Juche: The Storm of Storms

Self-published Saturday: May 22, 2021

Self-published Saturday is my weekly feature where I showcase a self-published author, provide a review, and include links to buy the book. As I’ve said before, self-published authors have to write, edit, and market their book, arrange for cover design, and more. They have to do it all, and they appreciate reviews so much. If you decide to read this book today, be sure to put up a review. They are so important to authors. My selection for Self-Published Saturday this week is a Young Adult Time Travel novel Arriving Through Time by Heather L. Barksdale.

Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.

What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.

I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I have found those kinds of surprises in my own genealogy research. 

If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogical research, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary. 


Remember if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this book for free. Just click the link above. Remember to leave a review.


Heather L. Barksdale

Heather L. Barksdale has been a physical therapist, a researcher, a military brat, and now a novelist. She has also traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia seeking adventure. She is an avid fan of historical fiction and calls upon her adventures as inspiration for her stories. She and her husband share their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she enjoys snuggling with her cats and rooting for the Jaguars.

Heather’s Website

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)