Thursday, January 20, 2022

Book Tour, Guest Post, and review: People of the Sun by Ben Gartner


I'm excited to be a host for the People of the Sun virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ben Gartner will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to follow the tour. The more you comment the better your chances of winning.

Please help me welcome Ben Gartner to my blog!

Guest Post

5 Pros and Cons of Writing Middle Grade


1. Kids are awesome. Kids are entirely candid. If they loved a part of the book, they’ll gush. If they were confused by a part, they’ll ask. They’ll tell you what they think. Sometimes they may not know how to articulate their inner thoughts, but even just a facial expression or body language can reveal so much truth.

2. Teachers and librarians are awesome. Since it’s harder to reach kids directly (see the cons list), the primary gatekeepers for children’s books are teachers, librarians, and parents. Working closely with teachers and librarians is a joy. Parents too, of course, but teachers and librarians are the shepherds of the flock. They’re sincerely heroes in my book. I can say this with all honesty because I tried teaching a class of first graders while volunteering with AmeriCorps and I did not have the stamina for it. Tutoring English in small groups was exactly my cup of tea. And working in an impoverished area gave me a gigantic respect for all the challenges that teachers have to deal with on a daily basis. Their work is hugely important.

3. It’s fun. Writing middle grade is gloriously fun. You still have to respect the rules of a world you create (kids are stickler about this!), but you’re free to create any world you like. Sure, you can do this in adult books too, but it’s a lot easier in middle grade to incorporate magical elements or fantastical ideas without worrying about legitimacy. Raining gumballs? Sure! Magic portal to another world? Yes, please!

4. The middle grade community is wonderfully supportive and uplifting. I’ve made so many friends along this writing journey. This also ties directly into #2 above.

5. Kids are awesome. It bears repeating because the middle years are when we can still slip into our imagination with such enviable ease. And, at the same time, these formative years when we’re pushing our own physical and emotional bounds are such a time of cerebral growth that it’s amazing what we go through. Kids are awesome.


1. It’s harder to reach your audience directly. Not a huge deal, see #2 in Pros. But, when you do (such as school visits), it’s super fun. See #1 in Pros.

2. Some adults sometimes see “children’s books” as somehow less than adult books. However, and I love this, often if you ask them to name a book that had a profound impact on their life, they cite . . . you guessed it, a “children’s” book.

3. I honestly can’t think of any more. Sorry, I guess this article’s title is a misnomer. But that’s okay, right kids?!

Thank you for having me on your blog! If people would like to learn more about me or my books, the best place to find me is my website:

I’m also active on Twitter:

A bit less on Instagram:

And I’m really bad at Facebook:

My books are available wherever books are sold! Again, thanks for having me.

About the book, review, and excerpt


by Ben Gartner
Genre: Middle Grade, Action-Adventure, Time Travel, Historical Fiction


The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet.

In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you? For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

Buy Links
Amazon  |  Local bookstore  |  Apple  |  B&N  

My thoughts

When I found out People of the Sun is the 3rd book in the Ra Series, I was a little worried I'd be lost, but Ben Gartner does a nice job of weaving in enough detail from the first two books to keep that from happening. John and Sarah are adventurous siblings who possess the ability to time travel, and their assistance is needed to save the universe. No pressure! When two unexpected people from the future visit, John and Sarah aren't left with much choice. They're the only ones who can correct the timeline and save the future. But time travel is tricky. Change the wrong event, and things can take a turn for the worse. John and Sarah might even zap themselves out of existence. 

There are a lot of twists and turns in this middle-grade adventure, and I enjoyed being a part of the journey. I recommend this book for kids and adults alike. It's just such a fun read. (However, do start with the first book. This way, you can have even more time to spend in this world.)


Peek between the pages

When they came out of a pine forest and could see the lake below, with Tenochtitlan as a dazzling island city, John couldn’t help but mutter, “Wow.”

He heard his sister mumble the same thing.

The city sparkled and spread out with a much bigger footprint than John had imagined. He’d heard of the famed city of the Aztec, but he’d always pictured something . . . smaller. This was a regular metropolis, with suburbs and floating islands and multiple huge temples. Canoes drifted on canals like the pictures he’d seen of Venice in Italy, though these canoes were loaded with goods headed to market. Farther out into the lake, men cast nets and brought up flopping silver fish, their scales sparkling in the sun.

John’s mouth watered when he saw a floating garden bursting with leafy greens. The rectangular plot of land had poles sticking out of each side, securing boards that held the dirt like a raised garden bed back home. But this was in the middle of the lake. John squinted at the marvel of it all.

The sound of sloshing water pulled his stare toward a stone trough that started in the hills and was then suspended on man-made islands right across the lake and into the city. “An aqueduct?”

“For our drinking water,” Ome said.

“But you’re on a lake,” John said, implying that there was fresh water all around.

“Lake Texcoco is too salty to drink. Great for the fish, bad for the people,” Huitzi said.

“There are dikes that keep some fresh water close to the island, but that is used for farming,” Ome added.

Wow. John never knew that either. They lived on a lake and yet had to build a system of aqueducts to bring in safe drinking water. Amazing.


One randomly drawn winner will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra time travel adventure series for middle graders. His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Do you enjoy time travel books? Did you enter the giveaway?


  1. Your book would be a great read for my middle school daughter to read.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting book.

  3. I liked the peek between the pages, and the book cover.

  4. I enjoyed the guest post and the peek between the pages and People of the Sun sounds like an exciting read and I like the cover! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a wonderful weekend!