Author Archives: Literary Titan
XHOSETI: AD 2492 is the second novel in your Xhoseti series where the Guardians must prepare humans for the coming war against the Xhoseti. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this novel?
The idea for the books started when I was in South Africa over a few beers with my father who was convinced that the human race had come from another galaxy and that there were 7 tribes who had been sent to Earth to see if we can co-exist with each other. This is an ongoing experiment as there is a galactic eternal war happening between many different species and they are at a stalemate. Project Earth is what I am writing about, and as such will terminate in the end of the experiment – eventually…
You give a new perspective to human history in a way that leads to one goal; preparing humanity for the coming war. Where did this idea come from and how did that develop while writing?
In the story, the human race has colonised a planet approximately 12000 light years from Earth namely, Termite, and they have discovered a future prediction machine which the Freemasons on that planet use to prepare for a war with the Xhoseti. They know they will lose the war and need to come up with a plan ‘B’ if mankind is to survive, so they head of to Earth. Which they have already tried to colonise one in the past and failed, another story in the wings.
Was this book a natural extension of book one Xhoseti Moon or did come after you finished the first book?
I have unfortunately sent the books to Literary titan in the wrong order. The first novel is the start of the story and is Xhoseti First Contact, which I might add is still to be reviewed. So the Xhoseti Moon story is a follow-on from Xhoseti AD2492 which in turn is a sequel to Xhoseti First Contact.
Will you write a third book in this series? If so, where will the story pick up?
The third or first book I will send through to you for review as soon as I get my a into g. I work as a full time piping stress analysis engineer and move around from country to country quite a bit, my apologies.
All that remains is to stop the wars and unite mankind against the Xhoseti when they arrive.
Will the Grand Master succeed with Plan “B” and finally create a united front against the insectoid invaders?
War advances man’s technology. As man advances, the Xhoseti become more empowered with every human they absorb.
Will man unite to defend the Earth against the Xhoseti or will their infighting be mankind’s downfall?
United man will survive…divided man will fall.
The eternal war between the two species wages on,one trying to survive the other trying to enslave… in the 2nd book in the Xhoseti series.
Once upon a time, Margaret Mitchell wrote a book…and the rest was historic.
Irving Thalberg once said, “No Civil War picture ever made a nickel.” Producer David O. Selznick was determined to prove that assumption wrong, even if it killed him, his stars, and all three of his directors; even if it cost him his independent movie studio and destroyed every relationship he’d ever had. This is a story of old Hollywood and of a world that no longer exists. Gone with the Wind broke new ground in every avenue of Hollywood’s old empire. It made an international star out of Vivien Leigh, won an unprecedented 10 Academy Awards, and in 1939 was the most expensive motion picture ever made. But it was one crisis after another from the time the motion picture rights were purchased in 1936, until shooting began in 1938. The story of how this film ever got made is almost as epic as the movie itself.
Upon completion of Gone with the Wind, Selznick was sure that he had hit the jackpot. But he also knew that every film he made from that time on would be judged on the merit of what the worldwide audience called Selznick’s Folly. This is a fictional account on the making of the greatest motion picture ever made!
Neither Light Nor Dark is about the journey of a young girl, Lily, who unknowingly bears the weight of an immense prophecy. It is an immersive fantasy novel that takes us through the incredible lands of Arcadia. From her childhood, Lily’s own family has protected her from the secrets of a dark and tumultuous past. However, her destiny reveals itself soon enough. She has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of the loathsome Reficul. A ragtag group of friends follow her as they face troubles, misadventures, and battles.
This was an enjoyable and unique read because of the strange fairytale-like narration throughout. The descriptions of Arcadia and its elements were elaborate and fascinating. The characters and their dialogue appeared to be out of another era altogether. However, perhaps because of these anachronisms, the text was a bit dry in places. Nonetheless, the consistent tone and style were a refreshing break from contemporary reads.
The complex relationships between Henry, Calev, and Lily were also surprisingly well-navigated. I’m not the biggest fan of garish love triangles but I was able to perceive and accept the individual perspective of each character, which was refreshing. I was astonished at how quickly I was able to jump ship between characters without too many regrets. I was definitely rooting for some of the quirky personalities that were woven throughout the story.
From the beginning, the family dynamics in Lily’s world appear to play a big role in her life. The strained relationships between Lily and her grandmother was palpable from the beginning. It was clear that these dynamics and relationships were intricately crafted. However, at times, it was difficult to establish a connection with some of the characters. I think this was because the dialogue and style of the characters were a little less believable than I would prefer. This story does take place in an entirely different time and place, and it is not difficult to ascribe this issue to the nature of the story.
Neither Light Nor Dark is a fantastically enthralling read, and a perfect setup to a riveting fantasy series.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B01LW35M4V
If the answer is a lie… the truth is murder
Journalist Emmeline Kirby is reeling from the recent discovery that her parents were murdered while on assignment, when she was five. She flirts with danger as she sets off on the long-cold trail to find their killer. At the same time, her probing questions about the suspicious death of Russian national Pavel Melnikov gain her a coterie of enemies. To complicate matters, her path crosses with prominent industrialist Victor Royce, who turns her world upside down.
Gregory Longdon, her dashing fiancé and jewel-thief-cum-insurance-investigator, has grave problems of his own. His past has caught up with him. Alastair Swanbeck, a ruthless entrepreneur with ties to Putin and the underworld, is alive and intent on revenge. Swanbeck’s cat-and-mouse taunts reveal that he can get to Gregory–and Emmeline–anytime he desires. When evil’s poison lurks in things that are better left alone, the quest for justice could prove fatal for Emmeline and Gregory.
Flair is a small-town girl clashing with the normalcy she hides behind. Her routine consists of attending psychology classes, working as a bartender, and in her spare time floating in a sensory deprivation tank. Flair uses her time floating as a way to explore her mind, utilizing what she learns in class to discover the far reaches of her psyche. The tank provides an escape, a place to truly be herself. Until one night when all she perceives as real comes crashing down. A stranger visits Flair while she is floating, literally the man of her dreams.
His mother’s float business has a thief, Austin follows Flair suspecting her of the crime. Brought together by shared interests and the mystery of who stole from Addie, Austin and Flair unite in common goals that bring them closer together.
Floating on Secrets is a psychological suspense novel with an emphasis on psychology. It is also a love story with two characters whose everyday thoughts do not adhere to the mindset of their surrounding peers. Their desire for love outweighs the abnormal encounter of how they first met. Flair and Austin are well-developed characters that slowly unveil themselves as the story unfolds. Tantra Benskoillustrates her characters with vivid and compelling descriptions, they are all well rounded and authentic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them.
The theme of neo-psych rock plays heavily into the story. Music shapes the feeling and thoughts of Flair and builds a foundation of commonality between her and Austin. The actual words “neo-psych rock”, I thought, were used one too many times within the first few chapters. But once the plot begins to take shape the word wanes. Looking past my qualms with the word choice, fans of the genre will certainly appreciate the attention to detail Bensko puts into describing the music.
The mysteries that make up the essence of Floating on Secrets drew me in and kept me guessing. After the story picks up and the characters are established the author truly shines in delivering a well-crafted suspense novel. I thought the inner monologues were interesting and added some character depth, but sometimes the inner dialog was overused. However, the overall plot is interesting and goes beyond the typical mystery story premise of predictable characters and events. Tantra Bensko has created an intriguing crime novel that any reader would find enjoyable.
Pages: 366 | ASIN: B07PXFWH9X
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers is a unique cookbook that contains centuries-old recipes of the author’s grandmothers from the times of Crypto-Jews. In the book, there are recipes for chicken, meat, fish and side dishes, sauces, desserts and also beverages. But it is not just a simple collection of recipes! Each recipe begins with a backstory about how the recipe was discovered, passed along generations and improved in ways that work well with “new world” ingredients. And the best thing is that all of them follow old Jewish customs and meet kosher guidelines.
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom is a superb collection of recipes. I was amazed how much effort, love and time the author has put into creating this cookbook. I can feel how much she respects her family’s Jewish heritage. I found the story of Genie Milgrom’s family interesting, knowing the origin of these recipes gives each recipe in this book a personal touch. I have never read a cookbook which also tells stories and shows the Jewish traditions. I was able to cook a dish and share a story of the recipes history with my family; a great conversation starter.
The structure of the book and the recipes is logical and I liked that each recipe is built up the same way. However, I would have preferred if the recipes were not in alphabetical order but rather in the order of difficulty (starting with the easy recipes).
The instructions to prepare the meals are clear and easy to follow. I found it great that the recipes are tested and modified to fit in the modern gastronomy. Recipes suitable for Passover are also clearly marked.
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers: Unique Recipes and Stories from the Times of the Crypto-Jews during the Spanish Inquisition is a wonderful book written with love that you can taste.
Pages: 193 | ISBN: 9652299693
A Lone Wolf by writer, J.C. Fields, follows its characters through a tense world of assassins, handlers, informants, and spies. The characters constantly have to look over their shoulders and think several steps ahead of those who would rather have them dead. We meet the characters when they are thrown into a situation that would have left them dead, had they not narrowly escaped a sniper’s bullets. They were set up. They were supposed to die in Barcelona. They escaped, albeit narrowly, and must find out who wants them dead and why.
The constant stress and danger the characters find themselves in builds drama and suspense across the chapters. I even found myself tensing up at some points. Their lives are scary, but exciting. Also interesting are the “ins” they seem to have across the world. They have people to help them change identities, acquire the most legitimate of illegitimate documentation, passports, licenses, etc. They have contacts in all sorts of networks and government agencies. There seems to be a lot of true scenarios mixed in with their fictional lives. It makes the reader wonder how many double agents there really are out there.
A part that really stuck with me and seemed ingenious was when Michael and Nadia faked their deaths in Mexico. It really makes you wonder how much of what we know about what goes on in the world is real, and how much is a façade. I’m certain popular news outlets only receive a fraction of any given story, especially stories involving people so deeply involved in circles that meshes government officials with hitmen.
I really empathized with how Nadia began to feel about living in Missouri. I could identify. It was the first place, likely in a very long time, that felt like home to her. To feel safe and autonomous couldn’t have been feelings that were familiar, but they were good. Everyone wants that. Even people in their line of work have a basic human need for safety, security, freedom, and belonging. Missouri quickly became a happy place that Nadia dreaded leaving. Her longing to stay seemed so familiar. Anyone can certainly identify with wanting to be in a place or leave a hard situation.
The book was well-written with little to no noticeable errors. Quick and intense, it was still a fairly easy read. The characters are well-developed, as usual, and the fast-paced and exciting plot flow smoothly. Fields’s writing style is on par with tv shows such as Scandal or Amazon’s Jack Ryan. Being a Scandal fan, I associated some of the characters with people I’d seen on the show. Beyond the normal Whitehouse business, there is a network of characters who are hired fixers, hitmen, and spies who work behind the scenes in conjunction with those who are the faces on television telling people what to believe. These characters reminded me a lot of them.
The characters and plot were intricately interesting. It was an exciting read with some edge-of-your-seat type scenarios.
Pages: 372 | ASIN: B07T9SDHY8
Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.
The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.
Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.
Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.
While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD
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The Line Between follows an apocalyptic cult escapee who finds the end of the world is actually happening. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
In 2017, soon after Firstborn released, I met with my publisher in New York to talk about what was next. I had a short list of favorite story concepts—the idea of a cult escapee starting over and a pandemic rising from the permafrost (inspired by real headlines, scarily enough) among six or seven others. My publisher said, “I like both of those. I think you should put them together!”
It worked out strangely well! I wish I could take credit for the combination, but it was my publisher’s idea.
Wynter is an impressive character that I enjoyed watching develop throughout the novel. What were some ideas that drove her character development?
Thank you so much. Wynter’s a really intriguing character to me because she has so many challenges—she’s oppressed and imprisoned within this cult and when she finally gets out, she’s a complete fish out of water. She doesn’t know how to drive or work electronics, or much about how the outside world works at all. She struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (as I do) and has issues with PTSD. She’s not your usual hero with a “special set of skills.” But she never gives up. She’s also kind of funny, which I love about her.
The disease that comes out of the permafrost causes madness in its victims. How did you develop the idea for the disease in your novel?
My sister is a physician and also teaches medical school, so I spent some time picking her brain for just the right combination of different yet plausible, and very scary. The idea of a fast-track prion disease (best known for its Mad Cow variant) is exceptionally frightening. In humans, prion disease cause very slow deterioration and dementia usually over decades. There is no cure, it’s always fatal, and as of right now there’s no way to even test for it except for posthumously. A rapid version of that seemed like a very formidable foe.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Good question! I’m up for contract now, so we’re shopping a few ideas around. I really love these new concepts, so am very much looking forward to bringing them into the world.
When Wynter Roth finally escapes from New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.
As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play: that the prophet they once idolized has been toying with the fate of mankind, and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.
Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter, herself.
Honeycake: Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly is a precious account of one girl’s misunderstanding of the idiom, “butterflies in your stomach.” What was the inspiration for this charming children story?
I wanted to write a book to teach children how to overcome anxiety, and I thought about the common saying “I have butterflies in my tummy” when people described that they were nervous. I thought this anecdote would be the perfect play on words to help children understand.
This book teaches readers how to practice meditation and mindfulness. Why do you feel these are important for kids to understand?
As a Reiki Master and Practitioner I teach my clients how to manage stress and anxiety, through deep breathing and daily meditation. I felt it was important to teach these tools at a young age. By introducing them to the world of self care, it will empower children to practice mindfulness and meditation and setting positive intentions for the day, so that they are able to meet life’s challenges head-on in a healthy and balanced way. By starting them at a young age, they will grow up to be more balanced, healthy, happy adults.
Life can be stressful at any age, but with the right tools and mindset, we can overcome any obstacle!
The art in this book is very cute and fitting. What was the art collaboration like on this book?
I was involved in every step of the art creation in this book. The imagines are a replica of actual photos of my daughter Shanaz doing meditation. Nala is the only fictional character is my books. I used the same illustrator that did my first book. Honeycake: A Family Of Spices. The illustrators name is I Cenizal and she is so talented.
What is the next book in the Honeycake series that you are working on?
Book 3; Honeycake – Special Magical Powers
(release date Christmas 2019)
This book is to teach young readers all about the special magical powers each of us have by showing compassion to others my doing random acts of kindness.
I believe if we do this on a daily basics we can shift the universe into a positive direction.
It’s so simple to change one persons life and brightening up their day by; opening a door, giving your seat on the bus or train, donating unused toys and clothes… etc.
But the best way is to smile. A smile can change someone’s day from bad to good.
Kindness is gift we all can afford to give because it doesn’t cost a thing, but can mean everything to one person.
“Help I Swallowed A Butterfly” is the second book in the delightful Honeycake series. In this sequel, Nala gets stage fright at school. But with the help of her mom, Nala learns how to get rid of those pesky butterflies in her tummy. This charming book empowers young readers to practice mindfulness and meditation so that they are able to meet life’s challenges head-on in a healthy and balanced way. Help I Swallowed A Butterfly is clearly written and incredibly relatable, with step-by-step instructions and guided meditation exercises for young readers. This book is also a valuable resource for caregivers who want to provide a positive introduction for children to the world of self-care and managing those butterflies.
Life can be stressful at any age, but with the right tools and mindset, we can overcome any obstacle!