Author Archives: Literary Titan

Mangrove Sands

Mangrove Sands: The Enchanted Sea World by [L. J. Nilsson]

Imagine having a dream that included all of your closest friends. You are swooped away hearing promises of future adventures below the sea to worlds beyond your wildest imagination. Your dream is so very vivid and involved that you wake up recalling you were ultimately sworn to secrecy. Picture waking up from this most amazing and magical experience, rushing to tell your friends about it all the while believing that everything you saw, touched, and felt was a fantastic figment of your imagination. Now, imagine listening as your friends describe for you the same dream down to the very last detail.

Mangrove Sands: The Enchanted Sea World, by L.J. Nilsson, takes four friends who all seemed destined for uncertain futures and are living far less than ideal lives and gives them a most magical experience. This short fantasy adventure story is a quick read that hands young readers relatable characters for whom they will be more than happy to cheer.

Nilsson caught this elementary teacher in the first chapter with the detailed descriptions of each of the four children. It is not often young readers get to see four characters all having either disabilities or suffering from some type of tragedy or abuse. Many stories may feature one of this character type, but to see so many as main characters is refreshing and gives me hope. Children need to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and seeing children they essentially know in Tommy, Maria, Jake, and Dino is uplifting to say the least.

One of the most captivating aspects of Nilsson’s work is the joy clearly conveyed in each of the main characters. Their everyday lives are such a stark contrast to the pure unfettered delight the children feel as they take this new path. They deserve happiness in massive doses, and the reader is witness to all of their discoveries, their joyful outbursts, and the colorful way in which the author describes their eagerness for more adventures.

Nilsson has developed a beautiful adventure story that also spreads a message of hope to its readers. Mangrove Sands: The Enchanted Sea World builds on the curiosity of youth, the power of dreams, and contains a strong message of kindness. It is just what today’s young readers need to feel. As it will appeal to readers of mixed genres, I would recommend Nilsson’s work to any upper elementary teacher looking to add a touching and heartfelt adventure story to their library.

Pages: 108 | ASIN: B087N5QGDT

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Midnight Flight to Nuremberg

Midnight Flight to Nuremberg, by Marcus A. Nannini, is the riveting story of Harry Watson Jr’s time as an aviation pilot during World War II. Harry Watson recounts his time enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, as well as his home life, in this stirring and dramatic memoir.

Harry Watson Jr. dreamed of being a pilot. He knew his only chance to get out of a life in the coal mines was to enlist in the military. He went through the necessary training to become a C-47 Pilot/Instructor and earned many awards throughout his time in the Air Corps. One of the most important flights during his career was to bring Franz Von Papen back to base from Nuremberg, Germany. Von Papen was held high in German society and a key contributor to Hitler’s rise in power.

Author Marcus Nannini tells Harry’s time in the Air Corps with precision and a keen eye on the key aspects of a gripping story. As a reader, you feel as if Harry is telling you about his experiences himself. Nannini does Harry justice in the way he tells this story. The reader is able to see what is behind the scenes for a soldier during World War II, the path to becoming an aviation pilot during those times, and who Harry was as a person. Nannini was also able to give the reader a glimpse into the lives of Harry’s fellow crewman and friends. The friendship between Lang and Watson was one I adored reading about. This book not only tells Harry’s military story, but offers further insight into tactics and important figures during Hitler’s reign of terror, making this perfect for military history enthusiasts.

Midnight Flight to Nuremberg is a wonderful retelling of Harry Watson Jr’s experiences as a pilot and instructor during World War II. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys history, listening to real-life experiences from World War II, and to those who want to follow a compelling person through one of the most dramatic times in history.

Pages: 224 | ISBN:1526792737

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It All Came Together

Angelina Marie
Angelina Marie Author Interview

If The Mountain Were Smooth follows a troubled young woman who finds herself in the middle of a far reaching scandal where she’s forced to make hard decisions. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

While the vast majority of the novel is pure fiction, elements of the story are very much based in reality. This, I believe, adds an element of realism and believability to “If the Mountain Were Smooth.” I thought to myself, What if things in this situation had gone a different way? and What if this person had been more of a jerk than they actually were? and What if this person had gotten caught? It was certainly a lot of extrapolations and “what ifs,” but I believe it all came together quite nicely in the end.

Gabriella is a compelling and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Gabriella’s character was inspired by a compilitation of several ideas: one’s character is an ever-evolving theme, no one is perfect, working through one’s problems is often more thrilling than physical violence and much, much more. Oftentimes, an author will place themselves too much in the main character, creating an idealized protagonist whose main flaw is that they “care too much for other people” or “are too heroic to let anyone down.” While this often makes for a very compelling and successful narrative (think Harry Potter), I wanted a more “human” main character who adults and young adults could relate to through her flaws. I also find gratuitous violence annoying, although strategic elements of violence can be quite potent. Fred Rogers, the man behind the childhood television show Mr. Rogers, said in a testimony to the Senate Committee on Communications in 1969, “I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we can do a great service for mental health. I think that it’s much more dramatic that two men could be working out their feelings of anger than showing something of gunfire.” 52 years later, the entertainment industry still hasn’t listened to Rogers’s advice. I hope my novel shows how Gabby’s fight to overcome the demons inside her are more dramatic, realistic and important than any physical violence could be.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I very much hoped to explore the topic of overcoming personal trials and tribulations. I focused part one of the novel on Gabby’s mental development, as well as overcoming the loss of her confusing, whirlwind romantic relationship. The burgeoning romance was meant not to be a replacement for her past relationship, but an addition to her already-fulfilled life in the absence of it. I also wanted to address the issues of mental health and overcoming trauma. Part two of the novel was mainly focused on the theme of civil rights and the gay rights era we are currently experiencing in this country. I hope those who read the book will have at least a small idea of how important it was to me to say that we are all equal and important, regardless of our race, sexual orientation or sex.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Great question! I have written a non-fiction book on French romantic art, which I have published as soon as possible. It was reviewed by my favorite professor from college, Dr. Susan Scott. I wrote it in order to get my degree in Art History and, now that it’s completed with citations and proper formatting and editing, I think it’s worthy of publication. I also am working on another novel, which I won’t give too many details about. Let’s just say, it may be based on a popular Disney princess!

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“If the Mountain Were Smooth” tells the story of a troubled twenty-year-old trying to find herself in New York City. In the midst of a troubling scandal, involving high-level military personnel and civil rights, Gabby must make difficult decisions that will affect not only her life, but the lives of those around her. This fast-paced, emotion-driven novel pulls at the hearts of readers.

Literary Titan Book Awards August 2021

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Award Winners

The Narcissism of Small Differences by Dennis Dorgan

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

What the boy hears when the girl dreams by Greame Friedman

PIZAHN by Axel Schilton

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

Their True Purpose

Rowan Staeffler
Rowan Staeffler Author Interview

Swords Of Deception follows a woman on a mission to track down a rogue council member but her journey reveals dark secrets about the Council of Witches. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To show at what length people go to hide their true purpose and misuse of power.

Ellemar is a character that was fun to follow and well developed. What were some challenges you felt were important to defining her character in the story?

To find the right timing when Ellemar loses herself in her anger and how she learned throughout the story to be more reasonable. Then finding the right moments how Ason patiently tries to help her, making it as believable as possible. Because Ellemar mostly relies on him but he wants her to think for herself. Stepping only in if she loses herself in her anger again.

With beta readers and my editor, it took us a while until everyone was happy with the outcome. So lots of changes had to be made, leading to some frustrating moments.

What were some sources that informed the development of the world and lore in your book?

The world I have created in my Black Eyed Witch series was still fresh. So it made it easy to write it with a different story, powers and characters.

This is book one in your Sword of Deception series. What can readers expect in book two?

That Ellemar will be mentally challenged. That’s all I will say as otherwise it will spoil a big moment betas and my editor didn’t see coming. One beta said she cried during that scene.

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Three years ago, rogue council member Celeana Maar massacred all the students at the Witches Academy and left Ellemar Vancel for dead. Now, still haunted by that day, Ellemar seeks to track Celeana down and settle the score.

But her mission is nearly halted before it even begins because the Council of Witches prohibits members from killing, even if justified. Given the gravity of Celeana’s crime, the Council bends this rule and approves Ellemar’s mission.

Searching for Celeana takes Ellemar to a royal ship, a Forgotten Forest, and a secret island. Along the journey, she begins hearing stories that suggest Celeana’s horrendous act may actually have been justified. Is Ellemar chasing the wrong enemy? Has the Council been harboring secrets from its members? Getting the answers right is critical. The peace of the entire kingdom is at stake.

No Easy Answers

Greg Fields
Greg Fields Author Interview

Through the Waters and the Wild follows a discontented man who finds renewed purpose through his grandfathers letters. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Conor Finnegan was introduced in my first novel, Arc of the Comet, which followed his evolution from a confident young man with great promise through personal and professional frustrations that left him timid and unsure. By the novel’s close, Conor had just begun to recognize the failings of character that led to a deep-seated depression. He had also realized that the questions of purpose, time and place that we all must ultimately address had no easy answers. I felt his story needed to go forward as he wrestled with these realizations.

At the same time, I recalled stories of my own grandfather’s separation from his native land for reasons that, in the end, were not terribly different from Conor’s own angst. I saw a parallel between the two, and thought it might be appropriate to tie them together around themes of exile and redemption, themes that are universal enough to span the generations.

Conor and Liam are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

From the beginning, Conor Finnegan embodied noble characteristics – intelligence, passion, a well defined social conscience, and a readiness to engage with those around him. But at the same time he also possessed the serious flaws of hubris and inflexibility which compromised the application of his strengths. As such, I believe he represents the challenges we all face as individuals, regardless of our strengths and weaknesses. All of us must find a balance that allows us to develop our own passions, and our own purposes, while answering the timeless questions, Where shall I go now? What shall I do?

Liam Finnegan is a simpler character, and so an effective contrast, especially as his story unfolds through the swirl of the Irish Civil War. He responds instinctively and intuitively, discontent with the circumstances of what he sees as a pointless existence, but listening to his inner voices which constitute a highly refined sense of integrity. In so doing, he establishes a strength of character that Conor draws upon in his own struggle to identify his purpose and place.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As noted, the book revolves around the themes of exile and redemption, framed through the central questions – Where shall I go now? What shall I do? Each of us, whether we acknowledge it or not, must ask ourselves these questions, the answers to which define purpose, identity and self.

Because we’re constantly in motion, constantly evolving, any resolution is temporary. In my mind, what matters is not the answers to these questions, but the asking of them. When we fail to ask them of ourselves, we stagnate, fester and ultimate lose a bit of our soul. We ask these questions to stay alive.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I believe Conor Finnegan’s story reached closure at the end of Through the Waters and the Wild. I’m currently developing a completely new character to continue the investigation and reflection of place and purpose. This new character will be more negative than positive, more failure than success, bitter and alienated. I’m hoping this provides a new perspective on these questions, one that may in fact underscore the need to ask them regardless of where we stand as we pose them. I’m hopeful that this work will be done within the next year.

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Haunted by lost loves and limping through a lifeless career, Conor Finnegan’s discontent mirrors the restlessness of his grandfather Liam, caught as a young man in the crossfire of the Irish Civil War. Drawing from Liam’s wisdom and courage, Conor seeks to reinvent his character and reclaim passions made numb by neglect and loss.

The Nine Secrets of Super-Effective Relationships

The Nine Secrets of Super-Effective Relationships: Christian strategies and tactics to master the art of human connection - everywhere and every time! (The Diamond Soul Character Book 3) by [George Vasilca]

George Vasilca’s book explores how the mind works and how relationships of any nature work. The author writes about ways one can improve their relationship with others and become a better person. The solutions provided, encounters he experienced and issues that arise in life are all real and the answers he gives for problems are practical.

I like how the author starts the book. He gives a little background information before going to the main subject that he wants to discuss. Chapter one is one of the most important chapters in the book. In this chapter, George Vasilca writes about your diamond soul character. The statement ‘The moral character forms the solid foundation of any relationship’ will forever be engraved in my mind. This line is very simple yet it carries a heavy meaning. While reading this book you will notice that there are many wise sayings like the aforementioned line and many quotable that can help one in the path to finding and mending relationships. Chapter three was another gem. I particularly enjoyed this chapter because of the selection of topics and how the author broke down every topic. Each chapter has information that will help the reader in one relationship or the other. I became a different person with unique thinking capabilities when I finished the book. The author writes about every vice, betrayal and type of relationship human beings have.

I liked that the author titled the chapters as secrets. I think that the naming style was a genius concept and intriguing for any reader. One thing I appreciated about George Vasilca is that he does not force the reader to subscribe to his beliefs. His text is persuasive but the author has the reader decide for themselves even after giving advice. George Vasilca writes with prudence and understands that his book is meant for readers from different backgrounds.

The book does a fantastic job of succinctly, and convincingly, providing practical tips on how to be a better communicator and how to bring out issues when you feel like the other party has offended you. The Nine Secrets of Super-Effective Relationships is a substantive book that will help improve relationships for both Christians and non believers too.

Pages: 296 | ASIN: B0976H5LB7

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We Never Knew Just What it Was …

We Never Knew Just What it Was ... The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio by [Mike Murphey, Mike Kobluk, Chad Mitchell, Tom Paxton]

We Never Knew Just What It Was: The Story of the Chad Mitchell Trio by Mike Murphey is a stirring biography of the folk singing group written with help from Trio members Mike Kobluk and Chad Mitchell. It tells the candid story of the group’s early days in university and follows the trials and triumphs of their career through the 1960s to their contentious split. The story hangs on their unlikely reunion in 2007, which inspired Murphey – who was already a successful author – to write his first non-fiction book.

In his introduction, Murphey describes the book as “a story of missed opportunities, management mistakes, personal struggle, and sometimes bitter conflict.” It’s true that the group did experience these circumstances, and we can certainly see how those problems would have hampered their success. While there is little detail offered as to how the problems affected them as individuals readers will be moved by the early hopes and dreams of the singers and their dedication to their craft.

In his dedication to faithfully cataloging each step of the Trio’s career and each misfortune they faced, Murphey quickly summarizes the conflict. For example, in the early days, management was trying to cast Mitchell as the group leader with Kobluk and Frazier as backup singers and even set them up for their own television show on that basis. This had to have created the first stirrings of jealousy and resentment among the bandmates, but there is little reference to any hurt feelings. Rather, the details of discussions are delivered without indication of the individuals’ feelings. This focus on facts helps readers concentrate on the groups path through the business rather than get caught up in the melodrama. The characters of the singers are well documented, from the casually delinquent Mitchell to the quietly ambitious Kobluk and unassuming Frazier. Each one is interesting in their own right. I thought the reunion show forms the perfect coda to their career.

Author Mike Murphey writes from the perspective of a dedicated fan and delivers an interweaving life story through a complex business in an easy to understand and factual manner that will appeal to readers looking for a credible biography that does not stray from the subject matter.

Pages: 312 | ASIN: B098PPYXS9

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