Author Archives: Literary Titan

Literary Titan Book Awards March 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

Silver Award Winners

Trust vs Lust… a biography by Ian D. Niall

Intrepid Spirit by David Tunno

 

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

 

The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow

The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow: An Occult Horor Thriller by [Thomas A. Bradley]

In Wickersham Hollow stands a mansion, once splendid and vast, now rotting to the core. Newlyweds Brian and Annabelle purchased the property hoping to fix it up, but no amount of varnish and paint dissolves stains of the past. Decades ago Annabelle’s grandfather, Henry, along with six close friends, breached the threshold of that same mansion stirring up ghosts that demanded retribution then; and refuse to rest even now. As teens, the old house left them with nothing but nightmares. As adults, an undeniable connection between their thoughts and hearts persists no matter how many walls there are between one another. Living beside the old house all these years, Old Joachim Walcott enlists his right-hand man Ralph Strunk to see to his affairs. Aged but wiry, Walcott knows a lot more about the teens that broke into the Wickersham mansion that night than he’d ever let on. Renovations stall at the old mansion, and the group of friends that had broken in all those years ago are forced into a reluctant reunion in The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow by Thomas A. Bradley.

As the cover art for the book depicts, the 320-year-old mansion that takes up so much real estate within the story is wondrous and haunting. Its very walls appear to shift; very fitting for a house that we learn has a history of dark magic. From the abandoned well used to breach its foundations, to the heavy slamming doors and waterlogged stonework, there are torturous devices and demonic mirages at every corner. Set in the rural idyl of Pennsylvania the story does spend most of the time inside various homes or the sprawling mansion itself. While there are many characters, the story is written well in that we remain within the point of view of each character for fair amounts of time. Learning their backstories and how they connect, let alone their particular turns of phrase and attitudes, becomes part of the fun while the mystery unravels. Tina, Henry, Matt, Janet, Amy, Lucy, and Tommy are who make up the titular covenant. Emma, Brian, Annabel, old Joachim Walcott, and his confidant Ralph Strunk play heavily in this story and the cast thus far does not include ghosts, demons, and other entities at play. This populous cast has a singular plot in mind, however, which keeps the story flowing despite so many perspectives.

Those who enjoy a complex and overlapping storyline that keeps the reader busy from scene to scene between groups of characters will enjoy this novel. While there are quite a few names involved, the characterization really helps keep separation when the action moves from scene to scene. Each chapter takes place in a different location, so while jumping back and forth, tension remains high. Some chapters are further split into present and past. This is done clearly and it is enjoyable to see how the storytelling blends from the present to the past seamlessly with a unique style. Characters are often mid-sentence when their imagination takes over, pulling the reader into their memories. It is a fun tactic Bradly uses to great effect.

Along with the mystery and layered delivery, The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow is rooted deeply in horror. Injury, violence, madness, and possession are woven throughout and crescendo with a moment of profane ravishing coupled with demonic lust. Jargon and misspellings to reflect different dialects are used heavily throughout this novel and it is consistent so it’s easy to gather what the speaker means as it would be face to face. Whether you are a fan of using punctuation and spelling to portray jargon and dialect is purely subjective, but is used well here. While there are one or two points where an omniscient point of view nearly supersedes the character and appears to run contrary to them, there are very few instances of this, so it never takes us out of the story.

In the tradition of Ghost Story and Bag of Bones comes a haunting journey of a group of people bound by secrets forged in youth. Easily five stars for those who enjoy a fantastical ride through a malignant mansion and tainted history of a small village. There are some deviously dark notes heard in the music of The Covenant of Wickersham Hollow.

Pages: 354 | ASIN: B019EIBO1M

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Where’s My Joey?: A heartwarming bedtime story for children of all ages

Where's My Joey?: A heartwarming bedtime story for children of all ages by [Wendy Monica Winter, Roxana Antochi]

Where’s My Joey? by Wendy Winter is a heartfelt children’s story of a mother kangaroo that’s lost her Joey! She travels all over Australia looking for him. She talks to everyone, Mr. Echidna, the Kookaburra Family, even friends in Canada! As her Joey’s dinner grows cold, she worries that she may not find him.

Author Wendy Winter’s story is filled with adorable characters that were very emotive throughout the story, which is important to help children learn to recognize emotions. Each page is covered top to bottom illustrations that have a soft color pallet that compliments that overall soothing feel of the story. The pictures are beautiful, detailed, and some of them are ready to frame and hang up on the wall as art. I’m thinking of two scenes specifically; the one where the mother and her joey are sitting and reading together, and the map of Australia. These are amazing art pieces all on their own and the map of Australia helps the reader learn where certain animals live, and the geography.

The plot of the story sends the mother kangaroo on a hunt that serves as a great opportunity to introduce children to different types of interesting animals. It reminds me of the P. D. Eastman book ‘Are You My Mother’.

Where’s My Joey? is a cute and entertaining story packed with loveable characters and vibrant scenes. Where’s My Joey? is the most heartwarming and educational picture book I have read all year.

Pages: 31 | ASIN: B08L27P6NZ

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Fetch

Victor and Victoria, highly competitive brother and sister, are accustomed to having their grandfather’s attention and are quite used to having their pitches heard at Christmas. Their inventions are always looked upon with wonder, and they know each year their grandfather will consider each of them as contenders for the annual featured Christmas toy. They are both ready this year–Victor with Billy and Victoria with Fetch. Victoria is sure she will win this year. She just knows that Fetch will easily win over her brother’s robot. What the two don’t know is that there is someone else in the picture–someone who could cost them everything.

Fetch, by Paul Richardson, is the tale of two twenty-somethings competing for top honors in their family’s company. All either of them wants is to be recognized and not be ousted by the guest inventor invading their space. The idea of having someone outdo them or take their coveted place as future head of the company is causing them both anxiety and nightmares. Their battle to maintain their place is not the only storyline in Richardson’s work. When Fetch is discovered in a recycling bin, things change for everyone.

Written with young adults in mind, Fetch pulls at the heartstrings. Des Perret’s storyline will grab readers and pull them in instantly. His desire to provide for his family and the struggle he must endure to earn a living will resonate even with young adult readers. I love that Richardson is tapping into feelings of empathy and showing readers of this genre what it is like for adults to work hard to overcome obstacles and financial woes. Des wants to be a good father and wants to make his children happy–this is a beautiful lesson for young readers.

Richardson’s work is unique and features a focus on technology that will undoubtedly appeal to young adult readers. Amazingly Fetch’s artificial intelligence becomes increasingly sentient and almost frighteningly real. Readers will enjoy watching Fetch grow from a concept in Victoria’s mind to a main character in the plot.

I would definitely recommend Richardson’s book to any young adult reader interested and versed in technology. Fetch’s plot twists make the book a fun and is perfect for anyone looking for a lite and science fiction book.

Pages: 288 | ISBN: 171637927X

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Alternate Realities of a Similar Tale.

Lee Matthew Goldberg
Lee Matthew Goldberg Author Interview

Orange City follows an advertising executive whos new addictive product causes him to question his reality to dangerous, and world changing, effect. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Seeing the power of advertising was a big influence. I remember watching TV one day and it was an ad for sodas and I got up from the couch and grabbed a soda without even thinking about it. The ad was that good! Orange City began as a short story about an ad exec addicted to the sodas in his new campaign, but there weren’t any science fiction aspects to the story beyond that. It existed in this world. When it became a novel it needed more, so the City became a character as well, along with the Man, and the Outside World. The story has been published separately by a journal, so I like to think of both as alternate realities of a similar tale.

Graham is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. Graham is someone who has been beaten down so much in his life that he’s lost himself. It’s what makes him so susceptible to the soda addictions. But he shows real growth as a character as the book progresses. He’s someone who’s been oppressed but learns to stand up for himself and others like him. He becomes the face of the resistance. I wanted a character that had the ability to be molded. Someone who was weak but that you rooted for. Someone who could become a product for change.

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

The threat of democracy being destroyed is a huge part of the novel. There are allusions to our own society and the last four years we went through in the United States. Also the manipulation of the advertising world and how much they control our lives. And the power of brands that exist in our world like Pow! How easily we have become addicted to so many different things to our detriment. And I stopped really consuming sugar so that had a lot to do with the anti-soda messages.

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

I have a YA series coming out in the Spring. The first book is called Runaway Train and is about a teenage girl in the 1990s who runs away from home after her sister dies to become a grunge singer and meet Kurt Cobain. The first two books have been written, but I’m editing the second right now and plotting out the third in the series. Look for them soon!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Imagine a secret, hidden City that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the City forever. You can never leave.  

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the Man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.   

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, Orange City is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel Lemonworld.     

Age of Magnus: The Iron Dawn

Age of Magnus Book Two (New Era 2): The Iron Dawn by [David Crane]

The Iron Dawn centers around a supercomputer named Magnus as its protagonist in a world one hundred years after a devastating pandemic is followed by a nuclear war. Magnus – created before the war to assist first-time exploration of planet Mars – survived and possessed full knowledge of human history and technological development. With this, it decided to take the survival of the human species into its own hands by taking over the world, Magnus was not met without resistance, however.

The Iron Dawn is an intellectually refreshing science fiction epic. The choice to tell this story from the viewpoint of an A.I., artificial intelligence, instead of the humans trying to beat it was new and provides an interesting take on a dystopian future society. It did have me wondering initially if we were following a villain or a hero, but Magnus’ morality was shown through how it treated humans, cared for humans, and how, in many cases, it thought like a human. This gave the novel good steam to move forward on while also keeping uncertain whether Magnus would go through a corruption arc or not.

Even though Magnus, as a character, had many strengths and endearing moments, it was not devoid of flaws especially with how it intended to deal with the current war against itself. Fortunately, there are many other characters we meet along the way that teach Magnus things that it never considered and caused it to reflect. This along with a bittersweet romance humanized Magnus to a great extent and made it that much more enjoyable to read.

However, a lot of the tension gradually falls away after Magnus experiences less pushback from both companions and enemies. This doesn’t take away too much of the whole novel, however, as we constantly meet new characters and come to understand the viewpoints of the antagonists the tension rises again as these people we care about are lied to. Though the initial tension never quite came back the same.

The setting itself was vivid, and it was intriguing to explore not only Earth in its post-apocalyptic stage but also Mars and its alluring new findings.

The Iron Dawn is a refreshing dystopian fiction with a visionary look at the future and an imaginative story that will keep science fiction fans entertained.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B08KPL3K2S

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Devyn’s Dilemma

Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!

In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life. 

Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.

Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.

Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ

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Hampshire Stories: A Collection of Tales Set in 19th-Century England – Book Trailer

★★★★★ “Hampshire Stories: A Collection of Tales Set in 19th-Century England by Joe Giampaolo is a stellar collection of short stories!… These are stories of pure delight and feature a lovable cast of characters… Giampaolo’s writing is reminiscent of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell” (Editorial Review by Literary Titan, 2020).

‘Hampshire Stories’ is an award-winning collection of short narratives set in nineteenth-century England. It has been ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List on Amazon in the Victorian and Regency Historical Romance categories. This compilation was written with particular attention to historical accuracy and is recommended for teen and adult readers who enjoy charming love stories or poignant dramas of the Regency and Victorian periods. You will enjoy this journey back in time to nineteenth-century England.

AWARDS: GOLD MEDAL, LITERARY TITAN BOOK AWARD 2020
-Amazon.com (USA): Ranked #20 on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance category and #36 in the Regency Historical Romance category (February 2021).
-Amazon.ca (Canada): Ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance and the Regency Historical Romance categories.

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