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Emotionally Invested

Steve Murphy Author Interview

Steve Murphy Author Interview

I follows the story of Mark as he struggles with depression, addiction, and homelessness. Events inspired by true events, but what inspired you to write this story?

I have worked in the downtown core of my hometown for nearly twenty years. As these streets have become crowded with people in desperate situations over the last few years, I tried to make a positive impact by donating any change I had to whoever asked, every time I was asked and, participating in and facilitating a donation campaigns at work. The compassion and empathy I felt towards these people who struggle, whom are seemingly ignored by the general public, began to enter all facets of my mind. Inspired, my new poems and songs were significantly more politically themed than previous compositions (as an example). It was at this time when I read the article of an unidentified man who had died on the street across from where I work. The article stated he was mid 30-40s, just like me. I immediately wondered what other similarities we might have had, what differences could there have been for me to be alive on this street, with a job, a house and a wife; while he was alone, unknown and dead. Possible parallels were too numerous to overlook.

How much of Marks character is based on reality and how much is fictionalized?

That’s very difficult to quantify. I can say, it is a modestly fictionalized version of reality.

This novel gets to the heart of the issues people face with drug abuse and depression. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I want… not just for readers to be aware of the astounding number of people in these situations but to CARE. To be emotionally invested. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how little effect I alone have on the whole of society but, hopefully this story touches its readers and inspires them to help wherever possible. Someone recently told me the book brought them to tears and how certain moments felt like a punch in the belly. Another told me he has begun giving change when he can and not only that but, treating people on the streets with more dignity and respect than before, keeping eye contact when speaking with them. That is what I want.

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

As yet untitled, I’ve begun work on the story of a middle to lower class neighborhood, on the day of a possible suicide. The story is told through a series of vignettes in the Rashomon style. Otherwise, i’m always working on poetry and writing music reviews.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | Youtube | Bandcamp

Inspired by true events, Foul Play Is Not Suspected is the tragic tale of Mark Fuller. He’s homeless, depressed and addicted to drugs as he has been for a number of years. Author Steve Murphy sympathetically details the journey Mark has endured from birth through to today. An important story that speaks to several major overlapping social and political issues. Foul Play Is Not Suspected packs a careful, emotional wallop. 20 years of lived experience downtown where he lives and works, has provided Murphy with in depth knowledge of the streets. A lifetime of storytelling through song has sharpened his use of language into a penetrating tool.

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Their Parents Choices

Amy Voltaire Author Interview

Amy Voltaire Author Interview

My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict is a fictional story of a young girls struggle to accept her mother back into her life after drugs destroyed their bond. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?

I am very close to someone who is helping raise her grandchildren because of their parents’ addictions. When I decided to start writing a book, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about. One day, after spending some time with the kids I mentioned, I thought about how tough this must be for them, and I realized that a lot of people are raising children who aren’t theirs because the kids’ parents are addicts. I looked online to see if there were any books out there for kids who are going through similar situations, but I couldn’t find any; so I decided I’d write a book for them. I wanted the book to: entertain them, hold their interest, and let them know that they’re not alone. I wanted them to understand that their parents’ choices do not define them.

Erin is an interesting character and I enjoyed watching her develop throughout the book. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

For years, Erin has lived with hurt, which eventually turns to hurt and anger. She yearns for her mother’s love, but at the same time, she’s angry at her mom for leaving her and is terrified that if she opens her heart to her mother, her heart will end up broken again. As she becomes close to both Grace and George she learns that Gram & Pap aren’t the only people she can trust. Erin also begins to understand that her mother’s addiction has absolutely nothing to do with her. Often, loved ones of addicts feel like they can fix an addict, but the reality is that nobody but the addict has any control over his or her choices. Erin learns in her dealings with Jimmy that she is not the only person who may have something going on at home… something that is embarrassing and that a kid wouldn’t want their peers to know about. She begins to see her own flaws, not only because they’re pointed out to her, but also because she sees a bit of herself in Jimmy. She doesn’t want to continue the angry outbursts and drive away the people who genuinely care about her.

This story deals with drug addiction and how it affects families. What is a common misconception you find people have about addiction?

A lot of people assume that addicts are bad people and that they are worthless. Yes, addicts do bad things, but so do people who have never even tried drugs or alcohol. I’ve known several recovering addicts and all of them are kind, intelligent, funny and talented.

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

I plan on starting the next book in late June of 2019. In all of the feedback I’ve received, readers have told me that they want me to continue on with Erin’s story—I like Erin, so I’m happy to comply. Hopefully, it will be done and ready to go by this time next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

My Name is Erin, and My Mom's an Addict by [Voltaire, Amy]

Raised by her grandparents when her mother chooses drugs over her daughter, Erin knows she isn’t like other kids. Then her world is shaken a second time by her mother’s reappearance.

Being a teenager is never easy, but just when Erin thinks she has her life on track, her mother shows up and warms her way back into Erin’s life. Can an addict really ever kick the addiction? How many lives will be affected?

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Love, Loss, Long Beach

Love, Loss, Long Beach by [Pasquale, Christiaan A.]

4 Stars

Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?

The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.

He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.

The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.

Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.

By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?

This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.

Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ

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My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict

My Name is Erin, and my Mom’s an Addict by Amy Voltaire is the story of Erin Whitaker, a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is a heroin addict. Erin went to live with her grandparents when she was five, after her mother left. When Erin got home from school one day, her mother was gone and never came back. Ten years later Erin’s mother has reentered her life. She’s finally gotten clean and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. Though reluctant, Erin allows her mother back into her life. But when she relapses, will Erin’s anger cause her to lose all the other people in her life as well?

This story focuses on the effects of drug addiction, not just on the addict, but on the other people in their life, children especially but also siblings and friends and even parents-in-law.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the dark theme of substance abuse and drug addiction, there were bits of humor in the story. The author had an engaging writing style. And I really liked the main character, Erin. The whole book was written from her point of view, so I always knew what she was thinking and feeling and why she acted out at times. I didn’t like that Erin kept getting angry about the situation with her mother and taking it out on other people, who were not the source of her anger. But the author offered compelling motivation for her actions, and Erin worked to improve her anger-management issues.

I liked the relationships portrayed in this story, especially between Erin and her best friend, Grace, and Erin and her boyfriend, George, who also acted as a good friend to her. And Erin’s grandparents did not just see caring for her as a duty. Even when she was difficult, they loved her, and they enjoyed having her living with them. Their interactions were funny and sweet. I loved the way Erin acted with Sweetie, a chihuahua poodle mix.

Although the story did not have a conclusive ending, it was hopeful. I believe this story is a realistic portrayal of the realities of life for children affected by drug addiction, and even though it is a work of fiction, this book will resonate with people who are going through a similar situation.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1939696496

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The Friday Edition – Trailer

Snow isn’t all that’s falling in Denver, Colorado on Christmas Eve.

A beautiful, young district attorney tumbles from her balcony to her death.

Police suspect suicide, but the DA’s sister, newspaper reporter Samantha Church, isn’t buying it.
Samantha discovers evidence linking her sister to a drug smuggling case and quickly learns she has stumbled onto a major news story. She must summon the courage to not only face a cartel of criminals, but her own fears and shortcomings when she is confronted by the inescapable specter of a far greater enemy—her addiction to alcohol. Samantha’s dependency has not only cost her job at a major metropolitan daily, but, worse, custody of her daughter, April.

Samantha pursues her sister’s killers, maneuvering through a minefield of intrigue deliberately set out to divert her from the truth. Despite being betrayed, physically beaten and facing the possibility of sharing her sister’s fate, Samantha refuses to stop her investigation. However, when the killers threaten to harm April, Samantha realizes that, for her daughter’s sake, she can no longer continue the investigation on her own. She knows she must swallow her pride and turn to her ex-husband and police detective, Jonathan Church, for help.

Can Samantha ultimately prevail—find her sister’s killer, write the story of her career, confront her drinking problem, and finally begin to change her life, or will she and April become the killer’s next victims?

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Literary Titan Book Awards January 2019

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.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Watchers: The Blood Dagger Series by [Hayes, Misty]Soul Born by [Breaux, Kevin]Five Fathoms Beneath by [Alcyone, J.R.]

Paper Heart by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]The Dragon of Hidden Treasures: Book 1 by [Troi, Juliann]<

Comrade Netai and the Chronology of His UG Days : An Inside Story of Naxalite Movement from Nineties by [Sanjay Lahiri]

Stockboy by [Duffy, Thomas]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate: Book Two of the Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]Revelations (The Infinity Series Book 1) by [Westbay, Bellamy]The Emerald Cave (Ramsey Series Book 3) by [McPike, James]

Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest (The Rathen Series Book 2) by [Smith, Grant Elliot, Stohler, Steven H.]Shipwreck Island by [McPike, James B.]

Degsy Hay - A Juvenile Redeemed: Everbody Deserves a Second Chance by [Montgomery, Brian S]

18 Cranes: Kaifeng Chronicles, Book One by [Campbell, Robert]Tilly and Torg - New Kids At School by [Crawley, Connie Goyette]

 

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

 

Degsy Hay – A Juvenile Redeemed: Everybody Deserves a Second Chance

Degsy Hay - A Juvenile Redeemed: Everbody Deserves a Second Chance by [Montgomery, Brian S]

In Degsy Hay: A Juvenile Redeemed, Brian Montgomery sets himself up as a modern day Horatio Alger or Charles Dickens, telling a tale of a hard-done-by young man who overcomes his humble beginnings to become something more.

Degsy Hay, born inside a UK prison to a heroin addict, inherits his mother’s chaotic life, as well as a mysterious diary with missing pages. At age 16, he’s released from McAlley-Stoke youth facility with no prospects. He spends a few months on the streets, during which he assembles a small entourage including a three-legged dog named Sadface, a girlfriend (and her young son) and several homeless tradespeople. Before long, though, he’s back in McAlley-Stoke, where, through a mix of violence and charisma, he quickly becomes the Gaffer, the big man in the youth correctional facility. He launches a reform campaign to encourage the young offenders to educate themselves during their incarceration and convinces (via a bloody riot complete with hostage-taking) the facility itself to treat its wards more humanely. All the while, a mystery around missing children and how they’re connected to the missing pages of his mum’s diary builds around him.

Montgomery gives his hero/narrator a distinct voice, rife with Cockney slang, locating him squarely in the rough and tumble housing estates of urban London, a lot of “nar’mean” this and “geezer” that. But for all his streetwise exterior, Degsy is a kind soul at heart and looks out for the people around him. It seems that everyone he meets has a lesson to teach him, even if they have to die a grisly death for him to learn it. The people closest to Degsy have a nasty habit of ending up dead, or filthy rich. Sometimes both.

For a book that tackles some extremely difficult topics like poverty, addiction, and child abuse, Degsy Hay can be a bit simplistic at times. It seems more concerned with showing how one extraordinary character overcomes these heinous hurdles with a plucky attitude and a few well-placed friends, and yet there’s an internal logic to it too. It’s Degsy himself who tells the story, and so why wouldn’t he place himself at the center and give himself all the credit?

On the surface, the story of a streetwise youth pulling one over on the world with nothing more than his wits, a few friends, and a three-legged dog should appeal to middle grade readers, but the very strong language and heavy theme of sexual abuse are better suited to older readers with a bit of maturity to process the trauma at the core of Degsy’s tale. More sophisticated readers, though, might find the very Dickensian style of storytelling a bit old fashioned. But then, we’re still reading Dickens, so why not? At any rate, the colourful language and Degsy’s unforgettable voice should keep them interested.

Pages: 180 | ASIN: B07K7VSQF8

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Paper Heart

Paper Heart by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]Paper Heart by Jennifer LeBlanc is a book of poetry that includes ninety poems. Many of the poems are about finding love and have a very uplifting message. Other poems are about lost love (whether through death or the end of a relationship), or loving someone who only brings you pain. The title of the book (Paper Heart) is appropriate because many of the poems are about how fragile love is, both precious and painful. Some of the poems the author included were very personal, especially the ones about the author’s mother. Other poems could speak to almost everyone, with universal messages. Most of the poems are about the past, some about living in the past. There were not as many about living in and enjoying the present or looking toward the future. Many of the poems were about darker topics, like addiction and loss and death. Other poems featured themes of regrets for things wished undone and things that can’t be undone, whether to self or others.

I liked the range in the various poems, covering many different emotions (from sadness to great joy), and the dichotomy of themes of darkness and light. There are varying structures to a number of the poems, and I liked the different styles, that they weren’t all the same.

My favorite poems were the ones with inspirational messages, like Be Every Color of the Sun. I liked how the title of several poems were spelled out as the first letter of each line of the poem. But these titles weren’t just random words, they were appropriate to the poem, as well.

Some of the poems were very short (only a few lines long). A few of these poems almost felt unfinished, and they left me wanting more. They felt as though they ended too soon and could have been expanded upon. Some of the poems were very similar in theme to other poems, seeming like a continuation of earlier poems (though not the shorter ones).

One poem, Vicious Cycles, had dialogue in the middle of the verses, which was unique and unexpected in a book of poetry.

Many of the poems reminded me of my favorite songs or a line from the lyrics because they had the same feeling, and I enjoyed that aspect of the author’s writing.

Pages: 138 | ASIN: B07KDPCV4N

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