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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.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

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.

Ontological Shock

E A. Bagby
E A. Bagby Author Interview

Illyia continues to follow Giels as he returns from his adventure and must make a decision about his future. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

Book one was really about introducing a cast of characters and the very different world they inhabited at a moment of lost innocence. In Illyia, we get to experience the aftermath of that—what happens after an ontological shock, and how does each person react?

What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing Giels character?

I think all good characters have strengths and weaknesses that play off of each other. And it’s usually those internal forces that drive them above all else. Giels has a near didactic memory, which is perfect for becomming a great storyteller, not to mention he’s in the right family to have that talent nurtured. Yet, he’s terrified of talking in front of large crowds. Double that with the fact he’s no longer sure if he believes in the stories he recites. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. He wants to preserve his standard of living, marry his girl, prove that he’s not privelaged and on. It’s maddening, but these problems propel him forward. Underneith it all, like all of us, he’s seeking elusive balance. And, as if his normal life isn’t confusing enough, he has a whole other realm that’s tugging at him. Getting his bearings is nearly impossible.

I enjoyed the deep and detailed world you’ve created. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?

Everything. Fiction, for me, is a way to reframe real life. By exaggerating personal experiences, especially those indellable moments and memories, whether bad, good, or just odd, we can take a closer look at them. We can understand them for what they really mean. For me, that process of tranforming life to fiction is usually automatic. For example, I’m pretty sure the Underworld originally came out of my experience of moving to Manhattan from Nevada as a child. Of course, this was a big moment for me, and stories of abandoned subway stations and tunnels where so-called “mole people” lived played on my imagination. Then there was the view out of my bedroom window. Tucked in the spaces between buildings existed a hidden world of pipes and machines and latticework eleven stories below. The imagination goes wild, especially if you’re used to seeing snocapped mountains out of your window. What sort of world existed there? Rumored giant rats and waterbugs and tropics-sized dragonflies I’d see fly around now and again, possibly sustained by the heat of the machinery and the steam? At that age, you even wonder about mythical creatures, too. Could there be beauty and life, an entire ecosystem, in the unnatural ugliness? It was aweful and fascinating all in one. Did people live back there, tucked somewhere? But for storytelling, what is most important is what did those hidden features of the city mean for me, and how did they represent my transformation after the move? I’m sure some of that worked its way into the Entiria stories.

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

The next one is episode 3, The Champions. Things really start taking a turn in this episode, and the bigger picture comes more into focus. When will it be available? Well, I wish I could say next month, but it’s important to me that the writing does the story justice, so we’ll have to follow up with one another. That said, I hope not too long.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

A tale of love, adventure, magic, mythology, and tech.

Reality has now taken a hard turn into the unknown. What do you do when hell isn’t the dark world you imagined, but something much more unfathomable?


As Giels reorients himself back to life after the disorienting adventure, his friends have a different plan. Everything that tortures him, inspires them.
As possibilities begin to open up and seem endless, what route will Giels take? Will he reconcile with the council to fulfill his birthright as his tribe’s Lead Storyteller, or will the gods have their way with him, hurtling him back into the great machine?

This episode picks up where we left off from episode 1, delivering lush prose and mythology like Lord of the Rings and Mists of Avalon, strange worlds like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Ringworld, dark themes like Gormenghast, the mysteries of The Sixth Sense, and even a touch of the relationship depth of Jane Austin.

All that with tech that ranges from aluminum spears to that which rivals The City and the Stars and Star Wars.

The Heath Cousins and the Ruby Lantern

Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern by Eileen Hobbs is an enchanting adventure tale where we are taken into a whimsical land with the main character Addie. B, a bright and imaginative child who with the help of a moonstone ring can translate other languages. Addie and her mother head out to do some shopping, during their adventure Addie spots an opening into another world, which she had visited before. In this world there is a garden of choice which leads them to Ambra, the main part of this other world. Addie enlists the help of her cousins, then they head off on a whirlwind adventure where they solve problems and discover clues that cause them to be riddled with curiosities and ensure many more visits to the garden of choice in the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this imaginative adventure novel by author Eileen Hobbs. This is a classic adventure story that took me back to my own childhood and filled with me the same sense of wonder that I had back then. Overall, I found the characters to be charming and a joy to follow through this adventure. I liked the author’s voice and enchanting atmosphere that she effortlessly creates in this novel.

While I heartily enjoyed the story, I felt that the child sometimes felt older than their age, hopping on planes and running off on their own. But how else would you find yourself into and out of these compelling adventures.

Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern is a book I can see myself reading as a child, curled up at night with a night light, reading until I fall asleep. This is a well crafted and fun sword and sorcery story that will appeal to anyone looking for a timeless children’s fantasy story.

Pages: 166 | ASIN: B08XTST3MZ

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Alter The Course of History

Thomas Bauer
Thomas Bauer Author Interview

The Assassin follows the life of a baker’s son in a small Italian village whos future is radically changed by a mysterious visitor. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I simply wanted to explore the idea of how one small act might be able to alter the course of history as well as what impact historical events might have in an insignificant spot on the planet peopled by those ignorant of world events.

Umberto is a stirring and authentic character. What were ideas you wanted to capture in his character’s development?

How the innocent and ignorant among us live lives more simple, but still filled with the same aspirations as the more privileged among us.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

During the Napoleonic era, Umberto Guardo, a naive son of a baker in an insignificant Italian village, falls under the spell of a radical revolutionary. When the great general himself sets foot in the village, the awe stricken lad is given a task that could alter the course of history. The Assassin portrays an Italy that once was and a small village, isolated and unaware of the world beyond its borders until the unexpected intrusion by the most famous man in the world.

Swords Of Deception

Swords Of Deception: A Sword Of Deception Novel by [Rowan Staeffler, Rowan Staeffler]

Swords of Deception by Rowan Staeffler is a gripping fantasy novel revolving around Ellemar Vancel, who has been living her life as a hostage for almost three years, with permission to move only within the boundaries of the city. Her crime? She practiced her powers without supervision. One black day three years ago, rogue council member Celeana Maar wreaked havoc in the Witches Academy, and after a severe tussle, left Ellemar Vancel deeply wounded and deformed. Ellemar carries the painful memory of this traumatic incident to this date and wishes to find Celeana to take revenge on her. However, her mission is interrupted by the Council. The Council of Witches holds that a member cannot kill anyone. The novel begins with Ason informing her that the Council has finally granted her wish, and she can undertake her mission to track down Celeana. 

Swords of Deception is the first book in A Sword of Deception Novel series, and the story is to be continued in Book 2, Swords of Revelation. This dark fantasy novel si short but potent. With little room to spare the chapters are succinct and the story is relentlessly propelled forward through a series of wild turns and electrifying revelations. 

Within this adventurous story is an emotionally invigorating relationship between Ellemar and Ason which is subtle yet deep and provides ample dramatic punctuations to this action filled story. The work carries a light sensual undertone, especially towards the ending, without being too graphic. 

Swords of Deception has a unique plot with crisp prose that will appeal to fans of The Witcher. This is a thrilling dark fantasy novel that will appeal to both young adult and adult readers who are interested in a sword and sorcery story that knows how to deliver a well defined and entertaining hero’s journey. 

Pages: 227 | ASIN: B097Q4VK1T

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ARIESSY OF MIDGARD

ARIESSY OF MIDGARD: A Norse Myth Retelling, Urban Fantasy by [L B Arthur]

Ariessy was just shy of her 18th birthday and navigating life with more challenges than the average teenager. She was a Seivar, a race of magical beings who existed to protect Mother Earth, working at a school to help young Seiva harness their sorcery, and also dealing with the anguish of seeing her father grow sicker each day with no explanation why. Suddenly, the death of an old family friend sets off a series of events that turns Essy’s life even more on its head as she’s forced to face truths about her family and the people in her community she thought she could trust. For Essy, nothing was ever going to be the same again.

In Ariessy of Midgard, L.B. Arthur weaves an enchanting tale of various ancient races, living their lives on Earth and existing secretly alongside humans. The Seiva and the Verrulfa both serve different purposes, with the former protecting the Earth and non-humans and the later protecting humans from the Seiva. At the start of the book, it seems like the story might be a little similar to Harry Potter, albeit from a teacher’s point of view, but it quickly turns into a fantastic combination of magic and mythology. The beauty of the Welsh countryside provides a captivating setting for the intrigue of Norse legends as Essy’s preconceptions are challenged and changed with an alarming quickness. Arthur captures the essence of a late teen exceptionally well, presenting Ariessy as a young woman who regularly straddles the line between a child’s emotional maturity and an adult’s responsibilities. She still sees her family, and her own interests, as a number one priority despite learning about her place and obligations in a much larger world.

There is an alluring romantic aspect woven throughout this novel as well, but it’s not the central point of the novel and so feels uncritical. Ariessy’s is an emotive and engaging character who is headstrong and intelligent, but ultimately needs to be saved. But even with this I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the story and had a hard time putting it down. The blend of existing mythology and the magic system created by Arthur make for an riveting story.

Ariessy of Midgard is an emotional fantasy adventure story that expertly hits all the right notes for young adult fantasy fans looking for an easy story with a unique blend of Norse mythology to get lost in.

Pages: 290 | ASIN: B08YR7TKCZ

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Pizahn

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Pizahn, by Axel Schillton, is set in a future in which humans have gone extinct and anthropomorphic animals rule over the world. In Atum, a city ruled by the Pharaoh Balthazar, Prince Pizahn gets ready to properly enter adulthood, but he is clouded with worries about his youngest sister, Nebet, having been kidnapped. Deciding that she has to be rescued, he sets off on a perilous journey to find her, alongside Zina, his other sister.

Pizahn is a thrilling adventure story that is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were intriguing and well developed and their connections were deeply endearing. Whether it be a long term attachment, like Zina and Pizahn’s bond, or a short one, as with Chap and Pizahn, each felt real and important. In addition to that, the characters introduced later on in the story were well developed and felt realistic.

While I enjoyed the adventurous romp, I was a bit confused with the timeline. Nebet’s kidnapping happens before the story begins. The point of view shifts regularly, keeping readers on their toes, but it also lends to some important events happening elsewhere.  Still, there are many moments that left me feeling close to the characters. The plot harkens back to classic fantasy adventure stories and provides plenty of creative imagery. I wondered about Nebet, about her kidnapper and the motivations behind this action; and when the truth came about, I was not disappointed with the answers. The dialogue was sufficiently engaging, and it was complimented by the inner thoughts of the characters, which we were given access to thanks to the regular changes in point of view. Those were done masterfully, not leaving the reader confused as to who was speaking. I was curious about the choice of keeping human religions in the story. It was a unique creative choice for a post-human society to still be using human-created religions — although I’ll admit that the Ancient Egyptian pantheon felt very fitting considering the nature of the characters.

Pizahn is a lively adventure story that uses a highly imaginative plot to deliver a riveting story that fantasy fans will surely enjoy.

axelschilltonauthor.com

 

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