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Literary Titan Book Awards September 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

End Times: More Great Adventures in Real America by [McCord, Michael]

Blood on the Chesapeake (The Haunted Shores Mysteries) by [Overbeck, Randy]

BUTTERBALL Goes to the Beach by [Seaborn, Julia]RESCRIPT the Story You're Telling Yourself: The Eight Practices to Quiet Your Inner Antagonist, Amplify Your Inner Advocate, & Author a Limitless Life by [Georges, Colleen]

Phoebe Douse: S3A2 by L. Samuels

The Farthest-Reaching Ball: A Memoir of Motherhood by Sandra Bowman

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Die to Live Again: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel by [Crane, David]Experiment X: Exposed by [Haase, Nikki]Immortals' Requiem: An Epic Grimdark Fantasy by [Bobbe, Vincent]

Love and Happiness by [Burgess Jr., Ben]The Dream Defenders: A YA Sci-Fi Adventure by [DenHartog, Neal]

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2) by [Quiroz-Vega, Vashti]

The Eighth: Intro to The Alt-World Chronicles by [Somerville, Sunshine]The Line Between: A Novel by [Lee, Tosca]

 

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

 

Love and Happiness

Love and Happiness by [Burgess Jr., Ben]

Anyone who has been or is married knows that it is work and often the perspective of one partner is completely different from that of his/her partner. This book delves into the difficult topic of two married partners who are not on the same page, which leads to the wife, Karen, seeking what she needs, both physically and emotionally, outside of the marriage.  As the old adage says, what is done in the dark will come to the light! The infidelities are revealed, and Karen and her husband Chris must deal with the fallout. The interesting part about this story is that the reader gets to experience their marriage from both perspectives. This is so revealing about the way that two partners can see things completely differently. It also gives us a better understanding of the complexities of a relationship. Just because someone is unfaithful does not mean that they do not love their partner, which is sometimes counter-intuitive.

The characters in this book are raw, honest, and truly flawed, which often makes them more relatable. It is too easy to wrap up characters in pretty packages that often feels more comfortable to the reader, Burgess is not afraid to show the human side of the people he creates.  As a reader, I found myself often shaking my head at Karen’s behavior, but I also appreciated the real, honesty with which she was portrayed.

I’ll tell you one thing for sure, that woman gets some major action in this book! Burgess is not scared of a sex scene so be prepared for some very descriptive erotic moments. I felt that this added to the realness and rawness of this book rather than detracting from it. Don’t worry, Chris gets some action too!

I also really enjoyed the supporting characters in this book. Chris and Karen’s different set of friends are flawed in their own ways and not always the best influences. They are great additions to the story and a part of helping the couple along in their conclusions. There are times that they definitely added fuel to the fire, but, again, this is a realistic reflection of life and friendships and how they can impact your decisions in your own life.

This book has a fantastic and unexpected arch. It is so realistic and raw! I really love the journey this author takes us on through the perspective of these two people. It really shows how life’s difficult twists and turns can turn out to be exactly what we needed to get where we need to be. I highly recommend this read for anyone who has ever experienced the drama of a loving relationship falling apart and how it can actually lead to the right path.

Pages: 304 | ASIN:  B07V4G3BL8

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Black Family Addicts

Primary Storyline: A family’s predilections treat their PTSD in delusion only. Subtextual Storyline: The extent of crutches people have to cope with life.

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Environmental Trap

Al Wynn is determined to provide a good life for his family. However, he finds himself in situations that threaten that resolve. He’s only human and makes bad decisions like everyone else, but Al has qualities that help him every time. He’s determined, nothing can keep him down and he endeavors to be a better person. But can Al survive the numerous beat downs life has handed him? Will Nella come back home? What will become of his contracting gig?

Al Wynn tells a tale of a young man who overcomes all sorts of odds. The story flows seamlessly and takes the reader through every wave. The writer pulls the reader in with simple language and a relatable story of a young-mans life as a minority. This book provides an accurate account of what it is to be black in America. However, there is always an underlying tone of hope through redemption. That one does not have to follow down the wrong path. The trick is to get up stronger and wiser every time life beats you down.

Sometimes, you have to take what you want. What I’m saying young man is sometimes you have to make things happen, that you want to happen in life.

This is a piece of advice given to Al when he gets out of jail and sums up Al’s life from that point on. He makes it through life by using his head and simply taking whatever job he wants. His family is cared for because Al has kept these words with him throughout. This is great advice and is applicable in so many areas of life. It is also one of the many things the reader will learn from this book. The writer is over 70 years old and his wisdom shines through. It is not just the story of Al, it is a bundle of simple maxims to live by.

The book, while well written and structured well, could use some trimming. I thought that there was some unnecessary dialogue which was confusing. However, it is an enjoyable and enlightening read. The grammar and syntax are excellent and tone is just right for this book.

An environmental trap is the perception that a future can be determined by the surroundings in which one resides. This book is a sort of guide to getting out of that trap. The Environmental Trap is a tale of the trials of human life. Most of the things that happen to Al can happen to anyone. The lessons in the book can be applicable to anyone regardless of race.

Pages: 536 | ISBN-10: 1466938595

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Four Years of Despair

Four Years of Despair by [Morrison, Jalesa]

Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.

Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.

This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.

The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.

As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.

Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ

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Distinct Perceptions

Dickie Erman Author Interview

Dickie Erman Author Interview

Antebellum Struggles follows the lives of several characters and shows how they are all intertwined as a result of slavery in the south. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?

I couldn’t comprehend how people could “own” other people and treat them like farm animals. I wanted to “get into their heads” to understand this mentality, from the perspectives of both slaves and owners.

I really enjoyed the depth of each character. What were some driving ideals behind your characters?

In all events, each person has their own unique perspective, feelings, and prejudices. I try to describe these so the reader understands each character’s outlook from their distinct perceptions.

The book delivers a graphic image of life during slavery. How did you go about setting up the backdrop for this story and what were some conscious decisions you made along the way?

A few scenes were difficult to write about. People hear and read about slavery, but rarely choose to envision the actual horror that some slaves suffered. I felt some examples had to be exposed in order to convey that truth.

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

The second book (“Keeper of Slaves”) was published through Amazon on April 11, 2019. It’s a continuation of the characters revealed in “Antebellum Struggles”.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Antebellum Struggles: Slavery, Lust and Suspicion (BOOK ONE) by [Erman, Dickie]After toiling in the Colonel’s sugar cane fields, Amana’s brought into his mansion as a house servant for the Colonel and his wife, Collette. Collette’s suspicions and jealousies arise, but are tempered from the guilt of her own infidelity. The field slave, Tabari, finally escapes but is hunted by two saddle tramps and the law. Throughout it all, the scalawag Doctor disrupts everyone’s lives, managing to line his own pockets all the while. Set in and around New Orleans, this deeply moving tale of scandal, sex, and suspense follows the voyages of these very different characters in the 1850s.

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Urban ISIS – Trailer

Raised on the deadly streets of New Orleans, James Johnson is displeased and disheartened by the drug game and the sickness it’s inflicting on his race. Unexpectedly, James met and has befriended, America’s most wanted and deadliest fugitive, Osama Bin Laden. Now he and Osama have joined forces in an effort to eliminate the nations drug trade.

Recently inspired by the rapid growth of ISIS; James, a legendary figure and underworld boss, has amassed enormous wealth, acquired a Harvard education, and is now poised to revolutionize the entire nation.

However, the stakes are high and many powerful people will lose fortunes if James prevails. Foreign assassins are pouring into the United States to wage war in what will become the bloodiest international war ever fought in an effort to strengthen a race.

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The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter’s Tale of Family and Football

The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football by [Leachman, Lori]

The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen, written by Lori Leachman is the story of American Football coach Lamar Leachman from the perspective of his daughter. It follows a coach’s journey from professional player to high school coach to National Football League coach. We see the impact this has on his wife and two daughters. It is a uniquely feminine glimpse into what was ultimately a man’s world – where winning was everything!

Leachman writes of how her father’s chosen profession had an impact on herself and the life of her family. One impact was the geographical impact, always moving to where the job opportunities lay. The family had to move numerous times and she documents the effect this had on the children, in particular. They had to constantly make new friends, and learn the social mores in each new community. The children’s closest friends were often the children of the other football coaches. She describes how they were tough kids, they were coaches’ kids.

Leachman provides an interesting view of Black Civil Rights and how views differed among places. Her view of mixed race friendships were simple; if she liked someone she would be their friend. That of course, contrasted with the views many adults at that time had. She describes briefly living in Cartersville and being confronted by “Blacks Only” signs at the theater and the confusion she felt when she realized African Americans weren’t allowed to swim in the pool. This must have been a bewildering time for a young girl who was immersed in the professional world of football – where African Americans were respected for their skill.

Although her father’s career may have had some negative impacts for her, as she gets older she realizes that her lifestyle had some benefits. Leachman recounts the day she realized her family had some money to spare – something a lot of families did not have.

Tragically the person impacted most by his career choice was the coach himself. Leachman describes how her father’s mental capacity began to decline, and how he was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy attributed to injuries he received during his career.

This memoir is cleverly written, as it progresses through we see Leachman begin to understand her father’s talent as a coach, she recognizes his skill and determination and love for his wife and daughters. The only criticism of the book would be that on one occasion Leachman jumps back and forth between decades which interrupts the flow of the story.

This memoir is an interesting insight to the life of a professional coach, his dedication to the sport, and the impact and experiences for both him and his family.

Pages: 230 | ASIN: B07BRSTNNZ

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Keeper of Slaves

Keeper of Slaves: Book Two of Antebellum Struggles by [Erman, Dickie]

Collette should be one of the happiest women around. As the wife of a wealthy plantation owner, she has everything she could possibly want and lives in the home of her dreams. Her husband, however, makes living her best life impossible. As he has taken up with Amana, one of their slaves, Collette’s life has taken quite a tragic and sad turn. When Amana finds herself in just the right place at the ideal moment to save Collette’s life, both women begin to realize there is much more to their relationship than either of them could have ever imagined.

Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, traces the drama surrounding Trent and Collette Winters and the battle to survive via the Underground Railroad. Erman skillfully crafts a cast of characters who are deeply involved in making the Underground Railroad successful. The author appeals successfully to readers’ emotions and describes incredibly intense scenes of fearful and anxious moments of planning as the book’s main characters attempt to do what feels like the impossible given the time period and the extreme circumstances of their lives.

Even though Erman includes a brief summary of events from Book 1 at the outset, I feel there are several key elements I was missing as I read. Quite a bit of time was spent trying to visualize situations and subplots. There is a history between this entire cast of characters that is begging to be read.

I am beyond intrigued by the “ghost ship.” I found it to be a fantastic addition to the plot and was able to visualize each and every aspect of the ship and its lack of life, the missing supplies, and the eerie and overwhelming silence. Though it sounds a bit out of place in a story of this genre, it actually works quite well.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the concern I have over the dialect. While the bulk of the dialogue feels quite authentic, there are a few things I found distracting as I read. Accents and turns of phrase felt accurate throughout the book for the most part, but a few terms like “machismo” and “space aliens” struck me as odd and felt out of place for the book’s antebellum setting. Periodically, the reader is given the impression that the third person narrator is, indeed, part of the story. While this works in some cases, it doesn’t feel effective here. I was especially confused when, in the narration, the alligator that attacks Collette is referred to as a “gata.” The sudden switching on and off of the more personal narration is a bit difficult to reconcile with the rest of the book.

I am giving Keeper of Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2, by Dickie Erman, 4 out of 5 stars. Fans of historical fiction who desire a bit of romance in their plots will enjoy Erman’s work. I highly recommend Keeper of the Slaves, Antebellum Struggles Book 2 to those who are particularly attracted to Civil War stories with generous amounts of character interaction and authentic dialogue.

Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07NN5ZF8X

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AND BE FREE

And Be Free offers a fresh insight into American history from the perspective of POCs (Person of colour). Barry Roy Nager examines the ways in which history has often overlooked the experiences of POCs and how their contributions to significant events are often minimized and treated as an afterthought. Nager takes this opportunity to give a comprehensive history of the experience of POCs in America and to give individuals a voice when, for so long, their stories have gone unheard.

Nager creates a timeline of American history from the perspective of POCs giving an overview of the experiences lived. The book covers various sections of American history giving instances of various events and how they effected the lives of POCs. The book covers for example the role of Abraham Lincoln, Brown v. Board of education, and the role of black soldiers in the Vietnam war. The book brings the reader right up to the present day and looks ahead to the future of civil rights and the lives of POCs in the modern day.

One particularly notable point is that the book reflects on the brutality of the slave trade and, unlike most accounts, it successfully humanizes the numbers. Often the personal histories of these events are reduced to a numeric digit which means the raw experience is often lost. However, Nager successfully depicts the reality for these individuals in graphic detail and pays respect to the people that were treated in such horrendous ways.
Nager gives the reader a haunting insight and delves into the fake assertions made about various races. These assertions, that were based on unscientific principles, were a factor that lead to the divisions created within society. The ways in which people were treated and the justifications for such treatment appear Orwellian; Nager does not hold back and confronts the reader with the harsh reality.

The book looks at the broad history of POCs in America, using the past as a warning for the future and investigating contemporary problems that may be a result of the past. I give this book a five out of five as it gives an overview of the challenges faced, the progress made, and the hopes, and sadly, fears for the future. I think that this book is essential for anyone looking to begin their journey into the history of POCs in America and American history as a whole. More importantly the book emphasizes that the histories are united insofar as history does not occur in a vacuum.

Pages: 160 | ISBN: 1450089615

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