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Good People Doing Bad Things

Author Interview
Peter M. Talty Author Interview

The Jackals’ Fall follows three desperate and questionable men with no experience in crime, who come up with a get-rich-quick plan by kidnapping a rich woman. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

There were a couple of things driving The Jackals’ Fall: I wanted to write a book where some law-abiding citizens do something very much out of the character of the people in the story and become major felons. It is a fall from grace theme, where the characters become felons for different motivations.

Each of the characters, even minor ones, are well developed and interesting. What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

They were all parts of many different people who I knew personally, or I read people like them real crime books and TV shows.

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

Good people doing bad things, and amateurs trying to commit the perfect crime. I wanted the crime and the characters to be believable and deeply conflicted.

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

I am writing a biography of my youngest brother who is now deceased, but he lived a life of failure, disappointment, loss, and loneliness. He was misunderstood by everyone one who knew him, and I want to honor him by getting a book at shows his intelligence, resourcefulness, and perseverance. His life was a tragedy, but one he tried to rise above but failed at everything he attempted.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Jay Blinksiter and Horace (“Horse”) Kellerman convinced each other that they could kidnap a rich old lady, safely hold her for bigtime ransom, collect it, return her to her lavish style, and repeat the process with new victims in different cities. They found the perfect place to hold their intended victims in a rural upstate New York decrepit animal rescue farm.

Jay and “Horse” were two law-abiding citizens who convinced each other and a naïve friend that they could kidnap a rich, older lady, and safely hold her for a hefty ransom in a faltering animal rescue farm. Unanticipated tragedies would befall them all.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award Feb 2023

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

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 writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

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

Literary Titan Silver Book Award February 2023

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

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 writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

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

Crime Has Many Impacts

James W. Marquart Author Interview

Unthinkable: Who Kills Their Grandmother? follows the murder investigation of an 85-year-old woman, and the trial of her killer. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Unthinkable was important for me to write for several reasons. First, the crime involved our home.  I believed then and now that this story had to be told.  It’s not every day that you purchase a home with a history. Second, the book illustrates how ordinary people can be caught up in stressful situations, see no way out and have no one to confide in, and ultimately commit a brutal crime.  I am convinced that the poor decisions engaged in by this offender could happen to anyone.  I wanted the readers to understand just how powerful various situational dynamics can be and how they come together to lead to a horrible act, typically out of character for the perpetrator.  Third, it was important for me to take the reader’s hand and walk them through the entire criminal justice process, from the crime to the investigation, to the courtroom, and to sentencing.  Finally, it was very important for me to write about my relationship with the offender, which started out very casually and over time things turned “south”.  I want readers to understand that writing true crime books often involves interacting with criminals, who in turn try to manipulate anyone who will listen to them.  I admit that I fell for his innocence narrative and only when I did more research on the case did the events leading up to and including the murder truly expose who the real killer was.  Readers need to know that getting close to the subject matter can sometimes be risky for the author. I have been around criminals and prisoners my entire professional career; however, we are all susceptible to manipulation.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Crime has many impacts, seen and unseen.  By far the hardest part of the book was to have the victims, or family members, discuss the impacts of this brutal crime on them, as people.  I thought the best way for the reader to understand the consequences, or to put themselves in the victims’ shoes, was to have them read the actual victim impact statements as they were read in Court. I struggled with finding the best way to convey their loss.  Reading about the victims struggling to explain how deep this senseless tragedy affected them, physically and psychologically, was gut wrenching but very real. I could have paraphrased their statements and eased their dramatic effect.  Instead, I used the actual statements for every reader to think about. I want readers to know the seen and unseen impacts of crime in the family.

How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

This book required extensive research involving such things as analysis of court records, conversations with the offender and others involved in the case, and news media.  The idea for the book originated at a neighborhood Christmas party in 2019, and the book was released for sale in October 2022.  The actual research and writing time involved about 12 months, throughout 2020, and plenty of rewriting and reorganization in 2021. I also had six close colleagues read draft chapters and they provided me with critical feedback on content, style, readability, and overall accuracy.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

I have studied crime and criminals and punishment decisions for 30 years.  People still have a hard time trying to fathom why someone would kill a family member.  Readers tell me the standard line: “I read the whole book and I cannot understand how or why someone could murder their grandmother?”  I agree with that statement to a degree.  On the face of it, sure, it sounds too fantastic to consider.  Murder your grandmother? The crime detailed in my book is completely understandable given the situation in which the offender found him self.  The offender “fell into”, by his own making, a vicious, but powerful, downward spiral within which the murder was planned and carried out.  My readers seem surprised this crime occurred; but in reality, after digging into the crime and analyzing the total situation confronted by the offender, it really comes as no surprise.  Crime is part of daily life and there is no magic potion or special “booster shot” that serves as an antidote to criminal behavior.  Many people (neighbors, friends, work mates, family members), in a similar situation, would have behaved similarly.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

It was a warm, still, July summer night in 2014, when an 85-year-old woman, a beloved grandmother and neighbor, was viciously murdered by someone who slipped quietly into her bedroom and slit her throat and watched her bleed to death in less than a minute.

Who committed this awful murder, how, and why? The perpetrator of this horrible crime was the woman’s own grandson, an adored and trusted family member. He was married and also had four children of his own. James W. Marquart walks us through the investigation involving the collection of evidence in Texas and in Illinois, the arrest, trial, conviction, and the punishment of the killer who committed this crime for money and pure lust. Punch your ticket to a front row seat and see how murder cases unfold and murderers are caught and punished.

In Unthinkable: Who Kills Their Grandmother? by James W. Marquart we experience a gripping account on why the murder occurred and how this crime by a family member has impacted the lives of other close family members. In a weird twist of fate, the author continues to live in the house that belonged to the killer.

Godsmack Part I

Godsmack Part 1: The Mother Earth is an intriguing book that combines a criminal gang, spirituality, love, and regret. This suspenseful book follows the story of Yahn Marynugh, who, in his quest for a simple life, ends up in the heart of a dark plot (or so it may seem!). After leaving his day job, he embarks on a journey of peace and natural living. Meanwhile, a group of heroin producers, under surveillance by the police, wreak havoc on themselves and those around them.

I really enjoyed Josie Peterson’s writing style. She writes formally and ornately, which is a pleasant change from most crime thriller literature. This formed a nice contrast to some of the controversial topics covered, such as drugs and violence. In addition, it was interesting that the majority of the characters in the book were homosexual men, especially considering the book’s direction.

The whole story is unique and makes the reader work hard to uncover the details. This fast-paced story is filled with suspense and exhilarating moments. The plot takes twists and turns when readers least expect it so readers should be fully engaged if they want to follow the action. I think that readers would benefit from an author’s note to explain the relevance of the first chapter and its overall meaning to the story. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, but each has its own backstory that adds to the plotline. I especially like the way that Josie Peterson developed each of their personalities, creating a mix of empathy and somewhat disdain for most.

Godsmack Part 1: The Mother Earth is a stimulating crime novel laced with dark humor. Readers who enjoy life’s darker side and an engaging crime novel will find this one hard to put down.

Pages: 357 | ASIN : B0BFNN1KBM

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I Wanted To Bring Out The ‘Lion’

Douglas Misquita Author Interview

Lion – Most Wanted follows Aslan as he breaks a high-value target out of a Russian supermax prison and becomes the most wanted man in the Middle East. What were some sources of inspiration that informed the development of this novel?

1) My visit to Budapest, Hungary
2) A sex-trafficking ring operating in England
3) The Bosnian war
4) The theory that the Syrian civil war is over oil/ gas pipelines
5) The British hacktivist who become a social media consultant/ hacker for the Islamic State
6) The film, Eye in the Sky

What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing Aslan’s character in this book?

I wanted to drive home the point that, all Aslan wants, is to get out of his circumstances. I needed a clever way to really let him be left alone which needed the ancillary characters’ motivations to be equally developed.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

The scene where Aslan escapes from the Hungarian gang. It is brutal because I wanted to bring out the ‘lion’ , no holds barred.

What can readers expect in book three of The Escape Series?

For now, I haven’t considered a trilogy for The Escape Series. This is primarily because I want to move to a new series (of which 4 books are in development). But one can never tell: I might bring Aslan back. Everybody loves stories in which trouble finds the hero who has given up a dark past 🙂

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Website

When fate dealt him an incredible opportunity, Aslan ‘The Lion’ Terzi should’ve stuck to his plan: vanish into obscurity. Instead, he broke a High Value Target out of a Russian supermax prison. Now he’s the Most Wanted Man in the Middle East. For Russian FSB agent Igor Sokolov, it’s national pride. For Syrian intelligence agent Al Siyad — The Hunter — it’s big game. And to mercenary Samuel Goldsmith, Aslan is a peace offering to the Russians for his complicity in the prison break. Thing is, Aslan didn’t earn his nickname for nothing. He isn’t out of luck yet… and he hasn’t lost sight of his original plan.

The Nocturnal Devil: A Griffin Knight Mystery Thriller

The third installation in the Griffin Knight series is the best yet! Griffin and his friends are faced with hunting down a serial killer in New York City before he claims his next victim. As two women from a New York City neighborhood are reported missing, the only clue linking the disappearances is that they frequent the same stretch of blocks making up an east-side neighborhood. Griffin, currently on leave due to his injuries from the Seattle adventures, is called back into action to help Noah, his closest thing to a partner, solve the crimes. The story is steeped in intrigue right from the beginning, which is one thing the author is very good at doing. There’s rarely a dull moment in Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr.’s books and that is plain to see in The Nocturnal Devil.

Although Griffin is still dealing with the trauma of the events of taking down Colossus, and losing his friend Felix, he finds comfort in a new love interest, Samira. She is a doctor who works with the police department and she helps to heal his body and calm his mind. I enjoyed the throughline in this series because of its consistency and long time fans will be able to pick this book up and find it even more intriguing because of it.

When the case hits several dead ends, Griffin reaches out to Ashe to use her hacking abilities to help solve the crimes. Ashe is also keeping a watchful eye over Griffin as Sapphire hires assassins to ambush Griffin at his home. Ashe proves to be very helpful in using technology to identify the potential serial killer. I enjoyed the multiple layers to the mystery and the technical aspects of unravelling it. The killer is a character that was fascinating and he is definitely one that readers will not soon forget, especially the twisted and deadly fight that Griffin is lured into.

I was happy to learn more about Griffin and his background. I also enjoyed the integration of advanced technology into the story. I have no idea if something like Smart Goggles and the Theia drone exists, but they are interesting and well-thought-out tech that adds a James Bond or Jason Bourne quality to the story. From the suspense, the chilling account of the killer, the use of technology, and the background of Griffin, The Nocturnal Devil is a sensational crime thriller that delivered excitement and intrigue in equal measure.

ISBN: 978-1-959354-04-8

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A Perfect Place For A Murder

James Gilbert Author Interview

Murder at Amapas Beach follows an American consul living in Puerto Vallarta who discovers a murdered woman while on vacation at the beach. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

For the last several years, I have spent considerable time in Puerto Vallarta and once took a similar outing (as described in the novel) to Amapas Beach which is located about 20 miles south of the city.  Walking in the jungle toward a small craft village, I was struck by the setting—the overgrown trees and bushes and ominous twists and turns of the path.  It seemed a perfect place for a murder. 

More generally, I have always enjoyed reading fiction set in unusual places and Puerto Vallarta seemed to be a perfect location to set my Amanda Pennyworth series.  The resort has a large indigenous population in the old part of the city, a sleek and expensive section for time shares and American and Canadian tourists, and a trendy quarter with night clubs and restaurants…and a large expat community.  In other words, it’s a wonderful jumble of all sorts of people in a variety of distinct areas.

How did the mystery develop for this story? Did you plan it before writing or did it develop organically?

Because this is the third book in a series featuring the same amateur sleuth (Amanda Pennyworth, the American Consul to Puerto Vallarta), I already had my main character.  The inspiration for her, however, came from a stint working for the U.S. State Department on their promotion panel.  There I read hundreds of job descriptions and evaluations, and I was impressed by what embassy staff did in their foreign assignments.  It seemed a perfect opportunity to create a character who had to negotiate two cultures.

In terms of composition, when I conceptualize a story line, I generally have an overall idea of the plot and I am pretty certain as to how it will end.  But as I write, I find that some situations and characters develop in ways that I had not originally anticipated.  That’s the greatest enjoyment in writing: the surprises that your imagination springs on you!

What experience in your life has had the biggest impact on your writing?

In the course of my career as an academic historian, I had the unusual privilege of teaching in a wide variety of locations abroad.  The most important aspect of those assignments was the opportunity to experience very different cultures and learn about the ways that people spoke and acted.  I think that any writer is also an observer—someone who tries, above all, to understand the human motivations.  Above all, this seems to me to be the source of creating characters and the stories they inhabit.

What is the next book in the Amanda Pennyworth mystery series that you are working on, and when will it be available?

I have not begun the fourth book in this series, but trouble always seems to find Amanda Pennyworth, my amateur sleuth.  And I am certain that it will happen again soon, and she will find herself struggling to solve the murder of an American tourist or expat living in Puerto Vallarta.   

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Trouble always seems to find Amanda Pennyworth, the American consul to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta.

First on a romantic outing to a secluded cove along the Mexican coast where the beautiful Danielle Maglin is found bludgeoned to death; and then at an elegant dinner party thousands of miles away only days later with the killer surely present, Amanda finds herself drawn into the search to find the culprit’s identity. When Danielle’s close friend Terrence Blanchard is found dead from an apparent suicide, Amanda is convinced that the killer has struck again. But there are too many possible suspects and just the usual list of motives: jealousy, greed, sex, money, and hatred. Nothing seems to make sense.

Working with the police first in Mexico and then in the United States, Amanda is sure that the killer was among the group of friends on an excursion to Puerto Vallarta from the small city near Chicago. But which one? The police are stymied when their forensic investigation leads nowhere. It is up to Amanda to find out why Danielle and Terrence had to die.
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