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Literary Titan Book Awards January 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

   

 

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

 

Their Journey Through Survival

Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole Author Interview

Outbreak is a thrilling zombie apocalypse novel with great action, endearing characters and a strong plot. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

Good stories like The Last of Us, Telltale’s The Walking Dead along with AMC’s version, The Road, etc. Certain survival stories where the main characters developed and changed on their journey through survival and endurance. I was mainly inspired by Neal Shutterman’s book Everlost.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

That my characters would be three dimensional, that the story would be compelling in reflection to the impact on the characters, and it would have some kind of ending where readers can get closure. That I would write a character for readers to root for.

I think this novel delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funniest thing about writing this novel?

The funniest thing to me is originally it was gonna end sooner. The big climax near the end wasn’t originally gonna happen but after a friend read it before I submitted it, he told me it needed something more. Ironically, adding more was what delivered a big climactic ending.

What story are you currently writing and when will it be available?

I’m currently writing Book 3 of the Dark Days Series and I’m co-writing another book called Rising Up. I don’t know when they will be released.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | AllAuthor | BookBub

Cities are bombed out ruins and wilderness is humanity’s new home. The undead roam the earth, and the new world order is about the struggle to survive. Sonny Daniels begins an emotional and physical journey of personal survival and protecting those he loves.

While survival is a constant struggle, Sonny’s most desperate fight is the struggle preserve some semblance of a compassionate soul. Sonny and his parents are caught in the zombie outbreak in upstate New York. After the passage of the first year, their base is attacked by bandits and their safety has again been compromised. Fearing for their loved ones, Sonny’s parents send him and his orphaned childhood friends, Ashley and Carrie, to Fort Denver Colorado on a military plane.

When Fort Denver is overrun with zombies, the three are alone in a zombie-infested wasteland without the army’s protection, forced to rely upon one another and a handful of equally desperate survivors they encounter along the journey. Sonny is determined to do whatever it takes to protect Ashley and Carrie while finding a safe place to call home, but survival can force you to make dark decisions.

Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book 1)

Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book 1) by [Christopher Cole]

Christopher Cole’s Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book one) is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with an endearing cast of characters, and enough action to keep you hanging off the edge of your seat.

The plot follows child-protagonist ‘Sonny’ and his two best friends, Carrie and Ashley. After being separated from their families, the three kids are soon plunged into catastrophe. Ill-prepared and barely 11 years old, the children must learn to look after themselves in a world where roaming hordes of ‘infected’ zombies are the new normal. The plot centers around young Sonny’s early passage into adulthood; how he must ‘grow up fast’ to protect those he loves the most, and the effect this has on his psyche.

Christopher Cole creates meaningful bonds between Sonny, Carrie, Ashley, and every other character the three children encounter along their journey. What’s more impressive is that Cole manages to do so in a short story that runs thick-and-fast with tense moments and brutal action. Sonny treasures his relationships and it’s these friendships that provide some of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the book, whilst also giving weight to the tough life-and-death decisions that Sonny must make. Cole also manages to create tension and action cinematically throughout this novel. Take Sonny’s face-to-face encounter with a zombie, his simple imagery, coupled with Sonny’s narrative commentary, provide a matter-of-fact description that leaves tension building up to the reader’s imagination.

Outbreak delivers value on its themes of martyrdom, personal growth, and loyalty. The consequence of Sonny’s decisions is something that is alluded to, but not built upon as much as I would have hoped. Overall, though, this is a really good, easy-to-read, post-apocalyptic thriller with great action, endearing characters and a strong plot.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B08GBMF3LG

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The Dark Days Series

Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole Author Interview

Sanctuary follows Sonny to a militarized city where he’s conscripted into the city’s guard. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from book one?

Some ideas I wanted in my book were things like showing humanity and compassion towards others. Like how Sonny agreed to pretend to be Clara’s son Nathan or sparing a bandits life. Other ideas were defending their home by training the next generation for thinking ahead. The first book was mainly about survival while the second book was about finding a sanctuary and protecting it and its people inside.

I enjoyed the contrast between the sanctuary and the outside world. Was this dichotomy intentional or incidental to the story you wanted to tell?

It was completely intentional. In a dystopian world, it brings out the worst in people. So, it would make sense that certain people would be desperate for protection and supplies to stay alive. So much so that they would be willing to slaughter innocent people for it.

I thought this story had a unique setup and an interesting premise. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

I was inspired by many other stories such as The Walking Dead, The Road, The Last of Us, etc. These stories helped give me an idea of how savage people can be in an apocalyptic world. As for the story, I was inspired by some of Gary Paulsen’s books and Neal Shutterman’s books. Gary Paulsen can make you feel like you’re in the action, especially through the character’s point of view. Neal Shutterman helped me learn that stories can be more interesting if told through different character’s points of view and how their events with the main character’s events collide together can build up excitement.

This is book two in your Dark Days series. What can readers expect in book three?

I’m still developing it, but readers can expect a bigger scale in conflict with forces from the outside world. The Pacific Army is trying to reclaim America by expanding its territory, but with the limited number of soldiers and resources that can take a lot of time and be difficult. The characters are growing up so they can expect romance blossoming among them, some are figuring out their sexual identity. I’ll be developing issues and situations where the characters have to deal with the fact that sometimes there is no right thing to do in a dystopian environment or warzone. I’ll try to set up where they have to draw the line in complicated situations where it’s about right and wrong or it’s about staying alive and keeping your people alive. The main theme of The Dark Days series is about humanity struggling to stay in an apocalyptic world. That can be extremely hard and even impossible at certain times like that. There’s a lot I’m working with, but it’s still in development, so there’s gonna be changes before its release.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | AllAuthor | BookBub

In the midst of looking for sanctuary in the badlands, Sonny and his friends make it to Fort Gold Rush. A militarized city providing protection from the zombies and predators beyond its walls.

However, the military leaders recognize the city’s safety as a sanctuary is only temporary unless they train the next generation of defenders. It’s there that Sonny is introduced to Grim, an unlikely anti-hero who becomes the singularly most important influence in Sonny’s life. As he and his friends adapt to their new life, they are conscripted to train rigorously as the city’s soldiers and defenders in competing units.

This second installment in the Dark Days series shows there are significantly more lessons awaiting Sonny and his friends than just learning to be lethal fighters.

Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2)

Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2) by [Christopher Cole]

Dark Days- Sanctuary, by Christopher Cole is the second book in his thrilling post-apocalypse book series. The book is set in a dystopian land and follows the story of a few survivors trying to sustain themselves in an undead infested world, but the story is more than survival and bloodshed. Its focus is on the relationship between the characters in the aftermath of death and its implications on the survivors. A group of people, including Sonny and his friends, are trying to find a safe sanctuary, all the while fighting the zombies. They find a safe haven in Fort Gold Rush. The city was built to protect residents from the zombies and predators secured behind walls. The sanctuary has A Good Place vibe to it, but will this blissful state last, or does fate have more adventures for them?

Sonny, our protagonist, is a 12-year-old boy trying to protect his friends and missing his own family while trying to figure out the world around him. The second protagonist is an older adult, Grim, who is on the lookout for someone to pass his knowledge to. The story revolves around the connection between the two. While Sonny is innocent and pure, Grim is cold, callous, but good at heart.

I was able to connect to the character’s point of view and I also loved the message of the story, but I felt that the structure could have been improved with some editing that would remove some of the repeat sentences and keep the story concise.

I still found myself immersed in this emotional story. The characters were intriguing, but I felt that  their actions and relationships were black and white, in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world I wanted things to be a bit more grey in areas that would allow the mind to wonder.

This book reminds me of AMC’s The Walking Dead in it’s ability to explore characters in a high stress situation, which is intriguing on its own, but then add in a bit of NBC’s The Good Place and you have a unique zombie apocalypse story the likes of which gives readers plenty to be entertained with.

I would recommend Dark Days- Sanctuary to rabid fans of the zombie apocalypse genre. Readers will find a unique story to get lost in and, with a bit of editing, this could easily be one of the best post-apocalyptic stories I’ve read this year.

Pages: 292 | ASIN: B08L84KY32

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What Could Have Been

F S Bala
F S Bala Author Interview

Before The Origin follows Amy who is hurled into a world of mystery and magic that is deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

I have always wanted to write science fiction that is set in dystopian Africa. My tribe (the Hausa’s of Sub-Saharan Africa) is the biggest inspiration for the set up. Hundreds of years ago, before religion and colonization, they believed in spirits, they were partly nomadic in nature and had a whole lifestyle around that, unfortunately, it has been gradually erased and forgotten. My book just explores what could have been if a part of that was still alive.

Amy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

Due to her role in the story, Amy’s character development was a well thought out process. I feel like there is always a part of the author in the main character, and that is where her imposter syndrome comes in, but it was very important to have the reader experience the events of her first day at work through her eyes, which is why she is such a blank slate at the beginning of the story. Her relationship with other characters in the story is also a backdrop for the events in the next book.

I enjoyed the African folklore embedded in the story. What kind of research did you do on the topic to ensure it was accurate?

Thank you! I am always happy to hear that a reader particularly enjoyed the folklore aspect of Before the Origin because I completely made that up. Being African, I grew up listening to stories passed down from generations to generations very much like Xari in the story, but I never heard anything that explained different races or how the continents came to be. African folklore is always rich in the battle of good against evil, so I guess that is something I held on to.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to Before the Origin which is grander in scale and characterization, book one was just a set up to our main characters’ journey as they find themselves in a battle against time and it will be available next year.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Much has changed. Climate change has inspired a new generation of discrimination – one where the mutation of a hereditary gene has become the greatest crime. The others – a minority kept silent for years are now up to something sinister.

Agent Amy Taff has moved through the world unnoticed until the recent disturbances in an otherwise perfect utopia require her expertise. Desperate to make her mark, Amy is hurled into a world of mystery and magic, deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. Discoveries that threaten her life and could not only change her reality but hold far-reaching implications for everyone on the face of a lone continent. Follow her into an epic tale that begins with accepting a new job at Scythe. Where it ends could swing the scales of balance toward life or death.

More Action, More Adventure, More Danger

Denna Holm Author Interview
Denna Holm Author Interview

Rise of a Warrior is book five in your Immortal Warriors series. Has the series developed as you had planned or has the series arc changed as you’ve published the books?

I had a general idea where I wanted the series to go when I started, but it has developed into something far more complex than originally planned. I started out just wanting to write a simple fantasy romance, but I soon found myself growing bored with the characters and story. In my mind they needed more. More action, more adventure, more danger, growth, and an underlying mystery to connect one book to the next. I love the challenge of creating a standalone story involving threads that will connect one book to another. Each book is centered around one particular couple, their journey as they face difficulties in their new relationship. Though we are left with unanswered questions at the end, I shy away from cliffhangers. The reader should feel as though they’ve been given a full story, but with a desire to learn more about what is going on behind the scenes.

What is something that you’ve learned as an author that has drastically changed your writing since book one?

Book one was a learning experience. I was still trying to find my own voice, my own style. Romance novels can be extremely difficult to get right, especially if there is an erotic element involved, and I worried about it coming across as shallow. In trying to keep the conflict and action at the forefront, I unintentionally shied away from the romantic aspect of the story, and I think it suffered for it, especially where romance readers were concerned. It made it hard to know what genre to place it under, action/adventure, paranormal romance, or science fiction. I knew I wanted to combine paranormal with science fiction romance, but I don’t think I quite pulled it off in book one, “Soul of a Warrior.” I found my stride with the romance in book two “Ghost Warrior.” It was here that the continuing threads of my plot really began. I only had a vague notion of it in book one, but book two doesn’t work as well without seeing where it all started. In book 3, “A Warrior’s Nightmare,” I began to figure out how to make them stand alone without losing the threads that will eventually tie them all together.

What is one romance trope that you try hard to break in your novels?

Rescue the damsel in distress trope. I started with this in book one and have been struggling to break away from it ever since. I want my female characters to stand on their own, as equals to their powerful mates. I think I succeeded with “Rise of a Warrior.” In my first four books, the female lead starts out coming across as frightened, weak, unsure of herself, and then finds her strength during her struggles. Carla starts out strong, knowing what she wants, and only grows stronger as they go along. Her mate must work hard to earn her love, trust and respect.

What can readers expect in book six of your Immortal Warriors series?

At the end of “Rise of a Warrior,” we bring in Jada Talbot, Bryce’s fated mate. Bryce plays a fairly large part in “Rise of a Warrior.” We first met Jada and Bryce in “Dark Warrior,” a novella. They did not have a happy first meeting and Jada has been fighting against their mating ever since. As we follow Jada and Bryce, we will learn more about the Djinn and Fae, more about their past relationships with the shifters and vampires, and where this all might be headed. I have a second series “Raiden Warriors” that is set in the same universe. Raiden warriors were allies to the Laizahlian when they first drove Djinn from Earth. In this next book, I plan to start drawing these two series together because they will need to join forces again if they want any chance of defeating the Djinn.

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

Carla Trystan is a half-breed vampire who has spent her entire life running from powerful Hunters—aliens from another world. She is also plagued by nightmares, hearing the same deep, dark voice say night after night, ‘If you wish to live, child, take my hand.’ When she finally meets the man behind the terrifying voice, it is to discover he is one of the aliens she has spent her life running from.

Azrael, an ancient Hunter for the Laizahlian Council, is sent to Earth to track down three rogues from their world. What he doesn’t expect is to run into his lifemate. Azrael senses there is more than vampire blood running through Carla’s veins. He suspects a Djinn is involved, placing them both in great danger.

Their journey will thrust them both into the Fae realm, where Carla must rise up and fight the cruel queen who means to take Azrael as her own.

Fight Against Those Pressures

Kyra Anderson
Kyra Anderson Author Interview

Forged Under Fire follows a young woman who serves a repressive government and must hide her feelings for her best friend. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

This series is a prequel to another series I wrote 6 years ago called Inside that is controlled by the same repressive government. However, I wanted to explore how someone directly threatened by the extremist laws would grow up under such a regime. Unfortunately, there are those in the world who grow up having to hide how they feel or what they believe, whether that is due to societal, governmental, or familial pressures, and the decision to fight against those pressures is not an easy one to make. I drew inspiration from many elements of modern society to create a government in order to explore such political extremism through the eyes of a single character, in order to bring a human element to an otherwise politically charged fictional world.

When creating Amelia did you have a plan for development and character traits or did it grow organically as you were writing the story?

Some elements of Amelia were planned, such as her compassion and loyalty to those she loves. However, as I was writing, her reactions to the dangerous situations she encountered were more organic as the scenes progressed. The most organic growth for her as a character was her coming to terms with whether she wanted to stand up against the oppressive laws of her nation or remain hidden in order to stay safe.

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

I wanted to explore a lot of social themes in this book relating to minorities, but it was most important for me to showcase the commentary through the eyes of a character, rather than make it a critique or essay on society. I wanted to keep everything on a very human level so that, no matter what social issue I was exploring, the emotional connection with Amelia was never lost. Extremism in political and social policy is a heavy theme in the series, and I knew that I was walking a fine line, particularly with what has been seen in recent years around the world. I felt it was important to take everything I could to an extreme to explore the impact that could have on a character.

This is book one in your Coalition series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book 2, The Rising Tide, will be released on November 27, 2020. The third and final book of the trilogy will be released in Fall 2021.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

She was born the day America declared the Second Revolutionary War over, but for Amelia Grant, the war was far from over. At eighteen years of age, she decides to answer her call to Mandatory Civil Service with her best friend Bethany. But rather than be thrilled to be working with Bethany every day, Amelia is terrified that her secret crush for her best friend will be discovered–after all, in post-revolution America, such a relationship is grounds for arrest.

A chance meeting changes Amelia’s life when she comes into contact with the newest American domestic terrorist group, the Coalition. Startled to learn that her sister is already a member, and eager to meet others like her who are considered “undesirable” by the Central Government, she seeks out the group. Enraptured by the charismatic leader, Amelia finds herself pulled easily toward the Coalition.

However, her involvement puts a larger target on her back, and she soon finds herself at the center of scandals and nefarious dealings. Amelia must decide if she wants to live a lie, or fight to dismantle the corruption in the new government.
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