Queen of Dragons finds an uneasy peace shattered when Elky and Ustice are taken and the Spires are spurred into action. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
Thank you, Thomas. In this book I wanted to show how even one life is missed from a community. The beginning of the story expresses, I think, the feeling of loss each individual of a community feels and the joy at the recovery of that person. This part of the story leads to the ‘why’ behind the crime which is the focus of the book.
I really enjoyed the world your building in this series. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?
I lived in California for many years, close to the mountains. Hiking trails along those mountains gave me a keen sense of a land the dragons would inhabit–the outcropping of mountains close to the ocean with the scent of sea spray that hangs in the air is much like The Spires of Dasny.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I don’t prethink themes, they occur naturally through the writing process. The sense of loss was one theme, a joyful return another, redemption yet another. Mainly in this book I wanted to show the growth of the characters and the challenges each of them face with that growth. It’s not necessarily a ‘coming of age’ book, but it does touch on some of those emotions and the growth each character experiences.
This is book two in The Spires of Dasny series. What can readers expect in book three?
In book three of The Spires of Dasny, the readers will be propelled into a much larger world. They begin to learn of other kingdoms and how they can benefit them or destroy them. Along with this discovery is an ancient lore that plays out with the main characters of Seyra, Grifton and Elky. What is the meaning behind it and will it help them or come at a cost? It is my hope to expand this series by focusing on these different kingdoms and the impact each plays with The Spires of Dasny.
I am aiming for the release of book three, The Kingdom of the Spires, by fall 2021, and with any luck, much sooner!
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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
Trust vs Lust… a biography by Ian D. Niall
Intrepid Spirit by David Tunno
Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.
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Dance of Hearts is a riveting retelling of a classic story with a strong female protagonist and some clever twists. What drew you to Cinderella’s story and inspired you to rewrite this fairy tale?
The story began as a writer’s challenge, but I was immediately taken with the idea of re-writing it as a study in manners, like a Jane Austen tale. Re-telling classics so they appeal to a modern reader can be tricky since many of the heroines in these tales aren’t the sassy heroines we tend to read about today. The difficulty for an author is how we can write characters that remain true to the original and to a historical romance, while also making them enjoyable for modern readers.
I enjoyed the direction of Melinda’s character. What were some things you wanted to keep the same from the classic story and what were some new traits you wanted to introduce?
I feel the essence of the Cinderella tale is of a person who is downtrodden but still succeeds despite their challenges. She takes a chance to do something she otherwise wouldn’t and it pays off for her. Similarities to the original tale include a family situation that is not ideal, being the unpaid servant of the family, and a chance at true love.
While there is no glass slipper in Dance of Hearts, there is a magical dress given as a gift by a mysterious benefactor. The role of “prince” becomes someone more real in this Jane Austen world where fairy magic is present.
What was the funniest scene in the story for you to write?
Probably this won’t be the same for readers, but when Melinda has to chomp on her toast in order to remain silent for it was a realistic gesture we all have had to do when around relatives at some time or another. LOL.
Do you plan to write other stories based on literary classics?
Yes, Dance of Hearts is the first in a series where each tale is a standalone. Beauty and the Beast is retold in the next story, Price of a Rose. This collection will include fairytales familiar to many readers but also some lesser known fairytales that will be enjoyable due to being fresh and new.
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Sinbad the Sailor sets out over the sea to retrieve his fortune with all his remaining goods on board. They alight on a beautiful island – but no it is a huge whale who, awakened by their shouts, tosses Sinbad painfully into the sea. Magically rescued he is befriended by a great king, and his ship, with crew and full cargo wondrously returns. Sinbad returns to his beloved Baghdad, now a rich man – till the next voyage! A tale from the Arabian Nights, a collection of adventures parallel to Homer’s Odyssey. Like your grandmother told you.
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Six years ago, Melinda was orphaned. Since that day, her life with her relatives hasn’t been the easiest. She is more of an employee to them than she is a beloved member of their family. Of fairy heritage herself, Melinda is quite the enigma to her less-than-caring relatives. When she is presented the opportunity to reunite with the single remaining person from her childhood, only one thing stands in her way–but it’s the biggest barrier she could ever dream to have to fight. To be remembered is divine, but to be forgotten is breaking her lonely heart.
Dance of Hearts: A Cinderella Retelling, by Byrd Nash, is a completely new and wonderful retelling of the classic fairy tale. Of all the variations offered over the years, this one stands out for its time period, the plot twist given its male characters, and the intense emotion exhibited by main character, Melinda. The added charm of the fairy world makes Nash’s tale one to remember.
One of the most striking aspects of Nash’s rendition of Cinderella is the strength given Melinda. She is fierce in almost every way possible. Though her status is perceived to be lowly and her position is not respected by her family and most around her, Melinda speaks her mind, stands up for herself and others, and does not shy away from questioning anything she finds suspicious.
I am giving Dance of Hearts: A Cinderella Retelling, by Byrd Nash, an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. This beautifully penned version of a Cinderella story is a quick read, offers readers a totally new take on the age-old story, and will appeal to readers across genres. The unique ending/epilogue truly set this story apart from all other fairy tale remakes.
Pages: 70 | ASIN: B08F38P57X
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A lone wolf waits outside the house the night Fawna Belle Darling is born. He knows what her mother, Isleen already understands–Fawna is the granny witch. In her home in Purgatory Bend, Wyoming, young Fawna is blessed with a mother who teaches her the ways of their world. As Fawna grows and matures, it becomes increasingly obvious that Isleen was correct–her daughter is special. When Patsy wanders into her life, she is faced with the realization that he may not be who he thinks he is, but Fawna knows. She, true to her nature, must be the one to tell him and to help him understand.
Snowdust and Boneshine: The Chronicles of Granny Witch, by Grendolyn Peach Soleil, is the first book in a series. The story centers around Fawna, who is a granny witch. Her life in the Midwest in the mid 1800’s in nothing short of fascinating. From her birth in the 1830’s to her experiences as everyone’s go-to for potions, advice, and healing, Fawna is an integral part of her community.
One of the most striking aspects of her life as a granny witch is her responsibility to ghosts, or vespers. Throughout her life, Fawna is able to see them for what they are when no one around her is able or aware. Her gentleness when addressing Patsy and her ability to help him grasp the reality of his situation is enthralling. Soleil’s writing is riveting and the entire storyline surrounding the two characters is gripping.
One of the parallel storylines caught my attention and stuck with me long after finishing the book. Pearl, desperate not just for love but also for a family approaches Fawna for help. I was truly touched by the way Fawna went about making a potion for her and giving her hope for her future. Soleil’s writing is much more than a fantasy–it’s a story of love and faith.
Snowdust and Boneshine: The Chronicles of Granny Witch is a short read, but it is packed cover to cover with an engaging storyline, well-developed characters, and touching events steeped in fantasy with a bit of romance thrown in. I look forward to many more installments and new adventures involving the granny witch and those in her small, tucked away Wyoming town. Fawna Belle Darling is a unique character and one to follow.
Pages: 125 | ASIN: B08RGG5JQ3
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Charlotte’s Snowman, by Lainey Dee, is an exciting and touching children’s story of a little girl that builds a snowman for Winter. She expects her snowman to be normal when suddenly, he starts talking! He begins to complain of the cold and she does her best to keep him warm. But, the next morning, Charlotte finds a surprise that she never expected.
Charlotte’s Snowman has an adorable storyline that is easy for children to follow. Charlotte is an incredibly empathetic and generous young girl. She’s a perfect role model for anyone to follow, with a great fashion sense too. This is a great story for parents to read with their children, as it provides topics of conversation on helping others and being empathetic. The art is very detailed with a soft color palette that shows emotion and movement well. The illustrations allow the reader to better understand how Charlotte and the snowman feel throughout the whole book. It was an art style that was reminiscent of Charlie Brown and I truly enjoyed it.
Charlotte’s Snowman is a cute and imaginative story perfect for children and parents to read together during the holidays. It teaches a valuable lesson with an easy to follow storyline along with cute artwork.
Pages: 25 | ASIN: B08P1P97F1
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Milli Mermaid’s PEARL OF WISDOM is a fun children’s book about a girl who goes on an undersea adventure and learns a valuable lesson. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
I lived by the beach when I was a very young girl, and was mesmerised by the mysteries of the ocean.
I dreamed of being a mermaid, hoping for the day a mermaid’s tail would magically appear in place of my legs!
It was such a FUN fantasy, that was perpetuated by any book, movie, or tv show I saw on the subject… This inspired me to create my own Mermaid story…
I enjoyed the moral at the heart of this story. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Some of the themes explored in my book include: Empowerment, Individuality, Bravery, and Friendship… just to name a few.
What was the funnest scene for you to draw?
That is a really hard question to answer. Each and every page was so much fun to draw!
I loved drawing every colourful scene, with Milli Mermaid, Sammi Seahorse, and the colourful fish, and shells. I also really had fun drawing the scary sea creature scene…
You may have noticed, I drew everything by hand, then experimented with mixed media, drawing the bubbles and pearl on the computer, just for fun… I realise now, I can’t say for sure which scene was the most fun to draw, because they were all so much fun to draw!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I don’t want to give too much away just yet, however, I can tell you the next book is part of the “Milli’s Musings” series, and is in the process of being written and drawn. It will be out this year, in 2021!
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