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We Can Go Even Further

E. Barron Author Interview

Dream Knights: The Network follows a young boy and girl in a world where adults have lost the ability to dream and the pair seek answers to the problem in their dreams. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Burnout in the United States, such as the Great Resignation, inspired me to suggest a world where adults no longer dream. In the novel, excessive stress and worry make dreaming impossible for adults. Yet, thanks to heroic children, there is hope to bring dreams back.

In reality, there is hope to reduce burnout too. Teleworking and flexible schedules are already gaining popularity. We can go even further.

When compared to the United States, Finland’s students show greater academic success while spending less time in the classroom. They even have summer breaks that are 10 to 11 weeks long. We can learn from this type of success not only for our children but also for our workforce. We all have limits.

Grant and Zahra are intriguing characters that were fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your characters’ development?

I wanted Grant and Zahra to be great role models and add cultural and gender diversity to the novel.

To be inclusive, I requested that my cover artist present my characters as silhouettes. Originally, the characters were also written in a nondescript manner. I later changed that, as to be more intentional with diversity, and modeled Zahra after a friend whose family emigrated from Bangladesh.

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

Different people have different skills, and they are all valuable. When working together, people can accomplish great things.

Also, building relationships and simplifying life can lead to a more fulfilling life than one filled with possessions and stress.

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

Dream Knights: The Gate, which picks up a couple of weeks after the first book, was just released on December 21, 2022. The third book, still in its early stages, will take place three to five years after the first two books. However, I have also started a historical fiction book for adults. It’s about a budding romance in 16th century Sweden during the rebellion against Danish rule. Although I’m still deciding which book to write first, I’m hoping to publish one in 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Some dreams feel real. What if they were?
Dream Knights: The Network is a children’s adventure novel about controlling dreams and connecting fantasy with reality.
Grant, a first grader in Winooski, Vermont, worries about his exhausted parents. When his classmate’s father becomes ill, his concerns intensify.
Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, Zahra struggles with her parents’ hospitalization because they are in medically-induced comas.
Unfortunately, their parents are not the only ones facing problems. All adults—consumed by their thoughts—have lost the ability to dream.
Seeking solutions for their parents, this young boy and girl find answers in an unexpected place—their dreams. They also find the network, a mysterious hub of energy. But from where does the network’s energy come, and how is it used?
Dream Knights: The Network is an empowering middle grade novel about teamwork, bravery, and cultural diversity. For parents, it is an inspirational tale about valuing health, happiness, and the unique abilities of children.

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.

The Fearless Dragon Heir

Hayley Reese Chow Author Interview

Odriel’s Heirs follows a sheltered young woman with the power of flame who has to learn to control her gift and save humans that have cast her out. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story? 

Odriel’s Heirs was my first book, so by the time I sat down to write it, I’d been thinking about the story for years. I’ve always loved chosen one stories, but I really wanted to show how the reality of a chosen one could be extremely difficult and burdensome. Honestly, I can see seeds of inspiration from so many of my favorite childhood books and TV shows sprinkled in this story: Sabriel by Garth Nix, X-men, and even Dragon Ball Z. I love the idea that Kaia has a gift that is difficult to use and, in a time of peace, made her an outcast instead of a hero. But then when she finally has a chance to become a hero like she always dreamed, it is more heart-breaking and nightmarish than she could have ever imagined.

Kaia comes into her gift as the Dragon Heir at a time when people felt it was not needed or wanted, till disaster strikes. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

As a teenager, I read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, in which Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “A man who is warm cannot understand a man who is freezing,” and it really stuck with me. I think in times of peace, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine what we would have to do or endure in times of violence or war. And, many times, I feel like rather than confront these scary or uncomfortable thoughts or possibilities, people would rather avert their gaze from reminders of those difficult truths. In the world of Okarria, Kaia is definitely one of these uncomfortable reminders, and her people spurn her for it, but I love how that doesn’t steal her desire to fulfill her role and protect those people. Although she often doesn’t feel like the fearless Dragon Heir she’s meant to be, the fact that she accepts this mantle on behalf of her people really shows her true strength and courage. 

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

One of the strongest themes in this book, and the series as a whole, is that even when we’re at rock bottom, at the end of our rope, we’re still capable of so much more than we believe. And though Odriel’s Heirs is full of danger and battles, it is the mental struggle with Kaia’s own confidence she must win if she wishes to survive. Kaia must come to terms with her shortcomings and her strengths and as such, she has to learn to have faith in both those around her and herself in order to come to her full potential. Although Odriel’s Heirs is an epic fantasy novel, Kaia’s coming-of-age underscores her every challenge, and it was so fulfilling to really watch Kaia grow from the self-conscious sheep-girl into a legendary Dragon Heir. 

Is this the first book in the series? If so, when is the next book coming out and what can your fans expect in the next story?

Yes! Odriel’s Heirs is a trilogy with stand-alone entries linked by two novellas. The first book, Odriel’s Heirs, follows the Dragon Heir. Burning Shadows, a follow-on novella, links the story to the second book, Idriel’s Children, which follows a Shadow Heir of the next generation. Then, Night of Ash, another follow-on novella, links the narrative to the final book, Time’s Orphan, which follows a Time Heir. Time’s Orphan will be released on Feb 8th 2023 and the series will be complete! It’s been such a joy to embark and complete this epic adventure, and I’m so thankful to all the readers who’ve joined me along the way! Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Odriel’s Heirs!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Winner of the 2020 Florida Author Project sponsored by Biblioboard and Library Journal.
5th place finalist in the 2021 Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards.


The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

Dragum 

Dragum by K.c LaSaga is a story about Kali, young, idealistic, and ambitious, who has different goals and adventures in mind, contrary to her family’s wishes. As she embarks on a path toward travel and romance, Kali soon becomes the center of controversy within her family and community. Her journey, coming-of-age experiences, and a vibrant romance with another woman quickly shape the opinions of those in Kali’s life, which poses obstacles, and challenges her inner strength, or dragum.

The story is narrated in the first person, from Kali’s perspective, so the reader sees the world and experiences through her eyes. She quickly learns that the world of adulthood and acceptance in society isn’t an easy path to navigate. As Kali flies through a whirlwind of new social circles, an exciting relationship, nightlife, and ambitions ahead, she soon learns of the darker side of life: heartache, disappointment, and cruel opinions. Kali tries to face her internal struggles and must also face the inevitable while learning to find self-love and acceptance.

LaSaga is an exceptional writer and maintains an engaging, smooth narration throughout the book. I felt drawn to Kali and her struggles with identity, heartbreak, and finding a place in society as a young adult. The author does an excellent job of tackling the complexities of Kali’s life and how she must face layers of unexpected chances and experiences while learning to build self-confidence. As challenges mount before her, Kali presses forward to take greater charge of her life, despite what lies ahead. Kali’s life is highly relatable, and I found the book kept me intrigued and challenging to put down!

Dragum by K.c LaSaga is a fantastic novel for anyone who enjoys romance and coming-of-age stories. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for its well-written, detailed account of a unique yet familiar character who must face the struggles of life, self-identity, and living authentically. It’s a great book that I highly recommend, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Pages: 333 | ASIN : B09MF7LQZ4

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Twisted and Anything-But-Simple

Kaaren Sutcliffe Author Interview

Undercover Mage follows a young spy mage on a secret mission who meets up with interesting characters and finds romance while trying to save the provinces. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Mage Everand was a key character in my first fantasy with romance series, The Saga of the Ambitious Mage. Initially aloof and cold, he started to thaw when he saved the life of a warrior woman who inadvertently fell into his world. Even though he largely saved the day, the woman chose the other guy and went back to her home world.

For ages, I’ve been troubled about starting Everand on such an epic character arc and then leaving him hanging. In this new series, through his twisted and anything-but-simple mission, he has further chances to evolve, and a second chance at love. Lamiya, boat team captain and mystical bird caller, explodes into his existence, literally almost running him over with her dragon boat! On top of this, doing what he does best, sleuthing, he progressively uncovers a barrage of lies and deception surrounding the foundation of his beloved Mages’ Guild.

Through working on reports to do with the Murray Darling Basin, I became interested in the concept of a massive river travelling through several provinces and how this might influence relations between the peoples. Add to this my fascination with the Chinese mythology underpinning dragon boat racing, and of course there is an irate river dragon that needs to be appeased. They just have to find him first.

Everand is an interesting and complex character that happens to be a spy enhancing his identity further. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I’m fascinated by why people do things, how they make decisions, and how the consequences of those decisions ripple out to affect others. Everand, despite being a loner, strives to do what is right. He tends to be a bit black and white, so he’s greatly conflicted when what he thinks he should do doesn’t align with what others, particularly his master, the Head of the Guild, want him to do.  In this series he’s tested by one life-changing decision after another, the stakes higher each time.

The guilt he feels about not being able to save his assigned Guild mentor on his previous mission is thrown in his face when he uncovers his mentor’s son, a forbidden half-mage, loose in the river provinces. Another second chance: can he save his mentor’s son? But doing so would see him disobey direct orders … thank goodness he has Lamiya to ground him when he struggles.

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

Good question! I confess, what started as a relatively simple mission with the idea of continuing to explore the themes of self-identity, doing what is right, and being open to love, kept gaining in complexity as the plot unfolded. Even I felt like sitting Everand down and saying, “Seriously? You want to add another layer?”

Somehow, I ended up with a whole layer of deep deception about the foundation of the Guild and its relationship with water dragons, which in turn brought to light the complexity of Everand’s relationship with his master, Mage Mantiss, who has been a surrogate father to him since he was twelve.

Lamiya is an awesome foil for Everand as she evolves into her own spiritual being, which leads to some interesting considerations of how we define power, ability and magic. Their undeniable attraction allows me to look at love, working together … and sacrifice. 

On a lighter level, an aspect I definitely wanted to expose was the history, rigour, discipline, awesome training and camaraderie associated with dragon boat paddling. I’ve been a keen paddler since 2018 and am totally impressed by, and loving, the sport. I’m not aware of other novels in English that feature dragon boating. The paddling generates some wonderful moments of humour, and some hopefully highly original scenes. Paddles up!

Can you tell us where the book goes and where we’ll see the characters in the next book?

 In Fugitive Mage, the dynamic between Everand and Malach, the half-mage, comes to a head pretty quickly. To quote Lamiya: How did she come to be snared between two mages; one she loved and one she feared. Malach is the wild card in the series, totally unreliable and unpredictable, with Everand trying his hardest to redeem him … We also see Mage Mantiss failing in mind and body, introducing the potential for chaos in the Guild with the rapid rise of the ruthless Mage Pelamis.

Lamiya, bless her, decides to call the dragon in her lake in Riverplain, and enter Akachi — the original, superior river dragon with a massive grudge to bear. The ultimate plot twist arrives as Lamiya worries whether she called the dragon, or did the dragon call her?  

Everand and Lamiya are fortunate they have loyal paddlers as friends to help them navigate the increasingly turbulent waters.

With so many moving parts, I’m told it’s a fast-paced read. The first beta reader read book two in one sitting and the editor told me she didn’t want it to end! Lucky there’s still Eminent Mage to come (September 2023) as Everand and Lamiya both have a way to go to complete their journey arcs and find a sure way to be with each other. Let alone save the dragons, the provinces and the Guild.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

Kaaren Sutcliffe delivers a richly layered fantasy tale with intrigue, romance and compelling characters. The trilogy weaves together a young spy mage on a covert mission, a rogue half-mage, an alluring bird caller with uncanny abilities. A fiercely competitive dragon boat teams and river dragons with a hidden past seeking amends from a Mages’ Guild founded on deception.
A grumpy river dragon withholds rain. Their crops wilting in unrelenting sunlight, the provinces plan a festival of dragon boat races to appease the dragon.
But someone doesn’t agree … As the incidents of sabotage mount, Riverfall sends a desperate messenger to the aloof Mages’ Guild, hidden behind its deadly warded wall.
Mage Everand, a spy, is astounded when his master sends him to Riverfall to find out what’s going on.
The catch? ‘Under no circumstances, none whatsoever, reveal your identity.’
The undercover mission unfolds with layer upon layer of intrigue, until Everand starts to question everything he believes.
The alluring boatwoman, Lamiya, insists on helping him, making it increasingly difficult to conceal his purpose – and retain control of his heart.
Everand faces an irate dragon, a rogue half-mage and, worst of all, a legacy of treachery and secrets underpinning the foundation of his beloved Guild.
Can he save the provinces and make things right without sacrificing his soul and sense of self?

Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel

Book Review

Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel by David Church is a gripping page-turner. The main story follows John Dawkins, a man who, following the death of his former mentor Thomas Edison, is given a mysterious device that seems to grant him the ability to speak with the dead when he first activates it.

Two years pass, and the device never offers such a display again, leading John to think it was all in his head. That is until one day, when it unexpectedly begins to move, carving out a message telling John to find a former associate of Edison’s who has been kidnapped. This leads John on a thrilling journey to discover the secrets Edison left behind before they fall into the wrong hands.

This creative historical fiction book offers an entertaining alternate history starring many of the big names of the 1930s. Edison is, of course, a major character, but we’re also introduced to such memorable personalities such as George Gershwin, Groucho Marx, (both of which I feel don’t show up enough, if at all, in historical fiction novels) and the Roosevelts.

I would call this a historical thriller with some sci-fi and fantasy here and there that twist the story in fascinating directions, but so much is encompassed that it frankly seems to defy the traditional genre. The comedic moments sprinkled throughout earned a fair amount of chuckles from me, and there were even a few scenes I would classify as being genuinely effective horror. This occasionally creates some tonal issues, but nothing that diminishes the quality. I appreciate the writer’s ability to move between those moments and include them in one story.

The characters were written in such an engaging way that I wish we had gotten to spend more time with a few of them, which I think would have helped eliminate any trace elements of tropes and alleviate any issue with ‘fridging’ readers might notice. This is a sequel, but the story definitely stands on its own. The author also included just enough background information that readers will be able to follow the general setup, though not in a way that would be intrusive to anyone who has followed the series from the first amazing book.

I highly recommend Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel to anyone looking for a fun and action-packed romp through 1930s America.

Pages: 270 | ASIN : B0BT4874XW

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Manifest Destiny: By Any Means Necessary

Manifest Destiny: By Any Means Necessary is the thrilling second entry in the Manifest Destiny series by author Jaiden Baynes. Many centuries have passed since the events in An Unholy Alliance, and the universe has somehow stabilized into a futuristic dystopia, which is rife with issues such as slavery, poverty, mass incarceration, and cannibalism as the lowest tier of survival. 

Readers will enjoy how things in this book also parallel happenings in the first book, although the book takes it to a dramatic and entertaining level. Unlike the first book, which featured a select few characters that the story revolves around, it is hard to find a single character to focus on in this sequel. There is a variety of exciting and fun-to-follow characters. Each character gives readers a unique view of this vast and detailed world. They come from all kinds of backgrounds, and they have all kinds of occupations and different levels of freedom. I enjoyed the diversity in the cast and felt it gave the story an ensemble feel.

The world-building in this book is still spectacular. The author has made some improvements since the first book in the series. The dialogue is amusing and fun and helps to move the story along. This book has a handful of battles, and every encounter drives forward an agenda and provides some social commentary. This book focuses much more on developing this universe’s politics and philosophy, and the dialogue supports that the best it can. 

Manifest Destiny: By Any Means Necessary is a riveting space opera filled with complex world-building and memorable characters. I would highly recommend it to readers of the first book or anyone looking for a fun science fiction story in an expanding and alluring universe.

Pages: 501 | ASIN : B0BPCS6M24

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