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The Present Climate of Hate and Division

Thomas Bauer
Thomas Bauer Author Interview

The Seventh Circle follows a university student in Nazi Germany who is persecuted for his sexuality and faces the perils of a concentration camp. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was inspired reading a memoir of a camp survivor entitled The Men with the Pink Triangles by Heinz Heger.

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

I was disturbed by the present climate of hate and division in our country and across the globe and felt a lesson in man’s inhumanity to man was needed to remind us all of potential results of extremism.

I appreciated how historically accurate your novel is. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the story was accurate?

Although the literature on the subject is scant, I read every primary source I could get my hands on. Most survivors have been reluctant to recount their struggles. I depended a great deal on Heger’s memoir and information I found about the two concentration camps most of the story takes place in.

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

I have just published Sundays at Simone’s, a satirical look at Los Angeles aristocracy as well as a tale of a young musician’s loves and struggles to find his niche in the musical world.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

During the Third Reich, a German university student is the son of the most powerful Nazi. Called before the Gestapo, he is accused of violating Paragraph 175, which makes sexual acts between men illegal. He is sent to a concentration camp where he experiences horror at the hands of his Nazi captors. The discovery that it was his lover who betrayed him to the Gestapo sends him over the edge.

Based loosely on a true story, “The Seventh Circle,” tells of the forgotten victims of the Holocaust, the men who wore the pink triangle. It is a timely tale on man’s inhumanity to man.

White Lies Matter: Decoding American Deceptionalism

It’s always intriguing to find that you only need a few tricks blended with the effects of time to erode and modify people’s memory and appraisal of events or individuals. With a couple of white lies, cover-ups, and take backsies; you can make anyone see what’s not there or ignore what’s in plain sight. But John O’Connor isn’t an easy prey for deception.

In White Lies Matter: Decoding American Deceptionalism, artist and art professor John A. O’Connor points out the historical and contemporary inconsistencies plaguing American society. From issues on social justice to political matters, tainted historical accounts to double-mouthed American sweethearts, our author leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to set the records straight. He aims to uncover the long queue of American hypocrisy on display. To do this, he digs into both American systems and notable figures across several historical points.

O’Connor’s book will prompt you to question your knowledge of the world’s greatest country. The book – created as a set of digital art plates paired with explanatory text – is as visually stimulating as it’s mentally arousing. The author casts a wide net, and you’ll find many issues caught in it. He begins by punching holes in the claims that Columbus discovered America. Then he slowly works his way up to more sensitive matters. For instance, he contests America’s validity as a Christian nation since evidence from the earliest historical documents negates this notion. Past leaders aren’t spared, too, as O’Connor challenges their sainthood by revealing situations where they displayed conflicting values. You might be shocked at what you’ll learn about your favorite American heroes.

O’Connor’s concerns aren’t only with the past, though. He touches on contemporary issues that aren’t discussed enough, like the adverse effects of drilling for oil. He then shows that the public’s rating of the United States’ performance in critical areas like healthcare and law enforcement is inflated. You can be sure that the media gets a good beat down, too, for the recent flurry of fake news or “yellow journalism”. You’d expect a professor to write well, but O’Connor’s writing isn’t merely academic; it’s creative and engaging. He argues using metaphors and other storytelling elements that make his work very appealing yet easy to grasp.

This book’s arguments are unlike typical claims usually steeped in bogus conspiracy theories. O’Connor presents actual names of people, places, events, and dates, which anyone can quickly lookup. At other times, he simply helps us to connect dots that have always laid around. While there are speculations one might deem to be a stretch, his work is credible enough to provide a reasonable starting point on our quest to find the truth. Based on the research that went into it and the author’s delivery, I found the book to be a great read. O’Connor’s work might send you burrowing furiously down the holes of history to sate your curiosity. So, brace yourself.

Pages: 138 | ISBN: 1663210950

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A Ring of Promises

A Ring of Promises: Historical Fiction Romantic Saga by [Marie Gage]

Janet has a promise ring, and Will is her one true love. Both of them work hard, have plans for a beautiful future, and look forward to the day they are reunited. But Will has a dream. He will do anything to be among the first to board the famed Titanic. When news of the tragic event reaches Janet, she has no reason to believe Will is among the victims–or does she?

A Ring of Promises, by Marie Gage, is a love story like no other. Based on actual historical events, Gage’s story is gripping and encompasses all the horror loved ones must have felt following the sinking of the Titantic. The author manages to portray every emotion while drawing readers into every harrowing second of the characters’ experiences. Janet and Will, both living their separate horrors, are relatable and fascinating. Gage does a wonderful job of capturing the various dialects in her writing along with the tone of both their love and fear.

I have always found the story of the Titanic riveting. Gage’s account of that fateful night told through the relationship between Janet and Will, is no less gripping. There is an intense amount of pain and heartbreak surrounding the tragedy, and Gage’s work captures every aspect of it. Janet and Will have my heart. Their hearts are pure, and their love makes this story truly enchanting.

A Ring of Promises is a romance novel that transcends genres and offers readers much more depth and emotion than your typical love story. Time and distance play an integral role in Gage’s work. The author keeps romance alive with Janet and Will. Not many books maintain the integrity of the characters’ love and dedication like this one. Being able to weave this throughout the story of a tragic historical event like the sinking of the Titanic is a true accomplishment.

I highly recommend A Ring of Promise to any fan of historical romances that are steeped in emotion and focused on true love conquering all. Gage’s work is genuine and serves as an example of what tenderness and courage can accomplish together. A Ring of Promises certainly surpasses my expectations of a historical fiction romance.

Pages: 449 | ASIN: B089DN4GFQ

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Imelda’s Secret

Imelda's Secret by [Liza Gino, Miho Kim, Jeannie Celestial PhD LCSW, Judith Mirkinson]

Imelda’s Secret written by Liza Gino is a book based on true stories and events. It is a book that tells a story about two women, cousins Gloria and Imelda, both survivors of World War Two. Through the war, they were people known as, ‘comfort women’. Although they are now living in San Francisco, they both struggle with the trauma. Gloria is the one who steps forward and tells her story, but with some hard and painful consequences for her two sons. But Imelda was keeping it a secret to protect her family. What happens when they find the courage and the strength to gather all different women and stories about their suffering? Together this becomes a story of the survivors and women’s rights.

As we know, Liza Gino is not only an author. She is also an advocate and change agent, as we may recognize in her writing. The story written here is more than just a passionate testimony. It is a powerful testament that war is dangerous and deadly for everyone. It tells a different kind of story, one that is often hidden. Years ago – it was taboo for those survivors to take a stand. But, Imelda’s Secret is an illuminating book that speaks volumes to those that were blind to these situations and those seeking justice.

I enjoyed this book immensely, and the straightforward chronology helped keep me on track. But I felt that the dialogue was sometimes sensationalistic in a book that otherwise feels grounded. As we see in the book, it is hard to speak up, but raising your voice can help you and others. Imelda’s Secret is a candid story about ordinary but giant women whose secrets should be heard by the world. As a true believer in a passionate fight, and taboo uncovering, I highly recommend this book thought-provoking book by author Liza Gino.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08LB5XG64

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Reagan’s Reward

Reagan's Reward (Thousand Islands Brides Book 3) by [Susan G Mathis]

Reagan didn’t know what to expect when she accepted a job as governess to a pair of mischievous 8 year olds. As a Christian employed by an esteemed Jewish family, she was doubly unsure of how the summer might pass. Any misgivings she had, however, were greatly reduced by the splendid beauty of the Thousand Islands… and the easy charm of Daniel, another employee of the Bernheim family. As Reagan struggles to become accustomed to her new charges and downplaying her own faith in front of the Bernheims, she also has to deal with her growing feelings for Daniel, complicated by their own difference in religion.

Set in the summer of 1912, Reagan’s Reward, by Susan Mathis, is a heartfelt story about apprehension in the face of new experiences, and the struggles that so often occur between the heart and the head. While Reagan is sure of where she stands in her beliefs, finding out how those fit in the lives of the people around her becomes a challenge she isn’t used to facing. Her growing attraction to Daniel, and his obvious attraction toward her, brings about the jealous animosity from another staff member, which is yet again a new experience. Set in the picturesque region of the Thousand Islands, an area that straddles the US-Canada border, Mathis makes the scenery and atmosphere come alive as it must have been at the height of its popularity as a destination for the wealthy. Because of the novella length, there isn’t much time for heavy character development, and because of that, Reagan, Daniel, the twins, and each of the other characters are basic and the story seems rushed. However, the glorious depictions of the life and sights in the area make up for that fact, and the Thousand Islands are very nearly the main character themselves. 

Faith is definitely the most prevalent theme in Reagan’s Reward, as it colors every thought and action in Reagan’s life. She relies on it when searching for patience with the twins, Jacob and Joseph, and understanding of her new circumstances. It is also the reason she is reluctant to initially admit her feelings for Daniel, as he proclaims he is Jewish, despite not actively practicing. Ultimately, too, it is a leap of faith that brings about the eventual resolution.

I enjoyed this book and Mathis skillfully crafted that time and place in such a way that it truly came alive. I wish the book was longer so that we could explore ideas and characters more. I liked Reagan and Daniel’s relationship, but I definitely wanted to see it explored in more depth. Reagan’s Reward is a compelling historical fiction romance novel that tells an emotional and heartfelt story that readers will enjoy. 

Pages: 189 | ASIN: B08MDNM82L

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NINU: A Saga of the Valorous Wanchos

NINU: A Saga of the Valorous Wanchos by Mady Menon is a historical and military fiction story about a real tribe (the Wanchos) in North East India, told by a fictional character. Peter Atamkhung Shawang is a student studying at Trinity College in London, but he plans to return to India to work on his thesis. Peter’s family is part of a tribe of headhunters who live in the village of Ninu. He shares the region’s history with fellow classmates and tells the story of his father’s childhood and career. Will the young man be able to hold on to his tribe’s traditions while living in an increasingly modern world?

Mady Menon has added a touch of authenticity to the story by including real historical events. The map at the beginning of the book helped me to better picture the region. You learn a lot about the history of North East India, from the constant struggles to maintain the Ahom kingdom for 600 years, to the native tribes living under British rule, to India becoming an independent republic and the many improvements made to the infrastructure in the area. I had little previous knowledge of the native people of this country, and it was interesting to read about the tribal structure and daily life in the villages. The author provided good descriptions of the setting, especially the village layout, the Naga Army headquarters, and Shawang’s mission school.

The historical information that was conveyed in the first part of the book, where Peter was relaying the history of the region reads a little like a professor giving a lecture. This slowed the pace of the story but it is all worth it in the end. There were portions where some of the historical details were repeated from previous chapters. The pace picks up when Peter was retelling his father’s life experiences and an overview of historical events was given while Shawang was visiting significant sites during his class trips and while working as a Circle Officer. I found the vocabulary definitions at the end of the book very helpful to clarify Indian terms used in the story. Ninu is an insightful and beautiful read that I highly recommend to readers looking to be immersed in an exotic and intriguing culture.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08GQYZ8BY

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Literary Titan Book Awards December 2020

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.

The Tragedy of Misunderstandings

Alexa Kingaard
Alexa Kingaard Author Interview

My Name is Rose follows a curious young woman who leaves a commune to explore the world and find herself. What were some ideas that informed this novels development?

The thread that runs through my novels is nostalgia. As a baby boomer, I lived through some of the best decades, experienced the life-changing views of all Americans that were shaped by the Vietnam conflict, as well as the hippie peace movement that followed. I was never extreme, but fads began and ended in California. A teenager or young adult couldn’t help but be swept up in the changes that were happening, and communes were an escape for many of my generation who preferred the unhurried environment they provided.

The plot line of Rose’s lineage sprang up from the well-known fact that “free love” was embraced during this time, especially in San Francisco, the poster city for peace rallies and an over-indulgence of mind-altering drugs. Without degrading personal choices or judging anyone’s character, I thought it would be an interesting perspective to pursue from the point of view of one couples’ offspring. This nugget of inspiration has nothing to do with my life or direct involvement, but is an encapsulated version of what might have happened in this situation. There was no particular incident that triggered this story, but it flowed easily once I started to write.

I enjoyed Rose’s character and evolution. Was there anything from yourself that you put into Rose’s character?

Like Rose, I was never the center of attention growing up and spent more time observing than participating. I cultivated my skills that were more cerebral, as opposed to physical, and Rose has a touch of my personality in her. I was able to weave her life through the years not so much with first-hand experience, but with knowledge I had acquired over decades that helped me to understand what links hearts and souls together. My protagonists are ordinary people dealing with difficult circumstances. My antagonists are as much self-doubt, anger and immaturity as they are a person, as we can damage ourselves just as easily as we can be damaged by another human being. The tragedy of misunderstandings and mistakes that lead to estrangement is something many of us have felt, and this particular family saga puts into perspective how everyone plays a part in the final outcome. As an author, I have the ability to shape my characters – the way they think, dress, talk, behave – in order to present a tight, neat package with what I hope is a satisfying ending for my readers.

I find that writers often ask themselves questions and let their characters answer them. Do you think was true for this book?

Great question! That is absolutely true in this story! When I started to think about this novel in my head, before I even started writing it, I knew there were a few endings that I could create. As I wrote, and the characters and situations evolved, I considered all of them in the back of my mind and how I would determine the final chapters. Interestingly, when I got to that section and the question of who Rose’s biological father was, the words just spilled onto the page. I didn’t question it, scrapped the other endings, and let it emerge to a natural conclusion. It was seamless.

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

During my first nine weeks of quarantine, I completed the first draft of my third novel, MIRACLE. The story revolves around two young women in the 1950s’. One lives in Southern California and must come to terms with the fact that four unsuccessful pregnancies leave adoption as the only option for herself and her husband. The inability to qualify with the adoption agency due to their advancing age – almost thirty was old in the 50s’ – steers them towards an alternative solution of adopting a child outside the United States. From 1945 to the 1970s, the Canadian government created maternity homes for young women who were without a spouse or family assistance. Forced to give birth in secrecy, it was understood that they would leave their baby behind for adoption by a suitable couple. The second young lady finds herself in a position that demands she reside in one of these homes for the last part of her pregnancy where she agonizes about the ultimate sacrifice that is forced upon her. These two women are destined to connect, but the ending is not as one might expect. I hope to have MIRACLE ready for publication by mid-2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune in the ‘70s is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.

As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.

Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”
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