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Demon Heart

DEMON HEART by [David Crane, Mary Holzrichter]

Published in 2017, David Crane’s dramatic Sci-Fi novel, Demon Heart, is set in Osaka, Japan. It explores the roles of light and darkness in shaping the human experience. It is a powerful narrative about Naoko Kitamura, the protagonist who realizes that she is half-demon. Living amongst human beings, the character learns how to manage this dark side – by controlling the intensity of her powers.

Crane’s readers realize that learning one’s true identity has a significance in their life journey. All the challenges faced by Naoko, prove her strength and ability to achieve victory, regardless of all the tough circumstances at play.

I give this book a 5-star rating for numerous reasons. First, it was cathartic to read it in first person narration, as this made me feel closer to Naoko, the protagonist. It was easier to understand all the psychological battles within her mind, by progressing with her thoughts, throughout the story.

Furthermore, the book gives an account of the themes of good and evil, and the basis of human existence. Naoko reveals to her characters the importance of accepting one’s identity. Suppressing the shadows and demons within us only leads to chaos. If she wasn’t aware of her true identity, it’d be difficult for her to understand the origin of all the darkness around her.

Through the writing of Crane, the readers perceive demons from a different light. We have been taught, so often, that demons are destructive, and don’t want the best for humans. This is quite clear when Naoko is expected to keep her true identity a secret. Human beings cannot handle the intensity of divinity thus, they shouldn’t know much about this world. Keeping it a secret is also psychological since humans would not have the capacity to understand the healing powers of a demon-hybrid.

However, Naoko manages to engage the readers’ empathetic sides, as she thrives to create a balance between good and evil in the world. She is indeed one of the genuine police officers, who attempt to create this balance, while greatly fighting against evil.

This book also teaches its readers about Japanese cultures, traditions and beliefs, and it is a great narrative for readers like me, with a keen interest in the spiritual realm.

The story captured my attention, right from the title, and I’ll be sure to give it a second reading due to how much I related with the protagonist and her experiences.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B074DSSBPY

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Code of Evil: Ascension

Aenna Lucini, is a young ambitious medical student in an escape from poverty and small community into big city in hope for a better life.During her educational struggles of a student she also explores relativity of friendships, wild sexual encounters, existential, and moral questions from the peculiar perspective of Aenna’s mindset loaded with dark humour inspired by harsh reality. However, in it’s essence Code of Evil follows internal and external motives that turn emotionally damaged child into an insane scientist along with potential threats of the upcoming future.

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Literary Titan Book Awards July 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.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Albatross: Contact by Connor Mackay

IZ – The Saga: Creation by DDWLEM

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Book of Chaos: From 22 Back to 21 by Yin Dolmah

 

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

 

With More Sinister Aspects

Catori Sarmiento Author Interview

Catori Sarmiento Author Interview

Carnival Panic is a dystopian game show where contestants must solve dangerous room puzzles to claim a life changing prize. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

The initial inspiration for this novel occurred when I walked through the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu museum in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. While there, I saw a display called “Candy Forest!” with unsettling pink rabbit statues, seen here https://matcha-jp.com/en/688. As I exited, I thought that what I had seen would make a great horror story. I pulled out my notebook and began sketching and writing ideas. I wrote about 10,000 words and then got stuck and put the story away for a few years.

It wasn’t until I went on an outing to Sanrio Puroland that I was able to continue writing the story. I often describe that day as one of the most uncomfortably horrible experiences I have ever had at a theme park. I had agreed to go to Puroland with a couple of friends, not knowing exactly what it was. After entering through the theme park gates, I realized that I was completely outside of my comfort zone.

On top of the immense claustrophobia were the inescapable sensory explosions. The air was pumped with all manner of sweet smells, there was constant music from individual speakers to the parades, it was hot due to the high summer temperatures, and there were lights everywhere both strobing and stationary. And when we stopped for lunch, all the food was of the sweetest kind; candied and dessert versions of its real counterparts. In contrast to my unpleasant experience, my friends were ecstatic and enjoyed every moment of that theme park, playing on the toys, going on the rides, and shopping with childlike enthusiasm.

On the train home, I knew exactly what I could write about and that became Carnival Panic.

What was the process like for imagining and writing the different rooms and puzzles you have in the book?

For the most part, the inspiration for the rooms came from various areas of Sanrio Puroland that I visited but with more sinister aspects. I also love to watch anime and at the time I was binging Deadman Wonderland so some of the themes from that anime made their way into the novel.

Your characters were all well developed and interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Fletch. I enjoyed writing from her point of view because she is an unapologetic anarchist.

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

I have two finished novels at the moment which I am querying for publication. A science fiction alien invasion novel called Darkness in a Sky of Embers and a narrative fiction novel called Elephants Have No Sleeves.

As for currents projects, I am working on a supernatural murder mystery that follows the main character, Tzipora, who comes back from the dead to find her murderer.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Carnival Panic by [Catori Sarmiento]Candy makes the PonPon Bunnies sweet. Be careful if they’re angry. And watch out for traps! These are the dangers of competing in the Carnival Panic game show, a ruthless competition that tests the chosen competitors with mental and physical struggles. In order to claim the substantial monetary prize, the winner must solve a series of room puzzles and succeed in entertaining the fickle masses.

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Of Reality And Dream

Of Reality and Dream: Tales for Underground by [Loredano Cafaro]

Of Reality and Dream by Loredano Cafaro is a collection of short stories. Each tale has peculiar narratives the author wrote as a youth. However, his inexperience at the time didn’t rob the stories of considerable literary sophistication as they incorporate both realistic and fantastical settings and happenings. They are also narrated from different points of view ranging from the first person to the third person.

Many of Cafaro’s stories have an eerie note that expertly relays an uneasy feeling to the reader. It’s not so much that it will leave you awake at night but it’s just enough to creep you out considerably. Also, Cafaro clearly has a way with words as his ability to describe scenes and entities exemplifies the proficiency of a skilled poet. Flash fiction requires sharp and punchy language and the author duly delivers. To do this, he uses striking analogies to eliminate extra words that would have been required to perfectly describe certain scenarios.

The short stories are dominated by themes of love – the love that never was and the painfully short-lived one. Cafaro also centers some of his tales around tragedy and the pain of losing a loved one. Each story carries an air of mystery that’s just strong enough to keep you turning the pages. Be warned, however, that not many of the tales would give you answers even at the end. In such situations, Cafaro leaves you at the mercy of your imagination.

I thought some of the stories were a bit bland. But on the whole, it’s a nice read if you’d like to have your fancy tickled by short narratives structured like musings with tinges of dark tones.

Pages: 71 | ASIN: B07RTTKXJN

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A Misunderstood Monster

Author Interview Craig DiLouie

Author Interview Craig DiLouie

One of Us follows a group of teenagers known to locals as monsters because they bear the markings of extreme genetic mutation. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thought-provoking story?

Thank you for reading it and for your kind review! I’d wanted to write a monster novel and try a different take on it.

Previously, I’d written a vampire novel, Suffer the Children, about a parasite that kills the world’s children and allows them to return to life for a brief period of time if they drink human blood. The children are vampires, but the monsters in the book are the parents who have to decide how far they will go to keep their children alive. It made for a horrifying twist on the vampire story that challenges the reader to evaluate how far they themselves would go for love.

For One of Us, I wanted to do a misunderstood monster take similar to Frankenstein, give the children developing agency similar to The X-Men, and make them hideous and terrifying such that they are subjected to horrible prejudice, which they fight in an uprising that is as cathartic as the classic 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. When they finally rebel, the reader must confront whether this was necessary or if change could have occurred some other way. The whole story is produced as a Southern Gothic, really the most original twist here, which seemed perfect for the novel, as Southern Gothic has a dark and rich tradition of covering strong topics like the grotesque, societal decay, taboo, and prejudice. And while it is very dark and somewhat violent, reflecting the society these people live in, the story ends on an important note of hope.

I liked how you were able to imbue both the normal people and the plagued with good and bad characteristics. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your characters?

Initially, I wanted to show very simply that books should not be judged solely by their covers, so as the story develops, we see very human monsters and in some cases very monstrous humans, all of them the product of the society they share that is broken by the plague and the genetic mutations it produced among a generation now coming of age and wanting their birth rights. As this is a Southern Gothic, there is an ensemble cast of characters, and also true to that literary form, we see the full pageantry of human behavior on display, the good, the bad, and the ugly. By the end, when the children begin to fight back and win, the reader will probably experience a sense of catharsis after seeing and experiencing what the monsters endured, but then question their feelings. I fell in love with these characters, even the bad ones, and I hope my readers will too.

Your characters are all well developed and intriguing. Who was your favorite character to write?

Readers seem to like Dog, one of the monsters, as he’s earnest and believes if he follows the rules and works hard, he’ll get a fair shake. Sadly for him, the world ain’t fair. Goof, another one of the monsters, was a lot of fun to write because has an amazing power but all he wants to do is have a fun, normal childhood, and he offers comic relief. Among the monsters, though, my favorite is probably Brain. He’s a super genius trapped in a hideous body and must hide his intelligence from the authorities. He doesn’t see him and his brethren as monsters but as the rebirth of the gods of ancient myth. He doesn’t want a revolution but plans one anyway, seeing it as necessary. When the violence starts, there’s no turning back even though he finds it horrifying and hates it, making him a tragic figure.

On the human side, there are a number of characters we can both root for and hate, from the idealistic Jake to the hapless loser Dave Gaines, but my favorite is probably Sheriff Burton. He feels for the monsters but is similarly trapped by his role and belief system, which is to enforce what he sees as the natural order. This also makes him a tragic figure trapped between who he is and what he must face in the story, including guilt over a secret connection he has with the monsters.

In the end, it is these characters who take well-worn themes in a fresh package and make the whole thing emotionally a gut punch that I hope will affect readers, make them think and feel and challenge their perceptions, and continue engaging with the story even after they close the covers.

Will there be a follow up novel that continues this story?

Unfortunately, no follow-up is planned at this point, as it was a standalone story. Based on reader interest, though, there’s always a possibility.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

One of Us by [Craig DiLouie]They’ve called him a monster from the day he was born.

Abandoned by his family, Enoch Bryant now lives in a rundown orphanage with other teenagers just like him. He loves his friends, even if the teachers are terrified of them. They’re members of the rising plague generation. Each bearing their own extreme genetic mutation.

The people in the nearby town hate Enoch, but he doesn’t know why. He’s never harmed anyone. Works hard and doesn’t make trouble. He believes one day he’ll be a respected man.

But hatred dies hard. The tension between Enoch’s world and those of the “normal” townspeople is ready to burst. And when a body is found, it may be the spark that ignites a horrifying revolution.

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Marley: The Other Christmas Carol – Trailer

Doomed to wander for generation after generation, under the curse of heavy chains, Jacob Marley’s soul was lost and without hope with nothing of this earth that belonged to him except the cold fingers of the grave – to which he refused to retreat.Marley saves the soul of a dear friend and finds himself trapped between the realm of untapped power and endless damnation. Waiting and waiting, hoping to prove himself…WORTHY!

Prepared to Face the Demon

Alan J. Paul
Alan J. Paul Author Interview

Mercy is a fascinating supernatural account of one man’s struggle to overcome his family’s mistakes. What was the inspiration behind this engaging story?

I found it interesting that the Literary Titan reviewer discovered a layer to my story which I didn’t actively intend, but which in retrospect, is apparent to me as well. There is one particular chapter near the beginning of Mercy which addresses the “turmoil, sadness, sickness and death” which had inflicted Anthony’s extended family. The demon is initially attracted to the Napolitano family because of the love which is abundant throughout, but also because Anthony’s grandfather is essentially an evil person at heart, who was ripe for possession. So, in that respect, Anthony’s journey is an attempt to overcome the failings of his family and the tragedies to which they were subjected because of them. Believe it or not, the initial inspiration for the story of Mercy was the stone cross fragment which I saw and photographed outside a small shop in Woodstock, NY. It is the cover of the book. It started me on a game of “What if…?” which eventually became the story of Anthony and the demon and his cosmic connection to a 17th century woman. 

Anthony is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideals that guided his character development?

The character of Anthony is based largely upon me and some of the experiences that I had as a child, as a young man, and, now, as an older man. But he is of course an idealized version of me. I’m not at all sure I would have had the courage and fortitude to deal with a demon for a good portion of my life! His feelings are largely my own, but his problems and solutions, of course, are not. When the central theme of the book eventually became clear to me, that “love reallydoes conquer all,” I needed to make sure that Anthony was not only prepared to face the demon, but equally prepared to face, embrace, and most of all be worthy of, the rare love which would one day come his way. 

I enjoyed the unique take on angels and demons in this book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in your novel?

The primary theme here was tied into the questions, “What exactly is religion?” and “Who exactly is the being we call God?” I guess these questions arose from my own questions about, and struggles with, Catholicism and being raised in the “Italian-American version” of the Catholic Church. Shortly after Anthony meets his mentor/confessor Professor James Gilligan, a former divinity student, he asks him if he still believes in God. Gilligan’s answer to that question is the starting point to Anthony’s defensive posture against the demon. 

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

I’m currently seven chapters into my next book, which is tentatively titled The Walrus, and is another supernatural mystery tale. The story is essentially an exploration into the possibility that something, or someone, could be inherently both good and evil. I’m hoping to have it available by the end of this year or early 2021.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Anthony Banna remembers the day the demon first came for him. It had been at the age of eight, when his grandfather’s corpse had grabbed him from its coffin, eyes blazing, speaking in a voice that was not his own . . .

Years have passed. The demon comes and goes, never staying away for long, never giving Anthony the normal life he craves. Now a student at Rutgers University, Anthony decides, finally, that enough is enough.

Under the guidance of celebrated academic and demonologist James Gilligan, Anthony begins to delve into the supernatural, eventually discovering among the old, dusty tomes, the story of one Mercedes Engle, a 17th Century Dutch colonist who, legend claimed, had been visited by the Archangel Raphael. Anthony can’t help but wonder: could Mercedes’ descendants still live in New York? Could they hold the key to defeating the demon once and for all?

Mercy is the thrilling, romantic, and sometimes comic tale of an Italian-American boy who, coming at last into adulthood, is forced to face his demons head-on—literally
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