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Atypical of the ‘Thriller’ Genre

Al E. Boy
Al E. Boy Author Interview

Little Girl Scream follows a hotelier who must find a killer lurking in her hotel before he strikes again. What was the inspiration for the mystery at the heart of your story?

We wanted to write a thriller absent of the usual tropes and cliches. We were trying for a scene and situation somewhat atypical of the ‘thriller’ genre. Foremost in our objectives was to create a relationship between the two main characters wherein they did not end up romantically involved by the end of the story. Sort of a: “Yes. A man and a woman can be great friends who admire and respect each other.”

I loved the relationship between Dale and Sofia. What were some ideas that guided their character relationship?

The references in the book to the witty dialogue and ‘slightly combative’ repartee of the golden age of movies was something we both wanted to embody in Sofia and Mathis. In a sense, they are a little like Butch and Sundance from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in that while they do make the odd pithy and even disparaging remark, the duo do genuinely care for one another and will willingly risk their life for the other.

What was the writing collaboration process like with co-author F. Carod?

While I live in South Korea, F. Carod actually lives in Cancun. She’s a wealth of information that was put to great use in the development of the story. We’d write excerpts, post them in a ‘private’ Facebook page we created, give our critiques, do rewrites and revisions, etc., etc, until we were satisfied we had what we were after. It was a low process that took a while, but I think I speak for both myself and my co-author when I suggest we both learned a great deal from one another in the process. Lastly, modern technology is wonderful. It’s remarkable two individuals on either side of the globe can write a book together without having ever met.

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

There are three books in the series. The second takes up a few months later with Sofia and Mathis living in Guadalajara. Her father is a wealthy hotel magnate, and he allotted them plots of land on his huge family compound to build homes with some of the money Tiara Tillman gave them. At the close of Book 1, when they watched Chief Ricardo’s press conference on TV, and he stated every person connected to Tillman would be hunted down, Mathis mused the man may be inviting trouble. Truer words were never spoken. But the trouble follows our faithful friends, as well.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Absolutely nothing can compare to the Hotel Amatista, Cancun’s premier luxury resort. The jewel in her family’s chain of 5 star hotels, Sofia Hernández is in charge, and the young woman takes great pride when she hears guests remark the hotel makes them feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s been happening lately, Young guests vanish, only to turn up the next day…abused, tortured…and dead. Sofia suddenly has her hands full dealing with police investigations, trying to ease her guests’ fears, and doing her best to save the Amatista’s reputation. And, with no way of knowing if the sadistic culprit is a hotel employee or a guest, stopping the killings will be no easy task. With the help of Dale Mathis, a visiting English professor, she is able to thwart further abductions and murders, but her interference draw the ire of the sinister mastermind who decides Sofia must pay for her boldness. To make matters even worse, her new friend becomes the number one suspect of the Cancun police.

Misadventures Memoirs: Little Girl Scream

Misadventures Memoirs: Little Girl Scream by Al E. Boy and F. Carod is a murder mystery set in the premium luxury resort, Hotel Amatista in Cancun. It centers around two main characters, Sofia Hernández, a woman in charge of many of the hotel’s facilities, and Dale Mathis, a visiting professor. The paths of these two intriguing characters intertwine when hotel guests start going missing to then be found tortured and murdered. They both must work together to find and stop the culprit.

The two protagonists are the highlight of the book, personally. Mathis is a simple English professor, but he holds a strong, unmovable personality where he doesn’t take nonsense from anyone but will call out someone’s faults immediately, which proved to be very entertaining. Sofia, on the other hand, is a dedicated and diligent hotel worker but where she shined was in the more casual settings that would reveal her to have a more teasing and eccentric side to her. Pairing the two of them up like this caused for amusing scenes that offered a break from the heavier aspects of the novel.

At first glance, Misadventures Memoirs: Little Girl Scream seems to be a horror novel with mystery elements, but it turns out to be more of a thriller mystery. Authors Al. E Boy and F. Carod play to the strengths of the mystery novel with interesting dialogue scenes where you could never really tell who was speaking the truth and the detective-like Mathis confronting those he thought were. I think the opening scene misrepresented the tone of the novel as a whole, however, since it started aggressively and gruesomely and gave off the impression that the novel would be more violent. This was smoothed out eventually though and didn’t impact the experience. The hotel setting feels like it is a throw-back to classic ‘whodunnits’ novels, although this has a unique resort culture and Boy and Carod avoid the usual clichés. In the end the mystery at the heart of the story was alluring and getting to the truth revealed a number of dark, surprising plot twists with a satisfying ending and culprit reveal.

Boy and Carod have created a very enjoyable mystery novel with vibrant characters that play off each other in extreme circumstances. The plot and character twists and developments had me ruminating in the days after finishing it. Misadventures Memoirs: Little Girl Scream is a thrilling murder mystery that is deeply intriguing and effortlessly spellbinding.

Pages: 419 | ASIN: B08QZ8C6N3

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Curious About The Afterlife

Maria A. Palace
Maria A. Palace Author Interview

Chapter Thirteen follows a woman who tries to reclaim the life that was taken from her and the young journalist who holds the key to her success or failure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your thrilling story?

I grew up in a very religious environment, so I was always curious about the afterlife. My mother was also extremely superstitious, which I found to be quite diverting. When I was young, I would oftentimes stay up late into the night watching her “read” cards to see what our future would hold. About five years ago, I took a tour of the purportedly haunted Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California. The moment I laid eyes on the sprawling stately Victorian, I knew it had to become the backdrop of my novel, thereby transforming it into “The Brewer Mansion.”

Katy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Katy, as well as Evelyn, basically lived in a bubble when they were young. They were both quite spoiled and had doting parents. When their mothers died, each had a strong father figure to support them along the way. Katy drew from her bond with her widowed father to become the equally strong single parent for her own daughter. The driving ideal is that every child needs at least one person in their lives to provide them the strength needed to overcome whatever obstacles life might throw at them. I guess, the moral to the story is that love conquers all.

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

As I grew older and began to ponder my own mortality, I became very interested in the possibility of reincarnation. In my research for Chapter Thirteen, the more I learned, the more fascinating it became, which led me to explore mediums, hypnotism, past lives, etc. It just evolved from there.

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, but my next novel is a mystery which takes place on a cruise ship. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the year.

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

Chapter Thirteen is a paranormal suspense/thriller about an old woman who will do everything in her power to reclaim the life that was taken from her and the young journalist who holds the key to her success or failure.
On April 13, 1936, in Morganville, Pennsylvania, a fire occurs at the well-known Brewer mansion, resulting in a mysterious death. Fast-forward to August 28, 2005: After attending school in New York for six years, Katy Barton returns to her hometown of Morganville, when she lands a job as a reporter for the local news station. The antiquated mansion is scheduled to be demolished and Katy is assigned to get a story from the reclusive old woman who still lives there.
Katy is a “survivor” or so she’s been told, although years of therapy have not reconciled her with her own tragic past, to which she has long since been plagued by nightmares. Each time she goes out to the estate, her nightmares are amplified by unexplained visions. When she finally meets the eccentric recluse, Evelyn, she finds that her early portrait bears an uncanny resemblance to her own high school graduation picture–and the more she learns of Evelyn’s past, the more she finds that it is eerily similar to hers. As Katy is lured deeper and deeper into the old woman’s mysterious world, she begins to question her sanity, to the point where she seeks out a hypnotherapist.
In an odd twist of fate, a handsome firefighter comes to her emotional rescue, spiraling her into a whirlwind romance that appears too good to be true. Hoping to resolve her issues, both past and present, Katy reluctantly undergoes hypnosis, where she is confronted with the truth from her past and ultimately, what could be her future. But is the life she sees her own, or is it Evelyn’s?

The Steampunk Vampire Assassins

J.W. Zarek
J.W. Zarek Author Interview

The Devil Pulls the Strings follows a young man with uncontrollable panic attacks and time travelling abilities that send him on a race through time to capture a cursed melody. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

1) Honor the hero’s journey and infuse Slavic mythology and Baba Yaga in a modern day epic fantasy adventure.
2) Paganini’s association with the Devil.
3) The Rule of Three.
4) David Henry Sterry and Bonnie Solomon.

I wrote Chapter One Promise Me, because David Henry Sterry with The Book Doctors, read my first twenty-five pages, and said “You have to show the inciting incident, the joust, before Boone and Sapphire meet outside Stone’s brownstone.”

I wrote The Prologue, because Bonnie Solomon, Producer of Dreamworks’ SHREK and Walden’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, read my story and said “You have to show both secret societies before the joust occurs.”

For awareness purposes, there wasn’t a prologue in the first draft. However, without Bonnie’s suggestion, I never would created the prophecy scroll, or incorporated the domovoi into this story, or shown upfront the centuries old war between two opposing secret societies, or revealed why the horn gets blown at the joust, or created Pep, the runt domovoi, or Laureus the Scottish Warrior Laureus, or Lahash and Zakun, the steampunk vampire assassins.

Boone is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

1) Failure is not an option for Boone because all he’s ever known his entire life is failure and setback.

Boone’s development throughout the story shows he turns moments of failure into the catalyst for his success.

2) Boone discovers as the story unfolds it’s possible to work with, power through and overcome a circumstance, a condition, a disease or disorder.

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

1) You can overcome insurmountable obstacles.
2) No one is defined by their circumstances, condition, disease, or disorder.
3) The power of a promise.
4) Everyone has a choice.

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

The next book Flynn’s Folly is a heist job gone wrong and its availability is TBD.

Author Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook

THE DEVIL PULLS THE STRINGS, described as The Librarians meet The Magicians is a 76,000-word epic fantasy adventure with series potential, set in modern-day Wentzville, MO, New York City, and 1813 Genoa, Italy, weaves bromance, Slavic mythology, secret societies, Paganini’s music and time travel.Boone Daniels (22) has problems, debilitating panic attack, gut-wrenching guilt, a wendigo haunting him since age six, and now he almost killed his best friend in a joust. But when he fills in for his injured friend at a New York gig, he goes to meet the gig’s contact at his NYC brownstone and a body falls from the brownstone balcony and the place explodes with gun fire.Boone barely escapes but uncovers a sinister plot to perform a rare Paganini piece that summons the Devil to trap Baba Yaga and destroy modern-day New York City. Then finds himself on a race through time to capture the cursed melody. Along the way, a Romani immortal, steampunk vampires and Baba Yaga set the stage for war, and Boone shall have to risk death for redemption. Because all Boone wants is to keep a promise to a friend. The same friend, he almost killed last Sunday during a joust.Can a small-town Missouri musician outplay the supernatural and save NYC’s soul? The Devil Pulls the Strings is the pulse-pounding first tale in the Archivists series. If you like when tortured heroes, epic battles, time travel, twisted history and secret societies collide, then you’ll love J. W. Zarek’s spectacular page-turner.

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen by [Maria A. Palace]

Chapter Thirteen by Maria A. Palace is a riveting horror novel about losing love and finding it once again. Katy Burton is a young woman who lost both her mother and boyfriend within the same time frame. The grief behind these traumatic events was so powerful that she experienced nightmares several times. Maria A. Palace with a deeply intriguing and thrilling romance story that has a main character that, I think, any reader will be able to connect with, as I have.

Katy endures great pain, but she remains courageous in the face of some mystifying twists in the story and big reveals that will keep readers constantly on edge. She does not let the nightmares stop her from being the mother her daughter needed or being the town’s amazing news reporter. Being a good mother is a trait not often explored enough in horror or romance novels, as readers are often provided with strong but single women. Katy’s character has a lot of dimensions and depth because of these dual priorities. This alluring paranormal thriller takes Katy on a profound personal journey of self healing that is revealed in slow but fascinating ways which really elevates the tension. I liked how part of the closure she needed was found through the investigation of a news story, and I think this really gave the novel a lot of its momentum.

Chapter Thirteen by Maria A. Palace gives readers a rousing paranormal romance story with a dynamic main character and an amazing ending. Reading this story was incredibly enjoyable because I was able to live Katy’s life through her eyes. This narrative style provided plenty of opportunity to see how Katy tackled her trauma. This was a fantastically unpredictable paranormal thriller that uses a unique story to explore deep emotional trauma and how that affects the life of a very compelling character.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B08ZHX9Z7N

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Satanic Panic: A Homage to 1980’s B-Movie Horror

Satanic Panic: A Homage to 1980's B-Movie Horror by [Daniel P Coughlin]

As an homage to 80s B-movie horror, Satanic Panic has so much that the genre offers; sex, death, depravity, and a trio of neer-do-well stars that we follow into the breach.

In the first chapter, a flash-forward scene of terror unfolds which sets the tone for the rest of the book. Even within the next few chapters which introduce our characters, best friends Lance and Brock, then our leading-lady Brianna alongside her skater boyfriend Grady, those first few pages loom over all of their frat-house fueled follies.

For most of the story, sexual panic reigns supreme. Some horror stories are balanced between terror and sex, and this book certainly leans hard into the flesh. Each chapter poses a mental tug of war within the budding love triangle all peppered in-between with the killer’s point of view. These three friends are being stalked, yet the reader is the only audience to how much danger they are heading toward. The most important thing on the minds of Bianna, Brock, and Lance is what is in each other’s pants.

There is an aspect of the Giallo film genre here, in that we don’t see the stalker or who they are, and they fit the black-gloved killer mold to perfection.

Red herrings are used to good effect here. While we spend most of the book with three characters, we realize there has actually been a large cast, and characters, like a professor who is only mentioned for a page or two, are so unique and well portrayed they come back to us as people we met. So, very strong characterization all around.

While some of what goes through the mind of Brianna is incongruent; she is a strong-willed woman but only seems to focus on her looks while alone and thinks of nothing other than the men around her; it doesn’t weigh the pace down as the voice of each chapter is split between the three main characters, the killer, and sometimes the goofy boyfriend Grady who is kept in the dark when it comes to the sexcapades going on around him.

The college theme could be what lowers the stakes here in that there is nothing the characters are striving for beyond the bedroom and the next keg party. Had there been something more on the horizon for any of the teens here, it may have had more impact. And more panic, although the central theme is about trust. The actual Satanic Panic that hit our evening news shows was more of a question of who could a community trust than it was about Satan worship. Even within the pages of this homage to that era, the author makes clear it is more about who is doing evil things than why they are doing evil things.

We do get helpful insight as to how each person thinks but the real mystique lies in how our characters see one another. The dialogue and relations may seem outlandish at a glance, but getting to know each person they all fit and their dysfunction comes across as natural.

If you look for the sexiest story when perusing horror flicks in the bygone era, and want the horror version of a bodice-ripper then Satanic Panic fits the bill with four blazing inverted stars.

Pages: 271 | ASIN: B07RVKDCNF

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A Paranormal Casebook

A Paranormal Casebook by [Robert Lee Dean, Crissha Figarella, J.N. McLaughlin, R.L. Dean]

A collection of short stories from West Texas, A Paranormal Casebook by Robert Lee Dean starts strong. Unsettled spirits feature alongside our narrator, who begins as a deputy in a rural Sheriff’s Department. Each story weaves in elements of death, loss, and haunting as we learn about specters he encounters, year by year.

The tone of the chief character is sparse, becoming a welcome voice. We read terse descriptions, not unlike case reports, with the awareness of surroundings that law enforcement officers often have. This creates punchy prose with nothing outwardly violent, terrifying, or grotesque; we see these unexplained phenomena alongside one with feet solidly planted on the ground and who has a gun in their holster. Few ghost hunters can call for armed backup, although it may not be needed, yet it helps the reader maintain a sense of safety when confronted with the unexplained.

Ghostly folk tales as outsider art make this a unique entry in the genre. The author is not a writer by trade and didn’t set out to write a book. That these stories were recorded gives us a rare and unique perspective, as he had written them as fleeting notes and hadn’t kept them. Luckily, someone did.

Some tales in A Paranormal Casebook have the familiar feel of urban legend or folk tales but are fresh through the eyes of a cop. We follow this rational, friendly man with his worn cowboy hat and love of pizza into ghostly adventures easier than a skeptic or frenzied ghost chaser. This is a riveting collection of short stories, and if you are looking for something new in the paranormal genre and want just the facts, this is a great pick from the Lone Star State.

Pages: 89 | ASIN: B091N8ZCQV

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Literary Titan Book Awards May 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

Quick Quirks, A Quick Book by Benjamin Anderson


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


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