In the Beast’s Cage is an intriguing paranormal thriller written by Mac Altgelt. The story follows multiple characters as their lives intersect and collide, from the mysterious Ainsley Blake to the gentle Virginia Harrison, as well as others, whose part in the story become clearer throughout the pages. Arriving in a small coastal town in Georgia, Blake sets off a chain of events that none in the town could have predicted, and one that surprises him as well.
The characters were absolutely riveting, with personalities and quirks that made them feel like real people. I had a particular affinity towards Ainsley Blake, whose story was revealed to the reader in small bursts that made his character each time clearer and more definite, akin to a sketch being slowly polished into a painting. But ever side characters are granted their own moment in the sun, bringing the story to life.
While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the number of characters and locations made the the story a bit hard to follow at times. I think this has more to do with the scale of the story. If you like deep and complex stories then this is definitely the novel for you as I can tell that a lot of care went into crafting the details of this story.
I also liked how mundane things, often overlooked, are given importance throughout the story. Books are a prominent example of this: throughout the story, they move from being mundane and common, to being prized and beloved. This romantic view of the mundane, of love and friendship, was well incorporated.
In the Beast’s Cage is a suspenseful supernatural story with a satisfying ending and was thoroughly enjoyable. The story has some creative supernatural elements and an organically high level of intrigue that will satisfy any fan of dark fantasy.
Pages: 176 | ASIN: B09819FRZP
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My Aunt The Vampire, by Paul Bird, is the sequel to One Mad Rooster and is a lively collection of short stories that follow the hilarious and heartwarming events of one boy’s life. Within this humors collection for young teens, you’ll find him convinced his aunt is a vampire, battling haunted fireworks, and trying to outwit his English teacher.
Paul Bird does a great job of getting inside a teenager’s mind. It allowed me to connect with the protagonist because he felt authentic. It is that awkward age between childhood and adulthood where you can believe one thing, even when logic is rearing its head and telling you that your belief is wrong.
At the beginning of each chapter there is a picture that is associated with tit. They are cute pictures without being too childish and really brings life to these stories. Author Paul Bird also starts each chapter with a paragraph or two in the middle of the action and then goes back in time a little to help explain what’s going on. This can be a little disorientating at first but he does handle it well and everything within the story connects with that particular story.
While this is a collection of stories, all of the stories do have the unifying thread of having the same protagonist. It is a little difficult to keep track of when the events happen in the protagonist’s life, as I was not sure when these things were happening. But otherwise these were entertaining stories that felt grounded but still imaginative.
My Aunt The Vampire by Paul Bird is a well written collection of fun stories that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighthearted read with organically humorous situations.
Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07MY2B8PX
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The Oath Breaker continues the story in The Witch Hunter General series. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
I really wanted to add some emotional depth to Victor’s character and make sure he didn’t come off as just some mindless, heartless killing machine. He may be an immortal half-witch, but he is also still half-human who is dealing with an immense amount of grief, sorrow, and loss. I’ve also always loved the idea of the hunter becoming the hunted and wanted to incorporate that element into his story. I think Victor being on the run really gave him a chance to face his metaphorical as well as literal demons head-on which gave him some extra depth for the rest of his team to try to navigate as well. I love watching their team dynamic unfold as the story progresses.
Victor Cain continues to be a riveting character. What were some challenges that you felt were important to his characters development in this book?
I tried to make Victor just as complex as any living person. He’s been struggling with so many things for so long; from the death of his wife and son, to his loss of faith and hatred of God, to the betrayal of the Inquisition. He is a man besieged by guilt and near-crippling depression, all while still trying to lead his team who don’t know if they can fully trust him anymore. Trying to convey all of those things and make it honest and believable was definitely challenging and the most important for his development.
What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?
The scene that jumps out at me as the most fun to have written was the siege of Requiem Tower. The chaos and devastation the Thunderbird wreaks was a pure joy to write.
What can readers expect in the book in the series?
I think readers will be able to expect a thrilling and epic conclusion in the third book of the trilogy. There are many more battles to be fought and revelations to be had by the time it ends. I am also currently working on a series of short stories that tie into the novel series, each one focusing on an individual character before they joined Victor’s team. There just might be a spin off series in the works as well.
Posted in Interviews
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The Condemned starts with Michael, our main character, who is living a normal life finishing up college, with student debts piled up to his neck. Michael is a very relatable character. But suddenly, he starts having dreams where he finds himself in a variety of places. Everyone’s dream is different. Sometimes you are in a magical land, sometimes it is all rainbows and sunshine. Alas, that is not Michael’s luck. He has visions of places where demons and death crawl the land. Where it is blood and limbs, and everyone who is eternally damned.
One of my favorite things about this book were these vivid and imaginative dreams. They were highly creative and sprinkled with gory details. With every scene I felt the need to read more! Was I terrified? No. But I chalk that up to my immunity to such reads. I believe most readers would feel the horror and the thrill of such scenes at a higher level.
The plot flowed smoothly and not only did we see Michael’s daily life, we saw the effects these dreams had on him and his life. I loved Orrix’s character. The first spawn of Lucifer, and the creator of other vampires. I liked the unique take on the myth of Lucifer and Orrix, and how they were connected was intriguing. Especially the uproar that hell is going through. While I enjoyed this book I felt that there were some instances where Orrix was talking or telling his story and it felt like we were given a lot of information all at once.
There were moments where great tension was being built up, giving depth to the scenes, and then the story takes a light hearted twist that moves the plot forward and gives this a more young adult feel. The Condemned is a riveting supernatural thriller that is highly imaginative and keeps readers engaged throughout this uniquely spooky novel.
Pages: 182 | ASIN: B0971QQD9Q
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Russian HellwayZ follows a group of people on their way back to Moscow and face a post-apocalyptic country ravaged by zombies. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I’ve never been interested in zombies before but then I watched TV series “The Walking Dead”. It was a game changer for me. I was struck by the fact that the dramatic destinies of people were so harmoniously inscribed into the zombie apocalypse and intricately intertwined with each other in a destroyed world. So I decided to tell my story.
Your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
The images of the characters are collective, but every one of them has a prototype that I have met at some point in my life. Biographies, criminal cases, events that happened to the heroes before the Apocalypse, were all taken from the real life stories. And, of course, the social environment that once surrounded those characters, descriptions of cities, villages, people’s lives in different layers of society, their behavior – this is all for real.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Any end of civilization is a rapid fall of humanity into the Dark Ages. For some this is a collapse of everything: the loss of status, money, the opportunity to live in comfort. Some are simply ready for an extreme change, and for others “the social elevator” would turn on which would never had the chance to do so in the ordinary world. And the most interesting thing is that all these people were brought together to one point in space and time. The question is: what will win at the end? Will it be their primitive animal nature, or their ability to conceive a new civilization for humanity?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
You know, literary translation is very expensive, as is editing. I hope that “Russian HellwayZ” will start selling well and we can see the continuation as soon as next year 🙂
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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
La Florida by James D. Snyder
My Hidden Fear by Luan Nguyen
Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.
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What happens when an AI system in a manufacturing plant becomes sentient and chooses to find itself a body? How do you explain a former pilot now scared of flying planes catching wind of the calamity about to befall the flight he’s on? Can an unusual creature feeding on people’s memories and instigating their death be stopped? How will a no-nonsense space pirate protect her ship and government threatened by the people closest to her? How did humans get caught up in the war between stone-like space creatures and the descendants of the ancient Mars civilization?
Svet Rouskov’s Antithesis is a medley of riveting short stories, with some split into parts. Rouskov presents thought-provoking science fiction tales with shades of the supernatural. He packs so much tension and intrigue into various bits of flash fiction and each bit brims with relevant insights on life, humanity, technology, and more.
I love how some of the stories have dark undertones while others are just downright creepy. They also have enough futuristic elements to tickle anyone’s fancy and seem to balance the thrill they offer with ample conflict. From alien life to paranormal activities, Rouskov brings his A-game of fun mixed with spooky stuff.
What’s even more impressive is the author’s ability to evoke vivid images in his reader’s mind. His writing is descriptive and immersive. On top of that, the stories are fast-paced and keep you on your toes all through. Rouskov undoubtedly has a way with words. He combines his knack for choosing the right words with his storytelling skills to create beautiful prose and compelling storylines.
Speaking of storylines, as I raced through each story, one thought kept popping up like a flickering light bulb: “this can easily be a film.” And guess what I found when I finished the book? Apparently, Rouskov is certified in filmmaking and started producing feature films, web-based series and television shows before switching to literature. He’s a master storyteller with loads of experience, and Antithesis reflects this. This volume gets 5 stars from me, and I can’t wait to get my hands on volume two.
Pages: 282 | ASIN: B08VMT89SC
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Nothing to Get Nostalgic About follows a man whos haunted past catches up to him and threatens his family. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
My father passed away in 2014 after being diagnosed a year prior with esophageal cancer. We had a VERY contentious and toxic relationship. He was a very abusive person. Our last phone call the evening before he died, instead of telling him how much he hurt me and how angry I was I started sobbing and told him I loved him. He called me the f-word and told me to call my mother. 2017 my oldest son was born, and when I realized I was going to be both a father and a father to a son…I couldn’t help but reflect on the traumas of my childhood and the abuse I endured from my father. There was one day when I was showering and I had my oldest in a high chair in the bathroom. When I exited the shower he had this look on his face like he had just seen a ghost or some kind of spectral tormentor. At the time I had become VERY superstitious and overzealous about protecting my son from both the physical and spiritual dangers in life. I feared that maybe what my son saw was my father…it scared the crap out of me and strangely I started writing the crib scene based on this vulnerability I felt wanting to protect my future from my past.
Charlie is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Charlie is me. Charlie was a character that manifested from my childhood memories and traumas. I wanted to write a book about the abuse I endured and the abuse a lot of my friends endured as children. In the 90s, we didn’t have smartphones or social media and most of our parents worked multiple jobs to keep the electricity on. If we came home off the bus or walked home from school, a lot of us walked into empty homes with nothing but a television and a full liquor cabinet that many abused. I wanted to explore the world I grew up in and how it cultivated a generation of latchkey kids who were discovering life vicariously through what was on television or through their parents’ behavior and neglect. If any of these characters resonate with readers, it’s because they were intended to be reflections of ourselves, friends we had, our people we knew. Misfits, and very scared young people trying to make sense of a world that made no damn sense.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I really wanted to remove the rose colored lenses of the 90s in the sense that people get really obsessed with the pop culture of that era and deify a lot of the most prominent figures of that time period. The 90s I remember (while very fun, I was a kid) was very confusing and disturbing. Divorce rates reached staggering heights, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear macabre tales about kids being sent to gay conversion camps or winding up as fodder in custody trials. There are a staggering number of people who think that’s Kurt Cobain’s ubiquity in his fleeting four years as a generation’s spokesperson define that entire decade…but I grew up in the post 90s right after this man committed suicide and ending with Columbine and Woodstock 99. There was this very decadent, contentious, and polarizing feeling and it didn’t reflect the wistful ideologies that nostalgia projects onto younger generations.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
At the beginning of the summer I finished a manuscript for a novel that I’m very excited about, but haven’t found representation for it yet. While enduring the tedium of trying to find an agent or a publisher with any interest I also finished my first poetry manuscript which I’m very proud of. I’ve mostly been trying to enter those into contests and querying agents about those projects. Recently I’ve started prepping for another novel and another poetry manuscript. I submit my poems a lot. So, I’m trying to come up with as much material as I can to hopefully catch the right pair of eyes.
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