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Literary Titan Book Awards December 2017

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

Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel (The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blaché Book 1) by [Dietrick, Janelle]Shadow of the Moon: A Fantasy of Love, Murder and Werewolves by [Griffeth, Kwen]The Glass Demon by [Veit, Jerry J.C. ]

Walking Over Eggshells: Surviving Mental Abuse by [CLARKE, LUCINDA E]The LGBTQ Meditation Journal by [Stone, Christopher , Sheldon, Mary]The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) by [Breakfield, Charles V, Burkey, Roxanne E]

The Raid on Troy (The Orfeo Saga Book 7) by [Eiland Jr., Murray Lee]Just Another Girl's Story: An Inspirational Teen Autobiography about Abortion, Addiction Recovery and Finding Redemption by [Eckert, Laura]

Executive Hoodlum: Negotiating on the Corner of Main and Mean by [Costello, John, Elder, Larry]The Consort Conspiracy (Covington Family Mystery Book 1) by [Schmitz, Kaye D.]Into the Night by [Veit, Jerry J.C.]Because It Was Raining by [Worley, Skyler]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Liars by [Gillis, Steven]Shadows, Shells, and Spain by [Meyer, John]Out of the Shadows (Shadowlands Book 1) by [Bye, Ashlee Nicole]

A-C-T Like A Kid And T-H-I-N-K Like A Parent: What All Good Parents Need For Their Kids To Know, Learn And Understand by [Shears, Katherine , Whitehurst, C. S.]DEAD AIR: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by [Protzman, Cliff]Vatican Protocol by [Gallagher, Brian]

Panther Across the Stars by [Brett Coon, Lon]Invasion by [Bland, Roxanne]Suzy Has A Secret

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

 

His Intense Loyalty

Michael J Bowler Author Interview

Michael J Bowler Author Interview

Spinner is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a horror, supernatural, and urban fantasy as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing? 

I never plan to genre-cross when I write, but it happens organically. My mind doesn’t see niches or genres because I don’t like labels (which publishers do like because they feel niches are easier to market to.) I usually start with an idea or a character and build from there. For Spinner, the idea was a boy in a wheelchair who could heal everyone but himself. From there I populated the story with characters I hope readers will care about, and considered the possible threats to such a uniquely gifted boy from those seeking to exploit him. I love horror stories, so adding in an element of the supernatural came easily. I tried to send my characters on a journey that crosses genres and can be enjoyed even by those who don’t like horror. The disabilities of the characters are based on real kids I taught as a special educator, and I wanted to celebrate the reality that for all of us, our abilities outweigh our disabilities.

Alex is a spinner, capable of taking on others emotions, physical ailments, and pains. What was the inspiration for Alex’s abilities?

I have always been very emphatic, and knew early on I could never be a doctor or someone who deals with suffering on a daily basis because I’d feel the pain of the other person way too much. However, all walks of life have suffering, and I’ve experienced it in many people, especially kids I’ve taught or worked with as a juvenile hall volunteer. I so badly wanted to take their pain away that the character of Alex was born in my mind – someone who could not just listen empathetically, but actually remove the pain from the other person and then expel it from himself. It took many years to bring the character, and his story, to fruition, and the result is Spinner.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I think Roy was my favorite because he has other struggles besides his learning disability, and because of his intense loyalty to Alex. Friendship is a major theme in all of my books because I believe it is the purest form of love, and the friendship Roy, Alex, and the other characters have for each other is more powerful than all the forces pitted against them. I’ve known far too many kids like Roy who think they’re losers because society says they have little or no worth, and I wanted to bring that kind of character to life so readers can see, with clarity, that society is wrong.

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

I have written three novels aimed at the teen+ market and one for middle grade, all different in plot, genre, tone, and even narrative point of view, but thus far none of them have generated interest from publishers or agents. In my mind, I have outlined the two sequels to Spinner that will tie up all the plot threads, but I’ll see how Spinner sells first. If there is enough interest, I’ll write them. At this point, I can’t say when I will have a new book out, but I keep working hard to make that happen.

Author Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram | TumblrPinterestGoodreadsAmazonYouTube

Spinner by [Bowler, Michael J.]Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to “fix” the kids she injures, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They want to know who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something evil, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy the world.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront a malevolence as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed. The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…

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Literary Titan Book Awards October 2017

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

Going Gone!: A Trackers Novel by [Dickason, Anita]The Enigma Rising (The Enigma Series Book 2) by [Breakfield, Charles V, Burkey, Roxanne E]Pegasus by [Cressman, Ken]

Think...Stand Up & Walk Tall: Turning Negatives Into Positives by [Kelman, Eliyahu]The Prophet and the Witch: A Novel of Puritan New England (My Father's Kingdom Book 2) by [George, James W.]

Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday (Book Seven of Shadow and Friends Series 7) by [Jackson, S, Raymond, A, Schmidt, M]

 

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

A Dangerous Discovery by [Brock, Zachary]H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS by [Wright, Natalie]

FUTURE WORLD ROCKS!: Going Back To Our Roots (Carousels of Life) by [Tumbler, Terry]

Same Inside, Different Outside by [Hunt, Deborah]

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

 

A Journey That Can Take A Lifetime

Deborah Dolan Hunt Author Interview

Deborah Dolan Hunt Author Interview

Same Inside, Different Outside is a wonderful children’s book that teaches biology and promotes diversity. Why do you think this is an important message to teach children?

I’m a nursing professor and one of the courses I teach is on Culture and Cultural Concepts which has certainly changed my worldview. I thought I had a good understanding of the various cultures and their beliefs and practices, however, one of the big lessons I learned was that becoming culturally competent is a journey that can take a lifetime. This made me realize that we need to teach children at a very young age to celebrate their uniqueness yet understand how in many ways we are all very similar. As a nurse, I also believe that children need to learn about the inside and outside of their bodies and although some of the concepts may be difficult for a younger child it is never too early to start introducing concepts that can be built upon as they complete their educational journeys.

I loved the pictures in this book. What was the art direction like?

Thanks, I loved the pictures, too. I worked very closely with my illustrator. Initially, I placed notations throughout the manuscript detailing my ideas for the illustrations and where they should be placed. Xavier, of course, used his creative and artistic abilities to bring the illustrations to life. It was fun to collaborate with him on this project and we really worked well together. Final edits were completed based on the input of the Waldorf Publishing team which certainly strengthened the book.

What do you hope young readers take away from your story?

First, and foremost I hope the readers enjoy the story and want to read it over and over again. Secondly, I hope they begin to understand that although we are unique and look different on the outside we are also very similar, especially on the inside. Lastly, I hope they begin to understand how some of the major parts of their bodies work. And that skeletons are really not scary and are somewhat like superheroes because they protect all of our insides.

Will you be writing more kids books that tackle other social issues?

Yes, although I’m currently working on the second pug book I’m also in the early developmental stages of inviting the readers back to Emma’s kindergarten class where I will address other social issues that help children to understand that although in some ways we are very similar it’s okay to be different.

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website Instagram

Same Inside, Different OutsideToday is a very exciting day for Emma’s kindergarten class. Emma, Robert, and the rest of the student’s don t understand how they can all look so different on the outside, but look very similar on the inside. So Dr. Shaw is coming to visit, and she’s bringing Mr. Bones, who is a real life-size skeleton. Mr. Bones is going to help Dr. Shaw teach her lesson about the human body. Dr. Shaw has also brought a cool body screening machine with her so the children can see what their insides look like.

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What Came of the Tough Times

Bryan Falchuk Author Interview

Bryan Falchuk Author Interview

Do a Day: How to Live a Better Life Every Day is written using your experience with turning your life around; losing weight and eating healthier. What was the thing that motivated you to write a book and help other people?

I have seen the Do a Day philosophy work so well, not just for myself, but for all the people I’ve been coaching and mentoring over the years. No matter how many hours I spend coaching, I still can help enough people, so I wrote the book to share the approach with as many people as possible. Based on the feedback, it’s working. Not a day has gone by since the book came out where I don’t get some kind of outreach from someone who the book has impacted.

What I like most about this book was that there were stories from your own life in it which helped me relate. Where there some experiences you felt were harder to write about then others?

Yes, definitely. It was hard to go back in time to some of the more painful moments in my life, like when my wife was in the throws of her illness and it wasn’t clear she would survive, or some of the pain I experienced as a child that shaped a lot of who I am today. But there’s so much growth from those moments that I have benefitted from, so I focused my mind of what came of the tough times rather than dwelling in the toughness of those times. That is, I used Do a Day in looking back. Instead of being trapped by past pain, I looked at what I can achieve today.

Personally, it was also very hard to talk about parenting. That chapter is the shortest in the book, and the one I wish I could do more with. I think it was hard to write because being a parent is so profound and powerful, but also because this isn’t my son’s book and he didn’t choose to be in it, so I wanted to balance respecting his privacy with getting the message across. I shared only one story in that chapter, and I think it’s enough to illustrate the point I’m trying to make, but the chapter is clearly different from others in the book.

I felt that the book did a great job giving sensible advice about everyday life. What is one thing you hope readers take away from Do a Day?

The one thing I want them to take away is the power the approach offers to overcome and achieve. Being free of the past and simultaneously not living in fear or anticipation of the future is incredibly empowering for you to do the best you can today. Each day of doing your best adds up to a life that is full of achievement instead of sadness and regret.

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

My plan for my second book is to move to the next step in Do a Day. The first book was some of my stories.

For the second book, I want to share the stories of my readers and people I work with.

I have only experienced so much, but the stories people come to me with are so varied and profound, I think reading about this and seeing how Do a Day helps in even the most extreme situations would be incredibly impactful for those looking for a connection to their experience that they couldn’t find in the first book.

Beyond that, there are some specific situations that warrant a full book on them alone. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can see a series of deeper dives into these tougher life situations with more specific guidance on how to put Do a Day into action to overcome and achieve.

The good news is, life is ever changing, challenges keep evolving and are always specific to each individual experiencing them, so there is so much to share with Do a Day. You can expect much more from me and Do a Day over the years to come. I’m so excited to help even more people change their lives.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | New Bodi Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | New Bodi Instagram | Website

Do a Day: How to Live a Better Life Every Day by [Falchuk, Bryan]Bryan Falchuk overcame adversity, lost nearly 100 pounds, ran a marathon, dramatically changed his diet and created an approach to help others live a better life, every day. That way is Do a Day.

Like so many people, Bryan has faced challenges in life, like obesity, depression, work stress, the responsibilities of parenthood, the potential of losing his wife to illness, and more. And he struggled, like anyone else. Through that struggle, Bryan learned the secret to not just overcoming any individual challenge, but creating a life of achievement, happiness and harmony. In Do a Day, you will learn how to make each day contribute to your goals so you can live the life you want to live – a better life.

Do a Day will free you of the burden and judgment of yesterday‘s choices, while relieving you of the pressure of what tomorrow may bring. By teaching you how to identify your true motivation and how to use that to focus on what you have to do today, Do a Day will help you change your life.

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Rage and Desperation

mari.reiza Author Interview

mari.reiza Author Interview

Physical follows two women, Fatima who has given birth to twins in London and Kiki who finds herself stuck and alone in Northern Italy after her boyfriend leaves her for an ‘upgrade’. What was the inspiration for the setup to this engaging novel?

This novel was inspired by a wine-fueled conversation between two close female friends discussing the past five years of their lives. Like in the book, one had given birth not too long ago, and the other one had recently been ditched by a long-term boyfriend. Both were distraught at the sharp decline of their self-esteem and loss of their identity in a matter of months. They exchanged passionate words of rage and desperation which grew more caustic the more they drunk. Just before collapsing from alcohol intoxication, they homed on actionable lessons from their almost opposite yet very similar experiences: desire was still ablaze inside them; sex continued to matter; and whatever else slightly alien seemed to be hijacking their lives, they deserved to seek physical fulfillment. The rest, is fiction.

Emotions run high in this book and you can truly feel where these women are coming from in their midlife crises. What were some themes you used when developing your characters?

On the side of Kiki, I was eager to explore ways in which a middle-aged female could cope with rejection including the weight of factors such as aging, the yearn for children, and the clash with societal pressures and surrounding family and friends. Of course, I also wanted to look at the role of sexuality and how it changes with age, and whether physical desire can remain determining even as mature life becomes more complicated.

On the side of Fatima, I focused on the potential result of taking away freedom and independence from a successful middle-aged woman, trapping her in a new ‘silent’ world. I wanted to push Fatima to the edge and see where she would run to re-find herself, and how much she would risk to regain happiness. I toyed with betrayal and whether it could be therapeutic and serve a purpose, as well as with a mother’s/wife’s guilt for her own selfishness versus her right to want fulfilment of all kinds including physical. I wanted Fatima to consider whether love means total trust and what trust actually means.

I felt that Kiki was sabotaging herself a lot through the story. Do you think this is reflective of her character as a whole or is this just a phase she’s going through?

Kiki is a woman of a different time. Full of ideas and ideals. Passionate and righteous but who has never been allowed to believe in herself too much. She would like to leave Italy but doesn’t find the courage. She would like to step out of her parents’ influence but loves them too much. She knows she’s very different from her friends but not sure she could do without them. She’s deep down uncertain of what she wants from men, but at times feels pressured she should follow every female’s ideal of marriage. She’s a strong doubter with a good heart for whom things finally work out. We need more Kikis in the world, for sure.

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

Morte a Pisa: LIPS, LIGHT & LYRE will be out in June. It is a thin book with a trio of reflective short-stories around female death following a weekend in Pisa. The next full-length novel will be Caro M, where a lover misses her beloved Caro M after being abandoned; a wife is steered through her divorce from husband Caro M by her sweetheart psychiatrist; and a young girl has landed a fairy tale wedding to groom Caro M that soon becomes a nightmare her cousin wants to help fix. Naturally, someone somewhere will be the end of Caro M…

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Physical: The catastrophe of desire“A book about female desire.

In a small town in northern Italy, Kiki feels worthless and angry when her longtime partner finds a new cool girl to ride on another decade of easy existence. Meanwhile in trendy London, Fátima, the wife of Kiki’s best friend, is losing her selfhood after giving birth to twins and being made redundant. Both heroines are determined to rebuild the passion and impunity of their youth, vitalising desires that will bring them to risk everything…

Themes covered in the novel include rejection, identity, betrayal, freedom and the right to happiness. The tone is humorous on the face of distress, often rejoicing in the terror of lives out of control.”

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Grim Reaper Searches For A Soulmate

Marko Pandza Author Interview

Marko Pandza Author Interview

Limbo is a story of a man who accidentally becomes the Grim Reaper and is the most highly revered killer in Limbo. What was the inspiration for this original and fascinating idea?

I wanted to write something that Clive Barker might like. Only 50% joking. The other 50% started with a simple sentence that didn’t mean much: the Grim Reaper searches for a soulmate. Everything spun out of that. The name Grim the Reaper popped into my head eventually, which made him feel like a starting point for a character and led to a bunch of meaty questions:

“Well, what if the mythical figure of Death was just one of many?”

“What if Grim used to have a life? Yes, he was John Grim. What the hell happened to him?”

“Who or What made John Grim this way, why did It create this perverse society?”

One led to the next and it all just made me really curious. I wanted to answer those questions by telling myself the story because I’d always dreamed of writing a horror novel and it seemed like the kind that wouldn’t bore me into not finishing it. I wanted to write something that to me would be strange and different, poetic at times and gruesome at others, something that felt big and conceptual. The kind of story I’d want to read. So I crammed a ton of my inspirations in there. Nerds like me that have a keen eye will pick up the overt references or subtle nods to Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Candyman, Hellraiser, Preacher, Nightbreed/Cabal, Cabin in the Woods, John Dies at the End…there’s a bunch more. Just little treats for horror fans inspired by the same stuff as I am.

The TL;DR version — There’s a lot of autobiography in this book, and this excerpt of the still-living John Grim holding his first freshly completed manuscript sums it up:

What he recalled most vividly about that simple moment was the pride, the heft of the pages in his hands, heavy with the monster that lived and breathed inside of them. The buoyancy of seeing his insides spilled in black ink on white pages, dreaming of the story being passed lip to lip.

I felt that the tone of the novel was dark and I appreciated the grim consistency. Did you plan the tone and direction of the novel before writing or did it come out organically as you were writing?

Darkness in all its forms is just fascinating to me. It’s the same reason heavy metal pleases my ear and happy major key music grates on me. Happy, clean cut endings, perfect heroes that are morally incorruptible, all that kind of stuff bores me at best, irritates me at worst. But I still believe in a form of the lighter side of things. A big part of the overall concept of Limbo before I put pen to paper was balance. I wanted the emotional moments to matter because they were born out of darkness. So I tried to push both sides as far as I could go. I know the results aren’t for everyone, because there are some pretty messed up scenes in Limbo, but there’s also this tragic story of two people who truly loved each other and fell into this insane situation that I think has a satisfying, unconventionally beautiful ending. So, definitely intentional, but thankfully it all came together pretty organically, while eating mostly non-organic chips. Chips were a big part of writing Limbo.

Grim is not the only character in Limbo. There are also friends, strangers, and even deities. What was your favorite character to write for?

I’ll have to cheat. It’s a split between the Maker of Limbo and Dora, John Grim’s sarcastic and strong re-incarnated soulmate Dora. Spoiler alert, but Limbo’s physical landscape and the Maker of Limbo are one and the same, cobbled together with endless miles of dead flesh and filled with an insane, vast web of consciousness made up of countless distinct personalities. I pushed myself to make the different physical forms the Maker appears in surprising, sometimes shocking, sometimes funny or sad. Writing this single, incomprehensible entity/deity with this assortment of both coherent and incoherent voices was incredibly fun. Dora I loved just as much because I wanted her to be a real badass. Though Grim the Reaper is the titular character searching for her, Dora is the real hero of Limbo. Brave, unrelentingly honest and endearingly bitter, someone who does what needs to be done, no matter the consequences. It’s hard to say more about her without ruining the surprises she brings, but suffice to say I wish Dora was someone I knew in real life.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will that be published?

I’m splitting my time between two projects. One is a big collection of charcoal illustrations of monsters, demons, ghouls and oddities I wish I saw in my sleep. The other is a big collection of one sentence horror stories called Brief, Horrible Moments. Aiming for late 2016 or early 2017, but here’s three stories from the collection so far that are on the ‘lighter’ side of the spectrum:

It laid its hands on my shoulders, still staring at me from across the lake.

Pulling the long black hair out from the drain didn’t bother me until I realized it was attached to something.

My father was causing a scene as usual, slurring his words and attacking pew after pew of terrified mourners who had gathered for his funeral.

Author Links: Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads | Website

 

Limbo Art

Limbo Art by Marko Pandza

 

Limbo.This is a story of a man who accidentally becomes Grim the Reaper, the most highly revered killer in Limbo. A place beyond time and space as we know it where psychopaths compete for perverse honour and status as they carry out their deathly duties. As Grim struggles to hold onto the memories of the life he’s lost, he discovers that the insane being who shaped him (and the course of existence itself) may have sinister plans for the one thing he values most. In Limbo, the end is only the beginning.

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