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There Can Be Love After Grief

Patricia Leavy Author Interview

Hollyland follows a woman with a passion for the arts and a Hollywood playboy who fall in love and change each other. What was one thing that excited you the most about writing this novel?

I wrote this novel during the pandemic to escape to someplace cheerful, hopeful, optimistic, and full of love. I wanted to remember that there’s always beauty and possibility. The characters in the book are searching for magic—or gold dust—in their lives. They find that magic in each other, in memories of their loved ones, and in the arts. I was excited to follow the trail of gold dust they left along the way.

Was there anything in Deanna and Ryder’s relationship that you pulled from your own life?

Yes. Deanna is an arts researcher. While she’s a fictious character, I did draw from my own experience. In addition to being a novelist, I’ve also been an academic researcher specializing in the arts for over two decades. Beyond that, I absolutely love the arts. My husband does as well, and we spend much of our leisure time at museums, movies, theater, and so forth. Deanna and Ryder also share that love of the arts. Some of the places they visit and specific nods to the arts come from my own life. For example, there’s a scene at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that happens in front of a painting I’ve been lucky to see many times.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

There are two. The big restaurant scene, which takes place in LA and involves a bunch of celebrities, a director, and the head of a Hollywood film studio. That scene unfolds over two chapters and was a blast to write. My other favorite is when Deanna and Ryder exchange special gifts. I don’t want to give anything away, but the gift he gives her is my favorite moment in the book. I cried a mess of happy tears writing it.

What were some ideas that you wanted to explore in this book?

There can be love after grief. The real movie stars in our lives aren’t necessarily famous, but are those we hold most dear. Art matters. Always live and love with passion. Gold dust may be right around the corner.

Author Links: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What happens when a seemingly ordinary woman with a passion for the arts falls in love with a Hollywood star known for his bachelor status and quick temper with the paparazzi? Something extraordinary.

Dee Schwartz is a writer and arts researcher. Ryder Field is a famous actor descended from Hollywood royalty. On the night they meet outside a bar, their connection is palpable. Ryder’s mother—legendary actress Rebecca Field, half of Hollywood’s golden couple when she died—was kidnapped and murdered by a crazed fan in a shocking event that forever tarnished Tinseltown. Dee’s mother, too, died when she was young. Bonded by this loss, the two embark on a love story that explores their search for magic—or “gold dust”—in their lives. Everything changes, however, when Dee mysteriously disappears after an awards ceremony. Is history repeating itself? Can there truly be a happily ever after in Hollywood?

Set against the backdrop of contemporary Los Angeles, Hollyweird is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between romance, humor, suspense, and joy.

Literary Titan Silver Book Award December 2022

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

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 writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Silver Award Recipients

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

Hollyland: A Novel

“I began to wonder if it’s even possible to have passion for your work and passionate love at the same time.”

Deanna Schwartz is a timid poetist and contemporary fiction writer who also has a degree in psychology and neuroscience, with a doctorate in art education and an innovative line of research. Ryder Field is a glamorous Hollywood actor and full-time playboy, widely known to the public for his iconic role in a successful action series and for his long list of failed relationships to acclaimed actresses and models.

Their paths cross on a side street adjacent to the entry of a night club in Los Angeles, and they strike up a conversation that has an undeniable spark. A weekend together. Dee teases her companion, goes skinny-dipping and dares to act bold in ways that would leave those who know her with their mouths agape. Rye goes to a farmers’ market, listens to an intimate live reading of her poetry and meets her closest friends on a brunch at her place. At a gala dinner, Rye tries to swoon a prestigious producer for his new series, and the night takes a turn for the unexpected as Rye and his associates discover that professor Deanna, the shy scholar and poetry writer, has some cards up her sleeve that reveal a whole new side to her relationship with arts. One day, though, a tragic event from Rye’s childhood catches up to them in a terrible coincidence, putting everything at stake.

Author Patricia Leavy does an excellent job of building up her characters in this enthralling romance novel. I enjoyed diving into the details of Deanna and Ryder’s characters. While this novel, by the end, utilizes a beguiling and suspenseful mystery to really ramp up the tension, I picked up this book again and again just to see those two together. They are characters that are interesting on their own, but when they’re together the story is alluring and enchanting. Their love for one another is reiterated throughout the story, but I think fans of love stories will still enjoy the story.

Hollyland takes the opposites attract trope to a new level by creating characters that are deep and compelling against an intriguing Hollywood backdrop. This will make a perfect feel-good beach read. The casual language and competent writing make the pages fly by. A bit melodramatic, heavily romantic, and all kinds of fun, Hollyland is a novel that left me smiling.

Pages: 224 | ASIN: B0B8H78CNT

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Running Into The Woman Of His Dreams

Giuseppe Scarpine Author Interview

Second Chance – The Adventures of Gianni & Pepina follows a retired doctor who moves to south France to start over and meets a woman who renews his faith in love and laughter. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

There are so many scenarios in this world regarding the loss of a loved one; sickness, accident, suicide and war just to name a few. As a result, a partner may lose faith and have no hope for the future. That was my vision for this story – a retired doctor (Dr. Gianni Pisano) who lost all hope from his young wife committing suicide. He surrenders, never finding love again. He retreats to the south of France in retirement, losing himself to alcohol and drugs.

One never knows through what door love may enter. After decades, through a mystical encounter with a curious bird and a mutual love of gardening, Gianni breaks through his isolation, running into an enchanting woman who has captured his imagination. No spoilers!

What was the inspiration for the relationship that develops between the characters?

A good healthy sense of humor is a mandatory prerequisite for a successful relationship. Gianni and Pepina display this in abundance. Their escapades throughout Catalonia, France and the New World (aka Alaska and Southern California) are full of sharp wit, laughter and the joy of life. Everybody deserves a Second Chance!

In today’s modern world of social media, with people meeting and greeting in a peculiar/sterile way, it was appealing to create a relationship that happens spontaneously… with the help of nature, of course.

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

Being a virgin until a certain age is generally a personal choice. Also, it is not uncommon for a person to not have intimate relations with another person until later in life. This was the situation with Pepina Soler; she dedicated most of her life as the sole care giver for her father who was a rather prolific man during the Franco regime in Spain. All her siblings never lifted a finger to help. For her to find love, later in life, with a caring understanding man was an integral part of this romance.

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


(Dramatic Comedy)

The life of a curmudgeonly ol’ geezer banished to a trailer park, who is not exactly who he seems to be…?

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Meet Dr. Gianni Pisano at the beginning of what promised to be an illustrious medical career. Everything was going his way; Emily, his beautiful young Scottish wife, the beginnings of a family with a fine home on the west coast. Then, one day, he finds his love has committed suicide. Decades follow Gianni sealing himself off from society, stumbling through his medical practice while abusing himself with all forms of pharmaceuticals and alcohol. Eventually, he retires to a hermits life in Europe never again to have a relationship with another woman. Mystically, while tending to his passion of growing and grafting fruit trees, he meets Pepina Soler, a beguiling Catalonian woman who helps him overcome some bad habits as they embark on a whimsical and comedic journey of cooking, gardening, hiking and travelling around the world.

Family History Is Important

Pat Wahler Author Interview

The Christmas Keepsake follows a young woman who must decide what’s more important, her dream job or her boyfriend, and seeks advice from her wise grandmother. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Years ago, my grandmother shared with me a few events from her youth. As a teenager, Grandma had begun to sing at a local theater in her small town. But when her mother was diagnosed with kidney failure (a death sentence in those days), my grandmother was shocked by the advice her mother gave to her—advice destined to change the course of Grandma’s life. I won’t give any spoilers, but around these tidbits I wove a story.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

I look back on time I spent with my grandmother, and wish I’d asked her more questions. Seniors, whether family or friends, are a wealth of fascinating stories, and the truth is, family history is important. The past is important. If we take time to pay attention, it can teach us a lot.

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

Decisions often require courage. Especially when it means leaving a “safe” path to take a chance on what seems like an uncertain and scary future.

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

I’m very excited about my next novel, scheduled for release in February 2023. The Rose of Washington Square: A Novel of Rose O’Neill, Creator of the Kewpie Doll, is the story of the woman who wowed the world with her iconic creation. But Rose did much more than invent her magical elves. She was also a respected illustrator, artist, sculptor, novelist, poet, philanthropist, and passionate suffragist. I can’t wait to share her story!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A nostalgic and heartwarming Christmas short story of faith, heart, and hope.
2005 – Just before Christmas, Janelle Young accepts her dream job which means a move from the Midwest to California. When the man she loves insists that she decline the offer or risk the end of their relationship, Janelle is stunned. Torn over what to do, she seeks advice from her octogenarian grandmother, who shares a long-ago dilemma of her own; one that took place in 1938.

1938 – During the final years of the Great Depression, Peggy Norwood is a promising soprano who yearns for a career on stage. She ignores the attentions of a handsome young stranger to stay focused on her dream. But when her mother receives a dire diagnosis, the future is no longer clear, and Peggy is forced to make an impossible choice.

Can a tale from the past, a treasured Christmas ornament, and a touch of magic, guide Janelle’s future?

This is an inspirational small-town story filled with the healing spirit of the holiday season.

The Only Guarantee Of A Legacy

Erik Daniel Shein Author Interview

Kona follows a teenage girl who dreams of working with sea life and, while working at an aquarium, discovers friendship, learns life lessons, and finds romance. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In my life, I have known at least a handful of kids who have had childhood cancer. Their stories are often heartbreaking and stay with you forever. After all these years, the advancements in treatments for childhood cancers are still very limited, while more publicized cancers have received more funding and research. My goal was to write a story that would allow their voices to be heard, to bring the cause to the forefront while also combining with it our love for protecting animals too. Giving voices to those that often are unheard is important.

Melanie has had many challenges in her life so far, and is trying to figure out where life will take her. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the driving ideals behind Melanie’s character was providing a window into the heart and mind of a teen dealing with childhood cancer. Kids with cancer are often fighters, with smiles larger than life, as they put on a brave face for the world. Inside they are dealing with so many things that never show on the surface. As I was fleshing out Melanie, I was speaking with a family that had dealt with childhood cancer to get the heart of my character. These kids are not only fighting for their lives, but they are also fighting for their families, too, to keep everyone together. Melanie often does this with her little sister. She is always there to reassure Kimmie and let her know everything is going to be all right, no matter what happens at the end of her story.

Another driving force for Melanie is her ability to relate to Kona. Like the wild dolphin, Melanie feels suffocated by her circumstances. Kona feels trapped by the four walls of the aquarium when she is used to having an entire ocean, and Melanie feels like her disease is a prison that keeps her from living her life to the fullest. While Melanie cannot change her own situation, she could fight for Kona’s future and the safety of the marine life for years to come. In a way, Kona is the only guarantee of a legacy for Melanie.

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

It was important to show the fighting spirit of these young heroes that often get swept under the rug. The tenacity and grit that children fighting cancer have been remarkable. Their motto to never give up, no matter the battle, is truly inspiring. It is heartbreaking that after all these years, the medical advancements for childhood cancers have not made as much progress as other cancers. I felt the need to put a face to the story and give it everything I had. Kona is an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  

I also wanted to write a clean teen romance because there is still innocence in the world, even though our literature, movies, and mainstream media show us children who have grown up well before they are ready. That first touch of the teen spirit crushing on their first love was a breath of fresh air amidst the turbulent sea of emotions inside Melanie, showing that cancer kids are just normal kids trying to live a normal life through insurmountable odds.

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

We are currently working on another heartfelt book called ‘Because of Lily,’ which is centered on a young girl in the heart of the Savannah in Africa. It is a young adult novel of self-discovery and a coming-of-age novel. We are hopeful that it will come out next Spring.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

As a childhood cancer survivor, Melanie has seen a few good years with no evidence of disease, but in the back of her mind, she is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being a normal teen is what she has always wanted, so when she’s offered a dream job at the Blue Haven Aquarium, she jumps at the chance.No one has told Melanie about Chase MaKenzie, the guy she is paired to be working with, nor the new best friend she’ll find in the watery depths. Melanie’s world is about to change forever.
Heart touching, witty, and at times heartbreaking, Kona explores the depths of friendship and love.

INFINITY: A Winter Romance

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It can never be said that Sarah Nightingale is a typical lady. As a seventeen-year-old, she is approaching old-maid status and does not seem to care. She is independent, outspoken, and completely willing and more than able to run her father’s farm. Tobias, her father, realizes all of this but still wants to see her married. When he arranges a meeting between his daughter and Matthew, an eligible and promising prospective son-in-law, he has no way of knowing he has set into motion a sequence of events he will soon regret. Meanwhile, Sarah has designs on a marriage of her own–one no one would ever expect.

Infinity: A Winter Romance, by Catalina DuBois, is one in a series of books that follows two star-crossed lovers through time as they continue to encounter one another and fight for the chance to be together. As they fight to reunite and regain the love that was once stolen from them, they must overcome one incredible obstacle after another in order to defeat the forces that are determined to keep them apart for eternity.

Sarah and Matthew make the perfect pair. The dynamic DuBois has created between the two in this time period is intriguing, to say the least. Sarah is headstrong and cannot be told what to do; she is a fantastic main character. Her boldness shines through everything she says and does throughout the plot. It’s clear that Matthew has been written to shine a light on Sarah’s character. He is likable but takes nothing away from Sarah.

I so enjoy the way DuBois writes. This is the second book in her Infinity that I have read, and the element of mystery she adds to her books makes each a must-read. She leaves each chapter with a line or two that will hook readers every time, urging them on to the next chapter. This is the kind of writing I prefer–I want to be made to feel that I am missing out if I don’t just keep reading. DuBois, without a doubt, is a master at producing books you won’t be able to put down until you have reached the last page.

Infinity: A Winter Romance, by Catalina DuBois, DuBois’s romance is tastefully written with just enough sensuality to attract romance fans. DuBois’s characters are relatable no matter the time period in which the book is written, and the combination of drama and humor, along with elements of romance, pushes DuBois’s works into the top spot on my list of books I highly recommend.

Pages: 154 | ASIN : B0BKYSQNZ9

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Under the Aurora Sky

Lee is a city guy who has to work in a wildlife magazine to save his journalism career. To prove his capabilities he agrees to step out of his comfort zone and go on an expedition in the Great Bear Rainforest. He is taken by surprise when he meets his tour guide, Dani Skybird, a strong, perceptive but pessimistic woman. While forming a nascent love with nature, Isaak’s city habits cause trouble for his survival. With Dani guiding him a journey of self-discovery begins, helping Isaak appreciate a new lifestyle that might not keep his nails clean, but will surely keep his heart full of joy.

Under the Aurora Sky by Elissa Daye and Karen Fuller is a romantic adventure novel that uses nature as a backdrop to tell a heartfelt love story that is punctuated by some fun and dramatic moments. The story is colored by themes of love and friendship, making this a feel-good drama that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

This is an easy novel to get through. It is barley over 200 pages I was able to finish this book quickly because of the clear writing that keeps the focus on the characters and moving the story forward, all while giving you the feels.

The conflict between city dwellers and survivalists is contrasted beautifully through the two protagonists. While there is certainly a preference towards nature in this book I liked how the gender roles were reversed in this story. Isaak’s character goes through the largest change throughout the story and I enjoyed watching how he evolved. The authors make sure readers are with him every step of his self-discovery journey. While sowing the seeds of a romantic relationship, the authors emphasize how true companionship is important. Dani changes his outlook on life while he changes her perception of love.

Under the Aurora Sky is an adventure-filled love story that will keep readers engaged right up until the very end. Fans of romance will enjoy the exotic backdrop to this sentimental story and any reader will feel the warmth of companionship this book has to offer.

Pages: 225 | ASIN: B0BD2L21LS

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