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Create An Enjoyable Story

C.W. James
C.W. James Author Interview

The Treasure of Peril Island follows a penniless young man who sets out on a perilous journey to recover a treasure that was hidden by an enigmatic man. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

“The Treasure of Peril Island” is a derivative work based on a 1903 public domain penny dreadful, “Peril Island” by Sidney Drew. The original book had many issues – it was very dated, had no clear protagonist (for example, the characters of Drayton and Dane were prominent in the early chapters, then faded completely into the background as the plot progressed), included a bumper crop of secondary characters who were mostly “ethnic” and written in dialects, and subplots that went nowhere. However, the basic story piqued my interest, and I used Drew’s basic plot as my playground. I jettisoned about two-thirds of the original, although I kept some chapters and scenes intact – well, mostly intact. I focused on and rewrote the characters (and ages) of Drayton and Dane, making them the protagonists, with Drayton as the POV character. I also added the romantic subplot and the paranormal elements, among other things.

Jack Drayton is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Jack changed quite a bit during rewrites. My developmental editor pointed out that his friend, Hector, was the stronger character and was taking over. As I worked through that, the relationship between the two changed, and Jack’s character began to assert itself. I just followed behind him, transcribing what he did and said.

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

I may be the only author on earth that doesn’t think he has any relevant comments or observations to make on the human condition. My aim is simple: create an enjoyable story with good characters. If any themes develop, fine, but that’s not a goal. I believe the reader’s background, experiences, biases, and beliefs influence how they interact with text, so any themes you put in the written word while change based on that anyway.

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

I am currently working on another Young Adult historical fiction set in a 1941 Hollywood movie studio. I’m hoping it will be available in the first half of 2022.

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The winds of change are about to fill the sails of Jack Drayton…
A penniless young man living on a barge on the Thames in 1903 London, Jack Drayton is unsure of where his life is heading. He’s trying to decide what to do with himself next when he meets a peculiar stranger. Needing a ride to shore one evening, Jack hitches a ride from this stranger, who speaks, dresses, and behaves as though he’s stepped out of another era. After Jack helps the man escape a fracas in town, he tells Jack that he is in fact Black Juan Gaskara, an infamous pirate, and claims that he’s on the run for his life.
Now, that would be all fine and good, except for the fact that the real Black Juan Gaskara would have to be over 112 years old; or more logically, dead.
Despite his disbelief however, Jack is intrigued by the man. Especially when he learns of the treasure that Gaskara has apparently hidden on Peril Island, a place only known to Black Juan.
Before Juan is murdered by descendants of the crew he double-crossed over the loot, he leaves Jack with a cryptogram and map that will reveal where the treasure is hidden. Now it’s up to Jack to recover the treasure before Black Juan’s enemies – who wish to use it to set up a global crime empire – get their hands on it first. With his best friend Hector at his side, Jack must venture on the dangerous ocean journey of a lifetime, following the cryptic clues to uncover the treasure before Gaskara’s foes put an end to his search…and his life!
Author C.W. James creates a fast-paced and thrilling historical novel that will capture the imagination of young adult audiences and hold them fast until the very last page. Perfect for casual readers and bibliophiles alike, The Treasure of Peril Island is the kind of book that will ignite one’s love of reading, or continue to kindle the existing flame. A classic story of adventure, mystery, pirate curses and hidden treasure, this is the optimal book to add to any teen library!

Dark Chase

Dark Chase by [Seth Sjostrom]

Fear haunts the hearts of the town of Hope, North Dakota. Their already small community starts dwindling as citizens drop dead unexpectedly. Heart attacks are not unusual. But in teens? With a fever? Delusions?

Suspicion falls on the long since abandoned Helberg house. A home of misfortune and grief. Not knowing what to do, the town of Hope calls in the experts. The FBI is assigned to the case with Dr. Ryder Chase and his paranormal team in tow. They arrive expecting an easy case of misadventure and ghostly unrest, only to find the house is not all that it may seem. In this paranormal thriller by Seth Sjostrom, Dark Chase will take readers down the paranormal investigative rabbit hole and unearth the mysteries of the afterlife.

It is clear the author has worked very hard to showcase his extensive research and knowledge of ghost hunting. He uses lots of terms and jargon associated with paranormal investigation. For example, Sjostrom refers to the EMF device that picks up paranormal energy in a room often when his characters are investigating the Helberg house.

What most people expect from thrillers is suspense and built-up tension. Dark Chase goes between a mystery story and a thriller novel without committing to either. I think a good mystery story requires little hints dropped here and there, as though the author is scattering rose petals, trailing them up the stairs and into the bedroom where all the answers we have been waiting for are revealed. I feel that this story has a trail that leads all the way to the last chapter of the novel where we finally get some answers to the perplexing mystery, all the while readers will be spinning trying to piece together the mystery at the heart of this curious story.

While I thought the characters were interesting, I felt that at times the actions and words used in dialogue were a bit awkward; like “purge” which is used to mean “throw-up.” But otherwise, the dialogue is sufficient to keep the story moving. In chapter seven the story brings to light the only secondary female character in the novel, describing her as “feminine” and “soft”. This character has been in the background for most of the book but the story suddenly sexualizes her through the eyes of one of the main characters, Dr. Chase, using stereotypical “feminine” qualities to describe agent Sohn. I do not believe this is intended to be sexist; I believe the story is attempting to create a subplot romance between Dr. Chase and Agent Sohn, but I felt that the descriptors and setup could have been handled with more subtlety and literary finesse.

Dark Chase has all the hallmarks and potential to be a very good mystery thriller. With a bit of editing the fascinating ideas contained within this book can really shine. Readers looking for an intriguing paranormal thriller with realistic ghost hunting jargon and procedures will find it in Dark Chase.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B087BNBV4B

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Mystical Force – Book Trailer

All beings radiate a life force, but some have an additional Mystical Force – a force that grants them special gifts, be it magical essence, demonic aura or spiritual power. While some consider these people to be gifted, there are others who feel these powers are unnatural. Mystical Force is a fantasy series, dealing with themes of prejudice and racism.

(Vol.1 Stranger in a Strange Land):
Shi-ria is brought to Earth by a sorceress named Zolida as part of a prophecy. There she meets Mystic, Noonien, Tokijin and Rose and must save a bunch of kidnapped demons from smugglers while the Order wants to destroy them. Meanwhile another sorceress named Scarlet Knightwalker wants to prevent this to ensure a dark future doesn’t come true.

(Vol.2 Angels and Demons):
Sister Rose and Tokijin are attacked by another demon (Jimomaru) and his sorceress ally (Aanjay) as revenge for them being persecuted by humans. Shi-ria, Mystic and Noonien are needed to help when Tokijin is placed under a spell and forced to attack Sister Rose.

(Vol.3 The Kolri and the Koldar):
Shi-ria, along with police detective Shinjo are transported back to Shi-ria’s planet, Thalia. Now Shi-ria must return Shinjo to Earth, while at the same time a dark cult (the Koldar Warriors) learn about this and want this power to magically teleport to any planet across the galaxy so they can spread their dark theocracy and destroy all “infidels”.

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A Truth That’s Often Omitted

Martyn Stanley
Martyn Stanley Author Interview

Ofelia follows an immortal vampire who faces a choice to either embrace her immortality or eliminate the vampire race. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

That’s a difficult question because it’s complex. I was actually part way through writing Deathsworn Arc 6: Emergence at around August 2019. At the time I was in Avignon in France and we’d been to the famous bridge and learned all about its history. I can’t explain why, but Avignon inspired me to write the character of Ofelia. The idea for the actual story? Well that goes back to a book I read to my son years ago called ‘The 1000 year old boy’. In that story immortality seems to be presented as a bad thing in a very black and white way. While we were on holiday in France, after we’d left Avignon and driven to the south coast, I got a call from my father to tell me that my mother had been taken into hospital. She’d been terminally ill with cancer for some time, but that phone call marked the beginning of the end. It got me thinking about how transient and short life is, and that maybe we shouldn’t judge people for wanting to live longer. A further inspiration was a good Romanian friend of mine – Nicoleta Mocanu. She lives near Brasov and has been following my Deathsworn Arc series since book 1. We talk books a lot, and though we’re good friends she’s one of my harshest critics. I wanted to give Ofelia an authentic origin story. Nico helped me with choosing many of the names in the book, though she didn’t want me to use Magdalena Florescu as that’s actually a quite common name in Romania. Like a Jane Smith or something? I was writing for a British and American audience mainly though and I liked it, so I went with it anyway. Researching the history of Brasov and Bran Castle, and the surrounding area? That was really when I got who Ofelia was and how she came to be what she was. It’s also how I came to visualise Dealul Negru, Ofelia’s village.

Ofelia is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I think with Ofelia, a key part of her story and character is about what it means to be a child. There are times in the book, when Ofelia seems almost powerless in the cogs of bureaucracy. I was writing this story for a slightly younger audience than my Deathsworn Arc novels and I wanted to capture the frustration youngsters feel when they swept up in adult decisions which they have no influence over. I wanted to explore what the life of an orphan in modern Britain might be like, but at the same time with the added frustration of actually being a 500 year old immortal. Throughout the story I think you get the impression Ofelia avoids relationships with people. I wanted to paint the relationship with Amicia Le Moyne as having been particularly important to her, and also that when that relationship ended it hurt. Perhaps hurt so much she didn’t want to befriend anyone else, only to watch them grow old and die again. The last thing I wanted to portray, was that living for 500 years has made Ofelia unusually pragmatic and logical. I think if we’d seen half a millennia of history unfold like that, that’s perhaps a direction we’d lean in. There were times when I was writing Ofelia that I was quite depressed. I could sense myself trying to avoid having feelings for anything or anyone. With Ofelia’s long and dark history, I thought she’d probably have found herself doing the same thing, particularly while under the influence of the immortal paradox. That was something I wanted to subtly infer, I suppose it’s made a little more obvious in the closing chapters.

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

Oh, there were so many! Immortality and the morality of immortality is definitely a key one. So many books paint immortality as bad thing to aspire to, but life is never truly as simple as ‘this good’, ‘that bad’. I wanted to to break that genre trope. I also really wanted to explore this idea I’d had of what it would be like for an ancient child-vampire to end up being taken into care against their will and treated like a child. Once I started having images in my head of this, I had to really explore it. I can’t explain why, but I found the idea intensely compelling. The last thing, but maybe the most important thing was a theme which Ofelia shares with my Deathsworn Arc novels. I love subverting reader expectations and breaking genres and tropes. There are various tropes, you can probably guess which ones I’m referring to, that perpetuate YA vampire stories. If there are rules for writing in a genre, then the first thing I will ever do is figure out how I can break them. I was particularly pleased with the vampire lore in Ofelia. To my knowledge, it is completely unique and again once I had the secret for turning vampires figured out, I had to write it. I was immensely satisfied with how that worked out. I didn’t want the antagonists in the story to be evil for evil’s sake, irredeemable monsters. The alternate future Ofelia saw for herself would have happened if Ofelia had chosen that future. I also didn’t want my protagonist to be a squeaky-clean, perfect, Mary Sue. If anyone’s read my Deathsworn Arc they’ll know I’m a big fan of characters making plans, but those plans never quite fall into place as they are supposed to. Almost universally my characters plans either have to be abandoned or adapted on the fly. I think this is reflective of real life, but it’s a truth that’s often omitted from fiction.

This is book one in The Book of Davoth series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book 2 is well under way! It’s called ‘Ouroboros’ or ‘The Ouroboros Ring’ I haven’t decided yet. I actually started writing it BEFORE Ofelia, it was going to be the first in the ‘Book of Davoth’ series. However, I got so swept up in the ideas I’d had for Ofelia that got pushed to the front of the queue. At the moment I’m about half way through writing it. Deathsworn Arc 6: Emergence will be my next release. The Book of Davoth series is really about the book, rather than a specific character. Ouroboros starts following a different protagonist and a different antagonist who is also in possession of a copy of the book. The thing is though, when I read back my paperback copy of Ofelia and started reading the reviews people were leaving for the book… I realised how much I loved the character of Ofelia and how much my readers did too! I had to get Ofelia back. As it happens, I’d been at a stage in the story where I’d ended up in a kind of literary dead-end. The idea of bringing Ofelia into the story REALLY opened up possibilities and showed me a pathway to the conclusion. In effect I think the idea of bringing Ofelia in saved the story. It takes place after the main events of Book 1, but before the epilogue. Will there be another 100% Ofelia-centric book? Yes, that’s either book 3 or 4 in the series. I haven’t decided yet, but it will take place after the events of the epilogue in book 1 and will likely involve the mysterious vampire who Victor went off to turn during book one. As you can imagine, that individual is still around years later, but desperately wants to make more vampires. Except of course he can’t! That’s where the series is going. Book 2 is about an ancient warlock that’s been surviving since the 16th century by stealing younger people’s bodies, swapping minds with them. All using the spells within the Book of Davoth of course. How does Ofelia come into it? Well she ended up with Victor’s copy and she’s been studying it. It’s a dangerous thing and she’s wants to protect the world from the damage the book can do, which was only touched on in book 1.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

From the author of the ground-breaking ‘Deathsworn Arc’ fantasy series, comes a new take on the vampire novel.

For centuries, a hidden clique of vampires ruled Europe from the shadows. Then they created Ofelia. Turned into a vampire against her will at the age of 11 in the 15th century, Ofelia has never aged.

After centuries of hunting vampires, she’s on her way to Stonehenge to perform a ritual, which she hopes will restore her humanity. However, an unfortunate turn of events will see her taken for an orphan, placed in a children’s home and forced to attend school.

When her copy of the ritual vanishes, she loses all hope of lifting her curse.

Worse still, it turns out she hadn’t defeated all the vampires, and the one remaining vampire needs her blood to rebuild the vampire dynasty with him at the head.

Now Ofelia faces a choice: embrace her immortality and usher in a new generation of vampires, or finish what she started.

Ofelia (The Book of Davoth 1)

Ofelia (The Book of Davoth 1) by [Martyn Stanley, Rachael Stanley]

Since the 15th Century, Ofelia has been faced with the ultimate challenge to be forever alone and to never grow up. With growing hatred of the life she has been given, Ofelia has gathered all she needs to pursue her true desires: the dream to live among the mortals, to age beautifully year after year, and to escape the cruel world of vampirism. Being the last of her kind, she must do it quickly, or risk being trapped forever. With a companion by her side and a map in her grasp, what could go wrong?

Yet her dream of human life becomes dust when an incident takes her companion and only resources to the gateway of humanity. Ofelia is now left to her own devices when forced into what seems to be a child-like prison. From social services to medical discoveries, Ofelia continues to long for a life outside her child form. Ofelia later meets another, who offers what seems to be the crossroads to her mortal and immortal freedom. Ofelia must now choose between the destiny she has been chasing for centuries or the new future of her kind.

This exciting book jumps right into the story. Leaving character building for later, readers are treated to a dark and detailed supernatural world. Author Martyn Stanely creates suspense and sudden interest in the novel right from the very beginning, ensuring readers will be enthralled with the action and sense of supernatural adventure inherent in the story. While I would have enjoyed more character development to build a connection to the protagonist, I felt like the plot more than made up for it.

Throughout the rest of the novel, the imagery of a vampire and the interpretation of vampirism is unique and refreshing in comparison to most modern literature. The lore and backstory seems so deep and fascinating. This is a short novel, or maybe it was just a quick read that was hard to put down, either way I got through it really fast. The content is new and this dark fantasy series shows a lot of promise for vampire fans looking for an invigorating urban fantasy story.

Ofelia offers something new and refreshing on the concept of vampirism, which is hard to do in a packed genre. I look forward to seeing more character development in future novels in the series because what is given here is certainly intriguing.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08MQPS2DD

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Literary Titan Book Awards November 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

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Entre Duendes y Ratones by Patricia Bossano

 

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

 

VAMPIRE’S DAY: EPICENTER

VAMPIRE’S DAY: EPICENTER: Epic horror full of vampire madness. Walking Dead meets Call of Duty. Vampire sun has risen (VAMPIRE'S DAY Book 1) by [YURI HAMAGANOV]

Book 1 of Yuri Hamaganov’s Vampire’s Day series is a tumultuous and chaotic exploration of a mass vampire attack on both the government and the military, but mostly on the city of Los Angeles. It is a violent, no-holds-barred thrill ride into all the different nuances of the attack, from all possible sides involved. The story begins on an otherwise typical morning in Los Angeles, where at the LAX airport Flight 263 lands, bringing with it violence, shootings, and what most believe to be an organized terrorist attack. The true horror that this attack unveils over the course of the narrative involves no terrorists, and instead the reader learns that this attack has been methodically planned for years as a way for the vampires to assert absolute control over the city.

The reader gets thrown into the action in this faced paced vampire thriller making this an intense read from start to finish. The reader gets to see  different perspectives of the characters in the story making them more relatable. At times I wasn’t sure what new perspective I was reading from because there are a lot of characters in the story but this didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. In a post apocalyptic world fighting for survival you don’t have time to take a deep dive into someone’s life, but maybe book 2 will have more character development.

Hamaganov’s world building and descriptions are deep and detailed and serve to create an immersive atmosphere. The reader is able to clearly visualize what the character’s are doing and what their surroundings look like. I found the gun and armor talk to be interesting as I know nothing about weapons and Hamaganov’s extensive knowledge is impressive—at times it was almost as if I was reading a military artillery manual.

Vampire’s Day is a suspenseful horror with blood and action galore. Fans of fast paced and hard hitting action will have plenty to devour in this sensational apocalyptic adventure.

Pages: 311 | ASIN: B07X1G58PJ

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The Angels of Resistance

The Angels of Resistance by [David V. Mammina]

The Angels of Resistance, by David V. Mammina, is a dark fantasy novel that follows Michael Miuriell as he journeys to conquer the darkness. Miuriell learns he is evil reincarnate, the second coming of a demon lord called Abaddon, and seeks to destroy the demon plague without losing himself in the process.

Michael Miuriell is known as a peacemaker throughout the kingdoms and yields great power. He commands the Staff of Truth and uses his telekinetic powers for good. The story begins with Miuriell stranded at sea after his beloved home of Pommel is destroyed by a demon plague. Michael is taken aboard a ship, headed for Tinaria, and he must warn the King before their kingdom faces the same demonic evil. Throughout the novel, Miuriell bands together the finest warriors the kingdoms have ever known, as well as another sorcerer to defeat the demon plague. Miuriell, along with Princess Shina, have ties yet to be uncovered to the demons they wish to destroy. To defeat the darkness, they will have to overcome the evil within and embrace their inner selves.

Author David Mammina has a very descriptive writing style. Most of the novel gives great imagery and it feels as if you are experiencing each battle with the characters. The story is fast paced, and the plot unfolds steadily throughout. The book is an interesting blend of supernatural demons, medieval fantasy with and sword and sorcery.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was a large amount of characters introduced. So many people spring up throughout the story that they are hard to keep track of. When reading I focused on a small group of characters as they had more development and were a major part of the storyline throughout.

The Angels of Resistance is a riveting dark fantasy adventure. Author David Mammina twists the stereotypical demonic storyline into a gripping fantasy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy novels with compelling characters overcoming darkness.

Pages: 656 | ASIN: B012JU2HIG

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