Happy Mother’s Day
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
Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck
Cuttle: A Novel by Chelsea Britain
Silver Award Winners
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Safari: Poetry by Angela Khristin Brown is a collection of more than a dozen poems that focus on both the historic and modern struggles of Black people–from slavery to Civil Rights and the terrible circumstances that Black communities continue to face today.
I liked the poems that included historical facts. My favorite poem was the one titled Black Power that recalled a number of milestones in the Civil Rights movement. There were a few names mentioned that I was not familiar with, and I was interested to research further to learn more beyond what was relayed in the poems.
I enjoyed reading the poems in the book that had inspiring and encouraging messages about persevering against adversity and having pride in oneself (including A Rose and Brown Skin Girls). Other poems took a much harder view of the subject matter, relating how far the situation still falls short of an ideal world.
The author used a variety of different styles in the poems. Many of the poems included slang or texting abbreviations which made them more relateable to a younger audience. However, it might be confusing for some readers to fully grasp the author’s meaning. And there were issues with typos in several of the poems. I really enjoyed this thought-provoking collection and recommend it for readers who enjoy poetry with a powerful meaning.
Without Fear of Infamy is an anthology of poetry published by Scurfpea Publishing. What was the collaboration process like on this anthology?
It’s a very competitive submission process and I am very thankful that a few of my poems were chosen for this new anthology. Collaboration has been a great learning experience for me as a writer and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
My favorite poem was Be Every Color of the Sun. What inspired this piece?
IT came from a rare feeling of positive self-esteem I was experiencing at the time. I think this makes it stand out because a lot of us struggle daily to find those moments in our lives.
Besides your own, what is your favorite poem from the collection?
One of my favorites is Tempering Grief by Brit Graham. I really love her vivid descriptors and her overall style of writing. This one stood out to me as one I could personally relate to having experienced heartbreak in the same manner before in my own life.
Each year since 2010, Scurfpea Publishing has produced an anthology of poems. It’s a juried competition with a different editor each year and no entry fee; consequently, each anthology has a distinct flavor all its own. This anthology includes poems by: Charles Luden, Katie Alexander, Steve Boint, Lin Brummels, Raymond Byrnes, Jennifer Carr, Craig Challender, Susan Spaeth Cherry, Kevin Cole, Jason Freeman, Jerome Freeman, Brit Graham, Monica Gulbrandson, Roberta Haar, Carol Hamilton, Constance Hoffman, Brenda K. Johnson, Leone Kayl, Ivanna Kusijanovic, Jennifer LeBlanc, Charles Luden, Mary Ann Marko, Elissa Mittman, Marsha Mittman, Rosemary Dunn Moeller, Marcella Prokop, Larry Person, Marcella Remund, Lisa Rinaldo, Bruce Roseland, Barbara Schmitz, Dan Snethen, Gloria Sofia, Brad Soule, Jennifer Soule, Linda Duede Starbuck, Douglas Starr, G.M.H. Thompson, Norma C. Wilson, June Tuff Witte, and Susan Zueger.
My favorite poem from the collection is Heartbeat. What is your favorite poem from this book.
My favorite poem is Paradise Remains.
The art in this book is beautiful. What was the art collaboration like for this collection?
The artwork by Zunash Ashiqali is phenomenal. Her illustrations are as if she could see my poems through my mind’s eye. Zunash was so aligned with every word and knew exactly what I wanted. I did not have to say anymore than share my poems with her.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is a tribute to my 4 beautiful children. It is called The Adorables and it will be available by mid 2020.
“Keepsake – A Souvenir of Love” is a book inspired by the poet’s love and devotion for the Spiritual. Her poems are inspired by the wisdom of her spiritual journey and the values and ethics she has embraced.
The book contains several inspirational and meditative poems. Each one of them embraces values such as love and devotion, unity in diversity, the simplicity of miracles. The poems are in simple language and filled with emotion that readers can relate to.
The book has been illustrated by graphic designer and digital artist Zunash Ashiq Ali.
This is a collection of poems from different poets. You can tell when there is a change from one poet to another because of the distinct tone and stylistic change. Each poet brings their unique life experiences, view, perceptions and even temperament. Just like every other edition before this one, this book exhibits a unique collection of poets, each with their own tundra but somehow coming together seamlessly. Some works stand out more than others though.
Charles Luden opens in the first chapter. His second entry ‘Glory’ is an evocatively seductive and brief thought about a difficult time and the end of it. It is a reflection of the journey rather than the destination. Charles has said very much with very little. This entry dignifies the phrase ‘short and sweet’. His entry ‘Last Laugh’ stands out too with its painfully awakening truth.
Further into the book you encounter Brit Graham with ‘Tempering Grief’ which is an account of the unstable and aimless emotions of grief. The raw pain is seen through the choice of words. Then you get to the ‘Recipe for Forgiveness’ which is a simple guide that the world needs in these times of intentional genocide and blatant hatred.
We’re also treated with a guide to coexisting with others from Marsha Mittman’s NYC Observation. It speaks to the tolerance people should direct at other people. This entry is thought provoking and candid if not a little shaming to us as human beings.
‘Ideological Exile’ by Ivanna Kusijanovic is perhaps one of the most serious poems in this anthology. It reads like a personal inner voice chastising you and pushing you to be better, to do better. If you would like to read one piece first before going through the book from the start, this is a good one to jump to.
These are just a few, there are many more evocative, thought provoking, some so wonderfully heartbreaking. This is a collection of poems about life, death and everything in between. From the pain to the joy to untold suffering. It is a cornucopia of experience from the start to the very end. The title is a lovely homage to Dante as well as fitting to the choice of works featured in the book.
However, a few pieces seem to be misplaced in terms of the general depth of the poems. This could be intentional to provide a break from the intense emotion. All in all, the editors have done a good job.
Pages: 158 | ISBN: 1088987613
Ready to feel enlightened? In Shirin Ariff’s Keepsake, this short poetry book is filled with powerful uplifting words in each heartfelt poem.
The central theme in this poetry book is about the author being inspired and closer to God. In each poem, the author talks about nature and welcomed God into their life. Each poem highlights her spiritual journey to become connected and closer to Him. Whether you’re religious or not, this book would brighten your day.
In Keepsake, the poet speaks from her heart, and her heart and soul is clearly poured into every page. These poems are emotional journeys exploring nature and God’s paradise. I enjoyed the poems symmetry and easy flow. I think this is a perfect book for poetry enthusiasts, nature lovers, and the faithful.
Pages: 17 | ASIN: B07QPBMXRH
Paradox is a collection of poetry that strips down and analyzes many aspects of modern society. What was the inspiration for the pieces in this collection?
We as humans, as a society, are brainwashed. For better or worse, we only learn from the information/algorithms given to us at a young age. And this is unstoppable, no matter what society comes after this one. But there comes a time when these conditions and rules become a burden because the rules become an obligation. Instead of being a person and enjoying the thrill that comes with wearing a mask, it is taken too seriously. It stops being a game when you can’t stop it; it becomes an addiction. And it becomes hell when you want to stop but are forced to keep playing by the rules. Paradox is a reminder that you can’t take yourself seriously because there isn’t anyone there. “you” are just another idea you take too literal. And I know what it’s like to grow up being the black sheep of the family/society; so, I know what it’s like to feel alone even when you’re surrounded by everyone. My way of thinking has always been considered taboo and has crossed the line of “we aren’t supposed to be talking about this or that” many times. I’ve noticed more and more people are beginning to question life because isn’t it a bit odd to appear on this weird rock we call earth, with no memory or instruction? I think the fact that life is so vague gives room for our beautiful theories and beliefs to breathe.
I enjoyed the paradoxes presented in this book because it prompted me to think critically about things I haven’t before. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
Well I created Paradox in a way that is very ambiguous because I wouldn’t want every person to take the same thing from this book. I’ve had hundreds of people email or dm me with a different interpretation of Paradox. For some it was about mental health, motivating, psychotherapy or just a story. But if anything, self-awareness. I am not asking anyone to have a mystical experience or a complete breakdown after reading this book, but self-awareness is important to me. I ask my readers to be anything they would like to be but be aware of your choices. Part of me wants to do what Jim Carrey and Alan watts did for me which was showing me that I wasn’t the only one who questioned the things people normally take for granted. Jim Carrey especially. He’s considered someone who is known for making people laugh yet if you ever hear him talk, you can sense that’s not the only part to him.
What is a theme you find yourself always coming back to while writing?
What first introduced me into writing was my ability to place an emotion inside someone else’s body. That to me is magic. I am obsessed with leaving my audience with something to think over. After reading any of my works, you will either finish thinking about something you have never thought of or seeing your life in a new light. it’s like seeing a new color for the first time. and sometimes that color can be hard to describe but it’s amazing while it’s new.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I just finished my 7th book and am working on a few more but my next book, “Workings of a masochist Vol. I” will be available this fall. Workings of a masochist will be a bit darker and a completely different approach mainly because I will never duplicate my work. I feel that Paradox has been wonderful in positivity, but I want my second book to really hit hard on what people ignore. We all read books about the victims of relationships of any kind but never the villains. The people who are hurting instead of the ones who cause the hurting. Because often the ones who hurt are doing the hurting. As of now, I believe “Workings of a masochist Vol. I” will probably be my best book.
what do you mean when you say I? normally we would respond by saying a center of awareness or a feeling of empowerment/selfishness. but after answering that question, another question comes which is “who is the one aware of yourself?” fire cannot burn itself in the same way you cannot look into your own eyes without using a mirror. by being aware of this illusionary feeling of a self, there is a separation. and if you think about that long enough to realize that there is no self, who is it that knows there is no ego? we often hide behind the masks we create; the mask embedded into our skin. we try to find our real selves in our mask which only leads from one maze to another. lost between sanity and madness. what would it be like to remove the mask you don’t remember putting on? what would it be like to know that you didn’t have to hold onto yourself so tight? these are questions we avoid because we aren’t sure just how deep the rabbit hole can go. but there’s always a way out of an illusion. you might not be the you that you think you are.
WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS CONTRADICTIONS