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Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology

Charli Mills Interview

Charli Mills Interview

The Congress of Rough Writers is an anthology that showcases flash fiction from a diverse set of writers. What was your inspiration for putting this collection together?

Carrot Ranch started as a sandbox — an online place to invite other writers to play for the sheer joy of creating literary art. The weekly flash fiction challenges created a safe space for writers to explore and push into their craft 99 words at a time. Maybe it was Julia Cameron’s teaching that we can be creatively healthy as we gain experience. We created a literary community with diversity that blows my mind every week. It’s uncoached and has no expectations beyond meeting the constraint and boldly going where the prompt leads. The writers inspire me to work with their material in an artistic way, to show how individuals of different backgrounds, genres, and levels can collectively create a powerful vision.

I’m a little jealous because you got to work with so many talented writers on this project. What was the development process like in putting this work together?

Right? The Congress holds some amazing talent. That’s what made me think of calling them the Congress of Rough Writers in the first place because I felt like Wild Bill Cody gathering talented riders from around the world and getting to play with their feats. The development process included coordinating with Sarah Brentyn who developed the structure from my crazy ideas to pull together memorists and fictioneers and build from their original material. I’ve become enthralled by the challenge of putting together collections of 99-word stories, and it’s like a secondary artwork to me. Norah Colvin developed my ideas for building community and wrote a clear and compelling educational component. We had a great challenge throughout the process to uphold different styles of English from global writers. C. Jai Ferry line-edited the entire book and several other Rough Writers served as editorial advisors. It’s not easy melding world styles but we succeeded. It’s breath-taking to work with a large group of writers beyond submissions.

I enjoyed how this collection showcased stories that were only hundreds of words long but managed to inspire some thought-provoking ideas. What was your favorite story from the collection?

Just as any reader acknowledges, we often pick a favorite based on how it personally resonates. For me, that one story is Pete Fanning’s original 99-word “Normandy.” He manages to express what the combat veteran’s experience is like as he ages. The story gives me shivers every time I read that final line, “I was alone on that beach.” I’m a spouse of a combat veteran and we’ve had hard times. We are finally getting him VA care although it’s a fight every step of the way. As my spouse’s advocate, this is my battle. So, to read Pete’s story to a group of combat veterans and their spouses, there was not a dry eye in the room. This is the power of literary art in 99-words. Pete nailed it.

Do you plan to put another anthology together?

You bet! Right now, I’m working with 33 Rough Writers on seven new parts that will focus on what writers can do with serial material. We had several writers create returning characters or write follow-ups to interesting story developments in previous 99-word stories. I’ve invited these writers to craft complete three-act short stories up to three thousand words long. I’ve invited writers to write narrative essays to tell the real story behind a 99-word BOTS (based on a true story). Memoir expert, Irene Waters, will help me develop that section. Educator, Norah Colvin, returns to help craft a new educational component that encourages writers to use their material in clever ways beyond a single use. We are also playing with three acts by piecing together three 99-word serials. Instead of creating chapters from prompt-linked flash fiction, I’m arranging hundreds of 99-word stories into 10-minute reading collections and connecting the stories in surprising and compelling ways. And, because Carrot Ranch is about making literary art accessible, I’ve invited 26 more writers as Friends to respond to new prompts. Each writer will include a 99-word artist’s statement in the new collection. It will publish in November after a rigorous editing process. I’m so excited to be working with such talent and passion for literary art.

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The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

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My Name is Nelson

My Name is Nelson: Pretty Much the Best Novel Ever by [Fairchild, Dylan]

My Name is Nelson by Dylan Fairchild is a political thriller set in modern-day America. Nelson Troutman is a phenomenal scientist who has been working under the radar until one day he snaps at his treatment under his employer’s hand. Armed with an extensive background, tons of knowledge and access to weaponry equipment, Nelson moves into his familiar strip club with favorite acquaintance Tiffany Golden, where he sets up an office for himself. His plan is to begin exacting his revenge to teach both his boss and the thousands of bullies out there a lesson in how to treat people with respect!

From the very first page to the last, My Name is Nelson is a captivating read with spectacular prose throughout. The forthcoming action and story line are not immediately apparent in the first few chapters, as Fairchild develops our relationships with some fascinating and likable characters, such as the President Andrew Macintyre and his National Security Advisor Chet Addington, alongside Nelson’s favorite stripper, Tiffany Golden. There are also other enjoyable characters including a security guard named Walt and Julie the Presidents Science Adviser. I found I only had to read a few lines of each chapter and immediately felt a connection with every character in this thrilling story.

However, what I personally think is done to perfection in this book is Fairchild’s pacing as it all begins to come together. With many strands all initially unrelated, when the plot does start to take shape, each character and chapter is perfectly woven together, so much so that you continue to marvel at just how good Dylan Fairchild is as a writer!

It does feel at times, albeit naturally so, that the book weaves effortlessly between several genres, including that of political, thriller, sci-fi and even a hefty dose of humor! This only succeeds in making it a more approachable and enjoyable read for a broader audience.

Then there is the man himself, Nelson. When we are first introduced to him, it is perhaps not in the best of lights, more so as in awkward scenarios, as an odd guy who likes to frequent one particular strip club which is home to his favorite girl. However, Nelson is not your average strip club customer, and Tiffany has become more of a trusted companion and the club his safety net when things get tough with his boss, Hawthorne.

What follows is an enthralling, though peculiar, character whom you cannot help but root for as the story progresses, despite what Nelson intends to do. It does not take much for his character to pull you in and encourages you to begin thinking he just may have some form of entitlement, some sort of right, to continue on the path he has prepared for himself, after the way he has been treated throughout his childhood and indeed his adult life.

I could not find fault with this book and devoured it with enjoyment. My Name is Nelson is most certainly a worthy five-star contender.

Pages: 222 | ASIN: B07B4KCTYR

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Stillness of Time

Stillness of Time (Seeker of Time Book 2) by [Buckler, J.M.]J.M. Buckler’s Stillness of Time details the adventure of Elara and Cyrus as they try desperately to make their way on Aroonyx with the help of Jax, their guide and mysterious friend. Aroonyx, a planet void of insects but rich with plant life, hides secrets the twins, Elara and Cyrus, cannot comprehend and may not want to learn. Jax, the man responsible for watching over them and bringing them through their travels unscathed, seems to hold more than his share of the secrets embedded in Aroonyx. As the two prepare to face Zenith, the ruler of Aroonyx and a deadly force in his own right, Elara and Cyrus learn they, too, possess their share of secrets.

The beauty of Aroonyx is undeniable. Buckler has created a phenomenal setting for this otherworldly novel. The characters’ fascination with the land and water matches the readers’ awe in the authors’ descriptions of the landscape. The setting in Stillness of Time immediately caught my eye and played an important role in holding my interest in the plot in the initial chapters.

I enjoy levity in most any genre and, for the most part, Buckler maintains a serious tone throughout Stillness of Time. One scene in particular provides a much-needed break from the long sequence of tense events. When Cyrus mistakenly drinks Maragin and hallucinates for hours about a moody imaginary monkey companion named Rico, the feel of the book changes for the better. Though Buckler could easily have omitted this lengthy bit of lightheartedness, I truly appreciated the stretch of joviality with the characters.

The gifts bestowed upon the characters by the author are something to behold. Each time Elara and Cyrus engaged in the passing of energy through Elara’s body, I was amazed. Not only is this a unique gift, but it is one I have not seen before in this genre. Buckler has hit upon a wonderfully simple defensive skill for her protagonists. It was a fascinating process to watch as the two perfected the method and put it to use to defend themselves.

Buckler, without a doubt, uses the element of anticipation to her advantage as she builds tension from one chapter to the next before the final meeting with Zenith. I found myself dreading this final moment as much as Elara and the rest of the cast of characters–an excellent sign of effective writing. Jax, the former tenth member of Zenith’s evil Inner Circle, has never been replaced. The spot left vacant and ominously waiting to be filled helps build suspense as the story progresses and the journey to face Zenith gathers steam.

I am giving Stillness of Time by J.M. Buckler 5 out of 5 stars for its uniqueness and engaging plot. The characters within are memorable and relatable. I recommend Buckler’s work to any science fiction fan who fancies action over romance. Though Buckler includes elements of romantic relationships, the focus of the book centers around three intense characters, their unique skill sets, and one harrowing journey to overpower a madman.

Pages: 392 | ASIN: B07B6BWR83

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Literary Titan Book Awards April 2018

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

Faery Sight (Faerie Legacy Series Book 1) by [Bossano, Patricia]Cradle Gift (Faerie Legacy Series Book 2) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Nahia (Faerie Legacy Series Book 3) by [Bossano, Patricia]Sam's Theory by [Mendivel, Sarah]

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure by [Newton, Kaye]

Dare to Be the Change by [Metoyer, Annella]The BreakAway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi by [Bodeman, Paulette ]

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent’s Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]Beyond Sun and Shadows by [Mooney, Lesley J]

Nights Arose by [Roche, Andrea]The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1) by [Somerville, Sunshine]How We End Up by [Wells, Douglas]

 

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

 

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

The Congress of Rough Writers is an anthology; a collection of stories by different writers. Charli Mills is the the series editor and brings into light the work of a diverse range of polished literary gems, penned by both experienced and inexperienced writers alike.

The anthology is sectioned into 5 parts with each part having a distinctive touch from the others, but related in a rather unique way, with part 6 containing the acknowledgements.

Part 1: Best of show is twelve collections of ten 99-word stories. Each chapter has been titled according to the prompt given in the challenge – a topic on which the story is to be based. The stories have been arranged to make a greater statement, which highlights the magnitude of the task and accomplishment of the editors.

Part 2: A new flash fiction challenge contains a collection of ten 99 word stories written to fulfill a challenge to include 3 particular words in their story. The spirited effort springs to life fascinating characters and evocative ideas.

Part3. Expanded flash contains five of the original 99 words stories, expanded into longer versions, but still under 2000 words. This section shows how a flash fiction story can be the seed for a more developed and intriguing story.

Part 4: Essays from memoirists is yet another unconventional part of this project which makes the experience of the writers’ itself the subject. Each essay gives an account of the experience of the writers writing flash fiction while also noting differences and similarities. Anyone who is a writer, or enjoys a look behind the scenes (think movie extras) will appreciate this section as much as I did.

Part 5: Building community with flash fiction is where we get to know more about the project itself. Here we get to know what flash fiction is and how it can affect bigger changes to a writer’s perception towards writing in general. I felt the explanations were easy to follow and flowed easily from topic to topic.

Part 6: Acknowledgements introduces you to the key persons who have been involved in bringing this unconventional project to light, giving the chance to authors, writers and non-writers, that come from diverse backgrounds. I enjoyed the exposure and introduction to the writers especially when I found the ones that wrote my favorite pieces of flash fiction.

This anthology is meant to both encourage and inspire the next generation of writers and authors, so that the craft of storytelling is preserved and propagated. I felt like this book was geared more towards writers, or aspiring writers, but the average reader should not shy away. There is plenty to enjoy in this series. As with any piece of flash fiction, they are better consumed piecemeal and at your leisure. Don’t look for some overarching theme and take pleasure in the quick creation of thought-provoking ideas and compelling characters. If you like shows like The Twilight Zone, then you’ll like this collection. It was tough for me to review this book as it is a collection of stories that range in quality and appeal. Overall I really enjoyed it. And, I suppose, that is the benefit of an anthology, if you don’t like one story, then just move to the next. What a fun read!

Pages: 166 | ASIN: B078BWZ9MD

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Alterni

Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1) by [Somerville, Sunshine]

Alterni follows Esme who finds herself in a world with different paranormal races and a secret order; all under the reign of a King. As an Alterni, Esme must join the King and use her powers to fight the Malevolenci demons from other worlds. Can Esme learn to wield her powers in time to save the world?

Alterni by Sunshine Somerville creates a situation where you’ll find yourself deeply connected to the characters because of how real the characters react to the ever present danger to their world. If you love thrilling adventures with beautiful depictions of an interesting world, this is the story for you. Especially if you want to be on the edge of your seat.

When I sat down to read this book, I was quite surprised. It’s not often that you love the experience of reading a book. With this beautifully descriptive world and intriguing cast of characters, it was hard to resist being sucked into the world. I found myself staying up way past my bed time to finish this story.

The characters were all multilayered and continued to develop as the story progressed. Complicated backgrounds allowed me to connect with the characters. Sunshine Somerville is able to create characters with the kind of depth it takes other authors a whole series to achieve. This book explores themes such as family, leadership, responsibility and loss; experienced through not only Esme, but also King Owen.

This book does not rely on big plot twists to keep you interested; although there is a big one that creeps up on you. The book is constantly engaging it’s characters in some rousing bit of mystery, suspense, or action involving one of many paranormal races inhabiting this strange world that Esme finds herself in. I always look for books that make me want to see what the characters do next. And when the world is invaded by inter-dimensional demons from another space and time, there is no shortage of nail biting action. One thing that makes me suspend disbelief when it comes to magical powers, is the authors ability to ground it in reality.  I enjoyed watching Esme learn, understand, and use her Alterni powers.

This is book 1 in the Alt-World Chronicles and when I finished this book, I found that I was so glad there was a second book to continue this story. I enjoyed reading about the subtle differences that might exist in other realities. Overall, I loved this read, it was entertaining to say the least. I recommend you read this story if you’re looking for something innovative and gripping.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B075MDGSPP

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Drop Dead Gorgeous Book Trailer

1# Wished for High Tech Science Fiction Novel in Japan!

The Sensational #1 All-Star Bestselling Kindle Novel!

“Would you like to hear a story?”

The man couldn’t help himself. His captor was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her powerful eyes held his attention and made him forget that she had him confined in a basement; his hands and feet bound with duct tape. His heart raced as he meekly nodded his head ‘yes’ to the question.

After getting past the terror and discomfort, he reasoned that there was nothing to worry about. He would be missed. He had loved ones who would call the police. All he had to do was wait. Letting this woman tell him a story was as good a stall as any.

The mysterious woman weaved a tale of betrayed love and unwanted, unnatural experiments placed upon her. Of a loving wife, working on a top secret government program. Of a husband searching for love in all the wrong places. The prisoner couldn’t believe what he was being told. A descent into insanity, fueled by a jealous rage, ended with using the tools of science for torture and revenge.

With every blink of her lovely eyes, licking of her full lips, and heaving of her perfect breasts, the captor entertained a story most bizarre. Of a woman bent on teaching her cheating husband a lesson.

The prisoner wondered….”Am I next?”

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Provocative Themes

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

The Separation follows Finn as he struggles to live in a world that separates the sexes and removes children from parents. Did you know where you were going when you started writing or did you let things happen organically?

This novel is actually part of a trilogy. I am currently working on the sequel, “United.” I had this great idea and created three stories based on the characters and storyline. Of course, some of the plot was initially simply outlined and then fleshed out significantly during the actual writing process. I am proud of this book. I think it touches on topics that are universal and of great interest to society today.

This book has a unique resolution to a real overpopulation problem. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this story?

I wanted to address issues that are of great urgency in society today. Without bringing any of my own politics into this interview, I think the novel touches on provocative themes and pressing problems in society today. I won’t reveal all of them because I don’t want to give away the book. I feel this, above all my other work, is a must read. But, overpopulation is a real issue and I think this book addresses the topic head on.

Because the sexes are separated in the story, this makes for some great ‘worlds colliding’ type moments. What was your inspiration behind Finn and Angela’s relationship in the novel?

Their relationship is based on the fact that men and women are going to be different and have viewpoints on the separation (and on life in general) that are not necessarily identical. However, men and women do need each other in many respects. They complete each other in their own complex way. I wanted their relationship to reflect that.

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

I am working on part two of this trilogy—-“United”–which will be out early in 2019!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Separation by [Duffy, Thomas]In the distant future, there is a separation of the sexes at birth for the good of society. Financial needs, above all else, have led to such drastic measures. The Separation is the story of the life of a male named Finn. The book traces his life at birth and continues past his “education” as well as beyond the time when he ultimately learns of the opposite sex. What will result from the revelation of a female society? Finn may wish he never found out. This is a story of the consequences of needs, desires and answers to questions that sometimes should not be asked.

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The War Machine

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

Voice of a Crimson Angel is an intimate and thrilling story that leads up to your debut military science fiction book. What was the inspiration that made you want to explore a prequel?

Creating VOCA was something that was on my mind for many years, but it seemed too monumental a task to handle. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of writing Ballad of Demise that I began to see a grand tale in the making. I took that single scene of Julissa Marconi from Reverence and then imagined what her life had been like up to that point and after. That was the only push for the new trilogy. Many reviewers asked questions about how the characters got to where they are, so I figured it was an opportunity to give them answers. It turned out to be a fun experience.

Your currently studying history at the University of Riverside. How has your major helped you write your story and develop your characters?

A TON. The sad but fascinating aspect of history is that the story of the oppressed vs. an oppressor is a familiar one. From ancient Rome to the Spanish Empire, to the British and French empires, superpowers have always had their reign unimpeded for decades before eventual collapse. I wanted to build up the history of the United Nation Republic before it too faces its ultimate crisis. Whether it is still standing when the dust settles is to be determined in future installments.

I also drew influence from the revolutionaries of old, people such as Che Guevara and George Washington. Once the VOCA trilogy is completed, I believe people will see the connections in a new light. History was also a valuable tool in discovering how a revolution starts. First come the words, then the fight to crush those words, and then bullets. The term ‘regime change’ is one perhaps not widely known by the average person, but it is an unquestionable factor in global history. The U.S. has often played a pivotal role in such operations, among them Guatemala, Vietnam, and Iran. The more I read, the more The Expansion seemed very possible.

When writing, do you look at current events, and use them as a springboard for ideas or try to incorporate them into your story?

Current events play a big role most definitely. In VOCA Part I, we see a world where warfare is basically common place. The majority of the people either ignore or don’t care about the conflicts abroad. Once again, I looked to the U.S. The U.S. has been involved in some sort of war for almost its entire history, from the Civil War, Spanish-American, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and now the war on terror. Vietnam was the first U.S. war to not split the American conscious on a massive scale. Since 9/11, the U.S. hasn’t slowed down its war game, now in Niger, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. Despite this, there are no longer large protests confronting this reality. As we listen to music and watch the latest films, the war machine goes on expanding.

These issues, primarily our war driven economy, were the focal points for me in writing the VOCA trilogy.

Any chance you’ll write a prequel that shows the rise of Chancellor Venloran? Kind of like how Star Wars episodes 1-3 showed the rise of Darth Vader? In either case, what do you think that would be like?

I actually have played around with this idea, and the framework is definitely there. I can imagine a young Venloran who sees his country struggling and decides to act. In a way, he’d be comparable to Joseph Halsey, which would be a great foil. It would take time to plan out, especially since I have much planned for the Reverence series. The idea is very tantalizing, though. As of now, I’ve only hinted at the rise of the UNR. For this envisioned ‘prequel-prequel’, I would go in depth to the formation of the UNR Party itself.

The evilest of deeds start with the best of intentions.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads

Voice of a Crimson Angel Part I: Persecution (Reverence Book 5) by [Landeros, Joshua]Julissa Marconi’s life has never been quite the same since her husband slipped into a coma. Her relationship with her daughter is hanging by a thread, she’s lost all her friends, and she’s retreated to the bottle amidst her sorrows. Truth is, Julissa is struggling to find a reason to wake up in the morning. That all changes when the mysterious Dr. Neeson offers her a chance to discover the truth, and reclaim her life. With the help of the scheming Captain Halsey, Julissa finally has a reason to fight again. She’ll have to act fast, however. Her nation, the United Nation Republic, is hungry for aggressive expansion and the ravenous Chancellor Venloran will stop at nothing to achieve his own twisted goals. Return to the world of the Reverence series with Voice of a Crimson Angel Part I: Persecution, the long-awaited story that sets the stage for the entire saga.

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Literary Titan Book Awards March 2018

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

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by [McLellan, Michael A.]Turning Blue: A Life Beneath the Shield by [Hoffman, Lawrence]

This Does Not Leave This House by [Coons, Julie]The Gumdrop House Affair (The Monk Mysteries Book 2) by [McKeever, Timony]

Life Sliding by [Mauldin, S.L.]Liberating Inner Eve: A Reflective Journey for Women by [Zawisz, Bozena]

The Guardians of Eastgate: Book 1 of The Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils by [Vally, Z]Voice of a Crimson Angel Part I: Persecution (Reverence Book 5) by [Landeros, Joshua]

The Separation by [Duffy, Thomas]Seeker of Time by [Buckler, J.M., Buckler, J.M.]

 

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

 

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