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Just as Unforgiving

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

Saint follows a man who’s given his wish to be a superhero but finds that the super hero life is not what he expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To be honest, part of my inspiration comes from a fleeting, and perhaps juvenile, frustration. Every so often I find myself pondering the fact that superheroes don’t exist, yet super villains kind of do, you know? As soon I have this notion of a hero coming out of the woodworks to save humanity, it is quickly checked by the reality that it just wouldn’t work that way in real life. That is where Saint’s flaws come from; he played hero out of passion and it killed him, then he came back as what he had dreamed of, yet life was just as unforgiving.

Jake is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Thank you! I liked the idea of a truly altruistic protagonist, yet wanted a character who wasn’t afraid to kill when it was necessary. I enjoyed exploring this concept because it initially seems contradictory, and is intended to make the reader question their assessment of ethics. His journey from a rock-solid, “perfect” character into a flawed, heavily emotional character is also derived from contradiction: “How can I make this character get better in some ways, yet worse in others?” was my mindset. I find it can be boring if characters go in one direction or have too much linear development.

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

An important theme in Saint is self growth while staying true to yourself. Jake stumbles upon his new life as Saint, but ultimately has to revert back to his roots when his back is against the wall. Another theme readers will find is vengeance. I really tried to layer the vengeance and feuds to create a classic cat-and-mouse feel.

Do you have plans to continue this comic series or develop it in other types of media?

Yes! I have plans for two more volumes of equal length, as well as two short novels that will fill in the gaps between. I may explore other media in the future, but for now I am just writing away!

Author Links: Instagram | Website

Jake Barker always wanted to be a superhero. Acting as a vigilante for years, one day he finally got his wish…too bad he had to die for it. As the world’s first superhero, he’s finding that his new life is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Now out for vengeance, will his abilities be enough, or will vengeance find him first?

This contains the full compilation of all 5 chapters, plus an epilogue and bonus art!

Saint: A Graphic Novel

Saint: Full by [J.R. Dunbar]

Saint a graphic novel by J.R. Dunbar is a compelling and kinetic action adventure comic that is a strong addition to anyone’s graphic novel collection. At its heart, Saint is the story of a child who is consumed by the superhero genre. He dreams of the day that he’ll become a crime fighter like his favorite characters. This becomes an obsession that sets his his life on  a singular course.

Unlike many reluctant heroes, he undertakes the hero’s journey out of the desire to do good. To make a difference. Helping others is a principle factor in his development, which is refreshing to see in an overcrowded superhero market where so many main characters have tragic backstories, or are conceited, self-centered people forced to change, even Clark Kent in the new Superman movies is being bent in this new direction of dark hero’s. J.R. Dunbar has created a hero who aspires to do good, reminiscent of the classic comics of the genre, but he’s able to do it with a gritty contemporary feel that never feels out of place with today’s comics.

The artwork has a unique sketched art style with lots of bright colors that contrasts with the darker shading throughout the story. Some scenes are very detailed, even gory, but other scenes have a flat color that I would have liked to have seen given some texture. One scene I really enjoyed is the one where one character is crushed and the blood spatter comes out of the cell; very fun, unique and vivid.

Saint has plenty of profanity and graphic violence, if that’s what you’re into, but we’re also given a great action packed story that puts our hero to the tests in some very creative ways against some bad guys that are interesting and well crafted. This is a graphic novel, as it combines several of J.R. Dunbar’s comics, so readers get a more well rounded story arc then what’s found in a regular comic. If you enjoy a backstory that’s detailed and provides ample time in fleshing it out then you will definitely like this graphic novel. This is all the character development we get as we’re only given a bit more pieces throughout the novel as Saint fights crime in a uniquely Saint type of way.

Saint is an interesting take on the super hero genre. A great addition to anyone’s graphic novel collection. This is an imaginative story that will hook readers with a well-conceived story line and a likeable hero.

Pages: 155 | ASIN:  B08P3NS2F8

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The Battle for Summia

The Battle for Summia (Patch Man Book 2) by [Rick Stepp-Bolling]

Rick Stepp-Bolling’s Patch Man II (The Battle for Summia) is quite a read. It mainly follows the journey of Meesha and Ten as they look for Kerash, the Lore princess. It also sees Meesha’s guardians, Var and Zefa discover a life-altering truth from an unexpected friend and start on a journey to find warriors to aid in the Summia fight.

But by far one of the most interesting storylines is the one of Ulan, an assassin commissioned to find an elusive Shola and make things right. This mission takes her on an interesting journey throughout which she encounters unexpected allies and foes. Ultimately, everyone in this book finds what they seek in some shape or form. More interestingly, unexpected love blooms, ending this story on quite a high.

At the heart of it, Patch Man II is a book about patriotism and the constant fight for freedom. As such, like many books of this nature, it is packed with betrayal, tracheary, and a ton of action. Other running themes include family and love, making it relatable for many readers.

While its dialogue is concise and riveting, its scene descriptions are very detailed, its prose has the perfect balance of information and entertainment. Since the story hinges on a lot of science fiction, the details employed are quite helpful. However, it still can be tough to follow for those who haven’t read the prequel. Moreover, if you are not a huge science fiction fan, the plot can be confusing. The greatest issue that I have with this book though, is its several simultaneously occurring storylines. All the back and forth between the action-packed storylines can be disrupting.

But it must be said that the author has gone to great lengths when it comes to character development, especially with regards to the main character, Meesha. Not only do we get detailed descriptions of her physical appearance, but we also understand her giftings and interesting personality. The same is true for the other characters, giving you a holistic view of the narrative. I also appreciate that the story is far from predictable.

Patch Man II is another phenomenal example of Rick Stepp-Bolling’s ability as a writer to entertain readers with an epic story that is spellbinding and stirring.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B07YS729SV

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Infinity 7: Gods Among Men

Infinity 7: Gods Among Men (Infinity Wars Book 1) by [Cosby, Braxton A., Dodds, Keshawn, Champion, Chayil]

A superhero mashup from the talented minds of Cosby, Dodds, and Champion containing all your favorite characters from the authors own respected series. These three well-accomplished authors team up to produce an ambitious novel. At times this story works well and seamlessly provides a world where these superheroes can come together and fight yet falls short to bridge the gap between each story line and harness a collective voice among the numerous characters.

Infinity 7 begins with the rise of a dark power. As the growing threat draws closer to earth the Capes, Majesties and Solar Warriors band together to solve the mystery of their fearsome foe and hold their own against the escalating violence around them.

Those who have read Dodds, Champion, or Cosby’s previous novels will appreciate the crossover character interactions, powerups, fight scenes and the familiar personalities of main characters. I don’t discourage those who have not read all prior books about the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors. In fact, I’ve only read Cosby’s novels featuring the Capes but became increasingly curious about the origin story of Solar Warrior and the Majesties. Menzou, in particular, was a standout character in the latter half of the story.

It is safe to say when three separately established narratives come together an overload of characters is bound to happen. Trying to fit every character from every book into one story gave way after only a brief introduction for the main players. And then to add new characters made for an even muddier predicament. The portal jumper Tenan was one of my favorite superheroes, not so much for his abilities (that spot is held by Blurr), but for his evolution as a character. The concept of his being and power capabilities were truly fascinating and a new twist on the typical portal hopping powers. Tenan’s narrative stood out among the others for the creativity and consistency and I applaud the authors for integrating such an engaging plot within an already chaotic universe.

I love a good superhero, sci-fi, adventure series and this book has all the makings to be a good one. My wavering stance is for the lack of world building and character development which had me scratching my head in confusion more than once. Still, I imagine readers who read all former books from the authors’ will greatly enjoy the journey. And semi-new readers such as myself will soon be putting the adventures of the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors on their future reading list.

Pages: 421 | ASIN: B07MJ928B8

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Literary Titan Book Awards October 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

The Enigma Source (The Enigma Series Book 10) by [Burkey, Roxanne E, Breakfield, Charles V]The Cape: An Epic Superhero Adventure Series - Overdrive (A Dark Spores Novel Book 5) by [A. Cosby, Braxton]Solsti</p> <p>An Epic Space Adventure Series (The Star-Crossed Saga) by [Cosby, Braxton A.]

GEORGE'S PURSUIT ACROSS THE PERILOUS OCEAN: The tale of a business adventure from start up to financial freedom by [Moore, Ray]The Newspaperman by [Nudo, Sal]The Moving Blade by [Pronko, Michael]

I Am and the Spirit Walks with Me by [Lowery, Angelo]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

American River: Tributaries: Book One of the American River Trilogy by [O’Connor, Mallory M.]What if it Were Possible? by [Collins, C. Ray]

The Twisted Crown by [Richmond Bunkley, Anita]Romance Scam Survivor: The Whole Sordid Story by [Marshall, Jan]

 

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

 

The Cape: Overdrive

The Cape: Overdrive (A Dark Spores Novel Book 5) by [A. Cosby, Braxton]

Enter into a version of the world where humanity has been divided into Normals and Super-Normals: denizens of the planet with altered DNA that give them supernatural powers. In this fifth installment in the Dark Spore series, Braxton A. Cosby takes the world he has developed in previous novels and expands on it further. The Cape: Overdrive revolves around Sebastian, millionaire nerd-boy, Karla, his speedy girlfriend, Lydia his cousin and a few other characters. This is a perfect young adult novel with just the right amount of action, suspense and personal drama. Watching as our friends move towards peace while pulling in other members of the Super-Normal line to help shows that even those with the most questionable backgrounds and personalities do better as friend, and not foe.

Cosby has clearly honed his craft over five installments. He is very good at world building without flooding his audience with potentially redundant information. It’s clear that he knows there will be readers who come into a series part-way through and won’t have the background information that dedicated followers might have. Cosby makes sure that he shares the stories he wants to tell in such a way that newcomers can pick up an installment and dive right in without feeling lost. That can be tough to do, but the beauty of writing a book with superheroes that resemble the ensembles of comic book heroes of the now, means that readers will expect to be missing some of the story when they pick up a random volume. That doesn’t mean the story is any less engaging and interesting: it just means that Cosby knows his audience and knows how to hook readers, no matter where in his world they enter from.

This book is a young adult novel, but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t enjoy it either. It isn’t rife with the teenage angst that many YA novels can drown themselves in, which is nice for older audiences who are interested in the story. The characters are solid with definitive personalities and goals. The relationships are clearly defined and developed: nothing is left to chance and accidental interpretation. There is no confusion and that goes on to create a wonderful atmosphere for readers. Using the discord that is plaguing the world of Cosby’s stories as a reason for the characters to come together for the greater good is deployed nicely and doesn’t feel too contrived or unrealistic.

The Cape: Overdrive by Braxton A. Cosby is a wonderful young adult novel that is sure to appeal to lovers of superheroes, regardless of their age. The story is intriguing, compelling with strong characters and solid world-building. The action is just right, and the character development is wonderful. This is a book that was crafted carefully and slides into the series nicely. Even if readers are freshly coming into the series with this book, they will not feel lost or as though they are missing crucial information. This is definitely a great read and anyone who is willing to take on this book won’t be disappointed.

Pages: 227 | ASIN: B078FNZP2J

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The First Seed of Inspiration

Kelsey Rae Barthel Author Interview

Kelsey Rae Barthel Author Interview

Beyond the Code follows Aurora who is a skilled knight in an action packed story where the hunter quickly becomes the hunted as she struggles to avenge her masters death. What was your inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

The first seed of inspiration for the character of Luna actually came from a crescent moon necklace I bought a long time ago. I started getting the idea for her character and the world she would live in then I went to my friends and had then pick a super power and fighting style. From that, I made some of the characters and stories that are in the book now.

The relationship between Aurora and Ranger is complex and has a compelling build up. What were the themes you wanted to capture while writing their relationship?

I was trying to present a theme of future hope in their relationship. Ranger sees Luna as the one who can bring about a better future and Aurora sees Ranger as a strong mentor that pulled her through the darkest time in her life. Their relationship is built on mutual faith and respect for each other and that makes it a touching and strong aspect to the book.

This book is full of action that is told in vivid detail. What was the process for you like in writing the action scenes?

There are two very important rules I use when writing action scenes. First, plan out every move. How the character attacks, the reaction to that attack, everything. You have to carefully plot out every step like in a movie. And secondly, you have to keep it interesting. Change up the moves, keep it off the wall and really use the terrain and items around them. Repetitive moves will kill the attention of your reader.

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

I’m currently working on Beyond the Code’s sequel. My working title for it is Beyond the Masquerade. If all goes well, I plan on having it, at the very least, in the publishing process within 18 months of Beyond the Codes release.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Beyond the Code by [Barthel, Kelsey Rae]

To the common world, Aurora Falon is merely the pampered daughter of a rich and influential family. But to the secret world of The Order, she is Luna, the powerful and formidable warrior knight, under the rule of her master, Cole Iver. Together, they strive to bring down Damon Lexus, a wicked master who uses her knights in cowardly and dishonourable ways for her own selfish desires. But when they obtain evidence that may bring Damon Lexus under the judgement of The Order’s ruling power, The Hand Council, Damon makes a rash decision and orders the assassination of Cole Iver.

By pure coincidence, Luna catches Damon’s knight in the act but is too late to save her master and kills the assassin in a moment of grief stricken rage. Luna knows the one with her master’s blood on her hands is not the one she killed, she seeks the assassin’s master. But after a failed attempt at revenge, Luna is pulled from the depths of her dark anger and put on a better path by the Hunter who was ordered to kill her. Together, they will work to break away from being mere tools for the powerful and become heroes.

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The Bug Boys vs. Professor Blake Blackhart

The Bug Boys vs. Professor Blake Blackhart by [Hoffman, Stewart]

Alex and Ian return in the sequel to The Bug Boys, back to the town of Rossolington after the collapse of the mine. The boys still have the nanobots inside them and retain the ability to take on the different aspects of live bugs they swallow.  They are still working with the Secti to bring new insects back to the Nest planet, but the Secti are impatient and want a better selection of insects so they start to create their own portal outside the boys. Meanwhile, bugs start showing up from a forth portal that no one knew existed. Professor Blake Blackhart, has also ingested nanobots and tapped into their abilities, as well as improved upon them. Professor Blake however, does not have good intentions and becomes the book’s super villain to the boy’s superhero personas. Add into the story a new student Linda and her mom, the new PE teacher that takes an unhealthy interest in Alex and Ian and things get very interesting in the declining mining town of Rossolington.

The Bug Boys vs Professor Blake Blackhart is an engaging and fun novel for young adult readers and adults alike. You have your classic good vs evil theme, and kids’ vs adults. A group of four kids taking on the super villain and his sidekick kitten. Yes, a kitten. A kitten that is also infected by nanobots and has been surgically altered to be a weapon. Hoffman uses humor that draws kids in, lots of detailed descriptions about farts, the noise, the smell, the way it makes them feel. All humor that appeals to typical young adult boys. Eating bugs, but needing to keep them alive, entertaining and gross. The awkward time of puberty where boys suddenly discover girls and those awkward moments are brought out in the interactions with Linda.

Hoffman also manages to address some serious topics through this adolescent humor. Alex has to come to terms with the fact his dad is not infallible. This realization, that his father has fears, is not perfect and can make poor choices is one that hits him hard. Alex must learn to accept his father and his short comings if he can. After almost losing his father in the mine to be dealt another blow is difficult. This is relatable to young readers as they are hitting the age where they might start seeing the childhood hearos for who they really are and realizing they are not the perfect examples of humans they originally thought them to be. These can be hard times for a young teen to experience, seeing characters in a book they like can help them come to terms with reality, and give them a laugh along the way.

While Alex and Ian want to be superhero’s, they learn there is more to being a superhero than just putting on a costume and having super powers. They learn limits, asking for help, working as a team and reaching out to others when they realize they can’t do it all on their own. There are a lot of good lessons for young adults packed into this short novel. There is enough action to keep kids interested and wanting to read more. Hoffman even at the end gives readers a cryptic scene that leads us to believe we can expect more from the Bug Boys.

Pages: 154 | ASIN: B076737HRN

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