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It Often Comes at a Price

John  Hazen
John Hazen Author Interview

The Correction follows a man that has the ability to give people a chance to correct their past, but one wrong correction sends him on a perilous journey of redemption. What was the inspiration behind the idea of the ‘Correction’?

I sometimes get a concept—or more precisely a question—in my head I can’t get rid of that eventually matures and finds its way into a novel. Questions like ‘What would happen if someone came upon one of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas for Jesus’ life?’ or ‘Is it possible to compare two wars like the Civil War and the Vietnam War that are dissimilar in so many ways?’ are examples. The Correction is no different. Even the most fortunate and luckiest person on earth has one ‘what if’ moment where they would have liked to have done something differently. Making a mistake or saying the wrong thing or making a selfish decision that hurts someone else, these foibles of the human character seemed too universal not to try to capture. In The Correction, I give a lucky few people an opportunity to go back and correct a mistake. It seems like this would be too good to be true, but like any such gift, it often comes at a price.

What were some ideas that drove Joseph Vance’s character development throughout the novel?

I wanted Joseph Vance to be an everyman but at the same time be lofty in his goals, aspirations and ideals. He is a man who has what is most dear to him stolen from him through a Correction gone wrong. He slips into despair and cynically puts his gift to improper ends, but I wanted there to remain in him a spark of the better man he is. Hopefully, that spark is enough to burst into a flame of redemption, but you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

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

I always try to infuse broader societal messages in my books even as I’m presenting personal stories and relationships. The Correction is no different. The scourge of racism plays a special role in this book. There are also stories of love, devotion and acceptance throughout the novel. I think the one theme that most permeates this book is that of second chances. Everybody deserves a second chance. The Correction presents the epitome of giving someone a second chance to correct a mistake and make amends.

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

I’ve written a series, The Vega Investigative Thriller Series, about a New York City Investigative TV Reporter, Francine Vega. She uncovers and helps thwarts plots that, if allowed to proceed to fruition, could jeopardize the safety and security of country and even the world. The third book, Beyond Revelation, came out in December and it’s time to write the fourth in the series. I’m hoping to have the next book finished by the end of the year.

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It’s human nature to make mistakes. We learn and grow because of them. What we can’t do is go back in time to correct a mistake—that is unless we meet Joseph Vance or his family. When Joe performs Corrections—a gift passed down generation to generation over eight hundred years—people are transported back for a do-over of a wrong decision they made. As a result, lives are changed, usually for the better. But after one Correction goes terribly wrong, Joseph loses what is most dear to him. He must then make a choice, one which will determine whether he will be redeemed or consigned to a life of despair.

The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Confusion is the name of the game for poor Boone. Most of the time, he doesn’t know where he is, who he is talking to, or why he is there. Boone’s life is one strange adventure after another, but none of these adventures are planned. Boone Daniels is a time traveler and an unwilling one at that. A tragic event involving his best friend, Flynn, has placed Boone in the very awkward and frightening position of finding someone called “the Professor.” Nothing about his task is appealing, but Boone is not in a position to argue. He’s on a mission to make things right.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an imaginative science fiction tale by J.W. Zarek. Main character, Boone Daniels, has happened upon his time-traveling abilities quite by accident, and he remains in a perpetual state of overwhelming confusion when his travels take him to one century and one part of the globe after another. While he is not thrilled at the idea of going to New York to take Flynn’s place in a gig, he knows he owes Flynn and owes him big.

Boone’s travels from place to place and time to time happen quickly–very quickly. Zarek has the book’s main character moving rapidly through time to complete the mission he has been given. Readers are treated to numerous tidbits of history as Boone races through time to prevent events he knows will occur. There seems to be nothing left out when it comes to major historical events, famous names, and easily recognizable points of interest. The blend of present-day Boone and time-traveling Boone make for an engaging storyline.

The first-person point of view really makes Zarek’s book a truly engaging adventure novel. Hearing Boone describe his apprehension and his insecurities in his own voice really make the story all the more relatable. He struggles with his strange gift, and he is in a constant battle trying to figure out which way is up and how to solve the never-ending puzzle before him.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is a wildly thrilling time travel adventure. Readers who love a good underdog will find Boone Daniels the perfect main character–his constant trepidation is endearing. Zarek’s unlikely time-traveling hero, Boone, brings an element of humor and normalcy to an otherwise magnificently spun urban fantasy adventure tale.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

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The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Boone’s life has changed, and it changed in the time it takes to blow an air horn. What should have gone without a hitch turned into an event that could easily have taken his best friend’s life and left Boone standing as the guilty party. Boone, not exactly one for making a spectacle of himself, is now doing his best to pull it together and stand in for Flynn and take his place in the upcoming gig. Boone is prepared, but is he really ready for what lies ahead? There is something Flynn has been hiding from him, and he can’t quite put his finger on it.

The Devil Pulls the Strings, by J.W. Zarek, is the story of Boone, a young man left with a unique set of abilities following a freak accident. Boone now experiences panic attacks and is able to time travel–all out of his control. The big city seems like the worst possible place for Boone, but his debt to Flynn is a big one and must be paid. When he finds himself without the advantage of having a cell phone and being pushed around on the bustling streets of New York City, Boone realizes exactly how far out of his element he really is.

I really love Boone’s character. He’s confused. He’s genuine. And he’s one determined guy. His challenges are beyond those of most main characters you could name, yet he somehow persists. The fact that he is not quite at ease with his abilities makes him even more endearing. The vulnerability given him by the author makes him that much more relatable.

The world Zarek has created for readers is a wonderful blend of science fiction and present day reality. The contrast between the two is amazing and gives readers the best of both worlds. Science fiction fans will enjoy wonderful descriptions of the altered reality Boone is forced to face–vivid scenes, well-drawn characters, and enthralling plot lines. I was especially taken with the way Zarek incorporates the wendigo into Boone’s storyline.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an enthralling epic fantasy novel. Readers looking for an exhilarating storyline steeped in fantasy and science fiction will become instant fans of Zarek’s work. The plot is involved but will have readers on the edge of their seats rooting for its main character, Boone.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

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For the Good of Humanity

Jacqueline Anders
Jacqueline Anders Author Interview

Phoenix: Field Of Mars follows a young woman seeking to advance her P.R. career when she gets caught up in a special ops’ mission that takes her back to Ancient Rome. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for my Phoenix trilogy happened while I taught high school. I noticed that my students were reading lots of fantasy books with no educational value, in my opinion. It seemed they were completely unaware of the world around them. I wanted them and adults to know about the Middle East, all the different human faiths that began across the ocean and from the beginning of civilization, and teach them history in an entertaining way. The time travel element was always a given because I always loved books about time travel. Therefore, I combined the genre I loved with romance, action, suspense, and tidbits of learning opportunities along the way.

I thought your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I really enjoy when authors use the whole ‘fish out of water’ scenario for their protagonists. It gives the reader a chance to not only question how they would handle the tough situation the characters are in, but it also helps the reader connect more closely to the characters. We cheer on the characters that push through the hardest situations and come out victorious in the end because they persevered. However, I knew that I needed my readers to know the characters in a way that wasn’t artificial.

Kyla was a typical business woman who was used to accolades and having her opinions appreciated but then she’s thrown into a time when women were not treated fairly and were better seen than heard.

The special ops guys were seasoned in missions with advanced technology and sometimes, not always, they were used to going on missions that had a lot of intel guiding them. However, when they landed in Ancient Rome, they were flying blind and just going off of small bits of information about their target. It made it really hard because their target ended up not traveling where they were told he would be. Without GPS, informants, etc., the special ops guys really had to rely on their instincts and their training of interrogating natives to get an idea of where the threat was traveling to. In reality, that is some tough stuff and without some kind of otherworldly help, it would be almost impossible.

Also, I knew when I set out to write the contracted special ops team, I wanted them to be from all different countries. Not only because of their expertise and language acquisitions, but also to help show my readers different cultures and faiths and how they will work together for the good of humanity.

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

Ever since the beginning of time, humans were notorious for wanting more and more, especially when it came to resources. My story is not just a story of action, history, suspense, wars, but also a story of HOPE. In my opinion, if we were all left to our own devices, the world would have ended by now. There is a reason we haven’t destroyed ourselves yet. So for.

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

My next book is Phoenix 4: The Cerberus Chronicles, but I won’t give too much away. Let’s just say that once time travel is invented, it’s like Pandora’s Box. In truth, it’s pretty scary if we don’t have HOPE.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A time travel thriller from best selling author, Jackie Anders, that takes the reader to Ancient Rome revealing modern and ancient conspiracies that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Twenty-eight-year-old, Kyla Marshall, has desires of advancing her career in public relations at all costs… Until she ends up stumbling in on a special ops’ mission that takes her from her client’s lab in the year 2017 to 8 A.D. Ancient Rome. After learning her new reality, she discovers that the team’s mission is to stop a biochemical scientist from unleashing a deadly virus on the unsuspecting 1st Century people in order to change history.
As Kyla encounters hostility and strife on her journey, she is surprisingly protected by the team’s leader, Capt. Christopher Eriksen. Even though Eriksen has many internal struggles from what he’s seen and done, he inspires her to trust in something bigger than herself. But as Kyla and the team race to stop the impending genocide, Kyla’s biggest fear is no longer the known threat. It is the not knowing if she will ever be able to get back home.

Phoenix: Field Of Mars (The Phoenix Trilogy Book 1)

Phoenix: Field Of Mars (The Phoenix Trilogy Book 1) by [Jackie Anders]

Phoenix: Field of Mars (The Phoenix Trilogy Book One) by Jackie Anders is a thrilling time travel romance story. Kyla Marshall, a Public Relations Assistant Director, travels to Israel on a PR assignment for her company’s client, West Bank Labs in Jerusalem. But the space exploration company has discovered something that they do not share with Kyla. While working late one night, she stumbles into a special ops mission to stop a rogue scientist from trying to change the past to cause a domino effect in the present. Kyla finds herself in Rome in 8 AD with a group of modern soldiers, led by Captain Christopher Eriksen. Will the team succeed in their mission? And will Kyla ever be able to return to her own time?

The premise of this gripping story piqued my interest right from the beginning. I enjoyed reading about the time period of Jerusalem in the first century and the ancient Roman Empire. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a prominent Roman citizen when Kyla remained with their hosts while Captain Eriksen and his team traveled with the Roman senator. I liked how the different team members of the Special ops unit were all from different countries, and the way they worked together on the mission. Each character felt unique and authentic and always added something different to the situation and dialogue

The ending leaves you desperate for more. There were some unanswered questions, making the follow-up story a must-read. I am definitely looking forward to Phoenix: By the Sword, to find out what happens next in the characters’ journey.

While I enjoyed this adventurous story, I felt that the novel leaned more towards the science fiction adventure genre, rather than the historical fiction genre, which ensures the story is consistently entertaining, but I would have liked more historical accuracy. Time travel come with all sorts of paradoxes, but the author leans into the narrative and keeps focus on the mission and the task at hand rather than the ripple effect the teams presence could cause, but I felt that some mention of it would have appeased the hard core science fiction fans.

Phoenix: Field of Mars is a lively time travel story that will keep readers entertained with its compelling characters and dramatic turn of events in every chapter.

Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07M8CYZJ3

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Timecrime

Timecrime: A time travel crime thriller by [Peter Sao-Levene]

Timecrime is a crime thriller with an interesting time travel twist spun in. The story focuses on Joe Bedford who created a time machine to use for good but that quickly changes when he mixes with his girlfriend’s uncle, a mafia boss named Lorenzo Infanta. Lorenzo uses Joe and the time machine to steal precious artworks to sell for profit, but Joe refuses to let himself be used like this, which sparks a dangerous conflict.

Joe Bedford was a fun protagonist to follow, he had strong desires and an honorable moral compass while having conflicts that gave the character depth and nuance. His love interest, Samantha Infanta, was also very well-written. The chemistry and humor between the two of them felt authentic, however, some of the humor felt out of place, specifically during intense scenes.

The plot was solid, driving the story and characters to the end with a fierce motivation that kept me engaged and the ending was especially impactful and satisfying; partly due to the riveting time travel aspect which is kept relatively simple and straightforward. While I would have enjoyed more scene setting, the action and heist scenes were amongst the most enjoyable moments of Timecrime. The action flowed well and the setting in these scenes was used to great effect as the characters involved the environment in their fighting. The heist scenes were very intense and was something I looked forward to.

Timecrime delivers a unique blend of science fiction and crime thriller in a story that’s punctuated by entertaining moments and a great ending. With a bit of editing this could easily be a standout entry in a deep genre with it’s interesting characters, Michael Bay esque action scenes, and a storyarc that knows how to weave an entertaining tale. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy unique crime fiction novels.

Pages: 191 | ASIN: B08SZTZVW7

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Literary Titan Book Awards May 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

Silver Award Winners

Quick Quirks, A Quick Book by Benjamin Anderson

 

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

 

Equally Frightening and Intriguing

Christy Cooper-Burnett
Christy Cooper-Burnett Author Interview

Finding Home follows a convict sentenced to serve life in another time. I loved the idea behind this novel. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The first book in the series, No Way Home, follows protagonist Christine Stewart, who works for the government as a transport agent. I thought for book two, it would be interesting to write the story from the prisoner’s perspective.

I have often contemplated what the effects to society would be if the overcrowding finally became too much for our justice system to handle. What if the public refused to tolerate it? With technology advancing so quickly, it makes sense that cyber-crimes would fast become a leader in white collar crimes. What better way to exile non-violent criminals than to transport them to a time where technology was non-existent and their skills would be useless to them? The thought was equally frightening and intriguing to me.

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

I wrote Malcolm as an ‘every-guy’. A man who was in a slump of sorts. He had no real future to look forward to, and he made a rash decision that was out of character for him, but one that would set him on a path he couldn’t veer from. I did not want him to be a sword-wielding hero. He needed to be relatable to explore how a normal, average person would react to being exiled hundreds of years to the past to start over.

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

I felt it was important to see Hannah’s transition from a fearful, abused woman who had lost herself, to a confident, capable woman surviving in unthinkable conditions.

I also enjoyed exploring Christine’s mindset regarding her job. She struggles with the guilt of exiling prisoners with little chance of survival on their own. Yet as a law enforcement officer she took an oath to do her job to the best of her ability, and she tries to strike a balance between the two emotions.

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

Book three in the series, Escaping Home, takes Christine and her crew on another adventure to 1790, Virginia and 1908, New York. Book three differs from the first two, in that the time-travelers are forced to make some very risky decisions that ultimately become life-changing. Escaping Home is slated to release on November 18.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

An exiled prisoner. A desperate woman. A time travel agent willing to break the rules.

Malcolm Aldred is starting over in 1868, Oklahoma. There’s just one problem—he’s an exiled prisoner from 2070.

In 2071, Los Angeles, housewife Hannah Cole is desperate to escape her abusive husband, and begs Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart to send her somewhere, anywhere, in history. When Christine agrees to send Hannah to 1868, neither woman has any idea the events that sets in motion.

Malcolm and Hannah adapt to pioneer life in an untamed world full of danger and unimaginable hardships, but falling for each other was never part of the plan. When a deadly hunter tracks Hannah to 1868, fate intervenes and catapults her back to Colonial America, threatening to destroy their future before it ever begins.

Can Christine save Hannah in time or will they both be lost to history forever?
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