Author Spotlight

Definition of spotlight:  something that illuminates brilliantly. It’s always a privilege to shine a spotlight on an author!

Join me in welcoming author Allen Brokken to my blog. I’d love for you to read about Allen’s book as well as enjoy my interview with him. As always, make sure to enter the giveaway at the end!

About the Book

Book: Light of Mine

Author: Allen Brokken

Narrator: Stacey Bradshaw

Genre: Middle grade Christian Fantasy

Release date: November 10, 2021

LightOfMine-Audio

Darkness is spreading through Zoura. Beyond the borders of the heathlands, innocent animals are being turned into monsters, and good men into pawns of the Dark One. Father has vanished after joining the Mighty Mercenaries and mother has gone missing in search of him.

Alone on the farm, twelve-year-old Lauren and her brave little brothers, Aiden(9) and Ethan(5), must guard the Tower of Light that will guide both parents home. But when a hooded stranger is caught trespassing the farm, and a new bishop claims the church, confusion pervades their close-knit community. Will the children be able to recognize who is a threat to the Tower and who is there to help them protect it?

With little else but the aid of a trio of blessed pets, three holy weapons, and their growing faith, Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan find it is up to them to stop the agents of The Dark One from putting out the Light and dooming the heathlands to Darkness.

Click here to get your copy!

My Interview!

Thank you for joining me, Allen. I’m excited to have my readers learn more about your book, Light of Mine. So, let’s talk about your writing.

Writing can be hard work. How do you come up with your plots?

I start with a set of scenes I think will be cool.  Like I had the final battle in Light of Mine in my mind long before I had the story to get there.  Once I have the scenes I put them down on paper and build an outline around them.  I call this my flight plan.  As long as I hit the major points the story can go wherever it needs to.  From there I refine the outline and start writing.  Invariably my characters decide to do something different and I have to add a detour here and there, but generally the major scenes stick from initial concept to publication.

Do you ever name your characters after people you know?

The characters are named after my kids. This is actually a continuation of a story I wrote for them when they were much younger and the rest of the family are other family members. One thing I wanted to do though was to make the grown ups kind of like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I was going for non-distinct authority figures with titles instead of names.

How do you research for your stories?

Since my stories take place in what I imagine is a world like the 18th century American frontier I go to a lot of historical sites and attractions that point back to that time.  I’ve visited Historic Williamsburg, Silver Dollar City, and The Midwest Old Threshers convention to gain insights on various aspects of frontier life.  I also spend a lot of time on Google.  I tend to share the things I learn for the story on my social media, @allenbrokkenauthor I did a whole thing on prairie dogs recently due to the plot in my work in progress.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

I write while I travel. I’m most productive on an airplane. Something about the general discomfort keeps my brain sharp. However, I’m a really big guy and I can’t usually use my laptop or I’m beating people up with my elbows. So I’ve taken to writing books on my phone keyboard. COVID-19 has actually slowed down my writing for the lack of traveling.  I had to really change my routine.

Tell us about your personal reading. Have you ever read a book that made you cry?

As goofy as it sounds listening to Stacey Bradshaw narrate Light of Mine made me cry multiple times.  It wasn’t just that the story is written with my heart felt emotion wrapped up in it, but she just nailed the dialog in so many places.  I was really blessed to have her work on this project.

That’s wonderful! It sounds like Stacey really clicked for the project. I hope my readers will listen to Light of Mine. It sounds like a winner!

About the Author

AllenBrokken-Author

Allen Brokken is a teacher at heart, a husband and father most of all. He’s a joyful writer by the abundant grace of God. He began writing the Towers of Light series for his own children to help him illustrate the deep truths of the Bible in an engaging and age appropriate way. He’s dedicated 15 years of his life to volunteer roles in children’s ministry and youth development. Now that his own children are off to college he’s telling stories and sharing clean humor on social media @allenbrokkenauthor, and through his blog https://www.allenbrokkenauthor.com.

More from Allen

When my kids were young there was really nothing better than getting out of my car at the end of a long day at work and having my three little kiddos run up to me and give hugs because Daddy’s Home!  As a Father of three young children I was very concerned about the direction society was taking.  I wasn’t sure that with how things were going that I had the knowledge or the skill to train them up in the way they should go, as the Bible directs.

Then in 2008 I took a new job that had me traveling four days a week.  It was one of the hardest times of my life, the stress of a high pressure job, the loneliness of being on the road, and uncertainty of being a young parent really brought me to the end of myself.  However, all of the travel gave me a lot of time to study the scriptures and learn from the writing of great bible teachers.

It was during this time that I began to write stories for my children.  At first I brought my children’s stuffed animals to life for silly adventures.  But then one day while we were putting together a play fort in our back yard I saw a sunrise pattern in the wood in the top of the tower.  I thought:​

“What if there was a Tower of Light shining God’s goodness over the children and their animals?”

“What if the children experienced the indwelling of the holy spirit in a real way like Sampson or David?”

“What if the full armor of God was physical armor they could use to defeat the darkness?”

As I shared my story with my children, they loved it.

I believe you and your children will love it too.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, May 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 3

Guild Master, May 4 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, May 5

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 6 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 6

Vicarious Living, May 7

Vicky Sluiter, May 8 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 8 (Spotlight)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 11

Artistic Nobody, May 12

Simple Harvest Reads, May 13

Blossoms and Blessings, May 14 (Author Interview)

Cats in the Cradle Blog, May 15

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Allen is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d3be/light-of-mine-celebration-tour-giveaway

Welcome! Check out the information about Not by Sight, then read my interview with author Elizabeth Jacobson. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!

About the Book

Book: Not by Sight

Author: Elizabeth Jacobson

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release date: May 16, 2022

NBS - Front Hi Rez

Seventeen-year-old Joseph’s life is far from perfect. He does have his father’s favor and trust, and the love of his younger brother Benjamin and sister Dinah. What he does not have is the love of his ten older brothers. Embittered by their father’s favor towards Joseph, his brothers take every opportunity to spite him. Spurred to anger by their actions and horrified by a threat made towards Benjamin, Joseph, overcome with fury, tells them of his dreams – for his dreams show a future where they will bow down to him.

Outraged, his brothers take their revenge, and Joseph is sold into Egypt as a slave. Bitterness and hate threaten to overcome him, and, in desperation, Joseph turns to the stories of his father’s God, a distant and omnipotent being whom Joseph has never dared to speak to. Slowly, Joseph begins to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. But only when those carefully gathered pieces re-break, over and over again, does Joseph truly begin to understand what it means to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Click here to get your copy!

Elizabeth, thank you for being with us! Let’s talk about your writing a bit.

Why did you decide to write fiction?

I don’t know if I ever decided to start writing fiction, per se. It was more that, once I turned thirteen, I just started needing to put words on paper. Plots and characters would spin in my head until I got them out of there, hah!

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

Hmm, well, I do have a bit of an unusual way of dealing with writer’s block. I’m a teacher, and when I’m stuck while writing, I break out my teaching strategies toolkit! 

First, I get up and start walking. Walking activates other parts of your brain that aren’t being used when you’re sitting. While I walk, I listen to music – something that could serve as the “movie score” for the scene I’m trying to write. Music activates different parts of your brain, too. 

It definitely works! Though it’s not always a quick process. I’ve walked for a looong time trying to sort out a plot hole!

What is your funniest typo?

I had a beta reader for Not by Sight find a typo where I’d meant to write “wild horses.” But instead of horses, we had “wild hoses” running around. Yikes. Sounds concerning.

Time to get serious. What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

Mint chocolate chip! My two favorite flavors in one!

What is your favorite vacation spot?

I’m a Disneyland fanatic. Get me there and I’m going to have the best time, 100% guaranteed.

It’s been fun getting to know you, Elizabeth. And we’ll have to watch out for those wild hoses!

About the Author

ElizabethErickson

Elizabeth Jacobson is a middle-school math teacher in sunny California who loves the Bible, fantasy, and science fiction. She got bit by the writing bug at age thirteen and has been frantically putting words on pages ever since. Her goal in writing is to share with the world the most important message anyone can express: the Love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Not by Sight: A novel of the patriarchs is her first novel. You can connect with her at headdeskliz.com or on Facebook or Instagram.

More from Elizabeth

Imagine you’re back in Sunday School, sitting down with all your friends and watching the volunteer parent who teaches the class smile over the flannelgraph. (Or, if you never went to Sunday School, just imagine yourself in a smallish room with too many little friends around you, and an adult who doesn’t want to mess this up running the class.) “Now, friends,” (s)he says, holding up a flannel image of a teenager in what looks like a rainbow bathrobe: “This is Joseph.”

Joseph is plastered to the flannelgraph, and the parent puts up a flannel group of angry men next to him. “His brothers hated him because his father gave him a beautiful coat. They threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave!”

Appreciative gasps echo from the crowd of five-year-olds – even kids know that good drama comes from torturing your characters.

“His master threw him in prison – ” (we necessarily skip why) “– but one day Pharaoh had a dream!”

Flannel Pharaoh appears, slapped on the flannelgraph, wearing a white skirt and lots of bling.

“Joseph interpreted the dream, and Pharaoh made him his second-in-command. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt looking for food in a famine, Joseph helped them. And you know what, friends?” The parent looks around with a grin. “Joseph never lost his faith in God! Isn’t that amazing?”

You and your friends nod solemnly. What a guy.

You probably hear this story at least once a year in Sunday School, with more detail added each time, but by the time you’re a worldly-wise sixth grader, you start to nod a little less and frown a little more.

You know the story like the back of your hand.

But it doesn’t make any sense anymore.

The truth is that this version of Joseph, whose flannel avatar has been waved in your face for years, this icon of the Sunday-School world, isn’t a person to emulate. He can’t be emulated.

Because the story of a man who faced every unthinkable hardship thrown his way with a smile on his face and praise on his lips and forgiveness in his heart is. Not. A. Story. Of. Real. Faith.

You want real faith? Look at the guy who talked to Jesus in Mark Chapter 9. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Translation: “I know I’m supposed to trust You, but in this moment, I don’t. Please help me out!”

Humans aren’t perfect. Why then are we shown a perfect Joseph?

Various adaptations of the Joseph story have tried their hand at mitigating the perfect Joseph problem. For the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the whole thing is played so humorously that character exploration ranks at exactly nil, and no one questions anything Joseph does. For the perennial Sunday-School favorite Joseph: King of Dreams cartoon movie, God and faith are taken mostly out of the story, so Joseph is free to be an “ordinary person” who reacts accordingly. (Do you see the problem with this last idea? I hope you do. faith ≠ superhuman).

Other adaptations have tried as well, but this fantasy and science fiction writer was one day struck with the need to try it for herself. I loved the story (remember, torturing characters = good drama, and boy does Joseph get the – extremely – short end of the stick for a good chunk of his life) and secondly, because I knew it would be a challenge.

Part of the reason for this “perfect” Joseph we so often see in Sunday School is that the Bible is not written as a novel. Most narratives in the Bible go over the events needed to comprehend the message or information in bare-bones, rapid-fire succession. No fluff involved, no discussion of motives, internal conflict, or thought processes. The Joseph account in Genesis is unique in that it is one of the longest continuous narratives in the Bible, but even it gives very little in the way of discussing these storytelling necessities.

The goal then became to come up with consistent personality traits and motivations, and logical, human reactions to events, that would lead each player in the Joseph narrative to take the actions recorded in Genesis. I felt like an archaeologist, piecing together ancient clues that could lead me to a bigger, more complete picture of the story.

It was a wild ride, but I had an absolute blast writing it. I can’t wait to share Not by Sight: a novel of the patriarchs with you!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 5

Texas Book-aholic, May 6

Vicky Sluiter, May 7 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, May 7

Inklings and notions, May 8

For Him and My Family, May 9

deb’s Book Review, May 10

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 11 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 13

For the Love of Literature, May 14 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 14

Connie’s History Classroom, May 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 16

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 17 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elizabeth is giving away the grand prize package of a hardcover copy of Not by Sight: a novel of the patriarchs, combined with a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d72a/not-by-sight-celebration-tour-giveaway

Today we’re meeting author Janis Jakes! Let’s chat with her and read about her book, The Bounty Hunter’s Bride. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!

About the Book

Book: The Bounty Hunter’s Bride

Author: Janis Jakes

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release date: June, 2021

9781522303497

Bounty hunter Luke Lancaster brings the best of both worlds to his work—the tracking skills of his Comanche father and the marksmanship he learned from his missionary grandfather.

When Luke is hired to track down a young man wanted for murder, he assumes it’s a routine capture, but he’s taken on a wild ride when he discovers that the accused is actually an innocent school teacher who knows too much for her own good.

Determined to uncover the truth, Luke sets out to keep himself and Billie alive while bringing the real outlaws to justice. As they race across Texas, Luke falls more in love with Billie. But could a schoolteacher ever want a half-Comanche bounty hunter? Does Luke stand a chance or is he just her ride to freedom?

Click here to get your copy!

Janis, thank you for being with us today! We are excited to get to know you!

Can you tell us why you decided to write fiction?

I’m not sure I made that decision. I believe the Lord put the desire to write fiction in
my heart as a way to minister to others. Some people would never read a nonfiction
book about self-forgiveness but will walk that same path with a fictional character
learning to receive God’s grace. Ultimately, I pray that anyone who reads my writing
will grow in Christ and find a deeper relationship with Him.

How do you come up with your plots? We know it’s not always easy to be creative!

I typically have the major plot points in mind and know where I want to end up, and
then start writing toward that end. As the characters develop, they don’t always follow
my lead. That’s a good sign. It means they’ve come alive, in a sense, and will be more
relatable. As the characters change, so might the plot. That’s when I have to walk by
faith. It’s a roller-coaster ride, but that’s what keeps me eager to write the next day.

Readers always want to know if you ever name your characters after people you know?

In my first fiction book, I needed a heroine’s name that would work for a man or
woman. Many names would’ve worked, but I chose Billie in honor of my mother. She
passed away unexpectedly when I was a high school senior. The character is a brave
woman who faces life’s challenges with courage and faith, much like my mother.

Alright. Time for a serious question. What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

My favorite kind of ice cream is homemade vanilla on top of a warm brownie topped
with pecans, whipped cream, and a cherry—the perfect end to a summer day.

Even an author needs a vacation. What is your favorite vacation spot?

My favorite vacation spot is the next new place. Not too long ago, my husband and I
purchased a travel van. We love sightseeing. There is so much natural beauty in
creation. Over the last twelve months, we’ve made several short trips throughout
Texas, as well as longer trips to the Florida Keys and Colorado mountains. We have a
trip planned for North Carolina this spring, then will travel to New England to see the
changing of the leaves come fall. We say, “The journey is the destination.”

More About the Author

JanisJakes

Janis Jakes encourages women through inspirational fiction and non-fiction. She is a Texas native with a penchant for winding country roads, faded jeans, street tacos, and fiery West Texas sunsets.

More from Janis

It wasn’t unusual to find dime-store western novels on my grandfather’s nightstand. As a young girl, I poured through the yellowed, dog-eared pages. There was just something about the characters—resilient women, courageous men, and hardened outlaws—combined with the rugged terrain and inevitable showdown—that drew me deeper into every story.

In writing The Bounty Hunter’s Bride I wanted to capture the western element while creating faith-filled characters facing an uncertain future. Billie and Luke confront relentless peril with true western grit—finding victory over past regret and love as big as the Texas sky.

Hidden Facts: Billie is named for my mother, who passed away unexpectedly when I was still in high school; she was in her late thirties. The boy’s ranch idea came from a Christian boy’s ranch less than ten miles from my home. And, the early scenery depicted in the story is from my neck of the woods and the land I adore—West Texas.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, April 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Of Blades and Thorns, April 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 29

Connie’s History Classroom, April 30

Simple Harvest Reads, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Labor Not in Vain, May 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 3

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, May 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 5

Vicky Sluiter, May 6 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janis is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of The Bounty Hunter’s Bride!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1d0b2/the-bounty-hunter-s-bride-celebration-tour-giveaway

15 Responses to Author Spotlight

  1. melissapettersen says:

    My husband and I met through a mutual friend though we hadn’t actually “met” until a year & a half later. He was in the Marine Corp in North Carolina & I lived in Maryland. I was talking to one of my best friends in a chat room one evening. She was able to get in one at work when she was bored. I’d hop on to keep her company. My husband was on to talk to his friend who was stationed in Okinawa. My friend introduced us & we started talking. That turned into letters & phone calls. Eventually we finally met & we married after he finished Bible college in Oregon. He was in the reserves at the time. He now is in the USAF full time & we will be married 20 years in June. I’m sure this is hard to follow. It’s hard writing it all out. 😂😂😂

    Like

  2. Ronda says:

    So, my RA took pictures of us on move-in day and had them posted with what room we were in as a way for us to become familiar with the faces in our dorm and so we could make friends…….. now looking back maybe that wasn’t really a great idea 🥴. However, one night there was a knock on the door & to my surprise a cute guy wanting to know if I wanted to hang out because he had seen my picture on the board in the hall. Luckily he wasn’t a Joe Glodberg type 😆 neither of us were looking for anything serious BUT we’ve been together ever since & married 15 years this June ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephenia H. McGee says:

    Thank you for sharing about The Secrets of Emberwild
    !

    Like

  4. Eva Millien says:

    Great spotlight on the author, Vicky, thank for sharing it with me! Ashley, Re-Created for Faith sounds like a wonderful read, thanks for sharing it with me! Have a fantastic day

    Like

  5. Marisela Zuniga says:

    writing at a beach in Hawaii sounds amazing! Great interview

    Like

  6. slehan says:

    Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

    Like

  7. Beatrice LaRocca says:

    Thank you for sharing the author spotlight and book details, Re-Created for Faith sounds like an excellent read and I am looking forward to it

    Like

  8. Marisela Zuniga says:

    Light of mine sounds very good, great interview

    Like

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