Saturday, February 24, 2024

Torch by Sofia Simpson

 

 


About the Book

 


Book: Torch

Author: Sofia Simpson

Genre: Young Adult Christian Fantasy

Release Date: February 6, 2024

Relentlessly pursued by the Extremists, Vela and Linc embark on a perilous journey toward a hidden Elemental community in the Canadian mountains. It’s a place where couples of different elements thrive, raising families while living off the grid.

These Elementals, like the Extremists, are searching for the portended Chosen Child,  the one who will unite the clans. Vela is forced to accept she might be a part of this prophecy whether she likes it or not.

Vela is more than intrigued by a mixed Elemental in the community who single-mindedly pursues her. Faced with a choice between two very different men makes committing to Linc as her Intended harder than she imagined.

Can Linc win the fight for her heart? Will this prophecy be her undoing or the Elementals’ salvation?

 

Click here to get your copy!



 I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are my own and not an endorsement of all author’s opinions. 


Author Interview

Why did you want to become an author? 

I love telling stories and sharing my faith as I do it. I know Christian Fantasy is not a widely read genre, but I love writing it. It’s a joy to flesh out in a story what it’s like to experience peace. Or, when you doubt or struggle, writing that moment when a character realizes God was with her all along. That’s my life on those pages. I’ve experienced all the joys of walking in faith and to share that in the conflicts and struggles of a character’s life as they recover or discover their faith is wonderful.

 

What/Who inspired you to write on the main themes found in the book?


I would say myself and my life inspired me in the main themes of Torch. Vela, my main character, doubts her path in this book. I’ve experienced so much of that as I’ve gone along inthis road called life. I’ve had moments like hers where I’m not sure I should be going the direction I’m going and seriously doubting whether it’s God’s plan for me to be there. It was pretty cathartic writing this theme out in this book. It reminded me of those moments that God assured me I was right where I needed to be or I needed to make a change.


If you could meet your characters in real life, what would you talk about?


I love this question. I would have so many questions about Elemental life and what it’s like producing fire out of your hands and helping a seed grow into a plant. I’d want to know the rush those feelings produced. Mainly, though, I’d talk about their story. It’s a good question to ask as I write the next books, actually. How do they feel about what’s happened in their life? What emotions evoked from what happened in the past books and how did they carry forward into the next book?


What did your research process look like for this book? 


Extensive. I had to learn how to live off the grid. My search engine will provide some very interesting revelations with what I had to learn. I had the chance to interview someone who actually lives off the grid and so I was able to glean a lot of amazing info on how a toilet can work, with flushing water. Or, how to cook using a battery. It was all extremely interesting. The most fun was finding recipes for things like bread on a stick, since they had no stoves.


How did you celebrate when you completed your book? 


I was naughty and went way off my diet and went and got a Chick-fil-A meal. It was the tastiest and most satisfying meal ever!


 


About the Author



Sofia grew up moving constantly. Never in one place more than three years, there was plenty of time to daydream during long car rides. College finally gave her a chance to study what she had always dreamed of doing, writing her stories.

She obtained a B.A. in Journalism, married her handsome husband and had two amazing sons.

A big believer in dreaming big, Sofia loves speaking to youth, encouraging them to find hope no matter what their life looks like. Sofia is a daughter of the Lord first and foremost and finds inspiration with the stories like King David and Esther.

More from Sofia

This book has been my absolute favorite to write. I switched my POV to first person, and it made all the difference in the world as far as getting into my character’s head. I’ve been so intimidated in writing in first person POV, so I’m so happy I went out on a limb and tried it. The story flowed so easily once I did! I wrote the first draft of this book in 10 weeks! I got on an intense writing schedule, stuck to it and voila! Out popped this book.

I loved every minute of it, especially the researching part. Researching how to live off the grid was fascinating to me, and it couldn’t have been more interesting. It really made me understand how people lived without modern conveniences. Well, in my book, they lived with modern conveniences thanks to generators and the Elementals’ gifts and abilities, but they had to make their own soap, butter, cheese, sometimes, clothes. I learned how a toilet can work thanks to gravity and setting up the pump on a hill. It’s all fascinating to me and I hope everyone finds it fun to learn, too, all while a great story unfolds!

The following recipe was so neat, I had to include it! And, yes, it’s in the book. They had to cook bread without an oven, so this worked nicely so they could still enjoy some fresh cooked bread.

This recipe was copied from the following link from Veganonboard.com:

Campfire Bread on a Stick Recipe – Vegan on Board

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) flour
  • ⅞ cup (200 ml) warm water
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Dough:

  • In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients into a moist dough. No need to knead!
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size – about 1 hour.
  • With floured hands, briefly ‘knock back’ the dough by making it into a ball.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 8 pieces.

Shaping your breadsticks:

  • Start by stretching the dough into a strip and then roll it into a long sausage shape.
  • Twist a strip around the end of your sticks. Pinch the dough together to secure the end if necessary.

Cooking Over a Campfire:

  • Either hold or prop up your stick over the fire.
  • Choose a spot over hot embers for best results.
  • Keep rotating until all sides are browned.
  • Enjoy your freshly baked bread!

Blog Stops


Artistic Nobody, February 15 (Author Interview)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 16

Guild Master, February 17 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 17

Texas Book-aholic, February 18

Fiction Book Lover, February 19 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 21 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, February 22

Simple Harvest Reads, February 23 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 24

A Reader’s Brain, February 25 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, February 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 27 (Author Interview)

Blogging with Carol, February 28


Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Sofia is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

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/29dba/torch-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

War Songs by Brett Nelson

 


 

About the Book

 


Book: War Songs

Author: Brett Nelson

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction/Spiritual Warfare

Release Date: February 6, 2022

Trigger WarningWAR SONGS is free of profanity and sexual situations (There is some mild slang terminology spoken by fallen angels and certain human characters, ex: c**p, w**re, etc). Also, there is one short scene in the book that depicts violence with very minimal graphic details that could be triggering and/or upsetting for some readers.

There is an invisible realm around us that we can neither discern with our eyes nor hear with our ears. This invisible realm is where the powers of darkness and light reside. They can see and hear us, but we cannot see and hear them.

Jenner Alekson is a leader in his praise and worship band that travels extensively in the tri-state area of Cape Kennington, North Carolina. He makes little money in his chosen profession, yet the rewards he reaps in obedience to his call of ministry are eternal, and that’s enough for him.

Always happy with all aspects of his existence, Jenner is blindsided when his life suddenly catapults into turmoil, and he is thrust into a crossroads where discontentment, anger, and loss of desire to carry the gospel with his song takes root in an otherwise sheltered and stable life.

Unbeknownst to Jenner, his wife Hyacinth, and best friends Camden and Lucas, a spiritual war rages around them. The powers of darkness will try their best to derail Jenner’s spiritual walk, his marriage, his ministry, then ultimately his life.

Meanwhile across the country, rough and gruff long-haul trucker Arnold Collins leads a different kind of life. He’s a recovering drunk who chases women and is unhappy with an unloving, belligerent wife who could out-cuss any man who ever dared to challenge her. Without a warm and inviting place to call home, Arnold prefers the wide-open road before him.

As he rumbles across the terrain of small-town America one lonely night in his eighteen-wheeler, grumbling about his unfulfilling lot in life, he happens upon a radio preacher. Not interested in religion, he flips past the station with mutters of disdain, but for reasons he cannot explain, he is compelled back to it and hears a sermon he doesn’t understand but can’t get out of his mind.

Will the schemes of the powers of darkness pull Jenner away from the faith that means everything to him? And will the same powers prevent Arnold from finding the faith he needs but never wanted?

Heaven and Earth, light and dark, good and evil, are about to collide in ways Jenner and Arnold and those they love could never imagine.

 

Click here to get your copy!


 I received a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions given are my own and are not an endorsement of all author’s opinions.


Author Interview


What step of writing this book was the most challenging and why


Hi Katie. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your blog and to talk about my books.

 

Every book has its own set of challenges and War Songs was probably one of my most challenging books to write

 

First, the book allows readers a glimpse not only into the physical realm but also into the spiritual realm where angels and fallen angels (demons) reside. For me, it’s interesting to imagine how angels and fallen angels interact with humans when humans have no idea what is going on around them in the spiritual realm. 

 

Prior to writing this book I had read a couple of spiritual warfare books, but I didn’t like the approach the authors took because they depicted spiritual warfare as creepy things that go bump in the night (ex: lamps turning on for no reason, window shades popping up when no one was in the room to do it, and pictures falling off the wall.) These things, however, are not the biblical approach to spiritual warfare, so I decided for my fourth novel that I wanted to tackle writing a book on spiritual warfare that was closer in alignment with what scripture says it is.

 

Since I don’t have the ability to see into the spiritual realm for myself, and since the Bible doesn’t give in depth views of the spiritual realm and what happens there, it was often a challenge to not only imagine but also to put to paper how I thought that realm might look. Since it’s Christian FICTION, that allows for a little wiggle room, but it was important to me that overall, it felt genuine and realistic to readers, so that wasn’t an easy balance to find for me as an author. 

 

I also know that most readers who pick up War Songs will most likely be a Christian, but we all know that most Christians have widely varying convictions on Bible interpretation and Bible doctrine. Though I did my best to keep it in line with scripture as far as my understanding allows, I know there will be a faction of readers who won’t like how I envisioned the story because it somehow contrasts with their own ideas of how spiritual warfare and the spiritual realm works, and thus may give bad reviews for a challenging topic that none of us really have dogmatic proof of how spiritual warfare actually looks and operates. At the end of the day, my prayer is that as people read War Songs, they will keep an open mind and look past what they agree/don’t agree with and at the heart just enjoy delving into an interesting topic.

 

Since there are angels and fallen angels in the book, another big challenge was finding interesting names for them. In my opinion, angels/fallen angels need names uniquely different from human names. After struggling with finding cool names, an idea finally hit that worked. I gave each of the fallen angels a specific “job” or personality trait to describe how they would spiritually attack the humans, so I looked up the Latin names for the word of that fallen angel and used a derivative of that word to come up with the fallen angels’ names

 

For instance, for the fallen angel of anger, the Latin word for anger is “ira,” so I gave the name of Iracun to the demon of anger.

 

The Latin name for discouragement is “Animi debilitatem”, so I named the demon of discouragement “Animi.”

 

The Latin name for fear is “timor,” so I named the demon of fear “Timora.”

 

I also struggled with using offense as the character’s spiritual downfall because I was afraid readers would view it was a weak way to bring a character down. When I spoke with a pastor about my concerns, though, he was adamant that I needed to follow my instinct and use offense in the story because Christians (and everyone, really) need stiff reminders that our enemy Satan can use the perceived “simple things and emotions” to steal, kill, and destroy a person’s life. As they say, knowledge is power, and when we know how our enemy operates against us, that knowledge equips us to live in victorydespite his best efforts.

 

As soon as I decided to go ahead with the topic of offense, I was still nervous about it, but my spirit was also at peace.

 


Which character in your book do you relate to the most?


I think I relate to several of the characters in the book, especially to Jenner, the main character. He is a singer in a non-famous praise and worship band, and they travel the tristate area ministering through music. As a singer myself, that is a definite area where he and I relate. 

 

In the book, I wanted to not only delve into how the spiritual realm meshes with the physical realm, but I also wanted to touch on the spiritual downfall of a faithful and true believer. I didn’t want his downfall to be the typical drugs, alcohol, or sexual sin that so many writers use to propel their stories (not that there’s anything wrong with those storylines because they are very important subjects to tackle). After much thought and prayer, I decided to give Jenner a battle to deal with that was more subtle: the sin of offense toward another believer in the character’s life.

 

Offense left unchecked can cause anger and bitterness, all of which can very quickly poison a Christians and even a non-Christian’s soul. I have received so many affirming emails from readers thanking me for writing the book, and who were touched and blessed by how it opened their eyes to how spiritual warfare possibly works

 

Earlier this year, though, I got a very nasty email from a woman who “enjoyed the book” but was angry that I chose offense as the catalyst for Jenner’s spiritual downward spiral. She was livid that Jenner “didn’t get over his petty hurt feelings faster.” She then gave an exhaustive list of every little thing that she hated about the book. At first, my heart was wounded by her horrible nitpicky attitude and blatant bullying (because she claimed to be a Christian and Christians are supposed to love each other, not attack each other), then I stopped and realized that she is exactlythe type of person who needed to read the book, even if it forced out of her an inappropriately negative outburst. She was literally offended that I wrote a book that pointed out how something as subtle as a small offense can fester and grow until it poisons a person’s soul and their outlook on life and the people in it. Even though she was very angry about the book, I decided that rather than be hurt (easier said than done!), I would pray for her often that the Holy Spirit would touch and heal the areas in her life where the book obviously hit a nerve. 

 

I also relate to Jenner’s best friends, Lucas and Camden, because they served as the lighthearted and fun characters in the book. I’m for sure a healthy mix of Jenner, Camden, and Lucas because I have a serious side as well as a fun and lighthearted side. 

 

As much as I hate to admit it, I even relate a little to Arnold. He’s an older, crusty, bitter on life truck driver whose marriage is on the rocks. He’s a bit feisty at times and speaks his mind, and anyone who knows me knows that I have a definite feisty, outspoken side. 

 

In short, if you take a pinch of this and a pinch of that from each character, you’ll have a pretty close physical embodiment of Brett Nelson.


 

If you could meet your characters in real life, what would you talk about


I love my characters so much. After spending a year creating them, giving them physical attributes and personalities, an author can’t help but walk away with a deep love for his characters, even the ones that aren’t as likeable. 

 

- With Jenner, since I too am a singer and used to travel in a Southern Gospel band, we would for sure talk about music and the dynamic of group travel. Since I know what it’s like to experience immense hurt at the hands of people inside the walls of the church (I mean, who doesn’t understand that on some level? Statistically, more Christians report experiencing hurt from other Christians way more than from non-Christians. That’s a statistic that I would love to see change in a positive direction). We’d have an in depth talk about what he experienced, how he reacted, and how he could have handled certain things better. His growth arc was subtle from beginning to end, and once you’ve lived through that, it’s a testimony worth digging into and talking about at some point when your heart has healed.

 

- I would love to sit and have a long talk with Arnold and Alice. In all honesty, they aren’t the type of people that I would gravitate towards when seeking out friendships because theyboth have a chip on their shoulder, they’re grumpy, and they’renot believers (yet Arnold especially is searching for something to believe in even though he doesn’t know how to get there or even what he’s searching for.) I’d love to try and talk some sense into both of their stubborn and cranky dispositions.

 

P.S. For those who love to hate Arnold and Alice, Book Two in the War Songs series goes into professional editing in January and will publish in Spring of 2024. Arnold and Alice are the main characters in book two because I wanted to delve more closely into who they are and why they turned out the way theydid. I look so forward into getting that book out there, and I hope people love it as much as I do.

 

-I also would like to smack Janie upside the head then have a coming-to-Jesus talk with her. She thinks she’s the best Christian that ever walked the Earth, but her actions don’t match the words that she speaks. I think we all probably know at least one person like that, and yes, she is modeled after someone I know. I changed everything about the character of Janie, so the real person will never see themself in her (not that they’d ever read one of my books, anyway, and if they did, they’d probably never see the correlationI’ll never name them, so don’t ask…LOL 

 

-One last person I’d love to talk with is Aunt Deborah. She is a gem of a person who is just kind and loving and somehow knows what to say to people when there’s something they need to hear (she shows up in book two, too!). She’s the type of person that most people instinctively would like and trust.

 

 

What message do you hope readers take away from your book


I touched on this in an earlier question, but I think it’s the perfect way to end the interview. I realize that due to the nature of spiritual warfare, there will be people who won’t like the story I told because it doesn’t jive exactly with their own vision of what spiritual warfare looks like, and that’s fine. As I said, it’s a relatively unknown topic that the Bible doesn’t speak in depth about so all any of us can do is take what little we know about it and imagine how the whole picture looks

 

I had one Amazon reviewer who didn’t like that Jenner didn’t take his issues with another person in the church (the incident that caused his offense to fester and grow) and discuss it with his pastor. In real life, that’s ultimately what I would have done, and that’s what I would encourage any person to do in such a circumstance. That’s the smart thing to do if you encounter church hurt and have a hard time getting over it. I even briefly considered that as a plot point toward the end but decided against it. 

 

There are many reasons why a person would choose not to go to a pastor about such a thing. Maybe they realize their reaction to the incident isn’t a huge deal and they don’t want to bother a pastor with such a small thing they know they need to get over. Maybe they’re embarrassed to be caught struggling with such a “small thing.” Maybe their pride won’t allow them to talk to a pastor (pride is another subtle spirit killer, but that’s a story for a different book). Maybe, as in Jenner’s case, I suspect he’s just a ‘suffer in silence’ type of guy (because aren’t most guys and even a lot of women?) My point is that people don’t always do things the way other people around them think they should. Like it or not, that’s life when imperfect people live and interact with other imperfect people.

 

I’ve had several people who reached out to tell me how much they loved the book, “but wouldn’t it have been great if you had…” {fill in the blank}. The truth is, there were so many things I could have done in the book that I chose not for many reasons, space constraints being the main one

 

I do the same thing when I read books. “Why didn’t they do this?” or “Why didn’t they do that.” There are a thousand things I could have had my characters do differently, but we authors can only fit so much in a book before it falls in the way of War and Peace (a whopping 1,200+ page tome)Sometimes we allow characters to be bothered by apparently silly things. Sometimes we have them react to things in ways that aren’t always healthy or smart or logical, but that’s ultimately how we learn life lessons. All of us humansif we’re honest, are not immune to doing things that others around us would consider dumb. That’s how we authors give our books not only an edge of reality but also a dose of the unexpected.

 

My prayer is that, at the heart of the matter, my readers will walk away and see the deficiencies in the characters and as a result maybe make better decisions in their own lives. I pray something in the book will help a reader to assess a situation in their own life and they’ll remember that small offenses can take destroy a person’s life just as much as drinking, doing drugs, and other perceived “bigger” sins. I pray that readers will never forget there is an invisible war raging around us and that “our struggle isn’t with flesh and blood people, but with invisible forces in heavenly places.” Finally, I pray that readers, even if they don’t agree with 100% of how I chose to build the story, they’ll see the bigger picture and hunker down to enjoy a good, clean read.

 

 

 


About the Author



Brett Nelson is an Amazon TOP 5 BEST-SELLING author. “When Raindrops Fall” and “War Songs” hit #4 and #2 respectively in the Christian fiction genre, and “A Christmas to Live For” hit #9 in Christian Fiction. He lives in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He wrote his first novel in 2012, just to see if he could. His goal is to write stories of fiction that are clean, easy to read, fun, and that injects a layer of his faith into every novel. In short, he desires that his readers would finish every novel having experienced a tapestry of emotions from a good healthy cry, fits of amused laughter, soul-splitting inspiration, and everything in between. He has published five novels to date. Book #2 to “War Songs” will publish in Spring 2024, and he is also currently working on Book #2 for “When Raindrops Fall.”

His novel “A Christmas to Live For” won the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Christian Fiction in 2021, and “War Songs” won the Global Book Awards Silver Medal in Christian Fiction in 2022.

Other than writing, reading is one of his favorite things to do on a lazy, rainy day (or a sunny day, or at the beach, or…well, you get the picture).

He enjoys reading the novels of lesser known authors, because you never know when you’ll uncover a new favorite.

More from Brett

“War Songs” was my fourth published novel, and I wrote it because I love books about spiritual warfare. The few that I’ve read, though, lean more on the occultic side than biblically based, which was what I wanted. Spiritual warfare isn’t pictures falling off walls for no reason, or seeing a shadow in the corner, or things that go bump in the night, which is how books that I’ve read tend to depict the subject of spiritual warfare. So, I decided to tackle the subject for myself and write a novel that I would want to read. I’m blessed to have received amazing email feedback about the book from all over the country and even from readers in Pakistan, Germany, the UK, and Canada.

One question that I’m asked a lot is how I came up with the unique angel and demon names (ex: Animi, Mataio, Roga, and Mortol, just to name a few.) In the book, I gave each demon a specific job and/or specialty (discouragement, anger, etc) then I researched the Hebrew/Greek root words for the emotions that the demons represented and created a name based off the root word. It made for some great demon names, even if I do say so myself.

As an author, I rarely use the names of people I personally know in my books. I like to use unique character names that no one in my life has, hence the names of my main characters in “War Songs,” Jenner and Hyacinth. To help find character names, I often go to baby name websites and search until just the right unique name comes along, and the minute I see it, I just know that will be the character’s name. That said, I have given a few special people in my life a shoutout in the books by using their name for a smaller secondary character then giving the character an outlandish personality that is nothing like the person whose name I used.

Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 8

Artistic Nobody, February 9 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Fiction Book Lover, February 11 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 12

Guild Master, February 13 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

A Reader’s Brain, February 15 (Author Interview)

Through the Fire Blogs, February 16 (Author Interview)

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, February 16

Lily’s Corner, February 17

Pause for Tales, February 18

Blossoms and Blessings, February 19 (Author Interview)

Splashes of Joy, February 20 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, February 21 (Author Interview)


Giveaway



To celebrate his tour, Brett is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card, an autographed hardback copy of the book, and a bookmark!!

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/29c51/war-songs-celebration-tour-giveaway