Three new releases are coming this year: Super Doople, Salvaged Time,andone yet-to-be-announced release! I’m especially excited about these new releases because two are the first picture books I’ve written and illustrated, and one is the second book in my middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.
Super Doople and Salvaged Time are available for preorder on Amazon and other retailers (as they become available). The third is still under wraps until its cover reveal. All three will be release in digital and print formats. Read on to learn more.
You’ve heard the legend of Humpty Dumpty, but do you know the legend of Super Doople? He’s faster than a chicken. He flies higher than an ostrich. No fall can break his shell! And he was once Little Doople, a small and fragile egg like all the other dooples, until his bad habit of not listening caught up to him.
Engaging text with expressive illustrations, Super Doople is a lighthearted tale about resilience and learning to listen. This funny picture book for ages 3-8 is perfect for reading aloud in the classroom or at home.
Malvine and the Bog Hunters are gone, but a far more insidious force lurks in the shadows.
A month after Malvine’s defeat, Sarah is still living on the planet Elohi, unable to find her father or return home to Earth since the GSGT needs more rubidium for the journey. Then a nearby peaceful planet, Alym, is destroyed by the Shark Riders. A cryptic note from Sarah’s father hints that the dissident group NGTA could be behind the attack. And Elohi is next.
The only answer is joining the GSGT training program so she can search for proof and convince the GSGT to intervene. But Sarah’s emerging mutations cause disruptions in her classes, and her search only leads to more questions as she starts to suspect someone wants her to fail.
If Sarah doesn’t uncover the truth and the traitor in time, Elohi will fall to the Shark Riders—and she will never be able to return home.
Enjoy the second book in the Snow Globe Travelers series, a middle-grade science fiction series with fast pacing, unique tech, shocking twists, and a mystery that keeps you guessing. Aimed at ages 9+.
Lauren from Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light series is on the blog today, sharing fun insights—including what’s on her bucket list. Towers of Light is a middle-grade Christian fantasy series. The fifth book in the series, Wellspring of Life, released on November 4th. (Details about the launch tour and a giveaway after the interview.)
What skill or hobby do you think is underrated, and why do you think it deserves more attention?
Lauren: I think knowing how to make bread properly is highly underrated. Keeping the yeast growing just right is hard to do when the weather changes all the time. Then you have to get just the right mix of ingredients for the weather. If it just rained and it’s really humid the bread can get really sticky and not rise right. Then you have to feed the oven just the right amount of wood to not get too hot and burn the bottom. Mother is so good at it, but when she went away to find Father I was too afraid I’d mess it up to try.
Would you rather speak all languages or be able to talk with animals? How would you use that ability?
Lauren: In Zoura most people speak the same language so I’d really love to talk to animals. I’d like to know once and for all what’s going on in Meow Meow’s little brain. Sometimes I think he’s being naughty just because he’s so cute and he knows he’ll get away with it. If I could speak kitten, I think I could get the truth out of him. It would be a lot of fun to be able to talk to Daddy Duck and Sparkle Frog too. I think if I could speak their language we might be able to come up with some fun pranks to play on the boys. All in good fun of course.
What do you most appreciate about your brothers?
Lauren: I really appreciate that Aiden can build all the things he can. The way he fixed the windmill sure saved us a lot of time, and then there was the trap for the Knight Protector. He’s so ingenious that way. What I like about Ethan is he’s always remembering what the good book says at just the right time to remind us. There have been some times when I feel like we would have really done the wrong thing without him to remind us.
What’s something people don’t know about you?
Lauren: The boys always tell me what I great leader I am, helping them do things and fight the darkness. But I don’t feel all that much like I’m a great leader. When we were fighting the fish on the river, I didn’t want to be in charge. I didn’t even want to fight any more. It was so hard. I just wanted Father to come and scoop me up and protect me. I’m so glad God helped us through that tough time.
What’s something new you’ve learned about yourself since your family started the journey to light the tower in Blooming Glenn?
Lauren: I’ve learned that just because I’m the leader doesn’t mean that I can solve every problem or that I should even try. I’ve learned to listen to all kinds of people with lots of different ideas so that we can make the best choice. Sometimes that’s hard because people don’t see the world the way I do. So I’ve learned to pray a lot to listen for God’s still small voice when I can’t decide who is right, and that sets the right past.
What item on your bucket list do you most want to check off?
Lauren: Bucket list? I guess I’ve never really thought about buckets that much. Let me think about it… What I think would make a great bucket to have would be one shaped so Meow Meow can’t knock it over while I’m milking our cow clarabelle.
Who would win in a Super Fight between a pack of egg-stealing prairie dogs with and big foot?
Lauren: Those Prairie Dogs for sure. There are always alot of them, and they get pretty vicious when the darkness is around. I think they would dig out the ground to make a sink hole and then get the Big Foot to chase them into their trap. You’ve got be careful around those no-good-egg-stealin’ prairie dogs.
Thank you for stopping by, Lauren! I’m excited to see what comes next.
Grab a copy of Allen Brokken’s Wellspring of Life to experience the adventure as Lauren and her brothers take on the Darkness. (Use my affiliate code for 10% off: KA2022.)
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.
Kandi Wyatt & Phyllis Wheeler are on the blog today celebrating their November new releases. Kandi’s Exhalted is the third book in her best-selling dragon fantasy series for young adults, and Phyllis’s Guardians of Time is the first book in her middle-grade time travel series.
But instead of a traditional interview, we’ll be mixing things up today by embarking on an adventure with their characters. Afterwards, keep reading for details about their launch celebration giveaway!
Before the characters portal to a new world together, here’s a little about the worlds they come from.
Now for the Adventure!
Imagine Jake, Ava, Hest, and Usheen are transported to a back-alley market in an alternate Victorian Era where magic and technology exist. The pairs land on opposite sides, and Usheen is transformed into a human. As they make their way through the crowded market, what do each most hope to find?
Kandi: Hest would love looking at anything made of wood or even metal. He’d enjoy the trinkets and would be looking for something to purchase for his wife Siobhan. Usheen, once over the fact that’s he’s in human form, would love looking and basically just want to enjoy what it’s like to be human.
Phyllis: Jake and Ava would enjoy being somewhere medievally weird. They might exclaim over items that are something they can’t figure out how it’s used. Ava loves puzzles and puzzling things. Jake’s fond of animals, so any animal toy or replica would attract him.
There is a large booth filled with various gadgets and magical objects in the middle of the market. A sign posted states, “Look with your eyes, not your hands.” The four approach around the same time. Hest and Ava strike up a conversation over a small, odd shaped object with a golden button. Jake and Usheen are also drawn into the conversation. None of them know what the object is or what it does. Who pushes the button?
Kandi: I could see this conversation being rather interesting. Hest would be analytical and wondering what it does. He’d be careful not to touch it. Unless Ava or Jake touch it, my guess is Usheen would reach toward the object asking what it does, and since he’s not accustomed to his body, he bumps the button.
Phyllis: Ava would try to analyze what it is, what it does, think of possibilities. Jake is likely to just reach out and touch the button. He’s curious, he’s 11, and he’s impulsive.
The gadget lets off a potent and unpleasant odor. One of them cracks a joke about the stench. Who is it?
Kandi: Neither of my characters would joke about the stench. Depending on the odor, Usheen may mention it smelling like something out of the River District of Cahar. Hest would scrunch up his nose and say the stables smell better than that.
Phyllis: If the stench smells like sewer gas, Jake is likely to think it’s funny, being really not quite out of that age where passing gas is considered embarrassing and also funny. Ava is above all that, would ignore the smell.
The proprietor turns towards them, motioning to the menacing guards standing by. Who creates a distraction so they can all escape, and what do they do to create a distraction?
Kandi: Usheen would naturally assume he could fly around blowing fire. So, of my two, he’d create the distraction. My guess is he’d try to breathe fire, and nothing would happen. He’d then roar. A dragon roar is rather ear-shattering. He’d be willing to work with someone else to make a scene so Hest could get away and then try to slip away himself.
Phyllis: Ava would point out that a distraction is needed. It might take her a bit longer to think of one. Jake will be useless. So I think Usheen probably has good reflexes and should take care of the distraction, after Ava and Hest call for one.
Their attempt to escape is successful, and Hest, Usheen, Jake, and Ava portal back to their worlds.
Thank you, ladies! And congratulations on your new releases!
Exalted by Kandi J Wyatt and The Dog Snatcher by Phyllis Wheeler both release early in November. To celebrate, they’re having a family-friendly giveaway. For details on the giveaway and how to enter, visit Kandi’s website: https://kandijwyatt.com/launch-giveaway/.
Giveaway ends tomorrow on November 8th at 5:30 PM Central (3:30 PM Pacific).
From the Mid-west to the West Coast, Kandi J Wyatt has lived a full life of adventure from the comfort of her own home with her family. She writes books that blend reality and fantasywith worlds that you long to live in and characters you love in order to bring hope and light to kids (and their parents, too). Pulling from her own experiences as teacher, photographer, hobbyist and language learner, she weaves faith into her worlds to give them an eternal spark that ignites imagination and leaves you with a sense of wonder.
Phyllis Wheeler set a goal at age 13 to write a children’s book, a journey with lots of detours that has taken many years. She’s written for daily newspapers, worked on airplanes as a mechanical engineer, and raised four children, doing some homeschooling along the way. She has lived in a variety of places, but for most of her adult life has called St. Louis home. Get a free short story when you sign up for her occasional newsletter at PhyllisWheeler.com
November is National Novel Writing Month. The time when many writers will embark on a mission to write a novel in 30 days. Or at least 50,000 words towards a novel project. “Winning” at NaNoWriMo means reaching the 50K benchmark by November 30th.
My apologies for not posting sooner. I intended to share the results of my writing experiment last December, but took an unplanned—but much needed—break from regular blogging.
Last November, I shared a goal of drafting two books during NaNoWriMo. Which is a lofty goal, especially for a writer like me whose work progresses slowly.
But I wondered: was it possible for someone who writes slowly to improve their speed and productivity significantly? After all, athletes train to hone their performance. Why couldn’t a writer do the same?
Having researched writing faster over the years, as well as having tried many of the tools, books, and free advice out there, I came up with a new plan and committed myself to yet another attempt.
The Good, The Bad, and The—What was that?
The essence of the plan was to incorporate more pre-writing work through the use of journals, and to set a schedule to account for naturally productive times and the word count wall I to hit during writing sessions.
I scheduled three daily sessions, setting a higher word count goal for the most productive time of day. Next, I completed the pre-writing journals for book two and book three of my Snow Globe Travelers series, along with a detailed writing outline. Last, I prepared my family and blocked off the time on the calendar.
The first two weeks started off well. Word count wasn’t as high as it should have been and the writing schedule got interrupted, but I had my first multi-day writing streak!
The momentum grew. Good writing went out the window. Getting words on the page was the only thing that mattered. In a car, in a lobby, standing, sitting, wherever, whenever—the goal was just to add words.
And then. . .
The distractions came out in full force. Story structure issues appeared. I missed one day, then two. Getting words on paper became like spelling with half-eaten alphabet soup.
My resolve wavered and the NaNoWriMo deadline flew by. But I pressed on, determined to at least finish book two. Finally, four months later, the second draft of book two was complete!
Success or Failure?
While I didn’t write two drafts in one month, the driving force behind the experiment was to discover a way to improve writing performance significantly and continue to push limits. In that, the experiment was a success.
I also completed book two, which included major rewrites. And the total time from rewrite to second draft only took five months for book two. Whereas, my first NaNoWriMo attempt to complete the second draft of book one took twenty months to complete. Fifteen months less!
Looking back, it’s clear all the effort put into writing faster has paid off. The gains are there, even if they didn’t come as fast (or as easy) as I’d hoped.
What works for each writer is different. The plan and the tools did help. But, in the end, it wasn’t the plan or the tools that made the difference. It was the effort and the determination (as cliche as that may sound).
What’s your biggest writing challenge, and what approach are you using to overcome it?
Realm Makers announced the finalists for this year’s Realm Awards, and the audiobooks for both Snow Globe Travelers and The Warehouse Tour are on the list!
The official winners won’t be announced until the awards dinner during this summer’s conference on July 22nd, but it’s an honor just to see both audiobooks make it to the final round. Read the official announcement for a list of all the finalists here.
Realm Makers will be live streaming the awards announcement on their YouTube Channel beginning at 7:30pm Eastern on July 22nd. Subscribe to the Realm Makers’ channel to be notified when they go live.
Thank you, Lord. And thank you to Nancy Peterson and Keira Grace, the amazing performers who brought the stories to life.