Not By Sight

Were the patriarchs real people like you and me? Elizabeth Jacobson has some valuable insights concerning this question, and is offering a free ebook copy (MOBI or EPUB) of her novel NOT BY SIGHT to a commenter. (I love this cover!–Have to say so b/c Elizabeth and I share the same publisher. (:

Imagine you’re back in Sunday School, sitting down with all your friends and watching the nervous volunteer parent who teaches the class smile over the flannelgraph. “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 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 during 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, 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 sense anymore.

The truth is that this Joseph, 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!”

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

The Bible is not written as a novel. Most narratives in the Bible go over the events needed to comprehend the message in rapid-fire succession. No discussion of motives, internal conflict, or thought processes. It’s easy, then, to step back from the humanity of Joseph and place near-perfection on him.

In writing Not by Sight, my goal was to come up with consistent personality traits and motivations – and logical, human reactions to events, that would lead Joseph to become the person of true, unwavering faith that he ultimately was.

It was a wild ride, but I had a blast. I’m excited to share it with you!

Back Cover of NOT BY SIGHT

Beloved. Betrayed. Despised. Exalted. Joseph, the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob, had his father’s favor, and that was his downfall. Sold into Egypt by his enraged and jealous brothers, Joseph is left with nothing to cling to except the stories of his father’s God, a seemingly remote and unreachable figure. Faith may prove futile, but Joseph is desperate – for the very hate that enslaved his brothers has begun to overtake him.

Not by Sight is a retelling of the story of Joseph, his brothers, and his coat from the Biblical book of Genesis. Focusing on both Biblical and historical accuracy, the novel examines his extraordinary journey of faith.

Really, what could make a man turn to God when every event in his life screams that God has turned his back on him?

Published by WordCrafts Press!

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.
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The Heart Changer 💗

Jarm DelBoccio, welcome! Congratulations on the release of your 

debut middle grade historical fiction The Heart Changer 💗 releasing April 26th. 
Readers, please leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win this mobi or e-book.

            As long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to historical and biblical fiction. I’m a realist, and it shows in my choice of reading material. I’m also a visionary at heart, and at times, I wonder how the childhood of historical characters would play out. If there is little information known about them, my curiosity takes over!

            I have a soft spot for kids in the Bible who have no name and backstory, but made a huge impact on the people around them, like Naaman’s wife’s servant girl from 2 Kings 5. So, I gave Miriam a name AND a feasible backstory! I try to stay as close to the historical account as possible. Since my passion is to ‘breathe new life into the pages of history’ I delight in the ‘what-ifs’ and bring the story to life so children can relate to the Bible characters in a fresh way.

            Since Naaman’s army would have conquered the northern part of Israel, it made sense to choose Shunem for Miriam’s home town, which is also close to Elisha’s the

town near Jezreel.  Then my wheels began to turn, thinking of the little roof lodging the prophet occupied when he visited the widow and her son, whom he provided for with the miracle of the oil and flour.

Elisha also brought the boy back to life when he fell ill in his early teens. Why not include him (Jonas) as a good friend of Miriam’s and another connection to Elisha? Miriam (nameless in Scripture) would have known Elisha due to his fame in all of Israel, but he could have lived in the next village.

            Lots of research goes into writing a book. As I was finishing the final edits with my publisher, Ambassador International, one of my endorsers questioned how my MC would know the Syrian language, since I had her conversing easily with foreigners. I discovered in those days, the Syrians would have spoken Aramaic (presently it’s Arabic) while the Israelites’ native tongue was Hebrew.

            The “ah-ha” moment came when I understood the two languages derived from the same root, so they would have been able to understand each other, just as an Italian could understand a Spanish-speaking person. Then, remembering that Jesus spoke Aramaic in the first century AD, it made sense he could communicate with so many Gentiles. I love those connections!

            I was blessed with input on the setting from a missionary mom and her three daughters who live close to the Syrian border. Being close to Miriam’s age, they could give a fuller picture of life in that part of the world. This month, Spring has sprung in the desert, so my friends have been posting images of the stunning flowers across that dry land.

            The contrast reflects Miriam’s dry soul before she gave it to the Heart Changer. By the end of the story, her heart was blooming with joy!

            Also, a friend married to a messianic Jewish man vetted my references to Jewish culture and expressions from thisOld Testament account. I didn’t want to offend the Jewish population in using the word ‘Jehovah’. The Israelites considered God’s name as sacred. They would pronounce it ‘YHWH’ or YaHWaH’, removing the vowels so they wouldn’t offend.

               Of course, I’m most grateful for inspiration and direction from The Heart Changer Himself. He and I have more stories to tell! My heart’s desireis to impact lives, leading my readers discover there’s always hope when they allow God to write their story.

 

Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

“The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, releases with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

Find The Heart Changer herehttps://amzn.to/2SCcPnx
Jarm’s website ✍🏻: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

“My Passion is to Breathe New Life into the Pages of History: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future.”