Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Additonal blog post--more reviews

For additional reviews by me, please check out www.onedesertrose.wordpress.com.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"The Call of Zulina" by Kay Marshall Strom

A Call to Remember that Slavery and Human Trafficking are hardly a thing of the past.

A Blog Tour with Modern Day Relevance


Freedom...more than the absence of chains.

Grace...more than a name.

The Call of Zulina...more than historical fiction...

a modern message regarding

slave trade and trafficking in the modern world.


If you've ever wondered about the relevance of fiction in modern day, The Call of Zulina blog tour will confirm the importance and responsibility of every genre to bring current social issues to the forefront as needed. With the rise of modern day slavery and human trafficking growing around the world and here in the United States, Kay Marshall Strom's newly release The Call of Zulina, takes readers into the depths of Africa two hundred years ago and raises questions and scenarios never before thought about.



ISBN: 1426700695

ISBN-13: 9781426700699

Format: Paperback

Abingdon Press

Pub. Date: August 2009

Retail: $13.99

About the Book:

(Eugene, Oregon) – An arranged marriage, a runaway bride, and an ugly family heritage of brutal and inhumane slavery operations leave no room for a fairytale story. Grace Winslow, daughter of an English sea captain and African princess, finds herself in a horrific position of betrothal. Doomed to marry an obnoxious white man, whom she does not love, Grace runs away to escape the slavery she’s been surrounded by all her life. Instead, her journey from home brings her face-to-face with issues of extreme slavery, abuse and human trafficking. In the end she discovers slavery is more than just chains and finds grace that exceeds a name given to her by her parents.

Written by Kay Marshall Strom, The Call of Zulina links historical slavery issues with the modern-day crisis tainting many countries. On the heels of important legislature regarding human trafficking, Strom tackles the subject boldly as she sheds light on the practices and techniques used by angry slave traders. Seen as an advocate for those who have no voice, Strom finds words to communicate the message of history to today’s readers. While this book shines the light on an uncomfortable subject, the message of hope, freedom, and justice prevail and eternal truths discovered.

About the Author:

Author Kay Marshall Strom has two great loves: writing and helping others achieve their own writing potential. Kay has written thirty-six published books, numerous magazine articles, and two screenplays. While mostly a nonfiction writer, the first book of her historical novel trilogy Grace in Africa has met with acclaim. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, writers’ conferences, and special events throughout the country and around the world. She is in wide demand as an instructor and keynote speaker at major writing conferences. She also enjoys speaking aboard cruise ships in exchange for exotic cruise destinations.


Blog Tour Interview:

1. How did you come up with the storyline of The Call of Zulina?

While in West Africa working on another project, I toured an old slave fortress and was struck dumb by a set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. The characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, Grace's parents, are modeled after real people who ran a slave business in Africa in the 1700s. I "met" them when I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, a biography of the slaver turned preacher and abolitionists, author of Amazing Grace. The more I thought about them, the more I wondered, "If they'd had a daughter, who would she be? Where would her loyalties lie?"

2. What inspired you to write a book so entrenched with uncomfortable issues?

I used to think that non-fiction was the meat and potatoes of writing and fiction was the chocolate mousse dessert... fun, but not of much value. But I've come to understand that truths can be revealed through fiction just as powerfully as through non-fiction. Sometimes, more so! The fact is, for so long we have tried to look away and pretend that this horrible chapter in history never happened. But it did, and we still feel the effects today. Moreover, the roots of slavery--hunger for power and money, fear and diminishment of people unlike ourselves, and humanity's endless ability to rationalize evil actions--abound today. The time seemed right.

3. How haveyour travels around the world equipped you for writing such a historical novel?

People ask me where my passion for issues such as modern day slavery come from. To a large degree it is from the things I have seen and heard on my numerous trips to India, African countries, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, and other places around the world.

4. Tell us a personal story regarding modern day slavery.

A most pervasive type of slavery is what is known as bonded servitude, where entire poor families are bound into virtual slavery--sometimes for generations--because of a small debt. This is especially common in India. I visited a village in central India where the women had been freed from bondage and set up with a micro loan that allowed them to raise a small herd of dairy cows. They worked so hard and saved every rupee. When they had enough saved, they persuaded a young teacher to come and start a school for their children. Then they used further profits to make low interest loans to others in the area so they could start their own businesses, too--a little bank. I sat in a circle with the five women who made up the "board of directors." Only one could read and write. I asked, "How will the next generation be different because of what you have done?" They said, "No more will be like us. When people look us, they see nothing. But when they look at our children, they see real human beings with value."

From invisible slaves to human beings... all in one generation!

5. Grace, the lead character in The Call of Zulina, forsakes all to escape the slavery of her parents and an arranged marriage.How common is this scenerio today in other countries?

Horrifyingly common. Slavery today takes many forms. According to UNICEF's more conservative count, there are about 12 million people living as slaves today--three times as many as in the days of the African slave trade. As for child arranged marriages, I have talked to girls "enslaved" to husbands in many countries. Examples include a girl in Nepal married at 9 to a middle-aged man, one in India married at 11, a 13-year-old in Egypt married to a man older than her father. I've seen it in Africa, Eastern Europe... so many places!

6. What about in America, are there slavery and trafficking issues here?

Unfortunately, there are. The U.S. State Department estimates between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the Untied States each year, although it concedes that the real number is actually far higher. And it's not just states like New York and California that are affected, either. According to the U.S. Justice Department's head of the new human trafficking unit, there is now at least one case of trafficking in every state.

7. You've had 36 books published, and more written and contracted for future release. How has this one impacted your own life?

Some books report, some tell stories. This book has torn my heart.

8. Briefly tell us about the next two books in this Grace in Africa trilogy.

In Book 2, Grace watches her reconstructed life smashed by slavers and revenge, and she is forcibly taken to London. There she faces a new kind of tyranny and another fight for freedom... and for her husband, who is enslaved in America.

Book 3 is set in the new United States of America, in the heart of the slavery. It is a story of slavery at it's worst and redemption at its best.

What Can Concerned Citizens Do to Raise Awareness?

  • Find out all you can about Modern Day Slavery: then watch for chances to pass on what you have learned.
  • Write to your elected officials: Petition them to place a high priority on enforcing anti-slavery laws and to put pressure on countries that tolerate forced labor or human trafficking.
  • Buy Fair Trade products: Fair trade provides a sustainable model of international trade based on economic justice. To find out more, see http://www.fairtrade.net/ .
  • Support organizations that are in a position to make a difference. When you find an one that is doing a good job on the front lines, contribute to their cause so they can continue on.
  • Be willing to step into the gap. If you suspect someone is being held against his or her will, call the Department of Justice hotline: 1-888-428-7581. Or you can call 911.

Grand Prize Giveaway!!!

Kay Marshall Strom is giving the following books to one fortunate commenter from The Call of Zulina blog tour. The prize package includes several of Kay's books:

  • Seeking Christ: A Christian Woman's Guide to Personal Wholeness & Spiritual Maturity
  • John Newton:The Angry Sailor
  • Making Friends with Your Mother
  • Making Friends with Your Father


A retail copy of this book was provided to me courtesy of Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. I do not receive any monetary compensation for this blog tour.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"A Slow Burn" by Mary DeMuth

In Daisy Chain, Daisy Chance had been kidnapped when left alone in an old abandoned church by her friend, Jed. She was 13, he was 14, the best of friends. Jed had blamed himself for her going missing.

In A Slow Burn, Daisy had been missing for two months when Emory, Daisy’s mother, got word that Daisy’s body was found. Following her identification at the morgue and funeral, Emory tried to escape the loneliness and guilt by abusing drugs she got through Angus, wondering if her behaviors throughout Daisy’s childhood could possibly have made her partly responsible for her kidnapping. Only the ‘trips’ mercilessly drug her through the pits of hell and back, taking her through deep, slow, burning torment in the depth of her being, with visions of Daisy and her past. Yet she kept returning again and again to escape.

Hixon, the only black man in Defiance, had a traumatic childhood, unwanted by his mother. Muriel took him in as her ‘adopted son’ and he cared for her throughout her days of cancer. Hixon was told by Muriel that he was to marry Emory, which he also believed was from God. He took on the role of protector of Emory from that day on. Then, on the back doorstep of Daisy’s funeral, Muriel passes away.

It’s during Muriel’s funeral that mysterious things begin to happen. Emory sees a man whom she thinks is Daisy’s killer. Her house is ransacked and Daisy’s picture is stolen. She’s chased home from work one night. Daisy’s second shoe is found sitting on Daisy’s bed. Daisy’s picture is returned. Yet no one could say who this man is or how he gets into Emory’s house.

What I appreciated was how well Mary described the indepth emotions of everyone with such clarity, which included past hurts, bad childhoods, bad attitudes, grieving, hopelessness, and vengeance. Mary captures the essence of feelings so deep. There is only One way out, and Emory needed to find it. Will she? Was she willing? Would the killer get to her before she has a chance?

Other things I liked about Mary’s book that really stood out for me was her poetic word pictures and how she would jump from first person to third person and back all within the span of a page or a chapter. They catch you by surprise and delight! Made you really reason out what was going on!

Purchase here.

M. DeMuth – Bio

Meet the author of A Slow Burn, Mary DeMuth.

mary-demuth-6-iiMary DeMuth
Mary DeMuth is an expert in the field of Pioneer Parenting. She helps Christian parents plow fresh spiritual ground, especially those seeking to break destructive family patterns. Her message guides parents who don’t want to duplicate the home where they were raised or didn’t have positive parenting role models growing up.

An accomplished writer, Mary’s parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Her real-to-life novels inspire people to turn trials into triumphs: Watching the Tree Limbs (2007 Christy Award finalist, ACFW Book of the Year 2nd Place) and Wishing on Dandelions (2007 Retailer’s Choice Award finalist).

Mary is a frequent speaker at womens' retreats and parenting seminars, addressing audiences in both Europe and the United States. National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, and U.S.A. Radio network. She also has articles published in Marriage Partnership, In Touch, and HomeLife.

As pioneer parents, Mary and her husband Patrick live in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France where they planted a church.

Learn more about Mary at http://marydemuth.com.

A Slow Burn on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310278376

Mary DeMuth’s Blog: http://relevantblog.blogspot.com

A Slow Burn Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ9c-Cfg3WY

Mary DeMuth’s Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-DeMuth/33200616570

Follow Mary DeMuth on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mdemuth