Tag Archives: Grace in Africa

I’ve moved!

Check out my latest posts at www.kaystrom.com/blog .  And be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss my upcoming posts on writing, global issues, and everyday observations.  I’ve so enjoyed having you follow Kay’s Words.  Come on over and follow me on my website~

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Laboring Through the Day

When I was young, my parents told us kids that Labor Day was a day set aside for families to labor together. Clever spin. Every year, on the first Monday of September, we were awakened early to start a day of cleaning out the garage… or weeding the garden… or scrubbing floors… or canning peaches… or whatever.

Funny thing—even after all these years…

***Read the rest at www.kaystrom.com .  Click on “blog.”  And please click on subscribe. See you at my new blog address!***

 Kay

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Lazy, Busy August!

You gotta love August! It’s the month of sunshine and vacations. The year’s break to kick back and slack off, to eat hot dogs and potato salad off paper plates. The month to go to the fair and eat a frozen banana on a stick, to ride the Ferris Wheel—and whatever they call all those new upside-down-make-certain-your-soul-is-in-God’s-hands rides. It’s the month to pig out on watermelon, and tomatoes still warm from the garden, and zucchini from everyone else’s.

So, what’s with all the writing business in this lazy month? The third and final book of my Blessings in India trilogy, The Love of Divena, released. I finished the sample chapters for another book. I met a great guy who’s interested in pursuing one of my movie scripts (I had to edit it). I got my India visa squared away. Oh, yes, I’m also scrambling to complete the children’s church curriculum I’m writing with a friend.

Smoky helping with my book signing at the fair

But August is also the month I’ve finally taken an important step: I’m revamping and moving my blog. (Yep, that’s why I’ve been off-line for a month. That and all the above.) Instead of my two blogs—Kay’s Words and Grace in Africa—and continually struggling to update my website info on a regular basis, I will be doing it all on in one place–on my website! (“It’s about time!” my web-building friend Michael Reynolds says.)

Stay tuned. And feel free to chip in your two cents worth.

Hey, you gotta love August~!

 

 

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
~ William Shakespeare~

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Before Freedom… The Better News

Okay, I promised that in my follow-up post on human trafficking, I’d pass along some good news. Here goes:

  • Myanmar (Burma) not only has a significant traffic problem, but also trafficks girls and women to other Asian countries. The positive? The government finally acknowledged the problem and is trying in significant ways to address it.
  • The Czech Republic has introduced a series of anti-trafficking laws and is actively convicting traffickers.
  • Iceland, Israel, and Nicaragua all made progress this last year in facing up to their countries’ trafficking problems, and all are taking major steps to fight it.
  • Lithuania gets high praise for punishing trafficking criminals, for improving its system of identifying victims, and for actively investigating crimes and prosecuting the criminals.
  • United States State Department’s just-released report on Human Trafficking ranks it as one of the most active countries in combating human trafficking.  Still, it needs to better collect local, state and federal data so it can better monitor trafficking trends.
  • Finland prohibits buying sexual services, but only from trafficking victims.
  • Sweden has a unique law that criminalizes the ones who purchase sex. Passed in 1999, the law targets only the purchaser, not the victim. The penalty is a fine or up to six months in prison.  As a result, the country’s trafficking problem is small.
  • Norway, seeingSweden’s success, is preparing similar legislation.

Yea forSweden!  Its approach has proven to be the most effective by far.

How can sex trafficking be defeated?  By severely punishing the ones who profit form it. By arresting its customers. By offering a way out to those held in its bondage. By creating good alternatives for at-risk girls and women.

“We need to ensure that all survivors have that opportunity to move past what they endured and to make the most of their potential.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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7 Steps to Writing Historical Fiction

I just got two more books in the mail today. That makes six books on various aspects of a murky time in Ireland’s history, the subject of a book I’m just starting. I love writing historical fiction because I love to read it. Getting totally immersed in a rollicking good story, then discovering you’re a quasi-expert on a particular era in history?  What could be more fun!

But the only way historical novels work is if the story is rollicking good, and the history is accurate.  These 7 steps will get you off to a good start:

  1. Read the kind of books you’d like to write.  Historical romance?  Historical mystery?  Historical adventure? Each is different in pace and approach.  Also read about the period of history that interests you.  A book on the crusades will much different than one set during the Roaring 20s.
  2. Consult many different sources.  Authors make mistakes. They also tend to tweak facts to fit their stories.  But readers of historical fiction expect you to know what you’re talking about, and to get your facts right. If you don’t, you will hear about it.
  3. Know your setting. I personally make it a rule not to write about places I haven’t been.  True, Ireland has changed since the seventeenth century.  But it is still Ireland.  I can describe the green hills in spring, and the baby lambs gamboling through it, far better for having spent time there.  And since I’ve pretty much traveled the entire island, I have an idea of the difference between the east and west coast, between the north and south.
  4. Lay out your story.  Your story doesn’t really have to be rollicking, but it must be compelling.  All your research will mean nothing if you fail to build a good story.
  5. Gather reference pictures.  What do your characters look like?  What makes a ship of the era unique?  If you refer to something in particular—a locket, say, or weapon or a unique toy—have a picture of it before you.
  6. Decide on the manner of dialogue.  It’s important to establish and hold onto the flavor of your characters, but I can tell you from experience, it is really hard to tell a story in dialect.  Telling your story from third person will help.  Also, decide on a few patterns of speech you can use consistently, then let go of the rest.
  7. Keep your story moving. I know, I know, the history tempts you to slow down and throw in a few more interesting tidbits.  But your story must continue to be engaging. If you lose that, you’ll just be writing another history book. 

 Write on!

 “To see the years touch ye gives me joy,” he whispered, “for it means that ye live.”

Author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

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Digging Out My Story

Thirty-four of my forty books are non-fiction.  Not that I don’t like fiction.  I like it very much.  And come to think of it, I actually have long written fiction: a sprinkling of short stories, TV and movie scripts.  Still, for my serious writing, I pretty much stuck to non-fiction.  It didn’t seem right to set aside my “worthwhile” writing simply to take up “fun” writing. 

Oh, how much I had to learn!

Guess where I finally discovered my fiction voice…  Buried in the depths of my non-fiction research.  While in West Africa, researching Once Blind: The Story of John Newton, I “met” an 18th century English slave trader and his cruel African wife.  I immediately thought, “Ooooh, what great characters for a novel!  And if they’d had a daughter… hmmm… where would she fit in?”

Ah, my story question. And I knew the answer: Such a girl would have one foot in a white English world and the other in an African world, yet she would belong in neither. Right there, on the African savanna, my first fiction book was born.

I was working on The Call of Zulina when the first seeds of the Blessings in India trilogy sprouted in my mind. Sam Paul, an Indian Dalit (lowest caste) and I were both traveling through Ireland with a team promoting the movie, Amazing Grace.  At the end of the week he asked me, “Why don’t you write about the oppression of my people?  Why don’t you write about bonded slavery in India?”

I’d been to India many times.  I had seen first hand what Sam Paul was talking about. Right there, on the grassy fields of Ireland, a story of India began to weave together.

Here’s what’s  really fun:  Using my non-fiction skills to write fiction, just as I have always used my fiction skills to write non-fiction. 

What are those skills, you ask?  Stay tuned.  We’ll talk more about that on Thursday.

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

Edgar Allan Poe

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FREE Books! What a deal~

Yay! For a limited time, you can get free downloads of both The Call of Zulina, book 1 of the Grace in Africa trilogy, and The Hope of Shridula, book 2 of the Blessings in India trilogy.  Such a deal!

If you own a KINDLE or NOOK, you can download an EPUB version from:  http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=928515&sp=110934

or from Amazon, The Hope of Shridulawww.amazon.com/HopeShridula-Blessings-India-Book/dp/1426709099

Oh, and if you get one of these, or if you have already read books in the two series and like them, I would love to have you write a review and post it on Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, and wherever else you would like. 

The Call of Zulina

The Hope of Shridula

The Hope of Shridula

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