It’s in our backyard

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That’s what shocked Dr. Katharine (Kate) Bushnell in the nineteenth century.  Authorities wouldn’t believe her stories of girls enticed, held captive, and abused in the pristine forests of northern Wisconsin. And today we’re hearnig such a story right in a Cleveland neighborhood- three girls held captive for ten years and no one knew?

For the last five years — off and on– I’ve been writing Kate’s story. A valiant, fearless, unconventional woman living in the Victorian era, it was a lot more difficult for Kate to talk about prostitution, rape, brothels, bondage then than it is in today’s far too open society. The pendulum swings from one side to the other. As the first book Boundless reaches completion, I’ll be writing more about what I’ve found — not only what’s happening today, but how society dealt with “trafficking” more than one hundred years ago.

Share your thoughts and stories.  It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is among us, and I believe God cares about those who are caught in this desperate quickisand.

 

 

 

 

Changing directions

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I’ve shared my joys and concerns over my trip to South Africa — and if new issues arise I’ll get back to it.  But I want to begin sharing what I see going on as threats to women around the world.  Check out the progress of Boundless, my new book about Dr. Katherine Bushnell, who spent her life trying to release women from cruelty, trafficking and disabling attitudes.

Here are two short pieces about women’s response to recent acts of violence:

In the Muslim world, society often judges a victim of rape, rather than the perpetrator.  In spiet of this, women in Turkey are now rallying around a 26-year-old mother of two who killed a man who repeatedly raped her while her husband was away on a seasonal job.  She shot the rapist as he again returned to force his way into her house.  She then turned herself in to the police, saying she preferred to die but had cleansed her honor for her children’s sake.  Intercede for the protection and salvation of this woman and her family.  Also uphold Turkish politicians who wrestle with women’s issues in a harsh male-dominated environment. TWO

India (MNN) —
Remember that rape case in New Delhi that got international attention recently?
Six men assaulted a woman aboard a moving bus, and she later died from her
injuries. The defendants’ lawyer blames her for the attack. “That attitude
is very common in India. To blame a woman for dressing inappropriately or being
in a certain place at a certain time: these are just not constructive, not helpful attitudes.” Brent Hample of India Partners says the culture is a big part of the problem. “Even before they’re born,girls are discriminated against.” If they make it past birth, young girls
are often sold into sexual slavery. “Pray that God would do a miracle within the culture of India [and] within the people of India — within their hearts.”

Something happened since I left the country…

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This blog has been put off for three weeks — for good reason.  I’ve been in Turkey to spend time with my children and grandchildren.  Now I am in Nairobi, Kenya helping some old  friends write the story of their ministry in Africa. It’s the most unusual writing experience I’ve ever had.

My friend Faye has spent more than two years going through boxes and boxes of letters, papers, pictures, journals.  Out of this great source of memorabilia, going back to 1948 when she and her husband, Don, were engaged, she’s pulled out five hundred pages of key material.   These are mostly single-spaced, legal size pages– and thankfully mainly in chronological order and bound into a book that weighs at least four pounds.

I am working with a team of two Kenyan women, less than half my my age who  are very sharp.  Both of their husbands teach at the Christian University where I’m staying.  It’s a kind of tag team.  Rosie pulls all the pertinent, interesting features from the  resource book and forms then into a chapter.  I receive the chapter and add additional information, re-organize if necessary to keep the story flowing, edit and make comments of things to research and verify, After Rosie and I go through to fine tune a second time, the chapter goes on to Katie who has her MA in communications.  She reads through the material again, and stops to deal with the comments and edits as necessary.

Our hope is that in the next month we’ll be able to pass our draft to Don and Faye — hopefully they’ll recognize and verify that this is their life.

We are a good thirty miles from Nairobi, on roads that are lined  with massive ten-wheelers rolling along like a Colorado coal train– when is the end ever coming? But we sit out on the patio after dinner and watch the sunset and unique cloud formations in the west.  I have yet to see a sunset because this is the rainy season, and it is usually raining over in Nairobi — seldom here.  We watch the day disappear  at 6:30 pm every night here on the equator; the flickering lights of the city start to turn on,; the planes turn to land over at Jomo Kenyata Airport, and the streaks of gold and rose peek through the clouds for one last moment.  All is quiet — even the birds have stopped singing.And it’s grown chilly.

I’m not lonesome for home  but find the peace restoring. I have a deep sense of confidence that God has given me this opportunity at almost ninety years old, to serve Him in a unique way.  I believe Don and Faye’s story of their lives and the university that grew out of their service will bless those who read it. I’m thankful for the privilege, and honestly wonder why I should be so blessed.

Oh yes, something also happened to Daughters of Deliverance since I left hone.  Today it ranked thirty-two out of 100 best selling religious fiction books on Kindle.  It probably helps that more and more people are writing reviews — fifty-two to date.  If you haven’t read Daughters of Deliverance, or read it and haven’t written a review, there’ still time. You will admire Katharine Bushnell, the woman this historical fiction is based on.  The sequel The Queen’s Daughters, is due out Sept 1.

 

Have you ever written a review?

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To be honest, until recently I had never written a book review. I can write some pretty vivid  reviews if the food in a restaurant is not well cooked or cold when it should be hot. And I’m pretty quick to complain if  a new printer doesn’t work properly But I guess I never thought that a review would encourage an author, or even help sell more books.

Today Daughters of Deliverance reached forty nine reviews. It’s been slowly climbing the Amazon rank.  It was listed #231 out of more than 200,000 books. I don’t know what that really means, but it’s better than being ranked near the bottom.  I suspect that reviews, whether conversations with a friend in the elevator about “the good book I just read,” or a written review on Amazon really does help promote a book.

I love the endorsement my 23-year-old grandson wrote. You’re probably thinking, “of course he’d tell his grandmother what she wants to hear.” But you’ve got to know that this grandson is a writer himself — and a philosopher who thinks deeply about the weight of words.  He’s honest “as the day is long” and wouldn’t perjure  himself to flatter me.  So when he wrote this endorsement, I was honored:

Katharine is a fascinating character.  She obviously trusts God immensely.  When she was struggling with the decision to leave David and her dreams of residency, to go to China, I shared in that struggle–feeling at least in part, the anguish, followed by rest in the Lord’s will.  It’s fascinating to see someone so determined to heal and fulfill her calling that she abandons the familiar. It strikes of yearning for more, for both herself and people she serves.  Joe

But before you give up even thinking of writing a review , please remember that there are as many evaluations of a book as  there are readers.  Some readers like Kate because she’s spunky; others might think she prays too much; or what do you think?

Join the growing number of readers and write a review at the bottom of Amazon’s page for Daughters of Deliverance.  Then you’ll be eager to read the rest of her fascinating life, The Queen’s Daughters, which launches on September 1. 2017.

 

 

How did I know I should write Daughters of Deliverance?

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How did I know I should write Daughters of Deliverance?

I was attending a conference — don’t remember what it was even about.  But I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my roommate one night..

“You’ve just got to write this woman’s story,” Mimi urged. “Katharine Bushnell has been lost to  history. She made a great contribution advocating for justice and equality for women, backed by years of study of the Bible and few people know about her.”

I laughed off Mimi’s suggestions. But the challenge had been planted in my mind.  I hadn’t acquiesced yet, but I wanted to know more about this women. When I began researching and reading about Katharine Bushnell, I couldn’t find personal  letters, or journals, or detailed accounts from people who had known her.

Discouraged, I made an  appointment with  a literary  agent  to ask his advice.  “Simple,” he said.  “Write it as historical fiction.” Voila! I could do that  I had all the facts of her life for the framework of the story — and fiction gave me the freedom to expand on that framework with how I think Kate would have acted.

Kate became so  real and alive, even my twenty-three-year-old grandson read the story and wrote: “Katharine is a fascinating character…It’s fascinating in part to see someone so determined to heal and fulfill her calling that she abandons the familiar.  It strikes of yearning for more, for both herself and people she serves”

Wow. Kate, as she has become to me, could even touch the heart of a young male adult. She was  was worth writing about. And your reading Daughters of Deliverance!

 

 

Bringing back the old

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Bringing back the old

This week I was reminded to promote other books I’ve written.  If you go to Lorry Lutz on Google, nine of my eleven published books are displayed.  It’s almost embarrassing to note that some sell for as little as 48cents!  Of course as far as books go, they’ve been around for a long time, and face hundreds of thousands  of other books which have been published since.

Three of my books are on Kindle — The Soweto Legacy, When God Says Go, and Daughters of Deliverance.  I have to admit, I like them all– but then I am prejudiced.

The Soweto Legacy was published in the 80s, but it deals with subjects as current as today.   Set in South Africa when apartheid reigned, it tells the story of a mixed-race couple (a no-no under apartheid) and how their two families handled the delicate situation. Race and ethnic hatred contrasted with love, forgiveness and God’s care as the story comes to a dramatic conclusion.

When God Says Go resembles Daughters of Deliverance, in that it is about a brave,persistent, godly woman who spends her life relieving the suffering of others.  Mother Eliza George, a daughter of American slaves, serves the tribal people of Liberia, rescuing girls from early marriage to old men,  educating them in schools she’s founded, and starting churches with pastors she’s trained.  But that’s just the framework of this true story .  Her marriage to Mr. George — really out of convenience so she could stay in Africa–is just one of the quaint  stories that emerge out her rich and colorful life. At ninety-five she’s still traveling  through the jungle, carried in a hammock by porters, straddling across a log fallen over a  swollen river, to bring the message of God to one more village.

Katharine Bushnell’s story of courage, persistence and faith is told in Daughters of Deliverance.  She spent most of her life exposing  what we call trafficking today— in the streets of Denver and Chicago,  the forests of northern Wisconsin– and later in the  barracks of the British military in India.(see my recent posts for more)

Even old books can be enjoyed — and fortunately they are all on Amazon for your enjoyment.

 

Is Daughters of Deliverance being read?

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I think I’m a pretty normal author.  I love writing and seeing my character develop. The launch of a book is a high point when I can actually hold the book in my hands or read it on my Kindle.  But then there’s the concern — is anybody reading my book?  Or was it just an ego trip, or something to keep me busy?

Royalties, of course, tell the story.  But it takes months before the reports and royalties come in.  In the meantime I wonder and wait. However, there is one indicator that gives me a hint that Daughters of Deliverance is being read.  Every day I open the  Amazon site where my book is offered.  I check the number of reviews which tells me what my readers think about my book.  Today I saw that 43 readers had written reviews (Thank-you for your response) and that Daughters of Deliverance received 4.8 gold stars out of 5. That’s soothing to my soul.

I scroll down the page  which includes all the details about the book, like the number of pages, the ISBN number– all those important things readers don’t  want to know.  And there’s a short bio of me beside my  ultra-glamorous picture . (I don’t look like that in the mirror.)

Finally at the bottom of the page Amazon lists the rank of 100 best-selling books in the Kindle store.  I’ve been shocked to see Daughters of Deliverance in the top 100 books in Inspirational fiction, Christian women’s fiction, and Inspirational.  Sometimes, like today it’s ranking 77, 84 and 90  out of 100.  Other days it’s been in the mid-30s or 40s. Considering that there are more than 42,000 books in these categories, I admit I’m pleased.  Right now the  Kindle edition of Daughters of Deliverance is being given away, so here’s your chance to put this “top-rated” book on your Kindle free!

And, kindly write a review.

 

 

 

 

Is the story of the book on the cover?

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Is the story of the book on the cover?

Book covers are designed from different perspectives.  The author wants the cover to graphically display the purpose and heart of the book.. The artist tries to display his or her  artistic abilities .  The publisher wants a cover that  “sells!” The reader hopes the cover will tell her what this book is about.

Not every reader realizes that the author seldom has any control over the cover.  She may give suggestions– even a rough design, which may or not be used.  And as most authors’ contracts say, ‘the final decision rests with the publisher’.

Over the years I’ve had cover designs I’ve loved, and some I haven’t appreciated.  I received a suggested cover from Paternoster in England for Women as Rick Takers for God— a silhouette of two women’s faces, nose to nose, as though in confrontation. Instead the book was about women as leaders in the church around the world, joyfully and lovingly serving God.  I guess my disconcerted call from Turkey, where I was visiting my son, convinced the publisher he should try again.  And try he did with a creative cover that stands out from the rest.

I have included here the cover of my latest book, Daughters of Deliverance.  Do I like it?  Welllll– yes because it is very colorful  and attracts readers, which will please the publisher and probably my pocketbook.  But it doesn’t tell the story.  In fact, if you haven’t read Daughters of Deliverance  or the information on the back cover or on Amazon — what does it say to you?

Tell me, what do you look for in a cover?  What causes you to pick up the book , or click on Amazon’s picture to open and read?  I’m about ready to make suggestions for the sequel to Daughters of Deliverance.  It is titled The Queen’s Daughters. Consider yourself the artist for a moment.  You know little about the story — you really don’t have tie to read all the books you work on.  How would your cover fit the title?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rooting for another author in the family

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Big day for my family.  My grandson-in-law launched his book, Jesus Journey.  I know the grueling hours this father of three put in.  I couldn’t resist writing him this letter:

Dear Trent,

I know what this day feels like.  The “baby” has been birthed—a relief and yet a bit of emptiness. Didn’t you grow with the people you wrote about, the insights you discovered, the creative challenge every time you sat down at the computer?

 

And you feel so proud of this “baby” but you don’t want to act proud.  Yet in order to get the baby to grow, you have to talk about it – you have to SELL. You almost feel as though you are selling yourself.

 

It looks like you’ve had some encouragement from your publisher. I’ve received  some new ideas about promoting my book, Daughters of Deliverance, myself today.  I’ve wanted to do a Facebook author page, but don’t know how.  I’ve struggled to write faithfully on my blog—and not very meaningfully either.  But we try and God moves the book along because He wants people to read and learn and be blessed.

 

I was encouraged to receive this review just a few days ago from a woman who serves on the board of a well-known and impactful NGO:

 

Just finished reading Daughters of Deliverance and wanted to thank you for sharing the book with me.  It was an incredible story that I had not heard before and of course it was so beautifully written.   The theme of wrestling and listening for what God wants us to do next in life was powerful.

Lorry