My best friend, Susan White, died of breast cancer in 2004. If you’ve read any of my Ellie Foreman books, you’ll recognize her. Curiously, she was the only character whom I lifted from real life: her name, her looks, her love of Celtic knots. I wrote the books while she was still alive. Before she was even diagnosed, as it happens. Eerie.
But this post isn’t about me, and it’s only indirectly about Susan.
A group of 25 indie authors, all women, got together to create an inspirational anthology, the proceeds of which will all go to Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. INDIE CHICKS: 25 PERSONAL STORIES is more memoir than anything else. As the editor, Cheryl Shireman says,
As women, one of our most powerful gifts is our ability to encourage one another. This book became our effort to encourage women across the world. Twenty-five women sharing stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. We began to dream that these stories would inspire other women to live the life they were meant to live.
I just bought mine and urge you to do the same. It’s a gem, and it’s only $1.99. Who knows? It just might hold the key to eliminating this horrible disease.
While I’m at it, I want to tell you about another gem. In my third Ellie novel, AN IMAGE OF DEATH, (which was dedicated to Susan, btw) I wrote about women whose choices had been taken away from them. What do you do when your back is up against the wall? How do you survive? One of my characters fell into the sex trafficking trade, which I described in a chapter or two. I didn’t go into depth– it was only a subplot.
Now, though, author Sibel Hodge (who also contributed to the above anthology) has released a searing, mesmerizing account of what it is like to be forced into the sex trade. Yes, it’s fiction, in the form of a diary, but TRAFFICKED has the ring of authenticity. And it’s so well-written I couldn’t put it down.
Here’s what Sibel says about it.
About five years ago I watched a mini series about girls from Eastern Europe who’d been trafficked. It haunted me for a long time, and then gradually it faded from my mind and I got on with my life. Then a little while ago I was sitting in a doctor’s surgery waiting for an appointment and picked up a magazine. Inside, was the story of one women who’d been trafficked.
That got me thinking, and I started researching other victim’s stories. They were horrific, heart breaking, gut wrenching, and I knew this was a subject that, despite being such a global problem, a lot of people are unaware goes on. I really wanted to do something to raise awareness into the subject and Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave was born.
Although the book is fictional, it’s inspired by these victim’s stories, and is a very sad global reality. In 2007 the US Department of State carried out a Trafficking in Persons report. The statistics shocked me to the core: 700,000-800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80% of which are women and girls, and up to 50% are minors. The figures will be a lot higher four years on.
I wanted Trafficked to be gritty, hard hitting, and tear-jerking. And I wanted it to make people really stop and think about this subject. I chose to write it in the form of a diary so the reader really feels every emotion – the fear, beatings, horror, desperation, hope, and faith. I wanted them to experience the ordeal through her eyes. Trafficked isn’t a read for the faint-hearted, but it’s a story that needs to be told. And if it makes you cry, or gets you pissed off, or makes you want to get even and do something about it, then I’ve done my job.
As far as I’m concerned, she’s done an outstanding job. This is a story you have to read. Btw, Sibel plans to donate some of the proceeds to anti-trafficking organizations.
So, when you’re looking around for something to read, I highly recommend both e-books. Not only are they absorbing reads, but they are supporting worthy causes that are close to my heart.
Susan would approve.