I escaped with my hubby and a couple of our kids, meeting up with our best friends for a twenty-four hour getaway to a water park this weekend. While the kids splashed, we caught up, and got to chatting about dreams. Not the kind that find you in the purple streaks before dawn, but the ones that we squirrel away our money for, and the ones that we carve out every day. We decided that really, most people don't long for fame and fortune, but rather security, and a life without regrets. I for one, along with my friend, dream of healthy, happy children, who grow up to be responsible, Jesus-loving adults, who in turn raise healthy, happy children. If I ever get that home in Tuscany, well, that'll be fun, but it'll have lots of room for the healthy, happy grandchildren to visit.
The truth is, beyond raising my family, my only dream is to make an impact in this world, for Christ. I hope my stories awaken a fresh desire to know the God who loves you, who extends grace and hope into our lives.
I'll never forget the day my friend Olga and I had tea, and she told me her 19 year old daughter was headed to Japan to "waitress." She'd gotten a job with a travel agency, and was thrilled to be working in international sales, as Olga put it. I couldn't deny the fear that stole through me. Waitress? International Sales? I had friends who worked with a government NGO raising awareness of the human trafficking epidemic growing in Russia and I couldn't shake the feeling that Olga's daughter was being sucked into the vortex of this dark world - and I told her as much. Olga dismissed it, and her daughter did go to Japan. Last time I checked in with Olga, before we left to go stateside, she hadn't yet returned. I don't know if Olga even knew where she was. The memory still leaves me shaken and prompts me to pray for Olga and her daughter.
It was this memory, and the fact that there are 27 million people around the globe held as slaves today - more thank 80% of them women and children, and up to 50% minors - that compelled me to write a story with this element in it. Wiser than Serpents is a continuation of the Mission:Russia series, a thriller about Yanna, whose sister is snatched through a Russian dating service, and disappears. Yanna enlists the help of Delta Force Captain, David Curtiss to find and rescue her. Readers who've read, "In Sheep's Clothing" and "Sands of Time" will recognize Yanna as the tech expert, and David as the solid Christian of the group.
Honestly, the research for this book made me physically ill, and I had friends praying for me, against the darkness and evil inherent in this subject. Thankfully, the book is written from the point of views of the rescuers, not the victims, and offers hope and empowerment, instead of feelings of helplessness. It raises awareness without lowering the standards of Christian fiction.
However, the world is real, and the need to get involved is great. I so greatly admire people who take their beliefs and put action to them -hence a portion of the proceeds of Wiser than Serpents is going to help the International Justice Mission, (www.ijm.org), an organization dedicated to rescuing victims and fighting the scourge of slavery.
AND, because I believe my readers are also of the type who want to make an impact on their world, I'm having a very special contest.
IJM holds a banquet every year in Minneapolis (Tuesday, May 27th) and Susan May Warren Fiction has a table for this event. I have 2 sets of tickets for two readers and their guests to join me on this special night. One night's stay at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis is also included. I've heard that the IJM dinners are tasteful, elegant, filled with hope and a night not to be missed. For more information about the Minneapolis dinner go to here.
Winners will spend the evening with me and my hubby, and also receive an advanced copy of Wiser than Serpents.
Here's how to register to win!
Thank you for reading, and for being a part of my every day dream of writing stories of grace and hope. May the Lord bless you with exactly that - grace and hope - this month!