Hey guys! I want to introduce y’all to one of my favorite authors, Gillian Bronte Adams.
She’s a fellow Texan and author of clean fantasy. One of my favorite moments last year was getting to write with her in the foyer of the Gaylord Texan at the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers). Sitting in front of a huge fireplace, lounging in cozy leather chairs, plinking away on our laptops… it was awesome!
Oh, and she’s also a fan of The Sentinel Trilogy. Hehe! ^.^
Gillian is celebrating the launch of the third book in her Songkeeper Chronicles series, which you should definitely check out. So of course I had to jump on her blog tour bandwagon!
I’m hosting her now for a guest post on modern slavery and human trafficking. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as y’all might have guessed if you’ve read Vanguard. My sister is an attorney who worked for the District Attorney in Houston, targeting traffickers while most people don’t even realize that slavery is very real in America today.
Gillian has written her thoughts on this topic below and how it relates to her awesome book series. Take it away, Gillian!
“And it has long been the Songkeeper’s mission to free the captives and release those in chains.” – Song of Leira
When I first started writing Orphan’s Song (Book One of The Songkeeper Chronicles) years ago, the concept of “freeing the captives” as one of the Songkeeper’s tasks soon wove its way into the tale. As I began to imagine the Takhran’s rule and the way he oppressed the people of Leira, the idea of the slave camps became the foundation for the evil that he unleashed upon the world.
For what evil could be worse that imprisoning people, carving away at their dignity and identities, regarding them as “things” instead of as “human,” and stealing their lives?
And the Song … the Song held the power to set the captives free, inspired by the mission statement for Jesus’s earthly ministry from Isaiah 61:1.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.”
But even as I began to weave the threads of the slave camps and of the Song’s power ever more strongly into The Songkeeper Chronicles, I had no idea of the reality of modern slavery.
It was a concept I simply couldn’t grasp, for my world was safe and slavery was something you learned about in history or read about in books.
Around the same time that I began writing Song of Leira, several of my friends began supporting rescue organizations and shared what they had learned online. Gradually, my eyes were opened to the fate that is so real for many around the world today.
It is heartbreaking, y’all. Slavery can take so many forms, and the number of children and teenagers and adults who are trafficked or who spend their lives toiling in horrible conditions under abusive “masters” without any hope of escape, is horrifying. While we tend to think of it as something that happens in other countries – somewhere else, far from our homes and the comfort of our lives – and yet human trafficking is rampant in the US too.
Even as I type these words, I am aware of the vast distance between knowing that these things are true and truly understanding that for many around the world, this is life.
It is unimaginable and overwhelming and hard to grasp that such a thing could ever be the case.
So, I love the way A21 (a slavery-fighting, non-profit organization) puts it on their website:
“Those statistics are daunting—and they lose the human element. The heart of our organization is the one. The one woman, the one man, the one child trapped and exploited, unable to see another end to their story. But we see the one, and we fight for the one, and we sacrifice to restore the one… to give them freedom and independence and the chance at a better story.” (Read more here.)
Some of you may have been aware of this issue for some time now. Perhaps you discovered the facts through online campaigns, videos, and reports from survivors who have been rescued or escaped. Perhaps you have been working to inform others, like my friends who alerted me to the issue.
But perhaps some of you are just now becoming aware and you are struggling with how to process it all, because once the issue is staring us in the face, we have to choose how to respond.
So I would encourage you to first of all engage with this issue through prayer. Our ability to help is finite and limited by so many things. But God is infinite and His power is beyond our imagination. Prayer is not an “if we can’t do anything else” resort. It should always be our first response.
And then, as you are praying, consider looking for ways to get involved. I do firmly believe that God lays different issues and causes on all of our hearts so that through the united efforts of His sons and daughters in so many different areas, Christ’s love can be practiced to combat the brokenness of the world. For you, that special cause could be anything! Adoption. Children from broken homes. Special needs.
But if God is laying this issue on your heart, then I would love to share with you a couple of the organizations that I have begun following. Although most of us will not have the opportunity to personally take action to rescue or restore, we can support those on the ground offering help.
- A21 – I mentioned this one above, but this is a non-profit abolitionist organization that works in 12 countries around the world providing intervention and aftercare. They also mobilize “A-Teams” of people who are passionate about supporting the work to fundraise and educate others.
- Destiny Rescue – This organization works to rescue trafficked and abused children and provide them with safe homes where they will be shown the love of Christ and training programs that are designed to empower and equip them.
- International Justice Mission – This is a huge organization that is at work in countries all over the globe and that partners with local authorities and justice systems to rescue, restore, and seek justice through the courts for survivors.
This is obviously just a starting point and I encourage you to research on your own as I am also continuing to research the issues and how I can be involved. Because it is good to seek justice for the oppressed, to restore those who have been broken, and to lift up those who have been beaten down.
And that reminds me of one of my favorite verses, Micah 6:8.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
It is such a simple verse, isn’t it? And yet it is so far reaching.
The Song bids her rise to battle.
Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.
Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.
As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.
Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD
Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf
Check Out Orphan’s Song (Book 1) and Songkeeper (Book 2)
Gillian Bronte Adams is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, wander-loving fantasy author, rarely found without a coffee in hand and rumored to pack books before clothes when she hits the road. Working in youth ministry left her with a passion for journeying alongside children and teens. (It also enhanced her love of coffee.) Now, she writes novels that follow outcast characters down broken roads, through epic battles, and onward to adventure. And at the end of a long day of typing, she can be found saddling her wild thing and riding off into the sunset, seeking adventures of her own (and more coffee).
She loves to connect with fellow readers and wanderers online through her blog, Facebook page, newsletter, and Instagram.
Have you ever been to a Facebook party before? Gillian Bronte Adams is teaming up with fantasy author Jill Williamson for a special event full of awesome giveaways, prizes, and games! And you are invited to come! Click on the photo or RSVP on the event page.