About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

Not an Easy Book – Not an Easy Journey

This entry is part 1 of the series Cancer 90-day

RIDDLE: What is the similarity between a car and watch?

ANSWER: You don’t realize how often you need it until it’s not there!

If you read my last post, New Year and Angels, you’ll know we were suddenly and drastically without wheels two days before Christmas.

We have Wheels

What a relief! After a full month, we got the car back on Monday. Thank You Lord for Your provision. It’s wonderful to have wheels once more.

I have to say we have been blessed with great neighbors who offered to take us wherever we needed to go, but we tried to only take them up on their offers when we needed to. It’s great to now be able to pop into the car when convenient – like this afternoon. It’s blowing a true Port Elizabeth gale, and we need to get a couple of things from the shops. We hung onto one another on our walk back from church so we didn’t get blown over! We decided shopping could wait until later, and we would go by car.

Books on Cancer

Strength Renewed

I ended the last post by saying I was planning on writing a second devotional book on cancer due to my inability to get Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer here in South Africa. Every few weeks, someone asks me for a copy and I have none.  So I decided to write another book and this time publish it here in South Africa so I have control over pricing and availability.

I had no sooner made the decision, when CUM, the Christian bookstore in South Africa that initially stocked the book and with whom I still have an author account, contacted me after many months of silence. Yes, they could get me the book, and how many did I want?

Really? What took so long?

After I heard the price, I nearly backed out. Then I decided to see what other similar books there were in the shops, and perhaps make a note of their titles and authors, so I could simply refer people looking for my book to an alternate suggestion.

Book Hunt

So my husband and I did a tour of the local big bookstores, asking about devotional books on breast cancer. None available. Okay, how about devotional books about any cancer? None available. The saleslady in the biggest Christian store earnestly assured me “There are no such books. People don’t write that sort of book.” I equally earnestly assured her that “Oh yes, they do. I know several such authors, and in fact I have written one myself which you used to stock in this shop.”

That ended the discussion.

However, after we had confirmed there were actually no books covering people’s cancer experiences, even if not devotional or Christian, in any of these shops, I had my answer. I need to write one, and make it available even if I have to sell it myself.

In the meantime I need to have something available, so with a big gulp and a leap of faith that I was doing the right thing, I ordered six copies of Strength Renewed. I will never be able to sell them at the recommended retail price, and I’ll probably have to sell them at almost what I pay for them. But at least I’ll be able to encourage folk in need of the book until the next one is available.

Not an Easy Book

So, as I mentioned, my initial working title is Rise and Soar, 90 Days with God in the Cancer Valley. However, since I wrote that on the previous post, several things have happened.

Having confirmed the need for the book, I wrote the first three chapters and sent them to my critique partner. She made a remark that she was praying for me as I tackled this project as it wasn’t going to be an easy book to write. That stopped me in my tracks. I was finding it an emotional journey as I replayed the events of twenty-two years ago in my mind. Am I really up to this? Do I want to do this?

I am writing the story as I went through it during my year  of treatment, curtailing it to 90 chapters. There’s no way I can turn this into a “sweet easy read” book. It is going to be real and at times emotional. Will anyone read it?

Then came Church

This morning, during our church service, we had a lady (I think from Cape Town) giving her testimony. Her beautiful 38-year-old daughter, also called Shirley, died a few years ago after a tough battle with bone cancer. As Shirley accepted her disease was terminal, she asked her mother, “Mum, please will you help me to die?”

When I heard those words, they reminded me of how, a few years ago, I walked a spiritual walk with a friend whose husband was dying, also of cancer. His request was that we would pray that even as he had lived well, he would now be able to die well. Shirley’s desire was to die in a way that would bring glory to God.

One week before she died, she took herself off her Morphine at great cost to herself, in order to have her testimony recorded. She saw this as “one last thing I can do to glorify God.”not easy book

Some time after she went to her heavenly home, her mother, Thy Cameron, had a vivid dream. Her daughter was running a relay race. She stuck out the batten, and handed it to her mother.

When Thy awoke, she knew God wanted to take Shirley’s story and continue to pass on the story. And so she wrote her very first book from a position of grieving and personal pain. Not an easy book to write.

The book is called, Mum, Please Help Me to Die. It is available in paperback and in e-format through Amazon.

I spent a few minutes chatting to Thy after the service, and both of us had the initial sense that God was bringing us together for a purpose. We have exchanged email and web addresses, and we’ll be in touch.

Rise and Soar?

As soon as I got home, I downloaded the book onto my Kindle and have already made a start to it. From Thy’s words as well as what I’ve read so far, I am encouraged. No, this will not be an “easy” book  to read, although the story is already drawing me in. And my book will not be an “easy” book to write. But there is nothing “easy” about a cancer journey either. In both cases, these books are needed. There are people out there who need to read them, and to know that, despite the trauma, pain, and emotional upheaval, of a cancer journey, God’s grace is available to carry us through.

So I end this post with another question. Is Rise and Soar going to be the final title for my next book? All the way through Thy’s testimony, and also throughout our pastor’s sermon based on Jonah in the belly of the massive sea creature, I kept hearing the words, “God’s grace.” Is this meant to be part of the title of my next book?

What do you think? Any words that come to your mind that should be included in my title?
Please leave it in a comment.

Since completing my first three chapters, I’ve been through a valley of self-doubt and questioning. But I’ve come out the valley. Tomorrow I’ll be tackling chapter four with a new confidence that this book is God’s plan for my next project.

New Year Here We Come – and Thanks for Angels

Welcome to 2020!

The cockatoo wall plaque is a gorgeous gift we received from one of our sons and daughters-in-law, evidently chosen by our littlest grandsons!

I really don’t know what happened to 2019, and I hope 2020 goes by just a tad slower. And you?

Christmas was its usual crazy time, but more hectic and dramatic in some ways. Fortunately, we didn’t know just how dramatic! read more

ROUND UP OF AFRICA BOOK SAFARI

This entry is part 1 of the series Africa Book Safari
Round up of a fantastic Africa Book Safari. Read all about how a virtual safari across Africa became an incredible success. Please RT Click To Tweet

The Initial Idea

It all started several months ago, when Marion Ueckermann and I had a long phone chat discussing ways we could showcase some of the Christian authors of Africa, i.e. authors who either live in Africa, or were born and brought up here before emigrating to lands afar. We also felt they needed to have at least one book published that was based in Africa to qualify for what we had in mind— a book safari. read more

A Real Live African Safari!

This entry is part 15 of the series Africa Book Safari

The year of Africa in the Corder Home!

As many of you are aware, we have just come to the end of an amazing virtual Africa Book Safari on Facebook.

For many years, my husband, Rob, and I have longed to go on an African Safari with a game drive which takes you off-road to see some of the animals close up in their natural habitat. But they are all SO expensive, and now that we’ve reached retirement we couldn’t see it ever happening.

However, it is 50 years this month since we entered full-time ministry when my husband was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. We wanted to celebrate it in some special way. What better way than to take a game drive into a game reserve? Especially after the recent publication of my book, God in Africa, and the conclusion of the very successful Africa Book Safari. (More about that tomorrow.) read more

Let’s Visit Val Waldeck and her book With My Own Eyes

This entry is part 10 of the series Africa Book Safari
Visit Africa with author Val Waldeck on the Africa Book Safari. Read her interview and learn about her new book, 'With My Own Eyes'. Please RT. Thank you. Click To Tweet

The Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, a group of authors, who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, teamed up for an exciting adventure. read more

Travel with Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 16 of the series Africa Book Safari

Join Anna Jensen as she is interviewed on the Africa Book Safari and shares about her travel/devotional book, Outskirts of Glory. #Shirley Corder #Africa Book Safari. Pls RT Click To Tweet

Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari

read more

About Ashley Winter at the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 4 of the series Africa Book Safari

Join Ashley Winter as she is interviewed on the Africa Book Safari. #Shirley Corder #Africa Book Safari. Pls RT Click To Tweet

During the month of October, a group of nine authors, who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, teamed up for an exciting adventure.
We went on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we discovered some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. We also learned many facets of our continent through one another, and through our visitors’ insights! What’s more, because we are writers, we invited you all to come along with us!
For free!
We are currently traveling together in a blog hop through nine blog posts featuring fiction and non-fiction books, all centered in Africa. Our Safari Guide interviewing each of us, one at a time, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books. You will find the interviews on the author’s own sites, or you can read them one at a time on this blog series.

Meet our Safari Guide

So come along and join in the fun! And here comes our guide who will be taking us on our safari.
Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Ashley Winter, is that correct?
Ashley: Yes, I’m Ashley. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?
Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!
Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent.
Anna, it’s your turn to sit up front with me. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and
heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Ashley, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

Ashley: I was born in Scottburgh, South Africa, then moved to Dundee in KZN where I completed my schooling. I then moved to Pietermaritzburg to study, where I met my husband. We felt God lead us to help with a church plant in Wales in 2009, and that’s where we are now, in beautiful Swansea on Gower. 🙂

Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?

Ashley: I have a brother in Durban, a sister in Alabama with my parents, a husband, and four sons! (16, 14, 12, 6)

Ashley, the writer

Mr. Africa: Ashley, did you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?

Ashley: I have wanted to be so many different things! And yes, a writer was one of them. What prompted me to start writing was the lack of Christian fiction set in my country and culture, South Africa.

Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?

Ashley: I write Christian romance mostly, but lately, I’ve enjoyed adding in a large dollop of suspense and/or fast-paced action. My latest book is a thriller.

Book of the Safari

Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?

Ashley: I’m going to be sharing the first book of my series which is my debut, Rachel’s Blessing. I love this book because it is heartwarming and emotional – a real feel-good novel. It also showcases a mixture of cultures.

Rachel is a British girl who heads to South Africa when her fiancé ends their engagement. There she volunteers at a rural orphanage and soon meets the attractive local game ranger, Eric. Because Rachel is foreign, readers get to see South Africa through her eyes. This is great for international readers to experience the wonder of the country and culture and amusing for South Africans to glimpse how a foreigner would view certain things in their culture.

Mr. Africa: Ashley, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?

Special Highlight

Ashley: Oh there is so much! If I have to choose one thing, it would be the warmth and strength of the people who call Africa their home.

Mr. Africa: Oh wow, look! There’s a lioness and her three new cubs playing together. What a sight! Let’s park here for a while and watch them. I’ll haul out the refreshments, I have a huge selection here. Perhaps one of the other authors can join me in the front. Ashley, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?

Ashley: Oooo la la, Mr Afrika, now you are spoiling me! Rooibos tea with a slab of Milo chocolate or an Ouma’s buttermilk rusk!

Mr. Africa: You’re a woman after my own heart! Coming right up!

Please, everyone, stay in the vehicle and visitors, feel free to visit us all!

Other authors along for the ride:

Authors & their Books on the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 12 of the series Africa Book Safari

So the Africa Book Safari Weekend has come and gone.

Prizes have been won and are mostly on their way to the winners. Specials were appreciated, some are now over, others coming to an end. Most importantly, I hope you had a chance to interact with some of the authors of Africa and perhaps meet some you didn’t know about. I certainly have, and I’m part of the team! I’ve got a couple of new authors that I intend to pursue and read their books.

The thrilling thing is the one bond that ties us all together: A love and common knowledge of our wonderful continent. It’s amazing how you can learn about a country through devotional material, travel insights, memoirs, non-fiction, and novels of different sorts. From romance to suspense to legal stories.

Here are the safari authors interviewed so far via this site:

Shirley Corder writing

Friday 25 – Shirley Corder
 90-day Devotional Book

    Saturday 26 – Marion Ueckermann
Christian Romance

Monday 28 – Lynnette Bonner
Historical Romance

Tuesday 29 – Lisa Harris
Christian thriller

Thursday 31 Greg MacKinnon
Christian Legal Suspense

Friday 1 Nov – Dianne J. Wilson
Christian Suspense Novel

There are still three to go, so don’t stop visiting and commenting! It is so important for all the authors to be encouraged in this way. The fact that these are the last three has nothing to do with their importance. All of us were given a schedule to follow, so each safari author was covered by each of the others. So we were all second somewhere – and last somewhere!

Here are the three remaining safari authors to be featured on my site:

Ashley Winter
Feel-good Christian Novel

Anna Jensen
Travel Devotions

Val Waldeck
Non-fiction Memoir

And then there will be one final round-off post looking back on a unique experience for us all.

So hang in here and please visit again tomorrow.

What have you enjoyed most about this entire Safari adventure?

 

What Books and Authors do You Enjoy Reading?

This entry is part 13 of the series Africa Book Safari

Each weekday (including Saturday) we have someone sitting up front with Mr. Africa and he conducts an interview with them. Some days, we'll talk about the Safari instead, like today. Click To Tweet

What do you enjoy reading?

So what do you enjoy reading?

Do you enjoy fiction?

Do you enjoy suspense? Then Lisa Harris has something for you.

Do you enjoy a legal story? Greg MacKinnon has the book for you.

How about romance? Do you enjoy a good love story? Marion Ueckermann and Ashley Winter have great stories for you. And don’t forget about Lynnette Bonner’s historical suspense and Dianne J. Wilson’s mystery set in my own home town of Port Elizabeth.

Or do you prefer non-fiction?

Perhaps you prefer non-fiction. Val Waldeck has a book of true stories, Anna Jenson has a devotional book based on her travels around Africa, and I have a 90-day devotion based on all sorts of different aspects of Africa.

But you don’t have to stick to your usual genre. Open your mind to new ideas. You may find something you really enjoy. Read all the posts. Leave comments on them all. The more comments, the more chance you may win a free book, or you may spot a special offer. Grab the opportunity to read something out of your usual choice and you may be surprised!

This blog hop is also an opportunity to get to know a bit about the authors and what they write. So don’t miss a post on the blog hop! And certainly attend the Africa Book Safari Weekend as often as you can!

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure
Speaking to Dianne Wilson at the Africa Book Safari

More still to come! See you tomorrow?

Have you read all these interviews? Which one did you enjoy most?

 

Speaking to Dianne J. Wilson at the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 11 of the series Africa Book Safari

Dianne Wilson sits up front at the Africa Book Safari today. Read more here. Click To Tweet

Dianne at the Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, Dianne J. Wilson was one of a group of nine Christian authors who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent and teamed up for an exciting adventure. Read her interview here. Please RT Click To Tweet

Dianne: We’re going on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we will discover some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we would like to invite you all to come along with us!

For free!

Our Safari Guide will be interviewing each of us, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books.  We had an amazing time, and here’s my turn up front with the Safari Guide! And here he comes!

Meeting the Safari Guide

Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Dianne J. Wilson, is that correct?

Dianne: Yebo! You can call me Di. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?

Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!

Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Interview commences

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Di, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

Di: Africa born and raised! Born in Kempton Park, I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Boksburg. Just kidding, it’s actually more of a ‘dorp’. We moved to East London (the South African version) when I was 19 years old and we’ve been here ever since. I’ve never been one to move around much.

Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?

Di: Hubby and I have three daughters. The eldest is currently doing her 3rd year at Stellenbosch University. My middle child is finishing her 1st year of beauty therapy (yes, I do get free treatments…) and our youngest is 12 and still in Primary school.

Mr. Africa: Di, did you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?

Di and Writing

Di: My English teachers at school loved me. I used to get full marks for creative writing all the time. I started a writing course via correspondence when I was working, but I never finished it. It did gain enough skill to write for South African magazines as a freelancer.

I soon realized that I was hankering after doing what God had created me to do. I saw an interview on TBN with Ted Dekker and he spoke of Jesus as the ultimate fiction author as He taught using stories. That blew my mind and within two days, I’d be given the plot and characters for my first novel – Shackles. That one took a long time to write and never landed a publishing contract. It did open doors for me with an acquisitions editor at Pelican Book Group who said she loved my writing, but the structure of the book was wrong for them. She gave me a detailed list of everything that needed fixing, so I wrote my second novel, Finding Mia, with her advice in my head. Pelican accepted that for publication and I went on to publish another 3 books with them.

Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?

Di: I’ve written romantic suspense, teen / YA urban fantasy and my current work-in-progress is contemporary woman’s fiction with a dollop of humour. I think I may have found my niche with this one.

Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?

About Shackles

Di: I’m sharing Shackles. It takes place across a few locations in South Africa – most of them places that are familiar to me. Firstly, East London in the Eastern Cape – this is currently our home. It is a coastal city half-way between Gauteng and Cape Town. Portions of the story happen in Stutterheim – a gorgeous jewel of forests and waterfalls with the Gubu dam at the heart of it, a perfect place to go hiking. Parts of the story happen up in Gauteng where I grew up, as well as the vast farmlands one travels through between the three other places.

My inspiration for this story came from scripture – ‘Then you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.’ John 8:32

This is the blurb … Jason is not the kind of guy you would want to take home to mom. He’s foul-tempered, a bit of a womanizer and has a conscience that has been collecting dust for years. All that is shaken up though, when he unearths a package of carefully preserved love letters and a portrait while diving off the coast of Africa.

So many unanswered questions, the letters snag something inside of him. Intrigued despite himself, he begins to unravel the mystery caught up in pages. He finds himself tangled up in the life of a girl he’s never met… a girl who is in desperate trouble.

Shackles on Amazon

Mr. Africa: Di, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?

Di: Life in Africa isn’t easy, but our people rise to challenges with bravery, grit, and joy that inspire me. There’s something about living free in the face of hardships that strips away anything fake and leaves the genuine behind. Even with all its brokenness and challenges, our country is beautiful! With everything from stunning beaches, forests, mountains, deserts … you name it, we have it. I love our country. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Mr. Africa turns off the landrover’s engine and points.

Dung Beetle on the road!

Mr. Africa: Everyone, if you look carefully you’ll see there’s a dung beetle crossing the road. In Africa, these goggas are always given right of way. They are considered keystone species because they help decomposition, seed dispersal, and they help control the number of vertebrate parasites in grazed habitats.

The dung beetle slowly crosses the road backwards, balanced on its front legs and using its back legs to expertly maneuver the perfectly round ball of dung.

Mr. Africa checks if anyone wants to eat after watching fresh dung being rolled across the road. Nobody seems too bothered, so he takes out refreshments.

Mr. Africa: This seems like a good time to swap out who rides shotgun. Perhaps one of the other authors can join me up front.

Di, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?

Di: Tea please, regular tea – not Rooibos. No sugar, just some milk. Enkosi. A piece of droëwors will do as a snack for me. I love the spicy flavor of dried beef sausage.

Changing places

I’m loving being with you all. Please, everyone, stay in the vehicle and visitors, feel free to pop in at all the watering holes, um I mean, blogs! I’ll be posting one a day over the next few days.

CLICK HERE  to read the original interview with Dianne on her own website.

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure

Don’t forget! Random prizes being offered for comments through the interview posts.

So for today: Dianne’s book is set in locations familiar to me. Can you think of any books written in locations known to you? Does it make a difference? What do you think?