Sunday, July 10, 2016

The story behind the story - And a free offer.

Several years ago, I read a short article in the L.A. Times about a woman who was held a virtual slave by threats to harm family members left behind in Viet Nam. I was amazed that such could happen here in the United States, so I did a little research.

What I found astounded me. One government report stated there were more slaves in the U.S. today than in 1860. Today's slaves are held not by chains, but by threats to harm family members, usually left behind in a foreign country.

This information rattled around in my head for months. I knew I would write about it. But what? How? One writer friend said it needed to be a non-fiction book. Another suggested a story based on an actual instance, interviewing someone at ICE and perhaps even a victim.

Finally, I decided it would be a fictional account. The actual truth was too heavy. Either of the approaches above would haunt me and I suspected such a book would never be finished. So I created a completely fictional story, but one I believe, based on my research, was close to the truth.

Crystal Moore discovers a young Mexican woman , Rosa, who has been
held a virtual slave because her husband in Mexico would be killed if she escaped. But many months later, Rosa learns from another woman smuggled into Texas, her husband has died. With that threat gone, Rosa manages to escape from her captor, Hunter Blackwood.

Crystal's grandmother takes Rosa in and gives her a job.

When Crystal and her Nana are visiting with Rosa, they find out about Lucita who is also a virtual slave to Blackwood. Lucita had a husband and two small girls in Mexico. But when her husband died, she could not provide the bare necessities for her children. Jose Rodriquez offered her the opportunity to make "big Yankee Dollars." Jose would arrange for a job in Texas and pay for her transportation. In addition, he would take care of the children until Lucita could save the $1,500 to pay for the girls travel to Texas. Surely, that could be done in a few months.

But once in Texas, Lucita is given a different story. She will work for Blackwood and should she leave or even tell anybody of her predicament, her children will be killed. She must stay at his massive house and is paid only a few dollars per month. She will never be able to accumulate the money to bring her girls to Texas. And other Mexican women tell her that Jose Rodriquez is indeed capable of carrying out the threat.

This revelation stuns Crystal. She is haunted by the plight of this young mother and her children. Crystal's parents were killed in an auto accident when she was seven. Nothing could be done; they were dead. But Lucita is not dead.

Crystal manages to see Lucita and it becomes clear Lucita will do nothing that might cause harm to her young girls.

Crystal tries to put it out of her mind, to forget about it. But her conscience will not let her. Nightmares plague her. She often wakes, thinking she can hear Lucita's two young girls crying. After considering various approaches, she comes to the realization that Lucita will never be free unless her girls are rescued from Jose first. Naive and driven, Crystal travels to Mexico in an attempt to rescue the two children.

If she succeeds, Lucita and her two girls will be free and reunited.

And Crystal will have two powerful and ruthless men, one in Texas and one in Mexico, who want her dead.

See the offer below.

"A Silver Medallion is a gripping, action-packed adventure from talented author James Callan.  Crystal Moore is a tough and savvy heroine ..."

 New York Times Bestselling Author Bobbi Smith

If you'd like to read the first six chapters of A Silver Medallion, send an e-mail to:  and just put  "6 chapters" in the subject line and your name in the body of the e-mail.  I'll send you the chapters right away.
A Silver Medallion is the second in the Crystal Moore Suspense series, following A Ton of Gold.

Thanks for stopping by Novel Spaces.


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds very intense

James R. Callan said...

Thanks, Charles. I found the topic impossible to ignore. I hope my story does it justice. If you'd like to read the first six chapters, drop me an e-mail at: Glad you stopped by.

Liane Spicer said...

I've heard the odd story about people being kept as slaves in the US, but had no idea the numbers were so large. What a nightmare. And what a great premise for a story too.

James R. Callan said...

When I first read the story in the L.A. Times, I could hardly believe it. A little research was eye-opening. It IS a nightmare. Thanks for stopping by, Liane.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Wow! I knew of it but not the extent. I think you made a great choice in making it a fictional account. That way you had the creative liberty to spin a compelling story without need to stick to the actual events. People can still identify with the characters and their plight, and you can bring to light the issues with modern day slavery in the US.

The story sounds compelling.

James R. Callan said...

Thanks, Jewel. My sentiments exactly. And emotionally, it was easier for me. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Thorne said...

It's a timely subject. I read two other books released just in the last few years, fiction also, but based on real life human trafficking. Your story sounds like a little different type of slavery as these books were about a more organized form of human trafficking. The setting for both is in Nashville, TN. Still, slavery is slavery and the fact that it still exists in any form is disturbing. I think your idea to fictionalize the subject was a good one.