Saturday, November 21, 2009

Out of Africa

Hi to you all from a land shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Let me start by saying that any apparent spelling or grammar "errors" are probably because I'm writing in British English. That's one of many challenges of writing for this International blog: deciding which English to use. And by the way, all the photos here are taken in South Africa.

I’m writing to you from the “Windy City” of Port Elizabeth, on the coast of usually-sunny South Africa. (Yes, that's us on the left.)

In March of next year, a friend and I will be flying to America to attend the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

Like many people, I love to travel. When I can’t go by plane or car, I like to do it from the comfort of my armchair.

I would like to invite you in this, my first post to this blog, to Come fly with me to the magnificent continent of Africa, and particularly South Africa—a world in one land.

"You can get out of Africa, but you can never get Africa out of you."

This has been proved over and over by people who have left this continent. Watching the popular TV programme, Amazing Race, I have often wondered at the excitement when contestants are sent to Darkest Africa. For some, there is the thrill of the unknown. But for the Afro-Americans, there is inevitably a sense of home-coming. Their roots are in Africa, even though their ancestors were dragged away by slave-traders generations ago.

For centuries, many of the scenic and cultural wonders of Africa have remained hidden from the rest of the world. This land could be backdrop to a vast variety of tales of mystery, intrigue and adventure, yet few writers have accepted the challenge. Or is it perhaps few editors who have the courage to accept books written about a land of which little is known or understood?

In the secular world, South Africa is the birthplace or home to many famous authors but on this blog we’re looking at Christian International writers.

Brave Christian authors who have set their novels in Africa include Catherine Palmer, Tom Davis, DiAnn Mills, Vanessa Del Fabro, Linda Lee Chaiken, and our own Lisa Harris. I’m sure there are more. But it’s not enough.

Would you like to read stories about characters hiking a snowcapped mountain near the equator? How about adventure stories of people travelling by jeep on safari (suh-fah-ree) to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) and other animals such as giraffes and zebras in their natural habitat? Would you enjoy reading about your hero's travels on the back of a bumpy camel across the desert? Or how about sailing down the Nile River to see ancient pyramids?

Africa is the background to millions of as-yet-untold stories. I encourage you to look through your bookshops and libraries for stories set in Africa and other intriguing countries on this amazing planet we call Earth.

Plane travel is exciting. It's also expensive. There are so many amazing countries we can fly to, so many adventures we can enjoy, even if only from our armchairs. Let's read what's available, and then ask for more.

Want a calendar or postcard of South African scenery? Answer today's question:

In ONE SENTENCE, What does Africa mean to you?

Submit your answer in the form of a comment.

In one week, I will have a vote on CWG S.Africa, an online group for Christian writers of South Africa, for the best answer. I will send a scenic calendar to the selected winner and a postcard to the runner-up to any address in the world.

Don't forget to include your name and email address (use (at) instead of @) and I'll e-mail winners for postal details. I'll also post the winners' names on the comment section of this post.

SHIRLEY M. CORDER has been an RN, a pastor’s wife and a mother, but she never expected to be a published writer. A close encounter with aggressive cancer in 1997 changed everything, and she has been writing ever since. Well over 120 of Shirley’s inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published around the world. She is busy with her 6th novel set in South Africa as she heads for her 5th consecutive NaNoWriMo win. You can contact Shirley through her website or follow her on Twitter.


  1. I never thought Of Africa, that much really.
    until a few years ago, when I read about a doctor/author,who wrote about his time there on a missionary trip! and then seeing photo of Africa!

    the frist thing that came to my mind was
    "man I could go though a lot of film," :)

  2. Shirley, thanks for sharing those beautiful pics. To me, Africa is a beautiful land with amazing animals too unknown by those of us living across the world. More of us should really travel there.

  3. To me, Africa is the home of our sponsor child. Over the years, he's become part of our family. So, Africa has part of my heart without ever having been there!

  4. Like the birthplace of civilization, Africa fills our soul with God's creativity, wisdom, and mystery, while evil lurks in hunger and tyranny. dancekam1 at

  5. To me Africa is a land of mystery. A land of beautiful contrasts and unmatched scenery. From Mt. Kilimanjaro, Table Mountain, Victoria Falls, to the mysterious Sahara and the Kalahari. From Morocco to Egypt to South Africa. A continent surrounded by water, the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Wild animals such as the lion, elephant, rhinos, hippos, wildebeest and the graceful gazelle. I can only imagine these sights. I am an avid postcard collector and would love a postcard or the calendar from Africa. I search online for international lighthouses and I have seen some beautiful ones in Africa. I have a special collection of lighthouse postcards. Meanwhile I will continue to visit Africa through movies and books.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  6. "Be careful of giving your life to Jesus because He might send you to Africa." I told Jesus I was willing to die for Him. He said he'd like me to live for Him. I said that sounded harder. Africa. We hear of wars and famine and pirates, but I do believe there is more to it, and I'm not afraid; not of Africa, not of God's will. (PS our Christian suspense novel is featured on youtube: search The Last Reunion reading 1 thru to reading 10. five minutes each). (I follow CWGI)

  7. For me, Africa is a land of contrasts ranging from rich to poor, hot to cold, light to dark, wet to dry, startingly quiet to deafingly noisy, friendly to hostile, a place of vast expanse to crowded shanties, but above all, a place I call home.

  8. Shirley, thanks for sharing your experiences and wonderful photos of Africa :-) One sentence to describe Africa: A land of adventure. I'd love to read more books set in Africa!

  9. My mother always watched nature shows while I was growing up and dreamed on going on a safari. Now that she refuses to fly, her safari is unlikely. To me, Africa is mysterious and exciting, intriguing and magical. teresa at teresaslack dot com

  10. When I think of Africa I think of a fascinating place that has much to be discovered. Your post has put a bug in my brain to research the country more. I write Inspirational Historical Romances. I wonder what I can find in the history that I can use in a novel. Time to look up what was happening there in the late 1700s or early 1800s, one of my favorite periods in history for some strange reason.

  11. I think of Africa as the final frontier. It is like a diamond waiting to be discovered. Many faceted and beautiful, and waiting to be appreciated.

  12. To me, Africa is home. I wasn't born here, nor does my extended physical family live here, yet I've still found it to be a place where I can belong because of its beautiful people who have made it home to me. There is truly something about this continent that has gripped my heart and will never let me go.

  13. Fantastic picture of So. Africa. It makes me want to visit. And those photos have a thousand mystery stories hidden in them. How about writing one, Shirley. I'd love to read it.

  14. Hi Shirl,

    What super photos! We live in such a beautiful continent. I would love to read more books set here.

    Ruth Ann who also lives in South Africa

  15. When I wrote my first poem, "An Immigrant's Lament" shortly after immigrating to Ireland in December 2000, I ended it with these words:
    "No matter where I wander, through sunshine or flood
    One thing is for certain – Africa will always be in my blood!"
    That explains what Africa means to me.


  16. Africa means parting with my money for a jeep safari, an elephant ride, walks on the beach, the opportunity to do a writer's workshop for my brothers & sisters in Christ, a chance to take hundreds of breathtaking pictures, make many wonderful friends, and leave with precious memories and fodder for writing.
    Yvonne Ortega

  17. Africa - mysterious and intriguing, but not what I would call "dark." At least, no darker than the rest of the world. What beckons me is Africa's beauty, its warmth, and its infinity. I hope, one day, to travel to, what Conrad called the "Heart of Darkness" to experience all of its Light.