China Ends One Child Policy but is it a Little Too Late?

Written by Kay on . Posted in China News & Tidbits

The Mothers’ Bridge of Love by Xinran  [Illustration by Josée Masse] Featured in Time Magazine’s Top Ten Children’s Books of 2007

The Mothers’ Bridge of Love by Xinran
[Illustration by Josée Masse]Featured in Time Magazine’s Top Ten Children’s Books of 2007

A Little Too Late?


While many around the world yesterday were surprised and pleased by the breaking news that China has scrapped its infamous one-child policy for a more relaxed two-child policy, others felt the impact in a much more personal sense.

As Jenni ‘Fang’ Lee, a young woman adopted from China put it, ‘how can something so political feel so personal’? Jenni is one of over seventy thousand adopted from China since the country opened its doors to international adoption decades ago. Many like Jenny were relinquished (a more accurate and compassionate word than abandoned) because of illnesses or disabilities their birth family could not financially support. But for those who were separated because of fear of the heavy fines and penalties a second child would bring—or even the loss of jobs or persecution of family members as punishment—today’s news is bittersweet.

Over thirty years ago the one-child-per-couple policy was launched with the idea that implementing a strict family planning policy was the only way to control the rising population of over a billion Chinese, and reach a goal of modernization by year 2000. Human rights groups have long claimed that the policy is directly responsible for the high numbers of abortions—those voluntary for sex-selection and those forced by family planning officials—which China has worked to keep hidden. Not as widely acknowledged was the subsequent issue of infanticide due to the long held belief that a newborn daughter is not as valuable to a family as a son, and if a couple could only have one child, a son it must be. Another repercussion of the policy has been the ever increasing gender imbalance, resulting in more illegal trafficking of women to villages and cities suffering from too many men and not enough women to marry.

But as of Thursday, October 28, many applaud the news that all Chinese couples will be allowed to have two children without fear of governmental repercussions.

‘”To promote a balanced growth of population, China will continue to uphold the basic national policy of population control and improve its strategy on population development,” Xinhua, China’s state run new agency reported, citing a communique issued by the ruling Communist Party. “China will fully implement the policy of ‘one couple, two children’ in a proactive response to the issue of an aging population.”’

But what about the damage already done? Does this change mean that many of that country’s undocumented ‘ghost’ children can now be claimed? Perhaps even given the coveted hukou legal identification that is required to attend school, receive medical care, travel, and even marry later in life? Or will those children who were already living in the shadows of a policy gone wrong be forced to remain there with ripples of their undeserved punishment passed down from generation to generation? *China’s 2010 census estimated that there are over 13 million people without the official documentation (hukou) that will enable them to move freely around China and live normal lives.

ghost child

As for how the changes will affect children still in orphanages across China, Amy Eldridge, Founder of Love Without Boundaries, an organization that supports orphans in China says, ‘”I know so many people were overjoyed at the news today that the one-child policy is officially being retired, but I honestly don’t anticipate any change in the often overwhelming needs of Chinese orphanages.”’

Amy makes a very valid point, as I look back and remember my years working as a volunteer in the orphanage and the fact that almost every child I met had some sort of disability or illness that was the catalyst for the separation from their biological family. Read more about my time there in my memoir, Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage

Despite the harsh criticism of motive, and the outspokenness of those who say the government still has no business regulations how many children a couple can have, most of us can agree that this policy update is a positive step for the future of China’s social welfare system.

However, as the world acknowledges that China has taken a step in the right direction in the subject of human rights, we must not forget the adoptees around the world and those left undocumented in China, who because of the repercussions of a draconian-style edict such as the one-child policy, will forever wonder if this new change has come a little too late.



The Palest Ink by Kay Bratt! Now Available on Amazon!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Palest Ink 3D sm

I can’t believe after an entire year of researching, writing, editing, cutting, polishing, sweat and tears……it’s finally launch day for the book that my editor called my tour de force! Readers asked to know more about Benfu during the Cultural Revolution, and I’ve given it to them. Available as of today, you can order HERE at AMAZON! (bites fingernails in hopes that you all will like it!) Just in time to purchase the beautifully embossed hardcover to give as a holiday gift, too!

Want to know more about the story? Here you go….

A sheltered son from an intellectual family in Shanghai, Benfu spends 1966 anticipating a promising violinist career and an arranged marriage. On the other side of town lives Pony Boy, a member of a lower-class family—but Benfu’s best friend all the same. Their futures look different but guaranteed…until they’re faced with a perilous opportunity to leave a mark on history.

At the announcement of China’s Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao’s Red Guard members begin their assault, leaving innocent victims in their wake as they surge across the country. With political turmoil at their door, both Benfu and Pony Boy must face heart-wrenching decisions regarding family, friendship, courage, and loyalty to their country during one of the most chaotic periods in history.

The prequel to the beloved Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters series, The Palest Ink depicts Benfu’s coming-of-age during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution.

What others are saying about The Palest Ink:

Bratt brings to life the struggle of two individuals during China’s terrible time that all should know about with an honest, yet compassionate style. She brings us as close as we ever want to be to an evil time, yet shows some found the courage to preserve their dignity. A must read. — Mingmei Yip, Author of Skeleton Women and other China-inspired novels

The Revolution itself is well documented and the historical significance of Chairman Mao’s Red Guard leaves fear in its wake. The danger and fear that come through the writing create discomfort and unrest, much as it must have been during the times. The danger is palpable, and adds to the chaotic feelings left after the reading of this work. If you enjoy history, revolution, courage, romance and family, then this will make a great work for your library. Kay Bratt has given us a work of intensity.

The Palest Ink, the story of Benfu’s early years fills in so many gaps in my knowledge of China during the Cultural Revolution, a topic that is practically taboo in China right now. This prequel to the four “Scavenger’s Daughters” books  shows me what the Chinese term ‘eating bitter’ really means. Kay Bratt sure has done her research, and presents the tale of those tumultuous years in a fascinating narrative. –Sibylla Grottke,



A Son, Survivor, and a Leader (behind the curtain of the Cultural Revolution)

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China News & Tidbits, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in 1972. He has rarely spoken publicly about his experiences as a teenager in the capital during the early years of the Cultural Revolution. Credit Xinhua Press, via Corbis

Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in 1972. He has rarely spoken publicly about his experiences as a teenager in the capital during the early years of the Cultural Revolution. Credit Xinhua Press, via Corbis

In a recent article in the New York Times titled Cultural Revolution Shaped Xi Jinping, written by Chris Buckley and Didi Kirsten Tatlow, the world is given a rare glimpse at China’s Cultural Revolution.

Jinping, the son of an unseated official, speaks of surviving the Cultural Revolution; a time in history that impacted many of China’s families and put them through turmoil, destruction, and even death. Can you imagine being denounced by your own mother? Criticized and disowned, acts of betrayal probably uttered through tears by the woman who gave him birth and loved every hair on his head? In my mind, I can see the boy standing stoically, struggling to be a man and accepting his fate so that his mother would be left alone and not persecuted alongside him. Despite his courage, her role as the pampered official’s wife was reversed and she was sent to do hard labor on a farm.

According to the article, Jinping’s father was exiled from home and taken to a city where he was displayed in the back of a truck, through the streets as the locals beat him. From the New Yorker, Born Red by Evan Osnos; ‘In January, 1967, after Mao encouraged students to target “class enemies,” a group of young people dragged Jinping’s father before a crowd. Among other charges, he was accused of having gazed at West Berlin through binoculars during a visit to East Germany years earlier. He was detained in a military garrison, where he passed the years by walking in circles, he said later—ten thousand laps, and then ten thousand walking backward. Jinping was too young to be an official Red Guard, and his father’s status made him undesirable. Moreover, being born red was becoming a liability.’

Also from Born Red; ‘A recent state-news-service article offers the mythology: “Xi [Jingping] lived in a cave dwelling with villagers, slept on a kang, a traditional Chinese bed made of bricks and clay, endured flea bites, carried manure, built dams and repaired roads.” ‘

Jinping’s life went from normal to devastating in a few short years but he didn’t blame Chairman Mao for all of the bad luck that fell upon his family. Quite the opposite, he felt an urgency to prove his loyalty and he dedicated himself to the party.

Much happened in between but years later when the horror of the revolution was over, Jingping and his brother were reunited with the father who had suffered much physical and mental damage from the isolation and torture he’d been through. The first moments must’ve been heart-breaking as a father didn’t even recognize his own sons. According to the NY Times article, the father wept and Jinping offered him a cigarette.

The old, battered man asked him why he also smoked.

Jinping gazed into his father’s eyes and spoke of the ordeal they’d both experienced, similarly but separately, in the years they’d been apart.

And his father considered it, then gave his quiet approval of a son who had not only survived what many did not, but like a phoenix from the ashes he’d turned tragedy into triumph and became the president of China, Xi Jinping.

If this small piece of history interests you and makes you long to read more about the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution and how people survived it, I hope you’ll take a peek at my latest novel, The Palest Ink, available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Palest Ink 3D sm

The Palest Ink

A sheltered son from an intellectual family in Shanghai, Benfu spends 1966 anticipating a promising violinist career and an arranged marriage. On the other side of town lives Pony Boy, a member of a lower-class family—but Benfu’s best friend all the same. Their futures look different but guaranteed…until they’re faced with a perilous opportunity to leave a mark on history.

At the announcement of China’s Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao’s Red Guard members begin their assault, leaving innocent victims in their wake as they surge across the country. With political turmoil at their door, both Benfu and Pony Boy must face heart-wrenching decisions regarding family, friendship, courage, and loyalty to their country during one of the most chaotic periods in history.

The Palest Ink depicts the coming-of-age of two young men during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution. Available for Pre-Order on Amazon here.

Red Butterfly, A China-Inspired book by A.L. Sonnichsen

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

The Red Butterfly

by A.L. Sonnichsen


I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about a new China-inspired book  that hit the market on February 3. If not, believe me, you will. And just so that you won’t be the only one left not knowing what it’s all about, go ahead and snag a copy! A poignant story beautifully written, I give it the official Kay Bratt recommendation. Here’s a bit more about The Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen.

Book Description: A young orphaned girl in modern-day China discovers the meaning of family in this inspiring story told in verse, in the tradition of Inside Out and Back Again and Sold. Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has…but what if Kara secretly wants more?

Told in lyrical, moving verse, Red Butterfly is the story of a girl learning to trust her own voice, discovering that love and family are limitless, and finding the wings she needs to reach new heights. Age Level: 8 – 12 3 – 7   Available on Amazon (Here)


Reaching Out….

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life


About six weeks or so a terrible thing happened. Amanda called home crying that her beloved cat, Luna, had gotten out and was lost. She was devastated and that began several weeks of exhausting trips back and forth (200 miles round trip), hanging flyers, posting pictures, and walking….looking….walking….looking….

Alas, we have yet to find Luna.

However, after one call from a stranger who swore he’d seen her in his apartment complex, I was doing a few paces around and ran into an elderly woman. I told her why I was lurking around her building and she invited me in. I didn’t really have time, but who says no to a sweet elderly lady? I went in and she and I had a long conversation in which she told me she was named Tereatha and was born in 1921. She said she feeds the stray cats in the neighborhood, and names all of them. (I’m thinking they aren’t stray if she’s feeding them and naming them!) One huge black and white cat came up to her glass door while I was there and she said he was John the Baptist, then put out a bowl of food for him.

While we talked, I felt that she was alone and asked if she had family around. She said she has one nephew in Arizona and when I just came right out and asked her if she gets lonely, she said yes, but she has Jesus.

Tereatha burrowed deep into my heart that day. Just as God probably intended that she would. I’ve thought about her many, many times since then and today I drove the 200 miles round trip to let her know that she’s not as alone as she thinks. Amanda and I took her a bag of gifts and when she opened the door and I asked her if she remembered me, she said yes and went to her table and pulled out of a stack of papers the note I’d written with our number on it in case she saw Luna. She said I’d made her day when I came in and talked to her that day, and when I left she had gotten on her knees and prayed for us.

When I handed her the bags of gifts, she kept giggling like a little girl and asking if I had the right person! She held her arm out once and said, “touch me, make sure I’m not dreaming.” When she got to the chocolate, I asked if she was allowed to have it and she said, “I’m not supposed to but you just watch me.”

We talked for a long time and she made us laugh with a lot of her sassy comments. She was also excited that her nephew is coming this week to visit her from Arizona. When I told her I needed to get on the road and once again reminded her to call Amanda if she needs anything at all, she told us to wait. As we sat looking around her tidy little living room, complete with a large selection of family photos (of which she had introduced many of them to us while talking), she ran into her bedroom and brought out a little devotional calendar to give Amanda. For me, she went to her kitchen and pulled out two cans of soup, then tucked them into one of the Christmas bags I’d given to her.

It might not be much, but I know this….

Those two soup cans will stay in my cupboard probably forever. As a reminder to me to never get so full of myself that I can’t reach out to someone else who needs to be reminded that she still counts.

Tereatha thinks I made her day. But the truth is,

….she made mine.



Wouldn’t You Like to Meet Your Birth Mother?

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, Adoption Stories

At the end of Labor Day weekend, Ben and I boarded a flight home from the Chinese Heritage Camp in Denver, Colorado. Flying coach, we squeezed our tall bodies into our seats and readied ourselves for the uncomfortable experience. The flight attendant (I’ll call her Kelly) greeted us and as she oversaw other passengers, she talked to us. Completely entertaining in her giddy exhaustion after a long day of traveling, she got around to asking us why we’d been in Colorado. I explained the adoption camp, and  we talked about why I was there.

When the couple in the exit aisle proved unable to meet requirements, Kelly had us switch seats. It was a win for us because we instantly had the coveted leg room, and Kelly said it was a win for her because she got interesting people to communicate with. (Her jump seat was directly in front of me)

Once the flight was underway, she told me that it was ironic that we had connected that day because she is an adoptee. She explained that some forty-odd years ago her birth mother gave her up for adoption and she spent her first few weeks of life in a children’s home before being adopted.

Kelly said she’d had a wonderful life with awesome parents, and she was grateful to her birth mother for giving her that gift. She also said that over the years, she’s gotten the question a number of times; wouldn’t you like to meet your birth mother?

I asked her, “Well, what do you tell them?”

She smiled and explained to me that no, she would never want to meet the woman who gave her life. Why? Because she likes the image she’s held of her in her mind for all these years and would never want it shattered. You see, Kelly fully believes that her birth mother is kind, generous, and gave her a gift the day she relinquished her to a new fate.


It’s an amazing thing.

The Love of a Birthmother by Susan Scharpf

The Love of a Birthmother by Susan Scharpf


Behind the Story; the Chengguan in China and Bitter Winds

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Over the years that we lived in China, I ran into my fair share of the chengguan, otherwise known as the street police. The Chengguan are a unique Chinese institution: something less than a police officer, but more powerful than an average person. These urban management officers are hired by municipal governments to carry out undesirable tasks  (Definition from TeaLeafNation article) My interaction with them was limited to seeing them coming through the various markets to harass store owners. When a uniform was spotted, a murmur would move through the lines of stalls and many would completely shut up shop as they passed through, rather than deal with their abuse.

With the ease of photos and the internet now, there are many new stories coming to light of abuse and even death caused by these chengguan, especially those whose power has gone to their heads. In 2013, a 56-year-old farmer named Deng Zhengjia brought his watermelons to a nearby city. When the chengguan confronted him about selling on the street, they took some of his watermelons and ordered him to move to an approved stall. He and his wife obeyed, but when the chengguan came around again, this time they took more than watermelons, they took his life. All because he dared to question their authority and begged them to leave him be. Fortunately, his wife was there and was able to be with him as he took his last breath.


Suspicously when his daughter took to Weibo, the Chinese twitter, about what happened to her father, her posts were soon deleted and replaced with a statement that the government had acted fairly in the situation. Censorship along with abuse and murder! When the people tried to get the chengguan to take responsibility by guarding the body for an autopsy, they were soon beaten down too.

Another instance of the chengguan acting inappropriately is when they rounded up all the beggars at a festival and put them in portable jail cells along the sidewalk.


The photos that accompanied the story are heart-breaking, and were the catalyst for Lily’s story in my novel, Bitter Winds. Lily is blind, and when she is mistakenly taken for a beggar, the chengguan interrupt her life. Her sister, Ivy, must find a way to free her from the grasp of corrupt officials. The two become desperate to each help the other, and the bonds of sisterhood cannot be broken as they work to be reunited.


Read more about Lily and Ivy and their fight for freedom in Bitter Winds, available here at Amazon.

Searching for birthparents in China (when an adoptee starts to question)

Written by Kay on . Posted in Adoption Stories, Book Recommendations



(Illustration Credit: Mother Bridge of Love)

Recently I received another of many similar letters from an adoptee, asking me if I had any advice on how to search for her birthparents in China. While this is the words from one wise girl, there are others out there like her:

I recently read your book, Chasing China“. I absolutely loved it! I was very touched by the story. I was adopted from China. The whole aspect of “the finders” was quite intriguing. I would like to seek out my biological family, and don’t know where to start. Do you have any suggestions? I don’t think I’ll be able to travel to China anytime soon. I also have complete support from my adoptive parents in this search. I would really appreciate any advice you could offer on going about this. I understand the concept is like searching for a needle in the haystack, but I still would like to at least try. 

At first because I thought she might be underage, I was hesitant to answer. And while I was considering just how to answer, I asked the advice of the pros….the adoptive parents in my circle. I received some amazing advice and in addition to advising adoptees that they should read my memoir, Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage, to get an idea of the culture of a social welfare institute (orphanage in China), I am working on putting together a document that will consists of tips, groups, websites, and advice pertaining to finding birth parents in China. You are welcome to ask for it via contacting me on my website, or I’ll also be discussing it on my newsletter. You can subscribe here:


In the meantime, I received another message from another adoptee. Her words brought tears to my eyes and made me realize (or re-emphasize) that I need to treat these inquiries with the utmost respect and compassion. Her name is Mallory Anderson and she’s a young woman who I think you will agree, has a way with words. She has given me permission to share her note:

Hi Kay Bratt, Not sure if you know me, but my name is Mallory Anderson, and I noticed your recent post about a young women who is wanting to find her birth parents. I am adoptee from China, and I remember as a young adopted kid from China, the thought of my birth parents sometimes came up and I would have mix feelings about it. When I saw your post last night, it really touched me, and reminded me of how I used to feel as a young child. Torn between the amazing parents I was meant to have, and yet not knowing of how I came to be here. For the past few months, I’ve been feeling that I in any way I can, I should help others as they deal with these feelings. But now that I’m older, I know that my past doesn’t define who I am, or who I will become. What I’ve been through has shaped me into the kind of women I am today. I just wanted to give my personal opinion since I was adopted and have no clue who my birth parents are. So a little about me, I was adopted when I was 3 and a half, coming to American in December of 93. Growing up for me, there was never a doubt that my adopted parents were the parents that God gave me, or the parents I was always meant to be with. I love my parents so much, and I am exactly like my mom. But sometimes it comes to my mind, and you can never fault adopted kids for thinking this way, of who were my birth parents? As an adopted kid, it’s always a running thought of who were they. Now that I’m older and know more about China, how the whole adopted situation goes on, as well as the politic in China, I’ve been a little more interested in myself. I definitely do not think of her asking is bad, and whether she is younger or older, it’s important to listen, to hear what she is searching for. This is about her and how she feels, and it is always important to respect all feelings when it comes to a situation like this, but it will effect her more than the adopted parents. So personally if there is any way of making her feel better about her birth parents, I would try. I hope this helps, because I noticed all the post were very helpful parents or caring friends, so I thought it would be nice to hear from an adoptee from China.

Best wishes, Mallory Anderson

Well, yes, Mallory, it is helpful to hear from an adoptee and I appreciate you taking the time to pour out your thoughts as well as grant permission for them to be public. While every adoptive parent I’ve ever come in contact with is very supportive in their child’s requests to know more about their pasts, if there are any out there who are questioning the pros and cons then maybe your words and that of the first adoptee’s above (thanks goes out to her, too!) will help them gain a new perspective. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the document of Birth Family Search Tips that I am compiling and will freely give out to all who ask (as long as they are 18 or older).

~Kay Bratt

‘My Writing Process’ Blog Tour

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, About Publishing

Kay Bratt

Dear Unsuspecting Readers,

Please sympathize with me and read to the end. Please! As an initial plea of defense, I almost never get into the fun (aka: non-complicated and opposite of mind-numbing) stuff on the internet. Usually because I’ve always got my head buried in research or writing, but this week I have fully committed to being a (semi-reluctant) team player on a blog roll!

What is a blog roll, you ask? Well, being the author hermit I am, I’m not totally sure myself but looking back at what others have done, it appears it’s sort of like sitting around the campfire telling tales. A group of storytellers (authors) all work together to contribute something, then pass the stick to the next person, to keep the spirit of the event (blog roll) alive.

My good friend and fellow author, Karen McQuestion, was kind enough to ask (drag) me into the fun. All kidding set aside, if you haven’t heard of Karen, then you haven’t yet tested the deepest waters of women’s fiction. What? Say you want a recommendation? I’d suggest you start with The Long Way Home.


But I also know from my undercover sources that she has a new book on the horizon that will blow your socks off. (I’ve beta read it so I know!) It’s called Hello Love and you can preorder it today. I promise, you’ll thank me when that baby hits your Kindle. You’re welcome.

Like me, Karen also answered questions about her writing process on her blog, McQuestion Musings, and then she threw the questions to me.  So here are my answers and as soon as I’m done I’m inviting (aka: torturing) the next writers on the list, so stay tuned to see who (willingly) posts about their writing process next.

QUESTIONS….drumroll, please…..


If you could see my office and the floor beside my bed (and the table in the screened porch), you’d think I was collecting Chinese history books. I’ve surrounded (buried) myself in research material for a book I’m working on that will be set during the Cultural Revolution. It will be a novel-length prequel to my bestselling series The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters.

Scavenger's Daughters4


My work probably doesn’t differ much from other China-inspired fiction. Authors like Lisa See, Amy Tan, and even the late Pearl Buck have used bits of history and inspiration from real life people to launch the ideas for their stories, just as I do. (PS. Did you know Lisa See just released a new novel called China Dolls, set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1930s? I can’t wait to read it!)


Several years ago, I was lucky enough to garner a 4 1/2 year respite from American life to become an expat in the mysterious and sometimes chaotic country of China. There I spent time with the locals and fell in love with the children at the orphanage where I volunteered. I’ll admit that I went into China and the orphanage with pre-conceived notions of cruel parents who abandon helpless children. After some years of experience, I came to realize there was so much more to the story, especially the fact that most parents would rather do anything than relinquish their children. Most times that recourse is their last resort to save their beautiful babies from a life of poverty, or worse, death or disability from a lack of medical assistance.

When I returned to the states, I found myself obsessed with continuing to raise awareness about the plights of the underprivileged women and children in China.


After Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage, (my memoir) took off like a rocket, I decided to continue to use my love of writing to advocate. Now I use my books to entertain while covertly raising awareness about the difficult human affairs some choose to close their eyes to.

Children abandoned under bridges, women forced into abortions, girls abducted to be sold as brides, street children dying to try to stay warm—all of these are themes I explore as I create characters that will have readers rooting for them to overcome their dire circumstances. My stories are about family loyalty, loss, and the tenacity of the human spirit intent on survival.


Coming from a long history of being overly structured and self-critical (driven beyond sane parameters), it’s not surprising that I treat my writing like a fulltime job. When I rise in the mornings I immediately get dressed, take the dog out, pour a Dr. Pepper over ice, then sit down at my desk and prepare to make some progress. The first hour or so is spent updating social networking, sending/answering emails, and reading a few writing/publishing sites to see if I’m missing any breaking news that will affect me. Then once that is all out of the way, I get down to ‘bizness.

The ‘bizness may be research, editing, marketing, or actually writing new stuff. However, I only start a manuscript after sometimes months of gathering facts and tidbits that I can fold into the story. Reader reviews have shown me that the most appreciated aspect of my work is the tidbits of history I weave through, so getting those parts down into an organized outline or list is the first priority. Once I have a semi complete outline ready, I then begin writing. Each day I take on another chapter, even if only fleshing it out to return to it the next day and complete it further. As for the outline, it’s usual for me to deviate from it about halfway through the manuscript, as my creative juices and growing familiarity with my characters send me down unexpected avenues.


Simply put, my writing process doesn’t work worth beans if I’m not in my usual place at my familiar desk in my cozy office. I like (need) routine, so my writing process also doesn’t work if the house if full of unusual activity. I write best when I’m alone with only my dog, Riley, and my cat, Gypsy, to keep me company. If daughters or grandchildren (or pesky husbands) are underfoot, I focus on marketing or other writing stuff, anything but the manuscript. For that I need blessed solitude.  But when I’m not working, I love having visitors or enjoy just walking through our backyard to the lake, taking a moment each day to enjoy nature and all the blessings that we’ve worked for and those God has given us.


rosalind james

ROSALIND JAMES. If you are not familiar with that name yet, just hold on, because you soon will be. Rosalind sold nearly 225,000 books in her first 21 months of publishing! She is the author of several Amazon bestsellers including the two different series titled Escape To New Zealand and The Kincaids. If you want to read how Rosalind’s writing process enables her to crank out bestsellers, visit her at her blog here.


Then we have the always unpredictable Robyn Coden who I have the pleasure of mentoring as she wades into the shark-infested waters of publishing. But she’s not a total newbie. Have you heard of the blog called Dim Sum and Doughnuts? If not, you’d better head over there and see what kind of trouble Robyn is stirring up. Honest and provocative, Robyn is an up & coming author and for a hint of what she is about, here is her tagline: We’re an unconventional family and we live an unconventional life…but sometimes unconventional works. As for what she is working on to be published—that I can’t tell you because it’s super top secret. Please visit Robyn on Facebook to get to know her and be amused by her take on motherhood and life in general. And if you want to see her start a flame war and then put it out, check out one of my favorite posts of hers titled I Am Who I Am. You’ll either laugh or be ticked off—I promise you one extreme or the other. Oh, and to see Robyn’s take on her writing process, check out her writing process (and all the uber cool things she says about me!) at her website Dim Sum and Doughnuts.

Whew! Finished! I can mark being a part of an author blog roll off my bucket list.


So….if you’ve read all the way to the end of this rambling blog post, you deserve a medal…or maybe just an ice cream cone. Or both. So yeah, um…thanks.

Bitter Winds is now Available!

Written by Kay on . Posted in About Publishing, China-Inspired Book Recommendations


Now available [here] on Amazon, the third book of the Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters series, Bitter Winds continues the saga of Chinese couple Benfu and Calli, and the abandoned young women in their care.

Since the night her sister was almost burned alive in a fire and they were taken from their mother, Ivy has been the self-appointed guardian and guide to her blind twin, Lily. When Lily is snatched away and put behind locked doors, Ivy will do whatever it takes to get her sister home, even it means putting her own life in danger.

After Benfu and Calli’s long-lost daughter, Li Jin, is finally reunited with her birth parents, she opens a shelter for displaced people, turning her fortune from destitution and abuse to family and fulfillment. But her friend Sami remains consumed by bitterness—and Li Jin soon realizes she needs to make a difficult choice between revisiting the past or nurturing her own future.  Buy now:

Amazon Reviews:

Not long ago life had me “too busy” to find time to read. Then, I read one of her books and her writing spoke to me, I can find time to read all the time now. This third book in the series is no different than the others, except perhaps better. This one is my favorite, but I say that after reading each one. I never believe a better book can be written, but then she does it. If you want to escape for a bit and be sucked in by a family, get some education on how things work in China and have real emotions — this series is for you!

Book Three is just as good as the first two in the Scavengers Daughters series (I hope there are more to come, so I won’t say Trilogy).  In each of the books we follow the story of one or two of the daughters of the Scavengers Daughters. Their triumphs, their tragedies, but always wih such amazing story telling, you don’t want to put the book down.

There is absolutely so much that is happening on each page! The story line is easy to follow and it doesn’t take long to be completely absorbed. Kay Bratt brings the characters to life by having their past experiences affect their personalities accordingly. She takes you deep into China’s cultures and neighborhoods and how the government affects their daily lives. This is one of those books where I didn’t want to come to the end. I would recommend you reading all the books in the Scavenger’s Daughter series.