Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Banished Love

Today I'm hosting author, Ramona Fightner on her tour with her new book, Banished Love. I'm already intrigued by the peek I've seen of this book.  But not only is Ramona offering a great read, there are prizes throughout the tour, so comment here or at other stops and be entered to win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card.

Welcome Ramona!

Ramona Fightner is a native of Missoula, Montana.  After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned a Master's degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Montana.  Her Master's thesis, Chilean Testimonial Literature:  the collective suffering of a people, highlighted her continued interest in the stories of those who were at risk of being forgotten or silenced.

She studied nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Master's in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  She has worked for ten years as a family nurse practitioner providing care to the poor and under insured at two community health centers, first in Wilmington, Delaware and now in Boston, Massachusetts.

An avid reader, she began writing three years ago.  She enjoys the demands of research and relishes the small discoveries that give historical details to her books.

Ramona is an avid flyfisher and hiker who enjoys nothing better than spending a day on a remote Montana river, far from a city.  She enjoys research, travel, storytelling, learning about new cultures and discovering new ways of looking at the world.  Though she resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Ramona remains a Montanan at heart.

Her dreams are to see the plains of East Africa, marvel at the wonder of Petra, Jordan, soak in the seas of the South Pacific, and to continue to spend as much time as possible with her family.

Banished Love is her first novel and is the first in the forthcoming Banished Saga.


Clarissa Sullivan dreams for more from life than sipping tepid in stifling parlors in Victorian Boston.  She defies her family's wishes, continuing to teach poor immigrant children in Boston's West End, finding a much-needed purpose to her life.


As a suffragette, Clarissa is considered a firebrand radical no man would desire.  For why should
women want the vote when men have sheltered women from the distasteful aspects of politics and law?


When love blossoms between Clarissa and Gabriel McLeod, a struggling cabinetmaker, her family objects.  Clarissa's love and determination will be tested as she faces class prejudices, manipulative family members and social convention in order to live the life she desires with the man she loves.

Will she succeed?  Or will she yield to expectations?

BANISHED LOVE follows Clarissa Sullivan on her journey of self-discovery as she learns what she cannot live without.

Banished Love (An Excerpt):

"You've known my beliefs for some time,"  I croaked out.

"A schoolgirl's idealism," she snapped.  "Nothing to be acted on.

Mrs. Chickering cleared her throat, as though to remind Mrs. Smythe she remained present.  "I think it takes a tremendous strength of character to have beliefs and then actually act on them," she said with her own fervor.  "I would hate for women to to lock away their desires for a better world once they leave school or marry.  They, as women, have lives, have hopes and dreams for the future, independent of what a man might want."

"How dare you come into my house and tell me that what I have is not sufficient?"  Mrs. Smythe gasped.

"I am saying no such thing, Mrs. Sullivan," Mrs. Chickering replied.  "I believe you need to understand that your stepdaughter has beliefs and aspirations that are different from your yours."

"Aspirations that include the vote?"  Mrs. Smythe scoffed.  "Men have voted in the past, they will continue to vote, and I have no desire of it.  I feel as my husband does on all things to do with politics, so it would only be giving the same politician two votes rather than one.  There's no purpose to women having the vote."  Her eyes flashed, true enmity in their depths as she glared at Mrs. Chickering.  "And didn't we women of Massachusetts show you suffragettes we didn't want the vote in '95?  No one voted for women to become enfranchised then, and they won't now."  She sighed loudly, as though trying to calm herself.

"An aspiration for independence?" Mrs. Smythe continued, unable to stop speaking.  "Are you telling me that someday it should be lauded, hoped for, that young women become independent and have no need for marriage?  No need for children?  How could that ever be a hoped-for future?  You and your group want too much for women.  Women should focus on their home, on creating a moral, upstanding environment in which to raise children.  She will want for nothing if she has such a home," Mrs. Smythe argued.

"So I suppose women should remain tied to the kitchen stove with children at their ankles, and a husband who might, or might not, come home with a paycheck as their only recourse?"  Mrs. Chickering countered.  "Relying on the benevolence of men to write the laws and enforce them without women having any involvement in the legislative process?  Sitting at home knitting, hoping that men will ensure that our rights are protected?  That is all you envision for women?  Nothing more?"

"It has been enough for generations.  I do not know why it should need to change now," Mrs. Smythe snapped, banging down her teacup with such force I thought she might crack it.

"Was that enough for you in your first marriage, Mrs. Sullivan?" Mrs. Chickering asked pinning her with an intense gaze.">Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN gift certificate--a Rafflecopter

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Expect the Unexpected

My first novel, From The Dust, is a historical romance set in Depression Era Saskatchewan.  As part of my research I interviewed a few people that had lived through the thirties.  Unfortunately, one of those I interviewed, my husband's uncle, recently passed away.   I've re-posted below, the blog post that was the result of that interview.

Here's to you, Uncle Jim.

A Whole Lot of Nothing In Saskatchewan

"No one had any money," the tall, handsome senior tells me. He was a teenager through much of the thirties. The thirties, not the depression, that's how many of the seniors I talk to refer to the depression, only as the thirties.

"What did you do for fun?" I ask.


"No dances?" I prod.

"I played the fiddle my Dad bought."

"You didn't have any money," I remind him.

"We bought it before the thirties, when we still had some money."

"Did you play at dances?" I ask again.

"Wasn't that good," he says in his cryptic manner. "The neighour taught me. We had musicals at different homes. I played at them sometimes."

"And dances?" So give me credit - I'm persistent!

"Yeah. I played at a few. But usually we had a real orchestra come out."

"Orchestra?" Now I'm puzzled. What about the no money thing?

"Yeah, my cousin played banjo, his wife played fiddle and a friend played saxaphone. They came out every Saturday night."

Nothing is sure becoming an interesting term. There's a whole lot of nothing going on. But I press on.

"From the city?" I ask.

"No, from the farm." He looks puzzled at the question. "They came into town."

"So you danced every weekend?"

"When we didn't have money. Sometimes we had money you know."
He eyes me like everyone should know this fact and continues,"then we went to Disley and bought beer."

"Yeah. But we got rid of the empties."
"So you returned the empties?" I ask assuming poverty stricken as they were they would want the cash on a bottle return.
"Oh no." He shakes his head. "That would mean we'd have to take the bottles home with us. We threw them away so our mothers wouldn't find out we'd been drinking beer!"


After "From the Dust" was published, I received this feedback from Uncle Jim:

 "I read your book," he said with his cane perched across his long legs.  He paused as if for effect.  "I liked it."

I let out a relieved breath.

"Except for one thing."

Silence resonated as I held my breath, almost afraid to think what might have been wrong.  It's a love story there were probably places where a man of his age might have wished I'd glossed over.  Yes, that must have been it.

He repositioned his cane, obviously loving the drama.  Then he looked at me with a smile and said, "Not enough sex."

 Uncle Jim
1917 - 2014

Life is Unexpected - Safe travels
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