by Ramona Flightner
Clarissa Sullivan dreams for more from life than sipping tepid tea 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.
“If you don’t mind me saying so, Mr. McLeod, you seem quite domesticated,” Savannah said in a haughty tone.
Gabriel laughed. “Like a favorite pet, Miss Russell?” He glanced toward her with humor. “I always think domestication ruins the better part of the beast.”
“But you wouldn’t want a wild dog in your house,” Savannah protested. “And horses must be tamed.”
Gabriel nodded. “I would hate to think you compared me to a horse or a dog, miss. I hope I have better manners than that?” he asked, raising his eyebrows mockingly toward Savannah. “Though, I agree, horses are most useful for our purpose when tamed, but I wonder if they truly enjoy working for us?” He looked toward me, although he did not push me into the conversation.
He let out a long theatrical sigh. “Domesticated cats, dogs. Domesticated women. Wonderful creatures. Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Sullivan?” He looked toward me wickedly. I had bolted so hard in the rocker at his words I had nearly flown onto the floor. I watched him with wide eyes, wondering why he pushed Savannah so.
Savannah replied, “Now you are offensive, sir.” She vibrated with anger.
“Isn’t that what all young women long to be?” Gabriel asked Savannah, setting down the filled mugs with a clunk. “Domesticated. Demure. Tamed to the needs and ways of their husbands?”
“You know perfectly well you are describing the ideal wife,” Savannah spat out.
“Am I?” he asked, sounding unconvinced. “What do you think, Miss Sullivan?” he turned to me. “Is that what you long to be, a domesticated woman?”
“No!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.
“Rissa!” Savannah scolded me, eyes flashing. She had begun to breathe heavily, and I feared she would faint with her tightly laced corset.
I blushed but met Gabriel’s eyes. “No,” I said. “I have no desire to match that description. Slightly less clumsy, perhaps,” I muttered.
“Yes, I agree,” Gabriel said, causing me to worry he agreed with my assessment about my clumsiness. “Domestication is akin to docility which is an unattractive trait in a woman.” He smiled knowingly at me, and I felt a flash of pleasure.
“Do you speak in earnestness, sir, or are you in jest?” Savannah demanded. When Gabriel merely turned to look at her, she continued. “Men want docile, demure women,” she expounded, as though teaching a rudimentary fact to Gabriel.
“Well, pardon me, ma’am, for not learning my lessons well,” he replied, nodding his head deferentially.
I watched Savannah’s face become flushed red with anger and was worried she would erupt. She generally kept her temper under control, but, when it blew, it was a frightening thing to behold.
“I’d actually like to meet a young woman who can think for herself and doesn’t want only what her father or husband wants.” His quiet statement made my pulse quicken.
Savannah scoffed, “That path leads only to misery.”
“Or tremendous contentment,” Gabriel countered.
Savannah stood, knocking into the table with such force she caused tea to spill out of the mugs. “I will not sit here any longer and listen to your insolent beliefs,” she declared. “Rissa?” She turned toward me expectantly, then headed toward the door.
I looked at Gabriel with remorse, wanting to have spent longer time in his company. “I enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we could continue it one day at the school?” I watched him, hopeful he would agree.
He smiled, releasing a sigh of relief. “I would enjoy that very much, Miss Clarissa.”
I had forgotten how his voice could feel like a caress. I closed my eyes for a moment, having missed hearing his gentle baritone. No matter how much I had enjoyed his letters, I had missed him.
My Advice to New Writers
By Ramona Flightner/@ramonaflightner
When I began writing three years ago, I wrote for personal pleasure. I wrote because I couldn’t imagine not writing. I chose a topic that interested me and that I hoped would interest others. However, I did not concern myself with marketing, reader expectations, or the publishing world.
In many ways, this was a naïve outlook. To be truthful, I didn’t know all that much about the publishing world. I had no idea how difficult it was to find an agent and to become traditionally published. During that first year of ignorant bliss, I was not worried about my platform or the debate between indie and traditional publishing. I simply wrote.
On one hand, I wish that all writers could have a similar experience. Write for the joy of writing. Write whatever it is you want to write. However, I know that is not a realistic outlook. You need to be cognizant of marketing and who your ideal reader is. If you know who your ideal reader is, you will have an easier time marketing your book. You don’t want to be like me, frantically reading articles and marketing books as your book release date nears.
If you choose the indie publishing path like I did, you need a platform. You need a blog, a website, to be on Twitter and on Facebook. You might also want to consider Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. It is essential to build an audience before your book comes out. You want to have people who are already engaged and eager, waiting for your book.
I signed up for Twitter almost two years ago, but I didn’t know what I was doing. Why would anyone want to follow me? What if I accidentally sent out an offensive tweet? I didn’t know how to tweet, how to put a picture other than the egg up, I didn’t know what the #symbol meant. I was overwhelmed and wished I could just bury my head in the sand and write. However, I slowly learned what it all meant. I’m still not the best at Twitter, but I now have over 1,000 followers, which is always a surprise to me. I am hopeful, as I continue to release more books and my fan base grows, that I will have more followers. I look forward to genuinely interacting with fans on twitter.
As for Facebook, I resisted returning to it after taking a three-year break. I hated how intrusive it had been in my life. And yet, now that I am back on Facebook, it is an amazing marketing tool. I have my personal page which is just for my friends and family and then an author page that anyone can see. You need to find out what is best for you.
My favorite social media is Pinterest. I am a very visual person and Pinterest is perfect for me. I have made pins with quotes from my books as teasers leading up to my book’s release. I have a board with pins of clothes and furniture that inspired me as I wrote. All of this can lead to greater interaction with fans of your writing.
I had read advice from an author (I can’t remember which one), to write what you like to read. Thus, I wrote a women’s fiction novel heavy on romantic elements. An ideal book for me if I were looking for a book in the bookstore. I am thankful I wrote a book I loved, because I have had to read it over a hundred times. This is not an exaggeration. Between editing, newbie mistakes, and proofreading you will read your book more times than you thought possible. You will know exactly every spot your editor has made changes because you know your book so intimately. Love your project, be passionate about it, because there will be days you hate it. You will need that love and passion to finish it and bring it to market.
One of the best pieces of advice that I read and that I think all new authors need to understand is that you are now running a business. You need to have a professional business card, a professional photograph for all of your social media, and you need a webpage. Your favorite activity might be writing, but you have to also be an entrepreneur.
You need to think about this endeavor long term. Have your books professionally edited. Hire a professional cover artist. The money invested is money well spent. You labored over every word, creating a new world for your readers to savor. Don’t let your masterpiece be overlooked due to poor editing or a shoddy cover. You, and your writing, deserve more than that.
I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to hearing about your journey. What is the best advice you have received as an author?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ramona Flightner is a native of Missoula, Montana. After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned a Masters 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 detail 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 in 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.
AUTHOR WEB PAGE: http://www.ramonaflightner.com
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