Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year

 Wishing you all happy times and many blessings in the New Year. 

Like grandmothers everywhere Christmas programs and the gathering of family have been the light of the season. Faith, family, food and friends are what make life worthwhile. I am truly blessed.
Back to the world of books, my visit in Eufaula on December 7th with the genealogical society was a real treat. They really "get" the reason for the genealogical information in Swimming with Serpents. The New Year begins with the official launch for In Pursuit on January 23 at 7 PM at the Cultural Arts Center in Dothan, Alabama. If you are close by, please come. In Pursuit is book 2 in the family saga begun with Swimming with Serpents.

Book 3, with the working title of Sons of Caesar, should be complete in a few months. 

I look forward to visiting with the Dothan Fine Arts Club in January and Books Alive in Panama City on February 1.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pocahontas - Pettus genealogical connection

New information has come to my attention about an intriguing family tie between Pocahontas and our family's Pettus line. According to William Walker Pettus, IV, author of Thomas Petyous of Norwich, England and his Pettus Descendants in England and Virginia, Ka-Okee, the daughter of Pocahontas and Kocoum, to whom Pocahontas was married before John Rolfe, married Thomas Pettus and was the mother of two of his children, Christian and Stephen, from whom many American Pettuses descend. For more information:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I spent the better part of last week giving my website a facelift. I started my genealogy website using FrontPage which I found easy to use. Unfortunately, servers quit supporting that WYSIWYG and I have had to teach myself Dreamweaver. I chose Dreamweaver because I was told it had become the industry standard. I must admit there is quite a learning curve when one is determined to do one's own website with no formal training in such things. I have so many interests and pages, however, that it just seems logical for me to do it myself. Besides, I am one of those impatient people that does not like to wait for someone to have time to do it for me.

I am a writer. Right? And writers write. So, why not let the website be my format. A blog spot is rather limiting, I find  for the diversity of topics upon which I write.

Southern style is a website devoted to Southern Culture. I hope you will visit:

We Southerners are a unique breed. Pride of place, manners bred into us from birth, the foods we eat, our bond with the land and our relationship with our family and friends make us who we are. Most practice true religion. For most of us football is nearly a religious experience.

Southern-style began as a genealogy website. It expanded to become a general interest website (generally anything I am interested in). Those interests evolved with the discovery that not only did this born and bred southerner have ancestors on the Mayflower and in Jamestown, but among those Native Americans who originally inhabited these lands.

You will see that history intrigues me, particularly the people and area in which I grew up, Southeast Alabama. Folks greet each other asking, "How's your mom an 'em?" Wondering how all those folks were related led me to doing lots of genealogy which many of you may find interesting. The same was true for Wilcox county, Alabama, my father's old stomping grounds and Escambia, Alabama, where my mother was born. Of course all of that took me back many generations and into the history and founding of this nation and those from which those ancestors came. This tapestry has threads that lead to fascinating people and their stories.

I grew up in a privileged home, the daughter of a small town doctor and a stay at home mother who met my father after a World War in which my father served in the Phillippines and my mother served as a nurse and earned a battle ribbon at the Battle of the Bulge. Mattie Martin, the black housekeeper who helped them raise their children did much more than cook and keep house. She supported our parents in teaching us manners, morals and values and our place in the world. She was also the very best cook in town. The profound impact she made on me influenced my view of the world and the books I have written.

If you have a wedding coming up you might enjoy reading about our daughter Brooke's home spun wedding. The Wedding Raising was a lot of fun! The "how to" might give you some ideas. I also share the Mother of the Groom perspective on a wedding as well.

As I write this, my kitchen is getting bedazzled with new Jenn Air appliances just in time for my renewed efforts toward writing a cookbook. I hope to share with you more recipes and menus from my own Southern experience.

I also threw in a few short stories you might enjoy.

Please visit this very personal view of the South.
Sharman Ramsey
Roll Tide!

By the way, my novels Swimming with Serpents and In Pursuit are available through Independent Book Stores, Barnes and Noble, Mercer University Press, and Amazon.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Great review for In Pursuit and Netflix recommended shows

Thank you, Megan Wessell, for the fantastic review of IN PURSUIT on your blog! 

I've been watching Netflix lately and want to recommend the Emily Owens, MD series with Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep's daughter. She is fantastically talented and reminds on immediately of her wonderful mother. Two cooking movies captured my attention. Haute Cuisine relays the story of Francois Mitterand's personal chef. One learns a LOT about the French obsession with food. But, apparently the French are not alone in their culinary interest.

According to the Korean movie, there are two great joys in the world: Water going downhill and food going into your child's mouth. As a mother I can relate to that.

Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War Every mother should watch this. I found it on Netflix and was profoundly moved. We have so much more in common than we have that makes us different. Take the time to watch this movie. It is worth it.

The two books now with my agent, Holly McClure, are about two sisters long estranged who get back together after the deaths of their husbands. During a tipsy night at Antoine's in New Orleans, they finagle their way onto the Dishing It Network using their family plantation house as their gimmick. I've already written a cookbook, so I guess my interest in food shows is understandable.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Victoria Bush, whose studio is located across the street from the Captain's Table in St. Andrews, painted this beautiful portrait of our granddaughter Lily. It is eight years later and it is Megan's turn for her portrait. We met with Victoria in the lovely home she and her husband Zoltan built in Parker on the bay. Their gardens truly give you the feel of being on the Mediterranean as you look from their windows onto the water. I can hardly wait to see the work of art this gifted artist will create featuring our Megan.

Nashville Festival of Books

I finally got to meet Kathy Patrick, the Pulpwood Queen, in person. I look forward to attending the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend in January. Ward Briggs was an associate of James Dickey and promises to be one of our premier southern writers. Kathy Patrick and I met him and his wife in Nashville.
The best part of attending Book Festivals is making new new friends and seeing the old friends who come out to support you. The Nashville Festival of Books did not disappoint. Skip Tucker (Pale Blue Light) and I were together on a panel and my dear old friend, Suellen Martin Joyner attended the Festival just to see me! Around 200 authors attended the Festival and the setting was simply glorious. Nashville shone!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cook, my darling daughter

I was first introduced to this book by my dear friend and fellow BOOB (Bunch of Old Broads), Julie Cheshire, when she prepared Enzio Pinza's Spaghetti recipe to serve us at her turn to host our luncheon group. Pinza starred in South Pacific. The author, Mildred O. Knopf, was the wife of Edwin Knopf who was a writer and Hollywood producer as well as the brother of Alfred Knopf who just happened to own a book publishing company. Mildred was the premier hostess in Hollywood.

I am impressed with the foreword to this cookbook mainly because it is written by Wendy, the daughter with whom she co-wrote this cookbook. I am struck by the impact of the woman in her kitchen on her children. So many young women seem to struggle with their  place in the world. Older women who are to be teaching the younger women to "love their husbands, to love their children and to be keepers in the home," are themselves just as conflicted.

Rather than diets and lifestyle lifts, perhaps more time in the kitchen with those entrusted to us to be our legacy might be an answer. One thing is for sure -- we are all going to die. What did we do with the time we have? Perhaps we can have it all...just not all at one time. Anyway, with these thoughts, I share with you the foreword to the cookbook to which my dear friend referred me...
One dreary winter afternoon when the endless gray rain poured against the windows and flooded the streets, my three little girls and I retreated to the kitchen to make fudge. When the rich glossy chocolate had been beaten into creaminess, poured into a pan for cooling, marking and eating, we sat down at the kitchen table together for our treat. The gay impatient chatter of the children made the thrumming rain outside seem far away. It was then my little four-year-old, smeary with chocolate, gave me my idea for this foreword to my mother’s cookbook. “I love you, Mommee, she said, “cause you make good things.”

 Love and food? Are they allied I think so, especially if you can cook with care and serve with affection. Whether you cook every day, cook on special occasions, or only supervise the meals in your house, it is a form of giving from you to your family and friends; it is a tangible and creative expression of yourself. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of food and all the pleasant ways in which it may be cooked, served, and eaten. These were and still are a part of the hospitality that flourished so warmly within the old white stucco house with its red-tiled roof ad many rooms where my two brothers and I spent our childhood. Apparently, this house could absorb squads of hungry children, Sunday guests of all ages who came to lunch and stayed all day, and crowds of fifty dining at midnight after a concert on homemade pate, cold salmon with cucumbers, chicken in wine and whatever else the laden table could hold. What made this house such a pleasant haven for so many people I am sure it was the spirit in which the hospitality was given; the care with which the home was kept.

The garden bloomed with roses; apricot trees were carefully espaliered against a sunny brick wall. Here one found fragrance, pleasure, and respite, as was intended.

At the west end of the house, endlessly busy, our high ceilinged, awkward old kitchen seemed to have a life of its own. There, despite the distances from sink to stove and the inaccessible cupboards piled almost to the ceiling, my mother’s talents bore fruit. Often, in the center of all the activity, was my father, poking into pots, turning down flames, examining, enthusing, often predicting dreadful happenings if the roast remained in the oven another minute longer! It was a good place to be, our kitchen. Here, more than in our temperate California skies, the year displayed itself. Birthday cakes with pink and white layers and sentimental frosted messages; the Easter ham, glazed and elegant and garlanded with pansies which surprised us all one year when they proved to house a large family of ants; an afternoon spent making Christmas cookies with pungent gingerbread bodies and raisin eyes for my brothers to hang upon the tree. No one would have dreamed of dismissing my mother as “just a housewife.” She was the pride of the household, the purveyor of delicacies relished by us all, and, for a little girl, someone to be admired, followed about, and emulated. Just as I knew that someday I would wear lipstick and high heels, I knew that I would love to cook.

To my mother who cooked with love and to my father who ate with affection and gusto, I owe a debt of gratitude. There is real pleasure and satisfaction for me in cooking for my family, entertaining our friends and giving from our kitchen to all who care to come. This book has been written in the hope of giving you that same pleasure and to further your efforts when you go to the kitchen to “make good things.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nashville and the Southern Festival of the Book

I am honored to have been invited to participate in Nashville on October 12th as an author at the Southern Festival of the Book to on a panel at the with Skip Tucker, author of Pale Blue Light about Stonewall Jackson. I had the pleasure of meeting Skip at Chautauqua. The Southern Festival of the Book has the reputation of being one of the best book festivals in the country. In 2004 200 authors were in attendance, in addition to nearly 100 publishing and book distributor booths and tranked as one of the US' premier book events. It has only grown since then to be even more highly regarded.

Several authors that I met at other festivals will also be in attendance and I look forward to seeing there including Elizabeth Cox and Michael Curtis, Jackie Cooper, Cassandra King, Maggie Schein, Karen Zacharias, Susan Boyer, Kim Boykin, Clif Graubart, Cynthia Graubart, Nathalie Dupree, artist Jonathan Green, Alison Law, Terra Elan McCoy, Michael Morris, Kathy Patrick, Jackie White, Ron Rash, and Lisa Wingate.

While in Nashville I plan to visit the Hermitage where it is said William Weatherford spent some time following the Creek Indian War after turning himself in to Andrew Jackson at Fort Jackson. It will be interesting to see how well received my novels are in Nashville considering the fact that they pretty much look at the history of that time through a Native American perspective.

Monday, September 23, 2013

SIBA and Clear Story Radio with River Jordan

Fortunately Cynthia Graubart and Nathalie Dupree were once again at SIBA. Last year they gave out of this book before I made it to the breakfast where they spoke. This year I made sure to get there early enough to get the book.
Cynthia's husband, Clif, is a fellow Mercer University Press author (The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories). They are friends of Pat Conroy (who wrote a forward for the cookbook) and Cassandra King Conroy (who wrote a blurb for both In Pursuit and Swimming with Serpents, my books). I had the pleasure of meeting them at the South Carolina Book Festival about a month ago.

Clif and I sat in on some podcast taping for River Jordan ( at Clear Story Radio River is a Panama City, Florida native.
I plan not only to READ this cookbook, I also plan to COOK from it. Which will be quite a surprise for my husband.

You Are Your Own Best Publicist Power Point

Kathie Bennett and I did a workshop at Agnes Scott in conjunction with the Decatur Book Festival that I have posted on my website. Scroll to You Are Your Own Best Publicist. It may be helpful to someone out there.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Abraham in In Pursuit

Meet Abraham from the novel, In Pursuit

Abraham worked as a servant for a physician, Doctor Sierra. During the War of 1812, this educated, articulate man joined the Corps of Colonial Marines under Major Edward Nichols , who promised freedom to any slave who joined him. Abraham helped build the fort at Prospect Bluff in Florida. When Nichols and Upper Creek Chief Josiah Francis set sail for England in 1815, Abraham stayed behind in the Fort, which had become a haven for Africans who had escaped from slavery.

The fort came to be known as the Negro Fort and was attacked and destroyed during July of 1816 upon the orders of Andrew Jackson, though the fort was located in Spanish territory. Abraham was one of the few survivors. He made his way to the Seminole village known Suwannee River Town in Florida, where he served as "sense bearer" (a sort of prime minister) for Chief Bowlegs. He lived in an African town in Florida called Pilaklinkaha, or Many Ponds, and was adopted as a member of the Seminole Nation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tecumseh and family relationships



Other players in In Pursuit: James McQueen who came with Oglethorpe in 1733 is not a part of the novel, but he left quite a legacy. His grandson, Tecumseh came in 1811 to inspire his Creek relatives to join in a pan Indian confederacy to push back the Americans. Peter McQueen, Red Stick Prophet, and son of James McQueen, led a ragged, desperate bunch of survivors from Horseshoe Bend down to Pensacola. Josiah Francis, also a grandson of James McQueen, and Billy Powell (aka Osceola, then a mere boy), James McQueen's great grandson, and their families were among the family group. In Spanish Florida they were fed, clothed and armed by British officers of the Corps of Colonial Marines. They later made their way to settle on the Apalachicola River where they built a fort.


Recommendations by other authors

In Pursuit

Dear readers of In Pursuit, prepare for a literary feast. A novel that is both elegant and electrifying, chock-full of intrigue and suspense, and a love story that is utterly absorbing, I  inhaled  In  Pursuit  like  a  decadent  meal,  unable  to  slow  my  delight  until  the  last, delicious page. As she proved in her beautifully-crafted  debut Swimming with Serpents, Sharman Ramsey knows her history and—more importantlythe  hearts and minds of her characters.   They  shine  here  once  again—and   I  ponder  them,  and  their  remarkable journeys, still.

Erika Marks, author of The Guest House

Historian and author Sharman Ramsey has worked magic with her latest novel In Pursuit. Ramsey  is a born  storyteller  and what  a tale she has woven  with  this novel.  One part adventure and one part historical fiction, this novel is all parts intrigue. Ramsey reminds us that love, passion and greed are human experiences  regardless of the era. Readers are sure to savor this educational and entertaining historical novel.

Michael Morris, Man in the Blue Moon

 History comes to life in this rip-roaring novel that starts out in a tearoom in London then sweeps across the seas in a pirate ship to the Spanish  territory  of Florida soon after the Battle of New Orleans. Sharman Ramsey has spun a rollicking story of kidnappings,  lost treasures,  Red Stick Creeks  and Seminoles,  betrayal  and revenge,  populated  with well- known historical  figures such as Jean Lafitte, Billy Bowlegs, William  Weatherford,  and even Old Hickory himself, Andrew Jackson.

Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls

Pirates in In Pursuit

Gasparilla Festival in Tampa, Florida
I thought I would introduce some of the characters in In Pursuit to you. Let's start with the pirate Henri Caesar (Black Caesar) According to Wikipedia Henri Caesar was allegedly born to a slave family kept by a French plantation owner known as Arnaut. He worked as a houseboy on the estate and, as a young man, worked in the lumberyard. He was apparently mistreated by the supervisor and later killed the man during the slave insurrection, torturing him with a saw. Joining the rebel forces led by Dutty Boukman and Toussaint Louverture, he remained with the revolution until its independence from France in 1804, when he left to try his luck at sea. Based in Port-de-Paix, he captured a Spanish ship in 1805 and soon began attacking small villages and lone vessels near Cuba and the Bahamas. Adopting the name Black Caesar, he was very successful during his piratical career before his disappearance in 1830. Although his fate is unrecorded, he most likely fled the area after President Andrew Jackson ordered an expedition against pirates active on the Florida coast after its purchase by the United States in 1828. There is one story of his capture in west Florida and, taken to Key West, was tied to a tree and burned to death. The widow of a preacher, whose eyes had been burned out under torture from Black Caesar, had been used to light the fire.[1]

He is supposed to have buried between $2 and $6 million at several locations throughout the Caribbean including Pine Island, White Horse Key, Marco Island, Elliot Key and Sanibel Island, although none has ever been recovered. He is said to have been associated with another pirate, Jose Gaspar or Gasparilla, however his existence is doubted among historians.

Gregor MacGregor in In Pursuit

In Pursuit Exciting times! Gregor MacGregor (who conquered Amelia Island), George Woodbine and Robert Chrystie Armbrister (Corps of Colonial Marines) along with the Scottish trader Alexander Arbuthnot, planned to set up an empire with an army that would consist of former Red Sticks, Seminoles, and Blacks. With better timing they might well have been successful. A promised Indian nation would have provided a buffer.


Sharman with Mercer Marketing Director Mary Beth Kosowski

Jill Hindrix, Cassandra King, Sharman Ramsey, Wanda Jewel

Cat Banco with Karen Spears Zacharias
Perhaps the very best thing about this new writing gig of mine is the people I have met. It began last year this time when I attended my first Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance conference with Swimming with Serpents. I have been invited back this year to participate in something called the Moveable Feast. It is a lunch meeting and I will briefly visit tables of booksellers telling them about In Pursuit. It is a challenge. A marathon. How does one sell something that is so dear to one's heart?

I write a book not just to tell a story, but to impart the importance of an event that moved me to fashion a story around that event. The people who lived during that time have touched my heart and moved me so that I want others to share in that emotion though it happened 200 years ago. My books are not just books to me. Each encompasses the human spirit that transcends time and is as meaningful for us today as it was then.

How can I share the importance of remembering the nearly 300 men, women and children who died in an instant just a little over 100 miles from my home at what was known as the Negro Fort in a territory of Spain? And the Red Sticks who fled to Florida trying to elude the long arm of the Americans and particularly Andrew Jackson. Why did they die? They merely wanted to be free to plant fields and harvest crops, watch their children grow, defend themselves. I tell the story through a work of fiction putting flesh and blood to facts and figures through the eyes of the varied participants. Yet, above it all, it is a story of love and the triumph of the human spirit. People lived and loved in the midst of trials and tribulations. Historical fiction is a genre many academics disdain, but it is how I learned to love history.

I sincerely look forward to seeing once more all those friends I made at the first SIBA event and later visited with through luncheons and other events. These independent book stores keep books alive in communities throughout the country. I am honored to participate with two of my fellow Mercer published authors, Karen Spears Zacharias and Jackie K Cooper.