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.