The Fall River Historical Society

The Fall River Historical Society

The Fall River Historical Society

by Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

On Sunday, I traveled to Fall River, Massachusetts to visit the Historical Society. It is housed in a Victorian mansion and decorated for Christmas. For years, I had meant to visit. It is a beautiful granite home, with enormous ceilings of 12 to 15 feet. The black walnut doors and wood work gleamed and had me in awe. I loved the details in each room, and my imagination ran wild as I envisioned Lucas playing at the piano in the parlor or the Sullivans having a heated discussion over supper in the sumptuous dining room. I marveled at the gorgeous furniture and envisioned Gabriel carving it.

Beautiful tree in the dining room

There were four Christmas trees and all were decorated in a different manner. Each year, the trees are decorated differently. The staff said that it takes them weeks to decorate the house (they start in October) but it only takes two days to take it all down!

Beautiful tree in the parlor

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

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A few updates:

I will send out a holiday newsletter next Monday. In that newsletter, the first chapter to book three will be included. If you are interested in reading more of the Banished Saga, be sure to sign up for my newsletter as only those signed up will receive Chapter One! (a link to my newsletter signup is on my homepage at www.ramonaflightner.com)

Thanks to my beta readers, I finally have a title for Book Three! Book three is now “Undaunted Love.” Look for it late Spring.

Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday!

Boston Fire Museum

The Boston Fire Museum

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

While I was writing the prequel for the Banished Saga, Love’s First Flames, I needed to research how fires were fought in Boston. Thus, I visited the Boston Fire Museum one Saturday morning and learned about fire fighting through the years. I had learned some information about the system and firefighters in the wonderful book A City So Grand: The Rise of An American Metropolis: Boston 1850-1900 by Stephen Puleo, but I needed more specific information about how a fire would have been fought in the 1880’s.

 When I arrived, I was met by a guide eager to walk me through fire fighting since the colonial period. While I was conducting research, most people at the museum that day were there with their children, hoping to get on one of the trucks to ring the bell on a fire truck and take photos.

Buckets used in Colonial Boston to fight fires.

Buckets used in Colonial Boston to fight fires.

 In the colonial period, all houses were required to keep two buckets by the front door. When the fire bell sounded, they had to rush out to the well where a line would form a bucket brigade. In 1782, Thayer (a student of Paul Revere) made a hand pump that was hand carried to fires. The buckets were still needed as that was how the pump was filled with water. This was considered the first fire engine.

This Thayer pump is from 1792. It was filled with buckets of water and was a hand pumped fire engine.

This Thayer pump is from 1792. It was filled with buckets of water and was a hand pumped fire engine. It was one of the first fire engines in Boston.

 Up until 1859, Boston had what I would term a “pay for service” model for fire fighting. Men from the different fire fighting groups in the neighborhoods would visit the residents in the neighborhood once a year and sell a policy for their fire fighting service in the unlikely event their services were needed. If you purchased their aid, you’d put a marker in your doorway showing who was responsible to fight the fire. If a fire were to break out in your house, all of the different fire fighting groups would arrive, but the only ones who would fight the fire would be the ones whose emblem was over your doorway. The others would call out disparaging comments as the fire raged, never helping to fight the fire. If you’d not purchased any coverage for the year, you’d be able to buy it at that moment, but at a much greater price. If you couldn’t or wouldn’t buy coverage, they would stand and watch your home burn.

Fire emblems you'd hang over your door to indicate who was protecting you in case of a fire

Fire emblems you’d hang over your door to indicate who was protecting you in case of a fire

 

Thus, in 1859, Boston re-organized the Boston Fire Department and did away with the neighborhood fire fighting groups and standardized the fire fighting efforts throughout the city. The necessity of purchasing an emblem or seal was no longer needed. My guide told me that it was a wild time to be a fire fighter as the men who had been part of the volunteer groups were disgruntled that they’d been disbanded and actively vandalized the equipment.

In the mid 1800’s another hand pump was used that required a vast number of men to man it. 20 to 25 men at a time were required to propel the water through the hoses. Firemen grabbed onto metal bars on either side of the pump and rocked the bar up and down to propel the water through the hose. It was exhausting work and men would only be able to do it for 3-5 minutes before needing a break. It required a group of 80-100 men, taking turns, to man it during a fire. Bystanders often joined in to help power the pump.

Hand pump requiring 20 or more men to make it work.

Hand pump requiring 20 or more men working in tandem to make it work.

 

In the 1860’s, steam powered pumps were introduced to the fire department. These were larger pumps and were pulled by horses to the fire. Eight to ten firefighters would hang off the side of the pump, waiting to reach the fire and jump down to battle the blaze. A fire fighter in the fire station was required to ensure that the correct steam pressure was maintained throughout the day, every day. He kept an hourly log of the steam pressure. If the pressure was incorrect, he would lose his position as they had to be prepared at any moment for a fire.

This is the type of steam powered fire pump that would have been used in the 1880's, the time of Love's First Flames.

This is the type of steam powered fire pump that would have been used in the 1880’s, the time of Love’s First Flames.

 

Another view of the steam fire engine

Another view of the steam fire engine

This is the type of fire engine that would have been used in Love’s First Flames.

Steam powered fire pump pulled by horses

Steam powered fire pump pulled by horses

 

 

I greatly enjoyed my visit to the Boston Fire Museum and would recommend a visit if you are in Boston and have the opportunity to visit.

 

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The prequel to the Banished Saga is now available at all e-book major retailers for free! I hope you enjoy it and please consider leaving a review as reviews help others decide to take a chance on a new author.

Love's First Flames

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

This is the time of year we give thanks for all we have. I give thanks to all of you, my readers, for your ongoing support and encouragement. With that in mind, I wanted to inform you that the prequel to the Banished Saga, Love’s First Flames, has been released as an e-book. It is available for free from the major online retailers.

Here are the links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tpau7j

Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/1vD0m1v

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1xorPPX

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1uthsse

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1vD0HBc

 

I hope you enjoy and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends. Safe travels!

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

Love's First Flames

 

 

In a few weeks, Love’s First Flames will be released as an e-book. I had a great time writing the novella, although it was a challenge writing it in such a way so as not to give away any of the secrets in Banished Love. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

reclaimedbold1-266x400

 

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

I’ve been remiss with the blog lately. Thankfully, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel and see friends and family this fall. I’ve also had a chance to take a short break from the intense writing and editing schedule I had set for myself. The few weeks without waking in the middle of the night with a character speaking to me have been bliss.

However, I know the time is soon approaching where I will begin intense research for book four. I’ve ordered numerous books to aid with my research and ideas are already starting to spin around in my mind. First, I must finish book three! I have yet to complete my final edit of the third novel before sending it to my editor. I find taking a few weeks away from any project gives me new eyes before starting to read through it again.

Here are some updates:

  • I’m listening to the audiobook chapters for Banished Love and I’ve listened to over half of Banished at this point. I love hearing it in a new way and I’ve really enjoyed working with my fantastic narrator, Lauren McCullough. It should be ready by the end of November/ beginning of December.
  • The audiobook for Reclaimed Love will be available sometime early in the new year.
  • The prequel to the Banished Saga, Love’s First Flames, should be available by mid to late November. It will be available for free wherever you download e-books. Look for the cover release next week.
  • Book Three, still unnamed, will be available in the spring of 2015.
  • My webpage (www.ramonaflightner.com) has been professionally re-designed. It’s beautiful and I hope you’ll have a chance to visit it.

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Months ago, I entered Banished Love in the Writer’s Digest 22nd Annual Self Published Books Contest. It didn’t win, but I received the judge’s comments yesterday. I must admit to being nervous and having to take a deep breath before scrolling down to read the comments. I found them to be constructive and quite fair. Here is what the judge said:

“Banished Love is a finely conceived period romance with a compelling heroine. The narrative is a bit dense in spots and would certainly benefit from a careful edit. Still, that kind of writing will have some appeal to fans of historical romances, so it is more along the lines of a quibble than a condemnation.

Author Ramona Flightner has done her homework and the characters and situations feel right for the place and time in which the story is set. The dialogue in particular is quite nicely done and rings true to the period while still being readable and relatable.

The book itself is cleanly presented, though a bit lackluster in interior design. The cover is quite beautiful and would not only sit comfortably on the bookstore shelf next to the work of major publishers but would attract the attention of readers from across the room. All in all this is quite a good read, just a bit overdone, and I think we’ll be seeing some great things from Ramona Flightner as she continues to refine her craft.” Judge 19, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

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I’m making it a goal to post more regularly on my blog and look for the cover release next week for the prequel, Love’s First Flames!

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