BOOKS

Rhonda's Debut Novel

HISTORICAL FICTION

Fiona Weston, an Iowa horsewoman in work boots and trousers, sails to India in 1906 to discover her journey is not the quest for which she had yearned, nor the escape from those who ridicule her unconventional ways.

Her uncle offers Fiona and her brother a chance for adventure, to sell the quarter horses to the British Indian army to breed with their Manipuri horse for polo. The San Francisco earthquake takes the life of her brother. Jacob, the shipping agent, hired to handle the horses, sale and quarantine, works alongside Fiona. Confined below deck to her quarters by the captain, the adventure of sailing evades her, but an attraction smolders.

In India, everything she encounters rubs up against previous experiences. Her Indian host and mentor, Ameera, introduces her to religions, the caste system, British Imperialism, and the ways of men and women. Fiona will choose between two men: the engaging shipping agent, and an intellectually intriguing missionary who needs a wife. More importantly, she will choose herself above all others.

In this historical fiction, Song of Herself, Fiona experiences a journey fraught with obstacles that creates a sturdy sense of self, in which she learns to accept irreconcilable differences and still sing her song of self.

You can purchase Song of Herself at Amazon in Kindle or paperback.
Then write a review, please.
I’d be “over-the-moon” thrilled, if you did.


MEMOIR (Nonfiction)

Wiley-Jones’ coming-of-age travel memoir tracks her transition from a conservative religious upbringing to a more transcendent spiritual experience. As a young girl, she savors various worlds through mission studies and missionaries, who visit her church.

Ironically, her religious upbringing and unconventional mission experiences expand rather than narrow her views of the world. Wiley-Jones’ mother, wise beyond her own experience, launches Rhonda into the world, discerning that travel is fundamental to growing up with options.

A train trip across Arkansas alone at age fourteen, an excursion to the 7th Baptist Youth World Conference in Europe at fifteen, summer missionary service in Hawaii at seventeen, and a volunteer Baptist Student Union director in Salt Lake City as a college sophomore, each whet an appetite for learning more about people, culture, and travel.

Rhonda’s childhood forms a self- and religious-identity. Over time, adventures in different cultures create a skeptical relationship with her church and generate an appraisal from a more discerning view.

At age twenty-seven, she pulls on a backpack to explore the United Kingdom and Ireland, solo. Travel has shown her the way of being her own “agent,” developing “agency,” of how to take the reins of her life. This final declaration of independence coincides with her departure from the denomination in which she grew up and served, but not her Christian faith.

Read recommendations on this book.

You can purchase the book, At Home in the World, on Amazon.
Then, please, write a review.
It would tickle me pink, if you did.

ANTHOLOGIES


I have written several stories in these Story Circle Network anthologies.

You will find these two books are great gifts–think about birthdays, holidays, or special celebratory occasions. They offer short, two- to five-page poems, short stories, and narrative essays. Each book would be a lovely, meaningful gift.

In this 2022 publication, Real Women Write: Seeing Through Their Eyes, you will find short fiction, essays, poetry–narratives writing by, for, and about women on the topic of empathy. My two essays are “Paying to Pee” and “A Letter to our Insolent Server,” both travel stories.


In this 2017 book, Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories, you will find stories, both fiction and nonfiction for, by, and about women’s lives. In this book my essay is entitled, “Ugly Duckling to Howling Wolf.”