Author Archives: Ana Ramsey

About Ana Ramsey

Ana Ramsey* is a crazy cat lady-cum-author repped by the fabulous Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. When she's not wrangling her three rebel cats or working in the garden, she can usually be found lurking on Twitter (@anaquana) or gallivanting around the world from the comfort of her chair. *Name changed to protect the guilty

I Can Now Speak Like A Dragon

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Well… sort of.

One of my best friends got me Dragon Naturally Speaking for Yule this year because she knows I’m starting to have issues with my wrists and I’d like to minimize the damage I do to them before it progresses to carpal tunnel. I installed the software and began using it today.

My initial review is that I like it, but it’s odd. When I’m typing, I don’t have to actively think about what I’m going to type as long as I have a rough idea of how the scene should play out. I simply let my fingers fly free and watch the scene unfold in words. With Dragon, because I’m not used to speaking so much, I have to stop and think over every single word I say to make sure it sounds right. I’m hoping this will fade over time and allow me to “write” in a smoother manner.

It’s also odd for me to talk so much and, as a result, I’ve been drinking more tea today to help ease the discomfort in my throat. As you might imagine, my bladder isn’t quite so happy with this arrangement. And it’s going to take my poor husband a bit of getting used to since even when I’m talking softly my voice carries through the house. It freaked him out a bit since I don’t normally talk to myself… when he’s home at least.

Ah well… learning a new skill for the New Year. I hope this trend continues. :-)

Office Space

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My office is finally done! Okay, it’s not 100% done – my curtains still need to be made and I’ll probably be decorating it in dribs and drabs for a long time to come, but all of my stuff is moved in and I am now working in here instead of in the living room.

This was honestly one pain in the ass of a project. Mostly because it was the first room we renovated and we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Everything we did took five times longer than we’d planned on it taking (and we weren’t being unrealistic with our time frames to begin with) and every time we thought we were done, some new issue reared its ugly head.

My gorgeous new desk.

My gorgeous new desk.

My desktop.

My desktop.

View from by the window

View from by the window

View from the doorway

View from the doorway

Creative altar

Creative altar

Bookshelf for research books with chair.

Bookshelf for research books with chair.

 

And, just to give you an idea of before and after, this is what the room looked like before we tore the walls down:

The '70's orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

The ’70′s orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

And this is what that same wall looks like now:

The curved wall looks so much better in burgundy than in brown and orange plaid.

The curved wall looks so much better in burgundy than in brown and orange plaid.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wrap-up and a Snippet

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My husband and I were supposed to spend this weekend working on house projects, but mostly we ended up doing a whole lot of lounging around. We did get the next room on our renovation list gutted. Well, mostly gutted. We’re keeping the wall that has the mural on it so we’ve ripped down the plaster on three walls and the closet. Today we clean out the plaster and lathes we tore down and then begin construction on a retaining wall around the back edge of the driveway.

This week we finally get the outlets in my office grounded so that I can get everything moved in there and my computer plugged in without having to worry. YAY! I’ll post pictures as soon as I’ve got everything settled in there.

We had friends over yesterday to watch some football. Boy was that a disappointing loss by the Patriots to the Jets. Oh well… our season is going better than expected considering the number of injured players we have.

The current project is flowing along nicely and my writing partners are certainly enjoying it. Have a little snippet from it and let me know what you think.

“You’re not exactly what I was expecting for a god.”

He eyed me for a long moment, his gaze piercing and knowing, and then he smiled. It was a slow lazy smile that spoke volumes yet said nothing.

“And what,” he asked, his voice low and purring, “were you expecting?”

He was suddenly standing right in front of me. He was so close I could feel his body heat radiating out from under his clothes. My mouth was suddenly dry with fear and I couldn’t force the words from my throat.

“A hulking Norse barbarian perhaps?”

Before he’d even stopped speaking his features had morphed into a hard, chiseled face with flowing reddish-blonde hair. His shoulders and chest bulked up, straining against the fabric of his shirt. There was something cruel and twisted about this face and I shrank even further away from him.

“Or perhaps a movie star?” His hair darkened and his face and body narrowed and softened and in less than a second I was staring at the comic-book movie version of Loki. Even his voice changed. Except for his eyes, those were the same striking green.

This time my mouth was dry for a completely different reason.

“You like this aspect of me, don’t you? I see it in your eyes.” He leaned in close and whispered the words in my ear.  “And it is one of my aspects. Enough of you humans believed in it with such passion that it has become a part of me. Would you like me to remain in this form; this tortured, jealous soul who would seek to rule you?”

He leaned in closer, his lips just a hair’s breadth from brushing my ear.

“Would you kneel for me?”

Research and the Folly of Google

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I needed to do a bit of research for the newest project I’m working on so I headed to the trusty Google-mobile and typed in “loki mythology”. Down at the bottom of the page I noticed this: Loki Mythology

*headdesk*

Now, I know he’s a trickster god and all, but I didn’t realize switching pantheons was one of his powers. He’s a Norse god, people. NORSE.

I’m Aliiiiive!

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*blows dust off everything*

*sneezes uncontrollably*

It’s been a long time since I’ve ventured back here and for that I apologize. I became a bit of a hermit over the summer and didn’t do much socializing anywhere either online or in real life. But, hopefully, that hermitage is over now. It’s been quite an interesting few months.

My office is finally, FINALLY! at 99.9% completion. We’re just waiting on the electrician to stop over to ground the wall sockets so I can plug my computer in without worrying. We’re also waiting for my curtains to be completed.  Being this close to being able to move in there and not able to do so is killing me.

Since we’re basically done with my office, we started clearing out the next room to be renovated. The original plan for this next room was that it would be my husband’s office/man-cave, but after we cleared all of the stuff out of the room we found this:

Wall Mural

Wall Mural

Right side of wall mural

Right side of wall mural

Left side of wall mural

Left side of wall mural

It was hand-painted right onto the plaster wall and then, at some later date, covered with wallpaper. The only reason we found it before we started tearing the wall down was me seeing the tiniest bit of the fence peeking through a rip in the wallpaper. There’s no signature, but we’re going to talk to the local historical commission to see if they might know who painted it. Since my husband isn’t too interesting in having this in his office/man-cave and neither of us wants to tear it down or cover it back up, we’ve decided to turn this room into the library.

On the writing front I’ve been busy busy busy. I started writing a paranormal romance, but both my writing partners and my agent weren’t terribly keen on my execution of it so I decided to scrap the romance part and just focus on the male protagonist since he was the more interesting character. Unfortunately, as soon as I got rid of the romance and the female love interest, everything sort of fell apart. So that story is on the back burner for now as I try and tease a new plot out of it.

But all was not lost because as soon as I set that aside a brand new story began vomiting itself out of my head. I’m more than 10k words in and I’m still loving it, the characters are still talking to me (they won’t STOP talking to me), and I have a general path to the end (which I usually NEVER have).

I also wrote a piece of flash fiction that my writing partners LOVE, but the market doesn’t since it is apparently a cliched trope. Ah well… I will get it put up here in the short story section at some point.

In little tidbit news: I dyed my hair purple again (it needs to be re-dyed because it’s now faded to pink), I’ve begun to take concrete steps to treat my depression with therapy, I turned 33 yesterday, and I need to get my butt back into an exercise routine because I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last three years.

So, that’s been my life for the last few months. How are all of you?

A Blessing For The World

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May the Gods of Heaven and Earth comfort the grieving and welcome the dead into Their realms. May the Spirits of Earth and Fire, Air and Water hold us in their arms and strengthen us against the hurt we all face. May our Ancestors watch over us and guide us with their wisdom. May Justice be swift and Healing be gentle. May Mercy, Love, and Peace fill us all with their Light. And may we all be able to look into the Dark Mirror and see the face of another as our own.

Wherein I Rant a Bit…

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Agent Rachelle Gardner has a great post up today that was sparked by her reading Steve Jobs’ biography and his line “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off.” and how it relates to the publishing industry.

I’ve felt the same as Rachelle for the past few years. I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I see so many readers clamoring for more urban fantasy books and so many amazing writers complaining that their urban fantasy series was either not picked up or it was canceled. I’ve heard time and time again that the UF market is tight and that demand is on a decline. Well, maybe demand from publishing houses is on the decline, but that’s not true for readers.  When shows like Lost Girl, Supernatural, and Grimm are so popular, how can anyone say there’s a decline in interest in urban fantasy?

What readers don’t want is to pay $8 for a book that is as poorly written, error-riddled, and cliched as the self-published book they paid $.99 for. Not that I’m saying all self-pubbed books are like that. I know some self-pubbed authors who go above and beyond to put out the best book they possibly can. What I am saying is that readers buy books published by a big name publishing house because they’ve come to expect certain standards from those houses. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a sharp decline in the quality of books coming out of those houses. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t pick up a new urban fantasy author until I’ve heard some pretty glowing reviews from people and places I trust (especially now that Amazon has stopped offering their 4-for-3 mass market paperback deal)

The biggest issue, IMO, is that as soon as the genre hit big, publishing houses scrambled to sign as many urban fantasy writers as they could, regardless of how good their story was, in order to make as much money from the trend as possible. When those poorly written, badly edited stories came out, readers reared back in disgust and refused to partake of the dreck they’d been served. Now, the publishing houses, seeing how poorly those titles have sold, are saying that the market is in decline. Ummm… no. It only looks that way because you guys fouled the well.

And, it’s not only urban fantasy this happens to. Every genre that experiences a surge in popularity goes through this same cycle. You would think that the publishers would realize the pattern by now, but no. Or, maybe they do. maybe this is all a deliberate marketing strategy. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I keep hearing agents, writers, and editors all saying that the industry is driven by everyone’s passion for good books and not money. If that’s the case, then why are there so many atrocious books on the market? And I’m not just talking story-wise since that’s so subjective. I’m talking about books with plot holes as big as a house, books that have copy-editing errors on every other page, books that switch POV within the same freaking paragraph. If the industry is driven by a passion for good books, then PUT OUT good books. Otherwise I call shenanigans.

 

Clarion Call of Rejection

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I got my Clarion West rejection email very late Friday night. I’m super bummed out about it, but it’s okay. I got the better of their two rejection letters which means they liked my writing so… Yay? I just keep reminding myself that this rejection has more to do with the sheer number of people applying rather than it being a reflection on my writing.

That said, I’m not sure I want to apply again next year. The stress of waiting for a reply really messed me up both physically and mentally. Every time the phone rang last week I practically had a panic attack. And I’m STILL pissed at the telemarketer who called. TWICE! The first time I was washing dishes and didn’t hear the phone ring and he didn’t leave a message. I was an absolute wreck that day. Then, when the asshole called back a day or two later and asked for me by name, I nearly leaped through the phone and killed him when he started his pitch for some stupid ass “oxygenated herbal drink”.

So, when application time rolls around next year, I’m going to have to think long and hard about whether it’s worth it to put myself through that again. Because it was honestly worse than querying agents. At least with agents they don’t really give you a time frame to expect their response.