Author Archives: Ana Ramsey

About Ana Ramsey

Ana Ramsey* is a crazy cat lady-cum-author. 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

Wednesday’s Words

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Monday’s post received more views than all 11 chapters of Where Demons Fear to Tread combined, so I’m going to take that to mean that nobody is really into WDFTT and stop wasting my time posting chapters. That’s not a bad thing and I’m not being passive-aggressive, BTW. I’m perfectly fine with people not being that into it (okay, I’m not, but still…).

So, instead of posting up chapters of WDFTT on Friday’s, I’m going to replace it with a series I’m calling Wednesday’s Words wherein I’ll post up short stories I’ve written or just a snippet from a story of mine that I really like.

This week’s Wednesday’s Words is a short story called The Fabric of the Universe.

For as long as I could remember, my grandmother had carried the same green fabric grocery bag containing a pair of knitting needles and a skein of yarn with her wherever she went – the doctors, the store, Seniors Yoga at the community center. Neither I nor anybody else had ever seen her actually knit anything, yet whenever it was suggested she leave the bag at home, she’d clutch it to her chest and proclaim “But I might need it.” Grandma Bea was the most stubborn person ever and nobody thought to argue with her when she set her jaw in just such a way.

It wasn’t until I went to visit her in hospice care after she’d broken her hip that I found out why she never went anywhere without it.

I’d barely sat down in the faded blue chair next to her bed when she pulled the bag out from under her pillow and held it out to me.

“Here, Gracie, I want you to have this.” Her frail, quavering voice worried me more than the fact she was giving away her prized possession.

“I can’t take these, Grandma, they’re your knitting supplies.” I tried not to let the worry show in my voice, but it cracked on the last word.

Grandma shook the bag insistently at me. “Don’t be silly, I’m giving them to you.”

“But I don’t know how to knit.” I knew I should just accept the bag and thank her, but there was something so final about it. A childish, irrational part of me wanted to refuse so she would never die, but I knew it was stupid even as I continued to shy away from the bag.

Grandma laughed and shook the bag harder. “That’s exactly what I told my uncle when he gave these to me before he died.”

“You’re not dying, Grandma. Don’t talk like that.” My heart leapt into my throat and I could barely breathe. I refused to think about her dying.

“Of course I’m dying, dear.” Grandma Bea waved her hand to encompass herself and the hospital bed. “I’m three months shy of my eighty-sixth birthday and bed-ridden in hospice. The odds of me leaving here are slim. That’s why you need to take these.”

I choked back the tears that sprang up at her words. “But don’t you want your knitting stuff so you can knit while you’re here?”

Grandma smiled and shook her head.

“Why would I? I don’t know how to knit.” Her laugh was wheezy and set her to coughing. “Besides, they need to be out in the world where they can do the most good.”

“I don’t understand, Gram.” Her words confused me and I had to consider the heart-stopping possibility that my grandmother was going senile.

“The knitting needles, the yarn, they’re special, so very special – they knit together the fabric of the universe.” She said it with such matter-of-fact surety. “Edges start to fray, seams come loose, knots untie and they all need to be repaired. The needles will guide you.”

Tears burned at the back of my eyes and one slipped out to trail down my cheek. I hurriedly wiped it away, hoping Gram hadn’t noticed it.

“Don’t look at me like that, Gracie, I’m not crazy.” Grandma Bea smiled sadly and pushed the bag onto my lap. I had no other option but to either take it or let it tumble to the floor. “I know what you’re thinking. I probably thought the same exact things you are when my uncle told me about the knitting needles and yarn, but I promise you, it’s all true.”

I shook my head, not able to believe anything she was telling me.

“Just take the bag, Gracie, carry it around with you for a bit. You’ll see what I’m talking about,” she insisted, patting my leg before hitting the button to lower the top of her bed. “Now get on out of here so I can get some sleep.”

She waved her hand dismissively and closed her eyes. I rose to my feet and went to set the bag on the floor next to the bed, but my grandmother snapped, “Take it, Grace, don’t make me say it again.”

When I picked the bag back up, it felt like an ordinary grocery store bag holding nothing but ordinary yarn and knitting needles. I heaved a disconsolate sigh, wondering how long my grandmother had nurtured these delusions of hers and, with one last sad look at her tiny form engulfed by the enormous hospital bed, I left the hospice.

I trudged down the street to the bus stop trying to figure out how I was going to break the news to my father that his mother was slipping into dementia. The bag slung over my shoulder grew heavier with each step. I shifted it to my other shoulder, but the heaviness didn’t abate.

A car roared past me, leaving a swirling tornado of leaves, dirt, and bits of trash in its wake. The dirt shimmered as it hung suspended in the air and then the illusion expanded to overlay everything in my sight.

I shook my head and blinked rapidly to clear my vision, but I still saw a subtle glimmer clinging to the edges of everything. A glimmer that looked for all the world like stitching.

It’s just the way the sun is glinting off things, I told myself. My grandmother’s condition and her words had obviously disturbed me so much that I was imagining things.

But the red-faced businessman hurrying past me, a phone clamped to his ear and a black briefcase clenched in one fist had several sparkling threads trailing behind him. I turned to stare after him and saw the threads originating from the back of his head. As I watched, yet another strand unraveled from his scalp and joined the others undulating in the breeze.

In the bag on my shoulder, the knitting needles began to click together.

Manic Monday

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I finished the final read-through of Child of Mischief and sent it off to my wonderful critique partners, Katy and Lisa, back on the 19th and then promptly collapsed in a ball of mental exhaustion. Hopefully they send it back to me with a clean bill of health so I can once again jump into the wild waters of querying.

Yes, you all read that right. My former agent and I amicably parted ways this past autumn. She didn’t feel enthusiastic enough about Child of Mischief to properly represent it and I want an agent who loves my work as much as I do. The good news is that I feel like I’ve grown so much as a writer these last few years and my writing is so much clearer and stronger than it was when I started querying for Where Demons Fear to Tread, so I’m hoping it won’t take me quite as long to find an agent this time around.

So, I spent last week luxuriating in doing nothing. Or almost nothing. I cleaned my house and played video games. Played LOTS of video games. And caught up on most of the TV shows I watch. And, thanks to all of the snow and cold New England has been subjected to this past month, I decided that the theme for the next few weeks is going to be FIRE! I started that theme off by dying my hair a deep coppery orange-red.

Fiery Ana

But as much fun as last week was, this week it’s back in the saddle as I poke at ideas for my next book and start writing up a query letter for Child of Mischief.

Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 11

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Daggers of morning sunlight stabbed through my closed eyelids, adding a fresh wave of agony to the pounding in my skull. My clock said I still had more than an hour before the alarm was set to start its Bean-Sidhe shrieking at seven. Hoping to fall quickly back to sleep, I pulled the covers up over my head and snuggled deeper into my pillow.

The sound of glass shattering dashed that hope.

“Somebody’s going to be extremely pissed off when they wake up,” I mumbled to myself, rolling over.

A second later, adrenaline sent my body’s nervous systems into overdrive as I realized it wasn’t a car window being smashed; the shattering sound was coming from inside my house.

Wakefulness sliced through my hangover-induced lethargy and I fumbled for the metal bat I left behind the nightstand for such an emergency. Settling its weight comfortably in my hand, I slipped off the side of my bed, careful not to shake the ancient wooden bed frame.

My house was old and creaky, but I’d grown up there and knew exactly where to step to avoid making noise. Standing at the top of the stairs, it sounded as if somebody was breaking every one of my downstairs windows.

Son of a bitch. Where the hell are Luka’s wards?

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Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 10

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Almost missed yet another week of posting a chapter. Whoops! Since nobody screamed for me to save Alex’s dignity and stop posting, I’m just going to keep throwing chapters up and hope people are enjoying the story despite the rough writing.

Getting Luka and his wheelchair into my car was an easier deed than I had imagined. Luka nimbly swung himself out of the chair and into the passenger seat. As for the chair, it performed some amazing feats of acrobatic agility and I was able to fold it down to a size compact enough to fit in my messy trunk.

“Tell me about this Carlos,” Luka said as I pulled out of the Agency parking lot.

“Born in nineteen eighty-seven on the island of Puerto Rico, his family emigrated to mainland America when he was five. His parents and younger sister died in the Fall and he was adopted by a distant relative.” I recited what had been in Carlos’ file without taking my eyes off the road. Luka was the worst passenger I’d ever had the displeasure of driving anywhere. Not being in control of the two tons of metal and glass hurtling down the streets made him antsy. It was only a matter of time before the “helpful suggestions” started. “He showed a bit of promise when his magical abilities first began to appear, but he topped out as only a low-level sorcerer.”

“Watch out for that pedestrian, Lex. He is not paying attention to where he is walking.”

“I see him.” The pedestrian in question was a young man walking along the opposite side of the street. If I didn’t know he did it with everyone, I’d have been more annoyed by his side-seat driving, but I simply smiled and reveled in having my friend back. Read the rest of this entry

Thinkety Thoughts

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I’ve missed posting the next two chapters of Where Demons Fear to Tread and for that I apologize; events conspired against me and kept me completely away from the computer these last two Fridays. However, I’m not sure if I want to continue posting chapters. It’s been a little over three years since I last read WDFTT (Holy WOW! Has it really been that long? Yup, it really has. WDFTT went out on submission to publishers as Lost Souls at the end of 2011… My how time flies!) and as I’m reading through each one before I post it, I find myself cringing quite a bit. I still love Alex and her story, but I’ve grown so much as a writer these last few years and it’s now extremely obvious rough the writing is. It needs a massive overhaul which I don’t currently have the time for since I’m in the process of rewriting Child of Mischief.

So, question for all you lovely readers: Continue posting up chapters each week as they are or preserve what dignity Alex and the rest of the Vamyraset have left?

Manic Monday

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The top search result(s) that leads people to my blog revolve around my posts about my adventures with Splat Lusty Lavender hair dye, so in the interest of helping those people out, I should post an update about my hair. The last time I used the Splat Lusty Lavender was way back at the end of 2013 and I STILL have a pink tinge to my hair after several attempts at bleaching it (both at home and professionally) and coloring over it with my normal go-to dye of reddish-blonde. At this point, I’m going to just have to let it grow out and gradually cut it away each time I trim my hair.

I loved having purple hair — Absolutely loved it! — but the Splat took several weeks of almost daily washing before it finally stopped bleeding on everything and by then the color had paled to more of a magenta. I can’t speak for anybody whose hair composition differs too much from mine, but I can say that if you have blonde/dirty-blonde hair that is very fine think long and hard about using Splat because it will be a decision that sticks with you for a very long time.

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My hair after bleaching.

 

Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 9

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All my contacts had gone silent, and not only the ones in Skullhaven. I couldn’t reach any of them through means either mundane or magical. The only other time I had lost complete contact with my informants was a few years back, when a group of trolls decided they objected to being snitched on and killed every single one of the Agency’s narcs they could get their oversized paws on.

“I’ll be so pissed if this lot is dead. It’s such a pain in the ass to cultivate new contacts,” I grumbled to myself as I tossed my phone back onto my desk. Almost three years had gone by before my current contacts fully trusted me. Knowing that your predecessors had been squashed into a giant, bloody puddle doesn’t do much for a person’s confidence. If my newest batch was dead, I would probably never find anyone willing to talk to me again.

I banged my head against the padded back of my chair, my brain running around in circles like a hamster, trying to find something to work with. Stag had called me back with some disturbing news – the heavens were silent. Not a peep, whistle, or out of tune hum could be heard by anyone in the Astrology Department.

She wasn’t too worried, it happened from time to time, and I shouldn’t be concerned, more than likely the silence had nothing to do with my case. Her underlying message being that nothing I was working on could ever be important enough to make the heavens keep their secrets. Yeah, right. Because a case that involved Death, a Seer Pope, and a supposedly impossible curse was just your everyday run-of-the-mill occurrence.

Vic hadn’t called me back, so I was working under the assumption he hadn’t found anything yet.

The only call that gave me any new information was from the crime scene analysis department.

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