Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guest Blogger - Sara Ramsey

I met Sara last year when we served on the RWA awards ceremony committee together. And I knew very quickly that I liked this girl! She's smart and dedicated and I can't wait to read her book! Please give Sara a wonderful Playground welcome.

I’m really excited to visit the Playground today – the Instigator has lived up to her name by inviting me and letting me wreak havoc. I’ll try not to break anything!

I love the idea of a Writing Playground, even though I was always way more into books than monkey bars. I grew up on an eighty-acre farm in Iowa that was miles away from the nearest kids, so my play tended to be dress-up and make believe rather than basketball or soccer – it’s no wonder I still love making up stories.

Playground took on another meaning when I was twelve. My father accepted a year-long assignment with an agricultural nonprofit in Ukraine, just after the fall of the Soviety Union, and my mother, younger brother, and I moved there with him. My mom homeschooled us so that we would stay caught up with our classmates, but my dad took it upon himself to teach ‘playground’ – all the slang and bad behavior he thought we would have learned on the playground back home. Let’s just say that, between my father’s playground lessons and the Johanna Lindsey romances I started reading that year, it was pretty much inevitable that I would grow up to be a romance writer!

Nowadays, I still love to dress up, even though it’s more expensive to buy my own shoes rather than tottering around in my mom’s heels. And I still like to exchange dirty stories with my friends, although doing it over drinks is way more fun than passing notes in chemistry class. But I’ve found a couple of other kinds of play that I absolutely love, even though I couldn’t imagine liking them a few years ago.

The first is going to the gym. I’m the antithesis of an athlete, and at 5’ tall, I’m at a serious disadvantage when it comes to running, walking, reaching the machines, doing step-ups – basically, everything. But I started working out with a trainer last year, and it turns out that I love having a couple of hours a week where I think of nothing but breathing (and trying not to pass out). It’s probably the best kind of play I could recommend to other writers, since I think we all need some downtime in order to bring renewed energy back to our work.

The second is interacting with other romance readers and writers, particularly on Twitter. When I first started using Twitter, I thought it was just a stupid marketing tool. But as I’ve gotten to know people through it, it’s fun to connect to other writers when I’m struggling, excited, happy, sad, needing a distraction. Even though I work from home, I can still feel like there’s a water cooler conversation waiting for me to join in. I just have to be careful not to spend all day at the water cooler, since it’s easy to get sucked in!

Regardless of what your passions are, I think it’s really important for writers to play at something every day. If you don’t have some way to relax and blow off steam, how can you find enough quiet within yourself to let your stories and your voice come out?

What do you to do relax and play? I’ll give one lucky commenter a copy of my debut Regency romance, Heiress Without a Cause – it’s all about a proper heiress who indulges her very improper desire to play as an actress, so it seems fitting for the Playground.

Heiress Without a Cause – Muses of Mayfair, Book #1

One title to change his life...

A disgraced son with a dark reputation, William “Ferguson” Avenel is content to live in exile – until his father dies in the scandal of the Season. With rumors of insanity swirling around them, his sisters desperately need a chaperone. Ferguson thinks he’s found the most proper woman in England – and he won’t ruin her, even if he secretly desires the passionate woman trapped beneath a spinster’s cap.

One chance to break the rules...

Lady Madeleine Vaillant can’t face her blighted future without making one glorious memory for herself. In disguise, on a London stage, she finds all the adoration she never felt from the ton. But when she’s nearly recognized, she will do anything to hide her identity – even setting up her actress persona as Ferguson’s mistress. She’ll take the pleasure he offers, but Madeleine won’t lose her heart in the bargain.

One season to fall in love...

Every stolen kiss could lead to discovery, and Ferguson’s old enemies are determined to ruin them both. But as their dangerous passion ignites their hearts and threatens their futures, how can an heiress who dreams of freedom deny the duke who demands her love?

Sara’s website:

Sara’s Twitter:

P.S. Instigator's guest blogging at Okay Listen Here today. Stop by for a chance to win a signed backlist book.


Laurie G said...

First of all, Sara, CONGRATS on your first release
HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE! How exciting! I'm intrigued by how you managed to make all the misconceptions, deceptions and passions come together for a HEA for Ferguson and Madeleine.

What do you to do relax and play?

I try to swim and walk as ofter as I can.

I also love to read. It takes me away from my everyday life. I can travel, cook, learn a skill, meet new people... right at my fingertips!

Angel said...

That is an absolutely gorgeous cover, Sara!!!! I love it.

I love playing on the elliptical machine! Its my favorite way to zone out and to plot. Works wonders when I'm stuck.

I love to swim, but don't get to do it nearly often enough. And reading... I don't get to do that often enough either.

Thanks for hanging out on the swings with us today!

linda winstead jones said...

Hi Sara, great to see you here! The book looks great. Congrats! :-) -- LJ

CrystalGB said...

Congratulations on your debut release. Sounds great. I love the cover. I like to read or watch movies to relax.

Sara Ramsey said...

@Laurie - thanks so much! I'm jealous of the swimming - it's something that I think would be so fun, but I've never been good at it, and I don't like the possibility of drowning. But I agree with you that reading is the ultimate escape, because you can be anywhere you want in seconds!

@Angel - thanks for having me on the swings! I'm beginning to see the appeal of the elliptical machine, even though I thought it was a modern standin for a medieval torture device when I was first introduced to it :)

@LJ - thanks for stopping by! looking forward to seeing you at Nationals.

@CrystalGB - thanks, I'm glad you like the cover as much as I do. Movies are great for relaxation, but I don't see as many as I used to - after picking one too many terrible movie to drag my friends to the theatre for, my movie-watching friends have revolted against me :( Luckily Netflix has saved the day.

Instigator said...

Congrats on the release, Sara! And I agree with everyone else, love the cover.

I'm right there with you when it comes to movies. I don't get to see nearly as many as I'd like these days. :-(


Sara Ramsey said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kira! I love your blog, so this is really fun for me.

I'm sad that I don't see as many movies as I used to. I'm really not good at relaxing, though, and it's not as relaxing now that I sit there thinking about plot and story structure. So I can only see the movies that are really laughably bad, or movies so amazing that I stop thinking about the mechanics.

Playground Monitor said...

Sorry I'm late to things but I uh... have a little external conflict going on. I was in an auto accident on December 30 and yesterday they finally diagnosed me with a fracture in my right foot and put it in a cast and told me to stay on crutches for the first half of the six weeks the cast will be on. UGH. I'm relaxing all over the place today since I'm out of work -- again. Thank goodness for Netflix.

Sara Ramsey said...

@Playground Monitor/Marilyn - I read about your auto accident in an earlier post, and it sounds awful - so glad that you weren't injured even more seriously! I'm sure Netflix and your TBR pile are getting quite the workout as you recover, and I hope you heal quickly!

catslady said...

I enjoy reading debut novels - there is just something about firsts!

Well besides reading which is a given, I love playing any kind of games whether they be board, puzzles, Wii, computer or a trip to the casino's. Getting together with friends and family always makes for a fun time.

Sara Ramsey said...

@catslady - ooh, I love games too. I don't get to play them as often as I'd like, but it's a great way to relax.

Leslie said...

Congrats, Sara, on your release. What a gorgeous cover and an intriguing blurb.

I have my kids for a little comic relief and relaxation while trying to teach them my version of the playground . . . Heaven help 'em!

Diana Quincy said...

Well, have to say the blurb is intriguing. I can't wait to see how it all plays out once the heroine's actress persona becomes the hero's mistress. What fun! Best of luck with you debut :)

BW said...

What do you do to relax and play.

I like to read or listen to a book. I love to watch a movie. I try to exercise on a regular basis.

Sara, I love your cover!