Friday, January 29, 2010

It Takes a Village: A Guest Post by Author Misa Ramirez (BronzeWord Latino Book Tour)

I had hoped to have a review of Misa Ramirez's book, Hasta la Vista, Lola!, for you today, but the mail gods haven't been cooperating. As soon as I get my hands on a copy, I will be reading and reviewing it (I also plan to buy and review the first book in the series, Living the Vida Lola). I am always excited about discovering new-to-me mystery series, but one aspect of this particular series especially caught my eye. Something really minor in the scheme of things, but we all know sometimes that is all it takes. The setting. The novels are set in Sacramento, California, where I spent a good portion of my childhood. And as much as I love reading about places I have never been, there's something wonderful, too, about revisiting those towns and cities I have been.

A little bit about the book:
What’s a girl to do when she finds out she’s been killed? Pinch herself to make sure she’s not a ghost, for starters. When Dolores Cruz comes home to her parents’ house to find every relative she has mourning her death, all hell breaks loose. With the help of on-again/off-again love Jack Callaghan, and juggling a new case thrown at her by muy misterioso boss Manny Camacho, it’s up to fledgling detective Lola to find out who’s behind the identity theft and suddenly wants her dead.
Since I can't give you a review just yet, I am at least grateful to Misa for agreeing to write a guest post. I look forward to reading her books and hope you will too! Misa will be dropping in today, so if you have any questions for her, don't hesitate to ask. She's extremely friendly and eager to hear from you.

Please welcome Misa Ramirez to Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Thanks so much for stopping by Misa! And a big thank you as well to BronzeWord Latino Book Tour the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.

Thank you to Wendy for hosting me today! I’m in the midst of a whirlwind blog tour to celebrate the release of Hasta la Vista, Lola!, the second Lola Cruz Mystery. It comes out on Tuesday and I’m celebrating big time. See, this series was a long time in the making. The first book, Living the Vida Lola, took more than 5 years to write. The time stretched on and on because I kept having babies (have 5 kids!), we moved--twice, and I was working. Time to write was treasured, albeit scarce.

But getting the call from my agent saying we had an offer from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Minotaur was a dream come true. My journey, I thought, was over. I’d made it as an author.

Ha! Little did I know the journey had just begun. Writing IS a journey. You have to love, love, love it to subject yourself to the rejections and the waiting and the disappointment, but then something great happens and it’s all worthwhile. Yesterday my editor shared with me the Book List review of Hasta la Vista, Lola!

“In Ramirez’s second novel featuring the feisty Latina detective, Dolores “Lola” Cruz is investigating her own death. That is, she is trying to find out why a woman who stole her identity ended up dead. With sexy reporter Jack Callaghan—her on-again, off-again love interest—by her side, Lola finds out that the other Dolores is actually Rosie Gonzalez, a single mother, whose young son has been missing since his mother’s death. Now Lola’s search turns to finding the young boy, which leads her closer to home than she expected. Fans who fell for Lola in Living the Vida Lola (2009) will welcome her smart and snappy return. The suspense here revolves as much around the will-they or won’t-they romance with Jack as it does with the missing boy and mysterious death, leading up to a shocking ending that ties everything together.” ~ Book List

Needless to say, I was thrilled! Add to that the 4 1/2 (out of 4 1/2) stars from RT Book Reviews and these two reviews...

“Lola Cruz returns in her second mystery — and her family’s still horrified that she’s more interested in dead bodies than in finding a husband to settle down with. Tightly plotted, with scenes of laugh-out-loud humor, great dialogue and supporting characters, this is a sassy, fun story that will have you waiting impatiently for the next book.” ~Page Traynor, Romantic Times Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars

“Ramirez’s saucy second mystery…insightfully explores one of today’s more pervasive crimes…” ~ Publisher’s Weekly

...and I am beyond thrilled.

But then I checked my reality. Living the Vida Lola, the first book in the series, received awesome reviews, too, but it never ‘took off’, or ‘got legs’ as they say. One thing I’ve realized over the last year is that it ain’t easy getting noticed–writing a great book is not enough. Not even remotely close. Even when a book has gotten great reviews and lots of stars from various sources, it’s not enough. Random [glorious] readers emailing to say they L.O.V.E.D. the book does not equal buzz. Book clubs reading the book and having margarita nights to celebrate does not equal a viral effect. (Though all of this has made me feel great!)

The bottom line? It truly takes a village to raise a book series, and my village, while fantastic, is a tiny little place populated with average people whose reach doesn’t extend very far.
What this means is that the career path of a writer is a slow and steady one that takes perseverance and drive. I’m the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare. Sure it would have been fantabulous to have sky-rocketed to the top right out of the gate, but that clever tortoise was slow and steady and enjoyed the journey along the way, passing up the hare whose journey was sporadic and frenzied.

That’s what I’m doing–enjoying my journey--the journey that’s just begun. I’ve met so many wonderful people thanks to this writing career of mine, including people like Wendy who help readers and books come together. I’ve learned so much and I’m doing what I love. I’m so proud of the book series I created. Now it just needs to find its legs!Lola excites me (in a writer/reader kind of way). So does Jack Callaghan (in a girly kind of way). And Antonio Cruz (ditto). And Reilly Fuller (she’s just a hoot). Oh, and Manny Camacho (who can make a woman’s heart go all a-flutter). They are a dynamic bunch of fictional people with whom I L.O.V.E. to spend time. Lola’s adventures are a thrill a minute and I hope and pray the series will continue (book three is Bare Naked Lola and takes place at a nudist resort. Don’t you ALL want to read that one?!).

I’m working on other projects, too, always pushing myself, stretching beyond what I think I can do with fiction, and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. 2009 was a wonderful year full of ups and downs, but always an adventure and an exhilarating odyssey.

I have faith that 2010 will bring more successes–and failures (gotta have those failures to really appreciate the successes, doncha think?)–and that it will be equally exciting and fulfilling.

* * *
Misa Ramirez is the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola (January 2009) and Hasta la Vista, Lola! (February 2010) from St. Martin’s Press Minotaur. A former middle and high school teacher, and current CEO and CFO for La Familia Ramirez, this blonde-haired, green-eyed, proud to be Latina-by-Marriage girl loves following Lola on her many adventures. Whether it’s contemplating belly button piercings or visiting nudist resorts, she’s always up for the challenge. Misa is hard at work on a new women’s fiction novel, is published in Woman’s World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and has a children’s book published.

You can learn more about Misa Ramirez and her books on her website. Also, be sure and check out The Stiletto Gang and Chasing Heroes where she is a contributing blogger.

To purchase a copy of the book
Hasta la Vista, Lola! (St. Martin’s Press Minotaur, ISBN #9780312384036), visit Amazon. The novel is due out February 2, 2010. - I am in no way associated or affiliated with Amazon, although I do ccasionally shop there.

Misa Ramirez's BronzeWord Latino Book Tour Stops:
Mon Jan 18 BronzeWord Latino Authors
Tues Jan 19 Book-Lover Carol
Wed Jan 20 Latino Book Examiner
Thur Jan 21 Julia Amante
Mon Jan 25 Murder By 4
Tues Jan 26 Book Journey
Wed Jan 27 Mama Latina Tips
Thur Jan 28 Caridad Pi├▒eiro

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Wow what a great post Wendy. You did well considering the book didn't come on time. Little life's jokes always getting in the way. I like your header. I especially like the cat reading the computer screen. That is sooo cat!!!

    Misa great job. You're right. One step at a time, slow but steady is the only attitude to take to win at this game and you will win Misa with your wonderful books.

    Thank you both for a wonderful post.
    Jo Ann Hernandez
    p.s. anyone interested in becoming a Blog Hosts along with Wendy please contact me.

  2. Misa - Thank you so much for your guest post. It was just a couple of years ago that I realized just how much work went into marketing books. And it wasn't until I began blogging that I discovered how much of that is on the author's shoulders. I am glad I can help in my little way.

    I wish you luck with your career and look forward to reading your books.

  3. Jo Ann - Thank you. I am glad Misa and Nilki were able to come to the rescue with the guest post. It fits in with Misa's title, "It Takes a Village". :-)

    The cat in the photo is my Parker. He hasn't been happy since I switched to a laptop. I won't let him sit on the keyboard to stare at the screen.

  4. Wendy, thank you so much for hosting me today! I am so thrilled that you plan to read and review my books, and I hope you LOVE them and LOVE Lola like I do.

    We moved from Sacramento to Texas a year and a half ago. I'll always have Sac via Lola (she's not moving to the Lone Star State!).

  5. Great post! I look forward to seeing what you think of the book, Wendy!

  6. Slow and steady, Misa. You're right. I'm there with ya.

    I've got this posted at Win a Book. Maybe to make slow and steady speed up just a bit...

  7. Great post. I enjoyed reading about the authors journey and reading Literary Felines comment really made me realize that I put a ton of work into my blog - to keep it current, exciting, fun... and it takes time and effort. As an author it has to be so much the same. You have to keep in peoples faces you have to work hard to get your name out there. Great interview Misa and I too am looking forward to spending times with your books.

  8. I checked out Misa's site and read an excerpt of the first book -- it sounds like fun! I look forward to your review, Wendy, and best of luck with the new book, Misa.

  9. Thank you, Stacy and Susan! Everyone needs to check out Win a Book! Lots of contests and such posted there.

  10. It IS work, Sheila, but when you believe in what you're doing, it's also fun. I BELIEVE in Lola!!!

  11. avisannschild... awesome that you read the excerpt. It IS a fun series. Sexy and Sassy.

  12. I always love to hear the back story on books. I enjoyed reading about the length of time it took to write the first book. I started writing my first attempt at a YA novel last spring, but needless to say, I have not gotten too far. I have too many different things I am trying to do right now, but it is encouraging to know that often authors do take a while to write their first book.

    Good luck with Hasta La Vista, Lola! I am also looking forward to announcements of the third book's release!

  13. That sounds like a fun series. I will have to look for it.

  14. Hello, Misa! It's true that one has to love something SO much in order to survive the challenges and hardship that comes in the way. :)

  15. Thank you everyone for dropping by! Thank you again to Misa for visiting with us and writing such a great post!


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