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becke_davis
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Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Author MISA RAMIREZ has written a guest blog for us today, as we approach the end of B&N's Month of Romantic Suspense!

 

Misa's website is here: http://misaramirez.com/

 

She's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/misa.ramirez

 

 

 

 

L to R: Tonya Kappes, Lori Foster, Misa Ramirez

 

 

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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

ABOUT MISA

 


 

Double take. How did a blonde-haired, green-eyed, All-American girl with the given name Melissa Bourbon get the pen name Misa Ramirez? See Future Frequently Asked Questions to find out the answer to that!

 

What you’re about to read is the all-important bio that’s required on every author web site. For the professional version, be sure to visit the Press info area for a little less formal and a little more entertaining version.

 

First, a little background. I was born in Southern California to amazingly devoted and talented parents. (Note to self: A person is never too old to give a parent plug.) Dad is a mega superstar Silicon Valley Executive and Mom is an über-talented watercolor artist. I pulled a pretty good parent card, in my opinion.

 

The middle child, between two brothers, I learned early that being the only girl gave me ‘that special something’ in my family. Mothers and daughters. Fathers and daughters. They are unique bonds that can’t be explained. I know that all my books will have strong mother/daughter and father/daughter relationships–family is what I value most in life.

 

My dad’s career took us to Northern California when I was in sixth grade. College, marriage, kids have all been rooted here. Until they weren’t.  With a recent move to North Texas, we are now learning new lingo…”y’all”, “fixin’ to” [the official verb of Texas, in case y'all are wondering], and “chiggers”, a fun little bug that bites and bites and bites, to name a few.  

 

Get on with it, you’re saying. How’d you start writing? (Note to self: Stay focused.)

 

My major in college was French—for the first year. Then I realized that I was far more interested in communicating in English. (My aptitude for language is strong—I just didn’t want to put in the hours in the lab! Shhh…don’t tell anyone…)

 

I’d always been interested in writing, always kept diaries–long burned by now. (Note to self: destroy all evidence of lame behavior and thoughts.) Once my Shakespeare professor wrote on one of my college papers, “never change my captivating style”. Wow. The power of a teacher is huge.

 

Unfortunately, power can be positive and negative. Whatever boost I’d felt from Professor Levin’s comments, a grad student who taught creative writing my junior year of college effectively quashed. Once I wrote a story about my roommate stealing her ex-boyfriend’s truck while wearing fingerless gloves—all completely and pathetically true. I got a C- on the story and the grad student wrote, “Write about things you know. This is completely unbelievable.” Even though he clearly had zero imagination, my confidence went out the window.

 

During college I met a great guy named Carlos. We dated, broke up, dated some more, broke up again—typical young love. We eventually got our act together and got married. I went on to teach middle school Language Arts. He was an elementary school teacher. Eventually his career ventured into school administration and we relocated from the Sacramento area to the San Francisco Bay Area. We had two kids by then, another on the way, and I went on hiatus from teaching.

 

The big question for me was what I could do to keep my brain functioning now that I wasn’t teaching. The thing that called to me, the only thing that inspired me in fact, was writing. I started writing a young adult historical fiction book–by this time I had overcome the scarring of that grad student’s remarks. (Note to self: burn all college papers) It took me three years to finish that book—it’s now sitting on the shelf in my bedroom, destined never to see an editor’s desk. (In its defense, I did send it out once to Scholastic and received a VERY nice rejection—no, not an oxymoron—there are levels of rejection and a nice one is a good thing.) But by that time I’d had my third son and we were moving again. The book went onto the back burner.

 

Short stories for children kept my creative juices flowing while I was busy having a daughter, carpooling, moving to and remodeling yet another house, and balancing the busy life we’d carved out. By pure luck, one of these stories was published and made in to a beautiful book. I thought I’d struck gold and found my second career.

 

Not. Even. Close.

 

The children’s publishing world is brutal—unless you can really relate to kids. Even though I had a passel of them living with me, I apparently didn’t. Huh.

 

Obviously I hadn’t yet found my niche or my voice.

 

We eventually moved back to the Sacramento Valley, I had one more child (in case you lost track, that makes five altogether), and had written close to twenty-five children’s stories. I’d had no luck selling any more of them though, and was ready to throw my hands up and quit writing altogether. But it’s not that easy to give up something you love. I couldn’t stop writing. (Note to self: find another addiction to give up—maybe chocolate? Or coffee? Okay, okay, twist my arm…I’ll give up cauliflower.)

 

A friend and I started an informal Monday night writing group. Since I was not willing to give up writing altogether, though I’d given up any thoughts of having a second career in publishing, I was stuck. With no inspiration for kids’ books in my befuddled brain, I decided to write something for grownups. A book with a mystery and love and swearing—and sex.

 

Oh, it was fun! Eye opening! Liberating!

 

I wrote the first draft in six months.

 

And just like meeting Mr. Right (Note to self: Give supportive husband Mr. Right a kiss), I knew this was the one. Maybe I would have a second career in publishing after all.

 

That book, the first in the Lola Cruz mystery series with Minotaur Books, has been through about a gazillion revisions since I finished it—and I still love it. I think that’s a good thing, right?

Now that I’m in the Dallas Metroplex area, I’m living my calling, silly grad students aside.

 

Whatever else happens in my life, I know I was meant to be a writer and nothing’s going to stop the story that’s knocking around my brain from being told. Writing has spread its root into the very depth of my heart—and it’s there to stay.

 

 

 

You can also find Misa at THE NAKED HERO: http://thenakedhero.com/category/goddess-files/misas-files

 

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A Deadly Curse 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

 

Most people think the Spanish legend of la Llorona, a woman who killed her children to be with the man she loved, is just a story. High school teacher, Johanna Rios, knows the truth. A descendant of la Llorona’s one surviving child, Joanna’s mother fell victim to the curse, drowning as she tried to kill Johanna and her sister Carmen. When one of Johanna’s former students, dressed in a white peasant dress like the crying woman herself, turns up drowned in the San Julio River, Johanna’s world turns upside down.

The curse is back.

Single father Ray Vargas is filled with guilt. His daughter’s friend, a former student from the high school where he’s principal, is dead and he could have prevented it. When Johanna Rios, one of his teachers, reveals her obsession with la Llorona and thinks three more people will die, each one representing a different version of the crying woman’s story, he will do whatever it takes to stop the killings from happening.

But with danger closing in and his own daughter at risk, Ray must join forces with Johanna to confront the legend, the curse, and the man behind the killings.

 

Biography

 

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL, and co-author of The Tricked Out Toolbox with Turquoise Morning Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[ Edited ]

A Deadly Curse 


by Misa Ramirez

 

 

 

I’m a mystery writer. My Lola Cruz Mysteries with St. Martin’s Minotaur are soft-boiled. My new Magical Dressmaking Mysteries with NAL are cozies.   But I also have a hidden love.

 

Romantic Suspense.

 

The legend of la Llorona.  It’s a story my husband grew up hearing, kind of like the boogeyman.  It was told around campfires, told to scare children into behaving, and is haunting.  How is it that no one has written a suspense book centering on this creepy, timeless story?  A woman who drowns her children, ala Medea, is prime material for a hauntingly suspenseful novel.

 

I’m glad no one had written it, because when I came up with the idea, I was able to charge ahead and write the book. 

 

There are four versions of the story of la Llorona: la ramera, la virgen, la sirena, la bruja (the harlott, the virgin, the siren, and the witch).  Once I discovered the four different versions of this legend, my mind went wild with plot scenarios.

 

What if a woman was a descendant of the Crying Woman (as she’s sometimes called)?

 

What if all the descendants of la Llorona were cursed?

 

What if Johanna Rios, my heroine, found herself in the middle of a nightmare, sure the curse of la Llorona was active in her life?

 

These are the what ifs I began plotting my story with. 

 

Here’s the final blurb:

 

Most people think the Spanish legend of la Llorona, a woman who killed her children to be with the man she loved, is just a story. High school teacher, Johanna Rios, knows the truth. A descendant of la Llorona’s one surviving child, Joanna’s mother fell victim to the curse, drowning as she tried to kill Johanna and her sister Carmen. When one of Johanna’s former students, dressed in a white peasant dress like the crying woman herself, turns up drowned in the San Julio River, Johanna’s world turns upside down.

 

The curse is back.

 

Single father Ray Vargas is filled with guilt. His daughter’s friend, a former student from the high school where he’s principal, is dead and he could have prevented it. When Johanna Rios, one of his teachers, reveals her obsession with la Llorona and thinks three more people will die, each one representing a different version of the crying woman’s story, he will do whatever it takes to stop the killings from happening.

 

But with danger closing in and his own daughter at risk, Ray must join forces with Johanna to confront the legend, the curse, and the man behind the killings.

 

I don’t know that I can choose a favorite book of mine.  That’s kind of like choosing a favorite child.  Can’t be done. 

 

But A Deadly Curse (and the second book in the Legends books, A Deadly Sacrifice--coming in March) comes awfully close.  There is something about it that just clicks for me.  The tension, the suspense, the romance, the sex, the relationships, the villains... it all works, and when that happens, it’s exciting! 

 

I love A Deadly Curse, love the legend of la Llorona, and am so happy to be able to share it with you today.

 

Have you heard of the legend of la Llorona?  

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Mysterylover1138
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Misa

 

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday afternoon.

 

Just one quick question, Where did you come up with the idea for The legened of la Llorona?

 

I am definatly adding you to my TBR pile.  Thanks for joining us today.

 

Leigh

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dorothy_mcfalls
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Hi Misa!

 

Just wanted to stop by and give my two cents. I've read both Living La Vida Lola and A Deadly Curse. Both books kept me up late at night to see what happened. Oh, the sleep I've lost because of you! :-)

 

I love your edgy voice.

 

What are you working on now?

 

Dorothy

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

 


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

Hi Misa!

 

Just wanted to stop by and give my two cents. I've read both Living La Vida Lola and A Deadly Curse. Both books kept me up late at night to see what happened. Oh, the sleep I've lost because of you! :-)

 

I love your edgy voice.

 

What are you working on now?

 

Dorothy



Hi Dorothy! Thanks so much for joining us! Mystical Seduction  The Huntress  Neptune's Lair  Lady Iona's Rebellion  Lady Sophie's Midnight Seduction  The Marriage List  The Nude 

 

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becke_davis
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Thanks for a great blog, Misa!

 

thanks15pl2jy4.gif

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MisaRamirez
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Hi Leigh,

 

Thanks for stopping by!  The legend of la Llorona has been told in my husband's family since he was a kid.  When we started dating, it was told on camping trips.  I became familiar with it that way, then when I started researching and found that there were actually 4 different versions of the story, the idea for A Deadly Curse started to formulate.  

 

If I had to choose, I'd say, of the books I've written, that this is one of my favorites.  There's something haunting about it, and plain fascinating about the Mexican legend.

Bestselling Author Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Bare-Naked Lola, May 2012
A Fitting End, February 2012
Sacrifice of Passion, June 2012
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MisaRamirez
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Thanks, Dorothy!  

 

A Deadly Sacrifice, another Mexican Legends book will be out in late March, I'm working on book 3 in the Lola series (Bare Naked Lola...yay!), a holiday Lola novella for an anthology, and I'm deep into book 2 in my new Magical Dressmaking mystery series with NAL.  Book 1, Pleating for Mercy, will be out in early August. 

 

Busy, busy, just as you are with your awesome Whitehouse Gardener books!

Bestselling Author Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Bare-Naked Lola, May 2012
A Fitting End, February 2012
Sacrifice of Passion, June 2012
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

 


MisaRamirez wrote:

Thanks, Dorothy!  

 

A Deadly Sacrifice, another Mexican Legends book will be out in late March, I'm working on book 3 in the Lola series (Bare Naked Lola...yay!), a holiday Lola novella for an anthology, and I'm deep into book 2 in my new Magical Dressmaking mystery series with NAL.  Book 1, Pleating for Mercy, will be out in early August. 

 

Busy, busy, just as you are with your awesome Whitehouse Gardener books!


 

I forgot to post the links for those (Dorothy writes that series under a different pen name). Here is Book One:

 

 

Flowerbed of State

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Misa - How do you juggle so many series at once?

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maxcat
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Hi, Misa, welcome to the Mystery thread and I hope you have a wonderful time.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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eadieburke
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

Welcome Misa!

 

I will definitely be checking out your Lola and Legends books! Both series look very interesting to me!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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dorothy_mcfalls
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Re: Guest blog by author MISA RAMIREZ!

My gracious Misa. Do you ever sleep? I'm impressed with how much you have going on! Will A Deadly Sacrifice be Johanna's sister's story? I look forward to reading another Mexican Legends book!!!

 

Dorothy

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013