Friday, February 19, 2010

Guest Blogger, Misa Ramirez

Please join me in welcoming author Melissa "Misa" Ramirez as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Misa’s latest release in the Lola Cruz Mystery series is “Hasta la Vista, Lola!”
She will drop back by today to answer any questions you might have.

Misa is here today to talk to us about how we like our mysteries - straight up or with a splash of romance and fun. 

You don’t know me, but I’m a mystery writer. I’m the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery Series. “Living the Vida Lola” came out last January, and “Hasta la Vista, Lola!,” was released on Feb. 2nd. I’m still celebrating and thrilled to be here at Thoughts in Progress. Thank you for hosting me, Thoughts in Progress!

When you aren’t a regular on a blog, it can be hard to know what to write, and how to present it to a brand new audience. Should I be funny, like in my books? Serious, because murder is serious business? Or some combination of the two, perhaps? 

The truth is, I’m no stand up comedian (not by a long shot), but I am funny--in my books. Like any fleshed out character, I’m a combination of things. I love a good mystery (cutting my teeth on Nancy Drew, graduating to Agatha Christie, and branching out from there), read the occasional romance (Julia Quinn makes me laugh), but stick mostly with women’s and/or literary fiction (The Help is my new favorite book).

How, then, did I come to write mysteries, and why aren’t my mysteries serious instead of sexy and sassy? The short answer is, I like the mystery device. What better way to propel a plot forward than to have a crime to solve? The little-bit-longer answer is that crafting a puzzle that the sleuth and readers need to piece together is challenging--and fun; watching characters you love to spend time with grow and discover themselves--and each other--is rewarding. 

Having humor and wit in a book is icing on the cake. For me, then, the mystery is only half the story. Lola Cruz came about long before the framework of “Living the Vida Lola.” She came to me as a character who was at once sassy, smart, sexy, determined, strong, feminine, Latina, black belt in kung fu, idealistic, American, sister, daughter, friend, and so much more. 

When it was time to figure out how I was going to tell her story, it made perfect sense to put her into an investigative role. Elements of the mystery, I knew, could pit Lola against external conflicts, as well as internal conflicts, of which she has many. It would force her to evaluate her life, her choices, her dreams, her desires, and her future (all in a funny, light way).

Balancing her drive to be a detective, her traditional Mexican family, cultural expectations, her American sensibilities, and her love life is no easy task. Add in a mystery, and it’s a wild ride!Lola Cruz Mysteries are character driven more than anything, but the mysteries really interest me. They’re ‘ripped from the headlines’, twisted, redefined, and Lola-fied. 

The mysteries shape, form, and/or enlighten Lola in her personal life or with her decision-making. They are equal, then, to Lola’s own story, which spans the arc of the series (we’re only on book 2, so have a ways to go yet).

I’m always curious to find out from readers if you like your mysteries straight up, or do you enjoy the zany, romantic elements which are in many series like the Lola Cruz Mystery Series?

On another note, I’ve just launched a brand new site for book lovers! It’s called Books on the House
(, and Books on the House for Kids and Teens ( Great authors are giving away books every Monday. I hope you book lovers will stop by and enter to win! Thanks again for hosting me today!

Misa, thank you so much guest blogging here today. It’s interesting finding out about how Lola developed. In addition, your new site for book lovers is wonderful. It’s a great site to visit.

Misa’s Lola Cruz Mystery series: “Living the Vida Lola” (January 2009) and “Hasta la Vista, Lola!” (2010) is from St. Martin’s 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 piercing or visiting nudist resorts, Misa’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. For more on Misa, visit her website at

Now, how do you like your mysteries? 


  1. Mason - As always, thanks for introducing us to some great authors. Misa - Thanks for your reminder that mysteries can have elements of other genres, too. There certainly are strong mysteries that have romance sub-plots, and there are mysteries with a solid element of comedy. It's a tricky balance to include more than one element, but it can work.

  2. mason thanks for the interview. Misa, I love love love mystery and Humor together? Wow. I will be adding it to my pile (which is big) but oh how I love that pile.

  3. I confess, I am not a mystery reader, but I admire anyone who can write mysteries. Don't think my brain could come up with the twists!
    As for my other reading, I generally like serious or straight up. I'm not naturally funny either, although it's almost a guarantee that I will laugh and giggle at anything even remotely humorous!

    Mason, you have a Sunshine award at my blog today!

  4. I'm a mystery reader and I love my mysteries to have a touch of comic relief, romance and fun.

    I've read the first book in the Lola series and loved it and look forward to reading the latest one.

    BTW Misa, The Help is also my favorite book..I devoured that book and recommended to anyone who would listen to me.

  5. I love character-driven mysteries that still have a good puzzle. Lola's world sounds like a fun one! Thanks for the introduction, Mason.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  6. I love mysteries. Am adding this one to my list. Thanks for the hosting an author I hadn't found yet!

  7. Thanks for introducing me to Misa. I love mystery and enjoy ones with humor, so I'll be looking for the first in this series.

    Straight From Hel

  8. Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by today. I'm glad to introduce you to Misa and her great series. Just a second to pop in during work.

    Diane, thank you for the award.

    Misa, thank you so much for guest blogging here today. I think we all like our mysteries with a variety of twists including romance and fun.

  9. Count me in on those who like mysteries with fun and romance. Thanks, Mason, for hosting. And I'll be looking for Lola on my next trip to the bookstore.

  10. I too love the comedy/romance with mysteries. Just makes for a fun read. Thanks for the introduction to a new author. Will definitely put this series on the TBR list.

  11. Hi Mason,
    Just wanted you to know there's a little something waiting for you on my blog Monday morning.

  12. Hi everyone!

    I've been teaching classes in Dallas and finally got to a computer. I'm thrilled that Lola speaks to so many people and I double hope you all pick up a copy and give it a whirl.

    It's thanks to great blogs like Thoughts in Progress that an author can reach readers, so thanks again for hosting me today, Mason!

  13. Great interview! I like all kinds of mysteries - fun, serious, silly & sometimes scary (just not too scary)

  14. I'm charmed by the cover and wish Ms. Misa a ton of success with her lovely novel.
    Warm regards and a lovely weekend to you all.

  15. The books sound great;=; I love the combination of humor and mystery!!!

    I'd like to add more humor to my books!


  16. A little late to the party... Misa had sent me the link to this post and I was unable to get it up at my Win a Book publicity blog until today. Still, it's there and I hope more people see it and stop by and discover how awesome Misa is.

  17. I picked up a copy of Hasta la Vista, Lola! this weekend. I tend to read dark, serious mysteries rather than the sassy/sexy type. But I must admit, I'm really enjoying Lola.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.