Thursday, August 22, 2013

Melissa Bourbon Ramirez - Curse of Passion is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. She is a Mystery & Thrillers and Romance writer. She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the founder of Books on the House and the co-founder of The Naked Hero.

This blog is sponsored by the Buy The Book Tour.

Curse of Passion

A Deadly Legends Novel

Author: Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Barnes and Noble
KOBO Books

The ghost of la Llorona is said to haunt the riverbanks, always searching for her drowned child. She also haunts high school teacher Johanna Rios, whose own mother believed so deeply in the legend she tried to drown her daughters. And now the ghost has become real, a young woman murdered, and the safe world Jo created is falling apart. Since returning home from his last tour of duty to become a school principal, Ray Vargas has fought his attraction for his employee, the sensual woman who’d once been the girl next door. But the Llorona Killer will not stop until he claims his final victim—Johanna—and Ray will do anything to protect the woman he’s come to love. With a serial killer out to prove the curse is real, will Ray and Johanna’s future be drowned in the ghostly waters of the past? Or will the power of their love give them the strength to stop a killer…and heal their wounded hearts…?

The Excerpt

Johanna paced and turned toward him, but still hadn’t noticed Ray in the doorway. He catalogued her features. She was thirty-two, with honey-colored skin, cheekbones that gave her an exotic look, long, dark hair… As it often did, his gaze hitched at her full, red lips. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d kissed lips like that. Maybe never.

The sliver of skin showing between her sweater and her pants drew his eyes. She looked far hotter than any teacher had a right to—certainly hotter than any teacher he’d ever had. Thank God, or he’d never have graduated.

He felt his eyes pinch and blinked hard to break the drugged feeling that suddenly slid over him. He’d done his best to steer clear of her for years, and after this conversation, he’d go back to staying away.

“Who is this? What do you want?” Johanna’s voice held fear, tinged with anger.

That was not a tone Ray associated with Johanna. He froze in place. He’d been trained well by the Army. Freeze first. Assess. Decide. Then move. She spoke again, her voice rising in pitch. “Would you just stop calling?” she demanded, her voice shaking.

Distressed. Johanna was distressed. Time to act. Ray moved then, coming into the classroom, bumping a desk as he came toward her, startling her. She whipped around, gasping as she saw him. Her face paled, and a second later she dropped her cell phone on her desk. She speared her hand through her hair, her fingers bending until they looked like claws digging into her scalp.

His heart pumped hard. What the hell? “Johanna,” he said, aware his voice was gruffer than he’d intended. “What was that about?”

She stared at him, her eyes wide, like a damn deer caught in the headlights. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.

“Prank caller,” she finally said, snapping out of her trance.

Ray ran the pads of his fingers over his goatee. Prank caller, my ass. She’d been engaged in that conversation, had been responding to the person on the other end of the line. But her eyes stayed wary and he decided to let it go. He was here for a purpose. Marianne’s murder needed his attention, and he wanted to know Johanna’s secret.

“Sorry for barging in,” he said, “but I’d like to continue the conversation we started back in my office.”

She raised an eyebrow at him. “You mean about Marianne? Are the deputies coming back?”

He shook his head. “They’re gone.” She looked puzzled as he continued.

“You brought up la Llorona.”

“Yes,” she said flatly.

Her voice had lost the shaky edge it had held a moment ago on the phone. Hell, now it almost sounded like it could freeze water. Her own form of self-preservation, he supposed. “You wrote your master’s thesis on her?”

Johanna slumped against her desk and ran one hand over her face, down her neck, let it settle on her chest. “Yes.”


She hesitated, and for a moment looked like she wasn’t going to respond. Then she spoke, her voice softer, more thoughtful. “My mother believed in her.”

Odd. Johanna had placed a strange emphasis on the word believed.

Hadn’t her mother simply known about the story? Why would she believe in a ghost tale? “La Llorona is a legend,” he said.

“A legend based on a real woman who lived five hundred years ago.”

“It’s a kid’s story. Like the boogieman and the chupacabra.”

Johanna shook her head. “My mother believed la Llorona was real.

Because of that, I’ve always been…curious…about the legend.”

She started when her cell phone rang. Her sudden jerk sent the tips of her fingers slipping under the vee of her sweater. His eyes followed the path as her hand settled on the swell of her breast. He swallowed, narrowing his eyes as he forced his gaze back to her face. Her phone, playing a traditional cumbia rather than a regular ring tone, continued for a full ten seconds while she stood frozen. She didn’t even look at where it sat on the desk.

He tried not to think about whatever might be going on in her personal life that warranted heated phone calls. A bad break-up, maybe? He hadn’t heard she was dating anyone, but she might be. Much as he hated to admit it to himself, he didn’t want her to have a personal life. It messed with his fantasy.

Enough. He had to get his head back in the game. Had to focus on why he was here —and that reason was not to stare at her breasts or get jealous over imaginary lovers or remind himself of the fantasies he’d had of her—fantasies featuring her naked. Her hot mouth on his. Her skin sliding sinuously under his.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance

Website: Melissa Ramirez - Bestselling Author
Author's Blog: Romancing the Naked Hero
Twitter: @melissabourbon
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: 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 Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the founder of Books on the House, the co-founder of The Naked Hero, and is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has two romantic suspense novels, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, all to be released in 2012/2013.

SHOWCASE Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your new novel: Curse of Passion. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thanks for having me! After Curse of Passion, I’m back to my cozy mystery series, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. A Killing Notion comes out this winter. I’m on a pretty steady schedule with that series and am so lucky I was able to work in the Romantic Suspense novels, which I adore. The cozies are much tamer than the ‘Passion’ books!

How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

I do a lot of social media as part of my job. As an author, I enjoy Facebook and have an author page where I get to interact with readers a lot. Social media is definitely important to authors; I’ve made and keep up with some awesome people there.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I do all of the above! I just had a fun book signing with fellow romance author, Molly Cannon, in Hurst, Texas. I will be speaking at a local community college in October and do many similar events in North Texas. I’ve been fortunate enough to be interviews by The Dallas Morning News, the Denton Record Chronicle, and several regional North Texas magazines. It’s always a huge thrill to realize that other people are interested in what I have to say!

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Entangled has a great cover process, as do the other publishers I’ve published with. Basically, the author gives concepts and the art department runs with it. The ‘Passion’ books are very steamy and the covers represent the tone and motifs beautifully!

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? They look very professional. Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

Thank you! They are a fun fringe benefit and let me celebrate my books just a little bit more. The trailers I’ve done or had done always come after the books, so don’t influence the writing at all. There’s definitely a little creative interpretation with the pictures and characters in the trailers, but I’m really happy with them.

It’s hard to say the impact they may have had on sales. I think they’re just a fun addition to the book’s history.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Time management is definitely a challenge! I work full-time as a publicity director for Entangled Publishing, which obviously takes an enormous amount of time. Writing happens strategically, mostly in the late afternoon/evenings, and on weekends. Summer is hard because I want to spend time with the kids while they’re home; during the school year, I get as much done as possible while they’re at school.

It’s always a juggling act!

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

Ebooks themselves have made many books so much more affordable for readers. It’s so easy to click and purchase! As a writer, it hasn’t changed much for me, personally. I don’t self- publish, which would mean I’d need to produce much more, much faster. I have traditional contracts and want to balance my writing with everything else I do, so my writing world is steady and consistent.

As a reader, though, I do LOVE the fact that I can easily and quickly buy whatever I want and it goes straight to my Nook. That’s pure bliss!

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I’m happy to give away some copies of my books to help new readers discover my different series. I prefer to give away backlist titles rather than new releases. Like most authors, I’ve tried different approaches to giving books away, running contests and giveaways, and truthfully, it’s hard to say what works and what doesn’t in terms of helping readers discovering you. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

I don’t really blog regularly. I guest on The Naked Hero ( occasionally and keep my site updated with writer’s tips and other interesting articles. I was a teacher by trade and also taught writing both online at Savvy Authors and at Southern Methodist University with their CAPE program, which has given me lots of experience with the Hero’s Journey and other craft topics. I love teaching, so that’s a big motivation in keeping that information relevant and accessible on my site. I want to pay it forward and help other writers in the way that I was helped when I first started.

Being the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, where do you see the new author’s opportunities in the future? Will their methods of marketing change? Will they be seeking more exposure using Book Tours and giveaways?

Book tours and giveaway are very important for all authors. The main reason we write is to tell stories that people want to read. Which means we have to help readers find our books. Social media and book blog tours are the best ways to do that. We live in a digital, fast-paced world, so making an impression upon people can be tough. It takes persistence and commitment. When you stop promoting a book, it’ll likely stop selling. Social media and blogging means you can continue to have a presence and help people find you. That’s the best opportunity of all!

Author's Book List
Deadly Patterns - A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
Bliss, Texas, is gearing up for its annual Winter Wonderland festival, but when a mysterious Scrooge ends the merriment with murder, it’ll take more than a ghost from Christmas past to set things right. Designing a holiday fashion show set in the town’s most prominent historic mansion seems like a job tailor made for dressmaker Harlow Jane Cassidy. But with the mansion’s restoration still in progress and threatening weather on the horizon, she’s feeling on pins and needles more than reveling in holiday cheer. Having volunteered to play Santa in this year’s festival, Dan Lee Chrisson was ready to move on after his divorce—until Bliss became his final resting place. Discovering his body puts Harlow at the scene of the crime. She’ll need plenty of help from friends and even her late great-grandmother’s spirited sleuthing if she’s to have a ghost of a chance of catching a killer who’s just jumped to the top of the naughty list…. INCLUDES SEWING TIPS

Book Trailer: Deadly Patterns
Order the Book From: Amazon
Sacrifice of Passion - A Deadly Legends Novel
Something waits in the shadows… On a Texas night twelve years ago, Vic Vargas kissed Delaney West so deeply that she almost came apart. Later that same night, evil crept into Delaney’s room as she slept – and everything in their world fell apart. Now Vic is a rancher living a half-empty life punctuated by one-night stands and a strained relationship with his 11-year-old son. Then Delaney returns to San Julio, and the past comes rushing back… along with the dark echoes of that night so long ago. Livestock are dying. Some say coyote, but others whisper another darker word. Chupacabra. Bloodsucker. The past hasn’t disappeared – nor has the instinctive desire that snaps and crackles between Delaney and Vic. And as those emotions ignite, so does the evil that hibernated for the last twelve years. The evil that waited for Delaney to return to San Julio… and to Vic Vargas.

Book Trailer: Sacrifice of Passion
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Bare-Naked Lola - A Lola Cruz Mystery
Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but a smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps…

Book Trailer: Bare-Naked Lola
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
A Fitting End - A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
Business is booming at Harlow Jane Cassidy's custom dressmaking boutique-even with her great-grandmother's ghost hanging around the shop. But when a local golf pro is found stabbed with dressmaking shears, the new town deputy suspects Harlow. Now she has to clear her name before the next outfit she designs is a prison jumpsuit…

Book Trailer: A Fitting End
Order the Book From: Amazon
Tricked Out Toolbox - Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs
Whether you’re just sticking your toe into the murky waters of the publishing industry, traversing the white waters of your already established career, or somewhere in between, The Tricked Out Toolbox is for you. In The Tricked Out Toolbox, you’ll identify your personality type: introvert or extrovert. Read anecdotes from authors about what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. Get ideas, craft a budget, build a marketing plan, and learn how to execute it. With checklists and worksheets galore, real-life advice, and an easy to read format, this user-friendly, practical guide allows you to pick and chose what promotion and marketing tools will work for you. If you buy one business book this year, make it The Tricked Out Toolbox. "In today’s tough market, savvy promotion is often a key ingredient to an author’s success, but few authors are familiar with all the tools available to them. They spend a fortune on the things that don’t work and overlook opportunities that might create more impact. That’s why I’m thrilled Melissa Bourbon and Tonya Kappes have taken on this aspect of the writer’s life and demystified the process. In Tricked Out Toolbox, the new author has all she needs to successfully promote her latest book. If you buy one business book this year, make it this one!" ~ Brenda Novak

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Pleating for Mercy - A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.

Book Trailer: Pleating for Mercy
Order the Book From: Amazon
Deceiving the Witch Next Door
Down-on-her-luck witch Storie Bell never thought the biggest threat to her future would be Reid Malone, the very man she’d run from years before. After striking it rich in Texas shale, he’s back in town, and he seems hell-bent on getting in the way of her bookstore’s grand opening. Reid knows there’s much more to Storie than meets the eye, but right now he has only one mission: to infiltrate her shop so he can snatch the elusive secret ingredient to his father’s million-dollar moonshine recipe. Once he does, he can go back to the city and get out of his small hometown, a place in which he has no future. But as the days go by, he can’t help falling for Storie in every way…and every encounter brings him closer to finding out what happens when you try to deceive a witch.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Lola Cruz Christmas Story, A Prequel - Lola Cruz Mysteries
The Lola Cruz Christmas Story is a short, holiday prequel to Living the Vida Lola. Lola is summoned by a woman from her past and becomes part of her own Christmas story as she leads Margo Callaghan to safety.

Book Trailer: The Lola Cruz Christmas Story, A Prequel
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble

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Check Melissa’s Media Page.

Author Recommended by: Buy The Book Tours
This blog is sponsored by the Buy The Book Tours created by Christine Warner and Florence Price. They specialize in tours for a varied mix of genres with packages and prices just right for any author's budget.

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