Monday, November 8, 2010

Irons in the Fire by Misa Ramirez

copyright 2010, Misa Ramirez

Here’s a riddle for you:

How many irons can a mystery writer keep in the fire without getting burned?

Um, I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know when it happens.

Seriously, I do sometimes wonder how I keep my head afloat. My mother is always telling me to slow down, relax, don’t take on so much, etc. But I think it’s in my nature to keep busy. As Lucille Ball said (yes, that Lucille Ball), “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

I’m that busy person.

I rarely have time to waste, so I multitask expertly. TV time with the kids? I'm blogging (because I have 2 blogs I write for: The Stiletto Gang and The Naked Hero, or editing (because I’m a writer and there’s always something to edit or revise), or reading student work (because I teach writing at a local college), or working on my business, Books on the House, a website I founded to bring writers and readers together under one roof. Pretty good tagline, right?!

I’m a mother of five, ages 8-18, a PTA volunteer, a wife, an education advocate (but, man, that’s a whole ‘nother story built out of pure passion and necessity), book clubber, band mom... I could go on. And on.

Considering everything I have going on in my life, I often wonder why I wasn’t satisfied with just my writing. Why did I co-found The Naked Hero? Why did I join The Stiletto Gang? Why did I found Books on the House?

I think the answers really define who I am, as a person and as a writer. I’m proactive. I’m a doer. If I see a need, I jump in. If I want something, I figure out how to get it. There’s another quote I like, author unknown: Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.

Just to clarify, I don’t see success as something finite or concrete. I already feel successful. I have set my mind to accomplish certain things, I’ve worked hard, and I’ve reached those goals.

I wanted to write. So I did. Every Monday night when my youngest was but a few weeks old, I went to a coffee shop with a friend and wrote.

I wanted to write a book. A character was born, then her family, then the mystery and premise of the book.

I wanted to have that book published and pursue a new career, although I never had expectations of bestsellerdom. I joined a writing organization, learned to hone my craft, found an agent, then another agent, and voila!, a short 3 years later, the book found a home at St. Martin’s Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.

I wanted to venture into e-books, so I did, signing with and having two romantic suspense books (based on Mexican legends) published with Diversion Books.


After learning the hard way that publishers don’t help much with marketing and promotion, I wanted to create a way for authors, like myself, to inexpensively market and promote themselves and their books to a captive audience. Books on the House was born.

Being an education advocate, I wanted a similar site for children’s and YA books. Books on the House for Kids and Teens was created as an offshoot of the main site.

And now, as my career has grown (feeling less like a fluke after the Lola Cruz Mysteries with SMP and more like that career I dreamed of since I signed a contract for 3 books with NAL), I have a solid marketing strategy and the opportunity to build my career even more so I can continue doing what I love.

I’m first and foremost a mystery writer, but the silver lining from all the irons I have smoking is the unexpected success of Books on the House. Running this site has allowed me to meet some amazing people like the fantastic Aaron Lazar :), Sarah Addison Allen, Alyson Noel, MJ Rose, and so many more. I’ve met equally amazing readers who are so excited to discover new-to-them authors.

Six months ago I had a nugget of an idea about a way to bring readers and books together. Now I have a site which gets more than 60,000 page views per month, a subscriber list of more than a 1000, and is growing every single day is phenomenal. I’m so proud to have created something people respond to so whole-heartedly and that is built around my passion of books and writing, and seriously, what’s not to love about discovering new books and entering to win free books?

So, how many irons do you keep in the fire, and have you gotten burned?


Misa said...

Thanks for having me here today, Aaron and Murder by 4!! Phew! I'm exhausted just reading this post. ;)

Unknown said...

Wow--I thought I had a lot of irons in the fire, but I feel like a piker next to you. Congratulations on not getting burned and may you be successful in all your endeavors.

Tracy A. Ward said...

Like you, Misa, I've got tons going on, but feel like I do none of it well. You're an inspration! Not only do you have a thought and see it through to fruition, but you do it well. I want to be you when I grow up!!

Regina Richards said...

Hi Misa,

You remind me of my sister. She is definitely an A personality. She not only does it all, she does it beautifully - with astonishing passion and creativity. Good for you!

Tonya Kappes said...

Oh, I don't have time to write about all my irons!! But I can tell you why I do it, because I want to give back to the writing community. I believe so much in karma and all things related!!

Sharon Marie said...

Misa, you are THE MOST talented person I know. I truly mean that!!! Your encouragement and zest for learning/writing/books and education is phenomenal. You are a mentor in every sense of the word.


s.w. vaughn said...

Whew! I think I'm exhausted just reading this post, too. :-)

Many, many kudos to you, Misa. You're one of the awesome people. *G*

And that Lucille Ball quote is one of my faves!

Paige Shelton said...

Wow, Misa! That was truly inspiring. Thanks for sharing.


Unknown said...

Misa --- You (along with our beloved Tonya) are sooo my Soul Sisters!

I hear all your irons...and I'll raise ya one...just joking...who am I kidding? LOL! I couldn't do one more damn thing even if I wanted to!

But here's a little MUSE THERAPY secret I developed...the key is to yes, have a ton of irons in your fires, but know without a doubt why you're forging each one and make sure it fits who you are as a person and helps get you where you ultimately want to go.

Those fabulous irons that don't fit there...well, as fabulous as those may be...they've got to in get the big 'ole heave-ho!!!

Sexy Sassy Smart Irons In The Fire Wishes --- D. D. Scott

P.S. Congrats on all your successful irons and fabulous fires too!!!

Heather Webber said...

Wow, that's a lot of irons! I'm impressed. :)

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Man I thought I was busy. Yikes!

Lee Lopez said...

Oh, my I started out being a history major headed for teaching. Ended up being a cop, a whole different iron, and now I'm pursuing writing. I think you have as many irons as you can handle, or juggle safely.

Angi Morgan said...

Misa... I want some of your drugs or GO Juice. LOL Purty pleazzz?

I just thought I was busy before reading your blog today. Thanks for the kick in the pants.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Misa, I knew you were a powerhouse, but somehow I hadn't realized you were also a mother of five!! I'm a grandfather of four, who live with us most of the time, so I can relate! LOL. Thanks so much for joining us today, we are thrilled to have you!

Ricky Bush said...

I'm a mister, not exactly a sister, but am a Sisters In Crime member and just want to say that..."You Rock, girl!". You shared a wealth of valuable stuff here (for lack of a better word). Thanks.

Romance Odyssey said...

Great Post... It makes me feel I'm not alone!

Dru said...

You are a phenomenal woman.

Misa said...

Aw... *blush* You guys make me feel great!

Kim Smith said...

Misa, sorry I missed your signing in Memphis recently. I really wanted to attend! darn it maybe next time :(

Lovely to have you on Mb4 and I am going to check out the sites you run. Sounds awesome!!

Publius said...

You don't just do a ton of stuff ... you do it *well*. You're my hero. :)

Marta Stephens said...

Misa, it's been great having you back on Murder by 4! Thanks for sharing.

Misa said...

Thank you for having me again, Marta!

Everyone here has made me feel like I do things WAY better than I feel I do. Ha! That's probably always the case, though.

Thanks EVERYONE for stopping by!