I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Rebecca Adler and her new release Cinco De Murder. This is the third book in her A Taste of Texas Mystery series.
Cinco de Murder (A Taste of Texas Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Texas
Berkley (April 3, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B073TJH4FF
Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.
It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklorico dances for Saturday’s big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.
But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life–before another cook kicks the bucket. (Goodreads)
The characters are well developed and well rounded. Josie is a smart caring person who has a feisty personality. She is surrounded by family and loved ones and she loves them as much as they love her. Maybe it is the reporter in her, but Josie has never met a mystery that she did not want to solve. And when her uncle is a person of interest, she becomes determined to find the real culprit. There were quite a few characters in this book and at times I had a hard time keeping them straight in my mind. This is only my opinion and others may not agree with me. Since this is the first book in the series that I have read, I would imagine it would have been easier if I had read the others. I really liked the feeling of familial love, caring and support that the author brought to all of the pages in this book. And her dog, Lenny, is just adorable.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there, watching all of the action taking place and listening in on conversations. The mystery was carried on well throughout the book and there were enough suspects to consider and clues to sift through. There was enough action taking place that I happily kept swiping pages to see what would happen next.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. I think for optimum enjoyment you want to read the other books in this series first, but again, that is only my opinion. I plan on reading the first two soon.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I was going through a rough patch and had three children at home under my feet. I read so many romances they were coming out my ears. One day I looked at the book I was reading and said those famous words, I can write better than that. Little did I know how hard it is to write a good book and that the best writers make it look easy. I did my research, joined North Texas Romance Writers, and began learning about the craft of writing. I began writing my first book as a way of being creative without having to leave the house. Play It Loud is a sweet romance I wrote under the name Gina Lee Nelson for The Wild Rose Press. The inspiration for my hero was Josh Groban; and I chose New York City as my setting because I missed living and working in the Big Apple.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
You’re right! There are hundreds of cozies that are currently being written. I think my cuisine, Tex-Mex, and my locale, Far West Texas–otherwise known as Big Bend Country, are unique to cozy mysteries. The desert town of Broken Boot, Texas nestles at the foot of the Davis and Chisos mountains at the edge of the Chihuahua Desert. I can’t say that having a pet in my mysteries is unique—but at least Lenny, the Chihuahua in my stories, has long hair!
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
It’s not always just one thing or another. Sometimes I’ll start with the main characters and begin writing to discover more about the characters. I start with a very slim outline. After I begin to write, I add to the outline various scenes and plot twists.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
I read every single review when my first book in this series came out; maybe because it was my first mystery. After that initial release, I read reviews only the first few weeks after the second book was released. If I visit my social media or vendor pages and see new reviews, I’ll read a few. On Goodreads I’ll read most of the reviews and make sure to like the positive reviews. If readers take the time to comment on my posts on Facebook with positive comments, I respond back with a comment. I have found many negative reviews give me insight into how to write a better book. Not all, mind you, but many readers make valid points.
Writing is my second job as I’m sure it is for many writers. I’m fortunate to have a publicist at Berkley who organizes a blog tour for me. Many of those blog posts are reviews. I also reach out to writer friends who have a blog or a review site and request a review or a guest post.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Try harder. Dream bigger. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Forgive yourself.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
I do think covers make a big difference. I know it makes a big difference to me as a reader. My covers are designed by cover artists contracted by Berkley.
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
Josie Callahan’s my girl! She’s gutsy, funny, brave, and able to put together clues like nobody’s business. She might come across a ditz in the beginning; but she’s very committed to protecting her family and friends. She’s had to overcome the adversity of being jilted at the altar and being laid off from her dream job without losing hope for a brighter future. These life-altering experiences may have brought her unexpectedly back home to the small town she left behind; but she’s not bitter.
A close second on the list would definitely be the quiet, thoughtful, and oh-so-handsome Detective Quint Lightfoot. I am a huge fan of Tony Hillerman’s Native American lawmen Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, not to mention Native American actors Adam Beach and Michael Horse. When it came time to create a local deputy, I couldn’t resist introducing the handsome Detective Quint Lightfoot.
Um, I’m feeling guilty. I can’t not mention Josie’s erstwhile grandmother, Senora Mari, hard on the outside, marshmallow on the inside. She’s in charge of the kitchen at Milagro, the family restaurant, and a member of the local folklórico dance troupe. A real spitfire!
And what would Lenny, the long-haired Chihuahua, say if I left him out? He’s a big fan of tamales, Tejano music, and wearing his mariachi costume.
What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
I’ve learned that I need to push myself to be a better writer. I’ve also learned that I can write longer books than I thought and make deadlines even when life interferes—which I realize is by the grace of God.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m a full-time theatre teacher and a part-time author.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I’m a member of both Sisters in Crime and North Texas Romance Writers. My NTRWA chapter just released a free short story anthology on Smashwords entitled Lone Star Love. Man of Steel is a short story written under my real name Gina Lee Nelson. I’m also planning my next mystery series.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
Easiest? Hm. Editing is easiest for me. After I slap down that rough draft, I find the deeper layers of my characters—which leads to more interesting conflicts and scenes. Consistency is often the hardest thing for me because of my school schedule. Writing every day is important; but if I can’t do that, I set up a schedule and try to stick to it. When I’m consistent, I give the story its due.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I bounce around a bit. I’m currently reading A Clash of Kings by George Martin. Before that A Curious Beginning by Deanne Raybourn. I like to read Alan Bradley, Elizabeth George, and Louise Penny…
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
My childhood dream was to be a director. I fleshed that out in elementary school by writing the plays, casting the popular kids, and creating the performances for my friends and teachers to applaud. Fast forward several years and I’m still at it. My day job is corralling high school theatre students; my artistic outlet is creating characters in my own original stories; and my joy is encouraging my sons especially my actor/director middle child. Though I live in an urban area of Texas, my heart yearns for the beauty of Big Bend Country. That’s why I placed my story near Big Bend National Park in a town nestled between the Chisos and Davis Mountains and the Chihuahua Desert. It made the perfect excuse to do research in Alpine, Fort Davis, Stockton, and their weird cousin Marfa.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
A big thanks to all the mystery readers and writers who welcomed my first series, The Taste of Texas mysteries, with open arms. Josie, Lenny, Senora Mari, Detective Lightfoot, and I hope you’ve cracked a smile, chuckled a time or two, and enjoyed some delicious Tex-Mex recipes as we’ve cleaned up the dusty streets of Broken Boot, Texas.
If you missed Josie’s early exploits as an amateur sleuth, be sure to check out Here Today, Gone Tamale, Book 1, and The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole, Book 2 in the series. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.
Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.
She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.
There is a Rafflecopter Giveaway for this tour. Please follow this link to enter the giveaway.
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