Sunday, March 25, 2018

Great Escapes Book Tour

I'm so happy to be a stop on the 
blog tour for author
Rebecca Adler
and her new book
Book 3 in the Taste of Texas Mysteries

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 folklórico 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.


Chapter 1
Folklórico Rehearsal

On such a gorgeous May morning, what could be better than a power walk to Cho’s cleaners with my long-haired Chihuahua, Lenny? The morning sun had tossed a wide blanket of gold over the Davis and Chisos mountains, awakening the piñon pines and the weeping junipers from their slumber, illuminating the bluegrass and scrub so they looked like desert jewels. The plan had been to retrieve my abuela’s folklórico costume and burn some extra calories. And though we made good time—considering the length of my canine sidekick’s pencil-thin appendages—the morning sun galloped down Broken Boot’s cobbled streets while I paid Mr. Cho with a crumpled five-dollar bill and a coupon for a dozen free tamales.

“Yip.” Lenny lapped from the pet fountain in front of Elaine’s Pies, soaking his black-and-white coat.

“¡Vámonos, amigo!” If we were late to the final dance rehearsal before the   Cinco de Mayo parade, God only knew when Senora Marisol Martinez, our matriarch, would permit me to call her abuela again.

During my first few months back home, I was elated to find I could accomplish tasks in far less time than in the crowded thoroughfares of Austin. Almost a year later, I was forced to admit the slower pace of our dusty little town didn’t aid me in my quest to check things off my list. It merely encouraged me to meander.

On that happy thought, Lenny and I raced down the sidewalk toward Milagro. Suddenly I tripped over the plastic clothes bag, nearly kissing the pavement with my face. “Whose great idea was it to rehearse this early?”


“That’s what I was afraid of.”

When we barreled through the front door of Milagro, the best, and only, Tex-Mex restaurant on Main Street, I expected the folklórico rehearsal to be in full swing. Instead my best friend, Patti Perez, glared at me, which only made me smile. I was wise to her marshmallow center, in spite of her ghostly Goth appearance.

“Sorry,” I mouthed. After all, it had been my idea for all of us to join the local folklórico troupe—my way of embracing life back in good old Broken Boot, Texas.

“About time,” she chided as I draped Senora Mari’s costume over a stack of hand-painted wooden chairs. In my absence, the other dancers had cleared the dining room to create a dance floor on the beautiful Saltillo tiles.

“I would have called,” I began.

“But I was trapped in a dead zone,” we said in unison. Service was so bad in Broken Boot and its outlying communities that folks were slower here than in the rest of the country in ditching their landlines.

“Where’s Anthony?” When our headwaiter offered his newly formed mariachi band to play for our first performance, I didn’t have the heart to say no. Beggars can’t be choosers, or look a gift band in the mouth.

“Tsk, tsk.” Across the room, Anthony’s new fiancée placed her hand over the bar phone’s mouthpiece. Though christened Lucinda, we’d quickly dubbed her Cindy to avoid calling her Linda, my aunt’s name, and vice versa. “He says his truck has a flat tire.” She scowled at whatever Anthony said next and responded with a flurry of Spanish.

“Who doesn’t keep a spare in the desert?” Patti, whom I referred to as Goth Girl if for no other reason than to hear her snort, delivered this line with a deadpan expression and a flick of her rehearsal skirt.

“Yip,” Lenny said, chasing after her ruffles.

Goth Girl snapped her head in my direction and gave me the stink eye. “Tell me you replaced your spare.”

“Uh, well, not yet, but I will after Cinco de Mayo.” Money was a bit tight, what with the loss of tourists during the winter months.

To my right, Aunt Linda, a stunning middle-aged woman with warm chestnut hair, modeled her bright-colored skirt better than any fashionista in Paris. “That’s what you said about Valentine’s Day.” She was my late mother’s older sister. She might look great in her Wranglers, but she and rhythm had never been introduced.

“And Saint Patrick’s,” chimed in Senora Mari, executing a double spin. This morning she wore a rehearsal skirt of black-tiered lace along with her Milagro uniform of peasant blouse, gray bun at her nape, and large pink flower behind her ear. No matter how much I rehearsed, none of my moves could compare to her sassy head turns and flamboyant poses. Who knew my seventy-something, four-foot-eleven   abuela would turn out to be the star of our ragtag troupe?

A sharp clapping interrupted our chatter. “Let’s try it on the counts,” cried Mrs. Felicia Cogburn, mayor’s wife and self-appointed dance captain.

“Yip,” Lenny agreed.

“Why is that dog here?” Mrs. Cogburn demanded, her hands raised in mid-clap.

“He has a key role, remember?” My abuela smiled, an expression so rare on her dear weathered face it made folks uncomfortable.

Mrs. Cogburn blinked several times. “Of course.” Before she could begin, a small truck landed at the curb with a bed full of musicians, trumpets and guitars in full serenade. The band stopped playing long enough to hurry inside.

¡Ay, Dios! Senora, I had to borrow a spare. Mine was flat.” Anthony waved his friends into a semicircle just inside the door.

Senora Mari thrust a finger into the air. “So you say.” She snapped her head dramatically to the side. “Play.”

With a worried look, Anthony counted off, and the group of dark-haired men and boys began to play the "Jarabe Tapatío", the Mexican hat dance. I spied a familiar face on trumpet. Anthony’s little sister Lily gave me a wink and a nod.

As the trumpets and guitars played, Mrs. Cogburn called out, “And one, two, three, four.”

“Where’s your skirt?” Patti asked as we twirled first right and then left.

“Ah, chicken sticks.” I dodged the dancers, ran up the stairs to my loft apartment, and retrieved my long skirt from a chrome dining chair.

“Yip, yip, yip,” Lenny cried from the bottom of the stairs.

“Sorry.” I found his straw hat on the yellow Formica table and made it downstairs without mishap. “Here you go, handsome.” I perched the hat on his head and tightened the elastic under his chin. As we danced, Lenny would spin in place on his back legs, melting the hearts of the crowd faster than fried ice cream in August.



Winners will be chosen after March 31
at the end of the tour

5 lucky readers will win print copies of


USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.




Winners will be chosen after March 31
at the end of the tour

1 lucky reader will win a print copy of


USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.


LKBR:  Thank you for being here today, Rebecca!

RA: Thanks for having me, Lisa! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about Cinco de Murder, Book 3 in the Taste of Texas Mysteries.

RA: In Cinco de Murder, the third book in my Taste of Texas mystery series, reporter-turned-Tex-Mex-waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their traditional folklórico dances for Saturday’s big Cinco de Mayo parade. Not to be outdone, 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 a cantankerous chili cook 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.

LKBR: How did you come up with the concept for this series? How about the idea for this installment?

RA: Sometimes I create my characters before I begin writing; and other times they walk onto the page when I need them the most. The idea of a family running a Tex-Mex restaurant in a small Texas town came from my editor; but I fleshed out the details. It was fun discovering how they spoke, what they looked like, and how they felt about each other and the world around them. I’d say that’s my favorite part of writing this series—meeting the characters who arrive on the page, sometimes by design and other times by pure accident.

Lenny, Josie’s Chihuahua, was mine from the get go. On page one of Here Today, Gone Tamale when Josie stared at herself in the mirror and Lenny yipped his approval, a star was born.

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.

At the beginning of each story in this trilogy, I had a lot of fun deciding on what celebration would fit that particular mystery. Cinco de Mayo was the perfect fit for springtime.

LKBR: Do you have a favorite character in your book/series?

RA: Josie Callahan’s my girl! She’s gutsy, funny, brave, and able to put together clues like nobody’s business. A close second on the list would definitely be the quiet, thoughtful, and oh-so-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. And what would Lenny, the long-haired Chihuahua, say if I left him out? It’s like choosing between your own children!

LKBR: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love, action, death, etc?

RA: I find that writing the suspense element of mystery can be the trickiest. It’s challenging enough writing engaging characters and witty dialogue. When you add in clues, detection, and murder it definitely keeps the little gray cells busy.

LKBR: In your writing, have you ever used experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

RA: I have named my characters after people in my own life on more than one occasion—not because of any resemblance, but more as an homage to our relationship. Sometimes when I’m writing dialogue I find a character is relaying an event straight from my own knowledge bank, but so far nothing too personal. I’m too worried someone will recognize themselves and cut me out of their will!

LKBR: When you’re in the process of writing/creating a book, do you use a computer, typewriter, dictate, or use pen to paper?
RA: I use a computer. If I get stuck while I’m plotting a story, or I’m stuck without my computer, I’ll revert to a pen. Gel pens are my favorites.

LKBR: Do you have any writing quirks or rituals that you do before, during, and/or after writing a new book?

RA: During the writing process, I will often write at exactly the same time of day—first thing in the morning. I make it a part of my morning routine so that my brain is ready to go. I also use a spreadsheet to keep up with my progress, which inspires me to check off my word count goal for that day and week. I try to celebrate every time I finish a book and every time it hits the shelves by going out for a special dinner with my family or a close friend. I tend to write slowly so I’m constantly trying out new ways to increase my word count and the quality of those words. I’ve heard that some writers write new words in the morning and edit old words in the afternoon. Another week they might write new during the week and edit on the weekend. Having said that, I must be a glutton for punishment because I wrote all three of the books in this series by writing a complete first draft and then creating a second draft by editing the first. Then there’s the notes from my editor, which a third draft, etc. It works for me because I love to see the pages fly by; but I’m not sure I recommend it.

LKBR: What does your family think about your writing? How important is their support?

RA: My family is very supportive—as much as they can be living in close quarters. Even though two of my children live with me, they are nearly grown and very independent. That helps. What do they think about my writing? They’re happy that I’m happy. It’s enough for now.

LKBR: Who/What inspired you to write your first book? 
RA:  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.

LKBR: What was one of the most surprising thing(s) you learned when trying to get your first book published?

RA: This sounds daft, I know; but I didn’t realize how many times I would have to edit and revise that book. Each criticism by an editor felt like being pricked with pins. Now I crave more editorial revisions.

LKBR: What book are you reading?

RA: I’m reading Game of Thrones: Clash of Kings. I’m a bit late to the party; but I didn’t start watching the series until a couple of summers ago. Now that I’ve seen every episode, I’m reading the books. I just finished a wonderful mystery by Deanna Raybourn, A Curious Beginning. It’s the first book in her Victorian Veronica Speedwell series and I highly recommend it if you enjoy intelligent, liberated, witty heroines in a historical setting.

LKBR: Do you have any advice for aspiring cozy writers?

RA: Read cozy books. Read a lot of them. Figure out what you like and don’t like--and write what you like. I stumbled into cozies because I write sweet stories and my strongest voice is first person. I also find my sense of humor comes out to play when I write cozies, which I enjoy.

LKBR: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?


Facebook: @AuthorRebeccaAdler

Twitter: @CozyTxMysteries

Purchase Links:

LKBR: Thank you so much for letting us get to know you better!

RA: It’s been a lot of fun, Lisa. Thanks, again, for giving me the opportunity to chat about my books. And I hope you and your readers have a festive Cinco de Mayo!
About the Author
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.

Author Links Webpage:

Purchase Links
Amazon   B&N   Kobo    Google Play    BAM   BookBub 


March 22 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
March 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 23 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 24 – Varietats – REVIEW
March 24 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 24 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 25 – T's Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 25 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 26 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
March 27 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
March 27 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
March 28 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 28 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
March 30 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
March 30 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
March 31 - That's What She's Reading – REVIEW

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  1. Thanks, Lisa. Happy Sunday, to you!

  2. Thank you for all the wonderful information on "CINCO DE MURDER" by Rebecca Adler and for being part of the book tour.

    It was exciting to be able to read the first chapter after which I wanted to keep reading. This book is definitely on my TBR list and I'd love the opportunity to read it. Always enjoy interviews with an author to find out how and why a book came to be as well as more about them.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of "CINCO DE MURDER"!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. Lisa, you have created a wonderful blog! Thanks for inviting me to visit. I hope you and your readers enjoy Cinco de Murder.

  4. I think the chihuahua did it! Ole!