When I sat down to write HERE TODAY, GONE TAMALE,
the first book in my Taste of Texas
series, I pondered the best way to take hold of the story. Would it be
the plot? The setting? The mystery? Sure the mystery was important. Who wants to
read a book with a predictable plot? And though I loved Far West, Texas and the
desert towns near the border, they didn’t reach out and grab me right away.
Head bowed and eyes closed, I prayed like a child, “Dear Lord, how the heck do I
write a story that will make readers smile and feel at home?” Now, you may not
pray, and the good Lord knows I don’t pray as often as I should; but the answer
dropped into my soul.
It was all about the characters. I decided to write lovable, quirky people I
wanted to spend time with. I had to start with a heroine with grit and a bit of
an attitude. She couldn’t be svelte and perfect either. She had to love her tamales.
Once reporter Josie Callahan came onto the page, I needed a reason for her to
leave the cool vibe and big city bustle of Austin—every Texan’s dream—only to
land back in postage-sized Broken Boot with her aunt and uncle. Josie was down
on her luck. Laid off and jilted at the altar, she had nowhere else to go.
Now that my amateur sleuth was back home where she belonged, working in her
family’s Tex-Mex restaurant, who else was there for her to interact with?
Ah, a sidekick. That would be a Chihuahua named Lenny. Why Lenny? That’s what
his previous owner named him, of course. Why a Chihuahua? The story is
set in Far West Texas, right? Now let’s give that stereotype a twist. He’s a
long-haired Chi which makes him extra cute and adorable.
Someone else was needed in the family, someone unpredictable and
cantankerous—someone who could say all the things the other characters wished
they could say. Senora Mari hit the page. This mighty matriarch, standing all of
four feet, ten inches, oversaw everything that had to do with the menu at
Milagro especially her famous traditional tamales. Much to my surprise, it
turned out Senora Mari dreamt of dead people. Those poor souls murdered in
Broken Boot came to her with clues about their murders. Unfortunately, Josie
couldn’t make hide nor hair out of Senora Mari’s dreams.
Finally where would a smart, sassy amateur sleuth be without a hint of romance
in her life? Enter from stage left Josie’s former college sweetheart, Coach Ryan
Prentice. He’s not too busy coaching the West Texas University football team to
help out at Milagro now and then and lend a sympathetic ear. Sneaking in from
stage right is Deputy Quinton Lightfoot. He put the silent in the strong and
silent type. Intelligent and skeptical of Josie’s investigative skills, he’s
willing to overlook her mistakes as long as she doesn’t interfere with his
The stage was set. The dusty, artistic town of Broken Boot, Texas was the
backdrop. Josie Callahan and the Martinez family were the leads. All I needed
was a murder.
I hope you enjoy my first novel in this series, HERE TODAY, GONE TAMALE. If
you crave your Tex-Mex the way I do, I know you’ll enjoy the recipes in the back
Rebecca Adler is the pen name of author Gina Lee Nelson. Gina 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 high-tailed it to the Southwest.
Prior to writing women's fiction, Rebecca always found a way to add a touch
of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in
Florida, flower shop in Germany, acting school on Broadway, sweatshirt boutique
on Madison Avenue, all night dive on the Lower East Side, video series in
Jersey, and a giant Furskin at the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play
She's currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies
into writing cozy mysteries with a hint of romance and a sweet, Southern-fried
Taste of Texas
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Reporter turned Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan is about to go from
serving queso to solving cases
After losing her newspaper job in
Austin and having her former fiancé unfriend her on Facebook, Josie Callahan
scoops up her Chihuahua, Lenny, and slinks back to Broken Boot, Texas. Maybe
working as head waitress at Milagro—her aunt and uncle’s Tex-Mex
restaurant—isn’t exactly living the dream, but it is a fresh start.
business is booming as tourists pour into Broken Boot for its famous Wild West
Festival. But when a local jewelry designer is found strangled outside Milagro
after a tamale-making party, Josie’s reporter instincts kick in. As suspects
pile up and alibis crack faster than taco shells, Josie needs to wrap up this
case tighter than her tía’s tortillas—before another victim calls for the
INCLUDES TEX-MEX RECIPES!
Buy HERE TODAY, GONE TAMALE: Amazon.com
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