It’s funny how a book can pop up out of nowhere.
Out of a bag of nuts even.
When we were kids, my parents used to take my sister and me to harvest pecans off the ground in our small Texas town. There was a modest grove of wild pecan trees near our home, so we’d go fill a bag with nuts. It was always a bit chilly, and the sky almost always gray, but the pecans smelled so delicious as they baked in the oven and sat out in the wooden bowl on the table that it was worth it! These many years later, these nutty memories lingered in my author’s mind.
Then on a drive home from Florida a few years ago, my husband, my kids and I had to take a detour through a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The back road suddenly elbowed, and there in the crook of the elbow was a working pecan farm, like a picture postcard.
And that was when I realized that the three women I’d been thinking about as characters in a novel would come to this little Texas town—I’d call it Pecan Creek—to launch their dream. There was Sugar, her free-spirited sister, Lucy, and their wise-but-scarred mother, Maggie. Their dream? To sell nuts online—spicy nuts, hot nuts. They’d call them HotterThanHellNuts. All they needed was lots of nuts—Pecan Creek has that in spades, on the property Jake Bentley rents to Sugar —and the treasured Cassavechia family recipe their mother has tucked away in her mind. If only she can remember it . . .
What I didn’t know is that this business idea—this dream—would a) get them into a whole lot of trouble with the buttoned-up town council and b) introduce them to smokin’ hot guys like Jake Bentley with a tendency to insert foot in mouth. In what became my March 26 eBook, Hotter Than Texas (and my free digital prequel, Hotter Than Hot, available now) Jake knows immediately that his new tenants are trouble, but he’s oh-so-drawn to Sugar. It may be his nuts that brought Sugar to Pecan Creek, but Jake’s got to work fast to get her to stay.
With a story born of family tradition, you can understand why I love such things. Did your family have any favorite traditions, like picking pecans in the fall, or collecting treasured family recipes? Making homemade ice cream or planting a garden on the first day of spring?
Comment here about your family tradition, and I’ll pick one at random to earn the submitter a $25 e-cert to Amazon.com.
WINNER announced below
Also, as my gift to you, below you’ll find one of the Leonard family’s favorite pecan recipes. This is a sweet tradition made every year for my husband’s birthday and the holidays! Delish!
Tina Leonard’s Family Favorite Chocolate Pecan Pie
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookie sheet in oven to pre-heat. Combine corn syrup, sugar, margarine, vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Place chocolate chips and pecans in bottom of pie crust. Pour syrup mixture over pecans.
Place pie on heated cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes, or until deep golden brown, and filling is set. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator.
About the Author:
Bestselling author Tina Leonard decided to become a writer when her grandmother told her she should be the next writer in the family. Fifty projects later, Tina writes what she loves with humor, sexiness, and fun. With over two million books sold, Tina plans to keep writing the books her readers enjoy.
Tina received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee. Wtih two children in college, Tina is fighting off the urge to go back for a master’s degree. Happily, her writing schedule keeps her busy with independent, adventurous heroines and heroes in the truest sense of the word.
When not writing, cooking or working out, Tina loves going out with friends, reading, and spending time with her family. After livinig in many states over the years, Tina calls Texas home.