Thursday, December 1, 2016

VBT: Crime and Catnip by T. C. Lotempio

Crime and Catnip
by T. C. Lotempio


GENRE:  cozy mystery



While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown. 

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...


Excerpt Two:

I twisted the knob and the door swung inward, almost hitting another furry shape crouched behind it. The cat that charged at me out of the darkness had a white body and an orange and white face. It’s fluffy white tail waved like a flag signaling surrender. It landed on all four paws and stood, back arched, bright blue eyes glittering.


I looked at Nick who’d sat back on his haunches and was calmly regarding the newcomer. “Is this what you wanted me to find, Nick? You wanted me to let this cat out of here?” I made an impatient gesture. “I told you I had things to do.”

I could swear that Nick shook his head. “Meeoow,” he yowled.

The other cat turned around twice, echoed Nick’s cry, and then shot like a guided missile back through the door. I peered cautiously inside. The room beyond was black as midnight, and I had no flashlight – nor did I have the cat’s extraordinary range of night vision. I felt along the wall and found a switch, which I flipped. Illumination revealed a flight of steps leading downward into what was most likely a basement or a storage area. Nick and the other cat were halfway down the stairs. Both paused, turned and looked at me and meowed plaintively.

“I do not have a good feeling about this,” I muttered. I cautiously crept down the stairway, emerging into what appeared to be the museum storeroom, filled to overflowing capacity with boxes, cabinets and trunks of varying sizes. I walked over to one and read the white and red printed label:


“Oh great,” I muttered. This was obviously the place where the packing was stored for the exhibit articles. The cats were dashing madly around the room – off to a large trunk on the left side, then back to me, around in a circle, and then back to the trunk. The orange and white cat began to mew pitifully as Nick chased a few red threads on the floor. Fighting the tingling feeling inching up my spine, I moved forward and saw a black Mary Jane dangling over the side, partially obscured by a swath of red satin.

With a sinking feeling, I walked all the way around, stopped and bit back a scream.

Daisy Martinelli sat sprawled in the trunk’s center, her neck cocked at a rakish angle, the red scarf tied around it pooled like a puddle of blood in her lap. One finger was caught in the scarf’s frayed edge, almost as if she were pointing. Her sightless eyes stared straight ahead, and a little bit of drool trickled out of the side of her mouth. Her arms were tangled in the folds of a scarlet cape looped carelessly around her shoulders.

I didn’t need to feel her pulse to see that she was quite, quite, dead.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog:
Amazon- Crime and Catnip

Amazon: All Books Page



Interview with T C Lotempio
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

It could be from anywhere: something I see, a word, a phrase.  I once wrote a YA novel from the name on the side of a garbage truck!  For the Nick and Nora mysteries, I have to say my cat ROCCO is the main source of inspiration, though.

How did you do research for your book?

It all depends on the theme – Google and Wikipedia are an author’s best friend!  

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Yes, I’m a compliance admin by day, author by night.  I plan to retire in a few more years, though, so then I’ll be a full time writer (with maybe a part time job at a local Barnes and Noble, I hope.  

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Definitely the era of Henry VIII. There are times when I’m convinced I was Anne Boleyn in another life.  I went to England in 2001 and saw the spot where she was buried, and I swear my neck started itching!  But seriously, I love everything about that era – the clothes, the court life glamour, the jewels!  I’ve read all the bios out on Henry VIII and his wives that I can get my hands on.

What is your next project?

My next project is a new cozy series for Crooked Lane, the Cat Rescue mysteries.  Book 1 will be out March 14, 2017!  Please tell your local libraries to order it.  and thanks so much for asking!

To keep up with all my latest projects, and to find out what other authors are up to, visit ROCCO’s blog:

Thank you so much for hosting me!


T. C. Lotempio will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Replies
    1. You are very welcome, sounds like a great book.

  2. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt and interview. Barnes and Noble would be the perfect job. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

    1. Thanks Marcy. I thought either Barnes and Noble or a Chili's. :)

  4. Hi Rocco, tell your human that the BBC is launching a new series about Henry VIII and his wives presented by Lucy Worsley. I think it starts next week. She might be able to pick it up online.

  5. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it!

  6. Sharing again - have a good weekend!

  7. HI Rocco, me again. That new BBC series starts tonight, if she's interested!

  8. Sorry, Rocco, my mistake. It starts Wednesday night!

  9. Sorry, Rocco, my mistake. It starts Wednesday night!

  10. Dropped by to share. By the way I love the cover.

  11. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  12. Start of another week; is everyone beginning to feel festive?

    1. I'm at the point I will be glad when it's over. Feeding 30 people at our Family Christmas get together on Saturday.

  13. I love your answer to the Going back in time question in the interview. I have always felt I have a past life as well. I get the most vivid visions of a woman on the prairie dying of a snake bite to the left calf. Weird but true.