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Thursday, 8 December 2016

VBT, EXCERPT, GUEST POST & #GIVEAWAY - Crime and Catnip (Nick and Nora Mysteries #3) by T.C. LoTempio


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...

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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.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  B&N  |  Kobo

Follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You Can’t’ Judge a Book by its Cover – or can you?

T. C. Lotempio

Ever hear the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Well, it’s not just a lot of words strung together – it’s a lot truer than you might think.  In the cold light of day, the harsh reality is a vast majority of readers do indeed use the cover of a book as a deciding factor in not only whether or not they should buy the book, but if they will enjoy it as well.
With millions of books for readers to choose from, the first “sales pitch” is the cover. If it is not striking enough to draw attention, it will be passed over for something more interesting.
The cover is actually the first page of the story.  It is here the book communicates to the reader a hint of the story contained within.  Color is extremely important. A dark cover, for example, could suggest a dark tale while those with brighter covers might communicate a lighter fare. The cover can speak to the emotion of the reader, encouraging them to take a journey.
A cover can also create preconceptions in a reader’s mind about what the characters or the setting look like. Oftentimes, however, what’s on the cover doesn’t quite match the story. For example, iin Nick and Nora #2, Claws for Alarm, Nick is depicted on the table of Nora’s coffee shop with a cup of spilled coffee spelling out “Help” at his side.  Okay, it’s true, the main character owns a sandwich/coffee shop, BUT…the murder and most of the action takes place at an art studio.  When they asked me for cover suggestions I thought about having the cat on an easel, the brushes or paint from the brushes spelling out “Help”.  Why did they pick the café background instead?  “Cafes are a better sell” is what I was told. So often times it’s metrics that will determine a book’s cover, not the actual tale contained within.
Still, a well-designed cover is the first assurance the reader has of the actual quality of the book.  A poorly drawn or designed cover can sometimes create preconceptions in the mind of the reader. They might be more inclined to try to spot mistakes in the text, typos or even plot points.  Publishers realize the importance of a quality cover and quite often they have special artists for different genres. Cozy covers tend to be more colorful, while thrillers are dark and edgy.  More and more authors who have turned to self-publishing now entrust cover design to independent graphic artists to try and ensure bigger sales.
In a nutshell, a great cover design is necessary to draw the reader’s attention and to get them to connect to your book on an emotional level.  Great cover designs therefore need to draw the reader’s attention, engage them on an emotional level, suggest the tone and style of the work, and showcase the quality of the book itself.  A monumental task, to be sure, but one that could make the difference between a book with lackluster sales and one that hits the NY Times bestseller list.

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 – and in spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane!   She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Tour Organised by: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


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

  2. It's neat to have animals in a book. Sounds really fun to read.

    1. Thanks Donamae! Nick is a lot of fun to write, and I have great inspiration in my own cat ROCCO

  3. What is the best book taht you have read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Sounds like a great book - thanks for sharing!

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

  6. Excellent guest post! Looking forward to checking this book out!

  7. Once again, Congrats on the New Book and the Tour! Happy Holidays to you and your family!