Thursday, October 27, 2011


Today a much anticipated interview… me, anyway! The HUMAN sits in my hotseat!
The Human would be author Toni Lotempio, of course! (and the person who thinks she owns me, but we all know the truth, heh heh)

For those of you who don’t know her, here’s a bit about Toni LoTempio, aka “THE HUMAN!”...
Born in New York City, Toni began writing at an early age. In 1995, she joined the staff of SUSABELLA
PASSENGERS AND FRIENDS, where she has been a staff reporter for 10 years, winning their Margaret Sutton Award for Distinguished Writing in 1998. Always fascinated by the supernatural, her favorite tv show growing up was DARK SHADOWS. Her taste in literature leans toward a mix of horror, UF and thriller, as evidenced by her favorite authors: Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris and James Patterson. Several of her earlier horror tales (Ebony, Witch’s Pawn) were published by Whiskey Creek Press and Echelon Press, and she entered into the indie e-book market with NO REST FOR THE WICCA, which has received excellent reviews and been on Amazon’s top 100 in Occult fiction for the past 35 weeks.  This was followed by RAVEN’S KISS, and a YA fantasy, MY SUPERHERO SISTER, as well as shorts in two anthologies:  KISS ME, KILL ME and EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED.
Toni lives in Clifton, New Jersey with her four cats and is currently working on many more books!  Toni enjoys hearing from fans, who may reach her at, or via her website,  She is most active, however, on her cat Rocco’s blog, The blog features news on upcoming releases, as well as interviews with authors, agents, editors, etc.

And now, drumroll please….presenting…THE HUMAN!
R: Hello, Human – ah, Toni. Welcome to the hotseat.
T: Hello, Rocco. So you finally managed to get me here, eh?

R: Yes, heh heh. But I promise to be kind. Maybe. So, to begin, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?  And your short story in EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED?
T: Don’t mind if I do, Rocco.  I’ve been writing pretty much my entire life, but I only seriously started to write with an eye toward publication in 2000.  I started out writing horror and mysteries, and had a few published by small presses.  (Ebony, Witch’s Pawn) Last year, on the advice of author HP Mallory, I decided to try indie publishing, and I’ve been encouraged with the response my three books have gotten so far.  No Rest for the Wicca, the first one indie published, almost made it to the Big Six in another life but fell short.  It’s the story of Morgan Hawkes, a girl with psychic powers caught between two worlds – her mother was a wiccan witch, her father a voodoo boko.  A tragedy in her career left her bitter and unsure of her abilities, but when she’s forced to join forces with a hot Inheritor Vampire to solve a rash of serial killings of witches, she finally begins to break out of her shell. My short in EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED is a continuation of Morgan’s story, a little adventure she has before starting her new job as a special agent.

R: Interesting.  Are you planning any sequels to the indie books you already have out?
T: Well, the outline for the sequel to WICCA is written, but I haven’t had time to actually sit down and write that one yet, so that’s why I chose to give Morgan an adventure in EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED.  Right now I’m working on a novella follow up to my second novel, RAVEN’S KISS, which I hope to have out Dec –Jan. and I’ve also been asked if there will be a sequel to MY SUPERHERO SISTER.  I’m juggling a lot of balls right now, so to speak.  R: Yeah, well, don’t drop any. You know how I love ballies!

R:  How did you become involved with the charity, KIDS NEED TO READ?
T:  Well, I wanted to do something to ‘pay it forward’ as the saying goes, and I wanted it to be a charity that either dealt with children or animals. I did an internet search and Kids Need To Read came up, so I went over to their website. I’m not ashamed to admit that when I discovered Nathan Fillion, my favorite actor, was one of the co-founders along with PJ Haarsma and Denise Gary it really sparked my interest.  I contacted Denise Gary, the Director, and asked her about doing fundraisers – and I’ve been an active supporter ever since.  Ideally I like to try and get involved in some sort of fundraiser once a year, plus support them in other ways – mentioning other things they have going on the blog, facebook, etc. I’ve also donated print copies of my YA fantasy, MY SUPERHERO SISTER, to them and I plan on doing the same next year with my next YA paranormal. DEMONS AND FIRE. (get a sneak peek at the cover at the end of this interview - done by the lovely and talented Jeff Taormina!)

As an author, we depend on readers to make us successful. If people can’t read – we’re nowhere.  And illiteracy is a big problem in the US, believe it or not. I know quite a few adults who cannot read or who simply do not want to read. I think Kids Need To Read is an important group in the sense that it tries to promote reading as something fun and valuable, not something to be dreaded. I also like the idea that they supply books to libraries that are underfunded and can’t afford to provide kids with good material.

R: Very true – and Friday we will spotlight this charity, as well as its co-founders, Nathan Fillion and PJ Haarsma, right here on the blog! (the third co-founder and Director, Denise Gary, was spotlighted in an interview on October 14.)

R: What do you do when you are not writing?
T:  When would that be exactly, Rocco?  I write more than I breathe LOL.  But in whatever spare time I have, it’s probably feeding you and your brother and sisters.

R:  Yes, we do require a lot of food, heh heh.
T:  Yes, some of you do. One cat I can think of in particular.

R:  Yeah, Maxx…Trixie…Gata…boy can those old ladies eat!
T:  No, no and no…and be nice!

R: Moving on…How long does it take you to finish a book?
T:  Well, since I have a full time job, most of my writing gets done on the weekends – if I’m really on a roll, I’ll write for an hour or two after work.  So on the whole, from outline to finish, between 3-4 months for one book. Ideally, I like to get 2 or 3 out a year.  I’d love to sit even longer at the computer, but back problems prevent those 6-8 hour writing marathons I did when I was younger LOL

R: What do you find is the biggest challenge in writing/publishing as an indie author?  
T: Definitely getting the word out – after all, I don’t employ a team of publicists – unless you want to volunteer, Rocco?  And editing – I confess, I’m not good at finding my own mistakes.

R: Would you ever attempt to go the traditional agent/publisher route again?
T: Absolutely! I feel it’s important to reach both markets – besides which, I confess I’m old fashioned. I want to hold my book, my baby in my hand LOL.  I had an agent back in 2008, and we had some close calls with two of my manuscripts – then I stopped searching for a while, but just this year I signed with a fabulous agent, Josh Getzler of Hannigan Salky Getzler in New York. Right now he’s shopping my latest UF novel around.

R:  Great! Any hints you can give us?
T:  It’s action packed, with the kind of supernatural creatures you love – and that’s all I’ll say right now. 

R: Which of your series/characters do you enjoy writing the most?
T: Um, I’m fond of all of them, when you live with them for 3-4 months they tend to grow on you.  Right now I’d have to say Gillian and Jericho – the ones in the novel my agent’s shopping.  I’m also fond of Autumn and Logan – two from another novel that was an “almost” at NAL.  I’m still undecided what to do with them – they refuse to be shelved, so I just may indie-pub them next year. We’ll see.

R: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
T: A little bit of both, I’m afraid. I start out with an outline but the finished product rarely ends up looking anything like what I start out with.  It’s wherever the muse takes me.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing?
T:  Soft music playing and a fat cat on my lap – or rather, a fat cat trying to eat the computer wires, play with the keyboard, fight with his siblings, stick his head in the garbage pail, jump on top of my printer…I can go on and on.

R: Moving on…Since you listen to music while you write, who’s on your playlist?
T:  I like Barry Manilow and Michael Buble and Cher – even some Lady Gaga. Pretty diverse, right? I also enjoy listening to the soundtrack from Phantom of the Opera, and right now I have the soundtrack from Music and Lyrics on my CD player. Who knew Hugh Grant could sing?

R: What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given? What would you say to someone just starting out?
T:  This business is so slow and subjective – you just can’t give up.  You just have to keep on writing. What one likes another doesn’t, etc. When it’s the right time, and it’s meant to be, trust me, something will happen. You just have to find someone, a good agent, who believes in you and never, ever, stop believing in yourself.

R: What books are you reading now?
T: I just finished Death du Jour and I’m about to start Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs. I just got into that series and started watching Bones reruns on tv. Then New York to Dallas by JD Robb is next on my list. I adore that series and have every book.

R: Just for fun, your
TV show: Older or current? For current, it’s a tie between Castle and Dancing with the Stars. For older it would be Murder She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder.  I just can’t get enough of detectives!  (R:  note to self: Human is entirely too fixated on shows spotlighting murder).
Book:  Anything by JD Robb
Actor: Nathan Fillion/Mark Harmon
Actress:  Emma Stone
Movie: Gone with the Wind
Character:.Scarlett O’Hara
Spies or Spook?   The Man from UNCLE
Vampire or Warlock? Vampires
Cats or Dogs?  (oh, come on, Rocco. Isn’t that answer a bit obvious? Dogs. A nice Cavalier King Charles spaniel!)
Beach or Mountain?  Mountain Lodge with a pool
Barry White or Barry Manilow?  Manilow, hands down.
Drink:  Sangria with a twist

R: Okay, now…wait a second! DOGS!!!!!!!
T: I thought that might get your attention…finally…..

R: Very funny, ha ha ha.  So, what is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you? Besides your rapier wit, that is?????
T: That I can twist the fingers on both hands into a pretzel shape. Really. I can. I also go into New York every year since 1999 to see Phantom of the Opera. I love that play.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
T: Adopt a fat, black tuxedo cat with an attitude that enjoys writing a blog.

R: No, really.
T: Really. Okay, maybe adopting four cats. But only one with ‘cattitude’.  R:  who’s that, Maxx? Just joshin’ heh heh (blushes) It’s ME! 

R: What can we expect from you in the future? What are you working on now?
T:  Well, right now I’m working on finishing that Raven novella, and I have about three manuscripts I need to edit to send to my agent, including the sequel for the one he’s shopping. Then I plan on releasing an indie YA paranormal with a Dark Shadows tie in – watch for me on Sci Fi Saturday Night talking about it in March!  I have outlines for two new series – mysteries! My very first book was a spy mystery and I’d like to get back into writing cozies  – both paranormal and contemporary.

R: Wow, you sound busy!  When am I gonna be able to get on the computer to write my blog????????
T:  Ha, well, when Josh sells my book you can have your own laptop, LOL.  I’m the eternal optimist!

R:  Wow, you all heard her, folks!  But I – I mean we - get a jungle gym first, right?   Right???????
T:  We shall see, Rocco. We shall see. It’s nice to know you have priorities – besides your food bowl LOL

R: Very funny, Human! But thanks for a great interview anyway.
T: anytime, Rocco! Now go pick up your toys! Especially your ballie!

R:  Ah, okay.  I think Maxx was playing with the ballie.
T:   You are a terrible liar. You never let Maxx touch your ballies! Sheesh, that didnt' sound too good,did it?

R: (big cat grin) Anyway, thank you for a great interview, Human! Folks, check out Toni’s books when you check out EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED!

Toni’s Links:

Tomorrow…we spotlight NATHAN FILLION AND PJ HAARSMA, the co-founders of KIDS NEED TO READ!
And…our contest!

And now I  must pick up my toys….
Until tomorrow,

DEMONS AND FIRE - COMING APRIL 2012 From Amazon Create Space.


  1. Love it Rocco and Human...uhm Toni!

    Great fun.

  2. Fun post, Rocco and Toni. My cat has cattitude, too. And you picked a great charity, Toni.