Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the New Year with ...... KATHI DALEY!

Meow, Our guest today is author Kathi Daley!

Kathi Daley lives with her husband, kids, grandkids, and Bernese mountain dogs in beautiful Lake Tahoe. When she isn’t writing, she likes to read (preferably at the beach or by the fire), cook (preferably something with chocolate or cheese), and garden (planting and planning, not weeding). She also enjoys spending time on the water when she’s not hiking, biking, or snowshoeing the miles of desolate trails surrounding her home. 

Kathi uses the mountain setting in which she lives, along with the animals (wild and domestic) that share her home, as inspiration for her cozy mysteries. 


Stay up to date with her newsletter, The Daley Weekly. There’s a link to sign up on both her Facebook page and her website, or you can access the sign-in sheet at:


Visit Kathi:

Facebook at Kathi Daley Books,

Twitter at Kathi Daley@kathidaley




Tell us a little about your background –

I grew up in Lake Tahoe where I met and married my high school sweetheart. We moved to Sacramento California so that I could attend college. I received a master’s degree in psychology and then worked with teens at risk for 5 years. My husband and I then moved back to Tahoe where we owned our own business. I have two grown sons in their 30’s and 6 grandchildren. I love to hike, bike, wakeboard, ski, and pretty much anything else I can do outdoors.


Tell us a bit about your latest book Romeow and Juliet

Romeow and Juliet is the first book in a new series that is set on a fictional island in the San Juan Islands off Washington State. The protagonist, Caitlin Hart, is a fourth generation islander with deep roots to the area and the people who live on the island. She lives in a cabin on her aunt’s oceanfront estate where she helps to run a cat sanctuary which was built to deal with the islands feral cat problem. She is also co-owner, along with her best friend Tara, of a coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge. Basically it is a place where you can buy coffee and pastries, buy or borrow books, and if so inclined, lounge with the handful of cats that Cait is currently trying to find forever homes for.


You write two other series, Zoe Donovan and Paradise Lake. Tell us a little about each.

I write the Zoe Donovan Series as well at the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Series. Zoe lives in a small mountain town where she runs a wild and domestic animal rescue and rehabilitation shelter. She is a fun character because in addition to her huge heart she is sort of a spaz. She constantly lets her impulses and emotions get her into dangerous and embarrassing situations. I like to think of her as being perfectly imperfect since her spontaneous nature can also lead to some pretty awesome circumstances.


Tj on the other hand is a bit more level headed and mature. She lives on the lakeside resort her family owns with her father, grandfather, and two half-sisters for whom she is legal guardian. She is a high school coach and gym teacher who loves to get involved in the lives of her students. Tj feels deeply which causes her to lead with her heart. This can get her into trouble at times.


Both series have a romance element and the Zoe Donovan Series has recipes.


How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?

I really just let the characters reveal themselves to me. I don’t do character outlines I just start writing and then sit back and see what they do. They continually surprise me. Most of the time I don’t know what they will do or say until I type it. I seriously find myself saying “huh” or “damn I didn’t see that coming” all the time.


How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?

Seat of pants for sure. I write a book a month (or more). Basically I sit down at the computer and think to myself “It’s Thanksgiving so what would be going on?” I write that first sentence and then keep going until it is done. I never know who the victim or killer will be until they reveal themselves.


Which do you consider more important, plot or character? Character. I’m sure if your plots were tedious people would stop coming back but the real reason that I have so many emails begging for the next book is because the readers are involved with the characters and want to know what is going to happen next in their lives. Readers tell me that they feel like they know the characters, like they are real people in their lives.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated? I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year and so far everything has gone along fantastic so I really had to think about this, but I guess my biggest challenge is that I have so many new series I want to explore but I only have so much time which makes it necessary to prioritize. I wrote 12 Zoe Donovan’s and 4 Tj’s in my first 16 months. This upcoming year I want to add two new series so I will need to cut back on the Zoe’s. I know that Zoe fans will not be happy to find out that there will only be 4 or maybe 5 Zoe’s in 2015 but I feel like I have other stories that need to be told as well. Hopefully the fans will love the new series and won’t mind too much.


What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

I am finishing up Romeow and Juliet which is the first book in the Whales and Tails series. There will be a total of 3 books from this series in 2015. I plan to do 3 Tj’s and 4 or 5 Zoe’s. I also have another series in mind which will take place in Alaska. I hope to be able to get at least two complete from this series as well. I also just put together a cookbook which will go on sale around Nov. 1. It was a spur of the moment thing that I decided to do after a reader asked me to put all the recipes in the Zoe books into one book. It’s a cookbook but there are graphics and anecdotes as well so it is a fun cookbook.


What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

It varies from day to day but I treat this as a full time job and usually put in at least 40 hours a week (usually more.)


If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?

Assuming there is no internet I would take a dictionary, thesaurus, and a book I have that gives you interesting ways to look at words. It’s good if you need a word that rhymes or a word that is commonly misused. That sort of thing.


What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

Write what you would want to read. My books are never going to be considered “important” novels but I am fine with that. My books are light and cozy and they leave you feeling happy. To me that is enough.


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Hum. That is a tough one. While I’m sure there are those that think that some of the things I do are crazy I never really think about it that way. Some might say that it was crazy of me to quit my day job to write a cozy mystery when I had never even taken a single creative writing class, but to me it wasn’t crazy it was just part of the plan.


What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m such an open book on Facebook that I doubt there is much people don’t know. I will say that I am horrible at spelling and punctuation and my handwriting is so bad even I can’t read it. (I’m not kidding.)


What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)

What is your favorite food? Pizza.


Where can we learn more about you and your books?

I am very active on Facebook. I post many times a day and do a ton of giveaways. I probably give away a couple hundred books (Kindle and paperback) a month. I have two pages, Kathi Daley Books – and Kathi Daley Books Group page - I also have a web page – and my email is I am on Amazon at and twitter at I have a weekly newsletter called The Daley Weekly which has its own giveaways as well as updates and sneak peeks of all the books. The link to subscribe is Oh and Goodreads -


Just for Fun:

Night or Day?  .day

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Yikes, I love both and I know I should say cat but living where I live I have to say dog. Those of you who follow my Facebook page see the photos of bears, coyotes, and even the occasional mountain lion that I share my space with. Unless you have an indoor cat that NEVER gets out it isn’t a good idea to have one. I have two BIG dogs that I walk with. They provide company and security in a deserted forest.

Beach or Pool?   beach

Steak or salad?  Salad although not because I am all that healthy of an eater I just don’t like steak.

Favorite Drink?  wine

Favorite Book?  Halloween Hijinks. It is the book that started my life as a writer.

Favorite TV Series?  Castle and Big Bang are my current favorites but Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all-time favorite. I have the DVD’s and watch them first episode to last every year.

Favorite Movie?  For some reason I really like Twister. I don’t know why.

Favorite Actor:  Don’t really have one but I do like Ryan Reynolds and Brad Cooper.

Favorite Actress: Again I don’t have anyone I absolutely love above all others but I guess I would say Sandra Bullock or Alyson Hannigan.

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Dirty martini

Hawaii or Alaska? Yikes I love them both so I really can’t choose. I guess I go to Hawaii more often.

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _____Bon Jovi and Joss Whedon for completely different reasons._____________

If I had just one wish, it would be To have had more time to spend with Xavier – a grandson who died as an infant. ____________________________________

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be ___no one. My life is perfect.____


Thank you Kathi!

Folks, Kathi will give away a signed paperback of Romeow and Juliet to one lucky commenter (US residents only) OR…if any of our International friends wish to enter, she’ll substitute a Kindle copy!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/

Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)


Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends midnight, January 5! Good luck!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And to all a HAPPY HOLIDAY!



It’s the Holiday Season, and the Human and I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Happy and Healthy one, and a prosperous New Year as well!  The Human and I do appreciate all the support you have shown us over the last almost-four years, and especially your support of our Nick and Nora mysteries!  It means a great deal to us, purrrrr!

  We shall be taking a little break from blogging next week, but never fear! We shall be back better and stronger than ever. We have lots of interviews and good things planned for 2015, and of course, my Blogaversary the last week in January, meow!

And the Human wants me to announce yet another giveaway:  An autographed copy of Meow if its Murder, PLUS:  a 2015 BAD CAT desk calendar!  (Hmmm…should I be taking offense??????)

To enter, leave your email addy in the comments section below along with why you think I am NOT a bad cat!  Now that shouldn’t be too hard, surely! I don’t know what makes the Human think I am bad????  Just because I knock the waterdish into the sink or bat a few ornaments off the tree????? Really???????

Giveaway ends midnight, December 24th!  Winner will be selected on Dec. 26th!  And we’ll be back the week of December 29th!  In the immortal words of Tiny Tim:

Merry Christmas to all….and to all a good night!  Er-OWL!


Incredible Blogging Cat


And his human, Toni LoTempio



Monday, December 8, 2014


Hello.  My name is Toni LoTempio, and I’m the proud HUMAN to Rocco!

As some of you may or may not know, ROCCO not only runs his own blog, but he is also the “honorary spokescat” for KIDS NEED TO READ, a charity co-founded by Denise Gary, PJ Haarsma and Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly)  In addition, he’s also the inspiration for the feline character NICK in the Nick and Nora mysteries, coming this December from Berkley Prime Crime!

ROCCO has interviewed many authors on his blog, but no one to date has ever interviewed him!  So now…it’s his turn. I interview ROCCO!


TLT:  Hey, ROCCO!  For all our interested readers out there, describe a typical day in your life.

R:  Thank you,  my Human.  Well, I’m usually very busy as you know, what with coming up with authors to interview for the blog, as well as ideas for that new mystery series you have coming out in December.  That takes up a great deal of my time.  My morning usually begins at around 3 a.m. when I start knocking everything off your dresser so you are sure to get up and feed myself and my siblings: brother Maxx and sisters Trixie and Princess.  Once that’s done, I usually bother you whilst you are getting dressed to go to your day job and once you’re out the door, I take a mid-morning nap to regain my strength.

          Later, if I am so inclined, I amuse myself by playing with my favorite toy – my ballies! I love to lose them underneath large pieces of furniture so that you can get on your hands and knees and find them for me!  Then when you come home, I meow loudly to remind you that we all still need to be fed! Once that’s done, I trot myself into the den where you are working on one of your (our!!!) books and finagle you into spending at least twenty minutes playing “catch”.  After that, I take my evening nap (usually at the foot of your bed, sometimes next to you) until it starts all over the following day!

TLT: How did you become the spokescat for KIDS NEED TO READ?

R:  You and I were surfing the web one day and came across the charity.  It looked worthwhile, and you were travelling to Arizona that year on vacation, so you set up a meeting with Denise Gary and then we hit upon the idea of having an Ebay auction, publicized by moi on my blog, every summer.  So far we have run two very successful ones and will be doing our third this September.

TLT: What’s the story behind your name? Are you a Sylvester Stallone fan?

R:  Ah, my name has nothing to do with the ROCKY movies.  The lady at the Clifton Animal Shelter, where you adopted me, named my sister Pebbles and me ROCCO. Even then she could see I was a feisty devil.

TLT: I’ll definitely agree with the devil part…..

R:  Moi? Devilish????????? You betcha!

TLT: What do you love most about me?  Dislike most?

R:  Love is an extreme term.  I love the fact that you know to feed us on time.  If I had to hone in on one dislike, it would be you do not play “catch” enough with me.

TLT: Now, suppose you explain how you became the “inspiration” for our new mystery series debuting in December.

R:  With pleasure!  If you will recall, my Human, I have meowed many times to you that you should concentrate on writing stories about a cat such as myself and give up on the vampires and other such supernatural creatures.  After your supervisor concurred with my assessment one day, you came home and after watching a “Thin Man” movie on Turner Classic, got all fired up and started calling me “Nicky”.  Thus was born the Nick and Nora mysteries! My only regret is it had to be rewritten to eliminate my “talking”, MOL! (Meow Out Loud)

And I did come up with the title…MEOW IF ITS MURDER…although to date I have received absolutely NO credit for doing so, hisss!!!!!!!!!

TLT:  Just for fun…

Catnip or scratching post?   Scratching the arms of your couch!

Tabbies or Tuxedos? Both are equally fine.

Fish or Steak? Sardines

TLT:  Rocco, where can readers find out more about you and our mysteries?


R:  My human has a website  and one can always check my blog,  Not only do we have at least 3 author interviews/giveaways per month, we also post news about the Human’s upcoming books!

The first Nick and Nora mystery, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, for which I am the inspiration for the tuxedo cat Nick, is available now from Penguin/Random. For a chance to win an autographed (or is it paw-tographed?????) copy, leave a comment below by midnight, Dec. 13.  A winner will be chosen via


TLT: OK, Big Rock -Any last words?


R:  Pad softly and carry a big fish.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter Wonderland Contest!

Night Owl is  hosting a "Winter Booklover" Contest! Enter and you could win one of these prizes:

5 = $100 Amazon Gift Cards
5 = $50 Amazon Gift Cards
18 = $25 Amazon Gift Cards

Monday, December 1, 2014

ROCCO gets TC Lotempio in the hotseat!!!!!!!

ROCCO’s guest today is…the Human, Toni (T. C.) LoTempio!

While Toni doesn’t commit murders in real life, she has no problem doing so on paper!  She pens the Nick and Nora mystery series for Penguin, for which ROCCO was the inspiration for the character of Nick!  Toni and ROCCO live in New Jersey, along with three other spoiled rotten cats: Maxx,Trixie and Princess!  When  not writing,Toni and ROCCO are devouring more cozy mysteries to review for Night Owl Digital Magazine! And in their spare time, they fundraise for Kids Need to Read, a charity co-founded by CASTLE star Nathan Fillion.  Catch up with the latest on T.C.’s books on her website, and on ROCCO’s blog,



Rocco: Welcome, Human! Now, for our readers who are unfamiliar with our relationship…you are the one who fills my foodbowl!

T.C: That’s pretty much correct, ROCCO!

Rocco: Meow! Tell us a little about your background – writing wise, that is.

          T. C:  I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read.  I loved comic books as a child and I’d sit in my room and make up  my own stories.  I started writing with a serious eye toward publication in 1997, and had some paranormals published by a small press and a few self pubbed via Amazon and B&N before my agent sold MEOW IF ITS MURDER to Penguin in January 2013.

Rocco: Tell us a bit about your latest book

T. C. : Meow if it’s Murder is the first in the Nick and Nora mystery series (Rocco: For which I am the inspiration for Nick, meow!).  Nora Charles, an ex true crime reporter returns to her hometown of Cruz, California to take over her mother’s specialty sandwich shop and ends up investigating a socialite’s “suicide” with the help of a tubby tuxedo cat who turns up on her doorstep!

From the book back cover:

Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…


Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too. 


Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives. 


ROCCO: How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?

T. C. : Actually, it’s a little of both. I start out with an outline but by the time the book is done, the finished product doesn’t resemble the outline in the least! I always know who I want the murderer to be, but in the end I let the characters take over the story!  I”ve found, though, that I write faster with a more detailed outline so I’m going to try and be good in the future.

ROCCO: Which do you consider more important, plot or character?

T. C. : I don’t believe one is more important than the other.  I believe it’s important to have a good plot and believable, interesting characters.  They go hand in hand.

ROCCO: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?

T. C.: Coming up with new adventures for Nick!  I’ve always found plotting out the books a challenge. And you know, ROCCO, you are my inspiration and motiviation. (ROCCO: AWWWW Shucks!)

ROCCO: Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?

T. C.: By the time I got my current agent, I had been through two,the last of which was a draining experience.  Josh (Getzler) and I just clicked from the first email.  Oddly enough, he didn’t sign me for the book I originally queried him with, and the book we sold was NOT the one he originally subbed.

ROCCO: What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

T. C.: More Nick and Nora’s. Book Two will be coming out December 2015.  I have mini-outlines for at least twelve. J  And I’m also working on another cozy series.
ROCCO: Can you give us a hint of what's in store in Book 2?
T.C: Not to give too much away, but...the mystery surrounding Nick Atkins deepens, Nora's sister Lacey finds herself in a real jam, and a person from Nora's past - male - reappears in her life.

ROCCO: What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

T. C.: Since I have a day job, the bulk of my writing is done on the weekends. I like to devote at least three hours on Saturday afternoon/evening to it and on Sundays usually between 10-2, longer if I’m nearing the end of a book or I’m on a deadline.  I also try and devote at least two hours each night to it.

ROCCO: What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

T. C: Keep at it.  I was in my late fifties when I sold MEOW to Penguin, so it’s never too late! If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

ROCCO: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

TC: Adopt four cats at one time LOL.

ROCCO: What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?

T.C: That since I first saw it in 1998, I go every year to see PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway. It’s my very favorite play.


Just for Fun:

Night or Day?  .  Day, Definitely Im usually asleep by nine. J

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Really, ROCCO????????????????

Beach or Pool?   Pool! (I’m not a sand person)

Steak or salad?  Steak Salad

Favorite Drink?  Ice Tea; Alcohoic Drink: Sangria

Favorite Book?  Too many to list

Favorite TV Series?   Present? Castle and the Good Wife and the Following Past: Murder She Wrote

Favorite Movie?    Gone with the Wind

Favorite Actor:   TV:  Kevin Bacon     Movie:  Michael Douglas

Favorite Actress:  TV: Julianna Marguiles  Movie: Mary Steenbergen

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada

Hawaii or Alaska?  Hawaii!

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be __Anne Boleyn!

If I had just one wish, it would be_for everyone to live in harmony_______________________________________

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be _you, ROCCO!   You’ve got the life!

Thank you, human!

Folks, you can keep up with the Human’s latest doings both here and on her website,

You can purchase Meow if its Murder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, anywhere books are sold!

The Human will give away your choice of either an e or a hard copy of Meow if its Murder – and a bookmark – to one lucky commenter!  Leave your name and email addy in the comments section below. For extra entries, you can:

Tweet about this interview/giveaway

Friend the Human on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter @RoccoBlogger

Post on FB or your own blog about this interview/giveaway


Winner will be chosen using Contest ends midnight, December 7!

Good luck!


Next week…I interview ROCCO!