Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...Hello 2012

On this last day of 2011, I wish to thank everyone who follows this blog and who has suported me in my blogging adventures this past year. I truly appreciate it.

I also wish to thank all the authors, agents and editors who have contributed to the blog over the past year. I look forward to more interaction in 2012.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year! and don't forget...BLOGAVERSARY begins on January 5th.

May all your dreams come true in the coming year.  PAWS UP!

Sci Fi Blogging Cat

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My number one thing to be grateful for, especially during the holidays, is great charities, especially ones that support pets and kids! One charity I've gotten my tail behind this year is KIDS NEED TO READ.

KNTR  was co-founded by Nathan Fillion (TV's Castle) and PJ Haarmsma as a way of getting good books to kids in  underfunded areas. They promote literacy - and as a blogger, reviewer, and budding author, I know the importance of that, meow!  (and so does the HUMAN!)

We plan to hold a few fundraisers in 2012, one duirng my BLOGAVERSARY - a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the HUMAN's books will be donated!

To learn more about KNTR and how you can help, click here:

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

ROCCO signing off now - I must wrap the Human's gift and try and nose out what she got me!

More blogging next week!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I'm just gonna say it - I'm a cat of many talents!  Blogging the main one...and now I've added reviewer to my list of accomplishments!

Today marks my first official review as a Night Owl reviewer!  and what better book to start with than Traci Hohenstein's second novel, ASYLUM HARBOR!

Score: 5.00 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick

 People who loved Traci Hohenstein’s first novel, BURN OUT, will definitely love the second installment in the Rachel Scott series, ASYLUM HARBOR.
We’re introduced into the action by Amber Knowles, a beautiful high school senior and Florida governor John Knowles’s daughter, who has disappeared during a cruise to the Bahamas without a trace. When Governor Knowles receives the distressing news, he asks for Rachel Scott’s help.  Scott, whose own daughter Mallory went missing five years ago, knows only too well the feeling of losing a daughter and agrees to help. As she works with FBI special agent, Drake Reynolds, Rachel discovers an organized crime ring linked to the cruise line. The last person known to see Amber aboard ship was an incognito DEA agent, who also has vanished. Where is he? And where is Amber? And could any of this be tied to the disappearance of her own daughter?  A thrill ride from beginning to end, ASLYUM HARBOR more than fills the bill for those who are fans of James Patterson or Mary Higgens Clark.  If you like your suspense packed with plenty of action and enough turns to rival an obstacle course, I highly recommend this book.  5 stars.

You can read the actual review here:

 Happy Reading,

 Rocco LoTempio

 The Night Owl Reviews Team

Tomorrow:  The Number One thing ROCCO is grateful for!

Monday, December 19, 2011

#3...ROCCO is grateful for...court TV?

No, not really.  I'm just funnin' ya :)

but i am grateful for the wide variety of shows available on regular networks and cable - they stimulate my creativity, meow!

and if they feature a cool cat as a character, all the better.  :)  LIke Sabrina the Teenage Witch!

Some of Rocco's favorites: (current shows)

Castle (of course!)
The Big Bang Theory (You can see why Jim Parsons won that Emmy)
Rizzoli and Isles
How I Met My Mother
Gray's Anatomy
Private Practice

Some shows that are gone but not forgotten (thanks to cable!)
Everybody Loves Raymond
King of Queens
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Remington Steele
The aforementioned Sabrina the Teenaged Witch

and, everyone's favorite: DANCING WITH THE STARS!

Hey - think I could get on there!  I've got the moves......


Friday, December 16, 2011

#4 ROCCO is grateful for...cats like LIGHTNING!



I am extremely grateful for Lightning, and for other cats like him - know why?


That's right - I, Rocco, love to remove bows from presents, so therefore, I am grateful that there are other cats who have this habit as well. (Of course, MAXX is way worse than me - although the HUMAN always sticks up for him, harumph!)

Of course, I also like to do other things - like swipe the ornaments off (Maxx and I like to play soccer) and eating the tree bristles is also a good pasttime - but ther's nothing like a good bow!

although I was known to climb a tree or two when I was just a babe -  although of late my tastes have turned to reading!  In preparation for my new career, meow!

What are the top three things Im grateful for?  Keep watching the blog this week to find out!  and knowing the answer to this will help during my BLOGAVERSARY! Oh, and If you'd like to read an unusual review of the human's book, RAVEN'sKISS, click here:

The review is written in the character's voice!


Things we are grateful for in 2011....the human's agent

2011 wasn't so bad, not really.  In lots of ways it was TONS better than 2010.
One of the major ways was the fact the HUMAN finally acquired an agent:  Josh Getzler.

As most writers know, it's not easy to get an agent! The HUMAN has had agents before, and unfortunately the relationships did not work out - but she really clicks with Josh.  As she puts it, even when she was sending him queries (and they were bountiful, from Feb 2010 up to the signing in June 2011) she had a good feeling about it - a feeling, we hope, will culminate in a sale!  But even without the sale, the HUMAN is thrilled to have him as her agent. He's funny, personable, and what's more, he gets her writing!  Plus, he gets MY writing - and that's saying a lot! (How many humans out there get a cat's writing - now really!)

And..he does great interviews, Meow.  So much so that the HUMAN will be doing a piece on him for her NIGHT OWL SUSPENSE column in April.  Many of you might not know, but Josh is primarily a thriller/suspense/cozy mystery/historical agent.  So for him to take on the HUMAN's urban fantasy - MEOW!

You can find out  more about Josh (and his agency) at

2012 is going to be a banner year for all of us - MEOW, I can feel it!  So, #5 on my listing of top five things I am grateful for in 2011:  The HUMAN's agent, Josh Getzler!

Look for the rest of my list next week, as I prepare for my BIG BLOGAVERSARY BLOWOUT!



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A word from....THE HUMAN

Hello, folks...Toni, the human here.

Firstoff, I want to wish all our followers a very happy and healthy Holiday Season.  Enjoy, and let the stress of 2011 roll off your back.  Good things in 2012!

ROCCO is busy writing and preparing his BLOGAVERSARY celebration, so I thought I'd jsut take this opportunity to remind you that in conjunction with that, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of my books will be donated to KIDS NEED TO READ, Nathan Fillion's charity.


Two indie releases are planned for 2012 so far: Raven's Quest, the novella follow up to Raven's Kiss and DEMONS AND FIRE, A YA with a Dark Shadows tie-in.  Both shoudl be avaialble Feb/March timeframe.  Rocco will post details on the blog, of course (if he wants his kibble, he will!)

And here are some links to sites spotlighting WICCA:
LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS AT FACEBOOK:!/pages/Love-Romance-Novels/116201821797600!/group.php?gid=2256153190&

> otempi
> o-urban-fantasyparanormal/
> ml

ROCCO will be back Friday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



January 23 will mark one year I took paw to keypad and began my blog!  It started out as a little chatty piece, a way to impart information about my (and the HUMAN's) favorite tv shows, movies, voice our opinions, and even give animal lovers a few pet facts.

But over the last 11 months it's also grown into a sort of literary venue, a place where I may show off my reporting chops by my Q&A's with such distinguished authors as Janet Evanovich, MaryJanice Davidson, Michelle Rowen, etc.  We've also spotlighted a former editor and a literary agent!

In 2012 we have plans for more of the same: Q&A's (we already have MaryJanice Davidson and Michelle Rowen lined up for thier new releases!) with authors we have intereviewed and new ones - more agent and editor interviews - and let's not forget our fundraisers for KIDS NEED TO READ!

To kick off 2012 we're having a month long BLOGAVERSARY celebration which will be full of contests, giveaways, and include guest posts from those who have guested on the blog over the last year.  BLOGAVERSARY will officially kick off Thursday, January 5th and run through Friday, February 10.

I (and the HUMAN) sincerely hope you will join us!


Friday, December 9, 2011


Once again, I was pleased to see so many people enjoying my interview with the fabulous Michelle Rowen!  And if you thought this interview was good....Michelle has arranged for me to interview SARAH DEARLY herself, in the flesh (??!) before the release of her new mystery adventure, BLOOD BATH AND BEYOND! (Who knows...Thierry might even pop in for a question or two)

We've got lots of stuff planned for 2012, kicking off with my month-long BLOGAVERSARY celebration!  More on this and other topics next week!

Right now, let's get down to business.  A winner has been chosen using, to receive an autographed copy of MIchelle's newest, THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, and that winner is...Ashlyn Chase!

Congratulations, Ashlyn. Watch your email for a message from the Human on claiming your prize!

We will be having many giveaways during January...I'm just sayin'.  Also: a percentage of proceeds from the sales of any of the Human's books will be donated to KIDS NEED TO READ as part of it!  More on all this next week, now I must go off and catnap...and dream about Michelle.....

Have a wondrous weekend.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rocco is under the spell of ....MICHELLE ROWEN!

Today is a big day for yours truly….I get to interview the creator of two of my favorite characters, Sarah Dearly and Thierry….yes, folks.
Michelle Rowen is in the house! (and the hotseat!)
For those not familiar with Michelle’s work, here’s a bit about her:
National bestselling author MICHELLE ROWEN writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and young adult fantasy, both light and dark, sexy and sweet, long and short -- it all depends on the story! She's won a Holt Medallion for Best First Book and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Vampire Romance. Her hobbies include writing, writing, and...well, that's about it. Please visit Michelle at her website at, on Twitter at or at Facebook at  
And now…Michelle in my hotseat!
R:  Hello, Michelle and welcome!
M: Thank you for having me, Rocco.
R:  The pleasure is all mine (blushes). So….Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you became interested in writing?
M: I’m just someone who likes to amuse herself with stories of monsters, magic, and mayhem. I’m lucky enough to get the opportunity to write fiction full-time at the moment and am keeping myself very busy in both adult and young adult genres of fantasy and paranormal. How did I become interested in writing? I can’t remember the first moment, really – although I know as a kid I wished books and movies ended the way I wanted them to. At a certain point, I realized if I wanted that, then I had to be the one to make them up in the first place! So I did!
R: What drew you to the paranormal genre?
M: I really like escaping from reality whenever possible. Ha! Well, sort of. I really enjoyed escapist entertainment and realized that this is what I wanted to write to entertain myself and other people. I like the idea that this real but boring world of ours could possibly also contain some supernatural element lurking just around the next corner. And some of those traditional “scary” things could be nice and protective and ridiculously good-looking.
R: Tell us about your latest release, THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC!
M: It’s the third and final book in my Living in Eden trilogy about a female private investigator who is possessed by a sexy demon. He’s able to draw on her psychic energy to take physical form during the day and together they’ve been trying very hard to find a way to break his curse. This trilogy has been a ton of fun for me to write and I’m going to miss Darrak and Eden and their world. I hope readers who’ve been waiting for this finale ever since Something Wicked came out last October enjoy how it all ends!
R: I’m a huge Sarah Dearly/Thierry fan, (as is THE HUMAN) and excited about their new series coming out in 2012. What can you tell us about it, if anything?  What made you decide to revisit these characters?
M: Thank you! I’m very excited about this new series, myself! The first book in the Immortality Bites Mystery series is titled BLOOD, BATH & BEYOND and it’s out August 2012. Basically, even though the original series ended at book five, my main character, Sarah, was very vocal about wanting to continue on. She is the character I’ve been writing the longest (since 2002 when I first got the idea for the book that became Bitten & Smitten) and has basically taken on a life of her own (and a Twitter account @SarahDearly). She wanted this opportunity. I pitched it to my agent, thinking he’d think it was a silly idea. He didn’t think it was silly at all! The first 100 pages poured out of me and it was the most fun I’d had writing in quite a while since Sarah’s particular sense of humor and outlook on the world is just so organic for me. I figured, if nothing else, I’d self-publish it if nobody wanted to offer me a contract. However, my brilliant publisher Penguin decided it was also a good idea and I’m thrilled that Sarah and her significant other will be on the shelves again next summer. Writing about Sarah’s future adventures is a labor of love for me and an absolute joy to write. Paranormal mystery really feels like the perfect fit for Sarah, possibly even better that her original journey through the romance genre. Or, as I like to call that now, “Season One.” ;-) The first chapter of BB&B is included at the end of That Old Black Magic as a sneak peek.
R: What was the biggest difference between writing a paranormal romance and a paranormal  mystery? Which do you prefer?
M: The difference in the genres is pretty simple, really. It’s all about where the spotlight falls. In a paranormal romance, the romantic journey is the focus of the story (or a very large part of it). In a paranormal mystery, the mystery is the focus. There can be other elements, too, just like a big recipe. There is still plenty of romance, for sure. I’m not sure I could write a book that didn’t have some romance in it!
R: What writers in the paranormal genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
M: When I was first finding my voice, I was reading a lot of L.J. Smith, Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff, Neil Gaiman, and Christopher Moore. More recently, I’m inspired by writers such as Karen Marie Moning, Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong, and Rachel Caine...just to name a few of my current faves!
R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
M: I took graphic design in college and was a designer for twelve years prior to going full-time with my writing. If I didn’t write, I would probably still be doing that.
R: Every writer has an “agent” story. How did you get your agent?  How did you react when you got “The Call”, and what is your advice to aspiring novelists querying agents?
M: It’s seven years ago now, so the details are getting a bit fuzzy! I know my agent story is one of those annoying ones – since it didn’t take me very long at all once I got serious with my writing. I had an offer of representation from the second agent I queried...five days after I queried him. Been with him ever since! I think I reacted with a “Cool! Why do people think this is hard? This is totally easy!” Yeah, I was annoying back then. When we got the offer on my first book, I didn’t feel like it was real. I didn’t get really happy – I think I got scared since I hadn’t had enough time to properly prepare myself. Let’s just say, I built up the thick skin one needs as a published author AFTER I got published, not before. My advice to aspiring novelists when querying agents – research who you’re pitching, don’t just query anyone. Check out the acknowledgements of books similar to what you write since authors often thank their agents. It’s a great way to build your list of names to query. And double check the spelling of the agent’s name before you hit the send button!
R: Can you still find time to read yourself?  If so, what’s on your TBR list?
M: I’m reading the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa right now. It’s fabulous. Anything that includes funny, talking animals gets an automatic thumbs up from me. I also have Leisel and Po by Lauren Oliver on my TBR pile. This book is a middle grade (by the author of Delirium, fabulous book) and it’s one of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever seen. I knew I had to buy it. I’m sure when I read it, it’ll be fantastic too! But so, so pretty!
R: Which of your books would you like to see as a tv series/movie, and who do you envision playing the main characters?
M: I think I’d like to see ALL of my books made into movies or TV shows – as I’m sure any author would say about her books. ;-) A couple characters I have cast in my head include Darrak from my Living in Eden series played by Ian Somerhalder; Sarah Dearly from Immortality Bites played by (a younger) Sandra Bullock, and Thierry played by (a slightly younger) Hugh Jackman.
R: You’ve written both adult and YA. Which do you prefer and why?
M: I don’t prefer one over the other. Each has its pros and cons for me as a writer. It really all depends on the story. Some are meant for younger characters who are experiencing life and struggles for the first time, some are meant for adult characters who have a different set of challenges. I want to continue writing for both adult and YA indefinitely if I’m lucky enough to do so!
R: What other writing genre would you like to try that you haven’t yet? Historical, screenwriting, etc?
M: Honestly? I don’t really aspire to write anything but fantasy and paranormal. Maybe someday, but nothing else is even poking at me right now.
R: What advice would you give new writers just starting out?
M: Quit your day job. Ha! No, I’m just kidding. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT. But don’t give up on your writing; write what you love to read; read a lot; join a writing group like RWA (and a local chapter) to find writing friends and inspiration. And if you start to hate writing, quit! The journey is seriously the best part of writing since the destination is never guaranteed. So enjoy the view as much as possible!
R: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
M: Quit my well-paying and secure day job to try to become a full-time writer. That was CRAZY. Writing books is NOT the most dependable occupation! (To say the least.) But I’m glad I took the leap! Sanity is totally overrated!
R: What one thing would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
M: I don’t cook. In fact, I’m a cookophobe. Even grocery shopping intimidates me. If I can’t microwave it or it isn’t some form of Kraft Dinner or scrambled eggs, I’m useless in the kitchen. USE. LESS. It’s sad, really. (R:  Yes, the Human hates cooking as well...she just ordered a pressure cooker...let's see how that goes, Meow!)
R: What place in the world would you most like to visit and why?
M: Currently, I’m a bit obsessed with Egypt. I love that sort of thing and always watch shows about archeology on the Discovery and History channels. I just want to see the pyramids in person! And ride a camel!
R: If you could meet any famous figure, past or present (does not have to be a writer) who would it be and what would you say to them?
M: Oprah. I would ask her to please be my best friend. I bet she gives her friends the best presents ever.
R: You’re Canadian – what do you find is the biggest difference between Canadians and Americans, if any?
M: Other than how we say “about” and that we have cooler looking money, it’s like we’re the exact same.
R: And now, a little something Icall…Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Meow!!  (R: Ha, a woman after my own heart!)
Beach or Mountain?  Beach.
Vampire or Werewolf?  Vampires are sexy and dangerous. Werewolves are hairy and smelly. Enough said.
Favorite Drink?  Diet Coke.
Favorite Book?  Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.
Favorite TV Series?  Currently: Vampire Diaries. All time favorite: Buffy. (M: See a theme here?)
Favorite Movie?  Romancing the Stone. (R: Not DRACULA????? or the original BUFFY?????)

R: Finish this sentence:  If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be _______
M: Somebody who’s on an all-inclusive vacation right now in Hawaii. And who also looks fantastic in a bikini. :)

Michelle, thank you so much for a fantastic interview!  Keep up with all her news at, on Twitter at or at Facebook at  
And now, folks, it’s your turn.  Michelle has consented to give an autographed copy of THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, out in bookstores today, to one lucky person!
To enter, just leave a comment on this blog along with your email address.  Below is a list of things you can do to get extra entries.  The contest closes midnight, December 8, winner announced on Friday, December 9!  What a nice Christmas present, meow!  (or Boxing Day, whichever J)
To get extra points, you can:
Follow the Human, Toni LoTempio, on Facebook
Follow moi, Rocco, on Facebook (Rocco, Sci Fi Blogging Cat)
Follow moi, Rocco, onTwitter @RoccoBlogger
Blog about this contest
Tweet About this contest
Mention this contest on Facebook

Please leave a list of what you’ve done in the comments section, for example:  Hey, Rocco, I want to enter to win a copy of Michelle’s TOBM!   I’ve tweeted about the contest, I’m following you on Twitter and I’ve friended the Human on FB.  CaptainAmerica
The more points you have, the more time your name goes into our random selector! So, OK, what are you waiting for! Get going!

Coming up:  More on KNTR, Nathan Fillion, Dark Shadows and….my Christmas list! More news on my new role as an official NO reviewer! upcoming Blogaversary celebration!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Rocco is now a Reviewer!

Yes, it's true. I, Rocco LoTempio, am now an official NIGHT OWL reviewer!  My debut review of Traci Hohenstein's new novel, ASYLUM HARBOR, will appear on December 20th!

As such, I shall be reviewing suspense and paranormal books and the reviews will be posted here as well!  I did not think i could jam another activity into  my already packed schedule, but....MEOW! I could not resist!




Friday, December 2, 2011



I'm pleased to say everyone LOVED my interview with the fabulous MJ Davidson, and we were pleased to see so many enter the contest!  Unfortunately, we can only have one winner (chosen using and it is: (drumroll)

Deb T
mammy3114 AT yahoo DOT com

Congratulations!  Deb will receive an autographed copy of WOLF AT THE DOOR. The human will be sending you an email shortly, so watch for it!

Monday, I will have an important announcement concerning (who else) MOI!!!!!





Monday, November 21, 2011


Well, Kitties, the big day has finally arrived!  I cannot tell you how unbelievably thrilled I am to have (drumroll, please) the fabulous, queen of paranormal chick-lit herself, MARYJANICE DAVIDSON in my hotseat!

For those of you living under a rock and do not know MaryJanice, here’s a bit about her from her website:

MaryJanice Davidson invented a) her children, and b) the vampire chick lit genre. Also the Internet. She is kind to (some) children and (occasional) small animals, and enjoyes referring to herself in the third person. Appearing several times a year on the best-seller list, as well as occasional Federal "person of interest" sheets, she takes time from the living hell that is being paid to do what she loves best to seek out the nearest Cinnabon franchise. Her goals include working for world peace, figuring out how to make potstickers, and speaking at writer and reader conferences around the world. (Australia is still recovering.)

Visit her blog to check out the antics of some of MJ's heroines (Vampire Queen Betsy, FBI Agent Cadence/Shiro/Adrienne, and Jennifer Scales), eyeball book excerpts, see where she'll be any given week, play the "who do you want to play Betsy/Cadence/Jennifer in the coming movie?" game with other fans, and mock her weekly. She occasionally tolerates getting mail from readers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , has a Facebook page, and absolutely zero interest in Twitter.

And now, without any further ado, I present...MARYJANICE DAVIDSON!  Unplugged and Uncensored! In my Hotseat!

R:  Hello, MaryJanice! Welcome to my hotseat!
MJ: Thank you so much for having me. ROCCO!

R: We’ll get right to it:  I have heard that your road to publication started out as an e-author. Can you tell us a bit about that journey?

MJ: Sure.  I had a decade’s worth of rejection slips from various print publishers (hilariously, many of the publishers who now ask my agent or me for cover quotes for their authors) and was pretty discouraged.  So I decided to try my luck with e-pubs.  Their overhead wasn’t nearly as high, so they could take chances on the more out there ideas (say, a secretary who loves designer shoes getting fired and run over on her 30th birthday, only to return from the grave as queen of the vampires).  UNDEAD AND UNWED was originally an e-book. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but the big paper publishers were keeping an eye on the e-pubs.  My Berkley editor, Cindy Hwang, heard about U&U, bought it online like any customer, downloaded it, and read it.  She called a few days later to offer to buy the print rights.  Since I hadn’t queried anyone at Berkley, or pitched anyone at a conference, I was pretty astonished and assumed it was all a cruel, sadistic joke.  And that’s how it all started.

R:  A very encouraging story, meow! Now, can you tell us a little bit about your writing environment and/or any rituals you go through before sitting down to write?

MJ: Mostly my rituals involve the eating of chocolate, showering my assistant with verbal abuse, and watching re-runs of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  (Dammit, Dennis can be saved!  He just needs the love of a good woman.  Or my love.)  Ironically, though I have the option of using two beautiful offices (one at our year-round residence, and one at our cabin in Wisconsin) I usually plunk down on the nearest couch with my laptop.  And also chocolate.  And also the TV remote.

R: You write contemporary as well as paranormal, and you’ve been called the “queen of vampire chick-lit”.  What’s your favorite genre to write in/read?

MJ: Right now, it’s definitely paranormal romance, closely followed by...I guess it’d be romantic suspense?  In addition to my vampire series, I’m writing a trilogy for St. Martins Press about an FBI agent with multiple personality disorder.  There’s not a witch or werewolf in sight in those books, but I love writing them!  And if I get hung up on a problem in the Betsyverse, I can switch to another manuscript to see if the log jam in my brain will clear a little easier.

Much as I love the genre, I almost never read anything in paranormal romance these days because I’m in that world so much, creating my own stories.  That sound I keep hearing, the one coming from inside my head, sounds a lot like frying eggs...that can’t be good...better read an old Carl Hiaasen novel for a while...

R:   If you could be a character from one of your favorite books (not your own), who would you be?

MJ: Wow...tough one!  Hmm...not Scarlett O’Hara (too much drama, not to mention the slow starvation during the war years).  Not one of Carl Hiaasen’s characters...their lives and experiences are hilarious, but they tend to get shot.  Same with Andrew Vachss...his books have these wonderful dark characters who had horrific childhoods and now run around New York City scamming pimps, pedophiles, and crooked lawyers.

I’d have to go with a superhero from one of my eight zillion graphic novels (I’ve been reading comics since I was 12).  The Invisible Woman, I think...she’s probably one of the most dangerous (and underrated) superheroes ever imagined, plus she’s married to a brilliant man who never so much as glanced at another woman, and her family life is so dear to her...she never loses her perspective, no matter how many villains she pummels.  I’m always amazed at how underrated the character is...she can pop an invisible force field anywhere.  Dark alleys.  Amusement parks.  THE MIDDLE OF YOUR BRAIN.  She can kill you with a thought, and no one seems to put that together and see her as very, very dangerous.  There was a parallel universe Fantastic Four a few years back where Susan Storm was big-time evil, and pretty much RULED THE WORLD.  Because she could put an invisible force field in YOUR BRAIN.

R:  If you could trade places with any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

MJ: I wouldn’t, actually!  Nope, I’m not budging from this body/life/career.  I’m well aware that I’m ridiculously fortunate:  I’m getting well paid to do one of my favorite things, I can write anything I want and pitch anything I want, over a million copies of my books have sold, and I usually make at least one best-seller list a year.  As above: ridiculously fortunate.  Would never change places.  Ridiculous.  And fortunate!

R: You’ve mentioned in past interviews an interest in screenwriting.  How would you bring the “Betsy” saga to the big screen? Who would you want to play her and Sinclair and why?

MJ: I’ve always thought Jenna Elfman (Dharma from Dharma and Greg) would be a great Betsy.  Clive Owen (though he cannot pass for a man in his late teens/early 20s, which is when Sinclair was turned by his greatest and most loyal friend, Tina) for Sinclair, just because I love love love Clive Owen.  Or Karl Urban...oh my God, the deliciousness that is Karl Urban...if I drool much more I’ll short out the keyboard again...

While we’re tossing around wish lists, I always thought Queen Latifah would be a fantastic Jessica (yes, Jessica is super skinny, but the character is far more about attitude than weight), Amanda Seyfries would be a great Laura (the Anti-Christ), and Jennifer Coolidge (the nail technician from the Legally Blonde movies) for the Ant, Betsy’s dead stepmother (currently Satan’s assistant in Hell, which only confirmed every suspicion Betsy ever had about her).

What’s exciting is that The Betsy Show (for lack of the actual title, at least for now) is coming to Germany!  They offered me a contract for a 90-minute pilot and 6 episodes, which I jumped at.  So we’ll see how that goes...meanwhile, my agent is shopping Betsy & Co. around Hollywood, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  Also my toes.  Ow!  Cramp.  We actually had an offer from Disney, but turned it down...Disney’s great, but when they want the rights to something, they want EVERYTHING.  Not just stuff you’ve already written.  Stuff you might one day eventually write, maybe.  The people who shot Bambi’s mom are not to be messed with.  My agent and I kindly (and respectfully) turned them down.

R: That is interesting, meow!  Do you listen to music while you write, if so what’s on your playlist?

MJ: Not while I write, but I will admit that it’s pretty much all 80s, all the time on my iPod.  Also, One Night In Bangkok is the single greatest 80s song in the history of 80s songs.  Suck on that, Sting.

R: What do you find is your biggest challenge in keeping Betsy and Sinclair “fresh”? 

MJ: It can be tricky, because an awful lot has happened to the characters in a very short time.  And as much as I love the Betsyverse, there are only so many shoe sales I can write about without getting near-permanent brain-freeze.  Thus the shake-up seen in UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED (weirdly, despite the title, many readers assumed that was the last book in the series).  There were more shake-ups in UNDEAD AND UNDERMINED, but I’ve asked my readers not to fret too much...

*** (Caution – minor SPOILER!)

...because I’m a Disney ending writer, and Betsy WILL save the day in UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE.  The things we feared in UNFINISHED

*** (Caution – another minor SPOILER!)

will be fixed, or will never come to pass.  Or weren’t what we thought they were.  Things will work out, one way or another.  Y’know, eventually.  After another shoe sale.  And several Orange Juliuses.  And maybe a nap.

R: Meow, our readers appreciate the sneak preview! So, how far do you envision taking this series, and are any spinoffs planned?

MJ: I’d like to write at least 2 more after UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE, and while no spinoffs or planned, I’d love to do a couple of books where Laura, the Anti-Christ, is the main protagonist.  Next year I’ll be working on a paranormal anthology, UNDEAD AND UNDERWATER, which will have a werewolf novella, a story about my super hero with OCD, and a Betsy/Fred the mermaid team-up.  Be afraid.

R: Ooh, sounds great.  What do you love the most about your work?

MJ: What I love about my work today is what I loved when I was 13:  getting the clutter of stories trapped in my teeny brain written down.  Out, out, damned stories!  If I couldn’t write them down, they’d just stick in there.  Like fishhooks.  Which, you know...ow.

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

MJ: Quit my series of SDJs (Stupid Day Jobs) to write full-time.  It wasn’t so much crazy as scary.  Many, many people thought this was an extremely bad move on my part, not lease because I never went to college but was making a decent living doing office work.  But my husband, Anthony (he writes the Jennifer Scales weredragon series with me), was 100% supportive, and he was the one who was proved right.  Thank goodness!

About a year or two later, I did some number crunching and was amazed to realize that, if my books kept selling the way they were, I would eventually earn more than my husband, who had a Master’s from Harvard.  This had never happened in our marriage, and I wasn’t quite sure how my alpha husband would react.  So one night I said, “Uh, hon, if my books keep selling like they have, I might...I mean, I’ll probably make more money than you next year.  What d’you think about that?”  He blinked at me in surprise and said, “What, are you kidding?  I wish you were making more than me right now!”  To say he was fine with it would not even come close.  Thrilled with it.  Delighted with it.  I’ll never forget the surprise and hilarity of that moment.

R: What advice do you have for writers just starting out?

MJ:  Listen carefully:  Ten.  Years.  Of.  Rejection slips.  That was not fun.  Writing is fun, but getting rejected, not so much.  But that’s what it costs.  You’re basically in sales, and salespeople hear 9 “no thanks” for every 1 “sure, I’ll take it”.  And that’s a conservative estimate.  I started writing when I was 13, and started submitting for publication in my early 20s.  Berkley knocked on my door when I was 33, and UNDEAD AND UNWED hit shelves in 2004 (I’m 42 right now).  If I’d given up at any point in those years, I’d still be trapped in SDJs.  Hang in there.  When you get a rejection slip, send something else out immediately.  If they don’t like your book, that doesn’t mean they don’t like you (something I’ve noticed a lot of us have trouble understanding).  And write.  WRITE, dammit!  Write and submit and write more and submit again.  You will not improve if your manuscript is under your bed and you’re sick to death of looking at it.  You will not improve if the only person who looks at your work is your mommy.  Write something else and haul that sucker out when a couple of months have gone by.  Then write more.  And then more.  Write.  WRITE, DAMMIT! 

It can be tedious, and the learning curve can be long.  But the rewards are astonishing.  Unimaginable and amazing and wonderful and worth every rejection slip.  WRITE, DAMMIT!

R: What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?

MJ: Um...well, my mom broke the world record in silhouette shooting when I was 6, and my folks regularly won shooting tournaments.  When I was a teenager, I won a few as well.  We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, so my dad taught me how to hunt and fish, and by the time I was 14, I was regularly helping put food on the table.  (I can already hear the shrieking from the animal rights people, and I respect your beliefs though I don’t share them.  But I also hate Hamburger Helper without the hamburger, thus the hunting.  Do not speak to me of Portobello mushrooms.  Portobello mushrooms do not taste like beef.  They taste like mushrooms.)

I’ll never forget something my mother-in-law said, a woman I respect and love dearly (uh, now).  She was pretty horrified to find her son was dating a woman who was the polar opposite in almost every respect:  religiously, politically, economically, a Master’s vs. a high school diploma...different in every way (which, since we’ve been married 17 years, seems to have worked out).  She wouldn’t let my husband and his siblings so much as pick up a stick and pretend to shoot it when they were kids, that’s how little she cared for guns of any kind.  Enter moi, who might as well have walked into her  house with a 12-guage shotgun strapped to my back, hissing, “Hola, beeches!” like Ben Stiller in Ron Burgandy: Anchorman.

She was super polite and nice, but couldn’t quite hide her apprehension (“Where should I put this shotgun?  Never mind, I’ll unload it and keep it in the guest bathroom.”).  It was Easter weekend, so there were tons of relatives milling around and delicious smells in the air when she said:  “I just can’t believe you go hunting.  It sounds fairly...what do you shoot?  You shoot ducks and deer?  Oh, the poor—oh, look!  The lamb chops are ready!”

R:  And now, a little thing I call:
Just for Fun:
Day or Night person?  Day!
Cat or Dog?  Dog!  (Meow, and I liked you so much until that answer! Nothing I can do to change your mind?)
Hawaii or Paris?  Hawaii!
Ryan O’Neal or Ryan Gosling?  Karl Urban!
Favorite Drink?  Orange Julius!
Favorite TV Show?  Too many:  30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny, Sons of Anarchy...
Favorite Movie?  Gone with the Wind
Favorite Author (other than yourself J)  Carl Hiaasen and Andrew Vachss

R: This has been a blast! Thank you, Mary Janice!

MJ: Great questions, ROCCO!  Thank you. You are one cool cat.


Folks, to keep up with the latest on Mary Janice, you can visit her website,

And now, one lucky person has a chance to win a personally autographed copy of MaryJanice’s latest book, WOLF AT THE DOOR!

To enter, just leave a comment on this blog along with your email address.  Below is a list of things you can do to get extra entries.  The contest closes midnight, December 1, winner announced on Friday, December 2!

To get extra points, you can:
Follow the Human, Toni LoTempio, on Facebook
Follow moi, Rocco, on Facebook (Rocco, Sci Fi Blogging Cat)
Follow moi, Rocco, onTwitter @RoccoBlogger
Blog about this contest
Tweet About this contest
Mention this contest on Facebook

Please leave a list of what you’ve done in the comments section, for example:  Hey, Rocco, I want to enter to win a copy of MJ’s book!  I’ve tweeted about the contest, I’m following you on Twitter and I’ve friended the Human on FB.  CaptainAmerica

OK, what are you waiting for! Get going!

Coming in December…MICHELLE ROWEN sits in my hotseat!  Yes, the creator of Sarah Dearly and Thierry talks about her new series and much more!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Calling all Cool CATS! - check out American Heritage Dictionary

Below is a posting I received from the Human's website I thought might be of interest to all cool CAT lovers!

FOR THE CAT LOVER in us all, the editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary scratched through the brand-new Fifth Edition to compile a top ten list of the most feline words from this 2000+ page tome. Hoped you might want to share some with your readers:
Scottish fold*

(* = new to A5)

You and your readers can look these words up at the free site (and even purchase a copy of there, if interested).

One final fun thing that I thought would be fun for your readers! To mark the occasion of the new AHD5 we’ve created a special Web site where users can create a photo (of themselves, or their pets!!) composed of their own words – it’s easy, fun, and free! Visit here at Your readers can also follow us on Twitter at @ahdictionary.

Many thanks to American Heritage Dictionary with providing our cat loving followers with this information!

Until next week,



Explosive Eighteen, the next novel in the popular Stephanie Plum series, debuts on bookshelves tomorrow! So in honor of that event, we thought we'd give you a sneak peek and also repost our interview with Janet from earlier this year:

Here's a teaser of EE, courtesy of Amazon:
You know the expression, “blue moon?” Well, for Janet Evanovich's throng of happy fans, 2011 is a “blue moon”—or shall we say a “blue Plum”—year! Double your pleasure, double your Plum—two, two, TWO Plums in one! First Smokin’ Seventeen rocked our socks off, now Explosive Eighteen blows ’em clear out of Trenton!

Evanovich—creator of Stephanie Plum, the Burg's bodacious bounty hunter—picks up the action right where Smokin’ left off, and there are some big surprises right out of the gate. Since neither she nor we want to spoil your fun, you’ll just have to wait till E18 blows onto our shelves!

But if you’re just so excited you’re about to burst, we can tell you this: Stephanie’s old rival, serial home wrecker-slash-gold digger Joyce Barnhardt—yup, She Who Was Caught Cheating with Stephanie's (now ex) Husband—has committed a crime. To top it off, she has Failed to Appear in court…dragging Stephanie kicking and screaming into an international incident! (But that's all chump change compared to what went down in Hawaii!)

Whatever the crime—or the incident (and no, we’re not telling…yet)—you can best believe something’s goin’ BOOM in Stephanie Plum’s most incendiary adventure yet—Explosive Eighteen!
 And now, for your reading pleasure: my interview with Janet reposted from June:

R:  Meow, welcome Janet!
JE:  Hello, Rocco. Nice to meet you.

R:   Please tell us a little bit about your next Stephanie Plum book! (SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN) What can we expect?
JE:  I can’t say much other than a man from Stephanie’s past comes to town.

R:  Now there’s a teaser! J  Ok, now, confess? Team Ranger, Team Moretti, or Team Diesel?
JE: I’m not a team player J

R:  Is there anything in particular that you just can't write about?
JE: I can’t write from a male point of view. I have no idea what goes on inside a man’s head.

R:  If you were not a writer, what would you be doing now?
JE: I got a degree in art, so I'd perpetually have paint under my fingernails.

R:  Do you do anything special to celebrate when you finish a novel?
JE:  Take a walk on the beach, eat some birthday cake (even if it's not my birthday) and then get to work on the next book.

R:  Now, the burning question:  Can you tell us your thoughts on the forthcoming Stephanie Plum movie, starring Katherine Heigl?
JE:   I'm looking forward to it.  I understand that Katherine is a fan of the books and she's always wanted to play Stephanie, so it's all good.

R:  And, in closing:  Dog or cat person (careful now J - Meow)
JE:  We've always had pets -- cats, dogs, a hamster or two and a bird.  But sorry, Rocco, though I love you dearly, I'm currently a dog person.  Although my son's cat, Gus, is a frequent visitor.  He has play dates with my dog Ollie.

R:  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to let me interview you, Janet. You’re pretty cool even if you are a dog person.  Meow! J
JE:  You’re welcome, Rocco.  You’re a cool cat,too.

 For more info on upcoming events of Janet's, visit her website:

MEOW! SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!  In the meantime, run out and get your copy of EE! NOW!