Monday, July 30, 2012

What a Week! Our Carrie Vaughn giveaway winner announced!

Meow, humans. Happy Monday - finally.  All last week the human's cable/computer/phone was out - four days of total and utter BOREDOM!

It's pathetic, really, how dependent we've become on stuff like this.  But finally, a competent cable person arrived to fix the problem - now the human's shower is on the fritz!

I tell you, if it's not one thing, it's another!

The Human did see THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - and said it was a truly fabulous movie, despite all the negative hoopla surrounding it.  We shall have a more defiitive post later in the week.  For now, things are getting back to normal...and  my food bowl is filled.

Just the way I like it, meow!

Hang onto your necks, kitties, becasue next week, we have none other than Sarah Dearly, that gorgeous vampiress, in MY hotseat (along with her creater, the fabulously gorgeous Michelle Rowen!)  Sarah is here to celebrate her new pararnomal mystery novel, B LOOD BATH AND B EYOND, out August 7!

And the winner of our Carrie Vaughn giveaway is: Kimberly! She'll recieve a copy of KITTY STEALS THE SHOW (OUT TOMORROW!!!!)  as well as a CD from Carrie!  Watch for an email, Kim!

We also want to thank everyone who supported our KIDS NEED TO READ fundraiser - over $900 for this great charity!  Meow!  A special thanks to our winners:  the winner of our Castle Prize Pac, Angie Jelinek, and our Author Pac, Charles Andrulus!  Your support is much appreciated! the immortal words of Arnie Schwartzenegger....

I'll be back!

Incredible Blogging Cat

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My guest today is the incredibly talented author of the Kitty Norville Series, CARRIE VAUGHN!
Carrie Vaughn is the bestselling author of a series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty. Kitty Steals the Show, the tenth installment, is due out July 31,2012. (that's next Tuesday - Wow!) She has also written for young adults (Voices of Dragons, Steel) and two stand-alone fantasy novels, Discord's Apple and After the Golden Age. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and she’s a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. She lives in Colorado with a fluffy attack dog. (DOG!!! NOT ATTACK CAT????)Learn more at

And now, here’s Carrie!
R: Hello and welcome Carrie!
C: Thanks Rocco!
R: Ever get interviewed by a cat?
C:  No, but considering what I write about, it’s not unusual J
R: And I love your main character is named Kitty J
R: Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you became interested in writing?
C: I'm an Air Force brat, grew up all over the country.  Went to college, worked in a bookstore and as an administrative assistant before quitting to write full time.  I travel quite a bit and love seeing the world.
I've always written.  I was eight years old when I wrote my first story, "Sally the Horse," a feminist retelling of The Black Stallion.  Sort of…  I've always loved stories and have a huge imagination.  As I kid I was constantly daydreaming, and writing was the way I made use of those daydreams.  By the time I got to college, I didn't want to do anything but write.  Fortunately, my immediate family was supportive, and I was able to chase that dream. 
R: What drew you to the paranormal genre?
C: I had an idea for a story that happened to fit in the paranormal genre.  I tell people, I didn't pick paranormal, it picked me.
R: What inspired you to create the character of Kitty?
C: I realized that if there really were vampires and werewolves in the real modern world, self-help gurus like Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil wouldn't be able to help them with their problems, and they would need their own self-help radio show.  I needed a host for the show, and I decided she'd be more convincing if she was supernatural herself rather than human.  I wasn't interested in writing about a vampire; on the other hand, werewolves had been neglected and I thought I could do something interesting with them, so I made her a werewolf, and named her Kitty, because of course.
R: What writers in the paranormal genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
C: This is a bit embarrassing, but I don't read very much in paranormal.  I have my own take on it, so I tend to stay away from other paranormal books and concentrate on writing the stories I want to write, rather than trying to fit them to a pre-existing idea of what paranormal ought to be like.  That said, I'm influenced by all kinds of classic fantasy and horror writing that served as precursors to modern paranormal.  I love Ray Bradbury's dark short stories, such as those in The October Country, and Victorian horror writer Arthur Machen has stories that would be at home in the modern urban fantasy category.  They're very strange, and I love that.
R: Which of Kitty’s adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
C: Every book has sections that are fun, and sections that are really difficult.  It's hard to point to a specific book as being easier or harder than any other, since each of them has particular charms and challenges.
R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
C: institutionalized, probably.
R: What advice would you give new writers just starting out?
C: Write all the time.  Read as much as you can.  Learn from what you read, apply it to what you write.
R: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
C: Some people would say, try to make a living as a writer…  I don't actually know.  Ride horses, scuba dive?  I don't consider those crazy, but some people would.  I try to have adventures, but not particularly crazy ones.
R: What one thing would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
C: I always have a tough time with this question!  People are often surprised to learn how much of a science fiction nerd I am.  I love Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc.  I have comic books, watch the old GI Joe cartoon.  I love steampunk and make costumes.
R: What new adventures are in store for Kitty and company in the future?  What can we look forward to?
C: The tenth Kitty novel, KITTY STEALS THE SHOW, is due out this summer.  After that is KITTY ROCKS THE HOUSE, and I'm working on the next couple of novels after that.  I'm also pretty much always working on short stories for various anthologies.  So lots more adventures are in store.  Stay tuned!
R: Sounds great, Carrie, and now a little thing BIG ROCK calls…
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day.  I'm a child of the sun.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  I have a dog, I'm sorry.  My brother was horrifically allergic to cats when we were growing up, so I've never spent much time around cats.  It's a personal failing, I know. (Meow…well, since your main character’s named Kitty, I’ll forgive you. J)
Beach or Pool?   Beach.
Werewolf or Werejaguar?  Werewolf, of course.
Steak or salad?  Both?
Favorite Drink?  Nice red wine.
Favorite Book?  The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
Favorite TV Series?  Right this minute, Castle.
Favorite Movie?  Tough one, but I've probably watched Star Wars more than any other.
Finish this sentence:  If I had just one wish, it would be __world peace.  Seriously.______________

Thank you for a fabulous interview, Carrie!
To keep up with the latest on what Carrie’s doing and new releases, check out

Now, Carrie is giving away a copy of  KITTY STEALS THE SHOW, plus an accompanying music CD,  to one lucky reader! You know the drill to enter.  All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address.  Winner will be chosen using  To get extra entries you can:

Friend moi or the HUMAN (that would be Toni Lo Tempio, the one who fills my foodbowl!) on facebook
Friend Carrie on FB
Follow any of us on Twitter
Twitter, post or FB about this contest (3 extra entries for that!)

Be sure to list all you do in your post.  Contest open to US residents only, ends midnight July 29, winner chosen using, announced July 30!

This is the link to our Prize Pack #1 - Castle Assortment of Goodies -

This is the link to Prize Pack #2- our Author Assortment of books, many autographed:

Coming soon: Our own “interview with the vampire” Sarah Dearly sits in my hotseat (courtesy of Michelle Rowen!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Ah, the HUMAN - workhorse that she is - has a ton of meetings at her day job tomorrow and so decided to start the auctions a bit early to ensure they got up!

This is the link to our Prize Pack #1 - Castle Assortment of Goodies -

This is the link to Prize Pack #2- our Author Assortment of books, many autographed:

We've got photos up, and I must say, all the items are beautiful. The books donated are brand new, many are autographed.  the CASTLE items are all new and a wonderful addition to the CASTLE addic's collection.

And even if you don't need em, heck its for charity! MEOW!

We shall be checking in at some point tomorrow - and later in the week. The auctions will be on Ebay for 10 days, until July 27, approx 5:22 p.m. EST.
and next week, I interview another KITTY's creator - Carrie Vaughn in my hotseat! Whew!


Monday, July 16, 2012


As many of you know, I like to get my tail behind a good charity...and there's no better charity than KIDS NEED TO READ, which provides books to underfunded libraries and children who live in areas where they might not get their hands on good reading material otherwise.  Having just co-authored two mysteries, I know how important good writing is and how important it is to get quality stuff out there!  This charity was co-founded by PJ Haarsma, Denise Gary, and the star of ABC's CASTLE, Nathan Fillion, to do just that!

That's why this fan fiction interview today with RICHARD CASTLE is the kickoff for our KIDS NEED TO READ FUNDRAISER.  There are two auctions that are going to be put up shortly on Ebay - one is a basket of CASTLE goodies, and the other is a basket of books from many of your favorite authors (many autographed!). ALL proceeds from this endeavor will go to KIDS NEED TO READ.

So, who better to kick it off than Nathan Fillion's good friend, author RICHARD CASTLE!

Disclaimer:  This interview is totally fictitious and a product of my incredibly creative, feline mind!  ABC, the TV show CASTLE, and Nathan Fillion are, sadly, in no way connected or a part of the below interview. Their loss, meow.

I figure if I got Richard in my hotseat, the interview would go something like this:

R:  Meow, and hello Richard. Thanks for being here.
RC: You're welcome, Rocco.

R: I bet you've never been intereviewed by a cat before, correct?
RC:  I've been in a lot of strange situations but you're right. Never by a cat.  Or anything four-footed, for that matter. (Pauses)  That I can remember, anyway.

R: We're very pleased to have you, and to have your intereview kick off our fundraiser for KIDS NEED TO READ.
RC:  I'm pleased to be involved.  Illiteracy is a big problem in our country so naturally, since I make my living from the written word, it's a source of concern. Any organization that encourages reading, particularly to kids in areas where they might not have a shot at quality material othewise, gets my vote and support.

R:  Thanks, Richard. And BTW:  What do you think of that tv series, CASTLE? Do you feel they've captured your essence?
RC:  Ooh, I like that word, essence. Listen, It's a great, tightly written series. I find myself getting a bit envious at times (grins).  As for the actors, they all do a fine job.  I wouldn't single one out in particular - no matter how hard you try to make me (bigger grin)

R: Let's get to it.  Now, Richard Edgar Castle is your pen name, correct?
RC:  Yes.  My birth name is Richard Alexander Rodgers, but I changed it as an homage to the late Edgar Allen Poe - one of my favorite authors.

R:  So what was the inspiration for your first novel?
RC: Believe it or not, when I was a child I spent most of my time with a nanny, since my mother was an actress - we spent many afternoons in front of the tv watching ONE LIFE TO LIVE.

R: Really? A soap opera?
RC: Hey, life's a soap opera, isn't it?  Besides, many good actors have come out of the soaps.  Meg Ryan, Alec Baldwin, the late Christopher Reeve, jsut to name a few.

R:  Not to mention some guy named Nathan Fillion. Hey, I think he was on One Life to Live!
RC: (grins)

R:  You've been married twice.  Think you'd ever take that plunge again?
RC: That remains to be seen.   If the right person came along....(grins even wider)

R: You've referred to your first wife, Meredith, as a "deep fried twinkie".  Is that a Castle-ism?
RC:  Yep.  It means something you can view as a treat if taken on occasion - but a steady diet will KILL you.

R:   You also have a daughter, Alexis.
RC:  Yes,  she's just going off to college and she's also been working part time in the ME office. I'm very proud of her. Having contact with dead bodies just seems to run in our family.

R:  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
RC:  From the time I was a child, actually.  I loved creating fantasy worlds - plus I spent many days in the New York Public Library.  I acquired an appreciation for the written word at a young age.

R:  What was your first novel?
RC:  A little ditty called IN A HAIL OF BULLETS.  I got almost two dozen rejections before someone finally took a chance on me. So before you ask if I have any advice for aspiring writers, I'm gonna say it now: NEVER SURRENDER, NEVER GIVE UP.  And you may quote me.

R:  Yeah, I think you stole that line from Star Trek. Spock, right?
RC: (grins) Star Trek? And here I thought it was FIREFLY.

R:  Moving on...What in your body of work are you proudest of?
RC:  That's daughter, Alexis.

R: OK, to be more specific...what in your body of WRITTEN work are you proudest of?
RC: OK, that's different. Hm.  Well, the series I'm most known for is the Derrick Storm series.  You know, Gathering Storm, Unholy Storm, Storm Season, etc.  But the work I'm proudest of would have to be my Nikki Heat series.

R:  NYPD Detective Kate Beckett is the inspiration for this series, right?
RC:  Much to her horror, yes.

R:  Isn't it true that you originally joined the NYPD as a consultant to do background research for the Nikki Heat novels?
RC:  Yes. It allowed me to participate  in the more "fun" aspects of detective work without having to worry about the more tedious aspects - you know, paperwork, getting shot at...that sort of thing.  But consultant status has its downside, too. I can't question witnesses in a professional capacity on my own, which really stinks sometimes.

R:  Do you think at some point you'd give up writing and concentrate on detective work?
RC: You mean like become a PI? I've thought about it, but...I don't know.  Maybe if I ever got writer's block on a consistent basis.

R:  What's been going on since we saw you last?  any hints you can share?
RC: Not really.  Suffice it to say I've been busy...working...and other things.

R:  What can you tell us about all this intrigue going on with Beckett?
RC:  Well, we've learned so far that Captain Montgomery was involved, and that he made a deal to keep Beckett safe. We've also seen that Beckett just won't let it go - or at least she felt that way up until a little while ago. But it might be too late now, even if she wants to stay out of it.  She might have pushed the envelope a bit too far.

R:  What do you mean by that?
RC: Ask me again in September.

R:  (mutters under breath) Cop-out, OK...What can you tell us about your  relationship with Beckett? How has it changed, if at all?
RC:  I think it would be relatively obvious there's been SOME change (grins). It's like any other relationship - there's give and take. At times we get on each other's nerves, but basically we ...interact very well together. (big grin)  Both on and off the job.

R:  Can you be a bit more specific?
RC:  No.

R:  The two of you underwent a lot of strain recently.
RC:  And like any storm, we weathered it....for now.

R:  AT least she's forgiven you for keeping the secret regarding her mother's murder.
RC:  She realized I was only trying to keep her safe - because I love her.  And she finally realized that I wasn't trying to impede her investigation - I was trying to keep her alive so that she could continue to do what she loves best - solve crimes.

R:  So, what's the deal now with you and Beckett?  Now that she's off the force, does that mean you're no longer a police consultant?
RC:  Kate's off the force????? Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? I promise you one thing - it wont' be dull. Now, getting back to my books...

R: Yeah, let's. Like that male character in the Nikki Heat novels, Jameson Rook - is that suposed to be a play on words, you know - Rook...Castle....
RC: You know, for a cat you're pretty perceptive.

R: (swishes tail) I like to think so.  Where do you see the relationship between Rook and Heat going?
RC:  As always, they will be involved in each other's lives and cases.

R: How about on the personal side?
RC:  As in all relationships, they have their ups and downs.  Happy ever after is usually a death knell - a relationship has to have some spice. Besides, conflict is so cool to write!

R:  I thought for sure you were going to writing say  sex scenes is cool.
RC: (really, really big SE (that's shit-eating for you acronym haters) grin) That kinda goes without saying, right?

R: What's the latest Nikki Heat novel about?
RC:  Here's the official blurb:
The bizarre murder of a parish priest at a New York bondage club opens Nikki Heat’s most thrilling and dangerous case so far, pitting her against New York’s most vicious drug lord, an arrogant CIA contractor, and a shadowy death squad out to gun her down. And that is just the tip of an iceberg that leads to a dark conspiracy reaching all the way to the highest level of the NYPD.

But when she gets too close to the truth, Nikki finds herself disgraced, stripped of her badge, and out on her own as a target for killers, with nobody she can trust. Except maybe the one man in her life who’s not a cop: reporter Jameson Rook

R: Ooh, sounds exciting. And it's available...
RC:  At fine bookstores everywhere. And on Kindle and Nook, for all you techies out there.

R:  Thank you, Richard, for a great interview. We look forward to more Nikki Heat novels!
RC: Thank you, ROCCO.

R: Oh, more thing.
RC: One more thing? Who are you? Columbo?

R: (catly snarl) anyway...given recent events, where do you see your personal relationship with Beckett headed?
RC: Not to cop out, but...I'm gonna.  Ask me again in September. (big grin...and a wink! OH MY!)

And so, kitties...that's how it MIGHT have gone! What do you think?
Folks: Want to win a copy of Heat Rises? A Castle Script? autographed photo of Nathan Fillion? Castle DVD? $25 gift certificate to your choice of one of six different retailers?  or a basket of books by many of your favorite authors?

Visit our EBAY auctions!  We will provide the live links tomorrow, right here, same Castle-time, same Castle-channel! And don't forget...all proceeds go to KIDS NEED TO READ!

Next week, I've got Kitty Norville creator CARRIE VAUGHN in my hotseat!  MEEEOW!


Duh, OK - that's me as a kitten. I'm a FEW pounds lighter.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Hello Kitties!

The CASTLE Examiner was kind enough to mention our KNTR fundraiser/fanfic Rick Castle article in their bulletin today:


So check it out and tell all your friends  :)

Next week is our big kickoff - fanfic (remember, it's FANFIC - Richard Castle didn't actually sit down for this - which would be kinda hard anyway since technically he doesn't exist) interview and then...our EBAY auctions! One basket of CASTLE goodies and one of author books!

In case you need visual aids, here are pics:

Dont' forget our RACHEL VINCENT Q&A and giveaway going on till Monday!



Monday, July 9, 2012

In my hotseat - RACHEL VINCENT!

Today my guest is the lovely Rachel Vincent!

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her office with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks—seriously—and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

 And's Rachel!

R: Hello and welcome, Rachel
R: Thanks, Rocco.

R:  Hm...just noticed we have the same first initial.  That's cool. I'll type out your full name - a little more work for my paws but you're worth it. 
Rachel: Aren't you sweet!

R: Tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer?

Rachel: I’m a paranormal/urban fantasy writer (both adult and young adult), currently based in San Antonio. I don’t really know how I came to be a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. It’s the only thing I’m any good at. ;)

R: Have you ever considered writing in another genre?

Rachel: Yes.

R: You write YA and also adult UF – which is your favourite to write?

Rachel: I enjoy both, for different reasons. If that ever changes, I’d stop writing the one I no longer enjoyed. ;)

R: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?

Rachel: I honestly have no idea. I see them a certain way in my head, so it’s kind of hard to picture them as real actors.

R: What are you working on at the moment / next?

Rachel: I’m currently working on the seventh/final Soul Screamers novel. Next up will be a brand new adult project.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rachel: I’m a plotter. I have to be, both because my contract requires me to turn in a synopsis before writing the book, and because I have pretty tight deadlines, and I could never write as quickly as I have to if I didn’t know exactly what needed to be written every time I sit down at the keyboard.

R: What is a “must have” for you that aids the creative process?

Rachel: There really isn’t anything like that for me. I’m a professional writer. I write on deadline, for a living. I can’t afford for my day’s production to be dependant on having a certain kind of coffee or donut available.

That said, I do love to plot over a fajita dinner. ;)

R: Is there anything in particular that inspires you.

Rachel. Everything. An idea. A song. A picture. A weird what-if.

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)

Rachel: I play video games or watch movies with my husand, usually. 
And, of course, I read.

R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?

Rachel: My blog. Twitter. Facebook. My website.

R: What one thing would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Rachel: I dislike most cooked vegetables. Seriously. And I can’t dance. At all.

R: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Rachel: Keep writing. Keep reading. Grow a thick skin. Be willing to put in the work. That’s really all there is to this, on the creative side, anyway. ;)

Just for Fun:

Your favorite:
Movie – Mr. And Mrs. Smith, Cold Mountain, Friends With Benefits

Author – Stephen King

Book – That is impossible to narrow down. And it changes all the time. 
Though I will always love The Stand.

Tv show – Dexter. Game of Thrones. Shameless. Weeds.

Detectives or Demons – Demon detectives.

Sunrise or Sunset: Sunset. I hope to sleep through most future sunrises. ;)

Cat or Dog (Careful, now!) – Cat.


B&N Link: 


Rachel will be giving away a copy of her "Soul Screamers, Volume 1" to one lucky winner!
To enter, leave a comment below with your name and email address. if ever-freindly BLOGGER will not let you comment, then send the HUMAN, Toni LoTempio a message on Facebook.  Contest open to US residents only. Winner chosen at random using  For extra entries you can:
Friend me or the Human on FB
Follow me on Twitter @RoccoBlogger
Friend or Follow Tate on FB and/or Twitter
FB and Tweet about this giveaway (3 extra entries)

Be sure to mention all you've done in your post/message. Contest closes midnight, July 15, Winner announced July 16.

July 31 - Carrie Vaughn!

Incredible Blogging Cat

8 days left to our CASTLE/KIDS NEED TO READ fudraiser!

Can you believe it! Only 8 days left until the kickoff of our CASTLE/KIDS NEED TO READ fundraiser. We will start with our Richard Castle fanfic intereview on Tuesday - on Wednesday, the Ebay links to the auction items will be posted. Here are pics of the prizes:

Spread the Word!

and, of course in the meantime we've got interviews...Rachel Vincent joins us tomorrow!

the winner of our Juliet Blackwell giveaway is: KrystlRose!  KrystlRose will get her choice of one of the Lily books from Juliet!

OK, kitties, stay cool - not easy in this heat, MEOW!

Tomorrow...Rachel Vincent joins us for a Q&A and a giveaway!

Incredible Blogging Cat

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Guest Today...Juliet Blackwell!

Meow!  My guest today is NY Times Bestselling Author Juliet Blackwell!

National bestselling author Juliet Blackwell  started out life in Palo Alto, California, borne of a Texan mother and a Yankee father. The family soon moved to what were, at the time, the sticks of Cupertino, an hour south of San Francisco. Walking to and from kindergarten every day she would indulge in her earliest larcenous activity: stealing walnuts and apricots from surrounding orchards. After pursuing a round of lucrative careers, Juliet turned to writing. She penned the Art Lover's Mystery Series with her sister Carolyn, about an ex-art forger trying to go straight by working as a muralist and faux finisher in San Francisco. Juliet's Witchcraft Mystery series, about a witch who finally finds a place to fit in when she opens a vintage clothes shop on Haight Street in San Francisco, allows Juliet to indulge yet another interest—the world of witchcraft and the supernatural. Ever since her favorite aunt taught her about reading cards and tea leaves, Juliet has been fascinated with seers, conjurers, and covens from many different cultures and historic traditions. As an anthropologist, the author studied and taught about systems of spirituality, magic, and medicine throughout the world, especially in Latin America. Halloween is by far her favorite holiday.

And now, without any further ado...JULIET!

R: Tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer?

J: I live in an old haunted house (of course!) in Oakland, which is right across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco.  I grew up in the Bay Area, went to school down the coast in Santa Cruz, then lived back east for ten years and travelled a lot...but the Bay kept drawing me back! I used to run my own painting and design business, specializing in faux finishes, murals, and portraits, but I also did a fair amount of renovation project management.  One night, about two in the morning, I was working in an otherwise empty Pacific Heights mansion and could have sworn I heard something overhead.  That was where I got my idea for my first mystery!

R: You do the Haunted House Renovations mysteries – it’s unusual for a woman to write about house renovations J How did you get interested in that and what made you decide to do a series about it? 
J: As I mentioned above, I sort of fell into the whole renovation thing by way of specialty decorative painting.  And I've always had a passion for old homes and historic buildings of all types.  I really do believe their walls hold a bit of the energy of the people who have lived in them, over the years.  As for writing the series...I had two prior series, one about an ex-art forger (who worked as a faux finisher!) and a paranormal series about a witch with a vintage clothing store in the San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood.  I wanted to write a series that allowed me to indulge my love for old buildings, and as I looked around most construction-related mysteries seemed to feature protagonists that were tangential to the process, rather than in charge.  And I always enjoy seeing women in charge ;-)

R:  You majored in Latin American studies and lived in Spain.  What was living in a foreign country like?  And how did you make the jump from Latin American studies to best selling author? 
J: Ooh, I like the sound of “bestselling author”!  Thanks for that ;-)  Like almost everything else in my life, I sort of backed into being an author.  First I studied anthropology in graduate school, and then got a Masters in Social Work.  Though those two areas sound unrelated in many ways, I think they share a keen interest in people, different ways of life, and alternate ways of looking at the world.  Also, anthropologists and social workers are trained to be observant when it comes to people and social mores, and I think those tendencies lend themselves easily to writing.  Also , I used to write academic articles, so the first time I tried my hand at fiction I thought “cool!  I can make everything up!!!”  The academic training taught me discipline and perseverance; my extensive traveling gave me a lot of experiences I can draw on; and social work taught me more than I can say about the quirks and foibles of human nature.  All of that is useful for an author!

R:  You are also a talented painter.  Which do you prefer, painting or writing?
J: I'm no longer painting to pay the rent, but rather I just do it for fun, so it's hard to compare.  No matter what one does for a living, no matter how much one loves it, it can become “a job”.  When I painted for a living, though I loved it, I had to deal with difficult clients and keep the books and manage employees.  There are always boring, difficult parts to any business.  Now that I write full time, it's not as purely “fun” as it was when I was just playing with words.  Still, it's the best job in the world!  Oh, to answer your question...painting is now pure distraction for me, and I've painted since I was old enough to hold a brush, so I adore everything about it.  But I also love being an author, especially when things are humming along and I lose myself in the story.  The stuff that goes along with writing – all the copyediting, re-writing, marketing, promoting—that part's a drag!

R:  Now we’ll make the jump to vintage clothing, which is what your main character does in your Witchcraft mystery series.  Why did you choose that for your character’s career over something like, oh, say an art gallery owner?
J: Funny you should ask me about art...I LOVE art, and all aspects of the quirky art world.  Unfortunately, a lot of people find the idea boring or otherwise off-putting – a lot of people who read my first series (all about art forgery and theft) would say, “I don't know anything about the art world but I really liked this book anyway.”  So I wanted to give Lily, my witch protagonist, a job that was creative and fun, and connected to history, but that was more accessible.  I think a lot of people are interested in the idea of vintage everything – antiques, cars, kitchen gadgets, clothes-- so it's a fun subject.  Plus, I wanted to set the series in the Haight Ashbury, which is a vibrant, quirky neighborhood – and it's full of vintage clothing stores, so it made sense. Finally…this way I can hang out in vintage clothes stores and call it “research”!
R: Out of all the supernaturals, why did you choose a witch? 
J: That’s easy: Witches are real.  Whether or not you believe they can affect reality, they are actual people who believe that what they are doing is indeed magical, or at least related to the history of botanicals or the pagan religions of yore.  I enjoy reading pure fantasy about vampires and werewolves and the like, but when it came down to developing a protagonist I wanted her to be fully human, just more aware than most of the possibilities of other worlds.  From a practical perspective, as an anthropologist I studied systems of health care all over the world, and healers are often considered “witches”.  In fact, after the witch hunts in Europe public health plummeted, because they had managed to kill off most of the people who understood how to treat disease and injury.  That sort of history fascinates me, and I try to fold some of that into the books.
R: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?

J:This is a hard question for me, since I’m not exactly up on the latest celebrities – I rarely manage to get to the movies, though I love to go, and I never watch TV.  But I would say for the Haunted Home Renovation books, Sandra Bullock would be fabulous! I love her sense of comic timing.  But she might be too pretty (and a little bit old) for the role – my protagonist Mel is more normal looking. James Garner would be perfect as her somewhat grumpy, but funny and great father. 

As for Lily in the Witchcraft books... Mila Kunis would be great! I can’t imagine what they’d do about Oscar, though these computer artists are amazing lately, aren’t they?

R: What are you working on at the moment / next?

J:At the moment I'm finishing up the fifth book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, called Tarnished and Torn.  The third in the Haunted Home Renovation series, Murder on the House, is already finished and in production.  I'll be starting the fourth in that series next, as well as working on an entirely different project – a novel that's not a mystery!

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

J:I used to be very much a pantser, and that's still my first impulse—I want to be surprised and excited by the story, because I think that enthusiasm comes through to the reader.  But in order to save time in revisions I now have a process that works for me:  I think things through, make some notes, then “pants” the first EXTREMELY rough draft.  Then I write up a reverse outline based upon that rough draft. By looking at the overall picture, I can tell what areas need to be expanded, worked out, or trimmed.  It's a great process for me!

R: What is a “must have” for you that aids the creative process?

J:Coffee. Walks. A quiet place to think. Good writer friends who are only a phone call away when I need to talk things through. Oops, sorry...that’s four things! 

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)

 J: I love to paint, garden, and cook.  Mostly I spend time with friends –I am so lucky to have a great, strong circle of friends who aren't writers, as well as a lot of author buddies.  But it's important to spend time away from the writing world from time to time!  I love nothing more than to cook a great dinner or barbecue with friends, enjoy some great wine, and sit down together to talk for hours over good food.  I enjoy going out to dive bars, too, and love to dance (not that I'm any good at it, but I don't let lack of talent stop me.)  I also walk around nearby Lake Merritt or hike in the redwoods pretty often—the problem with being a writer is how much time I spend sitting on my butt.  Lately I have a great fellow in my life, and we take motorcycle rides and watch the sun set over the ocean, all those wonderfully romantic things ;-) 

R: What one thing would your readers be surprised to know about you?

J: I think people are surprised that I'm such a tomboy, deep down.  I'm pretty girly on the outside, so it shocks people sometimes that I know how to shoot a gun and ride a motorcycle. But I was one of three girls raised by a very macho military man, so I did my best to be his son.  It didn't quite take, and I think I'm very thoroughly feminine, but I'm strong and not squeamish and enjoy pushing my limits from time to time. 

R: Do you have any advice for other writers?
J: This is a tough one, mostly because the advice is always the same, yet never easy:  just write.  And then write some more.  Write every day, whether or not you feel like it.  There's no getting around the fact that writing is a learned skill –even for those with seemingly innate talent-- but I don't think you can learn much from classes or workshops or reading books about writing – though if those work for you, then go for it!  And certainly I'm all for finding inspiration wherever you can.  But if you really want to be a writer, it eventually comes down to one person, and one person only: YOU.  No one else can do it for you.  But then no one but you has your voice, and knows what you want to say.  That's what makes each of us unique!
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?

Please visit me at my website,  I'm also on Facebook at  and on Twitter as Juliet Blackwell.  And please stop by my blog, 

Just for Fun:

Movie  Practical Magic
TV Show  The Wire
Actor  Gregory Peck
Actress   Rosalind Russell
Novel  Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Writer (other than yourself)   Richard Russo (this changes almost daily, depending on who I’m reading...)
Day or Night?  Night
Witch or Ghost? Witch, of course! (I’m writing a Witchcraft mystery right now – ask again when I’m writing the Haunted Home Renovation series and I’m sure the answer will change ;-))
Mountains or Lake?  Mountains.  Except when I want to swim…how about a mountain lake?
Margarita or Manhattan  Oooh, used to be Margarita, but lately…Manhattan  (See how indecisive I am? I’m a Libra. Can’t help it)
Cat or Dog? (Answer Carefully)  Dog – I'm allergic to cats! (OOOOOO NOOOOOOOO)

.  Juliet is happy to offer a signed copy of the winner’s choice in the Witchcraft series: Secondhand Spirits, A Cast Off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, or In a Witch’s Wardrobe  (to US addresses only).  Just leave a comment with your email address in the comments section of this post. (PLease do not forget the email addy - those without it will be disqualified :(  And we don't want that!!!!!)

For extra entries, you can:
Friend the Human and/or ROCCO
Friend Juliet
Follow this blog
Follow ROCCO on twitter @RoccoBlogger
Tweet or FB about this post and contest (3 extra entries!)
Contest closes midnight,July 8 - Winner announced July 9!
Get crackin'!

Next week:  Rachel Vincent...and then...our CASTLE fanfic intereview and auction! Watch the blog for a special announcement with more details!



Monday, July 2, 2012


the countdown is on....only 2 weeks before the kickoff of our KIDS NEED TO READ  Summer fundraiser! but in the meantime we've got a lot going on....

Tomorrow...we welcome Juliet Blackwell!
July 9: Rachel Vincent!

Many people have left messages inquiring about whether the books are print or digital...for this fundraiser, the books will be print only. If there are any authors out there who wish to donate either a print copy of one of their books or an ARC, please contact the HUMAN at and put KNTR Fundraiser Book in the message line (otherwise it may be deleted unread)

the winner of our Tate Hallaway giveaway is: lavendersbluegreen!  Watch for an email from Tate on claiming your prize!

We can add MICHELLE ROWEN to our list of contributing authors to our fundraiser:  an ARC of BLOOD BATH AND BEYOND, the first Sarah Dearly mystery!

Photos of prizes coming soon...we promise, meow!

Tomorrow...Juliet Blackwell!