Sunday, November 16, 2014

Welcome Toni LoTiempo and Rocco!!

Welcome to Toni LoTiempo and her kitty, Rocco, who has his own blog. Toni is the author of the about -to-debut Nick and Nora mystery series. The first book is MEOW, IF IT'S MURDER! How cute is that? It will be out on December 2nd. Don't miss Toni's giveaway today. Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of hr new book!

Cats, Cozies…and Tuna Melts!

Most of the mysteries on my bookshelf, I confess, are cozy mysteries, so I suppose it would naturally follow that my first traditionally published novel would be – a cozy. What’s more, a cozy featuring a stubborn, opinionated tuxedo cat!

My series is the Nick and Nora mystery series. Nora is Nora Charles, ex-crime reporter turned restaurant entrepreneur. She’s returned after a 12 year absence from reporting on crime in Chicago back to her hometown of Cruz, California, to take over her deceased mother’s sandwich shop. Shortly thereafter, Nora finds a surprise waiting outside her door – a stocky, black and white cat. She takes the cat in and names him Nick (after Nick Charles, the Thin Man, of course). She later finds out that the cat did in fact belong to a PI, Nick Atkins, who is currently MIA – she also finds out that Nick has many talents, among them the ability to spell out words with Scrabble tiles – plus, he’s got a nose for scenting out crime and Nora’s special of the day!

And while Nora can’t turn down a good mystery, she’s also a very adept cook – and she loves coming up with unique names for the sandwiches she serves! People do enjoy her Michael Buble Burger, and her Antonio Banderas Cuban!

But really…What story about a cat would be complete without tuna? Below is Nora’s recipe for her Thin Man Tuna Melt – it’s a big hit with the residents of Cruz!

The Thin Man Tuna Melt

1 (6 1/2 oz.) can of tuna, drained
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/3 c. mayonnaise, regular or low-fat
2 tbsp. diced onion
2 tbsp. crumbled bacon bits
1/2 tsp. garlic salt or powder
4 slices cheese, Swiss or cheddar

4 thin-cut tomato slices
8 slices of your favorite bread
butter or margarine

Combine tuna, celery, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic salt and blend. Butter one side of bread, place in toaster oven. Cover with tuna mixture and spread out, then top with cheese slice. Sprinkle liberally with bacon bits. Place under broiler for one minute, then put tomato slices on top. Butter one side of remaining bread and place on top of cheese, buttered side up. Grill until golden brown on both sides, or cheese is melted. Remove, cut and serve. Serves two humans and one tubby tuxedo cat.

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog:
Currently Under construction

Don't forget to leave a comment here by midnight Wednesday with your email address so we can contact you if you win!


  1. Both look really good.

  2. MEOW, IF IT'S MURDER! sounds like a purrrfect title for a cozy mystery! I can't wait to read it. The tuna melt looks yummy. :)
    Please enter me in the contest. Thank you.

  3. I was a fan of The Thin Man movies and loved the humor. What a clever use of the names for a cozy.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  4. This looks like a great book. Rocco sounds like a fun and special character for the book.

  5. Can't wait to read it. Love the cover.

  6. I loved the Thin Man movies and look forward to this new series!

  7. I have three cats and I love cozy mysteries, especially those that have pets. I can't wait to read meow if it's Murder. I also love the Thin Man names.

  8. This sounds like a good series.
    sgiden at verizon(dot)net

  9. looking forward to reading about your feline sleuths .

  10. Love the cover, and always love a new series. And who can pass up tuna melt?

  11. This book sounds fantastic! I have a feeling I'm going to love Nick...but I wonder what Asta thinnks about being replaced by a cat! lol I love Cubans too.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

  12. How irresistible! The Thin Man's Nick and Nora, now back in the 21st century, and a tuxedo cat! I can't wait to read.

    Okay, I really hate Hot Tunny. But I have to admit this might be a recipe I'll try.
    LAUGHING OUT LOUD! Serves one Tubby Tuxedo!!!

  13. This sounds fantastic. I love the cover and will have to try this recipe. Thanks for the chance. pp92596 at outlook dot com

  14. Thank you all for your lovely comments! Hoping you enjoy the book when it debuts in two weeks!

  15. Sounds really good. Would love to read. Also the recipes sound yummy! :) Thank you for the chance to win.

  16. Way cool! A new series wirh cats and mysteries, can't wait to read it! Thanks for the great info on this book and chance to win! Love the cover art, too! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

  17. Sounds like a book I'd love to read!

  18. Hi Toni and welcome to MLK. Thanks for being our guest today! I'm a fellow Jersey girl from Summit, NJ although now I am "on exile" in Michigan as I like to joke.

    1. Hi Peg - I have cousins who live in Michigan! Only thing I'd hate is all the snow you get. :)

  19. The recipe sounds similar to one I make, I never thought to add bacon, I have got to try that. The book is definitely my kind of read, cats and food...who can resist?
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

  20. Thanks for the opportunity to read Meow if it murder. Love cats!
    littleone AT shaw DOt ca

  21. Not a tuna fan but love cats and cozies! Meow if it's Murder sounds terrific!

  22. This sounds fun.
    dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

  23. I've always enjoyed cat-themed mysteries, and the use of Nick & Nora as character names is a nice twist. This is going on my Amazon Wish List.


  24. can't find my first post. Love the idea of cats/murder series. There are times I wonder about my cat LOL forgot to leave email

  25. Cats in cozies are just perfect--I can hardly wait to start this new series. AND I haven't made a tuna melt in years---thanks for reminding me about them. I may have one for lunch today.

  26. Love to find new cozy series to read. And with a cat.

  27. Cats & cozy mysteries go together. I could use a tuna melt, right now. Looking forward to Meow if it's Murder.

  28. Love cats in cozies. Add in food and we have a winner. Can't wait for this to be published. Definitely an early Christmas present for me! Thanks for the heads up and giveaway!

  29. Well, this sounds excellent, both the new book and the tuna melt recipe. Thanks!

  30. A new series with cats and food...excellent !

  31. I don't know whether I want to read or eat? I guess I'll do both!

  32. Sounds great, I can't wait to read it.


  33. Thank you for this awesome giveaway! The recipe sounds great. The book sounds awesome!

  34. Ah ha. Tuna salad can be delicious without hard boiled eggs. Bobbipad at

  35. Read, eat, pet cat, solve murders, fabulous! Can't wait to read it. Thanks. mackisa at gmail dot com.

  36. Welcome to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, Toni! The recipe looks yummy and your series sounds delightful. Knock 'em dead in December.


    MJ aka Victoria Abbott