So, I imagine a lot of you are wondering: who the heck is Toni LoTempio and why should we read her books?
Well, I can’t tell you why you should read my books, other than that I think they’re pretty good -☺- but I can tell you a little bit about me!
I’m a native New Yorker, born and bred, but I’ve lived in New Jersey since I was thirteen. I’ve been reading ever since I was three, and writing since I was twelve – the first thing I wrote was a book of fairy tales called TWELVE TALL TALES. I even had another girl in school who was good at drawing illustrate them! (too bad I can’t find what I did with that manuscript- but after 30 years and a ton of moves I’m afraid its GWTW) I got hooked on horror from my dad, who used to take me to horror movies (Black Sunday starring Barbara Steele was the first) and, of course, I was a HUGE Dark Shadows fan growing up – I even ran a fan club for it in High School. I’ve always wanted to be Angelique – a sexy witch! I’d kill for those big, big, blue eyes! And I can’t wait for the Johnny Depp remake of Dark Shadows! As for reading, I love anything by J.D. Robb! I also read Carol Higgins Clark, Victoria Laurie, Janet Evanovich and Rita Mae Brown, anything by John Saul and the king of suspense, James Patterson religiously. Lately I’ve also become a big fan of Alex Kava and Tess Gerritson. I love both the paranormal and the suspense/thriller/cozy mystery genres. In paranormal I like Mary Janice Davidson, Kimberley Raye, Ashlyn Chase and Charlaine Harris to name a few!
Anyway, I write a lot of different books, and I confess I’m partial to the mystery genre (comes from reading the ENTIRE Nancy Drew series! – I’m not kidding – the ENTIRE series!) Some of my books have been published by small press, but I like to think I saved my best work for the indie market ☺ My first indie, NO REST FOR THE WICCA, is a novel about a girl, Morgan Hawkes, who has both wiccan and voodoo heritage. Saddled with guilt over the death of her partner years before, she left homicide and became a “ghost whisperer” – someone who helps trapped spirits travel over to the next plane. But when a string of murders with a decidedly voodoo slant begin occurring, the PSFU (Paranormal Special Forces Unit) enlists her aid to solve the murders, and she finds herself teamed with a hunky Inheritor Vampire – Cole St. John – who sets her mixed blood racing! In addition to Morgan and Cole, the book is full of other fun characters – like Zandor, the troll. Trolls are always fun to do – I keep remembering those little dolls that were available when I was a kid with the different color hair (I guess I’m dating myself, LOL) As for making the hero a vampire (which many feel are overdone) all I can say is: Vampires have always fascinated me – particularly the Inheritor Vampire, which have more human tendencies than you would think! When I did research, I actually found some websites on them! So the premise is borrowed from actual fact – with a few embellishments. For those of you who’ve read the book and are wondering if Morgan’s adventures will continue, I do have a sequel outlined for NO REST, which I hope to get to soon, in between my other projects. We’ll explore more about Morgan and Cole’s individual pasts, as well as Morgan confronting the villain who killed her partner and got away.
Which brings me to my latest – RAVEN’S KISS.
Some people might not like Raven at first glance. She’s a moral girl who was turned into a Shapeshifter from a demon’s bite, and she’s a little bitter, to put it mildly. When her boss suggests she take a little “vacation” she runs smack dab into a mystery that she hopes will lead her to finally capture the demon who turned her. Raven discovers a portal that leads her into parallel time – a world where the people she knows lead vastly different lives.
She also meets the Recovery Captain in that world – a six foot redheaded Scotsman named Finn McPhee. (fun fact: I named this character after HP Mallory’s son). Although they butt heads at first, they can’t deny their attraction to each other, an attraction that deepens as they get closer and closer to unraveling the mystery surrounding the connection between Raven and a rash of serial killings…..
I’m also a bit in awe of my cover for Raven’s Kiss: it was designed by a girl named Kimberly Killion, and I think she’s fantastic! Kim’s site is : www.HOTDAMNDESIGNS.com. I would highly recommend her to any indie authors looking for a good cover artist!
I’m also the suspense reviewer/columnist for NIGHT OWL REVIEWS digital magazine! So if any of you out there are suspense authors with a book you’d like reviewed and spotlighted in the magazine, do drop me a line at email@example.com and put “Suspense Author” in the header. I’m always on the lookout to sponsor new talent (and so is my editor).
What’s in store for the future? I have a few more novels I’ll be releasing, another YA (with a Dark Shadows tie in, LOL) and adult, toward the end of the year. So if you want more info, stop by either the blog: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or the website: www.tonilotempio.webs.com.
I also appreciate hearing from anyone who’s read my books, and feel free to friend me (and my cat, Rocco, the Sci Fi blogging cat!) on FACEBOOK!
Here’s an excerpt from Raven’s Kiss:
The Hellhound took a menacing step towards me. “We all have our crosses to bear,” he leered. With a snarl, he snapped a hand on my shoulder, the other on my hip and pulled me close to him. I caught a whiff of his fetid breath and almost gagged. I felt his sharp claws rip my blouse as he lifted me off the ground. Damn. My new Leslie Fay, too. The one that’d cost me almost a week’s salary. Damn. And I was still paying it off on my Visa, too. Now that really bit.
Headache gone, I let out a low growl and twisted around in his grasp. He wasn’t expecting that, and loosened his grip, enough for me to jab the heel of my boot straight into his leering mouth. Startled, he staggered back and dropped me. I rolled over to the far wall of the building and stood up shakily, brushing the alley dust and grime from myself as I did so.
Before I had a chance to think, the Hound advanced on me again. “You’re a spunky one,” he hissed. “Maybe I won’t eat your flesh—no, maybe I won’t. You’d be a good addition to our number.” He shot me another leering, black grin. “All it takes is one bite, you know. How’d you like to look like me?”
The words one bite served to rile me. I jerked myself upright and glared at the monster. “Hey, pal, the one bite thingy? Been there, done that, by something far worse than you, incidentally.”
His chest puffed out and he tapped one long, sharp fingernail against his breastbone. “Hah. What’s worse than a Hellhound?”
“This,” I hissed, and closed my eyes. I felt my body go all tingly, and parts of my anatomy start to stretch. A moment later, I heard the Hounds’ agonized cry.
“What the San Blazes is this?”
In my changed state, I slithered closer to the beast. “I’m sure you’ve seen a Hydra before,” I hissed. “The famed many-headed serpent, whose bite is deadly to most anyone, mortal or Other—and while it won’t kill you, it will induce a coma, which is all I need for now.”
Two of my seven heads shot out. One nipped the Hellhound on the neck, the other on its ankle. The creature swayed, stared at me through slitted golden eyes.
“Shifter—you’re a Shifter,” he muttered, as he slid to the pavement. “That means…”
“Yeah,” I hissed out, “you’re two years too late to turn me, my friend. It’s already been done.”
In 1995, I joined the staff of SUSABELLA PASSENGERS AND FRIENDS, a pulp magazine for collectors of antique children’s literature (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) Currently I’ve written over 300 articles for that magazine, and I was the first recipient of their Margaret Sutton Award for Distinguished Writing in 1998. I joined the staff of NIGHT OWL REVIEWS IN January 2011 as the suspense reviewer/columnist. My column, DARK STREETS, which features articles on suspense authors and their novels, is featured on a monthly basis. I love to spotlight new talent, so if you’re a suspense author, please contact me!
In 2007, Whiskey Creek Press published BOUND BY BLOOD, a tale of possession, and EBONY, which deals with zombies and the dark side of man. EBONY was #2 on the Fictionwise bestseller list for e-books for the month of July 2007, beating out Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. (and no one was more shocked than I, LOL) In 2010, after countless attempts to land another agent, I took the advice of a fellow author HP Mallory, and self published NO REST FOR THE WICCA, which has been on Amazon’s list of top one hundred in Occult since March 2011. My short story, THE SACRIFICE, appears in the e-published anthology KISS ME KILL ME, and I also have a YA fantasy, MY SUPERHERO SISTER on B&N and Amazon. A complete listing of my books appears at the end of this bio.
Currently single, I work full time and live in Clifton, NJ, with my muses: Rocco, Maxx, Gata and Trixie. (Rocco is also known as Rocco the SciFi Blogging Cat and has appeared on the SciFi Saturday Night website and radio show, and also on the Kids Need To Read website where he holds the distinction of being the first (and possibly only!) blogging cat to support this charity!)
Winner will be chosen by random.org and have 48 hours to respond via email.