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Monday, December 8, 2014

Guest Post - T.C. LoTempio

T.C. LoTempio is the author of the newest cozy mystery series, Nick and Nora mysteries, a tip of the hat to the old Thin Man fanchise.  I reviewed the debut book in the series, Meow if its Murder (click here).

Dashiell Hammett's best-selling last novel "The Thin Man" (considered a seminal work of the hard-boiled mysteries with lighthearted approach and humor) introduced the world to Nick and Nora Charles.  Nick is a boozing former Private Investigator married to wealthy heiress Nora.  The Thin Man was turned into radio, film, television, musical stage production, and even a stage play.  But I do believe this is a new twist on the Nick and Nora legacy, with a nod to the "Cat Who..." popular mysteries mixed in as well.

Why a Cat?  by T.C. LoTempio

I’ve had quite a few people ask me why I chose to write a mystery series about a cat.
Well, the answer’s simple. I didn’t actually choose to do it…

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but never with an eye for publication until 1997. There followed a flurry of writing books – mostly my favorite genre, horror, where I tried very hard to be the next Stephen King.  I ended up getting a few published, but through a small press. I still wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Next I started writing paranormals – mostly paranormal mysteries.  Alas, I was informed by many of the agents I approached that the market for paranormals – especially those that featured vampires – was oversaturated.  Another dead end. 

So I turned to self publishing.

I published a few of my paranormal mysteries via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They got pretty good reviews, but nothing really stellar.  I still hadn’t found my niche.  And then….

I was at my day job one morning, sitting in my boss’s office.  He knew my hobby was writing and I was telling him about the latest one I’d written that was ‘making the rounds’ at agent offices.  He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Why don’t you quit writing about vampires and werewolves and write a book about your damn cat?”

Me: “But I like to write about vampires and werewolves.”

My boss: But it isn’t getting you anywhere. You love that cat and you love to write. I think you should think about it.

I went home that night and thought about it. I’d recently acquired a tuxedo cat, ROCCO, who had a feisty personality – so much so that I’d created a blog entitled cats, books and more cats, and I’d just developed what I though was a creative premise – I’d interview authors as if the cat were the one asking the questions.  I’d gotten Janet Evanovich to agree to an interview and I’d just also gotten in touch with a few other authors who all thought the idea was “cute”.

Hm….maybe my boss had something there? But what sort of book could I write that would feature a cat? It had to have something to do with food, I thought. People love books with recipes!

I lay down on my couch and flipped through the channels. Turner classic was running “The Thin Man”. And suddenly the premise came to me…Nora Charles, ex-crime reporter, returns to her hometown of Cruz, California to take over her mother’s sandwich shop and finds a stocky, tuxedo cat on her doorstep, whom she names Nick.  As it turns out, the cat’s original owner was a Nick, too, and he was a private eye….and thus were born the Nick and Nora mysteries. Although the original premise was a LOT different from the book Penguin bought…but that’s a story for another day!
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Thank you T.C. LoTempio for this fun post on your inspiration to write mysteries with a cat character.  Love it.

Here is a great idea for a naturally relaxing home spa treatment, make your own salt scrubs that are all the rage!
Home Spa Sea Salt Scrub

The primary purpose of a salt scrub is to exfoliate the skin, which removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells, softening your skin in the process and giving your skin a natural healthy glow.  Courtesy of Budget 101.

1 1/2 cups fine sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil or almond oil
3 drops of essential oil of your choice

First, be sure you are using Essential oils, rather than Fragrance oils which are loaded with fillers and chemicals and can irritate the skin! Some of our favorite essential oils are Lavender, Rose, Neroli, Orange, Birch (for anti-cellulite!), Wild Rose, and Peppermint . Your choice of Essential oil may depend on your mood or any health issues you've been experiencing, such as poor sleep (in which case, you'd use Lavender).

Combine all in a small bowl, blending well.  When done, package in a sealable mason jar with a computer generated label, a bow etc, for gift giving.

How to Use a Body Scrub:

    Sit on the edge of a tub and moisten the area you wish to scrub.
    Place a tablespoon or so of the body scrub in the palm and gently work each area for approximately 1-3 minutes. If you work too quickly you won't properly exfoliate.
    Be sure not to scour too hard or too long.
    Gently rinse the area with warm water, but don't use soap or shower gel to remove it.
    If you want baby smooth skin, exfoliate once weekly.
    Body scrubs should never be used on the face.

Treating yourself to a lovely Home Spa treatment is a fantastic way to save money while still taking some much needed time out for yourself.  
Exfoliate your soles and heels with this mixture after a bath or foot soak. Or apply it to the legs, arms or have someone apply it to your back!

More Home Spa Recipes you might enjoy for yourself or as gifts (click here).

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