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GUEST BLOG: Of Cats and Cozies… by T.C. Lotempio Plus Giveaway!

Most of the mysteries on my bookshelf, I confess, are cozy mysteries. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, cozies are a subgenre of crime fiction where crime and detection take place in a small town. Remember the old Murder She Wrote series? That’s a good example of a cozy. The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs (cue JB Fletcher) sometimes retired lawmen or women. The majority of the detectives are of the female persuasion, and often hold jobs that bring them into contact with the other residents of their town. More often than not they’ll have a contact on the local police force who’ll help them out with a clue or two.

The killers aren’t usually hard-boiled serial killer types, and once unmasked, are most often taken into custody with little or no violence. If there is violence, it happens off-screen…no grisly murder scenes depicted in any cozies! Foul language is also kept to a minimum. The murders are generally members of or related to someone in the town wherein the murder occurs and the motives—greed, jealousy, revenge—often are deep-rooted.

Cozies frequently revolve around a theme—for example, Diane Mott Davidson’s revolves around cooking, Parnell Hall’s around crossword puzzles, Monica Ferris’ needlework…you get the idea. Animal lovers are also well represented, as well, which is a good segue into my latest novel: The Time for Murder is Meow.

This book was actually released two years ago; however, the original publisher, Midnight Ink, opted to discontinue their fiction line, leaving my characters homeless. A temporary situation, as Beyond the Page picked the series up, changed the name of the pet shop, and issued it a glorious new cover!

The main character is Crishell (Shell) Marlowe, an ex-actress who returns to her hometown of Fox Hollow to take over her late aunt’s pet shop. Shell has the requisite sidekick but instead of female, it’s her former male co-star, Gary Presser. She has a BFF, Olivia, and, of course, two cats—a pedigreed Siamese Kahlua, a gift from her actress mother, and her late aunt’s cat, a one-eyed Persian named Purrday. (That’s quite an unusual name—for its origin you’ll have to read the book!)

Here’s the teaser, taken from the back of the book:

Shell McMillan and her furry sidekicks aren’t kitten around when they set out to catch a killer . . .

When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.

But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.

Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . .

Look for more adventures of Shell, Gary, Purrday, and Kahlua in Book Two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, due out June 2022!  But even if crime-solving cats aren’t your cup of tea, I’m sure that there are many other cozies out there that are.  Sample the genre today—I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!

About The Book

Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries: Book 1
Publication Date: June 9, 2021

Shell McMillan and her furry sidekicks aren’t kitten around when they set out to catch a killer . . .

When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.

But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.

Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . .

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About The AuthorWhile 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 and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing. They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded in June of this year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.” Book 1 will be re-released in June with a brand new cover!  The series is continued in 2022 with book two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, from Beyond the Page. Catch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or her website, www.tclotempio.net

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Dayna Lintonhttp://dayagency.com
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews

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