Hello, Joe Cosentino. Thank you for coming back to Dawn’s Reading Nook. This year so far we enjoyed hearing about your previous releases AN INFATUATION & A SHOOTING STAR from Dreamspinner Press, DRAMA QUEEN the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, and PAPER DOLL the first Jana Lane mystery from Whiskey Creek Press. Tell us how you came up with your current release, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, a HEA short novella for the holidays from Dreamspinner Press.
Like Kunta Kinte charting his roots, my spouse and I dipped into our savings—and dipped into the Dramamine, and booked a flight and bus tour from the US to Rome, Naples, Venice, Assisi, Lake Como, Milan, Florence, the Amalphi Coast, Pompeii, Tuscany, and Lake Maggiore. However, there was no site more gorgeous, magical, and romantic than the Island of Capri. I will never forget the enormous jagged cliffs sitting majestically on the turquoise water beneath the sapphire sky, the white sandy beaches, stunning villas, artistic white stone formations, mouthwatering food, and beautiful and sensuous people. Upon arriving back in the US, I realized I had to write a romantic story taking place in Capri.
What is the storyline?
Bobby, a young, Italian American law student, travels to Capri to meet his quaint Italian relatives. He falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian third cousin, Paolo. Their relationship with highs and lows and some captivating surprises is the core of the novella.
Is it somewhat autobiographical like AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR?
Since I come from a long line of funny Italian Americans, I included a good deal of humor in the story with Paolo’s eccentric family. (My grandmother, like Paolo’s, actually said, “A boy leaves home with a wife or in a coffin!”) Readers say it’s like taking a romantic trip to gorgeous Capri, Italy—but far less expensive!
Is the leading character based on you?
In some ways, when I was younger. Like Harold in AN INFATUATION and Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR, Bobby is sweet, sensitive, and smart. As a law student, he has buried his head in his books. As the novella begins, he is ready for an adventure—and ready for first love.
Like Mario in AN INFATUATION and David in A SHOOTING STAR, Paolo is handsome, muscular, charismatic, and like many people in Italy, much more interested in love than in work. He is also a gifted artist. Unlike Bobby, Paolo is very experienced in matters of the heart. Paolo loves the finer things in life, but he doesn’t want to work for them. He is quite concerned about his body, clothing, and social life. He is loosely based on my cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy.
What is the moral of the story?
Take a chance on love.
How did you handle writing the love scenes?
Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in my books are pretty tame compared to many. I have been told they are sweet, sexy, and touching.
As a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write?
I write at night after my spouse has gone to bed. I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write at night?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother asked him that? Hah.
What advice would you give to other writers in your genre?
I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. Just as I did improvisation as an actor, I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens! An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it. When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat. Finally, don’t forget the comedy and drama!
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Most of my reviews and reader responses have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. My favorite review for AN INFATUATION told readers if they are only going to buy one book this year, buy this one. Another reviewer called A SHOOTING STAR a masterpiece. Yet another wrote it is a lesson on how to write fiction. And another reviewer wrote DRAMA QUEEN was the funniest book she had ever read and a spine-tingling whodunit. What a gift it is for a reviewer or reader to post a positive review on a blog, Amazon, or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. It is a true gift. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything. I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and read something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.
What’s next for you in terms of MM novellas?
Dreamspinner Press is publishing THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND in February. They are my funny, romantic, and gay takes on fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Snow Queen.
What’s next for you in the mystery genre?
DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, has been on the Amazon bestseller list in its category. It is available as an ebook, paperback, or audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe who plays all twenty-four characters. In the novel, theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE (releasing 2016) Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE (releasing 2016), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.
My Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, began with PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press). Ex-child star Jana Lane at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist; the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
What are you writing now?
I just finished two novels set in a gay beach resort in New Jersey, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD. I am in the contract phase with a publisher.
You are certainly prolific.
My friends say I write books faster than they can read them.
Thank you for spending some time with us today. Joe. I look forward to reading A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and your upcoming releases in 2016.
Thank you so much, Dawn. As always, it was a pleasure. I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
After reading A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, people have said they’ve taken a little trip to Capri and had the romance of a lifetime. I hope readers will pick up this short novella. It’s a lot cheaper than a trip to Italy, and is bursting with the sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and romance of the magnificent island of Capri!
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
by JOE COSENTINO
a HEA holiday short story published by Dreamspinner Press
Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian Island of Capri to meet his eccentric, extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after. “Reading this little holiday treat is like taking a romantic trip to gorgeous Capri, Italy!”
Excerpt from A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Joe Cosentino
published by Dreamspinner Press
Upon entering my room, I noticed Lucia had unpacked my things into a large mahogany wardrobe out of C. S. Lewis. Exhausted from my trip, I stripped off my clothes, leaped onto the gigantic, canopied four-poster bed, and slept until I felt a firm nudge on my shoulder. As I opened my still jet-lagged eyes, I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or awake. Standing next to my bed was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. About my height and age, his wavy chestnut hair framed piercing sapphire eyes, a straight nose, and full red lips. Wearing a skintight button-down red shirt, black pants, and black loafers, he gave Michelangelo’s David a run for his florin. To say his body was strong was like saying the Catholic Church had a little wealth and power. His taut, perfectly shaped muscles sprouted additional muscles of even greater magnitude. Bulging shoulders led to mountainous pectoral muscles, a narrow waist and hips, and a prominent lump between his sculpted thighs. His skin was olive-colored and so smooth it appeared as if he had no veins in his body.
“Mama said you should come down for lunch.”
Covering my rapidly growing erection with my thigh, I responded in a daze, “Who are you?”
He spoke perfect English. “I am Paolo.”
Next to Paolo, even with a swimmer’s body, I felt incredibly white and skinny. “Hello, Paolo. I’m Bobby. I think we’re related.” As I rose to get dressed, Paolo seemed to check out my body, or was that wishful thinking?
“Your grandfather and my grandfather were cousins.”
Doing the math quickly, I said, “So that makes us third cousins?”
“I guess it does.” He shook my hand. It felt warm and comforting. “We look nothing alike.”
I laughed at the understatement. “No.”
“Is this your first time in Italy?”
“Do you like it here?”
“Do you answer every question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
“No.” I felt like a teenager at his first dance.
Paolo shrugged his massive shoulders. “You better get down to the dining room. Mama doesn’t like to hold lunch.”
Once dressed in a light blue sweater and dark blue pants, I said, “I don’t know how to get to the dining room.”
He smiled. “Follow me.”
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s In My Heart novellas, AN INFATUATION & A SHOOTING STAR, from Dreamspinner Press:
“unbelievably beautiful” “a masterpiece” Lovebytes Reviews
“as Joe Cosentino proves time and time again, with his wonderful writing and storytelling ability, love will prevail, and you will smile from ear to ear." Kathy Mac Reviews
“a master class in how to write short fiction (or any fiction). Joe Cosentino has provided a work that will leave you thinking and wanting to savor and re-read it again and again.” GGR Reviews
“Like an onion, Joe Cosentino's stories have layers.” “For those readers looking for something a little bit different - dare I say unique? For those readers who like to laugh. For those readers who appreciate the nuances of people and the way each character is different. For those readers who want to read a damn good story - check out this author. I'm glad I did.” “A truly fabulous read.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This story just blew me away.” Cathy Brockman Romance/MM Good Book Reviews
“From the beginning I was enthralled and couldn’t wait to finish the book.” Inked Rainbow Reads
“really grabs you and tugs at your emotions” “unique and enjoyable.” Nautical Star Books
“It turned out exactly how I wanted it to.” BFD Book Blog
“This is polished prose at its best. Intelligent writing, a thought-provoking plot and characters befitting the theater genre” “one of my favorite reads this year.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
“Don't miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe for putting your heart on the page for us to savor!”
Bike Book Reviews
Bike Book Reviews
“It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day”.
Nautical Star Books
“There were times I laughed and then there were times I cried…unforgettable.” Multitaskingmomma Reviews
"I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing." BooksLaidBareBoys
"The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours." "If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming releases in 2016 are The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
DRAMA QUEEN (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel
by JOE COSENTINO
from Lethe Press
Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (June 6, 2015)
Cover Design: Ben Baldwin
Release date: June 6, 2015
paperback, ebook, and audiobook available now
It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant...and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!
“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don't come more whodunnity than this.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“If you are looking for a fun mystery, lots of humor, like actors, play directors and hot professors, sweet romance and mild, mostly off-page but sensual man-sex this is definitely for you!” MM Good Book Reviews
“If you like broad comedy with a side of crime and a host of suspects, Drama Queen should fill the playbill nicely.” GGR Reviews
“I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah. If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews
“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay
“a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel” The Novel Approach
“The tangled weave of murder mystery and other mysteries comes to a startling conclusion that is both satisfying and mind boggling.” MultitaskingMomma
“The only two stories I have read from author Joe Cosentino were both heartfelt and heartbreaking. With Drama Queen, he proves that he can do humor and mystery with equal skill." Prism Book Alliance
“I am not used to reading books that make me snigger out loud, but in Drama Queen Joe Cosentino has struck a great balance between his use of tongue in cheek humour and a compelling mystery which we want to see solved.” Divine Magazine
“Nicky and Noah are two sexy leading characters who conduct the investigation in this comedic caper with wit and style.” “The narrator delivered on the fast paced humor, the character nuances, and sheer entertainment.” Vance Bastian Reviews“Cosentino does a wonderful job of writing a mystery that keeps the reader guessing right up until the end.” “I loved this story and want to listen to more like it. The characters are well developed and very believable.” “This book got some major grins from me as Nicky and Noah go about trying to prove Noah’s innocence.” “Michael Gilboe…was very believable as a crime solving college professor.” Barron Owens Reviews
“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Top notch narration as well! This is a win win win indeed!” Bike Book Reviews
“the murder mystery had me guessing the entire time” “great narration” Susan Voss Dab of Darkness Reviews
“filled with humor and enough complexities to keep you turning the page. The author clearly knows of what he speaks on all matters theater, and the kind of authentic details he brings to the table in terms of characters and staging makes this immensely entertaining.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
"Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever" "brilliant" Three Books Over the Rainbow