AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE COSENTINO
author of A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, a holiday novella from Dreamspinner Press
Welcome back to the Purple Rose Tea House, Joe.
My pleasure, Charlie. I love visiting with you. I’m such a fan of your books.
Aw, thank you!
And you remembered my favorite, vanilla rooibos tea!
We try to please. I can’t believe you’re back so soon with another release. You’re quite prolific.
I know! My friends tell me I write books faster than they can read them.
Can you give us a little recap of what you’ve written so far this year?
Dreamspinner Press published my In My Heart e-book novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star. They are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. May I brag a moment?
Sure. If not at the Purple Tea House, where?
So many readers told me those two novellas changed their lives. Books Laid Bare Boys wrote of An Infatuation: “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.” Lovebytes Reviews called A Shooting Star “unbelievably beautiful” and “a masterpiece.” GGR Reviews said it was “a masterclass in fiction writing.” Now it’s my turn to blush. Actually, the e-books did so well that Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together as a paperback releasing late March 2016. I am breaking the news here.
Dreamspinner Press is also publishing my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland e-book novella of witty and romantic gay fairytales. They include my spin on Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Snow Queen.
That sounds like fun.
They were great fun to write. That releases in February 2016.
And you also write mysteries.
Like you! Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. Okay, I’m going to brag again.
Go for it.
Drama Queen is often on the Amazon Bestseller List in its category. Boy Meets Boy Reviews said it was like a farcical gay “Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders.” “Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever,” said Three Books Over the Rainbow. In Drama Queen theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains in the Edwardian style, quaint Treemeadow College (named after its founder/gay couple Tree and Meadow). 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 later), 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. Drama Queen is available as an ebook, paperback, or audiobook performed by the talented Michael Gilboe who plays all twenty-four characters. Like me, he is a college theatre professor, and perfect for this audiobook. I want Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris to play Nicky and Noah in the film versions. (I’ll play Martin Anderson the Theatre Department Head.) Can you arrange that?
I’ll ask Matt and Neil the next time we go out clubbing.
Thanks! I also have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press), Jana 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 (coming 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 (coming 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 (coming 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, Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, and the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels. Readers’ Favorite called Paper Doll “a masterpiece of a mystery,” and Fresh Fiction said Paper Doll is “a superbly crafted mystery.” I want Brooke Shields for Jana in the films. (I’ll play her agent, Simon Huckby.) Can you arrange that too?
Sure, I’ll give Brooke a ring over the holidays. Speaking of the holidays, you’re visiting today to tell us about your new holiday short novella just released from Dreamspinner Press. Everyone loves a good gay holiday story.
As the expression goes, “Don we now our gay apparel!”
Tell us about A Home for the Holidays. How did you come to write this short story?
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. We were exhausted, but we had the vacation of a lifetime seeing the most gorgeous architecture, natural resources, and views of any of our trip. We also ate delicious food and reveled in the art, history, and beauty (noticing all the statues were of very muscular, naked men). The people were warm and friendly as was the weather. However, there was no site more gorgeous, magical, and romantic than the Island of Capri. Upon arriving back in the US, I decided to write a romantic story taking place in Capri.
What was so special about the island of Capri?
While on the boat ride to the Marina Grande, the sight of the enormous cliffs sitting majestically on the water literally took our breath away. From the funiculare (cable car) we marveled at the stunning views of the island below and Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. At the Piazetta (main plaza) we boarded an island bus that zoomed around harrowing, tight corners like a car in a Fun House. We travelled to Via Krupp in the southern part of the island, and we walked through what Italians call “the villas of the rich and famous,” underscored by the sparkling turquoise sea below. We swam in gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by artistic white stone formations like Marina Piccola. When we arrived at Mt. Solaro, our guide told us it was highest point on the Isle of Capri, five hundred and eighty-nine meters above sea level. As we looked out at the fog, the sun came up and the wind blew the vapors of fog upwards, crowning the clouds, and revealing stunning views of the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria in the distance. As we looked out over the turquoise water, white mountains, and azure sky, I felt like I was in heaven. However, the most magical of all was the Grotta Azzurra (the Blue Grotto). As our boat went through the tiny portal of the expansive cave, my breath was taken away by the water’s brilliant shades of iridescent sapphire and emerald from the sun’s reflection on the water in the cove. Capri also had the most amazing restaurants and shops on the water’s edge. And the people somehow all seemed beautiful and sensuous.
You’ve convinced me. I’m booking my trip. Tell us about the characters in your story?
Bobby, a young, Italian American law student, travels to Capri to meet his quaint Italian relatives. Though they get off to a rocky start, 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. 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.
What’s the theme of your story?
Don’t ever be afraid to take a chance on love. And strike while the iron (and hormones) are hot.
Does it have a HEA?
It sure does.
It sounds great. Why is the book a short novella rather than a novel?
It’s a little holiday gift to my readers.
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. I have been told they are sweet, sexy, and touching.
Does the book have your signature touch of humor? I’m thinking Principal Ringwood from An Infatuation and Professor Katzer from A Shooting Star.
Both of whom I want to play in the movies. Yes, A Home for the Holidays has lots of it, especially from Bobby’s mother and Paolo’s grandmother who are both hysterically funny.
I’m sold. What are you writing now?
A new series of novels set in a gay beach resort at the Jersey Shore called COZZI COVE. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach!
You’re making me tired. 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.
How long does it generally take you to write a book?
About three months.
Well, it has been such a delight to have you visit today, Joe. Please come back in February with The Naked Prince and other Tales from Fairyland, Porcelain Doll, and Drama Muscle.
I sure will. As always, you have been a terrific host, and I thank you for having me.
My pleasure. Any final words to the readers?
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 novella published by Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Paul Richmond
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!”
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.”
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
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
“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