Author Interview & Excerpt – A Shooting Star by Joe Cosentino

If you were stranded on a desert island (food and water provided), what three things would you take with you? 

My spouse for company, my neighbor who knows how to do everything to build a hut and catch and cook the food, and Zeb Atlas to look at.

 

Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?

Like Martin Anderson, the college’s theatre department head in DRAMA QUEEN (the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press), I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. It’s hard for me to leave.

 

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Also like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, I’m a college theatre professor/department head. I love giving back to my students, and they teach me as much as I teach them. A number of my faculty colleagues kidded me that if they tick me off I will kill them in an upcoming Nicky and Noah mystery. While tempting, I like them too much to do that.

 

What are you working on now?

I just finished writing a new novel set at a gay beach resort in New Jersey called COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, and sent it to the publisher. And I just started writing CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery). The Jana Lane mysteries are about ex-child star, Jana Lane, making a comeback while she solves murder mysteries, including who is after her. The series takes place in the 1980’s so AIDS is an integral part of each novel. Though Jana is straight, her best friend, agent, and greatest fan are gay. PAPER DOLL was published by Whiskey Creek Press. PORCELAIN DOLL is releasing in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow.

 

Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?

They say, write what you know about. Also, go to the mall and look at movie poster after movie poster with no gay characters in them. What does this say to gay youth? This needs to change. Gay stories need to be told. After my In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella, AN INFATUATION, was released by Dreamspinner Press, so many readers told me they laughed, cried, and were very much moved by Harold and Mario’s story. I received numerous requests for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born. I know this story will touch everyone’s heart. I can’t wait to share more MM stories with readers.

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this story

I loved spending time with the characters in A SHOOTING STAR. Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet. He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Barry is hysterically funny and has such a great sense of self. He is also a devoted friend. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. David is magical, an enigma, and incredibly sexy.

The acting professor, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. He is great fun! I also love the theme of the story. As college theatre majors Jonathan and David sought out, developed, and celebrated the good in everyone around them. The world would be a better place if everyone followed their lead.

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?

I generally wake up at 3am with a good idea and jot down notes on the pad on my night table. Since I began as an actor, I start by writing a long biography for each character. Sometimes I write an outline and other times I wing it. Since I did improvisation as an actor, I let the voices/characters in my head talk to one another then I write down what they say. I show the second draft to my spouse for his notes. The third draft goes to the publisher.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?

Write the kind of stories that you like to read, and the kind of characters you want to spend time with. There’s more to romance than romance. Just like in real life, romances are full of comedy, mystery, drama, twists and turns, and big surprises.

 

What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you? 

I am editing A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (an American travels to Capri Italy and embarks on a romance with his handsome third cousin), a short holiday novella releasing from Dreamspiner Press in December. Then comes THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairytales novella), releasing from Dreamspinner Press in February. DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press) releases in March with Nicky and Noah investigating why musclemen are dropping like weights while Nicky directs the college’s bodybuilding competition. DRAMA CRUISE (Nicky and Noah investigate why theatre professors are dropping overboard while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre), and DRAMA ALOHA (Nicky directs a luau show in Hawaii while he and Noah investigate why muscular hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts) will follow. The second Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, releases from The Wild Rose Press sometime in 2016 too. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow. So I’ll be very busy! Hopefully readers will come along for the ride, and contact me via my web site to give me their feedback: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com, and on Amazon and Goodreads!

 

Which of your characters is most like you? 

Readers tell me my books are cinematic. So I’m ready to make the movies. I want to play Principal Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Martin Anderson the department head in the Nicky and Noah series, and Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane series. I’m ready for my close up!

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Shooting Star cover

BOOK DETAILS

Genre: Contemporary | Bittersweet Dreams Title
ISBN-13: 978-1-63476-526-8
Pages: 98
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

2015NewAbout the Book

On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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Reviews for AN INFATUATION the first novella in the In My Heart series by Joe Cosentino from Dreamspinner Press:

“Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success.”

– MM Good Book Reviews

“Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.”

– The Novel Approach

“Don’t miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe Cosentino 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

“I recommend this book to anyone reminiscing about that one that got away.”

– LoveBytes Reviews

“I think you will be left breathless with the reality and emotion behind An Infatuation.”

– Diverse Reader

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2015NewExcerpt

As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.

“Do you always look at other people’s things?”

I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.

Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”

Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.

“What’s your name?”

“Johnny Falabella.”

He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”

I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”

“They were gifts, mostly.”

“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”

I’m David Star.” He took a bow.

Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”

“Guilty as charged.”

“What happened to your last roommate?”

“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”

“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”

His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”

“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”

“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”

2015NewAbout the author

Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe 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, 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 novels are A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), 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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6

Author Interview & Excerpt – An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

Hello all! Please welcome the fabulous, multi-talentd author Joe Cosentino who’s dropped by to answer a few questions and share an excerpt from his latest release An Infatuation!

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Hello, Joe. What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

It is always hard for me to write homophobic characters. How nonsensical is it for someone to spend his/her time, money, and energy trying to hurt, belittle, or take away the rights of someone else? In most cases, the homophobic person is gay him/herself, and due to internalized homophobia, is battling with him/herself via the gay target. That is the case with the two homophobic characters in my novel.

Is there a genre you haven’t written in that you would love to write?

I’ve written plays, children’s plays, straight mystery/romance (PAPER DOLL, Whiskey Creek Press), and MM romance/humor (AN INFATUATION). My next project is an MM mystery/romance/humor series set in the world of academia. Since I am a college professor, I know that world quite well. Happily, nobody has been murdered at my college—yet. I am finishing the first three novels, DRAMA QUEEN, DRAMA MUSCLE, and DRAMA CRUISE.

If you were stranded on a desert island (food and water provided), what three things would you take with you?

First I’d take my spouse, because we take good care of each other. Next, would be my bed since I’m not one to rough it. Finally, my computer, because I can’t stop writing!

Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?

I have a cozy study with a fireplace, window seat, and a cherry wood desk.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

Since I am a college professor and busy during the day, I write late at night. I find being a little tired helps me not to stifle my thoughts, and allows for open creativity. Sometimes I’m surprised the next day at what I’ve written!

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a sequel to PAPER DOLL called PORCELAIN DOLL. It’s about an ex-child star, now middle aged, making a comeback film, and finding herself at the hands of a murderer as well as a handsome co-star.

Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?

I was thinking back to my high school days, and how difficult it was back then for a gay teen before GLSEN, PFLAG, and WILL AND GRACE. Lab partners, gym locker rooms, and club meetings where super important. At my high school reunion, I realized that all the troublemakers had become police officers, and all the homophobes had come out as gay. AN INFATUATION was born.

What did you enjoy most about writing the story?

While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me, so that was fun. Actually, I really admire Harold’s resilience, honesty, intelligence, wit, and ability to keep going in trying situations. His heart may be broken, but his spirit always stays intact. Harold’s devotion to his spouse, Stuart, is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature. I also love the anti-bullying message of the story.

What are you finding to be the most challenging part of being a published author?

Finding the time to write, submit, and publicize my work. My spouse teases me that he’s my assistant.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?

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. Also, a romance story needs much more than romance. Don’t forget the humor, and the twists and turns in the story. If you are writing a mystery, carefully place clues and red herrings throughout, culminating with a logical ending. Finally, until gays have equal civil rights, a little politicking never hurt.

infat-coverphoto

BOOK DETAILS

Title: An Infatuation
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
Length: Novella
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, Bittersweet
Release Date: Feb 4th, 2015

2015blurb

As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again at their ten-year high school reunion, the old flame reignites. Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press

2015Excerpt

One Friday afternoon I accidentally ran into my hero in the boy’s locker room. I’d had enough of the big guys banging me into gym lockers, pushing me into cold showers, and hanging me from the gym ropes. So I was on my way to give Mr. Adoni a note from Dr. Dlorah excusing me from gym class for the remainder of the school year (due to my highly contagious disease being studied by my doctor in Guatemala, where he could not be reached for the next year).

The locker room smelled of an odd combination of soap, cologne, sweat, and desire. Mario was getting ready for football practice, standing at his gym locker without a combination lock on it. Nobody would dare to break into it (Except for me that one time I smelled his jock strap. Okay maybe it was a few times, but not more than ten.). Mario slid his T-shirt (red today) over his thick, black hair and threw it on the nearby bench. No longer harnessed by cotton, his arm, back, chest, and neck muscles swelled to full size. I was half hidden behind the adjoining row of lockers, wearing my usual green and blue flannel shirt and brown corduroy pants. Mario, who wasn’t looking in my direction, said something really beautiful to me that I will never forget. “Hi.”

“Did you just? Oh. Hi. Hello. Good afternoon. Nice to see you. I mean, change with you.” I looked down at the floor (but cheated a bit) as Mario kicked off his boots, slipped off his jeans then threw them in the lucky locker. His red underpants (briefs) revealed ample manhood. This is better than the newspaper’s underwear ads!

“Good gym class today with Mr. Adonis, I mean, Mr. Adoni.” Did I just say that? “Harold High.”

“Hi.”

“High.” How can I get my pulse down to 260?

“Hi.” Mario reached into his locker for his sweat clothes.

Shouldn’t people be doing that for you? “Oh, my last name is High. Like a kite.” How can I stop my arms from waving like an airport flagger on speed?

“Mario Ginetti. Like nothin’ else imaginable.” Mario smiled, revealing a row of perfectly white teeth, and held the sweat clothes in his hands as if he was mortal.

“I know. I watch your body play.” Why can’t I stop talking? “I mean, I watch you play … football … on the field … in your football outfit.” I feel like Michelangelo with his David!

As Mario put on his sweats, I continued to sweat.

“I’m voting for your body … I mean I’m voting for you for president of your … our … the student body.” I need my jaw wired shut. “I’m your lab partner in Chemistry class. Ms. Hungry’s class … I mean Ms. Hunsley’s class.”

His olive-colored face glistened as Mario’s face registered recognition—of me! “I thought I knew you from somewheres. Hey, thanks for doing the lab reports.”

“It’s my honor … I mean my pleasure. It’s fine. If you need help putting up posters for your campaign, I can … ”

Having just tied the laces of his sneakers, Mario stood absolutely still. He looked at me as if he was staring into my heart and somehow knew what I was feeling. “I gotta take a wicked piss.”

Can I watch?

“Thanks for helping me out, Buddy.” He slammed the locker door and left.

He called me, Buddy! My heart was as soft and silly as putty that Mario held in the palm of his hand like his soap on a rope.

2015About the author

Joe Cosentino is the author of the acclaimed mystery novel, Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press). 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, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote a musical theatre adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals), and 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 novels are Porcelain Doll and Drama Queen.

connectwiththeauthor

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