Interview & Excerpt – Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Hello all! Please welcome our fabulous guest, Joe Cosentino who’s been kind enough to answer a few questions about his newest release, guilty pleasures, writing, and more.

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C: What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

J: DRAMA QUEEN is a fast-paced, hysterically funny whodunit with a dose of gay romance. In addition to Nicky and Noah, there are five murder victims and six suspects with constant clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and a shocking ending. While the novel was an incredible amount of fun to write, there were a lot of balls (no pun intended) for me to keep in the air.

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

J: Like Martin Anderson, the theatre department head in DRAMA QUEEN, my study has a large cherry wood desk opposite a fireplace with a cherry wood mantle and a cherry wood bookcase. I also have a window seat looking out over the woods. It’s the perfect place to write.

C: What’s your guilty pleasure?

J: Like Nicky Abbondanza, the Directing Professor and leading character in DRAMA QUEEN, I swallow vitamins like air.

C: What do you do when you’re not writing?

J: Like Noah Oliver, the Acting Professor and Nicky’s amore in DRAMA QUEEN, I am a theatre college professor. Like Nicky I have directed college productions. Like Martin I am the department head.

C: Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?

J: Besides being personal to me, there are so many untold gay stories. Just go to the mall and see the array of posters of upcoming films without one gay or lesbian character in them.

C: What did you enjoy most about writing this story?

J: I love that it is a series, so I can build on the characters. In DRAMA QUEEN, Nicky and Noah have to uncover why college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains while Nicky directs the college play production—a murder mystery. In DRAMA MUSCLE, Nicky and Noah have to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE, 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. As Nicky and Noah fall deeper in love with each novel, my hope is the readers will fall in love with them.

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

J: Since I was a professional actor, I start with character, writing a long character biography for each character. Next I move on to the outline. However, once the characters start talking, I often deviate from the outline. I give the second draft to my spouse. After getting his notes, I do a third draft, which goes to the publisher.

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

J: Finding the time to promote my work. Thank you for your help with that!

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

J: Don’t write for a particular publisher. Write your best work, which is personal for you then look for the right publisher for that work.

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

J: I have quite a few new releases coming up. Dreamspinner Press is publishing my second Bittersweet Dreams novella, A SHOOTING STAR, in the fall; my holiday novella A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, in December; and my gay fairytale stories, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND in the winter. Lethe Press is publishing DRAMA MUSCLE and DRAMA CRUISE, but I don’t yet have the publication dates. I am currently writing a new romance novel, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK.

C: Which of your characters is most like you?

J: Martin Anderson, the theatre department head, in the Nicky and Noah series was patterned after me. So movie producers, I’m ready for my close-up!

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BOOK DETAILS

Author: Joe Cosentino
Series: A Nicky and Noah Mystery
Publisher: Lethe Press
Published: May 27th, 2015
Genre: Gay Comedy Mystery Romance
Length: 196 Pages
ISBN: 9781311345837

2015NewAbout the Book

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!

Purchase Links

Amazon Kindle eBook | Lethe Press Paperback | Smashwords

2015NewExcerpt

I left my students to their private discussion and joined my young graduate assistant seated on a red velvet bench in a turreted area of the lobby. As I dug into my sizable piece of cake, Scotty leaned into me like a cat facing a sardine, “Since it looks like the tech rehearsal will run late, I can teach your morning Theatre History class tomorrow.”

“That won’t be necessary, Scotty.” Just stick your finger down your throat then head to the gym as usual.

“With teaching your classes, assessing and updating curriculum, going to faculty meetings, advising students, writing your articles, advising the theatre club, and directing plays, I worry that you may get sick.”

You’d unleash the bubonic plague if it meant getting my job. I patted his shaved and oiled knee, and said a la Margo Channing, “I’m fine, Scotty. Just leave your notes on tonight’s performance in my office box tomorrow.”

“Am I too late for the party?” My knees dipped as Noah Oliver took off his coat and scarf and stood next to me. “Happy birthday, Nicky!” He winked at me.

Maybe we can adopt seven children, run away to the hills, and start a family singing act.

Scotty leapt from his seat like it was a pogo stick. “Have a piece of cake, Noah. No nuts!”

I beg your pardon?

“Thanks for remembering, Scotty.” Noah sat between Scotty and me and dug into the creamy wonder. Was that a familiar smile between Scotty and Noah?!

Scotty explained as if he was Noah’s husband, “Noah is allergic to nuts, Nicky.”

Hopefully not to mine.

Noah took me in with his baby blue eyes. Did I notice a look of lust in them? “How’s the show going?”

What show? Oh! “We’re all exhausted, frazzled, panicked, and certain of a great opening night.”

Noah squeezed my hand. “You’re an amazing director. The creative way you move your characters around the stage, how the elements of design compliment the story, and your unique vision is thrilling to watch. I expect nothing short of brilliance in this production.” Noah beamed with pride. “And you have some powerful student actors in the show.” Scotty collected our empty plates. “Noah is a terrific acting teacher.” He gazed at Noah with pure adoration. “The students are lucky to have you.”

Since theatre is a collaborative art, I said, “Tyler’s execution of David’s scenic design is amazing, and as usual Tyler has been a total work horse. Ariella’s costumes have an incredible gothic look, but they’re light enough for the students to move around in them.”

Noah whispered in my ear, and I restrained myself from throwing myself on top of him. “Can I speak to you about something…personal?”

“Sure.” How about a June wedding? 

2015NewAbout the author
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and Paper Doll. He is the head of the department/professor at a college in upstate New York. Sorry, gents, but he is happily married.

connectwiththeauthor

Website: http://joecosentino.weebly.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Author Interview & Excerpt – Caleb’s Avenger by Sydney Lain

Hello all! Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and please welcome the fab Sydney Lain who’s here to answer a few questions! 

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What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I loved the character interaction. Caleb can’t read people and Laird tells a lot a lies. He doesn’t trust anyone. When Laird pushes Caleb away with lies, Caleb doesn’t always see it. That interaction was a lot of fun to write.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?
I wake up between 3:00 A.M. to 3:30 A.M to write before work; I get home between 5:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, so on some evenings I write. Sunday is my best writing day. My weekly goal is 5,000 words, which is higher than I usually achieve.

Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?
I’m all over the place. Sometimes I sit on the couch. Sometimes I sit at the dining room table. My cats likes to help the writing process by being there for me, so occasionally, I’m running from room to room to avoid them.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I started off as a panster. It took a lot longer finish a book. I had a lot of rewrites and more rough drafts, but I wouldn’t label my writing as a plotter. I’m leaning more towards that than a panster.

I start a Google doc. There I summarize each chapter. Not long summaries. About two sentences each. I don’t finish all the chapter summaries, but the beginning is always completed before I write the beginning and so on. I work on a three hundred-word description, too. That’s started before I start writing. I like to use a Google doc because it’s always with me. I can read and edit it from anywhere— on the grocery line, during lunch, at the car mechanic.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read and listen to audio books.  I also like nature photography.

Coffee or tea?
I never drink coffee. Hate the taste. Every morning, I start off my day with a cup of Green Tea.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 11 in the Space Warriors series. The main character is unlike the other warriors in the series. He’s tough, but scarred and a little more jaded.

What are you finding to be the most challenging part of being a published author?
I’m not good at networking. I’m introverted, so social networking was never my thing. I wasn’t on Facebook, but had a twitter account that I never used. At times, I feel like I’m fumbling through it.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
Write everyday. Don’t give up. It’s hard to sit at a blank screen. I write through it.

What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you?
I want to write a story that deals with first love, losing that and then getting second chance. I write Paranormal and sci-fi, M/M romances. Elements of those will be mixed in. I’m outlining a holiday story, so I plan to start that soon.

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2015NewAbout the Book

Caleb’s Avenger (Space Warriors 8)

Laird watched his family die. The tragic event turned him into a man obsessed with revenge. Determined to reach beneath the surface, Caleb tries to learn Laird’s secrets, but he ends up in mess after mess after Laird leaves him in the middle of different disasters. Will Caleb see through Laird’s lies in time to save his life?

2015NewExcerpt
“How about we go somewhere and talk about your hobby?” Mixed within the words was a promise for something more than a conversation.

Standing on the street and being shocked by the turn of events almost had Laird nodding, then following behind the warrior like some pet shop whore. The confusion wore off and he remembered the reason he was waiting.

“No. I don’t go anywhere with strangers.” This time he forced a glare. Laird just needed to keep reminding both of them that they were nothing more than strangers.

The stranger nodded in approval, which only annoyed him more. Like he needed this man’s approval for anything, but that’s not what bothered him. Laird had liked receiving it. How long had it been since someone complimented him?

“I’m Lieutenant Caleb Crestforth, the Defiant’s first officer.” He held out a hand. “And you are?”

The hand edged closer. He cringed back, acting like the approaching arm was a flaming torch that wanted to set his body on fire.

“Someone not interested in exchanging names with you.” His response met another of Caleb’s nods of approval.

“Good. Not a pushover.” Caleb gave him a half smile.

Now he was even more annoyed, not something he thought possible. “Look here. Others might appreciate your approval, but not me.”

Muscles flexed before Caleb folded both arms over his chest. Laird took a step back and waited for the fist, ready to drop to the ground to avoid it before running away.

“You think I’m going to hit you?”

He rolled his eyes. “I put nothing past you, stranger.” He let the word stranger roll slowly off his tongue. Laird might know this man’s name, but that wasn’t enough to make him anything more than a stranger.

Just before Caleb could reply, heavy footsteps stopped him.

“We found you.”

Laird froze. He recognized the cruelty without having to see the man’s face. He’d been so preoccupied with Caleb that he forgot to watch for the real bad guys. Three men approached from behind, and with Caleb blocking his front, Laird felt trapped.

This was all Caleb’s fault. He shook the blame away. Thinking like that wouldn’t help him. Besides, this stranger was a warrior and most likely Warsarian. Unlike Laird, if it came down to a fight, Caleb could take care of himself. Warsarians had a reputation of cold ruthlessness. They were the deadliest warriors in the universe. That gave him a wicked idea, but his survival always came first. He had two important reasons to get out of this mess alive and, hopefully, unharmed.

“Boss, they found us,” Laird said as he turned to face Caleb. He batted his eyelashes at the Warsarian. The shocked expression on the warrior’s face made him a little more devilish. He gave the warrior a mischievous wink before turning to the men that worked for Taurus.

“Go away before my boss”—not sure if the men were as stupid as all of Taurus’s lackeys, he pointed his thumb at the man behind him—“Caleb Crestforth gets angry. You don’t want to see him angry,” he warned, knowing full well that these men would be drawn in by his words and not chased away by the threat of death. Some people had no survival skills. Caleb was a fierce warrior. His mere physical appearance would’ve sent smart men running away.

The men stared at his “boss.” Their eyes narrowed as they ignored him and surrounded Caleb. Laird took a step back and placed Caleb between him and his would-be attackers. Men this stupid couldn’t see the dangerous warrior ready to rip heads off. Laird slowly backed away. He never wanted to face Caleb’s anger, and right now, he was the only one that Caleb should be angry with. Rather than wait for the warrior to figure that out, Laird continued backing up.

“What are you planning?” Caleb asked.

He gave Caleb a sad smile, but the warrior only had eyes for the threat looming closer. Laird liked the handsome, overfriendly stranger, but Caleb needed to learn not to talk to strangers. The world was full of men that would screw a man over like he’d just done.

“I’ll head back to our ship.” Then he added a larger nail to Caleb’s coffin. “The Defiant has everything onboard. Take your time and play.”

Caleb turned briefly to glare at him, but Laird wasn’t sure what made the warrior angrier. It could’ve been the way Laird tossed him to Taurus’s goons without explaining the situation, or perhaps it was giving away the name of Caleb’s ship.

Since the Warsarians had arrived with the Elvarian king, warships floated in space, orbiting above the atmosphere, and docked on the planet. Taurus’s men would look for the Defiant, but they had to search through a lot of areas to find it. If their attackers managed to escape, they’d go after Caleb’s ship. No matter the outcome, these men would spend more time trying to get the better of each other while Laird focused on fixing his ship and destroying Taurus.

Laird slowly backed up. He met Caleb’s glare and smiled. He mouthed the words thank you. The warrior rolled his eyes and nodded. Caleb wasn’t angry. He seemed to want him far away from the fighting. Now, he wanted to stay. Under normal circumstances, he might have done just that, but his two reasons for getting away were more important than anyone or anything else. As Laird turned the corner, Caleb, strong and magnificent, readied for battle. Taurus’s men didn’t stand a chance.

Purchase Links SirenBookstrand
http://www.bookstrand.com/calebs-avenger

2015NewAbout the authorSydney was born and raised in the Northeast of the United States. She loves to read fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal romance novels. After years of devouring book after book, Sydney started writing her own stories. She enjoys creating complex characters and throwing them together and letting the story write itself.

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Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway – Enforcing Emory by Mickie B. Ashling

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Charlie, thank you for the opportunity to appear on your blog for my new novel, Enforcing Emory. Even though I’m not sharing an excerpt today, I do bring many giveaways which your readers can avail of by adding their name to the Rafflecopter. Winners will be chosen at the very end of the blog tour. I’d like to mention that this novel is set in a new-to-me universe (figure skating/hockey) so there’s no need to catch up on any other books as it’s not part of a series. Yet. The characters continue to reside in my head and are talking sequel or spin-off. Right now I’m asking them to be quiet as I have other works in progress.

What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

The hockey. I love the sport and have watched many games, but writing a play-by-play sequence was difficult. I had to enlist the help of a few guys who were players and one who did announcing. They were very helpful. I also recorded parts of some games to listen to the announcer and get a better sense of the common lingo.

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

I’ve never written a paranormal; in fact, I don’t even read the genre, but you changed that with your Thirds series. I held off for the longest time because I was sure I’d be bored out of my mind, but when I saw it available in audiobook format, I thought I’d give it a try. Boy, was I wrong! I really enjoyed the world building, your great characters, and the entertaining dialog. The premise kept me engaged from start to finish. I just downloaded the second book in the series, which goes to show you how much I enjoyed it. Would I ever write something in this genre? My muse hasn’t nudged me yet, but I’m more open to the idea.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

I wake up very early to create new material. I can only do it after I’ve had a solid six hours of sleep and my brain is refreshed. Coffee starts automatically brewing at 3:30 and that’s when I sit down and write. I try and do a chapter a day (usually 3-4K words), but it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes it takes me two days to finish a chapter. Then I go on FB and Twitter for about thirty minutes. I try not to stay on there too long or I won’t get anything done. I’ve recently retired from the EDJ, so my schedule might change as far as the waking hours but I honestly doubt it. I’ve always been a morning person. I do all my edits in the afternoon or evening.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Full body massages. I rarely indulge because they’re so expensive, but when I go on a cruise I usually cave. I figure, what the hell. They’re going to take my left kidney by the end of the trip, so I might as well enjoy all the amenities while I’m on board.

Do you have any pets? If not, and you were given the choice to have any pet (fictional or real), what type of pet would you choose and why?

I had a beautiful Dalmatian for 13 years. His name was Charlie, coincidentally, and he loved to cuddle. He’d squeeze in beside me at night while I read or watched TV. His guilty pleasure was popcorn, and we shared a bowl whenever I was in the mood. It’s been almost 4 years since he passed, and I’m starting to think about getting another dog. Thanks to Brandon Witt and his love of Corgis, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of owning one. I’d like a shelter dog though (Charlie was), so I don’t know if I’ll get my wish on the Corgi. We’ll have to see how it all plays out.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I came to the realization a while back that writing is terrible for one’s health unless you make a concerted effort to get off the damn chair or couch and do some form of exercise. Ugh…what a chore…but necessary or the alternative is genuine pain down the road. I’ve been trying very hard to get on the treadmill at least 4 days a week and then do some free weights for my arms, shoulders, and neck, which take a beating with the constant writing. I get together with my kids as often as possible, but they’re grown and have their own lives. I’m not the kind of mom who just shows up unannounced. Mostly, I write. I always tell my editor I have no life so it works 

What are you working on now?

By the time this interview is posted, I hope to have submitted my current WIP set in Karachi, Pakistan, where I lived for a brief time. I’ve been doing extensive research on the region—its people and the Muslim faith—and hope I don’t end up on someone’s list because of all my Google searches. It’s creepy how big brother always knows what you’re up to while you’re on the internet.

What did you enjoy most about writing this story?

My characters. Emory is probably the most flamboyant gay man I’ve ever written. Conversely, he’s also the most courageous, and I loved telling his story. His father, Tom, is a secondary character who practically steals the show. My beta readers and editors mentioned how much they enjoyed his presence in the story. Nik’s role is fairly typical—the beleaguered athlete who’s conflicted about his orientation and terrified to come out—but I hope that I was able to throw in a few twists to make his story unique.

How did it feel to sign that first contract?

It was my ticket to freedom. My 29-year marriage was crumbling, and I was waffling on my decision to stay and be miserable or walk away and hope for the best. I’d submitted Horizons (my first novel) to another publisher, and it had been rejected, so I was pretty despondent. After reworking it, I sent it to Dreamspinner Press for consideration. A few weeks later, I was driving home from work and really wishing I was going somewhere else. I said a prayer to my mother (who’d died years before) and asked her for a sign on what I should do about my marriage. When I got home and opened my email, I saw the acceptance letter from Elizabeth North and I started bawling. It was the push I needed to pull up my big girl pants and move on. I’ve never told this story to anyone in the public forum but it’s the honest truth. I don’t think I’d be sitting here answering questions as a published author if not for Elizabeth and her faith in me and my talent.

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

Write every day, read as much as you can in the genre you’re drawn to, and never, ever give up. It’s the age-old story of the tortoise and hare. The one who sticks to it, no matter how long it takes, will get the prize in the end. Keep on dreaming and do your homework to make each and every dream come true. Talking about your ideas will get you nowhere. You need to write them down!

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2015NewAbout the Book

Olympic figure skater Emory Lowe falls in lust the moment he lays eyes on his new neighbor, hockey player Nikolai (Nik) Vetrov. On the surface, Nik is a typical badass enforcer, intimidating and dangerous, on and off the ice. The only son of Ukrainian immigrants, Nik has been groomed from childhood to fulfill his father’s dreams of seeing him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Igor guides his son toward that goal with a controlling—and abusive—hand, steering him clear of anyone who might ruin his chances.

Although Emory is the US National Figure Skating champion, he’s in-your-face gay, and his audacious persona rubs Nik and his family the wrong way. Raised by supportive and loving parents, Emory is Nik’s polar opposite in every way but one—his desire to succeed. Underneath the fluff and glitter beats the heart of a fierce competitor, and this side of Emory’s personality begins to close the distance between the two athletes.

While the attraction was one-sided in the beginning, Nik finds himself responding to Emory’s flirting. Before the incongruous pair have a chance at any sort of relationship, they must survive the pressures of career, separation, and most importantly, Igor’s ruthless homophobia.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press | All Romance eBooks | Amazon

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2015NewAbout the author

Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.

By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

connectwiththeauthor

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog | Goodreads & Ask the Author

2015NewGiveaway

Using Rafflecopter below, enter to win one of these prizes (contest open internationally): a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate, one of five ecopies of Enforcing Emory, or an audio copy of Fire Horse. Must be 18 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2015NewTour Info

May 25 – The Novel Approach

May 25 – Garrett Leigh

May 26 – Charlie Cochet

May 27 – Emotion in Motion

May 28 – BA Tortuga

May 29 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews

May 31 – Diverse Reader

June 1 – Prism Book Alliance

June 2 – Book Reviews & More by Kathy

June 2 – Cup o’ Porn

June 3 – WoW…from The Scarf Princess

June 4 – Love Bytes

June 5 – Divine Magazine

June 8 – MM Good Book Reviews

June 9 – Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance

June 10 – Hearts On Fire

Tour and materials organized by PAS Promotions
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