Interview and Giveaway: Joe Cosentino

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome back Joe Cosentino, whose second novella in the In My Heart series, A SHOOTING STAR, releases today. Joe is offering a giveaway of AN INFATUATION, the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press. Post a comment about his interview. We will select the winner and Joe will email you the ebook!

After AN INFATUATION was released by Dreamspinner Press, Joe received numerous requests from readers for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on his high school days through adulthood, he thought back to his days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born.

“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 explained. “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. 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. They were gay, bi, closet-gay, or straight. 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. 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. I want to play him in the movie version!”

In addition to the two novellas in the In My Heart series, he’s also written DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, which is a funny mystery about two college theatre professors who use their theatre skills to solve murders on campus—as they fall in love with one another. You can read his guest post about that here.

He’s also written PAPER DOLL from Whiskey Creek Press, the first Jana Lane mystery about an ex-child star making a comeback as she discovers who attached her in the past and who is after her in the present.

I asked him which was his favorite and he said, “Picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child. (Though my mother would probably pick my sister. Hah.)”

As a kid, Joe played make believe constantly.

“‘Let’s put on a show!’ was my motto with full scale musicals in the garage starring my sister and me,” he told me. “Eventually I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Morphing into writing plays and now novels seem like the perfect progression.”

He came by this honestly. He gets his sense of humor and love of theatre from his funny Italian-American family. He remembers, as a kid, watching his mother mop the floor while singing “Let Me Entertain You” from the musical GYPSY, and his father wrapping a sweater around his waist while smoking a cigar and singing/dancing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of Hair” from the musical SOUTH PACIFIC.

Joe is a college professor/department head like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, so during the day he’s busy at the college. So he write in the evenings. He’s a bit tired, but finds he doesn’t censor himself and writes more creatively. Also like Martin Anderson, he has a cozy office with a window seat looking out at the woods, cherry wood fireplace mantel, cherry wood desk, and cherry wood bookcases.

“It’s the perfect place to write,” he assured me.

When Joe is writing a mystery like the Jana Lane mysteris or the Nicky and Noah mysteries, he starts at the end with a shocking ending, then works backwards with clues as well as plot twists and turns. With his romance books, however, he starts with the characters and do lengthy character biographies to get to know the characters. Once they start talking in his head, he starts typing.

Finally, I asked, “What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?”

“For the rest of this year, I will be editing for release: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (a winter holiday novella taking place in Capri, Italy) from Dreamsprinner Press, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TAKES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairy tales novella) from Dreamspinner Press, PORCELAIN DOLL (the second Jana Lane mystery) and SATIN DOLL (the third Jana Lane mystery) from Wild Rose Press, DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah comedy mystery) and DRAMA CRUISE (the third Nicky and Noah mystery) from Lethe Press. I will also finish my new gay romance novel set in the Jersey Shore, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK. Next year I plan to write CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery), DRAMA ALOHA (the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery, and COZZI COVE: LOOKING FORWARD. Looks like I’ll be really busy.

9_2 Shooting Star coverOn 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.

Enjoy an excerpt:

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.”

About the Author: 9_2 shooting star author France pictureJoe 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).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, AllRomance eBooks, or Barnes and Noble.


  1. Great interview. I enjoyed reading it. My mother did have a favorite child.

  2. Jennifer Lessard says:

    Added to my TBR list, thank you for the opportunity!

  3. you sound busy

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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