The New Jersey Shore, the Perfect Place for a Gay Romance Series by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as he celebrates the recent release of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, book four in the Cozzi Cove series. Post a comment about why you love the beach. The one that floats our surfboard the most will win a gift e-book of Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, the first Cozzi Cove novel, by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press.

The New Jersey Shore, the Perfect Place for a Gay Romance Series

There is no place on earth more romantic than the beach. The aqua water, azure sky, jagged rocks, salty air, and white sand are incredibly enticing. What’s more seductive than the smell of suntan lotion, the sight of men in sunglasses and Speedos, and the feel of a warm beach blanket on your skin? Welcome to Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the New Jersey Shore. Though it was born in my imagination after numerous visits to the Jersey Shore, it’s a place I love to visit again and again, and I know you will too. Cozzi Cove is a magical place where anything is possible, nothing is what it seems, and romance is everywhere.

After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Many readers begged for a return trip to Cozzi Cove, so I wrote Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters in book four.

Handsome and sexy ex-football player Cal Cozzi is now thirty-three years old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. In book four, Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise. Cal and his husband, Michael Rodgers (who Cal met under dubious circumstances), a recent college graduate in photojournalism, are expecting a baby.

With Connor having moved on to managing a bed and breakfast, Cal has a new houseboy, blond and muscular Billy Dean, a red letter Christian college student who signed a chastity pledge in his hometown Alabama. Obviously, that doesn’t last very long at Cozzi Cove.

Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Paris as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to her brother. The revelation about Taylor from the last book still informs her character. Taylor’s wife, Carla, plays a pivotal role in book four as she is the surrogate for Cal and Michael’s baby. Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them away from Cozzi Cove.

Guest Nijad, who is bisexual, can’t decide which sibling guest he prefers: Annabel or Andrew. Also, an occult enthusiast guest, Jonathan, encounters a sexy vampire, Vlad, at the cove. However, nothing is what it seems as secrets are revealed and romances blossom in the magical place called Cozzi Cove.

So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!

P.S. – I love hearing from readers! Please contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Welcome back to the romantic and magical place called Cozzi Cove, seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer, Cal and his new husband Michael, along with sister, Taylor and her wife, Carla, prepare for the first in the next generation of Cozzis. To add to the action: Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise; Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them far away from Cozzi Cove; red-letter Christian and new houseboy, Billy Dean, gets his wish when meeting Jesus and John at the cove; summer guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling he prefers—Annabel or Andrew; and Jonathan, an occult enthusiast, encounters a sexy vampire. As usual, nothing is as it seems when romance blossoms once again at Cozzi Cove. What secrets, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold? Find out in Book Four of the Cozzi Cove series.

Praise for COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT:

“But it’s not just about the Cozzi’s and the webs they weave, it’s also about the Guests that check-in and check-out. But they never check out of our hearts. We as readers, remember every one of them – they are the real beauty of Cozzi Cove together with this author’s amazing talent – he makes these OTT characters stay with us, his characterization is just phenomenal and therefore great fun to read, I never chuckle as much as I do as when I’m reading a Cosentino.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“With love, romance and the big reveal of so many secrets, COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT is perhaps the most important novel in the series so far. With so many of the recurring characters getting a huge chunk of the storytelling time, I couldn’t have asked for a better exploration of the Cozzi family and their chaotic summers at Cozzi Cove. Thanks to the perfect ending, I really hadn’t expected there to be more…but, YES! There is an excerpt at the end for the next book. And I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

“Spending a week in the sun with the permanent and transitory residents of Cozzi Cove makes for a superb, unputdownable, read. There are laugh out loud moments, lots of chuckles, some very heartwarming as well as heart wrenching moments, lots of gorgeous men and women, love, lust and even some tears. Joe Cosentino has a brilliantly unique sense of humour, and a masterful way of writing stories containing farce, larger than life men and women, and often over the top characters you’ll fall in love with. For all that his characters come across as completely relatable and realistic. His books are one of a kind and utterly addictive. I have yet to read a Joe Cosentino book that was less than 5 stars, and this book is no exception. Do yourself a favour and grab this book with both hands. I guarantee you’ll be very glad you did.” Divine Magazine

“The surprise of the whole book though is Tommy finally finding who he has been looking for and the story behind the love found and lost and then found again definitely blew me away….a great read” Gay Book Reviews

“Tons of action, drama, love, and secrets to keep readers hooked….beautifully written and highly engaging….Humor, mystery, and romance…Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out is indeed a must read for all. I highly recommend it.” Urban Book Reviews

“I love this series and hope it continues, after all, every year comes with a summer and Cozzi Cove will always be open for business.” Books Laid Bare Boys

“Loved, loved, loved it! The Cozzi Cove stories have a great mix of drama, angst, romance, and sex. There is something for everyone.” TTC Books and More

“The stories of Cal and Michael, George and Aaron, and Taylor and Carla are brilliant and are cleverly described alongside those of the guests. I loved this book, and the wonderful feel good factor it evoked. For me, it’s the best of the series so far. The characters are, again, perfect for the stories that unwind slowly and are then wound up again into ideal conclusions. The ending ties up all the residents and guests’ stories but leaves enough open for more. Cozzi Cove, where dreams really do come true.” OptimuMM Book Reviews

Praise for COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD:

“Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward delivers a strong cast of characters and a few surprising denouements to individual story lines that will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a heartfelt sigh.” GGR Reviews

“Who knew that 7 bungalows set surrounding a beautiful cove, could hold so many secrets, love and intrigue?” “The humour, whether subtle or not-so-subtle was superb, the timing delivered with perfection, Joe Cosentino is a natural comedian and another reason why I love reading his books. He is also very clever, he weaved moral messages throughout the entire storyline,” “Great fun entwined with the Cosentino romantic magic that brings his books alive, I loved it.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“visiting Cozzi Cove is like coming home or revisiting a beloved holiday destination. I know everyone, by now, who is a permanent fixture and I sincerely hope that Cosentino continues this series forever. As before, the characters are a hoot. They’re a mixture of funny, quirky, sad, lonely individuals who come together to make a riotously brilliant cast.” Divine Magazine

“Oh, Cozzi Cove, you are fast becoming a favorite vacation destination with your action and excitement! Joe Cosentino once again wins his way into your heart and soul with this fun, flirtatious romance. Love, laughter and smoldering intimacy await all who dare to venture to the clear blue waters of the Cove.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“I absolutely love this series and loved all of the romance that happens at Cozzi Cove. You don’t just have one romance you have seven (really eight when you count Cal & Michael).” “I love an author that can inject humor in just the right places. Joe Cosentino is fast becoming a must read author for me.” “I can’t wait to read more from Cozzi Cove.” Inked Rainbow Reads

“Imagine a beautiful getaway where the hot, sexy, and wealthy gay men go…it’s a place where there’s never a dull moment. Every page of this new title brings readers nothing but excitement, intrigue, and an intensity that will burn away the night’s quiet. Most novels offer readers one journey in which readers travel upon, however, readers are brought not one but several journeys that will leave them breathless and hooked. As with all of Joe Cosentino’s novels, humor comes in abundance and fits in perfectly with all of this stunning characters.” “Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. It’s easy to get lost in it all. The book automatically captures your heart from page one and forever holds it. After reading the story, readers will be begging for the next grand adventure. Funny, heart melting, and swoon worthy, readers will finish reading this in one sitting. I loved reading this riveting tale, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.” Urban Book Reviews

“The beautiful scenery and all around magical quality of Cozzi Cove is hard to resist….This is a fun, often lighthearted story, whose sweet sexy vibe makes for a great escape.” Coffeetime Romance

Yet again the author entices you in with a fantastic storyline and well-rounded characters.
You could almost feel the sea breeze and smell the salt in the air. This is definitely where you need to be if you want to find love…..” Books Laid Bare Boys

“As with book one, book two contains an interwoven set of awesome, emotional and often funny tales about the guests and residents of Cozzi Cove. All the characters need the magic that Cozzi Cove weaves around people’s lives and its healing touch, but will they all get what they need? By the time the guests are ready to check out at the end of the week, everything will have changed for them and for some of the residents too. As with book one, I became deeply immersed in these stories and didn’t want the book to end so thank goodness there’s a book three” OptimuMM Book Reviews

Praise for COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK: Book of the Month at The TBR Pile, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention, 3rd Place Best Fiction Book of 2016 on Urban Book Reviews

“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger. The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay

“If you like a lot of angst, some humor, love, sadness (be sure to have a couple of boxes of tissue handy), and some hot sensual man-sex, I highly, highly recommend this book. I loved all of the Joe Cosentino’s books, but I think this is my favorite to date! I am ready for book 2!” Cathy Brockman Romance & MM Good Book Reviews

“Joe Cosentino has the amazing ability to combine heartwarming, feel good moments with droll, sometimes biting humor, along with insights into the frailties and peccadillos of being human.” “Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back is the very finest in literary fiction with a romance theme, yet it’s more than just that—it’s about human connections and empathy and finding a way out of the fear and inertia faced by so many. It’s also about courage and strength, about respect and coming to terms with all that life has to offer, and it’s about letting go. I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series. This is a highly recommended read, well-deserving of Five Stars.” GGR Reviews

“readers will meet a variety of characters that creates a soap opera intrigue, unlike any other novel read. This story will definitely keep readers guessing with every page. Only when readers reach the last page does everything become known. It’s addictive. Cozzi Cove is a brand new series that will keep Joe Cosentino’s readers on their toes and begging for more. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with this latest novel.” Urban Book Reviews

“This book is extremely well written and all the stories are equally compelling and cleverly crafted. There are moments when, just as you think you know what’s going on, the truth emerges and turns out to be something quite different….Cal’s guests are an amusing and heart wrenching mixed bag of people, all of whom I found irresistible in their own way….So many wonderful, poignant and often funny stories are told here….It’s a real roller coaster of a ride that’s finished off perfectly as the guests spend their last day at Cozzi Cove then check out to move on with their lives.” OptimuMM Book Reviews

“Another brilliantly written book by this author. He makes you want to take your own vacation in Cozzi Cove. You could feel all the emotion and love flowing from the pages.” Books Laid Bare Boys

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings:

Just as Michael and Cal were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”

“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.

“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”

“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.

Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”

“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.

After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”

“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.

Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”

“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”

“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”

She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”

Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”

“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”

Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”

Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”

“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.

Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”

“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.

“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”

“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.

“If I get any more milk in me, my breasts will explode.” She took a sip and swallowed as if drinking fish oil laced with liquid soap.

Cal asked, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”

Carla nodded. “Maybe that’s why this kid has been jumping around inside me like a Mexican hat dancer. Do either of you have any Mexican blood?”

“African and Scandinavian,” Michael replied.

“Scottish and Italian,” Cal said.

“Well, maybe he was doing a tribal dance and the tarantella.” Carla flicked back her long dark hair. “While I was lying awake in bed, I did the baby’s astrology and numerology charts.”

Michael asked, “How can you do that without knowing his birthdate?”

Carla glared at him. “I decided if he doesn’t come out of me by the end of the week, I’m pulling my nephew out with tongs.”

“What did the charts show?” Cal didn’t believe in the occult, but he was thankful to get Carla’s mind off her discomfort.

Carla smiled. “He’s going to be kind, strong, fair, honest, and quite successful.”

“Of course he is. He’s our son.” Cal kissed Michael’s cheek.

“Let’s hope he’s kind enough to make an appearance soon.” Carla ate more of her breakfast.

Michael asked, “How is Dotty doing running the restaurant during your maternity leave?”

“Fine.” Carla sat back. “I should never go back.”

Cal grinned. “You wouldn’t leave Carla’s.”

“You’re right.” She winked at Cal. “That restaurant is as much a part of me as Cozzi Cove is a part of you.”

A month ago, complaining more than a right-wing politician at a Planned Parenthood meeting, Carla had moved into Bungalow One so that Cal and Michael could help take care of her. She had also insisted that she wanted to have their baby at Cozzi Cove, assisted by a midwife, and not in a hospital. It had seemed the perfect solution; however, since sound carried between the two bungalows, it meant inadvertently sharing their more intimate moments.

Michael seemed miles away.

“What’s wrong?” Cal asked.

Michael shrugged, his head hanging down.

Carla said, “Don’t be shy, Michael. You know I’m family now. I married Cal’s sister. Remember? You were there, marrying this guy.”

Since Michael wasn’t talking, Cal asked Carla, “When is my dear sister coming for a visit?”

Carla sighed. “Taylor said she’d be here after her business meetings in Paris and Rome, but before her meetings in Washington, DC and New York.”

“What does that mean?” Cal asked.

“It means Taylor and the conservative big-money boys are making sure the top one percent stay that way.” She turned to Michael. “You’re not off the hook so easily about your pouting. What’s up?”

“A lot, last night.” Michael patted Cal’s crotch.

Cal put his arm around his husband. “We know something’s wrong, Michael. Spill it.”

“And feel free to spill my milk while you’re at it,” Carla said, pushing away her glass.

Michael pushed it back in front of her. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“But?” Cal asked.

Michael rested his chin on his hand. “Cozzi Cove has been in your family for generations, like Carla’s Seafood Restaurant has been in Carla’s.”

“So?” Cal asked again.

“So you both belong here. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the man I tried to gay bash.”

Cal took his hand. “Michael, you’re my husband. Cozzi Cove is as much your home as it is mine.”

“It doesn’t feel that way.”

Carla groaned. “Did my wife say something obnoxious to you the last time she visited?”

“Taylor said lots of obnoxious things to me the last time she visited, but that’s not it.”

“Then what is it, Michael?” Cal asked.

Michael bit his lower lip. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I can’t think of a place I’d like living more than Cozzi Cove. But this is your land, your inheritance, and your soul. Sometimes I feel like an outsider.”

At that moment, there was a knock at the front door. “That must be my new houseboy,” Cal said, getting to his feet.

Carla leaned on the table and pushed herself off the chair. “I don’t want anyone seeing me like this. I’m going back to my bungalow.”

“Take this for the road,” Michael said, handing her the glass of milk.

She downed the milk in one gulp and cringed. “If I don’t come out of my bungalow in a week’s time, send in the bulldozer.” Carla left out the back kitchen door.

Cal paused at the kitchen entry, looking on as Michael cleared the table and started stacking the dishwasher. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said.

“It’s fine, really.”

Unconvinced, Cal left for the living room.

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll of 2015 for Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, and Best LGBT Contemporary Novel of the Year. He wrote the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Favorite), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Drama Muscle, the audiobook by Joe Cosentino – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as he celebrates the recent audiobook release of Drama Muscle, book two in the Nicky and Noah series. Post a comment about why you like listening to audiobooks. The one that tickles our funny bone the most will win an audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah comedy mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe, published by Lethe Press.

DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, now an audiobook
by Joe Cosentino and performed by Chip Hurley

When a novel sells well and it’s time for an audiobook version, the author feels like a parent leaving a child at the first day of school. You are entrusting your “baby” (that took you nine months to produce) to a total stranger. The author offers instructions (and lots of prayers) while the performer records the novel. When the process is completed, you hold your breath while listening to each chapter for any notes to the narrator. After any corrections are made, the audiobook is submitted and hits the market. Again, the author wrings his/her hands waiting for reviews and sales information.

I have been incredibly lucky to have only worked with the best audiobook performers in the business. Award-winning Joel Leslie performed my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, A Home for the Holidays, and the upcoming In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press). Talented actress Charissa Clark Howe narrated my Paper Doll and the upcoming Porcelain Doll, Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press). The versatile Michael Gilboe did my Drama Queen, first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press). In each case I was incredibly satisfied with how well those performers brought my words to life.

So when it came time to search for someone to perform/produce the audiobook version of Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, I searched until I found Chip Hurley. What impressed me about Chip’s clips from his audiobook work was his crisp diction, warm and sexy voice, spot on comic timing, creative character voices, and crystal clear connection to the Nicky and Noah style of humor. So I contacted Chip and asked him to do the audiobook, and I was thrilled when he said yes. Next, I gave Chip a character biography for each character, and we discussed the humor, mystery, and relationships in the series. Then Chip went to work on his state of the art equipment to record and edit the audiobook. When he sent me the audio files for approval, I was overjoyed. Don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself. Chip does an amazing job bringing out the sweetness, comedy, mystery, and romance in the novel. It’s laugh out loud funny. His character voices are spot on, and his timing is perfect. And I was elated when the listeners and reviewers agreed with me!

Do you need to have read or heard Drama Queen (book one) before enjoying Drama Muscle (book two)? No. They are separate stories. However, why not start at the beginning and hear both?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries, published by Lethe Press, are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. It is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I’ve heard the readers fall in love with them.

In the first novel, Drama Queen, college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit.

In book two, Drama Muscle, Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.

I am currently contracting an audiobook of book three, Drama Cruise, where Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard a cruise to Alaska, and dead college theatre professors pop up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. So stay turned for more on that!

It is my joy and pleasure to share this audiobook with you. So take your front row seat. The curtain is going up on young bodybuilders at Treemeadow College. Lights (and weights) up!

It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!

Length: 6 hours

Praise for Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

“Joe Cosentino has done it again! He has created another brilliant masterpiece for us all. A cozy sleuth mystery combined with humor and attractive themes.” Urban Book Reviews

“Book 1, Drama Queen was always going to be a hard act to follow with its belly ache laughter approach but in this “smirkathong” – yes I was smirking throughout the book, my top lip still aches – the author succeeded in delivering another comic classic!” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“a perfect balance of humor and romance into a continuously twisting plot.” “Cosentino will keep you entertained and guessing until the very end.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“If you like a fast-paced, humorous mystery with some quirky characters, lots of twists and the hot, sensual, man-sex, this is definitely for you. I promise you a laugh a minute!” Cathy Brockman Romance

“As with the first book, there are laugh out loud, completely funny sections. And enough of the mystery and suspense that keeps me reading” “I look forward to the next story” The TBR Pile

“laugh out loud funny” “Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the killer to be revealed.” “As a romance, readers will love seeing Nicky and Noah settling in to living together in their Victorian home.” “I highly recommend this series.” Joyfully Jay Reviews

“Such a well woven story that is literally laugh out loud funny.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“Joe Cosentino offers his readers something original and very different to the generic contemporary M/M romances out there and because of that I can’t recommend Drama Muscle enough; it is another moment of genius by Joe Cosentino!” Kirsty Loves Books
“This is a wonderful addition to the series! I fell in love with Nicky in the first book and he just gets better. Filled with humor and action. Noah evolves in this story, his character grows into a more mature yet still adorable sidekick to Nicky. They are perfect together, in detective work and in family situations. I hope that there are more to follow.” Crystals Many Reviewers

“This book is a comic romp that simultaneously celebrates and lampoons a mash-up of genres: the bloodless murders (in this case six) of Agatha Christie and her ilk, the screwball movie mysteries of Nick and Norah Charles (it’s Nick and Noah here), and the simile-rich voice-overs of film noir– all updated for a gay context.” Elisa Rainbow, Rainbow Awards

“Everything about this story is wonderfully over the top! The murders, the hilarious romances, each scene funny as the body count gets higher….Need a dose of slapstick and romance in your life (and at the moment who doesn’t)? Make your acquaintance with Nicky and Noah and their Mystery series. You could start here. It certainly works as a stand alone but starting at the beginning (with DRAMA QUEEN) is so much fun. Grab up both and read them together. And let the chuckles ensue!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Jana Lane mysteries Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015. He has won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions, including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming is Drama Luau (the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy DRAMA MUSCLE at Audible, Amazon, or iBooks.

Character Interview with Tommy Malone by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as the third novel in his Cozzi Cove series, Cozzie Cove: Stepping Out. Enjoy an interview with Tommy Malone, from the series, and check out the giveaway at the end of the post.

Joe: Hi, Tommy. Thank you for joining me in this interview. Since you all can’t see Tommy, he is tall, very muscular, bald, with lots of tattoos, and a sweet, kind face.

Tommy: It’s great to get out from behind my bar in Cozzi, Joe.

Joe: As a character in all three books of my Cozzi Cove beach series, tell the readers about the magical, romantic, and fascinating place called Cozzi Cove on the New Jersey shore.

Tommy: Cal’s great-grandfather built the eight bungalows on the private cove with an amazing view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, his father opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort. After he passed on, Cal was proud to carry on the tradition. Cal and I have been friends since grade school. I’ll admit, I’ve always had an unrequited crush on him.

Joe: Tell the readers what is a cove.

Tommy: The bungalows on Cozzi Cove are set on a stretch of cove formed when softer rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.

Joe: After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories.

Tommy: They liked us! They really liked us!

Joe: They sure did. So I wrote Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. As with the first two books, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters like yours in book three. We see a whole new side of you.

Tommy: Thanks for that.

Joe: Tell them the storyline of Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out.

Tommy: Handsome ex-football player Cal Cozzi is now thirty-twoyears old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. His lover of two years, Michael Rodgers, a college photography student, who always works for me at my bar, landed at Cal’s doorstep and the two of them have never looked back.

Joe: In this book, Cal and Michael reach a plateau in their relationship.

Tommy: That’s Cozzi Cove, just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a game changer. On to the next character. Connor, the college student assisting Cal, is still packed with muscles and hormones. He also still revels in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove—which he occasionally enjoys and thinks Cal doesn’t see. In book three, Connor becomes the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on human sexuality with unexpected results. Then there’s me. I meet a beautiful female police officer staying at Cozzi Cove, which leads to a shocking revelation.

Joe: And then there’s Cal’s younger brother.

Tommy: A man from George’s past comes to Cozzi Cove, which leads George on a romantic roller coaster ride. And Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. We learn something shocking about Taylor’s past in this book, and she goes through some pretty emotional experiences. Lucky for Taylor her best friend, Cozzi restauranteur Carla Mangione, is there for support.

Joe: And Bill, a disbelieving pastor, sees a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove, which leads him to start a new life.

Tommy: As the local bartender, I’ve heard it all. What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove?

Joe: What do you think is the moral of the story?

Tommy: I think the moral is that it’s important to step out. Take a chance on love.

Joe: Nice job.

Tommy: You wrote the books.

Joe: I also like the message about accepting one’s self and others. In particular, that religious freedom means freedom to practice your religion, not to discriminate against others.

Tommy: I have a question for you. Is Cal based on you? Is Michael based on your husband? Taylor on your sister? You have a close male cousin? Am I him?

Joe: A few traits here and there, but we’re very different, though my sister is opinionated like Taylor. Harold (An Infatuation), Jonathan (A Shooting Star), and Bobby (A Home for the Holidays) have many of my traits. Stuart (An Infatuation) and Barry (A Shooting Star) are based on my spouse. My cousin keeps asking me to be in my books.

Tommy: Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels?

Joe: Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings releases March 27.

Tommy: Great! I really like the humor, mystery, plot twists and turns, and the surprise endings in the stories They really keep us on our toes.

Joe: I’d like to see Cozzi Cove as a television series. Make me an offer, producers! I want to play Pastor Bill Gayton in this story.

Tommy: Who do you see playing me?

Joe: The Rock.

Tommy: Good choice!

Joe: You get a love life in book three. How do you feel regarding people reading about it?

Tommy: Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in our books are sweet, sexy, and touching. How do you feel when you read the books?

Joe: I just reread Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out and laughed, cried, gasped, and felt romantic.

Tommy: As a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write all these great scenes for us?

Joe: 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 overlooking the woods. When I complain about my schedule, my mother says, “Just think how hard you would work if you had a real job, like your cousins (lawyers).”

Tommy: The only thing I write are notes on cocktail napkins. How long does it generally take you to write a book for us?

Joe: About three months working evenings and weekends with all of you talking in my head.

Tommy: Tell them about your other gay romance releases, Joe. Even though I’m not in them. Pout.

Joe: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. They were so popular as individual e-books, Dreamspinner Press published them together in one paperback. I still receive comments from readers that those stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. I am very proud of them. A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland from Dreamspinner Press is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.

Tommy: You also have two mystery series.

Joe: You should be my press agent. My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) 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. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) 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 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.

In the Jana Lane mysteries (the Wild Rose Press), with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll 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. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, where she is faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art on the set. The novels are full of mystery, romance, humor, and theatricality. Since they take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Tommy: Well, it’s time for me to get back to my bar at Cozzi. Tell the readers how they can reach me.

Joe: Through me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Tommy: So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you.

Joe: I hope to see you all there!

It’s time for another summer of sun, sand, suntan lotion, sandals, and Speedos on Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey Shore. Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are once again open for love. This summer, sexy Cal welcomes back his brother and sister, who are confronted with people from their pasts. Connor, the maid packed with muscle and mayhem, becomes the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on human sexuality. Tommy, the strapping, bald and tattooed local bartender, is captivated with guest Cory Magnum, a police officer with a secret. Another guest, Bill, a disbelieving pastor, is inspired by a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove. And Cal and Michael reach a plateau in their relationship. What secrets, humor, tragedies, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold in this magical place called Cozzi Cove?

Praise for COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, the second Cozzi Cove novel:

“Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward delivers a strong cast of characters and a few surprising denouements to individual story lines that will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a heartfelt sigh.” GGR Reviews

“Who knew that 7 bungalows set surrounding a beautiful cove, could hold so many secrets, love and intrigue?” “The humour, whether subtle or not-so-subtle was superb, the timing delivered with perfection, Joe Cosentino is a natural comedian and another reason why I love reading his books. He is also very clever, he weaved moral messages throughout the entire storyline,” “Great fun entwined with the Cosentino romantic magic that brings his books alive, I loved it.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“visiting Cozzi Cove is like coming home or revisiting a beloved holiday destination. I know everyone, by now, who is a permanent fixture and I sincerely hope that Cosentino continues this series forever. As before, the characters are a hoot. They’re a mixture of funny, quirky, sad, lonely individuals who come together to make a riotously brilliant cast.” Divine Magazine

“Oh, Cozzi Cove, you are fast becoming a favorite vacation destination with your action and excitement! Joe Cosentino once again wins his way into your heart and soul with this fun, flirtatious romance. Love, laughter and smoldering intimacy await all who dare to venture to the clear blue waters of the Cove.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“I absolutely love this series and loved all of the romance that happens at Cozzi Cove. You don’t just have one romance you have seven (really eight when you count Cal & Michael).” “I love an author that can inject humor in just the right places. Joe Cosentino is fast becoming a must read author for me.” “I can’t wait to read more from Cozzi Cove.” Inked Rainbow Reads

“Imagine a beautiful getaway where the hot, sexy, and wealthy gay men go…it’s a place where there’s never a dull moment. Every page of this new title brings readers nothing but excitement, intrigue, and an intensity that will burn away the night’s quiet. Most novels offer readers one journey in which readers travel upon, however, readers are brought not one but several journeys that will leave them breathless and hooked. As with all of Joe Cosentino’s novels, humor comes in abundance and fits in perfectly with all of this stunning characters.” “Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. It’s easy to get lost in it all. The book automatically captures your heart from page one and forever holds it. After reading the story, readers will be begging for the next grand adventure. Funny, heart melting, and swoon worthy, readers will finish reading this in one sitting. I loved reading this riveting tale, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.” Urban Book Reviews

“The beautiful scenery and all around magical quality of Cozzi Cove is hard to resist…This is a fun, often lighthearted story, whose sweet sexy vibe makes for a great escape.” Coffeetime Romance

Praise for COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, the first Cozzi Cove novel (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month):

“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger. The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay

“If you like a lot of angst, some humor, love, sadness (be sure to have a couple of boxes of tissue handy), and some hot sensual man-sex, I highly, highly recommend this book. I loved all of the Joe Cosentino’s books, but I think this is my favorite to date! I am ready for book 2!” Cathy Brockman Romance & MM Good Book Reviews

“Joe Cosentino has the amazing ability to combine heartwarming, feel good moments with droll, sometimes biting humor, along with insights into the frailties and peccadillos of being human.” “Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back is the very finest in literary fiction with a romance theme, yet it’s more than just that—it’s about human connections and empathy and finding a way out of the fear and inertia faced by so many. It’s also about courage and strength, about respect and coming to terms with all that life has to offer, and it’s about letting go. I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series. This is a highly recommended read, well-deserving of Five Stars.” GGR Reviews

“readers will meet a variety of characters that creates a soap opera intrigue, unlike any other novel read. This story will definitely keep readers guessing with every page. Only when readers reach the last page does everything become known. It’s addictive. Cozzi Cove is a brand new series that will keep Joe Cosentino’s readers on their toes and begging for more. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with this latest novel.” Urban Book Reviews

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Excerpt of Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press:

A soaring golden orb turned the violet, pink, and tangerine sky into a canvas of blue. Early morning was Cal Cozzi’s favorite time. Treading water in the cove that had boasted his family name for generations, Cal felt as if his blood was the bay water, his flesh was the sand, and his soul was the sun. And Michael Rodgers was his heart. Michael swam over to him and wrapped his stocky arms around Cal’s neck. Cal cupped Michael’s firm bottom and squeezed him in closer. As Michael caressed Cal’s muscled back, they shared a salty wet kiss.

Cal looked up at a seagull gliding to the lighthouse in the distance. He pondered having the freedom to fly away from Cozzi Cove, but there was no place he’d rather be than in the confines of his legacy with the man he loved.

Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built everything in the sleepy town on the New Jersey shore, including the eight bungalows on the cove. This beautiful spot was the result of sun and salt water wearing away softer rocks more quickly than the harder rocks surrounding them.

Cal’s legacy was passed down to him from his great-grandfather through his grandfather, Calvin Cozzi II, and finally by his father, Calvin Cozzi III. Cal’s father, sensing his son’s sexual orientation as a boy, had opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort.

Though Cal had dabbled briefly as a professional football player, and then as a restaurant owner, neither was a good fit. It wasn’t until after the unfortunate death of his parents in an automobile accident that he found his true calling: managing Cozzi Cove. The previous summer, Cal had been united with his half-brother, George, an architect, and the two of them had recently completed renovations on the bungalows, expanding them to add modern amenities while maintaining their grandfather’s nautical theme.

The tip of his head only reached Cal’s chin, so Michael had to stretch up to kiss his nose. Cal’s Italian and Scottish heritage had given him height, auburn hair, emerald-green eyes, an olive complexion, a strapping build, and a wide nose, which, as noted, Michael liked to kiss. “Should we be skinny-dipping at the start of a new summer season?”

“Probably not.” Cal ran a strong hand through Michael’s chestnut hair and gazed into his exotic eyes.

“What if a guest comes early?”

“He can get his own boyfriend.” Cal pressed his tongue inside Michael’s welcoming mouth. It felt warm, and Cal wanted more. As Michael stroked Cal’s broad shoulders and round pectoral muscles, prominent from working out at Cozzi’s gym, Cal pressed his nose against Michael’s thick neck and enjoyed the scent of vanilla. Michael’s African-American and Swedish heritage awarded him smooth golden skin that Cal loved to caress. Cal thought about the eleven-year difference in their ages, how they had met when Michael, still in the closet, tried to gay bash him in an alley, and the year Michael still had left to finish college. It was illogical and improbable for Cal and Michael to be together, yet it felt incredibly right. At that moment, he couldn’t be more in love with Michael.

George Valis, wearing a violet polo shirt and white shorts that accentuated his muscular legs, stepped out of Bungalow Seven and met them at the cove. “Hey, my ex back in Maine dumped me, remember? Stop rubbing in your happiness, you two.”

“Have breakfast with us.” Michael’s dimples appeared. “Cal is making a feast.”

“And Michael is cleaning up after me.”

“As usual.” George winked at Michael.

They got out of the water and put on the terrycloth robes they’d left on a rock at the water’s edge. Cal smiled at the sight of his brother’s height and eye color, which was exactly the same as his own. Cal and George shared the same father, with George being the result of Cal Cozzi II’s infidelity. They had met for the first time last summer when George looked Cal up, and Cal couldn’t have been happier to have a brother like George. He mussed George’s dark hair affectionately. “After breakfast, I’ll pack a lunch for your ride back to Maine.”

Michael’s shoulders slumped. “Do you have to go?”

Cal put his arm around Michael, recalling the brother Michael had lost two summers ago to suicide. “Bungalow Seven is always here for George.”

“Good.” George grinned like a kid with a secret. “It looks like I’ll be staying for a while longer.”

“Yeah!” Michael gave George a hug. “Cal will make a special celebration dinner tonight.” He kissed Cal’s cheek. “My favorite is surf and turf.”

“How about I leave my turf and throw you in the surf at the main beach instead?” Cal kissed Michael’s neck and then turned to his younger brother. “What’s up, bro?”

George looked at them and giggled. “Clearly you two, just before I arrived.”

Cal moved in and placed George in a playful headlock. “Look, little brother, the guests will be here soon. If you want breakfast, spill it.”

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); Drama Queen (Divine Magazine Readers’ Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel and Humorous Novel), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), and A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press); and Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries. 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 2nd Place for Favorite MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous awards.

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Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love the beach, your email address, and your preferred e-book format (PDF, mobi, or e-pub). The one that floats our sailboat the most will win an e-book of Joe Cosentino’s Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, the first novel in the Cozzi Cove series.

Winter Blogfest: Joe Cosentino

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This post is part of Long and Short’s Review Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book of AN INFATUATION, a novella by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. .

The Best Christmas Ever

My Christmas memories are of my older sister and male cousin wrapping a blanket around me, putting me in a trash can filled with yellow construction paper, throwing sheets around themselves, and charging the neighbors money to see our nativity play. At least I played the leading role!

As the years went on, Christmas in my big Italian family included grace by my father (“Bless us, let’s eat.”) my mother displaying her ceramic Santa napkin holders (“When I die take these out, think of me, and cry buckets.”), a huge feast where my spouse and I dodge food grenades at the kiddy table, and opening lavish gifts (one year my parents gave my sister a house and me a sweater), then my family opening gifts from me (“I guess I can wear that for dress down day at work.”).

My parents, sister, niece, aunts, uncles, and cousins had been telling me for years to travel to Italy. I always resisted due to the long plane ride and steep cost. However, like Kunta Kinte charting his roots, I decided it was time. So one Christmas 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.

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.

Our trip to Italy proved to be the best Christmas ever—and even sparked a novella. So this winter holiday season, think outside the box, and consider taking a trip to somewhere amazing. If you can’t get away at this time, there are always books to take you there! Peace on earth, good will to all! Happy holidays!

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!

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose 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, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. Upcoming releases are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press). http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

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Character Interview with Nicky and Noah from DRAMA CRUISE by Joe Cosentino

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino who is here with Nicky and Noah to talk about the 3rd book in the Nicky and Noah series, Drama Cruise.

It is my pleasure to welcome my leading characters, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver from Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino, published by Lethe Press. Thank you for stopping by to chat with us today Nicky and Noah.

Noah: It’s good to leave the books and stretch out.
Nicky: Noah is pretty stretched out already.
Noah: Nicky, in front of everyone?

Nicky and Noah, throughout the Nicky and Noah mysteries (Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise) we’ve watched your relationship grow from flirtatious to quite serious.

Nicky: I’m a one-man man, and that man is Noah Oliver.
Noah: Right back at you, Nicky.

Tell us about the Nicky and Noah mysteries.

Nicky: They’re funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery in each book.
Noah: The first two Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Nicky and me.
Nicky: In the first novel, Drama Queen, it is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance. College theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while I direct the college play production), and Noah and I must figure out whodunit and why.
Noah: In the second book, Drama Muscle, it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells. In each book Nicky and I eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.

Was Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, well received?

Nicky: Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read.
Noah: Not to mention the readers of Divine Magazine voted it their Favorite Mystery Novel, Favorite Humorous Novel, and Favorite Contemporary Novel of 2015. I always liked that magazine.
Nicky: When the ebook reached eighteen on the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe sold like tickets to Les Mis after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery. They liked us! They really liked us!

Did Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery do as well?

Nicky: Readers really liked the bodybuilders. And reviewers said the book packs a laugh a minute, is a romantic romp, and the coziest of cozy mysteries. It won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention, but I don’t have a big head.
Noah: Actually, he does. And one nice thing about the Nicky and Noah series is that each book is a totally contained mystery. So readers don’t need to read one before being able to enjoy another.

Tell us about the storyline in Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery.

Nicky: Drama Cruise takes place in summer as Noah and I go on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. We must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as I direct a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from all over the world.
Noah: Complicating matters are our both sets of parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us.
Nicky: Martin Anderson, our department head, and his husband are also along for the rocky ride. As in the first two books, there are a slew of colorful, hysterically funny victims and suspects like the cruise director who talks endlessly about her glory days as a theatre major in college, the ship’s doctor who is looking for the secret of life, our porter who wants us to adopt him, and the captain of the boat who insists he has seen the ghost of his former sea captain.
Noah: The theatre professors are equally as colorful, including an alcoholic who believes he has seen a mermaid, a hypochondriac looking for love, a comic with a cat of nine tails in her closet, and a Shakespearian actor who can’t keep his hands off his volume of the Bard—or off anyone else.
Nicky: And who is the mysterious Professor Nan Joy Hassahl?

I’ll never tell. How was life on the cruise to Alaska?

Nicky: We had amazing meals—
Noah: After amazing meals. And we saw fantastic ocean views of glaciers.
Nicky: We also embarked on land excursions to a tramway over the mountains, a totem pole park, a log climbers show, a frontier habitat, and a Native American village.
Noah: Our cabin sported a private balcony with amazing views.
Nicky: The private view was amazing all right. Ruff!
Noah: Nicky!

Any plans for the Nicky and Noah mysteries to become a television series?

Nicky: Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do the Nicky and Noah mysteries. Can’t you see Matt Bomer as me?
Noah: Neil Patrick Harris as me?

I want to play Martin Anderson. Nicky, I described you as having dark hair, green eyes, a Roman nose, a muscular body, and an enormous manhood. Does that help you solve the murders?

Nicky: It doesn’t hurt.
Noah: Guess again.
Nicky: Good one, Noah. I have to flirt my way into some places to get certain information. But even more, Noah and I use our theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues.
Noah: Most of all Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective.
Nicky: And in the third novel I get some help from Noah, our department head Martin, his husband Ruben—
Noah: And my parents who are pretty funny.

There is a great deal of humor in the novels.

Nicky: Since you come from a funny Italian family, Joe, you can’t help yourself. Also, we help you think of clever things to write about us.

Noah, what do you like most about Nicky?

Noah: Nicky has such an amazing never say die attitude, wit, smarts, and perseverance in the face of adversity. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he wants to help them.

Nicky, what do you like most about Noah?

Nicky: Noah’s gorgeous blond hair and blue eyes, kind heart, sweet disposition, and commitment to me.

Noah, what do you like most about your parents?

Noah: How much they love Nicky.
Nicky: Almost as much as your mom loves her camera.

Who else did you enjoy having on the cruise?

Nicky: I love Martin’s sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind, meaning he’s a gossip. I also like how Martin and Ruben throw loving jibes at one another yet are totally in love, and can read each other like a book—no pun intended.
Noah: Jeff, the hypochondriac professor and Neem the ship’s doctor were sweet.

Which character do you like the least?

Nicky: Captain James Vessel is quite vocal about his homophobia due to what he calls his, religious freedom. Religious freedom means you are free to practice whatever religion you like, not take away someone else’s civil rights. But Vessel is in for a huge surprise as the book commences.

Are you happy to be in a gay-themed series?

Nicky: Obviously gay stories are part of my life. Also, there are still many untold stories about gay people. Go to the mall and look at the movie posters sans any gay characters on them. However, just as your Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. Besides, everybody likes a clever mystery, a sweet romance, and a good laugh.

Since you mentioned it, hint hint, tell everyone about my Jana Lane mystery series.

Nicky: Joe 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 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 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 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 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. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a murder mystery television show, and once again life imitates art. 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. Like Nicky and Noah’s mysteries, they have interesting characters, a strong plot with lots of twists and turns, and a satisfying but shocking ending.

How about my MM novels and novellas?

Nicky: Noah and I aren’t in them. Pout. Your MM romance novellas are published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. There is also your MM series COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and the upcoming COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

Like Drama Queen and Drama Muscle, is Drama Cruise available as an ebook and paperbook?

Nicky: Yup. This gives the reader an option to read it on a Kindle, Nook, or computer, or with book in hand on the train, at work (when nobody’s looking), or in bed.

How can your readers get their hands on Drama Cruise, and how can they contact us?

Noah: The purchase links for Drama Cruise are below, as are your contact links, including your web site. Joe loves to hear from readers, everyone, since it gives him a break from hearing from Nicky and me!

Will there be more Nicky and Noah mysteries?

Nicky: You tease. As you know, Drama Luau releases in six months, where Nicky directs a luau show in Hawaii, and muscular hula dancers start dropping like grass skirts. It’s a riot. You’ll never guess whodunit.
Noah: But you did, Nicky.
Nicky: With your help, Noah.

And mine. Thank you!

Nicky: It is our joy and pleasure to share our stories with you. So take your front row seat. The boat is leaving from port. Lights up and ahoy matey! Alaska here we come!

12_6-joe-drama-cruiseTheater professors and couple, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are going overboard as usual, but this time on an Alaskan cruise, where dead college theatre professors are popping up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. Further complicating matters are Nicky’s and Noah’s parents as surprise cruise passengers, and Nicky’s assignment to direct a murder mystery dinner theater show onboard ship. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the curtain down on vacationing theatre professors before it is lights out for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining third novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and ship ahoy!

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The stunning movie star’s long jet-black hair created a silky fan on the cold marble floor. Surrounding her were a crowd of guilt-ridden faces: her possessive husband and producer, her handsome young paramour and co-star, her aggressive agent and female lover, her jealous sister and stand-in, and her makeup man who knew all her secrets (and she knew his). A detective arrived on the scene, took one look at the murdered beauty, and fell in love.

“Nice job, people! Let’s take ten.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a white stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and picturesque village of Treemeadow, Vermont. And how did I become the director of a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a ten-night June cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back? I spotted an online ad seeking theatre professors to present theatrical workshops for passengers on a cruise, culminating in a murder mystery dinner theatre presentation on the last evening. Okay, technically my colleague and fiancé Noah Oliver, Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, spotted the ad in an educational journal, but I applied for my department head and mentor, Martin Anderson (producing the show), my Noah (acting in the show), and me (directing). Martin’s husband, Ruben, came along for the ride.

Martin and Ruben are a sweet, elderly couple (don’t tell them I said that) who have been together forever and have two grown daughters. For our part, Noah and I are both tall, but the similarity ends there. I have dark hair, long sideburns, a Roman nose, and a pretty pumped body thanks to the gym on campus. Noah has exquisite curly-blond hair, sky blue eyes, a smooth build, and the most loving heart on land and sea. I am just a tad older than Noah—but what’s seven years? A lot when you are thirty-six and your lover is twenty-nine.

Oh, there’s one other little thing. Actually, it’s not so little. I have a thick nine-and-a-quarter inch penis—flaccid. Luckily, Noah is very open (pardon the pun) to my anatomical quirk.

After flying from Vermont to New York to San Francisco and waiting on endless security lines in the airports, the four of us got to the boat, where we waited on a long security line to come onboard. After unpacking in our cabin then getting a quick lunch at the bountiful buffet, Noah and I made our way through the sea of polyester, and somehow remained awake during the life boat drill.

Then we dodged photographers, dollar signs shining in their eyes like paparazzi at a closeted gay movie star’s mansion, and headed to our first rehearsal. As the dining room was occupied with guests eating lunch, we rehearsed in a nautical themed lounge onboard ship.

After an hour and a half of rehearsal, it was break time. While the other professors scattered like televangelists near an IRS building, Noah and I sat on a cozy loveseat next to a gas brick fireplace. Noah looked amazing in an aqua polo shirt and white pants, while I was a bit more toned down in yellow slacks and a cranberry hoodie. I took Noah’s soft, warm hand in mine, and said adoringly, “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Noah responded, “My first cruise.”

“My little virgin.” I kissed his cheek.

He looked out of the porthole and kissed the cleft in my chin. “The sky and the water are gorgeous.”

“I hope we get to the deck to see them.”

“We won’t be rehearsing all day, Nicky.”

“Don’t you need a break, handsome, young paramour character?”

Noah snuggled his shoulder into my chest. “I’d rather wallow away the minutes with my intended.”

We shared a warm kiss.

About the Author: 12_6-joeBestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015, and has won many Rainbow Award Honorable mentions including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at the publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015):
“Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever” “brilliant” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“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
“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
“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
“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! Bike Book Reviews

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention:
“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine
“Book 1, Drama Queen was always going to be a hard act to follow with its belly ache laughter approach but in this “smirkathong” – yes I was smirking throughout the book, my top lip still aches – the author succeeded in delivering another comic classic!” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“a perfect balance of humor and romance into a continuously twisting plot.” “Cosentino will keep you entertained and guessing until the very end.” 3 Chicks After Dark
“As with the first book, there are laugh out loud, completely funny sections. And enough of the mystery and suspense that keeps me reading” “I look forward to the next story” The TBR Pile
“laugh out loud funny” “Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the killer to be revealed.” “As a romance, readers will love seeing Nicky and Noah settling in to living together in their Victorian home.” “I highly recommend this series.” Joyfully Jay Reviews
“This is a wonderful addition to the series! I fell in love with Nicky in the first book and he just gets better. Filled with humor and action. Noah evolves in this story, his character grows into a more mature yet still adorable sidekick to Nicky. They are perfect together, in detective work and in family situations. I hope that there are more to follow.” Crystals Many Reviewers
“This book is a comic romp that simultaneously celebrates and lampoons a mash-up of genres: the bloodless murders (in this case six) of Agatha Christie and her ilk, the screwball movie mysteries of Nick and Norah Charles (it’s Nick and Noah here), and the simile-rich voice-overs of film noir– all updated for a gay context.” Elisa Rainbow, Rainbow Awards

Character Interview with Jana Lane by Joe Cosentino

Long and Short Reviews is excited to welcome back Joe Cosentino who is visiting with us to celebrate the release of the fifth book in the Jana Lane mystery series, Rag Doll published by The Wild Rose Press. Enjoy reading this interview with Jana.

Joe: Welcome Jana Lane Otley from RAG DOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery.

Jana: Thank you. Five, wow, I must be getting older.

Joe: You’re still in your prime, Jana Lane. Gorgeous, petite, with long blonde hair, blue eyes, a button nose, and a loving heart for everyone.

Jana: I’m blushing. My life is an open book.

Joe: Speaking of that, tell us about RAG DOLL, your latest mystery.

Jana: With the success of Miami Vice and Murder She Wrote, I was excited when my agent, Simon, told me I would be starring in a new television murder mystery series, The Detective’s Wife. It was quite a surprise when I found out hunky Detective Bove who I met in Washington, DC in SATIN DOLL had become an actor and was playing my husband on the series.

Joe: And rags to riches ingénue Christa Bianca is the guest star for the pilot episode. Jana, you and Christa become fast friends, and wouldn’t you know, there is an attempt on Christa’s life. Before we knew it, murder ensues.

Jana: Christa’s past as a poor, small town girl who the other kids called, Ragdoll, touched my heart. I was incredibly concerned about Christa and those dear to her when it became clear there was a murderer on our set.

Joe: I can’t believe anyone works with you, since you attract murder like cookies to kids.

Jana. Don’t blame me. I’m just a little voice in your head.

Joe: Speaking of voices, who are the suspects besides Bove’s ex, dominatrix Karen, who covets Christa’s role, and Herm the director who is infatuated with Karen?

Jana: Christa’s agent, and her uncle, a put out to pasture character actor, who is also guest-starring on the episode.

Joe: And trying to hold on to Christa’s coattails. Who else is suspect?

Jana: Andrew, Christa’s controlling manager/husband. And two couples playing bit roles who have a personal conflict with Christa and Andrew.

Joe: Don’t forget your son’s nanny and her boyfriend, the mysterious prop master with a secret.

Jana: As in all the Jana Lane mysteries, everyone has a secret in RAG DOLL.

Joe: But Jana Lane exposes them all. Once again The Littlest Detective and School Spy uses her knowledge from her movie roles as America’s biggest ex-child star and figures it all out in a nail-biting climax.

Jana: This one was a bit difficult. The clues didn’t add up, until the final reel.

Joe: For anyone not fortunate enough to read the other Jana Lane mysteries, tell us about America’s most famous ex-child star.

Jana: In PAPER DOLL at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embark on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer. In PORCELAIN DOLL I make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why. My heart is set aflutter by my gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob. In SATIN DOLL my family and I head to Washington, DC, where I play a US senator in a new film, and become embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. I also embark on a flirtation with ex-football player, Detective Bove. And I rub elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. In CHINA DOLL I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by my gorgeous co-star, and faced with murder on stage and off.

Joe: Well done. In addition to making a terrific comeback and solving numerous murder mysteries, you seem to have a lot of flirtations with men, Jana.

Jana: My husband Brian is the only man for me, but you can’t blame a girl for looking.

Joe: In addition to your loyal husband, Brian, your agent Simon has been by your side in each book.

Jana: Simon is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and totally loyal.

Joe: Now Simon is Bove’s agent too. How old is Simon Huckby?

Jana: Simon says he is somewhere between senior citizen and rigor mortis.

Joe: How have the reviews been for the series so far?

Jana: Amazing. I’m so flattered. They like me! They really like me!

Joe: In RAG DOLL do you think Christa Bianca, the ingénue, is based on any young successful actress past or present? How about Christa’s Uncle Nick, the aging character actor?

Jana: Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escapes her impoverished small town life and embarks on a successful film and television career. I’m sure there are many young actresses like her, past and present. In our youth-oriented society, there are also many aging character actors put out to pasture before their time. The interesting thing about Nicholas Hartford is how his niece looked up to him when she was a child, and now he looks up to her—hoping to ride on her coattails back to the top. I think we’ve seen that happen in a number of show business families.

Joe: You are interviewed by a very funny, aging, gossipy female television interviewer in RAG DOLL. Is Harriet Hologram representative of Barbara Walters, do you think?

Jana: I believe there are many television reporters and interviewers who wield their power over celebrities. I see it as a love/hate relationship, where both interviewer and star need each other to promote their work and their careers. It’s a shame the process needs to be so hurtful. I believe that is stoked by many viewers’ interest in celebrities’ health crises, divorces, bad reviews, and other misfortunes. I have a question for you now. I open the Jana Lane AIDS Foundation in this novel. Was that patterned after Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation?

Joe: Though Jana Lane is quite different from Elizabeth Taylor, like the great actress and humanitarian of yore, Jana, you are one of the very few celebrities to pick up the banner and raise money for treatment and a cure while our government representatives ignore the crisis that affected millions of Americans. And in this novel you are again confronted by a character who uses his religious beliefs to attack the rights of others. Do you think Christians will be offended by your reaction to Andrew Bianca’s verbal attacks on your gay co-stars, Jana?

Jana: I sure hope not. I’m a Christian who tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and I try to help the downtrodden and outcasts. Freedom of religion means the freedom to worship as you choose, not try to take away the civil rights or self-worth of others.

Joe: I find it fascinating how you use the skills you learned as a child star to solve the crimes. How do you remember all of your old movies, Jana?

Jana: Simon never lets me forget. Besides, you keep a notebook full of notes, Joe.

Joe: Is it fun living in 1985 in RAG DOLL?

Jana: I love the hairstyles, clothing, makeup, music, movies, television shows, and dances. You should see Bove in his parachute pants, colored T-shirt, and white jacket.

Joe: I like how you play fair in your mysteries, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

Jana: I agree! You are definitely the man behind the woman. Why not tell them about your other mystery series too?

Joe: You twisted my arm. In the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press, each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE 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 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.

Jana: He also has his MM romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. Finally, there is the MM beach series: COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

Joe: Who is the ideal reader of the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: A lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

Joe: How can your readers contact you?

Jana: Through you of course. You tell me everything.

joe-consentino-11_16Murder, romance, and scandal on and off the set of Jana Lane’s new murder mystery television show. America’s most famous ex-child star Jana Lane is starring in The Detective’s Wife, a murder mystery television show in 1985. Guest starring on the show is Christa Bianca, a rags-to-riches ingénue who has flooded the entertainment press. Life imitates television as cast members are murdered, and once again it’s up to Jana, along with sexy ex-detective Chris Bove, to save the day before the lights fade to black.

Praise for CHINA DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“Set on Broadway in 1984, “China Doll”…combines plenty of drama with a mystery complex enough to keep the reader guessing. Every member of the cast has not only some depth but intertwining romance and quirk to spare. The romance surrounding Jana as she struggles between remaining faithful to her husband and the feelings that stir around Peter will leave the reader torn until the end. With a smooth pace, intriguing mystery, and plenty of danger…An excellent read for lovers of mystery and drama!” Ind’Tale Magazine

“Joe Cosentino never disappoints…his novels are superb. I find myself addicted to each story that he writes, and once he writes a new book the characters end up being added to my all-time favorite lists. There’s plenty of action, intrigue, and murder to go around. A talented writer whose words constantly draw me in every time. I look forward to the next masterfully woven story in this series. Jana Lane is definitely a new female sleuth that should be on everyone’s reading list. I highly recommend China Doll to readers worldwide.” Urban Book Reviews

Praise for SATIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“A book that will captivate any reader! A page turner that won’t let you go! This is one author you can always depend on to publish a good read!!” Stormy Nights Reviewing

“Joe Cosentino is a brilliant mastermind when creating the perfect mystery series. In each novel in this intriguing series of his, Jana Lane Mysteries, readers are blown away by his writing. The instant readers jump into Joe Cosentino’s fictional world, the danger feels real, the suspense is killing, and the plot moves so fast. Action, lights, camera!” “A fast-paced murder mystery that readers will easily fall in love with…and one they can’t live without. Overall, I highly recommend this new title in the Jana Lane Mysteries and look forward to the next best adventure from Joe Cosentino.” Urban Book Reviews

Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can’t put it down.” Urban Book Reviews

“Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets.” “The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine

Praises for PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery:

“Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction

“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews

“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews

“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Urban Book Reviews

“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Jana and Bove did the scene again with a thin piece of gauze over the camera lens aimed at Jana.
Ah, the plight of a middle-aged actress.

Jana felt even better about that take. Their relationship worked, and the energy bounced back and forth between them almost effortlessly. Again Jana wondered what it would be like sharing her days with Bove and kissing Bove in bed before sleep each night.

Herm’s call for action brought Jana back to the scene. Bove’s close-up was even better than the first two takes. It was as if they had been married for years with an easygoing yet emotional rapport.

“Cut!”

“Good job, partner.”

Bove smiled at Jana. “Right back at you.”

As she started to rise from the bed, Jana spotted Christa in the distance with a look of horror on her face.

The young woman screamed as a lighting screen headed straight for her. Stu Silverman, standing next to Christa, noticed and pushed Christa out of the way in the nick of time. The screen crashed to the floor inches away from Christa’s feet. Standing on the other side of her, Andrew Bianca took his wife in his arms, and she wept on his shoulder.

Bove whispered to Jana, “Here we go again.”

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise and Drama Luau (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and the upcoming Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently head of the department/professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Wild Rose Press, or All Romance eBooks.

Porcelain Doll by Joe Cosentino – Q&A

Joe Cosentino has just released the second book in the Jana Lane mystery series, Porcelain Doll, and has stopped by to visit with us.

Can you tell us a little bit about creating the Jana Lane mystery series?

As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So 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 the secret behind that attack is exposed.

In PORCELAIN DOLL, it is 1982 and Jana is thirty-nine years old, living in a mansion in Hyde Park, New York. She 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, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. The other suspects include Jana’s James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children’s Eve Harrington type nanny, the film’s gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film’s production, and Jason’s agent.

In SATIN DOLL (not yet released), 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 ex-professional football player detective.

In CHINA DOLL (not yet released), 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.

Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger.

Was PAPER DOLL well received?

Yes, here are a few of the rave reviews: “Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction

“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews

“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews

“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Universal Creativity Digital Magazine

“The setting, the characterization and the plot keep you turning the pages.” The Book Mistress

“Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood.” Deb Sanders

“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite

Who is your favorite character in PORCELAIN DOLL? And why?

Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?

Reverend Charlton, the reverend protesting Jana’s film, was difficult to write since he is so frightening. I could never understand why some people use religion to try to attack and demonize others.

Do you think Christians would be offended by his character?

I sure hope not. Jana seems like a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. Reverend Charlton doesn’t seem very Christian to me since he uses his power and wealth to demean others.

Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?

Jana’s young co-star, Trevor, was fun since he has such a huge ego and is certainly a rebel without a cause

You’ve acted with Bruce Willis (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM onstage), Nathan Lane (THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT onstage), Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T Industrial), Holland Taylor (ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID), Charles Keating (NBC’s ANOTHER WORLD), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit Computer commercial) to name a few. Did you use your background as an actor to write PORCELAIN DOLL?

Definitely! As one reviewer of PAPER DOLL wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set. Thankfully nobody was murdered on my sets.

Why did you set the books in the 1980’s?

I love the music, hair styles, clothing, and decadence of that era. I had great fun writing about Jana’s mansion, wardrobe, makeup, and hairstyles. I was also able to incorporate some of the music, films, television shows, Broadway shows, and political and social events of the era, including the AIDS epidemic. I needed to do my research and remember back (though I was a mere child in the 1980’s-hah).

What are the difficulties in writing a series?

On the positive side, the leading characters are so real to me, each book is like visiting with old friends. I love Jana and I enjoy every moment with her. On the negative side, for continuity I need to keep a notebook full of information on each character and the various repeat locations—i.e. every room in Jana’s Hyde Park mansion.

How have the reviews been?

Amazing so far. Here are two examples. “Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

How are the Jana Lane mysteries different from the Nicky and Noah mysteries?

Each of the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE 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 (not released yet), 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.

Have you written other books besides mysteries?

Yes. My MM romance novellas are published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. I also have my novels set in a New Jersey beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is the publisher of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORARD (not yet released).

What are you writing now?

Ragdoll, the next Jana Lane mystery, where Jana stars in a TV murder mystery series. You guessed it! Life imitates art yet again.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on 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. I can’t think of anything better. 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.

Who is your ideal reader of your books?

My ideal reader is a lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

How can your readers contact you?

I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

3_18 porcelain dollIs art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana’s breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana’s interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Enjoy an excerpt:

As Jana sat waiting for Jack to call for action, she looked up at Jason’s encouraging face. She again was taken aback by his incredible beauty.

Reverend Charlton and Gloria reentered the study.

Jack called for quiet and action. Jana and Jason played the scene, where the detective notifies her of her husband’s death. Jason delivered his lines with warmth, vulnerability, and obvious affection for Jana. In turn, Jana listened then reacted with deep emotions, conveying shock, loss, fear, and hysteria while being comforted by the man she trusted. Jana clutched onto Jason with such force, her fingernail accidently tore a hole in his jacket.

“Cut!” Jack hollered.

While the wardrobe woman repaired Jason’s jacket, Jana noticed Reverend Charlton step out of the study again, this time with Ryan O’Halloran.

After the two men returned, and the jacket was mended, Jack called for slate and action for take two. Jana and Jason did the scene two more times. Each take was more realistic and heart-wrenching than the next, and each appeared as if it were the first time Jana was given the sad news.

After the third take, Jack shouted, “Cut! It’s a wrap. Ryan, let’s move on to the next location.”

Jana wiped the tears from her cheeks.

Jason placed his hand on the side of her face. “You’re amazing.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, partner.”

“You make me better,” he said with adoration in his true-blue eyes.

They shared a smile as again people hurried around the room like ants after a picnic.

Suddenly, Jana heard a loud crash followed by a scream. Leaping from her chair, she followed the horrified gazes of the others in the room to Ryan O’Halloran lying motionless on the floor with a Fresnel tungsten shuttered light next to his head, and blood dripping from his scalp onto the hardwood floor.

About the Author: 3_18 joeAmazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation & A Shooting Star & A Home for the Holidays & The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star 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 Satin Doll the third Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), China Doll the fourth Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), Drama Cruise the third Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

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Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Joe Cosentino is visiting with us today to celebrate the release of The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland. Post a comment below about why you love fairytales. The one that we think wins the glass slipper will receive a gift e-book of AN INFATUATION (Joe Cosentino’s hit novella published by Dreamspinner Press) from the author.

Welcome back, Joe Cosentino. You are becoming a regular with us.

I may request my own page on your site soon. Hah.

We’re a review site, but we try to support authors as much as possible. How do you deal with bad reviews?

Thankfully most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which help keep me going and even fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on 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. I can’t think of anything better. 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 or listening to an audiobook after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and move on to something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.

You are back with us to talk about your new novella of gay fairytales. You’re written romance, comedy, mystery, drama. You haven’t written fantasy before. Why the switch to a new genre?

When I was a kid my older sister read me fairytales in bed every night before sleep. (Now she reads my books!) I was completely enthralled by the beautiful stories of peasants becoming princes and princesses and finding true love. The gorgeous locations, wit, wonder, drama, and happy endings filled my young mind like beans in a counting jar. I wanted to live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality to those kingdoms. I learned how to read by reading those cherished, worn fairytale books. I still love them!

Is that why you became an actor?

Probably. My sister and I put on shows in our living room for unsuspecting and gullible family members. Since our budget was small, like us, we used blankets for royal capes, wooden spoons as scepters, and serving bowls for golden crowns. We incorporated songs from Broadway musicals too! Later as an adult I wrote musical plays for professional theatre companies (Interborough Repertory Theater, Pegasus Productions, and TSF Productions) that toured to young audiences. Many of them were based on fairytales like Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

You’ve acted with Holland Taylor in the ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID, Charles Keating on NBC-TV’s ANOTHER WORLD, Jason Robards in a Commercial Credit Computer commercial, Rosie O’Donnell in an AT&T Industrial, and Bruce Willis and Nathan Lane on stage. Was that like living inside a fairytale?

In a way. Acting is certainly playing make believe, fun, and incredibly fulfilling. I was blessed to work with some amazingly talented people on some pretty terrific projects. I hold those memories in my heart. However, acting is also hard work. As I frequently tell my students at my college, you have to be incredibly disciplined, on time, know your lines and character, creative, pliable, professional, and dedicated. You have to be equally dedicated to write. I generally write for two hours every evening.

What is your favorite fairytale?

Cinderella. It has the perfect elements: larger than life characters, humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending.

What led you to put the gay spin on your favorite fairytales?

As I read and reread those fairytales, I was saddened to see no openly gay characters in any of my favorite stories. I asked myself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a prince? Wouldn’t a tired, hungry, homeless blond boy seek refuge in a house with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage trying to tell him? Did Jack enjoy his time with the Giant more than he let on? Could the Snow Queen be a handsome, frigid prince? What’s the good of fairy dust without any fairies?’ I feel the same way when I see a Disney movie or Broadway show. Where are the openly gay characters?

How did you go about writing this new novella published by Dreamspinner Press?

Dreamspinner Press published my three successful contemporary romance novellas (AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS). Actually AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR are doing so well, Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together as a paperback releasing March 21. When considering what to write next, I decided to take the leap into the world of fantasy, turning my favorite fairytales into rainbows. So I thought back to the stories I loved so much and incorporated many of them into the four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and magically gay tales from Fairyland. It really was fun, like revisiting my childhood!

What are the stories about?

“The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart.

Tell us more about the main characters.

Cinder is sweet, giving, kind, and totally devoted to his family. He wants nothing more than to see them happy. Due to his selflessness, the spirits of his two deceased dads grant him a wish to go to the king and queen’s ball. Prince Charming is handsome, strong, and of course—charming. Like Cinder he wants to help the poor in his kingdom, but he doesn’t know how to do it. That’s where Cinder comes in. Cinder and Prince Charming are perfect foils and perfect soulmates.

Gideon begins as a selfish teenager. Thanks to Ben (the mature and hunky brother on Bear Mountain), Gideon learns the true meaning of love and family.

Pinocchio and Jack learn in their story to transcend their pasts and love themselves, and each other, again.

Gaelen is a sheltered young man who finds his inner strength to save his love, Kiernan, from the wicked Prince Isidore. Along the way he is tempted by three handsome men in the forest, but his heart always belongs to Kiernan.

What is the moral of the novella?

Everyone is welcome and equal in Fairyland, and everyone deserves love and happiness.

Who is your favorite character in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and why?

I love all of them, but my favorite are Cinder’s funny, sweet, devoted dads. I want to play Mortimer in the animated movie. Take note producers!

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write and why?

“Ice Cold” was a stretch for me since unlike most of my other work it is a fantasy epic. I enjoyed it though and I love all of the colorful characters Gaelen meets on his journey. They are so enticing and sexy.

Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Gideon sparing with Ben was a blast in “The Golden Rule.” Those two really heated things up.

How did you handle writing the fairytale love scenes?

Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in this novella are as beautiful and magical as the stories.

What are you writing now?

A new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon.

You write straight fiction as well?

I have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So 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 (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), 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 (not yet released 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 (not yet released 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. Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Is it difficult plotting the clues?

It’s an incredible amount of work planning the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprise but justifiable ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations. It’s the most challenging but most fun writing for me!

And you have your gay mystery series too.

Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Best MM Mystery, Best Crime, Best Contemporary, and Best Humorous Book of 2015!) 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 (whose tenure application was not supported by the first victim). In DRAMA MUSCLE 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 (not released yet), 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.

Wow, you are quite prolific. Have you ever thought about going back into acting?

Yes, I’d love to play Mr. Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane mystery series, and Martin Anderson the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Can you make that happen?

I’ll give it a whirl. How can your readers contact you?

I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

1_27 Joe The Naked Prince coverCinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.

Enjoy an excerpt:

At that moment the Prince returned Griselda to her mother, and the Prince’s and Cinder’s eyes met. Could it be? Cinder couldn’t believe the well-groomed young man in the exquisite crimson suit, violet cape, and gold crown could be the same young man Cinder had found naked in the meadow. The very same young stranger who had captivated Cinder’s thoughts and emotions ever since.

The Prince was equally skeptical that this aristocratic-looking young man in the handsome powder-blue suit could be the same man who made burlap clothing and whose absence in the Prince’s life was the cause of the Prince’s broken heart.
Both men looked at one another quizzically. Cinder nodded, then the Prince nodded, and they knew they had finally found one another.

With joy in his heart, the Prince held out his hand to Cinder. Eyes beaming with gratitude, Cinder took the Prince’s hand. Though Cinder had no experience with waltzing, the prince guided him so carefully and gracefully around the ballroom that the pair looked as if they were dancing on a cloud. Throughout the dance, they stared into one another’s eyes as if the sight of each other was the sole force that kept their hearts beating.

About the Author:1_27 joe B&N2Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second 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 are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press) and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press releasing March 15).

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Buy the book at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, or Barnes and Noble.

Drama Muscle by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino, author of the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Post a comment about cozy mysteries. The one that tickles our whodunit bone the most will receive the code for a gift audiobook of DRAMA QUEEN (performed by Michael Gilboe and published by Lethe Press), the first Nicky and Noah mystery from the author Joe Cosentino.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I love watching reruns of Murder She Wrote, Hart to Hart, and The Hardy Boys. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when a reviewer called Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, “hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys.” Another reviewer said it was “a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending,” One reviewer said it was the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue?

What is your favorite meal?

I wrote it into Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery. There’s a really funny scene where Noah tries to impress his meat and potato type parents from Wisconsin with his fine culinary skills and it backfires on him. Thankfully Nicky saves the day. The dinner is a blue cheese and pear tart with a fig and olive tapenade, avgolemono soup, pumpkin parsnip ravioli, roasted asparagus in a beet avocado reduction, chicken scarpariello, seven mushroom brown rice risotto, and flambéed vanilla-poached peer crepes with cinnamon.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

I have written five series. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are farcical whodunits taking place at an Edwardian style New England college. In Drama Queen, college theatre professors were dropping like stage curtains and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah had to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. When the ebook reached eighteen on the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook (with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe) sold like tickets to Les Mis after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery. So in the current release, Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Bodybuilding Department. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel. The third book (Drama Cruise not yet published) takes us on a cruise to Alaska for sights of glaciers and whales while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. You guessed it, cast members drop overboard like anchors, and Nicky and Noah have to figure out whodunit. In each book Nicky and Noah’s relationship grows stronger. Readers fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other.

My other mystery series is the Jana Lane mysteries. 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 (The Wild Rose Press releasing in March), 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 (not yet released 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 (not yet released 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.

My two In Your Heart novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star, did so well as e-books that Dreamspinner Press is releasing them together as a paperback this March.

Also, my fairytale stories, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, will be released as an e-book by Dreamspinner Press on January 27.

Finally, Nine Star Press is publishing my two novels that take place at a gay summer resort on the Jersey Shore: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward.

I know, my friends tell me I write faster than they can read!

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

I learned from the best! I’ve read every Agatha Christie novel and play many times. She is a genius at outlining when and where to give the reader what information. I love the inversion in her books, where she uses sleight of hand to lay out all the information, but not in a straight forward manner. The reader becomes the sleuth to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I try to include plot twists and turns, hidden clues, and surprising yet justified endings in my mysteries. As in an Armistead Maupin novel, the characters in my novels are wacky, surprising, and endearing.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

Since Nicky and Noah are theatre professors directing the bodybuilding competition on campus, Drama Muscle seemed like the perfect title for book two in the series. I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. What dedication! Since I work out every day (yet see very little results!) and am enamored of the real bodybuilders who are so big they don’t even need to iron their shirts, Drama Muscle holds a special place in my heart. I hope your readers will pick it up and enjoy!

I love hearing from readers, they can contact me via my website.

1_5 DramaMusclecoverIt could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Noah opened his mouth to say something, but Rodney Towers interrupted. “Professor, I was thinking about what Professor Abbondanza mentioned.”
Noah sighed. “Which of the numerous things said by Professor Abbondanza are you referring to, Rodney?”
“The thing about Zeus and Ganymede getting it on.” Rodney looked as if someone had held his nose and poured vinegar into his mouth.
Noah tried to speak again, and Maria Ruiz (our Athena) interrupted. “Homophobe anyone?” Maria stood nose to nose with Rodney. “What’s wrong with you, Rodney?” She pointed to the twins at the other end of the line. “Tim and Kim are playing Hercules and Adonis. Everyone knows they were a couple. You don’t hear them complaining.”
“Um now that you like mention it, Kim would rather, you know, play another part,” said Tim.
“Um so would Tim,” added Kim.
Posed with their hands on their hips, the twins looked like an advertisement for The King and I in double vision.
Let me explain. Kim and Tim Sim (Try saying that three times fast), as identical twins, can read each other’s minds. I could never read my brother’s mind when we were kids. That’s why I had to read his diary, listen in on his phone conversations, and bug his book bag.
The muscles on Rodney’s massive back curled as if snarling. “Let me make myself clear, Maria. I’m not happy playing Zeus, because I don’t want any part of an unnatural lifestyle.”
Maria shot him dagger eyes. “And pumping iron three hours a day and spray-painting our bodies is natural?”
“Maria knows all about being natural. Don’t you, Maria?” said compact Jonathan Toner (Achilles) with a smirk on his pimply face.
“Shut up, Jonathan,” replied Maria as if swatting a pesky fly.
Rodney said to his workout partner, “Maria, don’t rag on me because I believe in the Bible.”
“Then you better get to work in the fields, ’cause you’re a slave, honey,” Maria answered with a wave of her muscular arm and snap of her strong fingers.
“Kiss my muscular black ass.”
“Kiss my muscular Latina ass.”
Noah said, like a referee at an A.D.D. Little League game, “Okay, let’s talk about your character, Maria. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice. As you think about your poses—”
“Try to incorporate those feelings into your performance,” I said.
“Right,” Noah added with narrowed eyes in my direction.
I mimed buttoning my lips and rested my back against the wall.
Noah continued, “And Jonathan, Achilles was shot in the heel, the only weak part of his body.”
“Hence the term ‘Achilles heel,’” I added, then placed my hand over my big mouth.
Jonathan flexed his small, high-peaked biceps. “There’s no part of me that’s weak.”

“Except your brain,” said Maria.

Waving his stubby finger under her square jaw, Jonathan said, “Careful, Maria. You don’t want to piss me off.”

Like a substitute teacher on the last day of school, Noah tried to keep control. Noticing Mack Heath (Ganymede) standing quietly, Noah said, “Let’s talk about Mack’s character.”

Middle weight, fair, perfectly proportioned, and amazingly cut, Mack said, “Didn’t Ganymede represent youth and beauty?”

“Correct!” I said then covered my mouth with both hands.

Jillian Flowers (our Aphrodite), a raving blonde beauty, gazed at Mack with lust in her violet eyes. “You um totally are like Ganymede, Mack.”

Mack’s cheeks grew flushed. “Thanks.”

“For what?” Jillian asked.

“You just said I’m like Ganymede.”

Jillian said, “Um isn’t that like who you are, you know, playing?”

Poor Jillian. Last year, while working out, a barbell accidentally fell on Jillian’s head, leaving her with poor short-term memory.

“Let’s talk about your character, Jillian,” said Noah, clearly hoping to get things back on track. “Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty—”

“And love,” I added, then hid my face underneath my blazer.

Jillian batted her long lashes at Mack, then rested her strong hand on his mountainous shoulder. “Did um Aphrodite and Ganymede ever like, you know, hook up?”

“No, they didn’t, Jillian.” Mack slid his shoulder out of her clutches.

“Who didn’t what?” asked Jillian in confusion.

“Aphrodite and Ganymede were never a couple,” Mack explained, then walked away.

Jillian responded, “Who said they were?”

“Tim is like getting, you know, bored,” said Kim.

“Kim um wants to like get back to, you know, rehearsing,” added Tim.

Having lost his patience, Jonathan walked past each of his classmates with a smirk on his pockmarked face, like a carnival sharpshooter wiping out a row of rubber duckies. “Jillian, Mack isn’t into you. Mack isn’t into anybody, except Mack. Tim and Kim, you don’t need this competition. Stay home and wait for Daddy Big Bucks Sim to kick the chop suey. Maria, you don’t want to tick me off, and you know why. Rodney, join the twentieth century.”

About the Author: 1_5 B&N3Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, 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 Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

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Buy the book at Amazon or the publisher.

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).

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