I am incredibly touched by your many messages in praise of my two e-book novellas from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR, including how reading them changed your lives. This is especially important to me since AN INFATUATION is loosely based on my years in high school and my ten-year high school reunion, and A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on my time as a theatre major in college. Your support and enthusiasm helped AN INFATUATION win Favorite Book Cover and 2nd Place Favorite Romance Novel in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll of 2015, and me win 2nd Place Favorite Author. Now your embracing of these two novellas has caused Dreamspinner Press to publish them together in a paperback under the title IN MY HEART, releasing March 21. I hope you will embrace the paperback anthology in the same way as you did the e-books. Thank you from–in my heart. Hugs.
If you were stranded on a desert island (food and water provided), what three things would you take with you?
My spouse for company, my neighbor who knows how to do everything to build a hut and catch and cook the food, and Zeb Atlas to look at.
Do you have a designated writing area at home? What’s it like?
Like Martin Anderson, the college’s theatre department head in DRAMA QUEEN (the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press), I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. It’s hard for me to leave.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Also like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, I’m a college theatre professor/department head. I love giving back to my students, and they teach me as much as I teach them. A number of my faculty colleagues kidded me that if they tick me off I will kill them in an upcoming Nicky and Noah mystery. While tempting, I like them too much to do that.
What are you working on now?
I just finished writing a new novel set at a gay beach resort in New Jersey called COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, and sent it to the publisher. And I just started writing CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery). The Jana Lane mysteries are about ex-child star, Jana Lane, making a comeback while she solves murder mysteries, including who is after her. The series takes place in the 1980’s so AIDS is an integral part of each novel. Though Jana is straight, her best friend, agent, and greatest fan are gay. PAPER DOLL was published by Whiskey Creek Press. PORCELAIN DOLL is releasing in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow.
Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?
They say, write what you know about. Also, go to the mall and look at movie poster after movie poster with no gay characters in them. What does this say to gay youth? This needs to change. Gay stories need to be told. After my In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella, AN INFATUATION, was released by Dreamspinner Press, so many readers told me they laughed, cried, and were very much moved by Harold and Mario’s story. I received numerous requests for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born. I know this story will touch everyone’s heart. I can’t wait to share more MM stories with readers.
What did you enjoy most about writing this story
I loved spending time with the characters in A SHOOTING STAR. Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet. He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Barry is hysterically funny and has such a great sense of self. He is also a devoted friend. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. David is magical, an enigma, and incredibly sexy.
The acting professor, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. He is great fun! I also love the theme of the story. As college theatre majors Jonathan and David sought out, developed, and celebrated the good in everyone around them. The world would be a better place if everyone followed their lead.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I generally wake up at 3am with a good idea and jot down notes on the pad on my night table. Since I began as an actor, I start by writing a long biography for each character. Sometimes I write an outline and other times I wing it. Since I did improvisation as an actor, I let the voices/characters in my head talk to one another then I write down what they say. I show the second draft to my spouse for his notes. The third draft goes to the publisher.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
Write the kind of stories that you like to read, and the kind of characters you want to spend time with. There’s more to romance than romance. Just like in real life, romances are full of comedy, mystery, drama, twists and turns, and big surprises.
What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you?
I am editing A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (an American travels to Capri Italy and embarks on a romance with his handsome third cousin), a short holiday novella releasing from Dreamspiner Press in December. Then comes THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairytales novella), releasing from Dreamspinner Press in February. DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press) releases in March with Nicky and Noah investigating why musclemen are dropping like weights while Nicky directs the college’s bodybuilding competition. DRAMA CRUISE (Nicky and Noah investigate why theatre professors are dropping overboard while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre), and DRAMA ALOHA (Nicky directs a luau show in Hawaii while he and Noah investigate why muscular hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts) will follow. The second Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, releases from The Wild Rose Press sometime in 2016 too. SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL will follow. So I’ll be very busy! Hopefully readers will come along for the ride, and contact me via my web site to give me their feedback: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com, and on Amazon and Goodreads!
Which of your characters is most like you?
Readers tell me my books are cinematic. So I’m ready to make the movies. I want to play Principal Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Martin Anderson the department head in the Nicky and Noah series, and Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane series. I’m ready for my close up!
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Cover Artists: Christy Caughie & L.C. Chase
A SHOOTING STAR title: On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Praise for A SHOOTING STAR:
“unbelievably beautiful” “a masterpiece” Lovebytes Reviews
“heart-wrenchingly beautiful, that no words I possess in my vocabulary would do it justice” “Again Joe Cosentino drew me into his wonderful world of part fact/part fiction/loosely based on his own experiences world – a world as a reader I love to enter, time and time again.” Three Books over the Rainbow
“A Shooting Star could easily function as a master class in how to write short fiction (or any fiction). Joe Cosentino has provided a work that will leave you thinking and wanting to savor and re-read it again and again.” GGR Reviews
“This is a bittersweet love story, so don’t be surprised if you find tears running down your face when a shining and burning star is extinguished too soon. But, as Joe Cosentino proves time and time again, with his wonderful writing and storytelling ability, love will prevail, and you will smile from ear to ear.” Kathy Mac Reviews
“For those readers looking for something a little bit different – dare I say unique? For those readers who like to laugh. For those readers who appreciate the nuances of people and the way each character is different. For those readers who want to read a damn good story – check out this author. I’m glad I did.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“Cosentino has another winning heartbreaker with A Shooting Star.” Prism Book Alliance.
“Yes, it is a bittersweet story but it is one that still has hope and love.” Hearts on Fire Reviews
“This story just blew me away.” “If you like something different from time to time, a bittersweet story, actors, college men, and a very sweet romance I highly recommend this.” Cathy Brockman Romance/MM Good Book Reviews
“From the beginning I was enthralled and couldn’t wait to finish the book.” Inked Rainbow Reads
“really grabs you and tugs at your emotions” “unique and enjoyable.” Nautical Star Books
“a sophisticated, enthralling and suspenseful tale with a gothic vibe and a multi-layered execution that will have you sitting up and taking notice. This is polished prose at its best. Intelligent writing, a thought-provoking plot and characters befitting the theater genre make A Shooting Star one of my favorite reads this year.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
“a beautifully written story, full of life, love, heartbreak, tragedy, and maybe most importantly, triumph.” Readers’ Favorite
AN INFATUATION: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.
Praise for AN INFATUATION
(Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for 2015: 2nd Place Best MM Romance Novel, 1st Place Best Cover Design):
“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours.” “If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys
“I think you will be left breathless with the reality and emotion behind An Infatuation.” Diverse Reader
“Don’t miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe for putting your heart on the page for us to savor!” Bike Book Reviews
“Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success.” MM Good Book Reviews
“Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.” The Novel Approach
“It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day”. Nautical Star Books
“I recommend this book to anyone reminiscing about that one that got away.” LoveBytes Reviews
“There were times I laughed and then there were times I cried…unforgettable.” Multitaskingmomma Reviews
“Like an onion, Joe Cosentino’s stories have layers. I would really recommend them. This is a Bittersweet novel, but it has laughs-a-plenty despite the sad and ugly lurking beneath the veneer. A truly fabulous read.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“The story kept me turning the pages and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.” “I love that Harold found what he was looking for in life and in a partner and love that he has his HEA. Great read.” Up All Night, Sleep All Day
“just the right dose of humor, honesty, and of course, sweet romance” Readers’ Favorite
Amazon 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 and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe 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, 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 Satin Doll & China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (NineStar Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com