Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES Releases Today!


Today, I'm grateful for the release of my 33rd novel, SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES, about the otherworldly choices we make in the name of love. I can remember a time, not long ago, when I thought no one would ever publish me, so I'm especially grateful today.

BLURB
What if your first love was abducted and presumed dead—but returned twenty years later?

That’s the dilemma Cole Weston faces. Now happily married to Tommy D’Amico, he’s suddenly thrown into a surreal world when his first love, Rory Schneidmiller, unexpectedly reappears.

Where has Rory been all this time? What happened to him two decades ago, when a strange mass appeared in the night sky and lifted him into the heavens? Rory has no memory of those years. For him, it’s as though only a day or two has passed.

Rory still loves Cole with the passion unique to young first love. Cole has never forgotten Rory, yet Tommy has been his rock, by his side since Rory disappeared.

Cole is forced to choose between an idealized and passionate first love and the comfort of a long-term marriage. How can he decide? Who faces this kind of quandary, anyway? The answers might lie among the stars….

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(Also available in Italian, German, and French!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Come Through the Closet Door with Me



Through the Closet Door is a story that's near and dear to my heart and almost painful for me to read. It's a story about a young married man coming to terms one summer with the fact that he's gay. In spite of his emerging, but-will-not-be-denied sexuality, he truly loves his wife and he knows that acceptance will mean a traumatic and painful upheaval, and knows too, that self-acceptance has a terrible price: causing those he loves incredible pain.

I know because I have been that young man. Although the physical details of my new story are not autobiographical, the emotions certainly are, so this is one tale that really hits close to home for me.

I hope you'll check it out. I think it's a really meaningful, poignant, and touching read, whether you've been through what the main characters have or not. To read the story for only $1.99 (or for free if you have Kindle Unlimited), just click on the hyperlinked titles above or the BUY link below.

BLURB
Gregory seems to have it all: youth, good looks, a beautiful wife, a job he loves as an elementary school teacher, a quiet house on the beach.

So why is Gregory so miserable? Why is he unable to control his lingering gaze on his neighbor, Jake, the handsome truck driver who lives just down the way? Why does Gregory spend his private time keeping a secret journal that details fantasies and memories of him locked in embraces with other men?

It’s summer, and the peaceful lake belies the turmoil in Gregory's heart. His wife wants to start a family, while Gregory wants to start something with Jake, but doesn’t dare.

Climbing out of the closet is never easy ... but it’s even more difficult when doing so might shatter the lives of those around you.


EXCERPT



Gregory sets down his beer, turns so that he is facing away from Jake. It surprises him and he sucks in a breath when he feels the calm pressure of Jake’s hands on his shoulders, kneading. The massage is soothing, his digging fingers sending warmth through him. He allows his head to loll back, surrendering to the pleasure of Jake’s strong hands. If he could just sit here forever and Jake would continue his ministrations, his problems would disappear and he wouldn’t have to think. He believes that’s the key to this problem: thinking. He doesn’t ever want to think again. He closes his eyes as Jake’s hands move up and down his back, squeezing and releasing the taut muscles just below his skin.



“Jesus. You did have a fight,” Jake says. “You’re so tense. Relax and let old Jake take care of untangling those bunched-up muscles.”

Gregory wants nothing more. This feels so right and so wrong…all at the same time. He shouldn’t be doing this. Reluctantly, he moves forward, so that Jake’s hands will drop from his back. The absence of Jake’s touch makes him long for more, like some deep-seated hunger that is simple minded in its pursuit of satisfaction.

“Sh-h. Listen, it’s okay,” Jake whispers and leans close to Gregory, his chest pressed against Gregory’s back.

Impulsively, Gregory turns and hugs him. He is more surprised by his action than he imagines Jake is. The intense brown of Jake’s eyes is apparent, even in the dark. Gregory feels he could lose himself in the brown, letting it swallow him up like a cold spot in the lake. The feel of Jake’s body so close, the strong arms wrapped around him are like a blessing, a relief after so much denial.

Then Jake is leaning close, and Gregory feels the soft pressure of his lips on his own. Gregory closes his eyes, shutting everything out save for the soft cool of Jake’s mouth on his. He lets his head go back, parts his lips to admit Jake’s tongue and, almost of its own accord, his hand comes up, grabbing Jake at the nape of his neck and pulling him closer. The feel of Jake’s beard against his smooth skin is electric, and Gregory finds himself out of control, lost, as he mashes his mouth against the other man’s, his tongue dueling, the taste of beer and cigarettes and something indefinable and sweet filling his mouth.

An image of Rosemary intrudes, that same image of her standing near the window, watching for his return, wondering what he’s doing. And what is he doing?

Just as suddenly as the kiss begins, it stops as Gregory stiffens, leaning back. Jake pulls away, regarding him out of the corner of his eye, back against the porch swing. Jake is breathless. He lets out a small laugh, husky.

Gregory forces himself to scoot down on the bench a couple of inches, so that their contact disappears. He doesn’t want this to end, yet at the same time, sees no other road open to him. He can’t live split in two. Weakly, he mumbles, “I have to get up early tomorrow.”

“Sure,” Jake whispers, reaching for another cigarette. The flare of the lighter illuminates his face for a moment and Gregory is certain he can see frustration and disappointment in the other man’s craggy features. He exhales smoke and looks out toward the lake. “I understand. You run along now. Be a good little boy.”

“Jake, I—”

And Jake puts a finger to Gregory’s lips, the lips he’s just kissed. “Hey, don’t worry about it, man. Believe it or not, I was married once, too, even have a couple of kids, so I know. I know.”

Gregory is off the porch and swallowed up by the darkness before Jake has a chance to say another word. He stomps through the night, his footfalls hard, firm, and rapid as he heads back toward his own home…and Rosemary. He doesn’t question why his breath is catching and why his face is covered with salty tears...

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Guest Post from Joe Cosentino: Interview with Michael Rodgers, from Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings


Interview with Michael Rodgers, a leading character in
Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings, the 5th novel in the Cozzi Cove Beach Series

Welcome, Michael.

Michael: Thanks. It’s nice to stretch out of the books.

This is your fifth Cozzi Cove novel.

Michael: I’ve grown a lot from a street punk to a loyal husband and father, and photojournalist working for a gay magazine. But I’m still way younger than Cal, which I never let him forget.

It’s refreshing to see a gay couple so in love.

Michael: Cal’s my first and only love of my life. I aim to keep it that way.

You are described in the books as having skin like milk chocolate, a stock built, exotic dark eyes, and thick chestnut hair.

Michael: I’m blushing. Actually, I’m with Cal on the cover of book two.

Who’s on the other covers?

Michael: Cal is on book one. Book three features Cal’s brother George. Our ex-houseboy Billy Dean is on book four, and our current houseboy Carlos is on the new cover.

How come your first houseboy, Connor, was never featured on a cover?

Michael: He was probably too busy having sex on the cove.

What led Joe Cosentino to write a fifth novel in the series? Was it you and Cal whispering in his ear at night?

Michael: I’m sure we had something to do with it. Taylor was probably offering him money. But mostly it was the readers. Joe received messages on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and his web site begging him to write another Cozzi Cove novel. One reader wrote that he misses his family on Cozzi Cove! They also said they missed the quirky characters, mystery, drama, sweet romance, plot twists and turns, beautiful locations, and happily ever after endings. I missed them too!

What was it like for you having another Cozzi Cove adventure?

Michael: I’m always happy when I’m with Cal. Our new baby has been quite a blessing, and quite a task to raise. My relationship with my family keeps growing and getting stronger. Taylor and I come to a new understanding in this book. My sister-in-law Carla unleashes quite an announcement. And as usual the guests provide stories full of humor, secrets, and shocking surprises. And of course, lots of hot romance!

Tell us about the series.

Michael: Cozzi Cove is a magical place on the New Jersey Shore where nothing is what it seems, and romance is always in the sea air. In each of the novels, you get my story with Cal and our family and friends, and four additional interwoven stories about the tantalizing guests in the bungalows.

Give the readers the order of the novels.

Michael: They are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and now Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. I’m in all of them.

Is Cozzi Cove a real place?

Michael: Now it is to me. It’s my home with my family. Actually, Joe made it up. But it’s based on a spot at the New Jersey Shore that he visited every summer as a kid. His family had a bungalow near the beach, bay, and a private cove that formed when soft rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a stunning bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge. Every summer Joe swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy, and jumped up and down on trampolines. We all get to do the same things in Cozzi Cove.

How did Cozzi Cove become a gay resort?

Michael: My great-grandfather and Cal’s great-grandfather built the town and all the bungalows on the resort, Cal’s father, sensing his son’s orientation, decided to run it as a gay resort. Cal took control after his folks passed away. I meet Cal in the first novel.

What’s the story in book five?

Michael: Cal and I enjoy sharing the cove with our one-year old son, C.J., Cal Junior. When Cal worries about our financial future, Kevin Donovan, Cal’s old football buddy from high school, appears at Cozzi Cove offering to buy the resort for a hefty fee. Of course, Cal’s top one-percenter sister, Taylor, is ready to host a moving party. However, I do some investigating and find out Kevin’s offer isn’t exactly what it seems. Cal also hires a new houseboy and nanny and romantic sparks fly. Carlos is an exhibitionist who believes he is the reincarnation of Adam, the first man. Alfred has Mormon paraphernalia is his bureau. However, this is Cozzi Cove. Nothing is actually what meets the eye. Nobody knows that better than me. Also, a professional matchmaker, Gilead, checks in with his clients: Marine Master Sergeant Matt Pummel, young businessman from Hawaii Keone Paoa, and young writer Luis Lui. Two matches are made, but who ends up with whom will surprise you. Finally, another guest, Nyx believes he was abducted by aliens in the woods. When he meets Kurt, who believes he is a sexy werewolf, the two share some tantalizing moonlit nights leading to a shocking climax that could affect the whole world.

Will each couple have a HEA?

Michael: Of course! This is Cozzi Cove.

What’s the theme of this book?

Michael: We all need to feel special, love, and be loved.

Why do you think the readers love the Cozzi Cove beach series so much?

Michael: Who wouldn’t fall in love with Cal? He’s handsome, smart, caring, honest, and true. Also, Cozzi Cove is a magical place, where anything can happen.

Which other character do you enjoy the most?

Michael: Our baby, C.J., though only one years old is quite the charmer. Cal’s new houseboy, Carlos, is a nudist who believes he was famous nudists in his past lives. His relationship with our new nanny, Alfred, has lots of surprises. Oh, Gilead the matchmaker is a riot. After reading the book, you’ll be quoting his phrases.

Which character didn’t you like?

Michael: Kevin Donovan.

Why?

Michael: You’ll have to read the book to find out. It’s quite a story with lots of emotional peaks. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a game changer. 

And you’ve won Favorite Book of the Month at The TBR Pile and Rainbow Award Honorable Mention.

Michael: But Joe got all the accolades.

Your books are quite cinematic.

Michael: Joe’s written a teleplay pilot. Hear that, producers! Make him an offer! Cal and I are ready for the screen.

Who might play you?

Michael: Corbin Bleau.

Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels?

Michael: To quote Joe’s favorite words, “Never say never.”

Readers have compared the books to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series. How do you feel about that?

Michael: Incredibly humbled and thrilled.

Tell us about Joe’s gay novellas published by Dreamspinner Press.

Michael: I’m not in them. But you should check them out anyway. In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star are loosely based on Joe’s high school and college years respectively. They were so popular as individual e-books, Dreamspinner Press published them together in one paperback.

In the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories, Bobby, an American law student, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin, Paolo, in A Home for the Holidays. In The Perfect Gift, Bobby and Paolo move to Philly, marry, and adopt a child.

The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland is Joe’s hysterically funny gay take on his favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.

Joel Leslie did the incredible audiobooks.

The Cozzi Cove novels have mysterious elements, but Joe also has two mystery series.

Michael: Again, I’m not in them. But they’re still pretty terrific. Joe’s Nicky and Noah mystery series are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. In Drama Queen 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, and Nicky’s eventual lover. 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. In Drama Luau, muscular male hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts as Nicky directs the Luau show. It’s up to Nicky and Noah to figure out whodunit and why. In Drama Detective, Nicky and Noah do a musical Sherlock Holmes play and actors drop faster than hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again it’s up to Nicky and Noah as Holmes and Watson to save the day. The games’ afoot! In Drama Fraternity, Nicky and Noah shoot a slasher film movie on campus, and life imitates art. It’s up to Nicky and Noah to catch the murderer before they end up on the cutting room floor.
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.

How can your readers contact you and Cal?

Michael: Through Joe. We love hearing from readers! They can contact us at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal and I have a bungalow waiting just for you. We hope to see YOU there!

COZZI COVE: HAPPY ENDINGS
The fifth novel in the Cozzi Cove series
by JOE COSENTINO

http://mybook.to/CozziCove_HE
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/835400
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cozzi-cove-joe-cosentino/1128860553?ean=2940155279358
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=Cozzi+Cove%3A+Happy+Endings


 It’s summertime, the perfect season for another trip to Cozzi Cove: the magical place where nothing is what it seems and romance is always in the sea air. Welcome back to hunky Cal Cozzi’s seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer Cal is visited by Kevin Donovan, a handsome man from his past who makes Cal a tempting offer to buy Cozzi Cove and provide financial security to Cal and Michael’s baby. Cal’s Wall Street sister, Taylor, has hopped aboard Kevin’s green wagon. However, Cal’s husband, Michael, and Taylor’s wife, Carla, aren’t convinced, sensing something much deeper in Kevin’s offer than meets the roving eye. Cal’s exhibitionist new houseboy, Carlos, is smitten with Cal’s sweet-faced nanny, Alfred, who carries a shocking secret in his magic Mormon underwear. Middle-aged matchmaker Gilead has matched guests Marine Master Sergeant Matt Pummel and much younger businessman Keone Paoa to the chagrin of cute young lawyer Luis Lui. As skeletons come out of their closets, the bears and cubs search for their true honey. Woodsy guest Nyx Oberon meets a sexy werewolf at the cove and they share a howling moonlit night. Nyx believes his newfound lover could be part of a much larger plan that would change his life and the world forever. Will Cal, his family, and his guests have happy endings? It’s Cozzi Cove after all.

Praise for the COZZI COVE series:

“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 Book of the Month

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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 his stunning characters….Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. 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

“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

“There is plenty to feast upon within each sudsy storyline, including intrigue, deception, desire, romance, and sex….As the pages turn quickly and events unfold, the ensuing antics are irresistibly entertaining, but more importantly the characters are likeable and deserve our genuine interest and concern as some of their relationships are put to the test. Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings is clearly just that -- the beginning -- for Cal and Michael, and this highly engaging, enjoyable novel examines both their past and present history as proof that they were destined to be together.” Edge Media Network

“I adore this series so much. I adore it partly because of the setting, the writing, the romance, but also because each one of the guests at Cozzi Cove has a story beyond their face value….There is so much packed into this book's short 174 pages and I loved every single one of them!” Alpha Book Club

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll 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), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, 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! Upcoming novels and novellas are Drama Castle, Drama Dance, and Drama Faerie, Nicky and Noah mysteries; The First Noel, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Story Book 3 (Dreamspinner Press); and Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Tales from Fairyland Book 2.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Language: English
Cover Design: Fred Wolinsky
Length: 225 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1720665014
ISBN-10: 172066501X
ASIN: B07DGVLCMX
Release date: August 1, 2018

Excerpt of Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings, the fifth Cozzi Cove novel, by Joe Cosentino:

Cal placed the luggage on the floor next to the desk. “What do you do?”
“I’m a matchmaker.”
Cal couldn’t help smiling.
“What? Because my name isn’t Dolly or Yente?”
“What is your name?”
“Gilead Shadchan. I’m like the ‘Balm in Gilead,’ the salve to make everything all right.”
“The ‘Balm in Gilead’?”
Gilead sighed. “Nobody reads the Bible anymore, except the people who use it as a weapon to try to take away our rights.”
Cal found Gilead’s name on his computer. “Yes, you purchased four bungalows for the week.”
“They’re not all for me.” Gilead adjusted his tight powder-blue jumpsuit. “I’m not that large.” He chuckled.
There was something likeable about the guy. “Who are they for?”
“My clients. I’m the top-rated matchmaker in the gay community. Haven’t you heard of me?”
“Sorry.”
“Have you been to Commercial Street in Provincetown, Castro Street in San Francisco, Christopher Street in New York City, and Duval Street in Key West?”
“Yeah.”
“You notice the sea of gay couples holding hands as they walk down the streets?”
“Um hm.”
“I did that. And believe me I get a lot of wedding invitations from my clients. I can do the alley cat, tarantella, and Macarena in my sleep.” He sat on the desk. “I also match up guys on the down low and in the up high.”
“The up high?”
“The Vatican.” He said sotto voce, “The priests without altar boys.”
Cal couldn’t help laughing.
Gilead squinted at the tiny American flag on Cal’s shirt. “Interesting flag. Where’s the other colors of the rainbow?”
Though Cal was entertained by Gilead’s antics, he needed to get back to business. “Gilead, I have you in Bungalow Five and your guests in Bungalows Two, Three, and Four.”
He nodded. “Generally, the men I match go out to dinner to meet each other. But these guys bought my special package: a week’s vacation at a gay resort with the man of their dreams.”
“What if one of them isn’t happy with your selection for him?”
“Impossible. I have a ninety-five percent success rate in matchmaking.”
“And the other five percent?”
“They came out as straight.” He raised his eyes to his receding hairline. “For the moment.”
Cal said, “With all the hook-up web sites, I’m surprised a matchmaker still exits.”
“Those web sites are just that.” He said as if eating mud, “Places for hook-ups.” Smiling radiantly, he added, “I match people for life!”
“How do you do it?”
Gilead said with a flourish of his pudgy hand, “I meet with each applicant for three hours, where I ask him a series of questions. Then I type the data into my computer and the magic happens.”
“Hopefully the Republicans won’t work with Russia to hack in.”
Gilead paused, stared at Cal, and then burst out laughing. “I like an innkeeper with a sense of humor.” He crossed one leg over the over. “You looking for somebody?”
Cal smiled. “I’m happily married, thank you.”
“If anything changes.” Gilead handed Cal his card. “I guarantee satisfaction.”
“I don’t think I’ll be needing your services.”
“That’s what they all say.”
Cal couldn’t resist. “Are you single, Gilead?”
“As single as a Republican at a Green Peace rally.” He sighed. “To be honest, Cal, I’ve devoted my life to finding happiness for others. Now at forty-five, I’m ready for a bit of happiness myself.”
“You may find it. This is Cozzi Cove.”

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Advance Review for SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES!

A lovely advance review on author JP Jackson's blog of my sci-fi romance, SKY FULL OF MYSTERIES, coming out on August 14!

"Rick R. Reed has been on my To Be Read radar for a while now, and so when the opportunity came up to read and review his latest release, I eagerly jumped on it. This story centers around Cole and Rory, a young couple moving in together, new in their relationship, and living life in the Midwestern city of Chicago. Reed's knowledge of the neighborhoods and attention to detail of the city is impressive, immediately immersing the reader into the gay 1990's in this well-known city. Having lived as an out gay man during the 90's, I was impressed as I too recalled the history at the time. Bars and clubs were the preferred gathering place, smartphones didn't exist, nor did the hookup apps - and so how did young gay men find each other? Either by sitting in said bars or through the city's local hookup phone lines. I had forgotten all about those phone lines, and I found myself transported back to my youth while reading this story - well done Mr. Reed! It was an enjoyable walk down memory lane. The mystery in this novel is what happens to Rory - a self-proclaimed Sci-Fi nut, who goes missing. The reader knows why, but the details about the event are never explored, keeping the entire incident a true conundrum. Even Rory himself doesn't remember the details of his abduction. The book focuses on the development of the characters. What's going on in their heads, how Cole deals with his lover's sudden disappearance, and what happens to the people from Rory's life who are left wondering, "What happened?" Twenty years later Rory returns. We get to see how the characters from the beginning of the story have changed, how life has progressed, and how they react to Rory's sudden reappearance. There are some scintillating and steamy scenes between Rory and Cole, but I'm not entirely sure I would have called this an M/M Romance, as I'm not convinced there was a Happily Ever After, or even a Happy For Now ending. There is a sudden disappearance involving aliens, but I'm not sure I would have called this book a Sci-Fi adventure, as the details of the abduction are left to the reader's imagination and the Sci-Fi aspect isn't truly explored. But what you do get is a solid story, steeped in 90's gay culture, vivid descriptions and amazing character development. If you're looking for a story that's just a touch different than your average book, I'd recommend this. As I said above, Mr. Reed has been on my To Read list for a while. That hasn't changed, and with this book, I've now found another author whose talent for telling a story takes me out of reality for a while as I explore his worlds. Nicely done Mr. Reed! Nicely done.
I'll be sure to check out other novels by this author."

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Monday, July 23, 2018

The Cover is Revealed! Sky Full of Mysteries, Now Available for Pre-Order

My new book, Sky Full of Mysteries, is now available for pre-order. And finally, after sitting on it for months, I'm allowed to reveal the amazing and beautiful cover by the talented Reese Dante!


BLURB
What if your first love was abducted and presumed dead—but returned twenty years later?

That’s the dilemma Cole Weston faces. Now happily married to Tommy D’Amico, he’s suddenly thrown into a surreal world when his first love, Rory Schneidmiller, unexpectedly reappears.

Where has Rory been all this time? What happened to him two decades ago, when a strange mass appeared in the night sky and lifted him into the heavens? Rory has no memory of those years. For him, it’s as though only a day or two has passed.

Rory still loves Cole with the passion unique to young first love. Cole has never forgotten Rory, yet Tommy has been his rock, by his side since Rory disappeared.

Cole is forced to choose between an idealized and passionate first love and the comfort of a long-term marriage. How can he decide? Who faces this kind of quandary, anyway? The answers might lie among the stars….

PRE-ORDER
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle--coming soon!

EXCERPT

Cole listened to the close of Tommy’s office door, the start of the new-age music he listened to as he wrote. Today it was Yiruma. Cole waited a moment, in case Tommy should open the door, and then headed down the hall to the master bedroom. He knew Tommy would not emerge until dinnertime, or even later, if he really got involved.

He sat down on the king-size bed, running his hand over the orange and gray quilt. Part of him simply wanted to collapse backward on it, close his eyes, and sleep for hours. The hum of the window air conditioner was soothing, and he knew he could be under within minutes if he allowed himself.

But no, it was the anniversary. He would do what he always did on this day. He pushed himself up and off the comfortable memory-foam mattress and walked to his closet. One of the advantages of the condo, which was built in the 1920s, was its massive size, a total of nearly 2500 square feet. Their bedroom was enormous and included two walk-in closets, one here and one they’d added off the en suite master bath.

Cole’s was in the bedroom, and even though he knew Tommy wouldn’t hear it, he opened his own closet double doors quietly, wincing at the familiar squeak of the hinges. Cole felt a rush of heat rise to his face, despite the frosty air-conditioned chill all around him. Guilt induced that heat, Cole knew. Like an addict, he’d told himself dozens of times he should put away his obsession with Rory. It wasn’t healthy, not for him, and certainly not for his marriage. Secrets never were. Tommy was understanding, sure, but Cole knew he didn’t realize the depth of Cole’s feelings for Rory, not after all these years. Tommy didn’t realize how much he still yearned for Rory, especially around this time of year.

Cole squatted down on the floor, pushing aside his rather sizable collection of running shoes, Cons, and sandals—no wingtips for this boy—and from the far back recesses of the closet, hidden by shadows and garment bags, pulled forth the old black Reebok shoebox. The box held his and Rory’s entire history. Sad thing was, there wasn’t even enough to fill it halfway.

As he opened the box, Cole wondered why he even bothered. In more logical moments, he told himself that the Rory he still loved didn’t even exist anymore, no matter what had happened. If he was alive, he would have aged, just like Cole, by twenty years. So much could happen, physically, emotionally, spiritually, to a person in two decades. Most people weren’t even close to the selves they were twenty years ago.

Still, he dug into the box. There were only a half dozen or so items inside, and Cole knew each and every one of them by heart. He could just as easily have sat in the kitchen and brought each item out in his mind, examined it, and put it back.

But there was something about touching the mementos. There was an electric connection to each item. He likened it to movies he’d seen about psychics—and how they could get a certain energy from a person off an object they’d touched.

First, there was his old ID for the Bally gym at Century City mall. Cole fingered it and laughed, remembering a time when he did have the energy for going to the gym on a regular basis. Thank God he did, because it was where he’d met Rory. At first sight, he knew that all he’d wanted to do was kiss the guy. He believed, and still did, in a way, that to kiss this kind of nerdy, uncoordinated, bespectacled young man would be a revelation and a kind of salvation for him. He’d be home. His wish had come true later that same day. And Cole had not been disappointed.

What they shared had been far too brief, but it had been real.

Next, there was a cereal box top Cole had hung on to through all these years, simply because it was Rory’s favorite breakfast food. It was kind of endearing that Rory loved Froot Loops so much. Cole used to kid him about how childish it was, that he should eat something more grown-up, sensible, something with a little fiber, for Christ’s sake. “Real men don’t eat Froot Loops,” he’d tease, playfully whacking the back of Rory’s head as he sat on their thrift-store couch, hunched over a mixing bowl full of the stuff, just going to town. “You want me to put some cartoons on?” Cole remembered asking, and Rory had nodded, grinning through a mouthful of milk and unnaturally colored, fruit-flavored confetti.

As the weeks and then months passed with no sign of Rory, he’d hung on to the cereal in the pantry. It wasn’t until he moved in with his sister, Elaine, and she was helping him pack up for his move, that he rescued the box of cereal from the trash, where she’d thrown it.

“Oh no, not this.” He’d snatched it out of the wastebasket.

“You and your sweet tooth,” she said, taking the box from him. She opened it and dug around inside, grinning at him. When she put some in her mouth, though, she spit it into the sink. “That stuff is stale, Cole. Tastes like sugary cardboard.” She replaced the box in the trash.

He waited until she was in the bathroom to rip off the top of the box as a souvenir. Even then it was stupid. But somehow the cereal was a concrete reminder of Rory, who could sometimes be a little kid in a very smart man’s body.

There was a poem Rory had written him, late one night after the third time they’d made love. It was scrawled on a yellow Post-it. Bad rhymes and nearly short enough to be a haiku, it was still the only poem a man had ever written to Cole, about Cole. Even Tommy hadn’t, and he made his living as a writer. Cole got a lump in his throat as his fingertips danced over the six lines and the words “You’re all my heart.”

He missed his sister too, although not nearly as much as Rory. She’d passed away the year before, much too soon, a victim of breast cancer. He knew he should get out to Arlington Heights more often and see his nephew, Bobby, who was in high school now.

He returned his attention to the contents of the box. Here was the photo of Rory unpacking in their new apartment. He wasn’t looking at the camera, his glasses had slipped down his nose, and his reddish-brown mop was a mess, sticking up in several different directions. Cole recalled Rory didn’t even know when Cole snapped the picture. He was too absorbed in what he was unpacking—his computer game software, his most treasured possession. Back then Cole thought the photo would be funny, something to rib Rory about once he’d had it developed at Walgreens.

But now, with the sunlight hitting Rory’s head just so, the youthful exuberance on his face, even the bend of that lithe young body, the photo had become sacred to Cole, a reminder of their beginning a new life together.

How short that life had been! If he had known it would all be snatched away just a few weeks later, would he have behaved any differently? That was the thing about life, though; we were never given the courtesy of a warning when something bad was about to strike. We could only mumble bitter what-ifs, which tasted like ash in our mouths.

Cole set the photo back in the box, eyes welling with tears. Why do I do this to myself? Once upon a time, it seemed there was a point to it, but no more. He was a middle-aged married man mourning a too-brief love from when he was in his prime. Pathetic.

He didn’t look at the rest—a takeout menu, a note Rory had left on the nightstand shortly before he disappeared, letting Cole know he’d gone to the gym—he simply put the lid back on the shoebox and then sat for a moment, cross-legged on the floor, staring at it.

As he did every year, he thought I really should get rid of that box. Burn it, maybe. And just like every year, he shoved it to the back of the closet, hiding it behind and under shoes.

It was his history. No one could take that away.

“Hon?” Tommy called from the hallway. “What are you thinking for dinner?”

PRE-ORDER
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle--coming soon!