Friday, June 8, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Lost & Found, A Furry Love Story


Today, I'm thinking about Lost and Found and how it was inspired by my love for dogs...and for a good love story with a happy ending. Hope you'll let Barley the beagle and his human caretakers, Mac and Flynn, into your hearts today.


BLURB
On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.

Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that's just what Flynn experienced.

A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love. 

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Friday, June 1, 2018

FLASHBACKFRIDAY: My Most Autobiographical Novel, BLINK


BLINK is my most autobiographical love story (the first part, which takes place in 1981, anyway) and, perhaps, my most touching. If you believe in love and second chances, I think you'll love BLINK

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BLURB
Life can change in the blink of an eye. That's a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago 'L' to work every morning. Andy's life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call. 



Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the 'L' train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….


EXCERPT
Part One: 1982

Chapter 1: Andy

TRANSFIXED. THAT’S the only word I can think of to describe the effect his eyes had on me. They were a trap snapping shut. It sounds schlocky, melodramatic, the stuff of bodice rippers, but it was true: they were mesmerizing. The irises were fashioned from dark chocolate, so dark it became impossible to distinguish the pupil. They were framed by lashes so black and thick that one might be tempted to imagine these tiny curls of hair were augmented with mascara.

But that was not the case. Carlos, as I would come to learn his name, was all man. The rest of him was pretty spectacular as well—and I’ll get to that—but his eyes were what really swept me up and, in a way, never let me go. Moth to the flame.

Can a person be hopelessly infatuated by just a look?

The answer stood but a few feet away from me that early morning in Chicago, on the ‘L’ train, what was once called the Douglas-O’Hare line. I was twenty-two years old and on my way to work at my first job ever, at a catalog house west of Chicago’s Loop where I was putting my BA in English to use as a copywriter. Back then, mornings I was bleary-eyed and hungry for more sleep. The ‘L’ cars were crowded, and the gentle rocking motion of the train encouraged further slumber.

But Carlos, and the connection our eyes made, snapped me right out of my reverie. Our gazes meeting for only a second was electric, elevating me out of the music I was listening to on my Sony Walkman—Human League’s Dare album. Is memory teasing me by making me think the song that coincided with my first glimpse of Carlos was “Don’t You Want Me”? Or would that be just too perfect, my memory’s way of romanticizing the moment? I do remember the book open in my lap, ignored, although it was one I have come to love and reread throughout the years—William Maxwell’s The Folded Leaf.

It’s been… what? A little more than thirty years since that morning, yet the memory of how he looked then is branded on my brain as if etched there by fire. That image is as clear as if he stood in front of me only yesterday.

It was cold. January. Carlos was bundled into a blue down-filled coat, a brightly colored striped muffler wrapped around his neck. Black jeans. I, who had been riding the train since I switched lines downtown, had a seat, but he stood across from me, jammed against the frost-etched doors, surrounded by people who now only appear to me as blurs.

He was tall, maybe a little over six feet. His eyes I’ve already told you about, but the whole package was about dark allure, exotic. I would later come to learn from him that he was Cuban, but then all I could do was drink in the simple beauty of this man. His hair was black silk. In accordance with the times, it was parted in the middle, feathered back, and just long enough to cover his earlobes. His skin was fine, nearly poreless, and a lovely shade of café au lait. Broad shoulders strained the confines of his bundled-up winter coat.

In that instant when our eyes met, the connection was like a pulse that went straight to my heart. It lasted for only a second or maybe a bit longer, but in that short space of time, my fertile imagination pictured an entire future with this man. Days together strolling a beach as the surf from Lake Michigan pounded the shore. Nights together as Carlos, dark eyes penetrating my own green orbs, pounded me. Hey, I was twenty-two years old—the hormones were flowing freely.

Yes, I lusted for him. In a split second.

And then I tore my gaze away. Heat rose to my cheeks, burning, in spite of the close-to-zero temperatures just outside the train car windows.

He had caught me. Caught me staring. In that fleeting moment, he had read my mind and seen the lust in my heart. He recognized me as the shameful, perverted thing I was, the queer I kept so carefully hidden from everyone I knew.

He was sickened by it. Or maybe another scenario—he was amused. The latter option was no more comforting. I tried to swallow and found my throat and mouth dry. I chanced a quick glance over once more and saw he had opened the Sun-Times and was reading.

My thundering heart slowed a little, and my rational mind tried to soothe me. He doesn’t know. He’s just another stranger on the train.

But God! He’s beautiful.

I chastised myself. I couldn’t allow the luxury of thinking the way I did about Carlos, even if my reverie lasted for only seconds. I was engaged to be married to my college sweetheart, who was, at this very moment, on the suburban commuter train, the Chicago Northwestern, headed into the city for her job as a sales assistant at Merrill Lynch, from her parents’ home in Kenilworth.

Alison. I turned my face to the glass and watched the river of cars moving along on the Eisenhower expressway, trying hard to forget the effect just a look from a man on a train had on me. The power, the attraction, the undeniable need I had for his touch. Whether I would admit it to myself or not, I was starved for the attention.

Yet I couldn’t allow myself these things.

It wasn’t who I was. It went against everything everyone—friends and family alike—believed about me. It went against the grain of the Catholic Church I had been baptized and confirmed in.

My biggest fear then was, if people knew, would they still love me? And the other worse fear was my awful wondering if anyone really did love me, because no one knew the real me, that dark part of myself I tried so hard to deny.

I forced myself to think of Alison, to replace the darkly taunting and delicious image of Carlos with her fair hair and blue-gray eyes, the warmth of her smile. I reminded myself, yet again, of my love for this sweet young woman. I pulled up a memory of her visiting me in the small town of East Liverpool, Ohio on summer break when we were both still in school. My parents had been away, and we spent a lot of time doing what two healthy nineteen-year-olds did (another reason I could deny these gay urges that polluted my dreams and fantasies and gave me no rest). We shared a fancy dinner neither of us could afford at the time just outside Pittsburgh. We saw The In-Laws at a long-ago razed movie theater in downtown East Liverpool. We slept curled into each other’s arms on the twin bed in my boyhood bedroom, spoons in a drawer.

It was magic.

And I cried like a baby as I watched her drive off in the rental car to Pittsburgh International Airport. I longed for her. I wanted her back. I loved her so much.

Weren’t those tears proof of my heterosexuality? Weren’t the days and nights lost in passion with a woman evidence that I could not be the thing I feared most—a gay man?

Of course they were. I couldn’t be gay. I was engaged to be married in just a few months. We would have a big wedding in the Catholic church in Lake Forest. Surely being a happy husband and maybe, one day, father would erase these urges that plagued me, would make me whole, would make me normal.

Surely.

I would be cured.

It wasn’t a stretch. I enjoyed the sex I had with Alison. I loved her with all my soul. Just to spot her walking across campus toward me lifted my heart.

My breathing returned to normal. While I had been lost in thought, we had made several stops on the Congress West line. I looked over. Carlos had gotten off at one of those stops.

The space left by where he had stood seemed to stand out to me, shimmering. Vacant. Part of me wanted to run to the window to see if I could see him making his way along the concrete platform running between lanes of traffic. But I stayed put and tried to tell myself I was glad this temptation was gone.

Chicago is a city of several million, I reasoned.

You’ll never see him again.

The thought was both a relief and a terror.

BUT I did see him again. The next time was a couple of weeks later, maybe a little more. A morning that was a bit warmer but still gripped by winter’s persistent but dying fingers. This was a morning just like the last. Again I was lost in thought, my nose buried in another book. This time I think it was one of my guilty pleasures, Stephen King and his rabid dog story, Cujo. I don’t know if I was listening to music. I was probably thinking of the workday ahead and the copy that would need to be written for products like hair dryers and electric mixers. The crowd was undistinguished, a blur and press of humanity.

I had forgotten about Carlos and the morning a few weeks ago. Work, evenings with Alison, and plans for our wedding that coming summer consumed me, and I was grateful for the distraction.

But then I looked up from the horror of Mr. King and saw him, once again standing in the crowded space by the doors of the ‘L’ car. I think I glanced up because he was looking at me.

Our eyes met. All the forgetting I had done in the ensuing weeks since I had last seen him rushed away like water down a drain. Just a glimpse of him set my heart to racing, sent blood flowing elsewhere too—lower. He was every bit as handsome as I recalled, and his beauty struck me dumb. I think if he had asked what I was reading, I wouldn’t have known what to tell him. A rabid dog was no match for the electrifying eyes of the man across from me.

He smiled at me, just a glimmer, little more than a quick upturn of his full lips.

I turned away quickly to stare out the window. My face burned as my mind interpreted the smile. It was not, could not have been, a gesture of welcome or recognition. It was not a smile that said, “Hey, I think you’re cute too.”

No, it was an expression born of ridicule. It had to be. My self-loathing back then took that simple smile and twisted it into something ugly—a taunt. He was laughing at me. Laughing at the queer who dared to stare at him for just a little too long, giving his hopeless desire away. I burned with shame, and I dared not look back.

I attempted to return to my book, but I found myself reading the same sentence over and over, trying to make sense of it. I wanted to restore order in my world, to feel like I was the young man I wanted to be, the one the whole world believed I should be.

I got off the train at Cicero that morning feeling shaken, yet wondering which stop he had gotten off at.


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Monday, May 28, 2018

Love is Love


"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident." 

(Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

GUEST POST: Joe Cosentino Talks About his New Release, DRAMA FRATERNITY


Interview with Noah Oliver, of Drama Fraternity,
the sixth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel, by Joe Cosentino


Joe: Hi, Noah. Thank you for leaving my imagination and the six Nicky and Noah mystery novels to speak with me about Drama Fraternity, the sixth novel in your award-winning Nicky and Noah mystery series.

Noah: My pleasure, Joe. It’s great to see the real world. On second thought, I like the world of Nicky and Noah better.

Joe: Me too. Noah, since the readers can’t see you, please tell them what you look like.

Noah: I’m tall, with long wavy blond hair that Nicky says smells like strawberry fields forever, and I have blue eyes.

Joe: What does Nicky look like?

Noah: Nicky is handsome and muscular, thanks to the gym on campus, with gorgeous sparkling emerald eyes, thick dark hair, a sexy Roman nose, and smooth olive-colored skin. And he has long sideburns that I love to kiss. Since he was born in Kansas, he truly is a friend of Dorothy’s. Oh, he also has a nearly foot long penis. Thankfully I’m open (pun intended) to new adventures.

Joe: And you hail originally from Wisconsin.

Noah: The son of dairy farmers. That may explain why I like white creamy things. I’m blushing.

Joe: Me too. For any readers not familiar with your mysteries, and shame on them if they aren’t, tell them a bit about the first five Nicky and Noah mystery novels.

Noah: They chronicle how Nicky and I fell in love, got engaged, married, adopted our son, and solved lots of murder mysteries along the way. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah (that’s my hubby and me) have to use our theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit. Who am I to argue? One reviewer wrote Drama Queen was the funniest books she’d ever read!

Joe: Love her!

Nicky: Me too. I’m pumped up. On to book two. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and I don our Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Our relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. That scene brought tears to my eyes.

Joe: Mine too.

Nicky: Time for a vacation. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring other college theatre professors from across the US and me. Complicating matters are our both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us.

Joe: Your parents remind me of mine.

Noah: And here I thought they were unique.

Joe: And I love how your father, like Nicky, is somewhat of a sleuth. As they say, men marry their fathers.

Noah: And marrying Nicky was the highlight of my life, as was our honeymoon in Hawaii. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, where he and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride.

Joe: They’re based on my spouse and me.

Noah: And they are equally adorable. In Drama Detective, Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with me as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and our son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Nicky and I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we get half-baked on Baker Street. They’re all terrific cozy gay mystery novels starring the man of my dreams.

Joe: Explain for the readers what you mean by a cozy mystery series?

Noah: In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, the setting is warm and cozy. Treemeadow College in Vermont is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces. Also, in our series the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a priest headed to altar boy training (as Nicky would naughtily say). At the center of our story is a touching gay romance between Nicky and me. As we fall in love, I’ve heard the readers fall in love with us. And we fall in love with them!

Joe: Now tell us about your current release?

Noah: In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Taavi, Martin, Shayla, and me. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and I once again need to use our drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before we hit the final reel.

Joe: Can you give the readers a run down on some of the characters?

Noah: Sure. First and foremost is my handsome husband. And me.

Joe: And?

Noah: We are joined by favorite regular characters like Martin, Ruben, Shayla, our son Taavi, Detective Manuello, my parents, and Nicky’s parents.

Joe: And book six adds a number of new characters.

Noah: Right, like Alejandro Gallo, the handsome and muscular star (who plays a vampire on TV’s Suck Off) cast as the detective in the film. There’s also hunky heartthrob (of the film Full Moon) who plays the lead role of Davey Doubt, the football team’s taunted and misunderstood tight end. And I can’t leave out the adorable and shy young screenwriter, Robert Lee, who penned Davey Doubt’s story based on his own.

Joe: Should Nicky be jealous?

Noah: Never. I’m a one-man man, and that man is Nicky Abbondanza.

Joe: Everyone tells me the Nicky and Noah mysteries are cinematic. 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. I want to play Martin Anderson. Who do you think should play you and Nicky?

Noah: Somebody amazingly sweet and good looking should play Nicky. How about Matt Bomer?

Joe: I don’t think there is anybody on the planet who wouldn’t agree that Matt Bomer is handsome.

Noah: And maybe Neil Patrick Harris can play me. He’s as devoted to his husband and son as I am to Nicky and Taavi. I can also see Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis playing my parents, and Nathan Lane as Martin’s spouse, Ruben. Wanda Sykes would be great as Martin’s office assistant, Shayla. Joe Manganiello would be perfect as Nicky’s brother, Tony. I can also see Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents. Come on, TV producers, make your offers!

Joe: I’ll be waiting.

Noah: Who was your favorite character to write in Drama Fraternity? I’m hoping it was my amazing husband.

Joe: It was. I love Nicky’s never say die attitude, wit, smarts, and perseverance in the face of adversity. Like you, Nicky is genuinely concerned for others, and will do anything to solve a murder mystery. I also really admire his loyalty to you. Who is your favorite new character in the sixth book?

Noah:  Robert Lee, the adorable, shy young screenwriter of Tight End Scream Queen. His crush on Malcolm Kahue, the hunky star of the slasher film, is touching and heartwarming. Who was the easiest character to write in book six?

Joe: Ruben and Martin, since they are based on my spouse and me. I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward Nicky and Noah, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line with hysterical barbs. The older couple stay sharp by engaging in their verbal warfare, but it’s all done in deep admiration and respect. Finally, it’s wonderful to see an elderly couple so much in love (uncommon in the entertainment field), and how they can read each other like a book.

Noah: No pun intended, as Nicky would say. I hope Nicky and I grow old together like Martin and Ruben.

Joe: Me too. Which character do you like the least in book six?

Noah: I started out not liking Alejandro Gallo, the TV star playing the hot detective in the slasher film. He seems conceited and always on the make. But then I realized he was a closet gay actor terrified of losing his heart throb status if his fans were to find out the truth about him. It must have been quite a heavy burden for him to hold. It’s always so much more difficult to hide and lie than to simply be yourself. Which character was the hardest to write?

Joe: Comey Collins and Pastor Karl Bounty. I will never understand how people can use “religious freedom” to try to take away the civil rights of LGBT people and their families. Religious freedom means having the freedom to practice whatever religious you choose, not disobey the law and/or persecute others.

Noah: No arguments here. Which new character was the sexiest?

Joe: Definitely Malcolm Kahue, the handsome, muscular, Hawaiian, rebel without a cause actor playing the leading role of Davey Doubt, the tight end, in the slasher film. Like Robert Lee, the screenwriter in the novel, I think readers will be quite captivated with Malcolm.

Noah: I also think readers will like your other mystery series, even though Nicky and I aren’t in it. Pout. Please tell the readers about it.

Joe: You twisted my arm. In the Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press, 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 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. 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, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and 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.

Noah: Your Dreamspinner Press novellas (In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received as books and audiobooks, winning various awards. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?

Joe: I tell them to get over it. That reminds me of my gay friends who say they have only one “type” of man they like. Variety is the spice of life. I’d ask them to give the Nicky and Noah mysteries a chance. As my mother said to me as a kid about fish (now one of my favorite foods—minus the mercury), “Just try it, you may like it.”

Noah: And Nicky and I also aren’t in your New Jersey beach series, whimper.

Joe: Good Segway. You should be my agent. NineStar Press published Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island. But we’re here to talk about the Nicky and Noah mysteries.

Noah: Featuring my amazing spouse and me. Readers, if you haven’t paid a visit to Treemeadow College with Nicky and me, do yourself a favor and get reading.

Joe: The purchase links for Drama Fraternity are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers!

Noah: Nicky and I hope to hear from you too, through Joe! We live inside his head. It’s a wild and wonderful place.

Joe: Thank you, Noah, for sharing with us today.

Noah: It was my pleasure. It is also Nicky’s and my pleasure to share this sixth novel in our series. So everyone, take your front row seat. Lights, camera, action, frat house murders!

DRAMA FRATERNITY (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
http://myBook.to/DramaFraternity
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/808178
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128306684?ean=2940155189787
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/drama-fraternity-a-nicky-and-noah-mystery


Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague, Noah Oliver. When young hunky cast members begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining sixth novel in this delightful series. Lights, camera, action, frat house murders!

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven't discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…
Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino's hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn't laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

As an actor, Joe Cosentino 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. He was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for his first Nicky and Noah mystery Drama Queen. The other popular novels in the series are Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity. Joe also wrote the cherished Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, and the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift. His much-loved Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press include Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. Finally, Joe is also the author of the cherished Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Coming next: Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the second Tales from Fairyland Book; The First Noel, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Book 3; Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings, the fifth Cozzi Cove novel; Drama Castle, the seventh Nicky and Noah mystery!
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

Excerpt of Drama Fraternity, the sixth Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino:

After I starred opposite Noah in a new musical play at Treemeadow College last summer, we took sabbaticals and headed for the Great White Way. But it wasn’t so great. Sure, we won “Bravos!” and Tony Awards, but the glamorous life of living in “the city that never sleeps” grew as tiring as a child with ADD on a sugar high at Christmas after stealing his mother’s uppers. No longer dazzled by the bright lights and flashing marquees of Broadway, we longed for our little hamlet, and our not so little Victorian house (actually the college’s house) in Treemeadow—especially when an offer came my way to direct Tight End Scream Queen, a low budget indie slasher film. When I read the screenplay, I couldn’t help thinking of Williams, Hawthorne, Alcott, Twain, Wilde, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. How they would be turning in their graves. Okay, the script was crap, but the plot intrigued me.
Clearly there would be no Academy Awards in Tight End Scream Queen’s future, however, it was to be my film directorial debut. And it would be shot at our own Treemeadow College! The selected location was the Phi Delta BOFO (Ball on the Field Only) Christian football players’ fraternity house. More importantly, there were roles in the film for Noah, Taavi, Martin, and Martin’s ex-administrative assistant Shayla Johnson. Of course, Martin’s husband Ruben Markinson would produce. One of our female theatre majors (Bonnie Tyler) and three male BOFO Fraternity brothers (Petey Collins, Lenny Benedetto, and Tibald Regina) would appear in the film alongside two stars (Alejandro Gallo and Malcolm Kahue). I was sold, or rather bought.

Friday, May 25, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Couple Next Door are not who they seem


Below is an excerpt from The Couple Next Door, and it’s a scene where two lost souls—Jeremy and Shane—at last unite, under very difficult circumstances. See, Shane has been physically and emotionally abused by the man with whom he lives. Jeremy has been witness to it and has tried to be a friend, to help, to perhaps even be a savior. He’s tried to keep a respectable distance.

But the pull between these two men, as you’ll read, is just too powerful….

EXCERPT
Does my knowing the truth make me an accomplice? Does Shane knowing the truth make him an accessory after the fact to murder?

What, I ask myself for the thousandth time, have I gotten myself into? The answer comes to me in an image: Shane, smiling, the delight clear in his icy blue eyes when he first sees me.

A man. It’s always a man. If I could learn to live without men, I’d be happy, I tell myself.

Good luck with that.

I go into the kitchen, grab some oranges and a couple of protein bars from a drawer. It’s a meager breakfast, but it’s the best I have to offer.

Knock, knock, knock and Shane opens the door. His eyes are rimmed in red. He looks as though he hasn’t slept—like me. He wears a torn and faded navy blue T-shirt and gray sweatpants. I can see the outline of his cock through the loose jersey fabric. My mind wanders away from danger, scaling other exhilarating heights.

He looks breathtaking. All I want to do is hold him, comfort him, and go from there—proceed directly to his bedroom, do not pass go. Why am I thinking of sex at such a horrible time, when he has shared with me the truth of his history? Now is the time for talk, not lovemaking. Yet the lust persists like an itch right in the center of my brain. There’s only one way to scratch it.

It’s like he’s read my mind. He takes the fruit and the protein bars from me and turns away to set them on the arm of a chair near the front door. Then he comes back to me and enfolds both of my hands in his own.

The moment is too charged with something, some kind of electric connection, for words. Talking would break the spell. The silence is delicious and weighted.

His hands are warm, verging on fiery, feverish. He tugs me toward him roughly, and before I know what’s happening, I’m in his arms. This is no friendly “hello” hug. This is an embrace born of hunger, of desperation, of an animal need for comfort. His mouth seeks mine, starving, and the merging of our lips and tongues is like some kind of communion. It’s more than passion. It’s the uniting of two lost souls.

And with the thought of lost souls, I realize why we both feel such a connection. In his famished kiss, I can feel not only his need for me but also mine for him.

We stop only long enough to turn, to head toward the bedroom. Shane never lets go of at least one of my hands. I can almost feel his need to cling, to ensure I don’t escape.

I welcome it.

He kicks the door closed, and then he’s on me like some kind of jungle cat, ripping the few clothes I wore off, scratching me in the process. I will not see the claw marks until later, until they appear red and scarlet on my flesh. I will rub them, treasuring the memory connected to them. Now, though, there is only animal want and the desire, deep-seated, for human comfort that only oblivion can provide.

We tumble on one of the two beds crammed into the room together, so hungry we can’t stop devouring the other. Not just cocks but nipples, armpits, the crooks behind knees, the tender, sensitive flesh of our thighs, the smalls of our backs. Fluid—saliva, come, tears, all flow, and we exchange them. Greedily.
He mounts me. I mount him. We are in such a haze we almost forget the condoms and the lube.

Almost.

Time stands still as we fuck. As we suck. As we wait, breathless, and do it again.

It’s not until I am lying in Shane’s arms later, when our respiration and heartbeats have returned to some semblance of normalcy, that we speak.

I mince no words. “Why did he do it?”

BLURB
With the couple next door, nothing is as it seems.

Jeremy Booth leads a simple life, scraping by in the gay neighborhood of Seattle, never letting his lack of material things get him down. But the one thing he really wants—someone to love—seems elusive. Until the couple next door moves in and Jeremy sees the man of his dreams, Shane McCallister, pushed down the stairs by a brute named Cole.

Jeremy would never go after another man’s boyfriend, so he reaches out to Shane in friendship while suppressing his feelings of attraction. But the feeling of something being off only begins with Cole being a hard-fisted bully—it ends with him seeming to be different people at different times. Some days, Cole is the mild-mannered John and then, one night in a bar, he’s the sassy and vivacious drag queen Vera.

So how can Jeremy rescue the man of his dreams from a situation that seems to get crazier and more dangerous by the day? By getting close to the couple next door, Jeremy not only puts a potential love in jeopardy, but eventually his very life.

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