Friday, November 27, 2015

My Psychic Thriller, THIRD EYE, is FREE for Black Friday!

TODAY ONLY! My psychic thriller, THIRD EYE, is FREE from DSP Publications!

Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn't sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.
When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls' parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the "third eye."
Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Gratitude

My Facebook friend (and real-life friend of—gulp—about 40 years) Donna Anderson challenged people to post something about what they’re grateful for as we countdown to Thanksgiving. Below are my posts, collected here on this Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates. May your day be filled with family, friends, love, good food, and continued blessings!

My friend Donna Anderson is asking people to post things they're thankful for and, without trying, this morning I realized I really had something to post. I was up early, as usual, sitting alone in front of the fireplace with my coffee and reading. I thought of how lucky I am to have two very special beings only a few feet away, really, slumbering in a warm bed. To those two, I matter most in the world and the feeling is mutual. I am thankful for my husband, Bruce, and my dog, Lily.

Continuing my countdown to Thanksgiving with what I'm thankful for: Today I'm grateful for my son, Nicholas and his husband, Tarik. Nicholas has been the light of my life and one of my most treasured blessings for the last 31 years. He is a constant source of joy and love and I cannot imagine life without him. When he married Tarik six years ago, that love and joy only multiplied. Very little makes me happier than knowing my son made such a good marriage and increased the love in our family exponentially.

Continuing with my Thanksgiving countdown posts about what I'm grateful for. Today, I'm remembering my mom, who passed away in 2007 from cancer. I was watching a TV show last night where one of the characters, a young woman, had had a fight with her mother and wasn't speaking to her. Later on in the show, something significant happened and she said, "I need to talk to--" and then she couldn't finish because she realized she wasn't speaking to her mom. I was immediately in tears, not for the character, but for that realization. In good times or bad, for much of my life, one of the first things I always thought to do was tell my mother. She always listened, always cared, and always made me feel like my news was the most important thing in the world to her. Losing that has left a hole in my life that I can't heal, nor would I want to. I'm grateful today for having my mother as long as I did...and the joy, memories, love, and lessons that she imparted that will stay with me always.

Continuing with my Thanksgiving countdown posts about what I'm grateful for. Today, I'm thankful for IMAGINATION. Imagination is my escape, but also my way of establishing a kind of order to the chaos of the world. Without it, I'd have no career and probably no sanity.

Today I'm thankful for my sisters, Susan and Melissa. Even though I like to joke that we grew up as only children (we have big separations in age: Susan is 8 years older and Melissa is 11 years younger), they're still the only remainders I have from my immediate family. We're orphans together and, in spite of our age differences and the miles that separate us, they're never far from my heart.

Continuing my Thanksgiving gratitude countdown, this morning I'm thankful for home. I don't know how big I am into astrology, but my sign is Cancer and one thing that rings true about Cancers for me is that they're all about home (and water). All my life, one of the most important things to me is having and making a home. Home is my sanctuary, my safe place, and Dorothy said it best when she said there's no place like it. My heart's desire IS in my own backyard. And that heart's desire, curiously enough, has always been very close to a body of water, which also fits in with the Cancer theme (growing up, I was two blocks from the Ohio River, my many years in Chicago were always
spent very close to Lake Michigan, Miami, I was a short drive from the Atlantic, and here in Seattle, I overlook Lake Union). So, like my husband, Bruce (and fellow Cancer) I'm grateful for home...and water. They're both life-giving forces.

Today's the day! Happy Thanksgiving! What am I grateful for today? You.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints

with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino. 

It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant...and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

I left my students to their private discussion and joined my young graduate assistant seated on a red velvet bench in a turreted area of the lobby. As I dug into my sizable piece of cake, Scotty leaned into me like a cat facing a sardine, “Since it looks like the tech rehearsal will run late, I can teach your morning Theatre History class tomorrow.” 

“That won’t be necessary, Scotty.” Just stick your finger down your throat then head to the gym as usual. 

“With teaching your classes, assessing and updating curriculum, going to faculty meetings, advising students, writing your articles, advising the theatre club, and directing plays, I worry that you may get sick.” 

You’d unleash the bubonic plague if it meant getting my job. I patted his shaved and oiled knee, and said a la Margo Channing, “I’m fine, Scotty. Just leave your notes on tonight’s performance in my office box tomorrow.” 

“Am I too late for the party?” My knees dipped as Noah Oliver took off his coat and scarf and stood next to me. “Happy birthday, Nicky!” He winked at me. 

Maybe we can adopt seven children, run away to the hills, and start a family singing act. 

Scotty leapt from his seat like it was a pogo stick. “Have a piece of cake, Noah. No nuts!” 

I beg your pardon? 

“Thanks for remembering, Scotty.” Noah sat between Scotty and me and dug into the creamy wonder. Was that a familiar smile between Scotty and Noah?! 

Scotty explained as if he was Noah’s husband, “Noah is allergic to nuts, Nicky.” 

Hopefully not to mine. 

Noah took me in with his baby blue eyes. Did I notice a look of lust in them? “How’s the show going?” 

What show? Oh! “We’re all exhausted, frazzled, panicked, and certain of a great opening night.” 

Noah squeezed my hand. “You’re an amazing director. The creative way you move your characters around the stage, how the elements of design compliment the story, and your unique vision is thrilling to watch. I expect nothing short of brilliance in this production.” Noah beamed with pride. “And you have some powerful student actors in the show.” Scotty collected our empty plates. “Noah is a terrific acting teacher.” He gazed at Noah with pure adoration. “The students are lucky to have you.” 

Since theatre is a collaborative art, I said, “Tyler’s execution of David’s scenic design is amazing, and as usual Tyler has been a total work horse. Ariella’s costumes have an incredible gothic look, but they’re light enough for the students to move around in them.” 

Noah whispered in my ear, and I restrained myself from throwing myself on top of him. “Can I speak to you about something…personal?” 

“Sure.” How about a June wedding?

Joe Cosentino is the author of Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella),The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press fairytale novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press).


Purchase the ebook from Smashwords at:
Purchase the audiobook narrated by Michael Gilboe at

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Recipe for Romance and One for Beef Stew

My books, even the ones that are obviously about food and romance, like Dinner at Home and my latest, Dinner at Fiorello’s, pay homage to the kitchen as well as the bedroom. I see a real link between the heart and the stomach.

Below is an interview I originally did at Prism Book Alliance during the blog tour for
Dinner at Fiorello’s. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I think it's worth repeating here, since it really reveals both my cooking and writing philosophies.

There’s a lot about food in your writing. Was cooking a big thing in your family growing up?

Oh yeah. I grew up with a Sicilian mom and, for Italians, food is at the heart of not only every celebration, but also daily life. Not only did my mother’s simple southern-Italian cooking she learned at the apron strings of her aunts and grandmother (her mom died at a very young age, so my mom was raised by other relatives) help inspire me and guide me on my journey toward loving and respecting food, but it also showed me how you could show your caring for someone by ensuring they ate…and ate well.

Whenever I visited Italian relatives as a kid, we rarely sat in their living rooms. It was always around a big kitchen table. And there was always plenty of food—especially around the holidays—which you better dare not refuse. An Italian woman who wants you to eat cannot be refused!

So, yeah, food was and continues to be a big deal for me.

What are some of your favorite dishes?
I am pretty much indiscriminate when it comes to loving different cuisines (some might say a food slut, but I prefer the term foodie). I mean, there’s very little I won’t eat, unless it’s processed or fast-food crap, and I love all different nationalities’ cooking. My favorites, though, I think would have to be Vietnamese and Korean (easy to find here in Seattle, where the Asian population is huge). And when it comes to my own cooking, it’s simple, nourishing, and comforting. I love to make my mom’s spaghetti sauce and meatballs on a Sunday, letting it simmer all day and fill the house with memories of other Sundays. I make really good soups and stews, often from scratch and assembled from what’s on hand in the fridge and pantry.

Who cooks more, you or your husband? And who is the better cook?
I would say I do about 98.9% of the cooking at our house. Bruce does the cleanup and we are both very happy with this arrangement (well, at least until I use three saucepans, two skillets, a baking sheet, and four mixing bowls to make dinner). But I enjoy doing all the cooking. I read somewhere someone had three rules in the kitchen: shoes off, music on, and a glass of wine at hand. I ascribe to that philosophy. It just makes me happy to feed my loved ones.

And I don’t think Bruce would mind a bit if I admitted that I am the better cook. Yet, when he puts his mind to it and gets in the mood to cook, it’s always wonderful. His roast chicken is a thing of beauty that not even I can rival.

Who taught you how to cook?
My parents. Both my mother and father were excellent cooks. So I never had the sense that cooking wasn’t something for boys. My mom, who was Sicilian, showed my how to cook with love and that the simplest and freshest things were often the best. She taught me how to make the good, hearty peasant-type food the Sicilian aunts and grandmother who raised her made. My dad was more of the chef. Like me, he loved reading recipes and getting ideas, getting inspired.

Do you follow recipes or do you prefer to make up your own dishes?
Ah, definitely the latter. Even when I follow a recipe, I seldom stick to it—I have a need to add my own touches. Since you asked, here’s one of my own recipes and a personal favorite (we eat low-carb these days, so this recipe accounts for that and omits white potatoes—I guarantee you will not miss them!):

Rick R. Reed’s Beef Stew

2.5 lbs. beef stew meat
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large sweet potato
1 cup baby carrots
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 cup red wine
1 can beef consommé
2 T Better than Bouillon (Beef)
3 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 T tomato paste
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T dried thyme
2 T Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste


1.     Sear beef in a little oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven; do not crowd—do in batches if necessary.
2.     Remove beef to platter or plate. Deglaze pan with red wine and a little Worcestershire. Reduce down to a syrupy consistency.
3.     Add vegetables, wine, consommé, tomato paste, bouillon, and seasonings to slow cooker.
4.     Add meat, pour reduction over all.
5.     Cook on low 8-9 hours.

Thanks for having me. Hope people will consider taking a bite out of Dinner at Fiorello’s!

Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.

Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books: Press START to Play by Briana Lawrence

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (I favor feathered hats and zebra prints

with a little crushed velvet) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. 

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Press START to Play by Briana Lawrence. I'll let Briana tell you more about the story:

"Press START to Play is my first gay romance short story and was featured as part of a 'Daily  Dose' anthology - a collection of 30 other stories so that readers had one a day. I was also lucky enough to have an alternate cover drawn by Ann Uland of Arbitrary Muse Comics."


Lukis Singleton’s once-popular sports column is fading fast, thanks to the terrible track record of the local football team. In an attempt to save the column, Lukis's editor, John, decides he needs to go in a different direction. Video games are all the rage these days, so John insists that sending Lukis to a huge video-game tournament in Los Angeles will shake up his current readers and bring in new ones. Lukis isn’t thrilled about reporting on games with impossible powers or gamers who still live in Mom’s basement, but then he meets a tempting flaw in the gaming stereotypes of unwashed man-children. Aaron Sanders is a gorgeous breath of fresh air at the tournament who takes Lukis’s less-than-stellar view of gamers and turns it on its head, leaving Lukis to wonder if it might be worth being Aaron’s player two.

Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback (entire anthology)
Amazon Kindle

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My "Romance with Recipes" DINNER AT HOME On Sale for Only $1 through Nov 20!

Dreamspinner Press is having a "bring home the bacon sale" with books that marry food and love, including my DINNER AT HOME--for only $1! Also on sale at Amazon for the same price; see buy links below.

It only takes a few days for Ollie D'Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of.

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook... and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.

At Dreamspinner Press
For Amazon Kindle

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Playlist You Can Strip To

My new book, TRICKS takes place in the world of male dancers (i.e. strippers). My main character, Arliss, is a one of the hottest dancers at TRICKS and, when I put this post together, I wondered what kind of music he’d pick out to dance to and get down to just his little pouch and combat boots.

Below is the (very diverse!) list I’ve come up with. Put it on to get yourself in the mood to immerse yourself in the world of TRICKS.


1. Cookie by R. Kelly
2. Night Train by Oscar Peterson
3. Pour Some Sugar on Me by L.A. Guns
4. Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
5. Magic Man by Heart
6. Slow Ride by ZZ Top
7. Toxic by Britney Spears
8. Erotica by Madonna
9. Pull Up to the Bumper by Grace Jones
10. Face Down, Ass Up by 2 Live Crew

Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

BUY: Dreamspinner ebook || Dreamspinner paperback || Amazon

Arliss had everything he needed right in front of him for that night’s performance—hardhat, check; steel-toed boots, check; tool belt, check; black mesh thong with pouch for his rather prodigious endowment, big check—yes, Arliss was just about ready for his turn on the stage at Tricks, located in Chicago’s infamous Boystown neighborhood, at its epicenter on the corner of Belmont and Halsted. He also had before him a tall tumbler of Stoli vodka with just a whisper of cranberry juice cocktail in it for color and a half-empty pack of Marlboro Ultra Lights. The latter two items helped the twenty-one-year-old calm himself before a performance, and the vodka in particular went a long way toward reducing backstage jitters.

He lit up a cigarette and regarded himself through the smoke. The lights in the crowded dressing room, which he shared with the other eight or so exotic dancers, were unforgiving. Fluorescent did little to hide any imperfections, like rings under the eyes, reddened noses from too much partying, and for those on their way out of the club, track marks on the arms. But Arliss didn’t have to worry about signs of drug abuse showing up on his person. He had learned to just say no a long time ago, in a manner he preferred not to dredge up, at least not now, when he was trying to put himself in a cheerful, high-energy mode.

The face that looked back at him was young, handsome, and vital. Arliss had a shock of white-blond hair that stuck up in a manner reminiscent of rocker Billy Idol back in his glory days, before Arliss was even born. Both ears sported piercings—from one a single razor blade, cast in sterling, dangled; from the other, three hoops crawled up the side of his ear, growing smaller as they ascended. Arliss had full lips, sharp cheekbones, a cleft in his chin, and the most piercing ice blue eyes in the Midwest (or so he had been told). The only thing that marred his nearly perfect face was a gap between his front teeth, for which he comforted himself by saying the space gave him character. Cigarette clenched between his teeth, he struggled into his costume, ending by stuffing his dick into the pouch that protruded from his black thong. His member stuck out in a way that invited grasping hands, which was what Arliss wanted, as long as there was cash in those hands to stuff the thong even more fully.

BUY: Dreamspinner ebook || Dreamspinner paperback || Amazon

Note: This post originally appeared, in slightly different form, at The Novel Approach.