Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Love Dorian Gray? Pre-order My Modern-Day Retake, A FACE WITHOUT A HEART Now!

I'm excited to announce that DSP Publications is coming out with a brand-new edition of A Face without a Heart, my award-winning modern-day and Chicago-set retelling of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The official release date is January 31, but you can pre-order NOW.

Isn't the cover--by the hugely talented Aaron Anderson--gorgeous? Not only that, it really beautifully shows the duality of our main character.

A modern-day and thought-provoking retelling of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that esteemed horror magazine Fangoria called “…a book that is brutally honest with its reader and doesn’t flinch in the areas where Wilde had to look away…. A rarity: a really well-done update that’s as good as its source material.”

A beautiful young man bargains his soul away to remain young and handsome forever, while his holographic portrait mirrors his aging and decay and reflects every sin and each nightmarish step deeper into depravity… even cold-blooded murder. Prepare yourself for a compelling tour of the darkest sides of greed, lust, addiction, and violence.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For Your Holiday Reading Consideration: MATCHES

I've always loved the darkly beautiful fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. "Matches" is my gay take on "The Little Match Girl".

Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago's frigid chill, it's a fight for survival. Whether he's sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm-memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance-and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

BUY for .99 on Amazon Kindle (FREE for Kindle Unlimited Readers)

Anderson made his way down the stairs into the Grand Avenue subway station, the mildew smell of the station rising up as he descended. A rush of commuters passed him going up; a train must have just discharged them. People edged by, giving him as wide a berth as possible. Just as he neared the bottom, a young woman with short black hair, wearing a down coat trimmed in fur, stumbled on the concrete stairs. She dropped her purse and its contents spilled out. Anderson paused and spotted the makeup, the few dollar bills-and a CTA transit card. A part of him told him to grab it and run, that she could well afford another one. If there was enough money stored on the card, it could get him through a good part of the winter.

But no matter how cold it got, no matter how much snow fell, no matter how well the woman could afford to buy another card, Anderson couldn't do it. He just didn't have it in him to steal.

He reached down to help her gather her things and she recoiled, gasping at the sight of him and scooting back and away. "That's okay!" she said, quickly lowering her gaze to hurriedly pick up the things she had dropped.

It hurt Anderson to see the fear and disgust in her eyes.

In the station, Anderson didn't know what to do. To access the platform, you had to have a card. Sure, he could jump the turnstiles and risk getting arrested; he had seen it done. Some got away with it, more didn't.

Like stealing the woman on the stair's transit pass, it simply wasn't within Anderson to do something criminal.

Among the straggling commuters, Anderson spied an old woman who looked kindly. Perhaps she would take pity on him. With her upsweep of gray hair, her sensible wool coat, rubber boots, and hand-crocheted scarf, she appeared kindly, reminding Anderson of his own late grandmother. There was something lively and warm in her pale blue eyes.

Anderson stepped in front of her and smiled. "Excuse me, ma'am."

The woman stopped, regarding him.

"I hate to ask, but I need to get on the train and, honestly, I don't have a dime to my name." Anderson thought for a moment and came up with a small white lie. "I need to get to the south side, where my family is." He smiled again. "It's Christmas."

The woman didn't say anything.

"Do you think you could spare a couple dollars so I could ride?" Anderson gnawed at his lower lip, hating the position circumstance and the economy had put him in.

"Get the hell out of my way," the woman said quietly, edging by him. She called over her shoulder, "Get a job, why don't you?"

Anderson was taken aback by the coldness and the almost-hatred in her voice. It was so unexpected and so unnecessarily cruel.

Anderson felt the bright sting of tears at the corner of his eyes. His shoulders slumped. He was about to turn and leave the station when a young guy, about his own age, came up to him. Once upon a time, Anderson would have thought he was cute, and if he had opened the door a little, Anderson might have flirted with him. But now his only reaction was-what now?

"What a bitch," the man said, his gaze roaming over to where the old woman was mounting the stairs. He reached into the pocket of his worn denim jacket that looked too thin for the weather and pulled out a transit card. He held it out to Anderson. "Take it. There's only one ride left on there. I wish I could give you more, but I'm pretty strapped myself."

Tentatively, Anderson reached for the card. "Are you sure you can spare this?"

"I wouldn't have offered it to you if I couldn't." He wiggled the hand holding the card. "Go on."

Anderson took it, wondering if some guardian angel, or even Welk, was looking out for him.

"Thank you."

"It's nothin'. Merry Christmas."

Anderson swallowed hard, feeling a lump in his throat. "Merry Christmas to you too."

The guy turned and headed up the stairs, out into the snow.

And Anderson moved toward the turnstiles.

The card worked.

BUY for .99 on Amazon Kindle (FREE for Kindle Unlimited Readers)

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Get Your Scare On: UNHINGED, My LGBT Horror Collection!

I am so happy--and chilled--to announce that my collection of gay horror is now available at Amazon and Wilde City Press! 

Horror. Romance. The two seem at odds, yet in provocative author Rick R. Reed’s hands, the pair merge like a match made in heaven…or hell.

Prepare for a dark journey into an unhinged world populated by ordinary and extraordinary monsters. Unhinged brings you tales that are sometimes chilling, sometimes romantic, sometimes hilarious but always thought-provoking.

Stories include:

  • A chilling and redemptive ghost story
  • A most unusual and shocking first-time meeting for two lovers
  • A story revolving around one of the 20th century’s most horrific serial killers 
  • A darkly comic take on the vampire mythos
  • And more 

This collection will make your heart race with passion…in all its forms.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Guest Post: Joe Cosentino Talks About His New Book, DRAMA CRUISE

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A GOOD CRUISEBook Three: Drama Cruise, published by Lethe Press

by Joe Cosentino

The amazingly talented Rick R. Reed has been kind enough to host me on his terrific site to tell you a bit about my new release. It all started when my spouse said to me, “Let’s go cruising.” I nearly fell off the sofa, since we’ve been together many many years, and we’ve always favored reading in front of the fireplace or watching Benedict Cumberbach’s Sherlock Holmes to going out. Us bar-hopping or cruising would be like Mary Poppins becoming a stripper (Well, there is a new Mary Poppins movie coming out, so you never know). As it turned out, his parents had recommended we take a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back.

The cruise (in the ocean) was terrific. We ate like the top one percent, spotted adorable whales, oogled at multicolored glaciers, and drooled at fantastic views from inside a helicopter. We also enjoyed land excursions to a totem pole park, log climbers’ show, frontier habitat, and Native American village. Onboard ship we attended an art show, bingo (loaded with more senior citizens than an early bird buffet), a casino, and a theatre (where we saw a musical revue with singing and dancing pie slices). When we returned home, I immortalized our trip in the third Nicky and Noah mystery.

In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel and Humorous Novel of 2015) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains and colleagues (and lovers) Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills (including impersonating others) to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors are dropping faster than barbells.

Now in Drama Cruise, on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back, Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents and Martin Anderson (Nicky and Noah’s department head) and his bickering husband who come along for the rocky ride. As in the first two books, there are a slew of colorful, hysterically funny victims and suspects, and a socko surprise ending.

So take your front row seat. The boat is leaving from port. Lights up and ahoy matey! Alaska here we come!

P.S. – Drama Luau, the fourth Nicky and Noah, mystery releases in six months!

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

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

“Nice job, people! Let’s take ten.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow
College, a white stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and
picturesque village of Treemeadow, Vermont. And how did I become the director
of a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a ten-night June cruise from San
Francisco to Alaska and back? I spotted an online ad seeking theatre professors to
present theatrical workshops for passengers on a cruise, culminating in a murder
mystery dinner theatre presentation on the last evening. Okay, technically my
colleague and fiancé Noah Oliver, Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, spotted
the ad in an educational journal, but I applied for my department head and
mentor, Martin Anderson (producing the show), my Noah (acting in the show),
and me (directing). Martin’s husband, Ruben, came along for the ride.
Martin and Ruben are a sweet, elderly couple (don’t tell them I said that)
who have been together forever and have two grown daughters. For our part,
Noah and I are both tall, but the similarity ends there. I have dark hair, long
sideburns, a Roman nose, and a pretty pumped body thanks to the gym on
campus. Noah has exquisite curly-blond hair, sky blue eyes, a smooth build, and
the most loving heart on land and sea. I am just a tad older than Noah—but
what’s seven years? A lot when you are thirty-six and your lover is twenty-nine.
Oh, there’s one other little thing. Actually, it’s not so little. I have a thick
nine-and-a-quarter inch penis—flaccid. Luckily, Noah is very open (pardon the
pun) to my anatomical quirk.

After flying from Vermont to New York to San Francisco and waiting on
endless security lines in the airports, the four of us got to the boat, where we
waited on a long security line to come onboard. After unpacking in our cabin then
getting a quick lunch at the bountiful buffet, Noah and I made our way through
the sea of polyester, and somehow remained awake during the life boat drill.
Then we dodged photographers, dollar signs shining in their eyes like paparazzi
at a closeted gay movie star’s mansion, and headed to our first rehearsal. As the
dining room was occupied with guests eating lunch, we rehearsed in a nautical
themed lounge onboard ship.

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

Noah responded, “My first cruise.”

“My little virgin.” I kissed his cheek.
He looked out of the porthole and kissed the cleft in my chin. “The sky and
the water are gorgeous.”

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

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

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

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

We shared a warm kiss.

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals).

He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015, and has won many Rainbow Award Honorable mentions including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press).

From Lethe Press
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