However, I have it on good authority that it is available to download from Riptide right NOW if you buy front them direct this weekend. Just click this link...
Happy Saturday, folks!
Welcome to the home of award winning author and cover artist, Garrett Leigh...
"5 HUGE STARS... HEART is without doubt her finest work to date! Just Beautiful!" Monique@SinfullyAddicted to All Male Romance
"JHC I loved this book (SLIDE). Fucking loved it."
In case you missed it, which is highly unlikely as I've been blathering on about it all weekend, Rented Heart is out on Monday.
However, I have it on good authority that it is available to download from Riptide right NOW if you buy front them direct this weekend. Just click this link...
Happy Saturday, folks!
Garden Glut Pasta
So, because I don't have enough to do, I've decided to blog some of the recipes I witter about on Instagram. Readers and followers have been asking me to do this for years, but it's taken me this long to find a decent iPhone app to facilitate my slovenly approach to blogging.
"Garrett, is this going to be one of those wonderful things you do twice and then leave by the wayside?"
Well, maybe, but I'm going to try my best for it not to be.
Anyway, onto the grub...
Garden Glut Pasta, so called because we had a surplus of courgettes (zucchini) to use, and the restaurant was chucking away a ton of watercress. This dish is simple, but beautiful, and works very well with gluten-free pasta.
I recommend making the sauce and leaving it to one side for the flavours to infuse while the pasta cooks.
400g penne pasta (tesco gluten-free works wonderfully)
2 courgettes (zucchini), finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
100g frozen peas, thawed
70g vintage cheddar cheese, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs extra virgin olive/rapeseed oil
Extra-virgin olive/rapeseed oil
Salt & Pepper
Grana Padano/Parmesan Cheese
A handful of fresh watercress for each bowl
• Set a large pan of liberally salted water on to boil
• In another pan, large enough to hold the remaining ingredients and the pasta later, heat the regular olive oil over a medium heat.
• Add the onion and a pinch of seasoning. Cook for 5 mins.
• Add the courgettes and garlic. Cook until tender. Add the tomatoes and thawed peas.
• Cook for a further 2 minutes, then take off the heat.
• Add 2 tbs of your chosen extra-virgin oil, check seasoning, then set aside.
• Cook the pasta in fiercely boiling water according the packet instructions, or until done to your liking.
• Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
• Tip pasta into the sauce, adding in the cheddar cheese, and toss together, splashing in a couple of tbs of cooking water.
• Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of extra-virgin oil, Parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with a handful of fresh watercress.
Thank you, RJ, for inviting me to take part in the Five Senses Blog Tour. I couldn’t think of anything sensible to write about the senses most of us are more familiar with, so I thought I’d share some insight into a condition that most of us know little about.
Read all the way to the end for the giveaway!
Tourette’s Syndrome is: a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations and often the compulsive utterance of obscenities.
But for most of us, that’s as far as it goes. Cue the vision of a crazy person shouting and swearing in the street, and we’re just about done.
Writing Jake was challenging, as I had to put my assumptions about TS aside and try and explore how it truly felt for him to live with the condition. That’s when I turned to Rico, and what I found was surprising. Below is the author’s note from Misfits, and an excerpt from Jake’s POV.
It will never be possible for me to know all there is to know about Tourette’s syndrome; and when I sat down to write this book, I didn’t want to write a character based on a cursory Google search.
Enter Rico, a wonderful young man I met on my quest for knowledge. Rico opened his life for me, guided me, and taught me. He made me laugh and cry, and above all, taught me that though TS is a condition a man can’t hide from, with the right support and a whole lot of love, life can become something wonderful.
The terminology I’ve used in this book may not be textbook correct. Rico told me that he defines each tic by sensation. Buzzing. Popping. Rippling. He has some ruder terms too, but I’m taking those to the grave.
Jake’s interpretation of TS may not be yours, or even mine, but know that I put everything I had into bringing Rico’s experience of this condition to life. Rico, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and patience, and for the company. You are an epic human being.
Cass’s texts petered out in the afternoon, but Jake had grown as used to that as he had to the daily contact with Tom’s lover. He questioned his deepening feelings for Tom every day, but Cass? Somehow, their virtual relationship had begun to feel normal.
As normal as anything ever felt, at least. Jake spent his first day at Tom and Cass’s house in his room, working on the new layout for the Pink’s website. He’d taught himself coding years ago, but his skills were rusty. Combined with a relentless stream of tics he couldn’t control, he’d about driven himself crazy by the time Tom came to find him.
“You done for the day?”
Jake turned away from Cass’s computer screen. He’d been staring at the same set of code for the past two hours, and he’d given himself a headache. “Sure. This is doing my nut in, anyway.”
Tom smiled. “Hungry? I owe you dinner after you made me lunch.”
“I didn’t make anything. I put some sausages in a pan and opened a tin of beans.”
“Still counts. Come on. I’ll buy you dinner at the Dragonfly.”
“The Dragonfly?” It took Jake a moment to remember it was the name of Tom and Cass’s bistro here in Berkhamsted. “Um . . .”
He rolled over and sat up, stretching the kinks out of his spine. He’d been flat on his stomach most of the day, trying to control his wayward arm by lying on it until it was completely numb. Even alone in his room, his tics were still off the scale.
Perhaps sensing the war going on between Jake and his nervous system, Tom stepped further into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “What are you worried about?”
Jake snapped Cass’s laptop shut. He didn’t want Tom to see the Pink’s website until it was finished. “What do you think?”
“I think that I understand, as much as I’ll ever be able to, but there’s way around it, at the Dragonfly, at least.”
“You want me to sit in the car park?”
Tom chuckled. “Not quite, but owning the place has its advantages. I have the best table in the house. No one will even notice us.”
A ripple of excess energy buzzed up Jake’s arm and across his face. The jolt shook the bed and knocked him off-balance.
Tom frowned. “Did that hurt?”
Tom opened his mouth. Shut it again. “All right. Let’s start this conversation over. Do you want to come out and get some dinner?”
No. “Um . . .”
Tom sighed. “Do you trust me?”
“Humour me, then.” Tom stood and pulled Jake to his feet before he could protest. “Let me show you, and if you don’t like it, we’ll get a pizza and come home, deal?”
Comment below to win an ebook copy of Misfits, or any book from my backlist. Peace and love, Garrett <3
Publisher: Wilde City Press
J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: August Li
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 4/13/16
Price: eBook $5.99, paperback TBD
Faeries are part of mythology the world over, past, present, and future. Called elves, brownies, the fae, and more, they evoke a sense of wonder and a little danger. Faery has its own rules, and humans enter at their peril.
In this spirit, we bring you the first book in the Myths Untold anthology series—four stories from the land of the Fae: a homeless man in Cardiff and the luck that could destroy him; the trans man in future San Francisco who falls for an elf; the village boy who has always been a little different; and a faery prince whose birthright was stolen from him.
Welcome to Faery.
The Pwcca and the Persian Boy, by Gus Li
Despite beauty and luck, something about Glyn makes everyone uncomfortable. Homeless on the streets of Cardiff, he has nothing to keep him going but his friendship with Farrokh. Through stealing and fortune’s occasional favor, Glyn keeps them alive. But then homeless youths begin to disappear, and when Farrokh goes missing, Glyn begins to discover the reasons behind both his luck and the way people react to him. Determined to save his friend from a danger he never imagined, he enlists the help of Lleu, who might be an ally, or might be manipulating Glyn to achieve his own goals.
The Other Side of the Chrysalis, by Brandon Witt
In a species that values beauty above all else, Quay looses both his freedom and his birthright as prince of the fairies. Lower than an outcast, he watches over his younger brother, hoping against hope that Xenith’s rebirth will provide safety and positions that has slipped through Quay’s grasp. Though he expected kindness from no one, Quay gradually starts to trust that there is more to life, even for the likes of him, as sexual encounters with Flesser, a fairy barely accepted himself, turn from lust to love. Quay knows having forbidden relationships will be his undoing, but he is powerless to turn away.
Changeling, by Skye Hegyes
With his pointed ears and a tail, Tyler’s always been different than the other children, but until Marsh, a brownie tells him he’s a changeling, he never thought he wasn’t human. Now he will discover what faery life is like, and just how being a changeling could change his life. On the way, his ties with his mother will be pushed and prodded even as his friendships grow and his love life blossoms. However, in a village of God-fearing people, those who are different are spurned and Tyler will discover how much trouble a fledgling changeling can get into.
Through the Veil, by J. Scott Coatsworth
In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco has been swamped by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and has only survived by building a wall to keep the water out of the heart of the City. Colton is a trans man barely getting by on the canals outside the wall. Tris is an elf who has come to the human world on his journey to become a man. Fate brings them together, and everything changes for Colton when he sets out with Tris to find the elf's missing brother, taking Colton behind the Wall for the first time.
Available at the Wilde City website 4/13/16; other sites one week later.
August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls.
He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities.
Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…
J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE COSENTINO, author of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, a novel published by NineStar Press
Why did you write COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK?
My aunt and uncle had a bungalow on the New Jersey Shore. Every summer my family would stay with them. My sister and I had the time of our lives playing at the beach, bay, miniature golf course, trampoline emporium, eating salt water taffy, and dining at our favorite seafood restaurant. All those places and experiences are in the novel in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore.
After my two Bittersweet Dreams novellas, An Infatuation (2nd Place Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award of 2015 for Best MM Romance) and A Shooting Star (In My Heart Series) published by Dreamspinner Press, were released countless readers begged me for more time with one of the characters from An Infatuation. So that character and his brother are the first guests at Cozzi Cove.
What is a cove?
A cove is formed when softer rocks are worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This creates a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.
What is the storyline of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK?
Cal Cozzi opens his string of seven guest bungalows on Cozzi Cove for the summer. Built by Cal’s great-grandfather, each bungalow is furnished with hand-carved nautical furnishings, and has a stunning view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. Assisting Cal is ginger, muscular Connor, the maid packed with muscles and a roving sponge. This summer the vacationers are two brothers/college students who look alike, but couldn’t be more different. Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. A wealthy older couple, Josh and Greg, play matchmakers for their gorgeous son Christopher. Opposites attract as multifaceted Tim meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. Finally computer game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman. Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected for him. Since Cozzi Cove is a magical place, the novel is full of humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions. Everyone has a secret at Cozzi Cove.
Tell us more about the main characters.
Cal, short for Calvin, is thirty years old, tall, and muscular. His Italian and Scottish heritage left him with striking auburn hair and a strong nose. He dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After Cal’s parents died in an automobile accident, he found his calling: managing his family’s seven bungalows around the rocky cove in the New Jersey shore town named after his great-grandfather. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, Cal’s father had turned Cozzi Cove into a gay resort. Cal is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Lance is twenty-four, short, stocky, African American with dark hair and dark eyes and amazing dimples. He grew up poor, and worked hard getting scholarships and maintaining good grades throughout school. As a second grade teacher, Lance is off during the summers, his favorite time of year. This leaves him more time to do what he loves most: being with Cal.
Connor, the college student assisting Cal, is packed with muscles and hormones. He revels in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove.
Tommy, the bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar has held a torch for Cal since high school.
The guests are a conglomeration of interesting characters with amazing stories. However, things are not always what they seem at the mysterious, romantic, and magical place called Cozzi Cove.
What is the moral of the story?
Take a chance on love.
Who is your favorite character in COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK? And why?
Sean the gay romance novelist who is a virgin embarking on love off the page for the first time in his life. I want to play him in the movie version!
Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?
One of the guests, Tim, was difficult to write. You’ll know why when you read the novel.
Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?
Cal’s sister, Taylor. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to her brother.
Are you Cal, Lance your spouse, and Taylor your sister?
A few traits here and there, but we’re very different, though my sister is opinionated like Taylor. Harold (An Infatuation), Jonathan (A Shooting Star), and Bobby (A Home for the Holidays) have many of my traits. Stuart (An Infatuation) and Barry (A Shooting Star) are based on my spouse.
Will this become a series?
The second book, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, is written and set for release by NineStar Press on April 18.
The novel is quite dramatic. At times it reads like a play or screenplay.
Given my background as an actor and playwright, that isn’t surprising. I love writing quirky and endearing characters in scenes full of emotion with lengthy dialogue. I also like including humor and mystery in my stories. There are lots of surprises in this novel.
Do you see Cozzi Cove as a movie or television series?
Very much so. Make me an offer, producers!
There are also a number of love scenes. How did you go about writing them?
Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in my books are pretty tame compared to many. I have been told they are sweet, sexy, and touching.
Do you react like a reader when you read your books?
Totally. I just reread COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and laughed, cried, gasped, felt romantic, and can’t wait to read the next one.
Who is your ideal reader of your books?
My ideal reader craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. He/she relishes in beautiful locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book. He/she also loves humor, romance, mystery, and a good surprise ending.
How do you feel about women writing and reading MM fiction?
I think it’s great. The more the merrier.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything. I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and read something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.
What frustrates you?
People who demean and attack the rights and self-worth of others, including those who hide behind their religious or political beliefs to do so.
Tell us about your other gay romance releases.
An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart bittersweet dreams novellas) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. They were released as e-books, but are so popular that Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together in a paperback releasing late March. Readers tell me those two stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. I am very proud of them. (An Infatuation won Second Place in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Romance Novel.)
A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin.
The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland from Dreamspinner Press is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.
You also have two mystery series.
My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press 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. Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) is available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe. It is often on Amazon’s bestseller’s list in its category. 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 (releasing next year), 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 the Jana Lane mysteries, 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 (Whiskey Creek Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll (The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (releasing April 29 from The Wild Rose Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (releasing this summer from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels 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.
I love mysteries. Is it difficult plotting the clues?
It’s an incredible amount of work and also fun planning the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprise but justifiable ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations.
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head to Cozzi Cove. I hope to see you there!
An Interview with Harold High, the leading character in AN INFATUATION, part of IN MY HEART (AN INFATUATION & A SHOOTING STAR) by Joe Cosentino
now in paperback from Dreamspinner Press
Welcome, Harold High. Hi!
I get that a lot.
Since our readers can’t see you, what do you look like?
That’s me on the upper left of the IN MY HEART cover.
AN INFATUATION won the Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for 2nd Place for Best MM Romance, and I won 2nd Place for Best MM Author!
What was so amazing about your life in high school through your high school reunion that Joe Cosentino wrote a novella about it?
I went through the usual challenges most gay kids go through in high school. What got me through was meeting Mario.
He’s next to you on the cover?
Right. It was love at first sight for me while tutoring football star Mario. He had olive-colored skin, dark hair and eyes, and incredible muscles. As they say, opposites attract, and we were sure attracted to each other. Though Mario carried deep inner hurts, his heart was open to me. He protected me from the bullies in school, and we shared our deep secrets with one another. We had the most amazing time together. Joe captures it perfectly in the novella. Unfortunately homophobia and bullying drove Mario deeper into the closet.
But that wasn’t the end of your story.
Mario and I met up again at our ten-year high school reunion. He was a model, and miserable with his producer wife.
And you’re happily married to businessman Stuart.
Right. When Mario and I met up, the old flames were reignited like a forest fire.
To find out what happens you’ll have to read AN INFATUATION on ebook or partnered with Joe Cosentino’s other hit novella A SHOOTING STAR now in paperback. When you do, you’ll also read about Stuart (my sweet, caring, list-making husband), Barbara (Mario’s comically egomaniacal wife), and our quirky teachers, principals, and friends.
Sounds like a must-read.
It is. I hope everyone will read about Mario and me in AN INFATUATION (loosely based on Joe’s high school years and ten-year high school reunion) and also about Jonathan and David in A SHOOTING STAR (loosely based on Joe’s years as a college theatre major). I think the stories will make you laugh, feel romantic, and maybe even shed a few tears. But don’t worry, I get a happy ending. So does Jonathan. By the way, though I told him the whole story, I think Joe Cosentino did an incredible job of writing it.
Are you in any of Joe Cosentino’s other books?
No, but they’re all terrific.
Tell us a bit about them.
Dreamspinner Press also published A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS loosely based on Joe’s trip to the amazing, magical, gorgeous, romantic Island of Capri in Italy, and Joe’s gay take on his favorite fairytales, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND.
Joe’s Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press takes place at Treemeadow College, a fictitious white stone Edwardian New England college. Though the novel is a farcical, gay, who-dun-it, as he did with A SHOOTING STAR, Joe was able to think back to his college days and incorporate some of the people and happenings from days gone by. He was also able to use some scenarios, though grossly exaggerated, from his current stint as a college theatre professor/department head. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) 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. 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 (not released yet), 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.
Joe’s other mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, has straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. In PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press), ex-child star 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. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL (just released by The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (coming from The Wild Rose Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (coming from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels 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. Joe is currently writing RAGDOLL, where Jana stars in a TV mystery and again life imitates art.
Finally, Joe’s Cozzi Cove beach series begins today with COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and continues on April 18 with the release of COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD both published by Nine Star Press. Cozzi Cove is a private, gorgeous cove on the New Jersey Shore with bungalows run by ex-professional football player Cal Cozzi as a gay resort. In book one the guests include Mario and Harold, brothers and college students (from AN INFATUATION) who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different. Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their handsome son, Christopher. When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen and does out on the cove. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. Finally computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman! Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected. Cozzi Cove is a romantic, magical, and enticing place where secrets abound and nothing is what it seems.
Will you be checking into Cozzi Cove?
Anything is possible at Cozzi Cove?
How can readers contact you?
Through Joe, he loves to hear from readers. Please contact him via his web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. He gets tired of hearing from guys like me. And tell him Harold High sent you!
THE NAKED PRINCE -- JOE COSENTINO
Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.
Joe Cosentino is back with us again, this time to tell us about his new e-book release from Dreamspinner Press: THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. First off, Joe, why fairytales?
I can relate. No pun intended. Hah. I’ve always loved reading fairytales, and I still do! As a kid my older sister read me fairytales in bed each night before I fell sleep. How fun was that to enter slumber-land entranced by the beautiful stories of peasants becoming princes and princesses and finding true love. The gorgeous locations, wit, wonder, drama, and happy endings filled my young mind like honey in a beehive. I wanted to live in those palaces, meet and dance with the charming princes, and bring financial equality and social justice to those kingdoms. So my sister and I used blankets for royal capes, wooden spoons as scepters, and serving bowls for golden crowns. We reveled in playing all those favorite characters, and our family members and friends were kind enough to be our captive (and very patient) audience. As I grew older I read and reread those fairytales myself (My sister went on to major in Science). Later as an adult I wrote musical plays for professional theatre companies (Interborough Repertory Theater, Pegasus Productions, and TSF Productions) that toured to young audiences. Many of them were based on fairytales like Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. More recently I read them again and suddenly realized—there are no openly gay characters in any of my favorite fairytales! I asked myself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a prince? Wouldn’t a tired, hungry, homeless blond boy seek refuge in a house with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage trying to tell him? Did Jack enjoy his time with the Giant more than he let on? Could the Snow Queen be a handsome, frigid prince?’ Having written three successful novellas published by Dreamspinner Press, I knew it was time to write a fourth. Unlike my three contemporary romances (AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS), this one would be a fantasy featuring my favorite fairytales turned into rainbows. So I wrote four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and magically gay tales from Fairyland.
Which fairytales did you select to gay-adapt with your own unique spin?
“The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart. I hope everyone reads these amazing tales. They will no doubt bring you back to the fun and fantasy of your youth. I also hope the movie studio producing those amazing animated fairytales finally realizes that fairytales should include everyone—including the peasant boy Cinder and his Prince Charming. If so, I want to play the voice of Mortimer, one of Cinder’s very funny fathers!
What are you working on now?
A new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon.
You are also a college professor/department head. When do you write?
At night after my spouse has gone to bed. I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write at night?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother asked him that? She probably did!
How long does it generally take you to complete a book?
About three months.
What is your writing process?
I write a plot summary and biography for each character. Sometimes I write an outline and other times I wing it. I show the second draft to my spouse for his notes. The third draft goes to the publisher.
You have worked with four different publishers. How do you find the right publisher for each book?
You search the publisher’s web site to see what kinds of books they publish, and you look for the perfect fit.
Do you write straight fiction as well?
I have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So 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 (Whiskey Creek Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger. Since the novels 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.
And you have a gay mystery series.
Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Best MM Mystery, Best Crime, Best Contemporary, and Best Humorous Book of 2015!) 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 (whose tenure application was not supported by the first victim). 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 (not released yet), 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.
Have you ever thought about going back into acting?
Yes, I’d love to play Mr. Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane mystery series, and Martin Anderson the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Hear that movie producers!
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
THE AUTUMN LANDS -- J. SCOTT COATSWORTH
Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can't remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.
Caspian still hasn't figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he's running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.
But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.
Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer's Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain's Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn't slow down and didn't dare glance back.
The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.
His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:
The unexpected shock of it.
The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man's golden eyes.
At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.
It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.
Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.
Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.
He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.
Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith's own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.
His eyes were wide and golden, and they'd met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to 'prentice to the blacksmith. The man's gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.
Then he'd been gone.
Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.
The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.
Sent home at last well after nightfall, he'd heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist's shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.
The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he'd returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.
PUBLISHER: Mischief Corner Books
COVER ARTIST: Freddy MacKay
DRAMA MUSCLE -- JOE COSENTINO
It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body.
You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!
Q&A with Joe Cosentino, author of Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel published by Lethe Press
Why did you write a gay mystery/comedy/romance series?
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending!
How did Lethe Press come to publish the Nicky and Noah mystery series?
I noticed Lethe Press publishes many humorous, theatrically-styled gay books, and the company has been successful for fifteen years. After I submitted the manuscripts, Steve Berman offered to publish them, saying he had great fun reading them.
Why did you set the series in a college university?
As a college professor/department head, I have always been aware that colleges are rife with mystery, romance, and humor. In each book Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.
Was Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, well received?
Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer said it was the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue? In Drama Queen college theatre professors were dropping like stage curtains and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah had to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. When the ebook reached eighteen on the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook (with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe) sold like tickets to Les Mis after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery.
What is the storyline of Drama Muscle, the current Nicky and Noah mystery?
In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Bodybuilding Department. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.
How do you think up all the clues, red herrings, and surprises in the novel?
I learned from the best! I’ve read every Agatha Christie novel and play many times. She is a genius at outlining when and where to give the reader what information. I love the inversion in her books, where she uses sleight of hand to lay out all the information, but not in a straight forward manner. The reader becomes the sleuth to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Nicky is described as having an enormous manhood. Does that help him solve the murders?
It doesn’t hurt. Well, maybe it does. Hah. Nicky has to flirt his way into some places to get certain information, so his handsome face, muscular body, and huge penis are definitely assets. Even more, however, Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues. Most of all, Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective.
Nicky is of Italian-American decent, like you. Is that a coincidence?
Not at all. I come from a very funny Italian family. I use that in a great deal of my writing, though my mother swears nothing I write about actually ever happened.
Noah is eight years younger than Nicky. Does that present a conflict in their relationship?
People who say age is only a number are lying. Age always comes up. Thankfully, Nicky and Noah handle it, like everything else, with great humor, style, and love.
Your Dreamspinner Press novellas (An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?
I love salmon but I also love chicken. It’s the same thing. I’d ask them to give Drama Queen and Drama Muscle a try. Like I found eating pea soup as a kid, they may acquire a different taste.
Who was your favorite character to write in Drama Muscle?
Nicky has such amazing wit, perseverance in the face of adversity, and smarts. I love his sense of determination in not only nabbing the murderer, but also getting his man—Noah. Nicky knows what he wants and how to get it. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he wants to help them. He also has no problem taking on the role of hero. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. However, my favorite character in book two is Noah’s mother who is devoted to her son—almost as much as she’s devoted to her camera! I also love Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marries their fathers. That comes out even more in book three.
Who was the easiest character to write?
Martin Anderson, the department head, who I patterned after myself was easiest to write. I love his dedication to the college, paternal instincts toward Nicky and Noah, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like that he is happily married. Though briefly in books two and three, we get to know Martin’s husband quite well in the third novel, Drama Cruise.
Which character do you like the least?
Professor of Bodybuilding Van Granite may have muscles and a chin like granite, but he appears to be after Noah, definitely a no-no.
Which character was the hardest to write?
The Kim twins bodybuilding students can read each other’s minds. So their dialogue is always in answer to something the other has thought. While this is really funny to read, it was difficult to write.
What is your writing process?
I approach my writing in the same way as acting. I start with character biographies and ask questions about each character. Who do they love, hate, fear? What do they want? What is standing in the way of them getting what they want? What was their history? Then I get them talking to one another and the magic happens. I write an outline, but I deviate from it constantly. My spouse reads my second draft then I write my third draft.
How do you get your ideas?
I go to sleep at night with a pad and pencil on my night table. When I wake up in the morning, my head is full of ideas. Since I was an actor, playwright, and director, it’s not a surprise that many of my ideas are theatrical in nature. As a college professor, it also isn’t too surprising that many of my plots have to do with the wacky world of academia.
What advice do you have for unpublished writers?
Write every day. When you have a story you think is perfect, ask someone you trust to read it. Then after doing another draft, email it to a publisher with an open submissions policy who publishes the kind of story you’ve written. If that publisher rejects it, immediately send it to the next one.
Tell us about your other mystery series, the Jana Lane mystery series.
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 (Whiskey Creek Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll (The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. 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.
Like Drama Queen is Drama Muscle available as an ebook, paperbook, and audiobook?
The ebook and paperback are out. This gives the reader an option to read it on a Kindle, Nook, computer, or with book in hand on the beach or in bed. The audiobook, again performed by the amazing Michael Gilboe, will be out shortly.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Nine Star Press is publishing my two novels that place at a gay summer resort on the Jersey Shore: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward.
I love to hear from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
PS: Congratulations to Joe Cosentino for winning Best Contemporary Novel, Best Mystery Novel, Best Crime Novel, and Best Humorous Novel of 2015 for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press, in the Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll Awards
Garrett Leigh is an award winning romance author published with Riptide Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, and Fox Love Press.