Joe Cosentino on A Home for the Holiday ~ Interview, Local Giveaway, Playlist

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Joe Cosentino for stopping by today.

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Title: A Home for the Holiday
Author: Joe Cosentino
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre: Romance

Blurb:

Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian Island of Capri to meet his eccentric, extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after. “Reading this little holiday treat is like taking a romantic trip to gorgeous Capri, Italy!”

We are here today to talk about your Christmas story, A Home for the Holidays. What can you tell us about it?

Most of the statues in Italy are of naked muscular men. I got your attention with that one. It’s true! Here’s the story. After writing two well-received Bittersweet Dreams novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart Series) published by Dreamspinner Press, and an Amazon bestselling gay comedy mystery, Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press, I needed a vacation. I’m a college professor, so I was off between semesters. My family members suggested a trip to Italy. As Italian Americans, I assumed they were biased. However, like Kunta Kinte charting his roots, my spouse and I dipped into our savings—and dipped into the Dramamine, and booked a flight and bus tour from the US to Rome, Naples, Venice, Assisi, Lake Como, Milan, Florence, the Amalphi Coast, Pompeii, Tuscany, and Lake Maggiore. If you haven’t been to Italy—go! We saw the most amazing architecture, natural resources, and views. We ate delicious food and reveled in the art, history, and beauty (as noted previously with the musclemen statues). The people were warm and friendly as was the weather. However, there was no site more gorgeous, magical, and romantic than the Island of Capri. Upon arriving back in the US, I realized I had to write a romantic story taking place in Capri.

In this short novella, Bobby, a young, Italian American law student, travels to Capri to meet his quaint Italian relatives. Though the two young men get off to a rocky start, Bobby falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian third cousin, Paolo. Their relationship with highs and lows and some captivating surprises is the core of the story. Since I come from a long line of funny Italian Americans, I included a good deal of humor in the story as well with Bobby’s and Paolo’s eccentric families—who are based on mine!

Here’s what reviewers had to say about the short story:

“I could see the lovely sites as Joe described them with such beauty and prose. I could feel the growing desire between the two young men and the heat building as well.” Cathy Brockman Romance

“you can see the beauty of Capri, almost taste the incredible food laid out on the page. Paolo and Bobby’s romance is sweet and tender” Divine Magazine

“I adore the character of Bobby” “the heartwarming family moments” “The vivid and almost lyrical descriptions that Joe Cosentino uses when Bobby is arriving on Capri or sightseeing all over the island with Paolo.” “the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written.” “when you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“I was there with Bobby and Paolo, feeling the sun on my face and the warm swell of the sea as I walked barefoot on the sea’s edge, the author’s brilliantly descriptive words took me to that beautiful place where Bobby and Paolo fell in love.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” Kathy Mac Reviews

The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews 

“The setting was marvelous as well, who wouldn’t fall in love in a place like Joe Cosentino described? And the boys’ interaction with the rest of the family was quite marvelous as well. A really enjoyable, fast read!” Bayou Book Junkie

I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail.” “exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” AM Leibowitz

“If you like beautiful sights, want a virtual tour of Capri, like law students, sexy Italian studs, and sweet romance with little on page sex but is still sensual and hot, this is for you!” MM Good Book Reviews

“If you like stories about opposites that may attract but have a hard time dealing with the reality of being so different, if a beautiful setting and some great Italian food sound like a nice background to a developing romance between two young men, and if you’re looking for a read that is fun, emotional, and all about finding your way in life, then you will probably like this novella.” Rainbow Book Reviews

“I got glimpses of movies like Three Coins in the Fountain and Roman Holiday.” “Very romantic.” Multitasking Momma Reviews

 

Tell us more about our main characters?

Bobby has my sensibility and sense of humor. Like Harold in AN INFATUATION and Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR, Bobby is sweet, sensitive, and smart. As a law student, he has buried his head in his books. As the novella begins, he is ready for an adventure—and ready for first love.

Paolo is loosely based on my cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy. Like Mario in AN INFATUATION and David in A SHOOTING STAR, Paolo is handsome, muscular, charismatic, and like many people in Italy, much more interested in love than in work. He is also a gifted artist. Bobby sees the best in Paolo, and Paolo sees what is in Bobby’s heart.

Bobby’s mother is loosely based on my mother. She is hysterically funny, and loves her son dearly. My mother really said most of the things Bobby’s mother says in the story.

Paolo’s grandmother is a riot. She is loosely based on my grandmother who really said, “A boy leaves home with a wife or in a coffin.”

 

What about A Home for the Holidays makes you the proudest?

The descriptions of the gorgeous Island of Capri make me feel as if I am back on that magical island. You’ll understand when you read about the Marina Grande, Piazetta, Via Krupp, Marina Piccola, Mt. Solaro, Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, the mountains of Calabria, and the Grotta Azzurra (the Blue Grotto).

 

The main characters are distant cousins. What made you put them together?

As Paolo says in the story, it is not unusual for distant cousins to couple in Italy. This was the case with my great uncle and great aunt. Besides being third cousins, I also like how Bobby and Paolo are such opposites. Unlike Bobby, Paolo is quite experienced in matters of the heart. Also unlike Bobby, Paolo loves the finer things in life, but doesn’t want to work for them. He is quite concerned about his body, clothing, and social life. I think Bobby and Paolo bring out the best in each other.

 

If you could be any Disney character who would you be, and why?

Peter Pan, since he never grows up, can fly, and has a lot of fun with beefy Native Americans, pirates, and the captain’s hook. Hah. Actually, Dreamspinner Press is publishing my novella, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND, releasing January 27. They are my funny, creative, romantic, and very gay takes on Cinderella, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldie Locks and Three Bears, and The Snow Queen. Hopefully Disney will take note and finally make a movie with a leading character who is openly gay.

 

If you could have coffee/tea (your favorite beverage) with any 5 authors in history, who would it be and why?

I’d like to have herbal tea with the men who wrote the books of the bible. There are some beautiful and spiritual writings, fascinating characters, captivating plots, and pertinent themes. However, there is also a great deal of sexism, homophobia, violence, sadism, and masochism. I’d like to know what they were thinking!

 

What are you reading right now, and what is next on your to-be-read list?

I am an avid re-reader. I’ll pick one author and read everything he/she has written then read them all again. I am currently on Armistead Maupin. I love his plot twists and turns, quirky characters, biting wit, and captivating dialogue.

 

Rapid Fire Time

  • Hawaii or Colorado? Hawaii (due to the fire dancers)
  • Freddie Mercury or Adam Lambert? Adam Lambert (He’s family)
  • Summer or Winter? Summer (I’m Italian American)
  • Cake or Pie? Fruit (no pun intended)
  • Favorite Decade? 1980’s (the time period of the Jana Lane mysteries)
  • soda or pop? Coconut milk (no pun intended)
  • Mr. Bean or Leslie Nielsen? Mr. Bean (always seemed gay to me)
  • Pickup Truck or Sedan? Sedan
  • UK Football (soccer) or American Football? Soccer (better outfits)
  • Tea or Coffee? Herbal tea (relaxes me)

 

What are you working on? What is next?

I have three series. First, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN (released in March on e-book, paperback and audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe), 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 (releasing in March 2016 from Lethe Press) 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 in March 2017 from Lethe Press), 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. (I want to play Martin Anderson, the department head, in the TV series!)

I also have the Jana Lane mysteries with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. Jana was the biggest child star in Hollywood until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL (released in March from 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 (releasing March 2016 from 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 from The Wild Rose Press in 2016), 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 from The Wild Rose Press in 2016), 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. I am currently writing RAGDOLL, where Jana stars in a television mystery series and solves a murder mystery on and off the set. 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 want to play Jana’s agent, Simon Huckby, in the TV series!)

Finally I have a new series of novels set in a gay resort on the New Jersey short called COZZI COVE. (Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach!) They are releasing in 2016 from Nine Star Press: COZZI COVE: Bouncing Back and COZZI COVE: Moving Forward.

My friends joke that I write books faster than they read them.

Thank you for the fun interview. I hope readers will pick up this short novella. It’s a lot cheaper than a trip to Italy, and is bursting with the sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and romance of the magnificent island of Capri at Christmas time! Also, I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

Exclusive Excerpt of A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Joe Cosentino published by Dreamspinner Press:

I found an empty powder blue sitting room and sat on a high-backed chair next to a blue-tiled fireplace, then opened my books on my lap. After a few minutes had passed, I looked up and found Paolo leaning on the fireplace mantel. He was wearing a stylish purple shirt and gray pants—both skintight.

“Why are you studying?” he asked in English.

I jumped, and the books hit the orange and blue tiled floor. “I take my bar exams this summer.”

He turned up his full upper lip. “It is December.”

“There’s a lot to study.”

Paolo sat on the window seat and looked out over the stunning landscape. “Did you not hear Mama at lunch? I am your designated tour guide.”

I rested the books on a sturdy end table. “You don’t have to do that. Go out with your friends.”

The rays of sun from the window made his sapphire eyes glisten. “Mama does not take no for an answer.”

Looking at the dancing flames in the fireplace, I said, “I’m fine here. Thank you anyway, Paolo.”

He shrugged his huge shoulders and started to leave. Halting at the doorway, he said, “Why did you come to Capri?”

“To spend Christmas with my Italian relatives.”

Paolo pointed to himself, smiled, then held out his hand to me.

Returning his smile, I said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you, Paolo. We can tell Mama you took me out.”

He leaned back as if he’d been shot. “Lie to Mama? Never!”

I laughed.

Paolo held out his hand again. It was smooth and strong. I couldn’t resist taking it. Paolo pulled me up to stand next to him. He smelled of clean sea air. I grabbed my books, and we went upstairs to unload them and put on our jackets. Then I followed Paolo to a courtyard next to the villa, where we stopped next to a motor scooter.

Two helmets rested on the seat. Paolo placed one over his thick, wavy hair, then handed me its companion. When I couldn’t figure out how to fasten it, Paolo did it for me, like a mother putting a snow hat on a toddler. Then Paolo instructed me to climb on the scooter behind him, and he took off.

As we sped down the rural road, I held on to the back of the scooter, looked out at the amazing view, and shivered from the cool air.

Paolo called out, “Put your hands in my jacket pockets.”

Obeying Paolo’s orders, I enjoyed the warmth of the leather fabric and the touch of Paolo’s abdominal muscles against my hands.

Like most drivers in Italy, Paolo sped along the windy roads. When we reached a zigzag or a turn in the road, I held on tighter.

Paolo shouted, “Do not worry, cousin. You are safe in my hands.”

Somehow I knew that was true.

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Giveaway

Post a comment about your favorite holiday vacation. The one that sends us home the most will win a gift e-book of Joe Cosentino’s hit novella AN INFATUATION published by Dreamspinner Press from the author.

About the Author

BN2Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe 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, Charles Keating, 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 releases are The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Porcelain Doll & Satin Doll & China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), Drama Muscle & Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), and Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back & Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

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Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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