Sunday, January 07, 2018

The Power of Yes

It's often said that to be a "yes man" is a negative thing. This is a person who responds with an unqualified yes to everything you say, no matter how outlandish or incorrect (see sycophant). People say it's healthy to have a certain amount of argument and opposition.

It's true that blind agreement with an opinion is unwise. However, I feel that a certain amount of affirmation toward others is a good thing. In a world of divisiveness and negative press, it can mean a lot to have someone respond to you in a positive way. Don't get me wrong; I don't mean that you should agree with everything others say, but it's not a bad thing to seek and respond to the positive in another person's viewpoint (or at least acknowledge it if you can find common ground). Rather than respond with a knee-jerk need to point out the "wrong" in another person's statement, which promotes the feeling of social difference, try responding to comments where you might share some commonality.

This goes for more than those comments on social media, and more importantly, it affects how you see yourself. Telling yourself "yes" can have a wonderful effect on your self-image and overall mood. Learning to respond to life in the positive promotes a can-do attitude. You're not ignoring the difficulties. There are no rose-colored glasses. There is just an attitude of willingness to try, to see the possible benefits (not only in connection with others, but in your own abilities, when that "yes" is self-directed).

It's hard enough to get by these days when everyone is telling you no. Think how much you could do, and how much we could do together, if you start saying yes!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you happiness and good health. As always, I'm hoping to finish a book, but this year, it'll be different: I'm working on a college-age New Adult book rather than romance! This book's main character first "spoke" to me several years ago, at four o'clock in the morning, and refused to stop talking until I got up and began writing. Those are the kind of characters you want: the ones who tell you their story and all you need to do is take dictation! I'm very excited about this book, and I hope you will be, too. Keep an eye out, because I will let you know as soon as I have news about it!

Enjoy your 2018!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Guest Author: Joe Cosentino presents PORCELAIN DOLL in audiobook!

Good afternoon, all! Today, I welcome back author Joe Cosentino, whose mystery PORCELAIN DOLL has been newly released on audiobook! Here's Joe to tell us all about it.

Not to name drop (but what the heck), I was an actor playing opposite stars like Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night's Dream on stage), Rosie O'Donnell (AT&T Industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint on stage), Holland Taylor (My Mother Was Never a Kid ABC-TV movie), Charles Keating (Another World on NBC), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit commercial). Those years offered me the first-hand insight into what happens on a set, how actors and actresses behave (or misbehave), and everything that goes into making high budget entertainment.

So it isn't a surprise that the heroine in my popular Jana Lane mystery series was the biggest child movie star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL, Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. I was incredibly fortunate to find Charissa Clark Howe, a gifted actress, to perform the audiobook of PAPER DOLL.

In PORCELAIN DOLL, the second Jana Lane novel, 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 romantic co-star, America's heartthrob Jason Adonis. The other suspects include Jana's James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children's Eve Harrington type nanny, the film's gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film's production, and Jason's agent. Now with the audiobook of PORCELAIN DOLL, I hit the jackpot with Derick Snow, an actor with a great deal of murder mystery acting experience. He not only connected with the mystery, humor, and mood of the novel, but also beautifully created the multitude of captivating and entertaining characters in Jana's life in book two. His dramatic voice, crisp diction, and emotional availability bring the characters and story to life. Derick's intensity is perfect for the many plot twists and turns, dropped clues and red herrings, sweet romance, and shocking yet gratifying ending. Finally, he realistically connected with the descriptions of the music, hairstyles, clothing, and decadence of the 1980's, when the novels are set.

Hopefully the next three published novels in the series (SATIN DOLL, CHINA DOLL, and RAG DOLL) will have audiobook adaptations as well.

Many of the readers have told me the Jana Lane mysteries should be a television series. I agree! So I wrote a teleplay pilot. While waiting for television producers to make me an offer I can't refuse, enjoy these two audiobooks.

So, grab your popcorn and take your front row seat. Listen to the Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, performed by the wonderful Derick Snow. Lights up! Action on mystery, humor, romance, and lots of surprises!

PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery by Joe Cosentino
Published by The Wild Rose Press

Is art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana's breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana's interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

"Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by." ~ Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

"Every page fills the readers with intrigue... Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly… Once you read it, you can't put it down." ~ Urban Book Reviews

"Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets… The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises." ~ InD'tale Magazine

"What a delight! A fun mystery that takes place in the 1980s with a range of engaging characters and a strong heroine…. Jana is the perfect heroine for a mystery.... A must-read for mystery lovers! Porcelain Doll is charming with a great insight to the rise and fall of stardom, and with a twist at the end I honestly didn't see coming." ~ Readers' Favorite

About Joe Cosentino:

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine's awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal 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.

Web site:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

HEAVY NETTING Coming Soon in Audiobook!

I am thrilled to share the news that HEAVY NETTING, my Lobster Cove short story, will soon be available as an audiobook! I just finished listening to the recording this evening, and it's delightful. Alexis Portner reads dialogue with terrific charm, and she has captured the sweet, fun spirit of this book exactly as I envisioned it. I can't wait to share it with you.

Stay tuned to the blog for news on the release, which should be coming very soon. In the meantime, I'd like to wish all of you in the United States a very Happy Thanksgiving! (I know mine will be!)

Sunday, October 08, 2017

House Project: Custom Kitchen Island!

I can't be the only one with this problem.

My house is a number of decades old now, and one of the things I have always liked about it is its open floor plan in the kitchen and dining area. At some point, the previous owners knocked out the wall separating the tiny galley kitchen from what was then the living room. When we moved in, it was logical for us to make that ex-living room into our dining area. My stepfather put in a chandelier to light the space, and it's been great.

Except for the lack of cupboards and counters.

The problem with knocking out that wall is that we lost all that storage and food prep space. We have been living with a tiny kitchen island which worked well when we moved into our first apartment together. We also didn't have a dishwasher, and after a big holiday dinner, we always had an overflow of dishes. Then we got a portable dishwasher, which, while adding a bit of "counter" space, just sat in our kitchen looking out of place.

For years, I have hunted the Internet for a kitchen island (or a kitchen island plan) that makes a portable dishwasher (which you can pull out and hook up to your sink tap) look like a built-in.

There is no such monster.

Not to be denied, I started sketching. After much discussion and many years of back-burnering the plan, we are finally, finally building the kitchen island I have always wanted. Lumber Liquidators had the perfect size butcher block top, already cut, to fit the island I designed. So nice of them to read my mind like that!

Hubby set to work hashing out the measurements to fit what I needed it to do. He and our son industriously sawed, drilled, painted, and stained, and this is the end result. The butcher block has to be treated several times with a food-grade mineral oil, but the nice thing about it is you can cut and prep food right on the surface, and butcher block is far less expensive than stone or granite (and weighs a lot less, too, for which I'm sure our floors are grateful).

Wanna know the best part? Some of this lumber was sitting unused in our shed. It's made with T1-11 - the same stuff we used to build our shed! It looks beautifully rustic, like shiplap. I will have to buy some taller counter stools (bar height), but I love it. What do you think? Do my boys get a gold star?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Getting With the Times (E-Commerce)

I'm happy to announce that I will now offer the option of credit card payments at my book signings via the Square card reader (including chip cards!). This will allow readers to pay any way they like at my signings, so you can enjoy my books your way! I'll be rolling this feature out at my signing on October 21st at Baldwinsville Public Library, where I will be signing books 12:00pm-3:00pm EST with many, many local authors. It's also a great chance to grab some yummy free chocolate and enter for a shot at my giveaway:

This sweet little gift box comes packed with goodies for the writer in your life, even if it's just jotting down a quick note or items for the grocery list!

Join us October 21st for a chat on writing, then browse our books while enjoying some chocolate. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Theater Review: The Three Musketeers

I have yet to be disappointed by Syracuse Stage's performances. Of the several I have seen, I have always found something to like, and even love, about them. Theater is an ephemeral and intimate art, more so than film or books. Each performance will be slightly different, building on and reacting to the mood and response of its audience. It's a symbiotic magic where the viewer gets to help shape the play as it is being acted out.

Set Magic

No less wonderful are the set designs. As theaters go, Syracuse Stage is a smallish venue, with its largest stage, Archbold Theater, comprising some 499 seatsbut the scale of their plays is impressive. So it was with The Three Musketeers, adapted by Catherine Bush from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and directed by Robert Hupp. The set is so intricate and beautiful that it is, itself, a character in the play. It features a gorgeous pair of staircases with a pavilion on top and two doors at the bottom. Rather than intensive set changes between scenes, the play relies on prop changes against this backdrop to instill a new sense of atmosphere for each scene. The beauty of a well-done set is its ability to help tell the story without anyone saying a word, and it's my favorite thing about theater. You have to see this set to believe it.

The Talent

I was pleased to see Matthew Greer (Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery) as Athos, and he is as excellent in his role and onstage presence in "Musketeers" as he was in playing Holmes. Travis Staton-Marrero debuts at Syracuse Stage in his performance as D'Artagnan, a young Frenchman longing to join the famed Musketeers. He does a terrific job, and he bounds around the set with such gusto that my knees hurt just watching him. Don't forget to keep an eye on Claro Austria (Planchet), who very nearly stole everyone else's thunder.

A Sneak Peek

Before the play, I was privileged to hear director Robert Hupp speak about the moving parts that go into such a big production. Each actor has to be licensed in stage combat, an important consideration when one is lunging around at another person with a sharp, pointy object. The result of such training is a fight scene in which several pairs of actors whirl around the stage, battling madly, without unintentionally hurting one another. It makes for exciting action, and the only wounds are those incurred in the fictional storyline. Take a look!

The Three Musketeers runs September 20th-October 8th.Tickets are a reasonable $20.00-$53.00, depending on show features, time, and day of performance.

REVIEW: 4 of 5 stars