Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy 2017!



Happy New Year!

I would like to take this time to wish you all a safe and enjoyable New Year, and especially to take a moment to thank all of my wonderful readers for making 2016 such a treat. I am thankful for your support in helping me to do what I love to do: share stories of adventure and hope with all of you!

In 2017, I hope to keep doing just that, but in a slightly different direction. My goal is to get a brand-new book out the door in a totally new genre: New Adult. For now, it's under wraps as I get underway with writing the rest of the book. I hope you'll stick with me in this new venture, and rest assured, there is more romance in my future as well! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Movie Review: Assassin's Creed



**SPOILER ALERT**

Happy Holidays, everyone! Last night, the boys took me out to see a movie at Movie Tavern (and if you haven't been to a Movie Tavern, you totally need to try it). Rogue One was already sold out for the two shows that evening, so we decided on Assassin's Creed.

I've never played the video game, but I've watched some cut scenes, and they're totally cool. I didn't know much of anything about the mythos of the video game, and I'm sort of glad about that, because I went into the film cold. That meant I didn't have any preconceived notions about what the film should be, and could look for a complete story.

Remember "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies?" You'd probably see this one in that lineup. The visuals in this film were really cool, and what I would expect of something based on a video game about assassins, i.e. lots of action, violence, etc. There were spots here and there where the motion capture was clearly CG, rather than a real body, and unnecessarily so, giving the film enough of a surreal look to grab my attention and draw me out of the plot. My ten-year-old had some trouble following the plot here and there, but a quick explanation was enough for him to keep up. And speaking of plot, that brings me to my real negative about the film.

Here There Be Spoilers

Sadly, the plot is rather shoestring, just enough to hang the movie on, and no more. Michael Fassbender plays Cal, a man who has grown up on the wrong side of the tracks and lands in Abstergo Industries, a company who seems to be hoarding criminals for the purposes of putting them in a machine that will somehow lead them to the film's MacGuffin, a device called the Apple of Eden. This Apple supposedly holds the key to ending free will, and the Assassins have sworn to defend it from the nefarious Knights Templar, who want it in order to bend the world to their will. The scientists at Abstergo learn that Cal is a direct descendant of the Assassin last known to have the Apple, and here is where I thought the plot fell apart.

The lead scientist, Dr. Sophia Rikkin, is the daughter of the company's bigshot. She claims to be doing research that will end mankind's propensity for violence, and she thinks the Apple is the key. This anti-violence woman is the first to greet Cal upon his traumatic arrival at Abstergo. She then proceeds to put him into the machine, an uncomfortable and frankly scary device, with zero explanation, and subject him to scary, violent images. I'm not sure how this is supposed to hang together, logically. I certainly doubted it could rid Cal of violence, and I don't know how the writers thought Sophia would think so. Plot logic is important, as is a logical motivation for your characters.

Cal's genetic memories of his ancestor, brought on by this machine, are super cool, though. I really wish they had just done a whole story in the past about Aguilar, instead of hopscotching back and forth between past and present. I know the video game spans different times, but I think they could have done much better at conveying that on film.

Everything comes to a head when the Templars learn where the Apple has hidden all these years, and it's up to the Assassins to stop them from using it. The criminals from Abstergo turn out to be other descendants of Assassins, and that left me wondering why Abstergo kept them around. You'd think they'd have these Assassin descendants killed, since they were of no use to Abstergo, not being actual leads to the Apple. Nope. Let's just hang onto those liabilities, and house and feed them and spend money on them until they turn on us. That makes sense, doesn't it?

There's so much backstory going on in this movie that the characterization suffers. We don't know much about Cal or Sophia, and nothing at all about Cal's fellow inmates of Abstergo. Frankly, in his few lines, Baptiste nearly stole the show in terms of characterization. I would have liked a little more about each of these would-be Assassins, so I could care more about them if they were in danger. Good characters make even a bad film memorable.

The good guys win, of course, and look badass doing it, but when I thought about why I didn't thoroughly love this movie, the answer was simple. In fiction, we are told that flashbacks kill pacing, and that's just what happened here, aside from lack of meaty characterization. It's really too bad. Boiled down, those of us who spent our hard-earned cash to see this movie simply sat around and watched Cal remember stuff.

Conclusion

The story is left wide open for a sequel. I'll watch followups to the film, but maybe wait for video to do so. It's a fun popcorn movie, if you're up for an afternoon of Matrix-like action. Until next time!

RATING: 3 of 5 stars

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Guest Author: Becky Lower!


Happy Holidays, and please welcome author Becky Lower, who joins us today with her newest contemporary romance, just released December 7th! LOVE'S IN THE CARDS is a sweet, engaging holiday romance set in the fictional Maine town of Lobster Cove.

1) How did you get started writing?
 
Like most authors, I've been writing since I could hold a pencil. At age 12, I decided I didn't like Little Joe getting all the ladies on Bonanza when brooding Adam was the real hottie, so I wrote a screenplay and sent it in. Fortunately, the writers, after they quit laughing at my attempt, sent me back a very encouraging rejection letter. I majored in Journalism in college, but news writing wasn't my thing. It took many more years before I found my way back to writing about brooding heroes.

2) What interests or excites you most about your genres?


I like to cleanse my writing palate between books, so I write one historical followed by one contemporary. At least that's the way it's supposed to work, but sometimes deadlines intervene. With the historicals, I love finding an obscure fact in history and weaving it into a story line, building an entire book around it. My contemporaries don't require the same amount of research, but I still like to add something to the story, a rare fact that most people don't know, like the steps you have to go through to build a patio. It excites me when I learn something new, so I hope my readers learn from my books as they enjoy them.

3) Who or what is your favorite inspiration when writing?


My three all-time favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn and Jude Deveraux, although there are a ton of newer authors who are making waves in the romance world. My biggest influencers in my writing are Stephen King, Blake Snyder and Margie Lawson.

4) Tell me about your latest book or work in progress.


My first Lobster Cove book is a novella called Love's In The Cards. Two sisters own a greeting card/gift store in Lobster Cove and are gearing up for the mad Christmas selling season when the book opens. Their shop is chosen from all the shops in which the company has outlets to unveil the mystery artist of the newest line of cards. Then, the romance begins. It's a cute, quick read, perfect for the busy season coming up. I'm also working on another book, also set in Lobster Cove, which incorporates the shop, the sisters, and introduces a cousin to the mix. Each time I get to the polishing stage of a book, I declare it's my favorite book ever, but this time, I mean it. I've tentatively titled it Sweet Caroline, and it's due to the publisher soon.

5) Please share with us the first paragraph of your latest work.


This is from Love's In The Cards:

Penny cringed as her sister, Abbey, sang at the top of her lungs in her off-key voice. Her voice might have been muffled behind the life-size figure she manhandled, but her intention rang out loud and clear. “Hark The Herald Angels sing, something, something, something.” The remaining lyrics were merely hummed, since Abbey had memorized only the first line.


About LOVE'S IN THE CARDS:

Penny Beedle's outlook on Christmas, as her favorite holiday, was destroyed by a messy breakup years earlier and a botched wedding last year—both on Christmas Eve. But since she and her sister now own a greeting card store, and the holidays are their crazy selling season, she has to put on a happy face.

Del Madison has loved Penny since kindergarten. Commissioned by a big greeting card company for a line of Christmas and Valentine's cards, he has to emerge from behind his alter ego and unveil himself to the public. He chooses Penny Beedle's shop for the big reveal. If he plays his cards right, he just might gain Penny as part of his life.



About Becky Lower:

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers.

To learn more about Becky or LOVE'S IN THE CARDS, check out links below. Happy Reading!

Buy LOVE'S IN THE CARDS: https://www.amazon.com/Loves-Cards-Lobster-Becky-Lower-ebook/dp/B01M4J150Z
Website: http://www.beckylowerauthor.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/becky.lower
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BeckyLower1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorbeckyl/
Newsletter: http://beckylowerauthor.com/contact.html#newsletter
Blog: http://beckylowerauthor.blogspot.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6159227.Becky_Lower
G+: https://plus.google.com/103332938863838564766
Amazon page: http://amzn.to/1FOy3Sd

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Author Joe Cosentino on Mysteries


Good morning, readers! Today, author Joe Cosentino returns to discuss the release of his newest novel, RAG DOLL, and the writing of a genre I particularly love (being a Sherlock Holmes fan), mysteries!

What attracts you to writing mystery novels?

I had terrible insomnia as a kid. Believe it or not, what finally got me to sleep was reading cozy mystery novels. And I've read hundreds of them. So it was clear to me that my novels would also be page-turning mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, enticing locations, and lots of clues leading to a shocking conclusion. Since coming from a funny, emotional Italian-American family, I also knew humor and romance would play a role in my novels.

Who is your favorite mystery author, and why?

Besides me? Hah. Of course Agatha Christie is the queen of murder mysteries. Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue. Mary Higgins Clark blends mystery and romance so beautifully.

What advice would you give to other mystery writers?

I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. Just as I did improvisation as an actor, I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens! An outline is simply an outline. Don't be afraid to deviate from it. A writer should create an entire world of suspense above and beyond "who done it." When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole. Finally, don't forget the humor and romance!

Tell us about the Jana Lane mystery series and your latest novel.


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, 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, 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, America's heartthrob Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL, 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. Jana rubs elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. Her husband also goes through a personal crisis. In CHINA DOLL, 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.

Now in RAG DOLL, Jana stars in a new television series, The Detective's Wife, opposite Chris Bove, the hunky detective who got away in SATIN DOLL. Guest starring on the show is young ingénue Christa Bianca, a rags to riches story who has flooded the press. Life imitates television as Christa's loved ones are murdered, and Christa and Jana could be next. Once again it's up to Jana to save the day before the lights fade to black.

You've had lots of contacts in the entertainment world. You worked on television as an actor with Holland Taylor (My Mother Was Never a Kid ABC-TV movie), Charles Keating (NBC's Another World), David Paymer (Ruffles Potato Chips commercial), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit Computer commercial). Did you use any of those experiences in writing about Jana and company's shooting of The Detective's Wife in RAG DOLL?

Definitely! As one reviewer of PAPER DOLL wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set, television set, and theatre stage. Thankfully nobody was murdered on my shows. I've been told the television shooting sequences in RAG DOLL are realistic, exciting, and fun to read. I'm sure that's because I know my way around a real television set, and I tried hard to incorporate that knowledge into those scenes.

Jana uses the skills she learned as a child star to solve the crime. How do you remember all of Jana's old movie titles and storylines?

I keep really good notes on Jana's old movies, and on each room in her Hyde Park, New York mansion.

Was it difficult writing a book that takes place in 1985?

Since I was around back then, and the internet is a wonderful research source, I enjoyed writing about the political and social events, music, movies, television shows, and fashion of that era. Jana is right in line with her hair, makeup, and wardrobe.

Which part of the novel did you enjoy writing the most, and why?

I loved writing Jana's banter with Bove. It still makes me laugh. I also get tears in my eyes when reading the story of Christa's rise from impoverished, mocked child (the other children calling her "Rag Doll") to upcoming star.

Everyone in RAG DOLL seems to have a secret. Thank you for revealing them by the book's end.

Yes, each Jana Lane mystery is its own story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel, as you said, full of revealed secrets.

You play fair in your mysteries, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

I don't like mysteries where characters are introduced and the writer arbitrarily picks the murderer at the end. The readers feel cheated. At the end of a mystery, the readers should say, "Of course! How did I not see that?" I agree about the ending. It still makes my heart race when I read it—and I'm still surprised.

Do you have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?

Yes, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. 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 detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky's intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) 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 December 1) 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 also have an M/M series with lots of mysterious elements, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT (releasing in January) taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

You're certainly prolific! What are you writing now?

I've taken a break to do interviews like this one, which I really enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today. How can your readers contact you or find your book?

I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Find RAG DOLL at:

The Wild Rose Press: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4671-rag-doll.html
The Wild Rose Press (Paperback): http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/4753-rag-doll-paperback.html
Amazon: http://myBook.to/Rag_Doll
AllRomance EBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ragdoll-2126977-367.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rag-doll-joe-cosentino/1124742578?ean=2940156928002


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, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise and Drama Luau (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and the upcoming Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). 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. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

An excerpt of RAG DOLL by Joe Cosentino, published by The Wild Rose Press:

Jana and Bove did the scene again with a thin piece of gauze over the camera lens aimed at Jana.

Ah, the plight of a middle-aged actress.

Jana felt even better about that take. Their relationship worked, and the energy bounced back and forth between them almost effortlessly. Again Jana wondered what it would be like sharing her days with Bove and kissing Bove in bed before sleep each night.

Herm's call for action brought Jana back to the scene. Bove's close-up was even better than the first two takes. It was as if they had been married for years with an easygoing yet emotional rapport.

"Cut!"

"Good job, partner."

Bove smiled at Jana. "Right back at you."

As she started to rise from the bed, Jana spotted Christa in the distance with a look of horror on her face.

The young woman screamed as a lighting screen headed straight for her. Stu Silverman, standing next to Christa, noticed and pushed Christa out of the way in the nick of time. The screen crashed to the floor inches away from Christa's feet. Standing on the other side of her, Andrew Bianca took his wife in his arms, and she wept on his shoulder.

Bove whispered to Jana, "Here we go again."

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Tree 2016


This year was my son's turn to decide the Christmas tree theme, and my patriotic boy chose red, white, and blue for the theme, so we did a "God Bless America" tree. He chose the ornaments to go on it, and the arrangement of them. I think he did a pretty good job, don't you?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Romance: The Great Equalizer


A Lack of Balance

I've noticed a sad trend lately, and it only appears to be on the upswing. Since the Nineties, more and more popular media are jumping on the bandwagon of misandry. From sitcoms to commercials to popular films, we are given examples where the male character bumbles along beside a much wittier female lead.

I've blogged about this before, but the explosion of films where men are maligned has pushed me over the edge of tolerance for it.  I recently watched "Ghostbusters" (the new one, circa 2016) and was mortified to find that, once again, Hollywood has presented the public with a story where men are marginalized to the extent of pointlessness. The men in this film are either hopeless bad guys, irritants, or witless eye candy. The script could have done so much with Chris Hemsworth, who has scads of talent, but it left him to hobble around as a constant joke. The original "Ghostbusters" had Bill Murray portraying a womanizing layabout, but we at least had the satisfaction of seeing him step up to the plate by the end.


Instead of fostering a gender balance, Hollywood has somehow decided that in order to empower women, it must now belittle men. I was embarrassed for my gender as we watched the female characters in the film ogle his character while shaking their heads at his stupidity. Switch genders in this film. If all the leads were male, and that poor, dumb, attractive secretary was female, women everywhere would be in an uproar.

What does this kind of movie say to my nine-year-old son who watched it with me - that he is only worth what he looks like on the outside, and that it's okay not to strive for a more meaningful part in society? What does it say to women - that it's okay to drool over a man and ridicule him if he isn't brilliant? Come on, Hollywood: stop pandering and start telling a story that requires real work!

Romance to the Rescue

One of the reasons I love writing the romances I do is the equality between the sexes. Romance writers know what Hollywood seems to have forgotten: that it takes balance to build a strong relationship, and anything less is not worth fighting for. Balance between a hero and heroine is what makes a powerful story. Each brings something to the relationship, helping to form a solid whole that is greater than its parts. There is no ridicule, no "I am better than you." The hero may be strong. He may be an alpha male to the core. He may say he needs no one, but eventually he finds himself seeking out the heroine for her own strengths. The heroine can be strong in her own right, able to lead a corporation or captain a military unit, but she still comes to rely on the hero for his strengths to augment her own. A relationship that lacks such give-and-take will never last. I keep waiting for Hollywood to get this into their heads and write me a comedy where the hero and heroine stand on equal footing.

Until then, I'll do some writing of my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Guest Author Joe Cosentino on Audiobooks



Today, I welcome back Joe Cosentino, author of the five popular Jana Lane mystery novels. Joe brings us a special treat, his first Jana Lane mystery, PAPER DOLL, now released for audiobook! Good to have you again, Joe!

Thank you for being such a gracious host, and even serving cyberspace tea.

After writing five Jana Lane mystery romance novels (RAG DOLL releasing November 16), you just released the audiobook of the first novel, PAPER DOLL. Please tell us about this decision.

Audiobooks are slowly becoming more and more popular. PAPER DOLL has been out as an ebook and paperback for nearly two years. I wanted to reach the listeners who prefer an audio experience. Also, until the TV series happens (I can dream), an audiobook is the next best thing. By the way, if the Jana Lane Mysteries are on TV, I want to play Jana’s comical old-world agent, Simon Huckby. Make me an offer, TV producers!

Tell us about the process of creating an audiobook, and how it differs from print publication. Were you given input on the reader?

When writing a book, I generally wake up at 3:00 AM with an idea for a shocking twist ending. The next day, if I can read the notes I wrote on my night table, I write an outline, character biographies, clue list, red herring list, and markers for the plot twists and turns. Then I let the characters talk to each other in my head. They say the most amazing things. After the first draft, my spouse gives me notes. The second draft goes to the publisher for an ebook and paperback. Audiobooks are generally created after the publication of a book. The book is posted on Audible.com requesting narrators/producers to audition. The author receives the auditions, generally the first five minutes of the novel, electronically via Audible. After listening and selecting a narrator/producer, the author makes an offer to the preferred narrator/producer. In the case of PAPER DOLL, ten seconds into Charissa Clark Howe’s audition, I knew she was Jana Lane. I asked her if she would audition again with some of the other characters’ lines, especially the male characters. Charissa nailed every character perfectly. I was thrilled when she accepted my offer to do the audiobook.

That's fantastic! Were you given input on the voices, etc.?

The author has to approve the first ten minutes, and eventually the entire audiobook, before it can be listed for sale. So the author generally asks for corrections regarding text accuracy, character voices, and pronunciations if/when necessary.

What is the storyline of PAPER DOLL?


PAPER DOLL is the fictitious story of Jana Lane, America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

It sounds like, once again, you used your background as a professional actor in creating this story.

I sure did. I love it when readers tell me that my insider knowledge of the world of show business comes through in the Jana Lane mysteries. I love it even more when they write about how much they love Jana’s strength and courage, the humor in the novels, and how they didn’t figure out the endings.

Did the storyline present any difficulties in terms of creating the audiobook?

The story takes place in 1980 with flashbacks to 1960, during the Hollywood studio system. I had a great deal of fun with the clothes, makeup, hair, music, and attitudes of those wonderful eras. Charissa did a great job making it quite clear when we were in 1980 or in 1960. Her clear diction enables the listener to hear and understand each word. The quirky characters like Jana’s agent, biggest fan, hammy has-been actor father, jealous sister, gay best friend, and more gave Charissa the opportunity to play unique and wonderful personalities. Charissa also did a fine job highlighting the clues, red herring, plot twists and turns, and powerful confrontation between Jana and the murderer ending in a shocking conclusion.

Now we need to know: will the other Jana Lane mysteries be made into audiobooks?

I hope so. They are published by The Wild Rose Press. So it is their decision. The other four books would make terrific audiobooks. In PORCELAIN DOLL, 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, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL, Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a U.S. senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the sexy detective. In CHINA DOLL, 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. In RAG DOLL, Jana stars in a TV murder mystery series, and once again life imitates art. She is also reunited with Chris Bruno, the detective who got away.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To purchase Joe's newest paperback, RAG DOLL, see the following links:

AllRomance Ebooks
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
The Wild Rose Press

To order PAPER DOLL on audiobook, see below!]

Do you have other audiobooks for sale?


The hysterically funny Michael Gilboe narrated my first Nicky and Noah comedy mystery novel, DRAMA QUEEN (Lethe Press), beautifully playing all twenty-two characters. Since Michael is a college theatre professor, like me, he connected with the mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor of this novel set at an Edwardian-style New England college. 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 detectives, it is up to Directing professor Nicky Abbondanza and Acting professor Noah Oliver to use their theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while Nicky directs a murder mystery onstage. Hopefully audiobooks will follow for the other Nicky and Noah mysteries. In DRAMA MUSCLE (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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 December 1), 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. The fourth book, DRAMA LUAU (not released yet), has Nicky and Noah putting on a luau show as muscular male dancers drop like hula skirts. As the series progresses, Nicky and Noah fall deeper in love, and the readers hopefully fall deeper in love with Nicky and Noah.

Was working with Michael different from working with Charissa?

They were both delightful to work with and totally open to any of my requests for changes in pronunciations. Since Michael had so many characters to create, he welcomed my input on some of the voices. I still laugh when I hear that audiobook, and I’m surprised by the ending when the murderer is revealed!

Do you have any other audiobooks in the works?


Actor Joel Leslie, who has quite a following, is doing my Dreamspinner Press novellas THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (which takes place on the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri in Italy), releasing in November and December respectively. Joel is quite gifted with accents. Again, he was quite open to my requests regarding pronunciations of names.

My other two Dreamspinner Press romance novellas, IN MY HEART/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), loosely based on my high school and college years, are currently listed on Audible for audition. I’d also love to see my four Cozzi Cove beach romance novels (NineStar Press) as audiobooks, and I hope that will happen soon.

Where do you see the future of audiobooks?

Since people’s lives get more and more active and hurried, I assume the popularity of audiobooks will continue. Hearing a book in your car, while jogging, at the gym, or at work will probably become the norm.

PAPER DOLL has already received many accolades. Fresh Fiction has called it "superbly crafted," and I'm sure you'll have many new readers in this new audio format. Best of luck to you!

Click Here to Order the PAPER DOLL Audiobook


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, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, 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. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Cosentino/e/B00KRPXJP6

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Juanita, who won the gift box at my Sept. 24th book signing of FIRE, the fourth and final book in my Elemental Series!


I'll be offering another giveaway at the next book signing October 22nd (see my previous post). Keep an eye on this blog for announcements of future prizes and upcoming book signings. I'll list them all here as they come up. Good luck, and Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Exclusive Book Signing Giveaway (10/22/16)!

Another book signing? Let's do it! (And who doesn't love a giveaway?)

I will be presenting a special gift set giveaway to one lucky guest at my book signing of FIRE on October 22, 2016 from 12:00-2:00 PM at Baldwinsville Public Library in Baldwinsville, NY (Click here for directions). This brand-new giveaway (a $51.99 value) contains a Yankee Candle luminary owl tea light holder with four "Autumn Wreath" scented tea lights, as well as a beautiful loop scarf in autumn colors. This set is inspired by FIRE, Book Four in my Elemental Series.

This gift set will be offered exclusively to one attendee at the book signing on October 22nd at Baldwinsville Public Library, so if you're in the neighborhood, come and visit! No purchase is necessary, though you will need to be present at the end of the signing to win (2:00 PM EST). Click the picture below for a larger view of this gorgeous gift set.


Keep checking here for announcements of future events. I'll list them all here as they come up. Good luck, and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Exclusive Book Signing Giveaway (9/24/16)!

I will be presenting a special gift box giveaway to guests at my book signing of FIRE on September 24, 2016 from 12:00-2:00 PM at Sullivan Free Library of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, NY (Click here for directions). The giveaway (a $20 value) contains a set of four Yankee votive candles inspired by my Elemental Series, packaged with a glass votive holder in a keepsake box:

  • BALSAM & CEDAR (Earth) - Kincade Murphy's ranch, Hope Creek, is nestled in the foothills of Montana's Rocky Mountain range. When the windows of his rustic home are open, the house is full of the scent of evergreens.

  • BEACH WALK (Water) - On the shores of Nantucket Sound, Morgan Clifton's home, the Seaglass Inn, is the perfect place to relax and let the ocean's breezes soothe the soul.

  • SUMMER STORM (Air) - As a storm chaser, Elsa Pemberley is familiar with the distinctive scent that follows a summer tempest...and she's always ready for the next one.

  • AUTUMN IN THE PARK (Fire) - Stranded in Vermont in the fall, Ethan Sutter is surrounded by the beauty and crisp aroma of a New England autumn.


This gift box will be offered exclusively at the book signing on September 24th at Sullivan Free Library of Bridgeport, so if you're in the neighborhood, come and visit! No purchase is necessary, though you will need to be present at the end of the signing to win (2:00 PM EST). Click the picture below for a larger view of this wonderful gift box.



Keep an eye on this blog for announcements of future prizes and upcoming book signings. I'll list them all here as they come up. Good luck, and Happy Reading!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Release Day for FIRE!



Today is release day for FIRE, Book Four in the Elemental Series! With the release of this book, I almost feel like a mom who's finally got all her kids at home. The books are now all in a row on my office shelf:



No matter how many book releases I have, it's always exciting to see that first print copy come out of the box and go onto my shelf. A writer has few tangibles to reward her after so many months of solitary effort, and this is one of the biggest. I can't wait for you to meet Ethan and Gypsy and share their story. Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Renaissance Faire 2016


Another Renaissance Faire visit under the belt! This year, we invited one of our son's friends, and the boys had a great time running around the Festival together. I dressed as a pirate lady this year, with a minor adjustment to my hat (reblocking the crown to make it flatter). Everything I wore this year was cobbled together from items I already had, with the exception of a pair of skirt hikes my husband made for me (Thanks, Hubby!).

This year, we witnessed a demo of archery by Whipperwil Archery, and also the use of siege weapons! I wish my video of the trebuchet had come out better. It was impressive and creepy, all at the same time, watching that machine lob a ball the length of the jousting field and then seeing that ball land with a bone-shaking thud. As for the archery demo, bowyer Bill Darr is very, very good at what he does. I learned a little and was extremely impressed with his skill!

For more photos of my trips to the Renn, past and present, click here!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

BookBub: A Reader's Paradise


Let's be honest. You love books, but how much time do you really have to browse the shelves (or Amazon's enormous catalog) looking for titles that interest you? Come to that, how much pocket money do any of us have these days? We all look for ways to stretch our reading dollars. If you haven't heard about BookBub, you're going to love it.

Founded in 2012, BookBub is an email service that sends daily deals on eBooks to your inbox. Books listed are either free or deeply discounted (lots of $0.99 reads here!)...and the best part is, you choose the listings they send you! Like contemporary romance? They'll send you a list of titles with cover images and blurbs, along with the links where you can find the books for sale. Like historicals? Simply select that genre when you enter a preference with BookBub, and they'll send you notices when historicals go on sale. It's like having your own personal bookstore assistant, who keeps an eye on your preferences and considers your budget!

I've just joined BookBub myself, and I already think it's a book lover's paradise. If you haven't tried it, give it a whirl! You'll definitely find something worth reading here, and it'll be a very bookful summer. :)

Monday, July 04, 2016

Website Moving (Let Freedom Ring!)


Website Down (Temporarily, I Hope)

Nothing makes a website-owning writer crazy like outage. I've been having several issues since Aabaco bought out my old host, Yahoo, and have finally given up on them. My website has been down for a couple of days, and as you know, FIRE is coming out August 5th. That's a pretty hefty problem. So, I've bitten the bullet and transferred to another host, and am currently awaiting reactivation of my website under my new host's watchful eye.

What this means, for now, is that you won't be able to access my website (http://www.nickigreenwood.com) for a short time...but I am always here on my blog, or available via my social media pages at Facebook or Twitter. You can reach me easily there, and I hope to have everything back up and running smoothly as fast as possible. Thanks for your patience!

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope you Americans have all had a terrific Fourth of July. I have spent it both at the day job, and working out the issues of transferring my site to its new host, where (I hope) I will have freedom from worry that it's going to be running smoothly. ;) Happy Fourth!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Release Date for FIRE Announced!


The release date for FIRE, the fourth and final book in The Elemental Series, is finally announced! FIRE will go on sale August 5, 2016. I will be doing a couple of book tours to celebrate, as well as releasing the book trailer soon, so keep an eye on http://www.nickigreenwood.com for details, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates as they become available.

About FIRE

Is love worth the risk of getting burned?
 
Ethan Sutter is good at running, but he can't outrun himself. Rootless and reckless, he prowls the country, able to abandon everything except his hated Fire Elemental power. Then he lands in Pickering, Vermont, out of gas and out of options, and meets New Age curio shop owner Gypsy Ronan, an even bigger misfit than he is.

Gypsy knows Ethan is trouble. However, none of her tarot cards or tea leaves could have prepared her for their undoubtedly dangerous mutual attraction. More shocking still is the discovery that he possesses an incredible power, and he wants her help getting rid of it.

Ethan needs a normal life. He's sure a woman like Gypsy couldn't be part of it, but she sets his blood smoldering. Gypsy knows there's more to Ethan than he admits, even as she fears for her heart.

Excerpt from FIRE

This close, Gypsy couldn't help breathing Ethan's scent—a pleasant blend of sawdust and something smoky that strummed her nerve endings in a constant chord of awareness. And then she was right back there with him on her living room rug, wondering what would have happened if they hadn't been interrupted. Her knees turned to water. "Please," she whispered, unsure what else she meant to say.

"Please...?" he prompted, his husky voice wrapping around her. His body heat drifted against her exposed skin, or maybe she was imagining it.

Desperate, she fumbled for her last shred of willpower. "Pickering needs good men like you."

"Am I?" He canted his head. "A good man?"

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Guest Author Joe Cosentino on Acting


Welcome once again to Joe Cosentino, author of the Jana Lane mysteries. This time, Joe joins us for a special interview about his acting career, and how it influenced his novels!

An Actor's Life for Me

I remember my older sister and cousin wrapping a blanket around me, sticking me in a garbage can full of hay, and charging a nickel for our neighbors to see our Nativity play. I didn't mind since I was the star! That morphed into full-scale musicals in our friend's garage for our very patient and supportive family and friends. However, coming from a family with many lawyers, when I told my parents I wanted to be an actor, my mother (cutting vegetables for dinner at the time) handed me the knife and said, "Take this knife and stick it through my heart." She quickly got accustomed to the idea. After I graduated from college and embarked on my acting career, my parents were my biggest fans.

Eventually I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night's Dream onstage), Nathan Lane (The Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Rosie O'Donnell (AT&T Industrials), Holland Taylor (ABC-TV movie My Mother Was Never a Kid), Charles Keating (NBC-TV's Another World), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit Computer commercial). One of my jobs was playing Ross (I mean Ross not Hercule) Poirot in a murder mystery dinner theatre show. Since a great deal of that show was improvisation, it occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. After writing some plays, I knew my novels would include show business in some way, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novels would also be page-turning mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion a la Agatha Christie. Since coming from a funny Italian-American family, I also knew humor would play a role in my novels.

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, 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. Though I wasn't a child star, my acting background helped me to write the first novel. When Jana ventures back to Hollywood, I wrote first-hand about her production meetings, wardrobe fittings, and press conferences. The characters of Jana's director, producer, hair and makeup artists, screenwriter, and music writer were based on a conglomeration of people I met and worked with over the years.

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, America's heartthrob, Jason Apollo. Again, I used my experiences as a professional actor to create realistic scenes on the set of the film. The various rehearsals, takes, and shots on the set, camera and lighting, wardrobe and makeup were all exactly as I remember them. And once again, the various characters from the film world were based on people I knew and worked with as an actor.

In SATIN DOLL (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. Jana's hysterically funny agent and watchdog, Simon Huckby, plays a prominent role in this novel. He is a mixture of agents and managers I knew as an actor. I want to play him in the film!

Now, in CHINA DOLL (current release from The Wild Rose Press), after winning an Academy Award, Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. It is old home week and nepotism in action as the play is produced and written by the same producer (Stanley Rothman) and author (Katrina Wright) who produced and wrote Jana's first Broadway play when she was five years old, Sweet Nothings. Jana's co-star from Sweet Nothings, the aging but still gorgeous and mysterious Savannah Stevens, is co-starring in China Doll, along with Savannah's incredibly handsome and muscular son, Peter Stevens, in his Broadway debut. Rounding out the cast are Rothman's granddaughter Bella, Jana's nephew Brad, and Jana's youngest son B.J. And the play is directed by Katrina's new and much younger husband, the studly Tony Cuccioli. Also in the cast are Sally Chen, a recent Tony Award winning actress, and Tate Moonglow, a transplant from Off-Broadway. Attractions come to the surface between Tony and Sally, Brad and Bella, Tate and Gary (B.J.'s new nanny), and even Jana and Peter.

It was great fun using my vast knowledge of musical theatre to write the Broadway musical theatre buff detective character. I was able to use my knowledge of theatre to create the first read through, blocking rehearsal, rehearsals, and performances for the play within the novel. Though China Doll is a fictitious play, I placed the theatre between the marquees of real shows playing at the time: Hurlyburly, starring William Hurt and Christopher Walken, and The Rink, starring Chita Rivera and Liza Minelli. I was an actor living in New York City then, so those shows hold a special place in my heart. Since the book takes place in 1984, I included a great deal of history, music, and fashion from my favorite era. Layered hair, parachute pants, shoulder pads, lace gloves, leggings, and scrunchies are all there, along with music like Bruce Springstein's "Cover Me." New York City is prominently featured in the novel with its luxury hotels, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Little Italy, and of course the theatre district. I was also able to include the still-new AIDS epidemic and the devastation it caused within the Broadway theatre community when ignored by our political representatives, as once again Jana sponsors a benefit for AIDS research.

Each Jana Lane mystery is its own story. The clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white-knuckle shocking ending. I use my professional acting background to make each novel realistic, fun, and theatrical, and give my readers an insiders' look into the world of show business. And don't miss the next Jana Lane mystery, RAG DOLL, releasing from The Wild Rose Press in a few months, where Jana stars in a television murder mystery show and once again, life imitates art! I remember well my time on television sets. You can bet those memories will be included in RAG DOLL.

The curtain is going up. So curl up with CHINA DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery, and let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers. You can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

About CHINA DOLL by Joe Cosentino

Jana Lane is back on Broadway in 1984—starring in a murder mystery. Life imitates art when members of the company are murdered. As Jana investigates, it’s clear she may be the next victim. Complicating matters is Jana’s uncontrollable infatuation with her leading man, gorgeous and muscular Off-Broadway actor Peter Stevens. Will Jana find the murderer before the curtain comes down on her?

An Excerpt from CHINA DOLL

Tall, muscular, aristocratic-looking with dark hair and blushed cheeks, Peter shook Jana's hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Lane."

Feeling the warmth and smoothness of his strong hand, Jana felt like a shut-in at a blind date with Mr America. "It's Miss Otley…rather Mrs. Lane…Mrs. Otley, but please call me Peter." Jana turned the color of her avocado dress.

He seemed to enjoy her attraction to him. Amazing dimples emerged as Peter said, "I thought I was Peter."

Jana giggled in spite of herself. "You are. I'm Nana. I mean…I'm Jana."

Peter's peaches and cream complexion complimented his white pants, coral T-shirt, and marigold blazer. He whispered in her ear, and she smelled fresh mint. "I'm nervous too. Everyone's thinking I got this role because I'm Savannah Stevens' son. They're probably right."

I have to stop gawking at him. "I'm sure you'll be fine."

Peter seemed genuinely touched. "That means a lot to me, coming from such a fine actress. I hope you'll give me a few tips in rehearsals."

Buy CHINA DOLL at:

Barnes & Noble
OmniLit
The Wild Rose Press
Amazon


About Joe Cosentino

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Look for his newest novel, CHINA DOLL, available now from The Wild Rose Press.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Theater Review: Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery


Tell Me a Story

I love a good story, and when it comes to good stories, the classics are still among the best.  There's a reason Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes are still popular (and still being retold in new books, TV series, and films) over 130 years after the famous fictional detective made his first literary appearance.

Holmes debuted in 1886.  Doyle was paid what, today, would amount to just over $3600 for exclusive rights to the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet.  He wrote a total of 60 Holmes stories, even going so far as to resurrect the Holmes character after killing him off in The Final Problem, due to reader backlash.  That's pretty powerful, when you think about it: when you write such an iconic character, he no longer belongs to you, but to the readers.  Those readers were adamant that Doyle bring their fictional hero back.

Fans of mystery fiction should thank their lucky stars that Doyle listened, because he went on to pen The Hound of the Baskervilles, arguably his most popular and well-known Holmes story.  In it, Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick and chronicler John Watson investigate a murderous spectral hound who has terrorized the Baskerville family for generations.

A Fresh Take

The story of The Hound of the Baskervilles has been told and retold many times since its first appearance in 1901.  You might think there is no longer a fresh way to tell it.  That's probably because you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, a play written by Ken Ludwig and directed for Syracuse Stage by Peter Amster.

Baskerville takes the classic story and injects it with a heavy dose of comedy.  The result is a delightful and engaging dash through Victorian-era Dartmoor, England, complete with eerie ambience and laughs galore.  You don't need to be familiar with the original story to get the humor; when they crack a joke, you're going to get it.  Ludwig has made sure of that.  But that's not even the best part.

The gem of this play is that there are five actors playing a few dozen roles.  Matthew Greer (Sherlock Holmes) and Liam Craig (John Watson) play the famous crime-solving duo, while just three other actors (Gil Brady, Jonathan Spivey, and Barbra Wengerd) quite literally don multiple hats to fill in the almost forty remaining roles.  It is hilarious fun to watch, and the actors play up to that intrinsic hilarity with brilliance.  I asked my husband for tickets to this show for Christmas, and it was undeniably worth the wait.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so much.

Greer was amazing, and he lit up the stage with a wonderful and believable presence as Holmes.  Anyone who played Watson would have to be at least as brilliant, especially since Watson carries the majority of the story.  Craig was perfect.  I loved him on sight.  He not only looked the part, he played it to the hilt, every bit the staid foil to the slightly-manic Holmes.  Fans of Doyle's stories will appreciate how closely writer Ken Ludwig followed the original tale.  Theater-goers looking for something new will love the pings of tongue-in-cheek humor liberally sprinkled throughout the performance.

Baskerville is playing now through May 29th at Syracuse Stage.  Tickets range from $18-$50, depending on time and day of performance.


REVIEW: 4.5 of 5 stars

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Returning Guest Author: Joe Cosentino!




A couple weeks ago, I hosted Joe Cosentino, author or PORCELAIN DOLL. Joe returns today to talk about his next book in the Jana Lane series, SATIN DOLL.

You were with us last to discuss PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery from The Wild Rose Press. How was that novel received?

Thankfully, readers seem to love Jana Lane as much as I do. In her latest adventure, PORCELAIN DOLL, 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, America’s heartthrob, Jason Apollo. The reviews were amazing. Here are two examples:    

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” - Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “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.” - Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity Inc.

And now, you are back with SATIN DOLL from The Wild Rose Press. Tell us about the latest Jana Lane mystery.

In SATIN DOLL, 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. Jana rubs elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. Her husband also goes through a personal crisis.

I love the way you weave political intrigue with romance. Who was your favorite character to write in SATIN DOLL, and why?

Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!

Is there a movie version?

From our mouths to the movie gods' ears.

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write, and why?

Senator Maxmillion, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, and Benjamin Topower, Maxmillion’s wealthy super pack contributor. I’m not a top one-percenter, so I found it hard to relate to them. However, I found their drive and sense of entitlement fascinating.

With elections coming up, this book is certainly a timely one! Is Senator Cassie Castle, the Democrat senator touted to run for Vice President, based on Hillary Clinton?

Cassie is a smart, strong woman who is deeply involved in protecting the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, education, and creating jobs, like her father before her. She is also quite charismatic. So in some ways she’s very much like Hillary. In many ways, she is different. Cassie seems to wear her heart on her sleeve. And she’s dating the Republican majority leader of the Senate!          

That's a sticky situation! Have you always been interested in politics?

I’ve always found politicians like Maxmillion and Cassie fascinating. How they can speak to someone and make him/her feel as if he/she is the only person in the room. I also marvel at Cassie’s will to serve others and to make the world a better place. The issues I am concerned with are Cassie’s and Jana’s issues, so I am clearly on the liberal bent. However, I believe all the political characters in the book are treated equally in showing their good points and bad.

And then there is the studly Senator Sancho Ramirez from New York.

Like all of the characters, Sancho is a man of many secrets that all come to light.

You are certainly unafraid to delve into the darker side of human nature. In the novel, Jana is interviewed on the radio by a Christian host for Jana’s upcoming AIDS benefit. Do you think Christians would be offended by that character?

I sure hope not. Jana is a Christian who prays and goes to church on Sundays. She seems like a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. The radio hosts who interview Jana use their wealth, power, media chops, and religious affiliations to demean others and try to take away their rights.

As in the first two Jana Lane mysteries, Jana is tempted by a gorgeous man, this time Detective Chris Bove.

Detective Bove was great fun to write given his amazing looks, past as a professional football player, and addiction to good food. I don’t blame Jana for being captivated by him.

Me, either! Meanwhile, Jana’s husband goes through a major personal event.

I love that part of the story. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it.

And Jana is reconnected with her best friend, Jackson.

Yes, Jackson is a Democratic congressman now. I love his sense of humor, and interplay with Jana.

Jana again uses the skills she learned as a child star to solve the crime. How do you remember all of those movie titles and storylines?

I keep really good notes on Jana’s old movies, and on each room in her Hyde Park, New York mansion.

Since the book takes place in 1983, you included a great deal of history, music, and fashion from the era. I love the Eighties, and your book is full of that flavor.

Yes, Flashdance, “Maniac,” layered hair, parachute pants, shoulder pads, lace gloves. It’s all there. I loved that period! I was also able to include Karen Carpenter’s death, the still-new AIDS epidemic and the devastation it caused when ignored by our political representatives, and dangerous proposed legislation by conservatives like the Protect the Children Act, which was a disguise to try to make gay people second-class citizens.

Which part of the novel did you enjoy writing the most?

I loved writing Jana’s banter with Bove, and Brian’s banter with Adam.

Did you use your background as an actor to write SATIN DOLL?

Definitely! As one reviewer of PAPER DOLL wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set. Thankfully, nobody was murdered on my sets. However, in SATIN DOLL, Jana is in DC to research her upcoming role for Madam Senator. So I was able to include many famous Washington, DC historic settings like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, Smithsonian Museum, Capitol, and the Ford Theatre.

Many of the men in the series are strapping, muscular, good-looking guys - yum! Did you do that intentionally?

You mean since I’m not? Hah. Many of the women are gorgeous, too. I’m enjoying exploring how the other half lives and loves.

Your novels are full of intrigue. Everyone in SATIN DOLL seems to have a secret.

Each Jana Lane mystery is a separate story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel. The clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white-knuckle shocking ending.

What’s next?

In CHINA DOLL (releasing late May from 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.

And after that?

I’m writing RAGDOLL now, where Jana stars in a television murder mystery series, and once again life imitates art.

Do you have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?

Yes, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian-style New England college. 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 detectives, it is up to Directing professor Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome 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.

Have you written other books besides mysteries?

My M/M romance novellas are published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. I also have an M/M series including COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

I have a day job, and I find it hard to carve out writing time. As a college professor/department head, your time must be even more limited! How do you do it?

I 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? Hah.

If I had an office like that, I would be in it every spare minute! How long does it generally take you to write a book?

About three months, working evenings and weekends. When I complain about my time, my mother says, “Just think how hard you’d have to work if you had a real job like your sister’s (the accountant)”.

Who is your ideal reader of your books?

My ideal reader is a lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

Buy SATIN DOLL at:

The Wild Rose Press
MyBook
Barnes and Noble
OmniLit




About Joe Cosentino:

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Look for his next novel, CHINA DOLL, in May from The Wild Rose Press.

Joe loves to hear from readers. Contact him at:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Winner of the 2016 Earth Day Giveaway!

Congratulations to Erin C., the winner of the 2016 Earth Day Giveaway!  Erin chose a copy of HEAVY NETTING, my book in The Wild Rose Press's Lobster Cove series:


Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's contest. Please keep checking back with me for announcements of future contests. Congratulations again to Erin.  Happy Reading, and Happy Earth Day!

Guest Author: Joe Cosentino!


Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Joe Cosentino, author of the Jana Lane mysteries. Joe visits us to feature his novel, PORCELAIN DOLL.

How did you get started writing?

My mother said I was singing and dancing in the womb—and it still hurts her. Hah. As a kid I played make-believe constantly. “Let’s put on a show!” was my motto with full-scale musicals in the garage starring my sister and me. Thankfully, my parents and teachers indulged me (rather than committed me-hah). Eventually, I became an actor in film, television, and theatre. It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. After writing some plays, I knew my novels would include show business in some way, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novels would also be page-turning mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion. Since coming from a funny Italian-American family, I also knew humor would play a role in my novels.

What interests or excites you most about your genre(s)?


I’ve read hundreds of cozy mysteries. The warm or plush locations, humor, romance, and plot twists and turns totally captivate me. So I love writing mysteries. The Jana Lane mysteries are in The Wild Rose Press’s Vintage Line since they take place in the 1980’s. I reveled in the music, hairstyles, clothing, and decadence of that era. I was also able to incorporate some of the music, films, television shows, Broadway shows, and political and social events of the times. Finally, I really like writing a series. The leading characters are so real to me that each book is like visiting with old friends. I love Jana and I enjoy every moment with her.

Who or what is your favorite inspiration when writing?


Of course, Agatha Christie is the queen of murder mysteries. Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue. Mary Higgins Clark blends mystery and romance so beautifully. 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, the secret behind Jana’s studio attack is exposed.

Tell me about your latest book or work in progress.


In PORCELAIN DOLL, it is 1982, and Jana is thirty-nine years old, living in a mansion in Hyde Park, New York. 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, America’s heartthrob, Jason Apollo. 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. The early reviews for PORCLEAIN DOLL have been amazing. It's been called "a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion (Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine)" and "Beautifully written ... flirtatiously decadent (Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews)."

Coming soon are the next books in the Jana Lane mysteries, SATIN DOLL and CHINA DOLL, which carry on Jana's adventures.

5) Please share with us the first paragraph of your latest work.

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

1982.
 


Jana Lane, America’s most famous ex-child star, ran on the grounds of her estate. The forty-year-old kept up a quick pace as someone, or something, followed closely in the woods just out of sight. Her heart pounded, and sweat dropped down her neck, arms, and legs. As she turned to avoid falling into the lake, Jana raced past a large oak tree. A hand reached out from a branch. Jana screamed.

 
Blurb:

 
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?


Excerpt:

 
As Jana sat waiting for Jack to call for action, she looked up at Jason’s encouraging face. She again was taken aback by his incredible beauty.

Reverend Charlton and Gloria reentered the study.

Jack called for quiet and action. Jana and Jason played the scene, where the detective notifies her of her husband’s death. Jason delivered his lines with warmth, vulnerability, and obvious affection for Jana. In turn, Jana listened then reacted with deep emotions, conveying shock, loss, fear, and hysteria while being comforted by the man she trusted. Jana clutched onto Jason with such force, her fingernail accidently tore a hole in his jacket.

“Cut!” Jack hollered.

While the wardrobe woman repaired Jason’s jacket, Jana noticed Reverend Charlton step out of the study again, this time with Ryan O’Halloran.

After the two men returned, and the jacket was mended, Jack called for slate and action for take two. Jana and Jason did the scene two more times. Each take was more realistic and heart-wrenching than the next, and each appeared as if it were the first time Jana was given the sad news.

After the third take, Jack shouted, “Cut! It’s a wrap. Ryan, let’s move on to the next location.”

Jana wiped the tears from her cheeks.

Jason placed his hand on the side of her face. “You’re amazing.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, partner.”

“You make me better,” he said with adoration in his true-blue eyes.

They shared a smile as again people hurried around the room like ants after a picnic.

Suddenly, Jana heard a loud crash followed by a scream. Leaping from her chair, she followed the horrified gazes of the others in the room to Ryan O’Halloran lying motionless on the floor with a Fresnel tungsten shuttered light next to his head, and blood dripping from his scalp onto the hardwood floor.


Buy PORCELAIN DOLL at:

The Wild Rose Press 
MyBook
Barnes and Noble
AllRomance EBooks



About Joe Cosentino:

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Look for his next novel, CHINA DOLL, in May from The Wild Rose Press.

Contact Joe at:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino