Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spotlight Post: Shooting Star by Joe Cosentino (Excerpt + Author Interview)

the second novella in the In My Heart series from Dreamspinner Press
e-book $4.99
purchase links:
C:\Users\Joe\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\8QOBOHNQ\AShootingStar_r5.jpg
On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.


As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.
“Do you always look at other people’s things?”
I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.
Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”
Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.
“What’s your name?”
“Johnny Falabella.”
He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”
“Excuse me?”
“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”
I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”
“They were gifts, mostly.”
“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
I’m David Star.” He took a bow.
Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“What happened to your last roommate?”
“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”
“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”
His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”
“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”

“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”

Reviews for A SHOOTING STAR:
“unbelievably beautiful” “a masterpiece” Lovebytes Reviews

"This is a bittersweet love story, so don’t be surprised if you find tears running down your face when a shining and burning star is extinguished too soon. But, as Joe Cosentino proves time and time again, with his wonderful writing and storytelling ability, love will prevail, and you will smile from ear to ear." Kathy Mac Reviews

A Shooting Star could easily function as a master class in how to write short fiction (or any fiction). Joe Cosentino has provided a work that will leave you thinking and wanting to savor and re-read it again and again.” GGR Reviews

“Cosentino has another winning heartbreaker with A Shooting Star.” Prism Book Alliance.

“Of all the books I’ve reviewed, or attempted to review over the past year, this is only the second book that was well written.” Multitasking Mommas

“For those readers looking for something a little bit different - dare I say unique? For those readers who like to laugh. For those readers who appreciate the nuances of people and the way each character is different. For those readers who want to read a damn good story - check out this author. I'm glad I did.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“A very gripping, heart wrenching novella. A great read!!” Pam Kay Reviews

A Shooting Star will deliver the traditional mask of theater – tragedy and comedy – in equal measure.” Vance Bastian Reviews

“I thought David Star a most interesting character.” Red Hot & Blue Reviews

“Yes, it is a bittersweet story but it is one that still has hope and love.” Hearts on Fire Reviews
“This story just blew me away.” “If you like something different from time to time, a bittersweet story, actors, college men, and a very sweet romance I highly recommend this.” Cathy Brockman Romance/MM Good Book Reviews
“From the beginning I was enthralled and couldn’t wait to finish the book.” Inked Rainbow Reads
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe 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, 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 novels are A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Contemporary Romance

Cover Artist:
L.C. Chase

Author's Interview

Today we’re very lucky to be interviewing Joe Cosentino, author of A Shooting Star.

Hi Joe, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
It’s so great to be back with you! After college, I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. 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. Since coming from a funny Italian-American family, I also knew humor would play a role in my novels. And it does! I am also a college theatre professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in my novel, DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press).
After my Bittersweet Dreams novella, AN INFATUATION, was released by Dreamspinner Press, I received numerous requests from readers for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOTING STAR was born.
In the novella, new college theatre major Jonathan meets the gorgeous, muscular, tantalizing, and mysterious upper classroom and theatre department star aptly named David Star. As David grooms Jonathan for college life and for stardom, Jonathan falls deeply in love with him. This leads Jonathan on an inner and outer journey, where he learns some shocking secrets about David, and about himself. As a remembrance story, the novella begins with Jonathan having just received the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Film, as he thinks back to the person who was responsible for his win.

What inspired this story?
Like most college theatre departments, mine as a student was full of comedy, romance, mystery, and of course drama. The flames of love were kindled and hearts were broken while we put up play after play for delighted audiences who never knew the personal secrets behind the stage curtains. There was the star student who got the leading role in every show. Everyone, male and female, was in love with him. We all shared an incredible experience that binds us till this day. An experience none of us will ever forget. This novella is dedicated to that time.

What are your favorite qualities about each of these main characters?

Jonathan has incredible spirit. He is likeable, gullible, and wears his heart on his sleeve. David is magical, an enigma, and incredibly sexy. Barry, Jonathan’s scene partner, is hysterically funny and has a great sense of self. He is also a devoted friend.

This series is Bittersweet and doesn't end in a traditional HEA. Personally, I require a HEA to read a book. I guess I just feel if I wanted romance without a HEA, I'd take a look at real life. What inspired you to write stories without a HEA?
Actually, though Bittersweet Dreams with some sad scenes in them, both AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR have humor throughout and a happy ending. Readers and reviewers have said the novellas made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives for the better. I’m thrilled about how these two novellas move readers. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have seen authors get ripped to shreds in reviews for not providing a HEA. Have you received negative reviews for not providing a HEA?

Only one for AN INFATUATION. To be honest I stopped reading it after the first sentence. Most of my reviews and reader responses have been incredibly positive. They fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, caused them to think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything.

What does romance mean to you?

Romance is a part of life. AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR celebrate and cherish first love, infatuation, and lasting memories.

Is there a message in this book you would like readers to grasp?

Jonathan and David leave their Colorado college community members in an exalted state. They bring out the good in people, and in one another. Theatre is a very powerful medium to change lives on stage and in the audience. I hope readers are moved and changed by Jonathan and David’s story.

Do any of your friends or family members ever end up between the pages of your books?
Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet. He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. The acting professor in A SHOOTING STAR, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. Like Mr. Ringwood, the principal in AN INFATUATION, I want to play Professor Katzer in the movie version of A SHOOTING STAR! I also want to play Martin Anderson, the department head, in DRAMA QUEEN, and Simon Huckby, Jana’s agent in PAPER DOLL.
Since DRAMA QUEEN takes place in a college theatre department, and I work in one, many people ask me if the characters are based on my colleagues and my students. I kid them by saying, if any of my colleagues tick me off, I murder them in the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Hah. Actually, I like my colleagues and students too much to do that to them. The characters in the Nicky and Noah mystery series are satirical and come from my warped imagination.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

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). I think I was always a storyteller.

If you could have dinner with any person in history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you want to talk about?

Jesus. I’d ask him how he feels about people twisting his message (to love your neighbor as yourself, serve everyone, take care of the poor and outcasts, and not judge others) for their own financial and political gain and to demonize LGBT people.

And lastly, Joe, can you share the project(s) you are currently working on? Are there any HEAs in your writing future?
There are only HEAs in my future books! I am currently editing for release: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (a winter holiday short story taking place in Capri, Italy) from Dreamsprinner Press. Following that will be THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TAKES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairy tales novella) from Dreamspinner Press, PORCELAIN DOLL (the second Jana Lane mystery) and SATIN DOLL (the third Jana Lane mystery) from Wild Rose Press, DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah comedy mystery) and DRAMA CRUISE (the third Nicky and Noah mystery) from Lethe Press. I just finished a new gay romance novel set in the Jersey Shore, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK. I also hope to write CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery) and DRAMA ALOHA (the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery). Looks like I’ll be really busy!

Thanks again for being here with us today, Joe!!

My pleasure!      

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