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The Wrong Side of the Room: A Life in Music Theater by Norman Mathews

The Wrong Side of the Room: A Life in Music Theater by Norman Mathews is one man’s tale of a harrowing journey to a fulfilling love and an exciting life in musical theater. As a child, dreams of a life show business and of passionate romance were stymied by lack of self-assurance. Psychological abuse by a priest led to absurdly comic psychotherapy over his sexuality. At age twenty, a failed suicide nearly shattered a promising future. From the ashes of this calamity rose a staggering resolve to build a meaningful life. Byzantine twists paved the way to a career as a magazine editor and eventually a life as a Broadway and movie dancer. During his performance years, he worked with Barbra Streisand, Dorothy Lamour, Gene Kelly, and Michael Bennett. After an untimely injury, he reinvented himself as a compose and playwright, for which he created highly acclaimed works for Tony-Award performers.

His passionate and inspirational autobiography is steeped in dark humor, hilarious celebrity gossip, and backstage intrigue. It is a rare book that can intimately describe a self-destructive trajectory, recount the grisly murder of a Broadway conductor, and detail a gripping path to fulfilling gay love. Mathews brings his colorful Sicilian-American family, his triumphs and heartbreaks, vividly to life.

The Wrong Side of the Room

Critical Acclaim:

The author clearly delights in detailing his life story, starting with his Sicilian ancestry and beginning with his grandparents, who arrived in America via Ellis Island. He goes on to present his distinguished life on Broadway with all the glow of center stage and the nerve-wracking thrill of opening night. . .The book also has a delightful, chatty sense of humor with moments of wry wit that make it exciting to read. In the end, it effectively celebrates a life of artistic inspiration alongside the giddiness and glory of live theater.

—Kirkus Review

Norman Mathews delivers a riveting memoir with The Wrong Side of the Room that opens with a contentious genesis and powerfully surges through to its finale. This is the ultimate tale of a man who is knocked down seven times and gets up eight, except in this case our tenacious narrator is struck to the ground far more than that. . .Mathews is the consummate phoenix and, much like he displays in the writing of this book, skillfully maneuvers the trajectory of his life’s own narrative into a story that we are fortunate enough to have shared in The Wrong Side of the Room.

—Asher Syed,  Readers’ Favorite  

Impressively candid, exceptionally informative, deftly written, organized and presented, “The Wrong Side of the Room: A Life in Music Theater” is an extraordinary memoir that will have special and particular appeal for anyone with an interest in show business. . .highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.

—Midwest Book Review

Buy Links:

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Side-Room-Music-Theater/dp/1732367108

Barnes & Noble:   https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Side-Room-Music-Theater/dp/1732367108

BookShop:   https://store.bookbaby.com/bookshop/book/index.aspx?bookURL=The-Wrong-Side-of-the-Room

Bio:

Norman Mathews is an award-winning composer/playwright. His one-person Dorothy Parker musical,You Might as Well Live, which starred both Tony-Award-Winner Michele Pawk and Broadway star Karen Mason, has appeared at the Harris Theatre of Music and Dance in Chicago, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. His new opera, La Lupa, was recently showcased at the Ft. Worth Opera Company. His music has been performed at the Kennedy Center, in Europe, and by acclaimed choral companies. In his earlier days, he was a dancer-singer-actor on Broadway and films, working with Barbra Streisand, Dorothy Lamour, and Gene Kelly. Mathews has also been editor of Dance Magazine, Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance Magazine, and is  a contributor to The Times of Sicily. His political writing, which has appeared in Common Dreams, has led to his latest play, Drone. He is represented by several commercial recordings and is published by Graphite Publishing.

Websites:

https://normanmathewsauthor.com

https://www.normanmathews.com/   (for musical compositions)

EXCERPT

For all my life, I wanted to be in a loving, romantic relationship, but went through a series of disastrous, dispiriting affairs. Finally, while in rehearsal for the Broadway production of “Celebration” by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (authors of the “The Fantasticks”), I met a man, who later became my husband. We just celebrated our 50th anniversary. Though our meeting was not especially romantic, our subsequent years have been distinctly so.
 

On the upper floors of the building was the makeshift costume shop. One day passing through the shop, I noticed a man I found especially attractive. He was wearing a sweat shirt with cutoff sleeves, and the first thing that caught my eye was a pair of very good biceps, unusual in 1968, when gym bodies were rare among gay men. There he was with those biceps, incongruously sewing sequins on a woman’s red bikini-type bottom. He was good looking with slightly thinning hair, but wearing studious glasses, which gave him two contrasting or, perhaps, contradictory traits—both rather hunky and intellectual, a combination I’ve always found irresistible.

I did some inquiring and found out that his name was Todd Lehman. He was an out-of-work journalist, who had been lured into working on the show by his friend John Scheffler, the assistant to set designer Ed Wittstein. Though he was a big fan of Jones and Schmidt, Todd was also drawn to the project by the prospect of meeting some cute boys. . .

Throughout rehearsals, I found myself shamelessly flirting with Todd, doing such things as feeling his biceps. Either he didn’t pick up on my efforts or he just wasn’t interested. I subscribed to the latter theory. Perhaps I was simply inept. I was used to being the one pursued and at best could only indicate to someone that I was interested and open to any advances. 

Surprisingly, one day he invited me to dinner at his apartment on our evening off. I was delighted until I discovered that he had also invited Stephen de Ghelder. We both showed up at his place on West 89th Street unaware the other had been invited, wondering what was up. Was he interested in one or the other of us, both of us, or was this just a friendly gesture? Neither of us could decide. I took note that here was someone who could cook, which piqued my interest even further. The apartment was a pleasant two-bedroom with a dining room and a double living room, which he shared with a man named Patrick Shannon, an aspiring playwright who was working for Delta Airlines. . .

One night in our dressing room, a letter arrived for Stephen de Ghelder from Todd. The assistant company manager, Alan Schnurmacher, who was very wealthy, was giving a party at his East Side apartment for the company. In the beautifully written letter, Todd invited Stephen to be his date for the party. Stephen had the incredibly poor taste to read the letter aloud in the dressing room because he was not interested. He had always been partial to tall blonds. I felt hurt and envious that such a touching letter hadn’t been directed to me.

Both Alan and Todd’s friend, John Scheffler, made it clear that they had designs on me. I hated being rude or crushing their hopes, but I hadn’t the least interest in either of them. The intrigue created a tangled web of disappointments and unfulfilled longings among all of us. I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I made it known in no uncertain terms to both John and Alan that I was infatuated with Todd. This got the two of them off my back, while I was certain they would pass the word on to Todd. I waited in tense anticipation to see what reaction I might get.

Two nights later, the stage doorman handed me a note. It was from Todd. I opened it with expectant but trembling hands. It simply stated, “I’m picking you up after the show tomorrow night.” He didn’t ask; he just assumed I was available. To say that I was more than a little titillated by his forcefulness would be an understatement. To me, it read, “I’m giving you no choice. Just be ready for me.” Yes, sir! I loved it. On January 15, 1969, exactly one week prior to opening night, he was at the stage door, and he took me to Joe Allen’s, a favorite after-the-show rendezvous for the theater crowd. Throughout our meal, I kept wondering, is this it, just a late-night snack and then each to our respective homes, or would there be more? There was more.

He invited me to his apartment. His roommate was mercifully absent. I had waited four long months to see him naked, and I was not disappointed. His pecs and flat, washboard abs were impressive, and even his thin, slightly bowed legs I found appealing. I expect I had a wide-eyed, open-mouthed, foolish look of lust on my face. That night I experienced an explosive physical passion, a volcanic release I had not known for years. I couldn’t tell whether the sensation was reciprocal. Positive development—he made another date for the weekend.

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The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Rising Tide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4734/?


Excerpt

The Rising Tide Meme

Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.

As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.

He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.

He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.

He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.

The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.

The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”

“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.

She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”

He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”

“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.

Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.

He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.

Gia rode down the hillside behind him.

“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”

She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”

“That actually might help us.”

“How’s that?”

He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”

“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”

“So not a metal knife.”

“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”

He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”

“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.

“The Ghosts.”

The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.

People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”

Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.

Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”

Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”

“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”

Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.


Author Bio

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

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New Release from Brooke Edwards!

 

Blurb

In the aftermath of a psychopath’s obsession-fuelled murder spree through New York, Detective Daniel Callahan feels like he’s been hit by a wrecking ball. It turns out that watching your best friend and your boss fall in love only to nearly lose it all takes a toll on a guy’s emotional stability.

Peter Saracen has an out-of-control crush on the belligerent detective who seems to want nothing more than to toss him into a cell and throw away the key. When the body of an unidentified gang member is pulled from the East River and an old nemesis breaks out of prison, Peter finds himself on a whole new collision course with Daniel.

The line between personal and professional begins to blur. The dangers of the present take aim at the fragile possibility of Daniel and Peter’s happily-ever-after, while ghosts of the past threaten the deepening bond between Daniel’s boss James Carter and Assistant US Attorney, Derek Moore. With everything against them, there might not be any coming back from this.

Excerpt

Volunteering doesn’t pay any bills, but Peter spent more time at the community center growing up than he thinks he’s ever going to be able to give back. Whenever he can, he likes to help supervise the daycare or after-school programs. The kids span the spectrum from hostile and prickly, all the way to clingy and desperate for any attention and affection they can get. Peter feels for all of them.

The owner of the pizza place around the corner from Tia’s apartment had agreed to let him wash dishes during the dinner rush period as a trial, and as grateful as he is to have been given a chance there, he’s even more grateful that he can keep spending a few hours a day at the community center. Keeping busy is the best way he knows how to keep from dwelling on the way that, when his life had flashed before his eyes as he’d been dragged through that broken window and realized that the only police officer around was unarmed and unconscious, there hadn’t been much to be proud of. The community center kids and Tia would be the only people who missed him. He’s almost embarrassed to admit how long Daniel’s face had lingered in his mind’s eye. Peter’s had crushes before, even a couple of more-or-less serious relationships. Alex had been an educational experience. He doesn’t know what it is he feels for Daniel, just how strongly he feels it. That feels scarier, somehow, than losing something he understands. The possibility of losing this unknown potential… something. He hasn’t seen Daniel since the last time he’d been at the station, for one final debrief with some faceless officers and the stern redheaded lawyer, and even that was just a glimpse across the bullpen. It’s been a solid eight weeks, and Peter still keeps catching himself drifting off into a repetitive loop of “what-if” scenarios.

It’s incredibly frustrating because Peter has no idea what to do about it. As much as there’s a part of him that wants to go storming into the police station, and maybe do something drastic like punch Daniel in the face with his own face and hope their mouths ended up in the same vicinity, he thinks that’s probably a terrible idea. He just doesn’t have any better ones.

“I’m a good person,” Peter says to himself while he watches the kids run around in the gated courtyard. “A good adult.”

Alysha sidles over to him. “Why’re you talking to yourself, Petey?” she asks, sliding her hand into his and looking up at him with warm, concerned eyes.

Peter squeezes her hand, still too conflicted to even be embarrassed. “Sometimes it’s easier to talk to yourself instead of other people,” he says. “Helps you get all the facts straight and figure out what you have to do. Like making lists.”

Her eyes light up. “I like lists.”

An overwhelming wave of love crashes over him and he smiles, using his grip on her hand to swing her up into his arms. “I know you do,” he says, pressing a smacking kiss to her cheek. “Let’s go make some now, how does that sound?”

Buy Links

Genres: contemporary, crime/mystery, romance, romantic suspense

Word count: Approx 45k

Pages: 164

Exclusive to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Global buy link: rxe.me/79WB3S

Global buy link for book 1: rxe.me/CP46BY

Global buy link for book 2: rxe.me/9DCBT6

Author Bio

Brooke Edwards is an Australian LGBTQ+ author and dreamer, slowly working her way through the stories that keep demanding (loudly) to be told. She’s hopelessly obsessed with procedural law enforcement shows, flawed human beings and coffee – not necessarily in that order.

A hybrid author, Brooke’s first books were released through Dreamspinner Press in 2015 and 2016, followed by self-published ventures in 2017 and onwards.

Social media & contact links

brookeedwardsauthor@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/brooke.edwards.52459

Twitter: @brookeedwardsau

Instagram: @brookeedwardsauthor

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13832393.Brooke_Edwards

Website: www.brookeedwardsauthor.com

Blog: www.brookeedwards.blog

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Behind The Scenes – STORY INSPIRATION

This month we’re talking story inspiration! I love finding out where the inspiration for my fav books and characters came from. Sometimes inspiration comes from the most amazing places 🙂

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration everywhere! It could be from a photo, listening to a song, or watching a clip on YouTube. I’ve been inspired by real-life newspaper articles: tales of love, and heroes, and heartbreak. One of my stories was inspired by a cover – I saw a pre-made cover for Rustic Melody and just knew I had to have it. That smiling face on the cover inspired the character of Adam and the story came from there. You can check out my Pinterest if you want to see some boards showcasing the inspiration behind my books ~ Nic

Like Nic, I find inspiration everywhere. I’ll be watching a movie and find myself wondering how the plot could be changed with the addition of a certain character, or if the whole story was moved to a different setting. Same with books. I often piece together ideas from different books to create my own version of a story. I’ve also been inspired by news articles and magazine articles. I have a folder full of clippings. I also really like to write from prompts–either a line of dialogue or a picture. I’ve probably written close to a hundred flash fiction pieces based on a single evocative image. ~ Kelly

I also find inspiration everywhere. Hearing about someone with an interesting career path and imagining what drew them in that direction. Reading about someone doing something heroic and creating a backstory for them. Seeing a movie and thinking about who some minor secondary character might meet that would rock their world and how they’d be changed by putting obstacles in their way. I keep clippings and snippets of dialogue and scenes in OneNote, and pull them up when I’m deciding what to write next. ~ Jenna

Everywhere. The world is a fascinating, colorful place. The key is paying attention. It might be from a snippet of conversation (many writers are good at eavesdropping).  A person with an interesting face might speak to me as a possible character too. If I pay attention and am aware of ideas, they will often find me.  I have endless lists and limited time to write, so the issue for me is often what to choose to focus on. ~ Skylar

What’s the most unusual thing to have inspired a book?

Perhaps the most unusual thing to inspire a book was heartbreak. You know that feeling when you hear or see something so sad and just want the person to have their happy ending? I’ve had stories that have come about because I’ve wanted, no needed, to write that happy ever after. ~ Nic

Cheez-Its. I was standing in my kitchen one day, shoving handfuls at my face, and I imagined someone walking through the door while I had a mouthful of cheesy goodness and cracker crumbs all over my chin and shirt. It’d be an awkward way to meet someone, right? After washing my hands, I ran upstairs and wrote exactly that, and the scene became the first chapter of Building Forever (Oct 2018), which was known as the ‘Cheez-It’ book for the whole time I was writing it. ~ Kelly

Handcuffs. I read a blog about a dating couple who agreed to hold hands for an entire day. They posted about how it helped them get to know each other even better but also created a level of intimacy that was uncomfortable at times. It made me wonder what would happen if two strangers had to do the same thing. That turned into Stuck with You, a story about two college students who are handcuffed together for a sociology experiment. ~ Jenna

Two stories had unusual inspirations. One was a silly thing and one was a real-life tragedy. The Holiday Hoax was inspired by a ridiculous conversation on the radio. A girl, gripping about her supercritical mother, joked about creating a fake boyfriend to keep the questions about her single status away. It was cute and I began to think about how much fun a romance for MM would be with a fake holiday boyfriend. A more tragic inspiration was when a friend was training for the Aids Bike-a-thon and was the victim of a hit and run. He survived but had a severe stroke, and this one bad moment changed the course of his life.  Although my story did not follow the plot of a hit and run or use my real friend’s actual details, I did explore the shock and pain of watching a friend unexpectedly suffer a tragedy…  Life can change so rapidly. And sometimes those changes are unfair and cruel.  How to find happiness and love after a horrible event occurs is something that I related to and hoped others would relate to as well. The book that this inspired was Here for You. ~ Skylar

What was the inspiration from your most recent story?

My most recent story – my upcoming release Lies & Deception (release 26th June) – is about an undercover police officer infiltrating a bikie gang. It was inspired by a sign I saw on a pub in Sydney. The sign was a notification that bikie gang colours were not permitted to be worn into the premises. This law is one of the anti-bikie laws introduced in New South Wales, aimed at reducing illegal bikie activity. It got me thinking about motorcycle clubs and the rest is history. Click here if you want to find out more about the book. ~ Nic

My upcoming release To See the Sun (Aug 13, 2018) was inspired by a book I read as a judge for the RITA Awards in 2016. The book I read couldn’t be more different–it was an inspirational historical romance about a woman who arrived in Montana as a mail-order bride, only to discover her intended had passed away. I really enjoyed the premise and immediately started thinking of mail-order groom plots. I decided to set my story in the future, in a galaxy that might or might not be our own, and to have my mail-order groom be a fugitive from justice. The rest just rolled on from there. I’m super excited about this book because it’s one of the sweetest love stories I’ve ever written, and it also gave me a chance to write science fiction–something I always enjoy. ~ Kelly

My new release Heartbeats was inspired by an article about the options for LGBTQ couples looking to start a family. Between adoption, foster care, surrogacy, raising biological children from prior relationships, and so on, family comes in many forms. Heartbeats is about two men who hope to build their families via surrogacy, only to find that “their” premature twins were promised to both of them. The rest of the Connections series is about other definitions of family. ~ Jenna

My last release, Rim Shot, is NA friends-to-lovers story about two college roommates. One is a star athlete and the other is a poor academic. After talking with so many friends who got into debt over student loans, I wanted to have a character struggling with paying for college. The idea was it have a realistic feel for this student. At the same time, I read an article about athletes and doping. The article discussed the pros and cons of trusting these tests to determine guilt or innocence—Rim Shot was born! ~ Skylar

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

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GUEST POST: Whispers of Love by Remmy Duchene #gayromance @remmyduchene

 

Inspirations

Hi Everyone,

My name is Remmy Duchene. I am the writer of mostly interracial/multicultural erotic romance. I say mostly, because I am the slave to my muse and it’s whatever that jerk tells me lol. Anyway, today I am here to talk about inspiration.

I’ve done quite a few author interviews. And almost every time, I’m asked about what my inspirations are. Mostly, inspiration for writing things. Some people talk about art and sunsets. For me, I get ideas from everywhere. A random man walking down the street, a motorcycle parked on the side of the road, a particular lyric in a song—I pick things up everywhere. For Whispers of Love, a friend of mine saw the premade cover and tagged me. She stated emphatically that I needed to write a story for this beautiful piece of art. When I saw it, the story came the second I looked at the cover. I scraped up money outside my budget and paid for the print and ebook pieces and set to writing.

I fell in love with the man on the cover. He was the muse I’d been searching for. I had been blocked—writer’s block is a horrible thing. I had a print out of the cover, on the wall in my apartment and stared at it at great lengths before I write every session.

Most often than not, we search for inspiration—I’m talking something akin to the search for the holy grail. We put so much stress on ourselves to find the perfect idea, the perfect words, the perfect model to give us what we need to get words on the screen. That is when things, for me, often times go wrong and the block persists. My best stories appear in my head when I don’t try too hard—when I am doing the things I love like listening to music, going for walks along Lake Ontario, or around downtown Toronto.

The best ideas come when my mind is open—when I don’t expect anything at all from just living. Those inspirations, when hit, are the best things ever!

Author Bio:

Remmy Duchene, born on the small island of Jamaica, now loving in Toronto Canada. When not writing, you can find Remmy working for lawyers by day, then wandering the city with a camera in her spare time.

Blurb

Hilo Adachi learned one very important lesson from his father—unconditional love is a sham that always with strings attached.

Broken and alone, he works as a bike messenger while moonlighting as a graphic designer. When he meets Matthew Ellington, the last thing Hilo is looking for his love, but how can he deny the fact that one look from Matthew’s beautiful, brown eyes leaves him yearning for things he has no right to? How could he possibly imagine he deserves a man like Matthew?

​Matthew Ellington has it all – a successful clothing line, a loving family and money. But he’s missing love and while he isn’t actively looking, he isn’t going to ignore it should love come along. The moment he lays eyes on Hilo, he knows he wants him.

But Hilo’s demons keep getting in the way.

​Matthew is a fighter, and Hilo’s demons have met their match.

Buy Link

Please look for me/follow me on the interwebs.

You can find me at my website at https://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmymantasy

Twitter: @remmyduchene

Instagram: @manluvlikeaboss

 

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Behind The Scenes – WRITING MY FIRST STORY

Writing My First Story
Writing My First Story – Clare London

It was – still is –  a beast of an epic, family saga, bodice-ripper! I call it Poldark meets Eastenders, and it still languishes on my hard drive, awaiting some 21st century editing :). And even in those days, before I’d read any m/m at all, it had gay relationships included. But if we’re talking m/m books, I started in fanfiction (a shout-out for Gundam Wing!), first reading, then loving, then writing it myself. It was truly empowering! and a great way to practice my craft and get online feedback. After a while, I got restless with writing the same characters (though I’ll always love them) and branched out into original fiction, posting online and entering contests galore. My first published novel was Branded, which I wrote during Nanowrimo, and plucked up the immense courage (!) needed to submit it to Dreamspinner Press. It’s been through a couple more edits, and cracking new cover(s), and remains one of my own favourites!

Writing My First Story – Jenna Kendrick

My writing career took an odd path with some unexpected twists and turns. I wrote my first romance novel on a legal pad while stuck in bed recovering from a medical issue. It got shoved into a drawer and gathered dust. After a couple other attempts, discovering my voice and learning more with each one, I got sidetracked by an opportunity to write tech books. My first published works were those huge tomes you find in the Computers section of the bookstore about things like Microsoft Office, the iPhone/iPad, and web design. After writing a baker’s dozen of those books and contributing to more than fifty others, I returned to my first love, fiction. My first published romance novel was an m/m novella entitled Make Me Believe. Writing about people and relationships is much more exciting than listing the steps required to print envelopes in Word, and I especially love writing about LGBTQIA+ characters finding their happily ever after.

Writing My First Story – Nic Starr

Sometimes I think that my writing career began on a dare. I attended an m/m conference, back in the days when I reviewed gay romance and read a ton of books. A couple of authors asked why I didn’t write, especially given my love of the genre. I hadn’t even entertained the thought of writing before – I was a process driven person, not a creative person. Or so I thought. But they encouraged me to give writing a go and the idea bubbled away. Finally I figured I had nothing to lose. I started with two novellas. One was a freebie story – Waiting, Hoping, Wishing. The second –  It’s Not Easy – I submitted to a publisher and was thrilled when Dreamspinner Press offered me a contract. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and writing, and goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your passions. ❤

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Can You See My Heart Beating?

Hi, everyone! This is my first official post here on 2 Men, and I’m so happy to be here. I’m looking forward to joining Nic, Kelly, Clare, and the rest of the gang for future Behind the Scenes and other group posts as well as adding my own rants and babbles here and there.

This week is a nail-biter for me. Heartbeats comes out tomorrow on Amazon, and I’m both excited and anxious to hear what everyone thinks about Andrew, Bradley, and the twins. The title comes from the fact that when you have preemies in the hospital, you tend to find yourself getting engrossed by the cardiopulmonary monitor. Your own emotions rise and fall as you watch their heartrate and respiration for any sign of distress, and every alarm causes panic, even the ones caused by the baby moving or an electrode becoming detached.

When my own twins were born prematurely, my husband sat in a rocking chair next to their incubators and read “Goodnight, Moon” to them every evening (something he’d actually started while I was still pregnant because he’s awesome that way). After a day of being poked and prodded, shuddering at every loud noise or unexpected touch, they’d calm down as soon as Daddy started reading. You could see the effect his voice had on them by watching their heartrate on the monitors.

In Andrew and Bradley’s case, their worry is exacerbated by not knowing the paternity of the twins. They used the same surrogate, and she fraudulently contracted with both men for the pregnancy. As they get lulled into the rhythm of the beeping monitors, Andrew and Bradley can’t help but open their hearts to the struggling preemies, but only one of them is the father. The other will walk away brokenhearted. Or will he?

Below is an excerpt from Heartbeats. I love to hear from readers! You can find me on:

Heartbeats Coming

EXCERPT FROM HEARTBEATS

Copyright 2018 Jenna Kendrick

COMING MARCH 13, 2018

“Surely you can tell me something. How are my babies?” Bradley raked his fingers through his hair, barely resisting pulling it out by the handful. No telling what it looked like, but he left it firmly attached to his scalp.

“Mr. Stern, as I’ve already said, someone will be out for you shortly.” The NICU nurse’s voice straddled a fine line between professional courtesy and annoyance. “Now, are you going to wait patiently, or do I have to ask security to escort you out of the hospital?” As he turned away, the glass divider between the info desk and the waiting area rattled with more force than the last time he’d demanded answers. Too bad, because he wasn’t budging until he knew what was happening to his twins and their surrogate.

For all that the hospital had tried to create a welcoming environment, the empty waiting room stank of lost hopes, stale coffee, and the astringent smell that lingered in all hospitals. If he sat, he’d be swallowed up by the despondency that clung to the chairs. Instead, he walked. Fourteen steps up the hall, fourteen steps back, just far enough for it to be considered pacing and not hovering. He’d practically worn a trench into the hardwood floor. It’d been hours already—he glanced at his watch—no, more like twenty minutes. No wonder the staff was losing patience. Time was standing still.

His mouth opened in an overly loud yawn that had him looking right and left with embarrassment, but it was too early for anyone other than hospital staff to be milling about. The inscrutable nurse didn’t even look up from her computer screen.

The adrenaline rush from racing to get here battled with the exhaustion of having been awake for over twenty-four hours. After a long week in New York City filled with frustrating meetings and high-profile events with Uncle Richard and his merry band of blowhards, he’d been unable to stand one more night there. Every car horn and squeal of brakes from the street below set him on edge, and come morning, Richard would have one more piece of business, one more person he needed to meet. Any excuse to keep him nearby and try to wear him down. He’d just wanted to get home to his mountain, treacherous roads in the middle of the night be damned, and he’d called down for his Tesla Roadster before he so much as loosened his tie. Halfway to Egremont, he’d received the call that had him veering east to Springfield.

The same refrain haunted him as it had the rest of the drive. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. Never mind that this was the culmination of a long-held dream. Making lists of baby supplies and everything he needed to decorate the nursery was a far cry from having checked so much as a single item off said lists. But none of that was important right now. He’d deal with the nursery and all the rest once he knew his babies were well.

They’re not ready, either. He’d been reading about fetal development week-by-week throughout the pregnancy, not that he could recall a single useful fact right now. Fingernails and blinking—the parts he’d been so excited about a couple days ago—suddenly took a back seat to lung development. He swallowed the knot in his throat and reached into his pocket. No. Already a hair’s breadth from losing his shit, Googling worst-case scenarios wouldn’t help him avoid being kicked out of the hospital for causing a disturbance.

Stomping feet and labored breaths caught his attention as two men ran down the hall. One pointed at the chairs, then approached the nurse’s station, quietly giving his name. His companion, jacket wide open and sweatshirt clearly inside-out, looked around the area wide-eyed before lurching across the hall to the restroom.

“Did you see where my brother went? A little bit taller, a lot less handsome?”

There was no reply from the nurse. Bradley glanced over to see the man staring back at him quizzically. He pointed at the bathroom just as the door opened.

The brother was indeed taller, by at least a few inches. But his dark blond hair, bright blue eyes, and muscles for days rendered him a hundred times sexier than the first guy.

Judging from the greenish cast to his skin, he was also either hungover or sick. Bradley stepped away in distaste, leaving the other men to melt into the chairs of despair while he resumed pacing. Fourteen steps up the hall. Turn. Five, six, seven—

The door to the unit opened. “Who’s here for the Penn twins?”

—Eight, nine. Wait. Penn.

Bradley hurried over to the man in bright blue scrubs. The surgical mask tucked under his chin pulled his ears forward, giving him a slightly elfin appearance. Or maybe lack of sleep and stress were making Bradley as fanciful as the giraffes and elephants painted on the walls.

The nurse gave Bradley a welcoming smile. “You the new dads?”

Bradley looked to his right, only then noticing the tall guy had also approached.

“Oh, we’re not together,” he said. Being together with someone wasn’t in the cards for him. His heart was taking a big enough risk letting children in, much less a partner.

“We ask that only parents come into the unit for the first visit. Which one of you is the father?” He looked expectantly between the two men.

“I am,” they both replied at the same time.

 

Bio

Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.

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Behind The Scenes – CHARACTER NAMES

This week, in honour of Celebrate Your Name Week, we are talking about names. No, not baby names, but character names. So read along to find out how the leading characters in some of your favourite gay romance novels got their names and some of the struggles we authors face when choosing the perfect moniker for our heroes.

How do you go about choosing the name of your characters?

I’m totally process oriented so I keep a list of names I like and mark them off when I’ve used them. I gather the names from various sources – names of friends and colleagues, names I hear in the media or stumble across in other books. I also google when necessary, particularly if I’m trying to find a name of a specific nationality. In terms of selecting the name, I choose a name I think most reflects my character. That’s probably influenced by my own experiences – I’m not going to name my sweet MC after the bully I knew at school. 🙂 ~ Nic

Like Nic, I keep a list of names. They’re favourite names, names that I collect here and there because I’d like to use them, names of people I like. My favourite cousins. It’s not particularly long, but the names on my list are precious. I use them sparingly because they’ll only get one life, then they’re retired. ~ Kelly

I’ll often look for inspiration in a poem or a popular saying. Or search lists of baby names of all ethnicities and sources, looking for the right sound and meaning. Much like the other authors here! For example, Maen in my fantasy novel Branded came from the Welsh word for “rock”, Niall in my suspense thriller 72 hours means “champion”, Red in my romance Flying Colors is a nickname for Richard, meaning “powerful leader”. I like to play with the names! ~ Clare

What are the most difficult things about choosing a name?

Coming up with a name I haven’t used before! Seriously, my brain seems to present me with the same list of names for every book I write.  Or I can only think of names starting with the same letter. I seem to lean towards using A names and J names. No idea why but that’s why I need to keep a list. 🙂 My most important priority is a name that matches my character’s personality and ethnicity. I also try to give my two main characters ‘opposite’ names. For example, if one name is sort, the other is long. Or if one starts with a consonant, I might give the other one a name beginning with a vowel. ~ Nic

Having a name that suits my character is really important to me. I’ve written a complete story with two names I really liked, only to have to switch them on my first revision round because although they were good names, they didn’t quite fit. They just didn’t sound right. It’s hard to describe, but they didn’t feel like a Fin and a Jared. I tried swapping their names. Fin became Jared, and Jared became Fin, and suddenly they fit. In my current WIP, I had a hard time finding a good name for my second hero. He eventually named himself, which happens often enough that I tend to go with it when it happens. ~ Kelly

I seem to land on A & J most often, too. So, apparently it’s not just me?! Someone pointed out recently I’d used Aiden in 4 books so far, albeit different spellings. A problem is that a lot of my books now are set in Britain and, to be honest, we don’t have quite the same whimsy in creating names as other nations do! I often revert to tried and true biblical names, like the apostles (not Nebuchadnezzar or Methuselah!). I also find I get bogged down with certain initials for certain characters e.g. the alpha character will be B / M / N / R, but that can be very restricting. And bizarre, really 🙂 ~ Clare

What is the most unusual name you’ve used in a book?

My next release (Lies & Deception, Dreamspinner Press, June/July) features outlaw motorcycle gangs. Naming the motorcycle clubs was difficult enough in itself but then I had to name the characters and give them all bikie nicknames. Thank goodness for MC blogs where members talk about the background to their names! Characters in my story includes Rabbit, Stack, Blue and Ginger. ~ Nic

In my upcoming release (To See the Sun, Riptide Publishing, August), one of the heroes is named Gael. It’s not a wholly unusual name, but it’s different and I think quite beautiful. When I’m writing sci-fi, I like to use names that are unusual but still easy to spell and say. As an avid reader of speculative fiction, I’ve puzzled out enough names full of consonants and apostrophes to never want to inflict them on my own readers. Another favourite is Steilang Skovgaard from Uncommon Ground. He’s an alien (of the Skov clan) and chose the closest human equivalent to his real name (unpronounceable, of course) upon his arrival. When I’m not writing sci-fi, I tend to pick simple, ordinary names. I kinda love them. ~ Kelly

Yes, I agree that you can use more imagination in SF or fantasy. Maybe the most exotic I ever used was Mori in my speculative story Threadbare. He was named after a silkworm!  ~ Clare

What are the names of the main characters in your next book?

My most recent release (Patrick’s Savior) stars Patrick – surprise! LOL – and Simon. My upcoming release, Lies & Deception, is the story of Mitch and Finn. ~ Nic

Coming in August, I have To See the Sun with Gael Sonnen and Abraham Bauer. I spent a lot of time picking these names and I love them. I love their story, too! Dillon and Lang (Steilang) return this summer as well in Purple Haze~ Kelly

My current book Freeman is a fab example of the working-name-that-stuck-for-good, for both the main narrator and the book title. The younger man he befriends is called Kit – and there’s a mystery to that name, too, but you’ll have to read the book to find out :). I’m working on my next Dreamspun Desire books at Dreamspinner Press called The Undercover Millionaire, where my billionaire Alexandre happily uses a shortened name Alex for his undercover role, until he meets Tate, a young man he really want to be honest with! ~ Clare

 

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

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GUEST POST: And God Belched by Rob Rosen

Hello Because Two Men Are Better Than One readers! If you’re looking for a laugh, for some romance with a bit of heat, for a truly unique book, then I invite you to check out my twelfth (and, dare I say, best) novel, And God Belched, published by MLR Press.

Here’s a little bit about the book:

In this riotously funny romantic adventure, Randy and his younger brother, Craig, find themselves in a different universe, on a strange planet, desperately searching for Milo, a handsome stranger in imminent danger, all while being chased by the heavily armed local authorities. And that’s just the start of this epic journey. But what else does fate have in store for our brave heroes? And can one human save two worlds, the handsome alien he’s fallen in love with, his entire family, and a self-aware watch? Read on, dear Earthlings, to find out!

Feel free to pick up a copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/God-Belched-Rob-Rosen-ebook/dp/B078GG9L4P/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1513737466&sr=8-1

And an excerpt can be read below.

All the best and enjoy!

Rob Rosen

www.therobrosen.com

Author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis, and Fierce, and editor of the anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015, and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2 and 3.

Excerpt:

It was two days later, two days of utter hell and frustration. It was late, close to midnight. I no longer slept. I was either awake or momentarily passed out. I was twenty-two and looking forty—a pretty forty, sure, but forty nonetheless. I was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. “Hang in there, Milo,” I whispered. “We’re coming for you.”

The bed shook a second later. I hopped up and flicked on a light. Craig came barreling in a moment later, a large garbage bag flung over his shoulder. He closed the door behind him and tossed the bag to the pink carpet.

“What is all that?” I asked as he dumped the contents out.

He put his index finger to his lips. “Shh. Working.”

I began to argue, which is how Craig and I did things, argumentatively, but then thought the better of it. Instead, I sat on the bed and watched him assemble the strange apparatus he’d invented. It took shape quickly enough. There was a basin on the floor, a structure of metal beams in the shape of a cube above that, a pan resting above that. There were some tubes running from top to bottom and back again. On the floor sat some sort of small motor. It looked like a…well, I hadn’t a clue what it looked like. It looked like a mess of metal and tubes, like an erector set gone wrong.

“I have no idea what all this is,” I freely admitted when it was at last complete.

He rose to hand me two emptied gallon jugs, now deplete of their milk. “Fill these.”

“The cow went home for the evening.”

He grimaced, eyes, as usual, rolling. “With water, jackass.”

I nodded. “Water. Right. Be right back.”

I raced to the bathroom. I raced as my mind raced. What was Craig up to? What was that apparatus he’d set up? And how would it help Milo? In any case, the jugs filled up quickly, and so back I rushed. I handed them to Craig. He filled the basin with the water, and then passed them back my way.

“Two more,” he commanded.

I sighed. “Really?”

He mock-sighed me in return. “Did Einstein’s assistants question his genius?”

“I doubt Einstein had assistants when he was eighteen, little bro.”

He glared my way. “Don’t doubt; fill.”

Thus again commanded, I tore to the bathroom and filled up jugs three and four. By the time I’d done five and six, I was duly exhausted and even more frustrated. We didn’t have that much time, after all. The portal never stayed open for more than ten minutes, and we were close to that already.

“Please tell me that was the last one,” I said, now breathing hard.

“That was last one.”

“Thank God,” I exhaled as I watched him crouch down to the small motor.

“I’d say pray to him,” he said, flicking the thing on. “Thank him after this is all over with.”

The motor purred. Fortunately, it wasn’t all that loud. Also fortunately, my parents slept on the first floor of our house, while Craig and I slept on the second. I mean, how would I have explained any of this, especially the waterfall Craig had suddenly flicked on in the middle of my bedroom.

“Pretty,” I said. “But, uh, why does it suddenly look like the tropics in here?”

He rose and walked to the mirror. “Like I said a couple of days ago…” He touched the mirror. “Solid.” He pointed to me. “Idiot.” He pointed to the waterfall. “Leaving.”

It took me a few seconds to put all the pieces together. “Wait,” I said. “Water isn’t a solid; it’s a liquid.”

“Eureka,” he said with an exaggerated sigh.

“Now what?” I asked, instantly coming down off my high.

He slid my mirror out of the way and got down on the floor next to the waterfall. He’d put the basin on wheels, and so all the thing needed was a push before it was sitting where the mirror once had been.

“Now this,” he said as he again stood next to me. “Go ahead.”

I gulped. “Go ahead and, uh, what?”

He looked my way, his eyes burning like two tiny stars. I guessed that this is what Justin Bieber looked like just before he went on stage. “Try it out, dude,” he said, then grabbed my hand and placed it in front of the downward flowing water.

“What if it works?” I asked. “What if it works and we’re sucked into space? What if his world doesn’t breathe oxygen? What if it works and we’re trapped over there?”

He nodded thoughtfully. “All surprisingly good questions, dude. But there’s one more: if we don’t do this, what happens to Milo?”

I paused, but not all that long. In truth, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t know what happened to Milo. And no, that wasn’t me being a drama queen, for a change; that was me knowing that I had a connection that had been severed, leaving me very much short-circuited, so to speak. Milo, I’d come to believe, was my destiny. Whether or not rightly so, it didn’t matter; this is what I felt, and so that was all that mattered.

In other words, with just the slightest bit of trepidation, I stuck my hand through the water and promptly winced.

“What, what?” Craig asked, concern washing over his face. “Did it hurt? Is your hand disintegrating?”

I shook my head. “The water is cold.”

He socked me one in the arm as he sharply exhaled. “Fucker.” He then looked behind the waterfall. “Um, dude, just so you know, your hand isn’t back there.” He then locked eyes with me, those stars going all supernova-like. “Your hand, Randy, your hand is in another universe, boldly going where no hand has gone before.”

My gulp repeated. I wiggled my fingers. They, in fact, still wiggled. Meaning, my hand hadn’t, in fact, disintegrated. My hand was also not too cold or too hot, but, like the baby bear’s porridge, just right. And so, I moved my arm further into the water, and further it did go. Which is why, since the body goes where the hand leads, I found myself walking through the waterfall a split-second later, saying through the spray, “Well, here goes nothing.”

Though, of course, here went everything.

 

 

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GUEST POST: The Perfect Gift by Joe Cosentino

What do Capri, Italy and Philadelphia, PA have in common. It turns out a lot actually. Both are gorgeous, magical, romantic, and the perfect place to spend the winter holidays. Capri has its ancient, quaint church with stained glass windows and pipe organ, steep white cliffs hovering over clear turquoise water, historic villas, and mouthwatering food. Philly is home to the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest ice skating, Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, Christmas Village, Holiday Market in Dilworth Park, Germantown Avenue’s Winter Wonderland with Victorian-costumed carolers and bell ringers, and Dickensian Street where people dressed as characters from Dickens’ novels stand in front of Victorian-style bay-windowed shops lit up for the holidays.

Two years ago, I wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on my trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays. Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. Readers and listeners loved the e-book and audiobook performed by the talented Joel Leslie, feeling as if they could see, hear, taste, and touch the captivating characters and romantic locations. Since A Home for the Holidays leaves open the future of Bobby’s and Paolo’s relationship; Joel, readers, reviewers, and Dreamspinner Press staff asked me why I hadn’t written a sequel. So this month we are releasing The Perfect Gift e-book.

The two-part story begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding (December Grooms). A year later, since it’s Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in the area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. They exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Like the child we celebrate at Christmas, could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo (An Unexpected Present)?

I hope you enjoy Bobby and Paolo’s next adventures in Bobby’s beautiful hometown. And I hope you get what you need for Christmas. Enjoy my special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.

 

THE PERFECT GIFT (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

by JOE COSENTINO

published by Dreamspinner Press, e-book $4.99

Blurb

Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

What reviewers said about A Home for the Holidays (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1):

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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

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

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

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. 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

Excerpt 

“Hi, Mom. What are you doing?”

“Sitting home alone like a dog.”

That’s Mom’s logic. If their house isn’t full of people eating and carrying on, she’s alone. “Where’s Dad?”

“In his den, watching the game on TV as usual.”

I’m Bobby McGrath. Since this is my story, I should tell you more about myself. I have frizzy red hair, green eyes, and a swimmer’s body, thanks to the pool at my gym. The swimmer’s body is thanks to the pool. The red hair and green eyes are courtesy of my dad’s side of the family, which my mom calls the Bad Seed. And I passed the bar. I don’t mean I’m a recovering alcoholic. I aced my bar exam, and I’ve been a junior lawyer for nearly a year now.

“Bobby, are you listening to me or thinking about one of your cases?”

“I’m listening, Mom.” I sat on the window seat in my Victorian apartment’s turret and gazed out at the carolers appropriately dressed in Victorian garb as they sang in front of the department store across the street. That’s the department store where my father is manager and plays Santa every December. “How did Dad’s physical go with Dr. Sherman?”

“He said Dad’s overweight. Like we didn’t know. For that we shelled out a thirty-dollar co-pay.”

“Did you mention how Dad’s been forgetting a few things lately?”

“I told him how your father forgot to take out the garbage, sweep out the garage, and chase the squirrels out of our summerhouse in the backyard.”

I couldn’t help thinking Dad’s memory lapses were intentional.

“Dr. Sherman asked Dad some questions, like Dad’s birthdate and our anniversary.”

“And?”

“Your father never remembers things like that, so I answered for him.”

“Mom, you shouldn’t have—”

“Your father’s fine, except for an enlarged prostrate.”

“That’s prostate.”

“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“You know I don’t like to burden you with my problems.”

“All right. I should get on my laptop to do some research for a—”

“I’m worried about your sister.”

“Which one?”

“Both of them.”

I took a sip of Lemon Zinger tea and braced myself for a long story.

“They work so hard at their jobs and taking care of the kids, they never see their husbands.”

My sisters’ know-it-all spouses? “Is that a bad thing?”

“Watch your mouth, mister. I’m your mother. In my day we never disrespected our parents, no matter how wrong they were about everything. And we never took drugs.”

“I don’t take drugs, Mom; neither does Paolo.”

“But plenty of young people today are drug addicts, Bobby. They say they’re nervous. If young people are nervous, they should do what I do, and take a Prozac.”

As Mom rambled on about the sad state of our youth, I glanced over at the antique cherry coffee table to a framed picture of Paolo and me smiling in front of the Mascobello villa in Capri, Italy. That’s where I met Paolo, when I visited my extended family. Don’t freak out. Paolo is a very distant cousin. He has dreamy sapphire eyes, wavy chestnut hair, more muscles than a daytime television star, and a little-boy pout that makes me want to take care of him for the rest of his life. Which I do. Since Paolo was quite the playboy in Capri, I had my doubts about our relationship. But we’ve been living in boyfriend bliss here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a year now.

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