A big welcome to Joe Cosentino as part of his release of Finding Armando and the paperback of Found at Last.
Interview with Joe Cosentino, author of Finding Armando, Found At Last series book 2
Joe Cosentino, thank you for talking with us about your new book release Finding Armando, Found At Last e-book 2, and the paperback anthology of Found At Last (Finding Giorgio & Finding Armando).
I feel as if I just found myself.
How did you become a storyteller?
My mother says I tell tall tales—and she’s right! I’ve always had a wild imagination. My parents always feared what I’d make up and tell neighbors about them. And they still do! I appropriately majored in theatre at college. Then I went on to act opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Finally, I began writing plays and ultimately writing novels. Since I’m a cozy mystery reading fanatic, and there are so few gay cozy mystery series out there, I was happy to fill the bill—or in this new novel, the pinstriped suit.
How do you find the time to be a college professor/department head and do all this writing?
I’m a night owl, so I write late into the night.
Where do you write?
In a very cozy environment! My home study (very much like Martin Anderson’s office in my Nicky and Noah Mysteries) includes a fireplace with a cherry wood mantel and a cherry wood desk and bookcase. I also have a window seat beneath a large window/gateway to the woods.
Do you write an outline before each book?
Since this book has a cinematic energy, an outline was very useful. I generally think of a great idea for a new book at 3 a.m. If I can remember it the next day, or read my notes on my night table, I draft the outline. Since I was an actor, I also write a character biography for each character. Then I close my eyes and let the magic happen. As I see the scenes in front of me like a movie and the characters start talking to each other in my head, I hit the computer. My spouse reads my second draft. After we argue, I write my third draft. The fourth draft is after notes from my editor.
What advice do you have for unpublished writers?
Don’t listen to naysayers. Find the magic within yourself. Get in front of the computer and start writing your unique story. Don’t copy anyone. Write what you know and feel passionate about. Write every day. Don’t be afraid to take chances. When you have a story you think is perfect, ask someone you trust to read it. Then after doing another draft, email it to a publisher who has an open submissions policy and who publishes the kind of story you’ve written, or publish it yourself.
Why do you write gay fiction?
Why not? LGBT people have many interesting untold stories. Go to a mall and look at the row of movie posters without any LGBT characters in them. Visit a bookstore and see cover after cover of opposite sex love stories. Take a look at so many of our political and so-called religious leaders who raise money and gain power by demonizing LGBT people and trying (and often succeeding) to take away civil rights. I mourn for the young gay kids who consider suicide. So I support organizations like GLSEN, and I write stories that include LGBT people and themes. However, just as my Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its LGBT leading characters and straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. My Cozzi Cove series does as well.
Tell us about your other books published by Dreamspinner Press.
My In My Heart series includes An Infatuation which was loosely based on my high school years, and A Shooting Star which was loosely based on my college years. The Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories are about distant cousins who meet in Capri, Italy, fall in love, marry, and adopt a son. Finally, the Tales from Fairyland stories are my comic gay take on my favorite fairytales.
Tell us about Finding Armando, Found At Last book 2.
After writing nearly thirty books, I finally had the courage to write Finding Giorgio, a story about two young lovers reuniting two older, lost lovers. To my elation, Finding Giorgio was a novella cherished by so many people who loved reading it as much as I adored writing it. They fell in love with Theo and Jamison as the two heroes fell in love with each other. The readers admired the young couple for risking so much to reunite Nolan and Giorgio, separated at eighteen years old by their homophobic parents. Thankfully, Theo and Jamison’s story didn’t end there. As the new owners of Nolan Giorgio’s Resort in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, the young couple have a new challenge. That’s the story of Finding Armando, Found At Last book 2. Theo and Jamison embark on a second search, this one for their friend, resort manager Asher’s lost love, Armando, separated from him years ago under the military’s old Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Complicating matters further, Jamison’s playboy younger brother, Kendall, pays them a visit on leave from the Navy, and a woman in need makes Theo and Jamison a shocking offer.
Do Theo and Jamison reunite the separated lovers again and find a happily-ever-after ending for themselves?
My lips are sealed, but I will tell you this second At Last story, like the first one, is full of humor, adventure, drama, surprises, plot twists and turns, and of course sweet romance that will bring a tear to your eyes and warm your heart.
Why are the two Found At Last novellas so special?
Each of the two stories offers a current romance and a past romance that will stay with you for a long time to come.
Is the second story also told through Theo’s perspective?
Of course. Theo is our eyes to the wonderful world of Theo and Jamison, who are true lovers and heroes.
In Finding Armando, you introduce Jamison’s playboy younger brother Kendall and the resort’s conservative assistant manager Phoenix. They seem like an unlikely couple.
And theirs is a very rocky road to romance, which makes their storyline exciting, humorous, and very sexy.
What else is special about Finding Armando?
The story’s location in the Pennsylvania Poconos mountains is gorgeous with its log cabins near stunning lakes surrounded by sun-kissed mountains. I especially like that both At Last stories also include an older gay couple, which you don’t find much in MM literature.
Are Theo’s and Jamison’s families back in Finding Armando?
They sure are, and they are as entertaining as ever.
Did you ever vacation in the Pennsylvania Poconos?
Frequently! It’s one of my favorite places. I think that comes across in Finding Armando.
I’m sure you’ve been told Finding Armando would make a terrific movie. How would you cast it?
Here’s my wish list to name a few: Colton Haynes as Theo, Ezra Miller as Jamison, John Barrowman as Asher, Charlie Carver as Kendall, and Shemar Moore as Phoenix. Come on, TV producers, make me an offer!
How can your readers get their hands on the Finding Armando e-book and the Found At Last (Finding Giorgio & Finding Armando) paperback?
The purchase links are below.
Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.
My pleasure. I hope everyone will read both Found At Last stories at last. I’m sure, like me, you will fall in love with Theo and Jamison as they bring together lost lovers from the past. And I love to hear from readers. So contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.
Length: 127 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, romance, mystery, comedy, adventure
Cover Art: Paul Richmond
Release date: June 23, 2020
FOUND AT LAST Anthology (Finding Giorgio & Finding Armando)
a paperback novel by JOE COSENTINO, published by Dreamspinner Press.
Theo and Jamison meet while volunteering at a nursing home and come together on an investigative adventure to reunite elderly Nolan with his first love, Giorgio. Their sleuthing skills are needed again to create a second chance at happiness for resort manager Asher and his first love, Armando. As they search for the men who got away, Theo and Jamison grow closer, and the lessons of the past could change their lives—and their future—forever.
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s Books:
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless…will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet.” Urban Book Reviews
“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours….If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys
“In true Joe Cosentino style…this cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay Reviews
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Excerpt from Finding Armando, Found At Last book 2, by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press:
Asher appeared to be transported back in time. “I always knew I was gay. Coming from a small farming town in Pennsylvania, I never acted on it. After attending community college, I joined the Navy and remained there for eight years. It was the best time of my life until….” Sitting back, he said, “Let me start at the beginning. During boot camp, I noticed another recruit from Pennsylvania. He had piercing, tortured gray eyes like a wounded animal. The guy was always alone, never speaking to anyone. I learned his name was Armando Caro.”
The name seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it.
“Armando had jet-black wavy hair and a wide, strong build. Though we never spoke, he and I stole furtive glances at each other during drills, meals, and before bed. I wondered who he was, what he was thinking, and if he liked me.” He took in a shaky breath. “A bunch of the other guys in boot camp weren’t thrilled about me being Jewish.”
I asked, “How did you know?”
“They called me Christ-killer, Jew-boy, kike.”
“That would do it.”
“One night after lights out, they dragged me from my bed into the latrine.” A look of terror filled his face. “One guy held my hands behind my back. Another pressed down on my feet. Three others pummeled my face and stomach. I’d never been so afraid in my life. I screamed, thinking my life was over and wondering what my parents would do when the Navy shipped home my dead body. Like an angel of mercy, Armando appeared and threw them off me. I had never seen anyone fight like that. As if a windmill in motion, he landed punch after punch until they fled back to their beds. When Armando and I were alone, he rested my head on his shoulder, and he asked me if I was all right. I told him, ‘I’m all right for the first time in my life.’ Then he took a clean cloth, washed the blood off my face, and ran his fingers through my hair. Finally, he held me in his strong arms and rocked me back and forth. After that night, the others left me alone.”
“Armando was a true hero,” I said.
Asher nodded. “After boot camp, I couldn’t believe my good fortune when Armando and I were stationed on the same ship in the Middle East. One night after chow, he slid a piece of paper into my pocket. It read, ‘Meet me in the storage room near the forecastle at 0200.’ When I arrived, without saying a word, Armando took off his uniform and skivvies. Then he removed my clothes, and he gently rested me on top of some old blankets. Covering me with his powerful mass, he kissed me softly and tenderly. And I started to cry.”
“I had never felt anything so wonderful.”
“What happened next?”
“Armando taught me how to make love. I’m not talking only about the mechanics. I mean love itself.” He rubbed his forehead. “My parents proved their love to me by working hard—my father as a salesman and my mother as a bookkeeper and homemaker. As a kid, I heard a lot about the importance of making ends meet, owning a presentable home, wearing clean clothing, and having good manners. But my folks were never affectionate to each other… or to me.”
“And Armando was different?”
“That’s an understatement. He hugged and kissed me continuously throughout our lovemaking. Afterward, he pressed my back against his strong chest, wrapped his arms around me, and whispered of his love in my ear. Armando opened a whole new world for me, but it existed solely in that storage room. I never wanted to leave it.”
“But you had to.”
Asher made eye contact with us again. “Armando and I met in our secret place whenever we could get away, going mad when we were apart and living for those precious hours together. We not only made love, we shared our hopes and dreams for the future, and our fears too. I told him about my family life and my goal to enter the business world. Armando was from a poor neighborhood, and his family was very Catholic. His father was a car mechanic. Armando was a champion boxer in high school, and he wanted to have his own gymnasium someday. I told him I’d like to manage it. We both studied and worked hard in the Navy. Like the other gay couples onboard ship, we kept that side of our lives hidden, and nobody bothered us. Eventually Armando and I were each promoted to chief petty officer.” His face hardened. “That’s when the trouble started.”
“The trouble?” I asked.
Jamison was a step ahead of me. “You were in the military during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.”