What's better than a Christmas story? A FREE Christmas story!!! Cold Feet by Jay Northcote is free this weekend.

Cold Feet is free from Friday 4th – Sunday 6th of December 2015
Best friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?
Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.
Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.
As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.
Buy links:
Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/ColdFeet_JayN

Review: Not Safe For Work by L.A. Witt

They’re a match made in the dungeon…until their secret gets out.

Bored senseless in a meeting, architectural modeler Jon McNeill amuses himself with a kinky dating app on his phone. Then the app matches him with another user…who’s six feet away. Suddenly Jon finds himself on the same page as someone way above his pay grade: millionaire property developer Rick Pierce. His firm’s biggest—and hottest—client.

The app isn’t kidding either. They’re a perfect match. Jon’s a Dom, Rick’s a sub, and bondage is their thing. Both guys are well into their forties, know their way around the bedroom, and definitely appreciate a good suit. And the best part? They’re a match outside the bedroom too.

But office relationships aren’t easy to keep a secret. When the truth comes out, Jon is certain he’s about to get fired. Instead, his bosses throw him a curve ball—an ultimatum that puts both his job and his relationship in jeopardy.

Warning: Contains literal and figurative sex machines, blindfolds, a sub being punished during a business meeting, enough rope to tangle up a millionaire, and a Golden Girls marathon.

I really don’t like being the voice of descent, but I honestly feel like I walked into a steakhouse mouth watering for a NY strip and the only thing on the menu was hamburger. 

The blurb on this book called to me and I answered! I was ready to giddyup all over it and the cover too. It stumps me as to why L.A. Witt’s solo kink doesn’t work for me, but it’s time for me to just accept that as fact and press on. Because Not Safe For Work did not work for me.

Things took a nosedive at 17% when the “dom”, Jon, failed to get his kink on. Let me just speak plainly, if I had a willing submissive in my dungeon for the first time and we’d already had “the talk” I promise you the first thing on my laundry list of things to do would absolutely, unequivocally NOT be fucking him. He would be getting tied up like a Christmas turkey and tortured into a writhing, begging, sweaty mess. So when this joker had him stripped and kneeling and all he could think about was butt sex…

Let’s just say my respect for him took a nosedive as did my interest. I tried to step away a couple times in the vain hope that would reinvigorate my interest.

Unfortunately, that was not in the cards.

In fact, every time I came back and Jon would make a reference to himself as a "dom" or Rick “needing” a dom I inevitably found myself throwing the stink eye and making snide comments. 

This book hardly qualifies as BDSM, hence I'm giving it the sugarkink tag despite the wax play, chastity, a fuck machine(!) and rope bondage. Mostly because they were all over in a blink and highly dissatisfying. They have far more vanilla sex than anything else. I appreciate SSC and open communication, but at a certain point…

Seriously. They talk and talk and talk and bored the bejesus out of me. I know it’s supposed to be “relationship development” but it’s about as interesting to read as an audit. What's worse is both of these guys are dull. So dull. I don't care how fantastical you are, the minutiae of daily life is never interesting especially not when you're Joe Schmo.

Another thing that annoyed me was the geriatricness. These guys are in their 40s going on 80 the way Jon makes it sound. He creaks and pops and grunts (not for the obvious reasons) more than my 91 yr old grandma. I felt like I needed to set up a Go Fund Me account for his rapidly approaching nursing home needs.

He’s sure not going to be able to afford it since he’s martyred himself into “having to” pay for all three of his children’s graduate level studies. I appreciate generosity but don’t be stupid and bankrupt yourself. There’s something to be said for working for your own education and, thereby, having a greater appreciation for it. Far be from me to get between a martyr and his/her cause though.

Instead he works himself into the ground in the oddest workplace micromanagement setting, possibly, ever. If I didn’t know better I’d say that CEO has a creepy stalker crush on Jon. It’s weird and never made sense to me.

All the interoffice nonsense added to the tedium. Why do I have to read about foam core and Xacto knives ad nauseum? I know it's a workplace romance but I could've done with a whole lot less workplace. Rick is bored by his job so how is it I’m expected to be blown away by the exciting world of architectural modeling?

And the conflict resolution was a little too Disney for me to buy.

Dual perspectives may have been more appealing since Rick struck me as less... grating, but by the end even he and his constant stuttering were on my last good nerve.

I'm not going to perpetrate and say I hated every single second of this book. There were times where I found myself thinking, 'that was sweet' or 'that's admirable realism', but by and large I found this book unsatisfying. And a chore.

Apologies for any butthurtedness that this review may cause. Unpopular opinion is entirely my own.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1) by Rhys Ford

Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

You know, I’ve never read a Rhys Ford book I didn’t absolutely love.  Of course, this is no exception.  It comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that, even though this one is quite a bit different from her others, I adored everything about it.

Fish Stick Fridays is lighter than her normal fare.  Yes, there’s still guns and violence but not to the extreme that you usually see when it comes to her stories.  

Deacon is a bad boy.  He’s been in trouble with the law on and off since childhood.  He’s a fucked up mess.  A fucked up mess who, for some reason, the state saw fit for custody of his sister’s little girl.  He wants her to grow up better than he did, hell, better than she has so far, so he picks up his life and moves them both to Half Moon Bay where he’s bought a run down mechanic shop, hoping to make something of his existence.  Hoping for normal.  There, he meets Lang.

Lang owns the local bookstore just on the other end of the little shopping plaza where the auto shop is located.  Though he also owns pretty much the whole town, he doesn’t flaunt it.  You see, Lang has some secrets from his past that he’s trying so very hard to forget.  He’s looking for his own bit of normal, whatever that is.   

Deacon, a big, strong gorgeous motorcycle enthusiast.
Lang, a beautiful, demure, book nerd.
A love story about opposites attracting and overcoming the odds to be together.

Sounds great, right?  Heh.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Because, you see, this story may have a romance in it and it may even be the main plot but that’s not what this book is really all about.  No, this story is so much more than that.  And that’s all due to Zig.

Zig.  Zig Zig Zig.  Man, I love that girl!  A tiny little eight year old with more attitude than an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.  Zig wears tutus with combat boots.  She gets into fights and she cusses so much she could make a sailor blush.  But the wonderful thing about her, and this is testament to the author’s writing ability, is that she isn’t precocious.  Even through all of her bluster and grumpiness you could still see the young, scared child that still sleeps with a night light and just wants to make a friend.  A very realistic portrayal of a girl who’s had an extremely hard life up until now and is just trying to figure out where she fits in with this crazy thing called Life.

I could wax poetic about Rhys’s writing ability.  I could go on and on about how descriptive her words are and how she can make you feel like you’re not just reading the story but actually living it with the characters.  I could tell you about how she makes you laugh and cry and shout out angrily when evil’s afoot.  I could even squee and flail around about all the Labyrinth and The Princess Bride references she sneaks into the story.  But why would I when you can just experience the awesomeness for yourself?  Go read the book, people.  It’s a great story.

***An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

For more info on Fish Stick Fridays check it out on Goodreads 

Blog Tour: Author Visit & Giveaway - Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford is here on Friday promoting her latest release, Fish Stick Fridays with a different sort of giveaway. Tis the season of giving and this giveaway gives one of the greatest gifts there is, reading to children. Please read through her fabulous visit and comment below to enter!

Take it away Rhys!

Skip to the recipe if you’ve already seen this part. *grins*

When I first thought about writing Fish Stick Fridays, it was a lot darker than it turned out. I know. I’ll let you have a moment to be shocked and amazed. But then I wrote it and its innards changed, softening a bit. A lot of that change had to do with building a relationship between Deacon and his niece, Zig and then adding Lang into the mix.

I went round and round on the title. Nothing was working. They were decent titles. Hell, Mary Calmes even stole one of them for her own book but nothing was fitting the story. Then I said… why the hell aren’t I calling it what it is? Fish Stick Fridays.

That might seem a random, odd title and kind of off. But see, it’s not so much about the actual fish sticks or Fridays. It’s about what Fish Stick Fridays represents. For Zig and Deacon, it’s about being together, in a home. An actual home. Where Fridays means no vegetables but cups of hot cocoa and maybe eating in front of the television. It means a place to come to and find a family—their family.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Deacon knows how to cook gourmet meals but he can cook. So for this blog tour, it’s all about cooking out of the pantry—cheap, relatively easy and cobbling together meals from fresh, canned, and jarred food.  So much of Deacon’s cooking on the fly really is about how to maximize time and using what’s in the pantry. We don’t have a lot of time in our lives. That’s a fact. But we can make do. Making do is so very much a kitchen life hack.

So for this tour, I am sharing some comfort food recipes even Deacon can make and it took him a bit to get the fish sticks and blue box macaroni & cheese right.  Follow all of the blog tour stops and get a new comfort food recipe every day. Recipes include:

• Fried Chicken
• Beef Stew
• Portuguese Watercress Soup
• Nutty Mushroom Pasta
• Fried Rice
• Lasagna
• Kalua Pig
• Mac Salad / Loco Moco
• Pad Thai
• Shoyu Chicken

What’s the Giveaway? Because there is ALWAYS a giveaway… Leave a comment and hopefully win the right to tell me where to send a set of children's books to a library or charity of your choice. Book sets will randomly be chosen from a list and cost between $20 and $50 USD and donated in your name.

Also, if you want a gluten free way to thicken soups and stews… and soupy potato salad, use instant mashed potato flakes. You’ll see me say that time and time again through the blog tour. It also adds a layer of flavour. I sometimes grab the garlic and herb instant potato packets and just keep them for when I need to thicken a stew.

And now, for what’s next in Deacon’s recipe book.

This is a comfort food all around. A bit of sweet and sour and meaty and….just everything. I like mine with lots of lime and green onions. There are so many versions of this dish and really, it’s another adaptable to tastes. If you want more of one thing and less of another, then feel free to stretch that direction. The protein is also flexible. Shrimp, chicken, pork, tofu…whatever you want.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai
1 package or 8-10 ounces of dried rice noodles (The thick kind is better but if not, thin is fine)

3 eggs lightly beaten

Wok Ingredients
1 lb chicken, sliced into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T minced fresh ginger (Put ginger in freezer. Use grater or knife to shave off what you need.)
1/4-1/2 C chopped onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into narrow strips
8 to 10 green onions, halved lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch lengths

Sauce Ingredients
1/2 C fresh lime sauce
3 T soy sauce
3 T brown sugar
3 T Fish sauce (optional)
1 to 2 teas. Sriracha (optional)
Sesame seed oil

1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 T chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 lime sliced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In large bowl, soak rice noodles in warm water to cover until they are limp and white, about 20 minutes.
While noodles are soaking, sauce ingredients in small bowl.

Lightly scramble eggs, put in bowl

In wok or large deep skillet, heat oil over high heat. Stir fry chicken, garlic, ginger and onions until brown. Then add carrots and green onions until cooked. Add eggs then sauce.

Drain noodles and add to wok, tossing with tongs until they soften and curl, about 1 minute. Add sprouts. Divide mixture among serving plates, sprinkle with peanuts, slice of lime and cilantro.

Fish Stick Fridays
Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

Purchase Fish Stick Fridays at:

And other book selling sites like ARe and Barnes & Noble

Follow the Tour
Nov 25 • It’s About the Book: http://itsaboutthebook.com/

Nov 26 • Joyfully Jay http://joyfullyjay.com/

Nov 27 • Sinfully Sexy:  http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.com/

Nov 29 • Gay Guy Reading: http://ggr-review.com/

Nov 30 • Boys In Our Books: http://boysinourbooks.com/

Dec 1 • The Blogger Girls: http://thebloggergirls.com/

Dec 2 • Love Bytes: http://lovebytesreviews.com/

Dec 3 • Prism Alliance: http://www.prismbookalliance.com/

Dec 4 • Boy Meets Boy: www.boymeetsboyreviews.com

Dec 5 • The Novel Approach: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

About Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys  admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

My Blog: www.rhysford.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhys.ford.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhys_Ford

If you’ve actually read this, yay! I need coffee. We should have coffee.

Leave a comment and hopefully win the right to tell Rhys where to send a set of children's books to a library or charity of your choice. Book sets will randomly be chosen from a list and cost between $20 and $50 USD and donated in your name.

To enter please leave a comment on this blog post! Let us know your name and a means of contacting you (e.g., email, Twitter handle, link to Goodreads account, etc.)

The giveaway is open until 9:00PM (Pacific time) on 12/10/15. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner whom we will select using a highly scientific "names in a hat" method (or, you know, an internet randomizer). Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner.

Review: Sloe Ride (Sinners #4) by Rhys Ford

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

I’m so in love with this series and have read and listened to each installment. If you haven’t listened to Greg Tremblay read Rhys’s words, you haven’t listened to an audiobook. And, I digress, already. A good Tremblay will do that to you.

Miki and Kane’s story has been my favorite thus far. No one writes a stronger broken character than Rhys Ford and Miki is the epitome of that man. And then I met Rafe and Quinn up close and personal. These two aren’t epically damaged like Miki was, but they still had their own flavor of hurt that was just as powerful for them to live and for me to read.

Quinn is a different kind of Morgan, but a Morgan all the same. It frustrated me to no end to see his brothers try and keep him in the box they expected him to fit in. The dynamics were really interesting to read (again, frustrating) but still interesting. It was actually pretty refreshing to know that the Morgan’s are human and not without their flaws. They wanted to protect Quinn so badly, they no longer saw him for the man he had grown into but the Q-Bert they remembered growing up with. I have to say, I loved when Quinn got all growly and Morgan-y on them all. He may not carry a badge, but he is no less a badass than the rest of them.

Rafe is the definition of a hot mess and it’s self-induced. I really had a lot of respect for him and his attempts to make amends without sugarcoating all he’d done and glossing over the pain he’d caused. I can’t lie though, the best thing about him is his unapologetic snark. All snarking aside, he’s a man with a lot of penance to pay and he does the best he can with his limited skill set and the unwavering Morgan support.

Quinn and Rafe have history and we learn about it as the story progresses. What happened between them (or didn’t) was realistic given their ages at the time. Learning more about them, they had to have the time and distance they had to make their mistakes and grow into the men they were supposed to be.

As is customary with Sinner’s Gin, there is mystery galore to be had and it’s another reason to love this series so hard. There’s always a good amount of tension that goes along with the who and the why that keeps you moving anxiously from one page to the next. I always think the next chapter is going to give me THE clue I need and if I can have that I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a good dose of UST between the MC’s. Rhys delivers in spades with this story on both counts.

Quinn and Rafe are going to stick with me for a long time. They needed each other, but both of them recognized their need to be able to stand on their own so that they could stand for one another. Rhys has a way of weaving beautiful words around ugly realities. Her stories are like the “thinking persons” mysteries with a good dose of humor and dirty thrown in. The ending made me squee happily and my only complaint is that I would love to have more about the whole moment from every perspective.

For more info on Sloe Ride and the whole Sinners series, check it out on Goodreads.
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: Crazy Kinky Dirty Pirates (Crazy Kinky Dirty Love, #5) by KA Merikan

--- Captain Dick and his crew invite you aboard! ---

All Kyle knows is that he’s in for a vacation break of a lifetime. He is going to the seaside with his boyfriend Dan, and as he loves surprises, he lets Dan arrange all the details. What he doesn’t know is that he is about to get kidnapped by a whole crew of pirates, all of them sex starved for a slave boy they can keep on board and fuck whenever they please. Kyle’s endurance will be tested to the limits, and the surprises will keep coming, as Dan ups the game once more, with a treasure map to much more than a stack of chocolate coins.

Can Kyle and Dan get any kinkier?!


I've read (and loved) all of Kyle and Dan's adventures. Throughout their lovely story, Dan arranges for all of Kyle's secret fantasies to come true. This one, my friends, takes the cake. 

Dan took Kyle on a vacation with their buddies. They all stayed on their friend's yacht, which didn't stay a yacht for long. Instead it's a pirate ship and they abducted Kyle to be their cumbucket for the weekend. 

The role-playing was intense and made me borderline uncomfortable. These guys don't mess around with their kink. There was some major humiliation going on. Kyle was their hole for the weekend, and they used him to their heart's content. But Kyle loved every dirty second of it. Dan made sure of that.

That right there is what I really enjoy about Dan and Kyle. They remain loving and sweet, while surrounded by their super kink-fests. Their books are pretty much porn, but with a side of feels that I adore. 

I'm sad to see them go, but their HEA was perfection. When I need a healthy dose of uncomfortable kink, I'll be sure to return to them. 

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Goodreads!

Review and Author Interview: A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino

Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian island of Capri to meet his eccentric extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after.

Once again, from the keyboard of Joe Cosentino, comes a story I loved. This time it's a Christmas story, but as ever it has that Cosentino uniqueness. 

I must confess, I have a huge weakness for Christmas stories. Just as I devour Hallmark seasonal films, so do I over dose on holiday stories. There is something about stories set in snowy situations with blazing log fires and cuddles a plenty that warm the cockles of my heart, so I was all over this when it arrived in our in box. Bobby McGrath's Christmas... was as far as I got reading the blurb before I started getting excited.

I nipped over to Goodreads, added the book to my TBR...then I got a look at the cover. Hang about - half naked dudes in swimming trunks? That's not Christmassy (yes I am aware that I'm ignoring the Christmas experiences of everyone in the Southern hemisphere. Blame Dickens. My mindset is Christmas = snow, even though in nearly 4 decades I've yet to experience an actual properly white Christmas). It was about then I thought I'd better read the blurb. So I did - and I was just as excited about reading the story.

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. Now a story set in Italy immediately makes me think ROMANCE (well, okay, spaghetti, ice-cream and then romance) because Italians are stereotypically loud and beautiful and romantic. In the interview (below) you will see I asked Joe whether he considered himself a romantic and he said no. He said he uses humour instead. Well I respectfully disagree Mr Cosentino, humour is one of the most romantic things in the world! Laughter is important.

Bobby, sent abroad to Italy to spend Christmas with a branch of the family he didn't know, is a workaholic. Paulo, his cousin, is all about having fun. Right from the start I loved the dynamics of these two. Actually, I loved the dynamics of all the family. It is a clever thing that Cosentino manages superbly, the interactions and integration of all the characters; in his books the supporting cast are as important as the stars of the story.

Equally, the Italian setting is as much part of the cast as the characters. The scenery, the atmosphere - the food. It all added to the story, each part making the whole more intricate. Sometimes, when reading, I feel as though such added extras are unnecessary. That instead of adding to the story, they take away from it. I certainly don't feel that way when reading work by this author.

My only complaint about this novel is - I wanted more, I wanted longer. But I'm greedy like that! Hope you enjoy this Christmas story as much as I did.

Excerpt: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press 
“Bobby, every Christmas your father and I buy you a nice gift and you return it. So this year before we go shopping, I’m asking you. What do you want for Christmas, exactly?”
I was tempted to answer, “How about the new Zeb Atlas DVD, Mom?” No longer reading my law textbook, I pressed the cell phone against my ear and responded, “My red sweater is getting frayed. I guess I could use a new one, Mom.”
“I don’t like red on you. I’ll get you a green sweater. It will go nicely with your eyes. You’ll be twenty-four in June. Nobody ever caught a husband wearing red clothes, except for Mrs. Klaus, and then look how overweight he was.”
I adjusted the heavy book on my knees and leaned back against the headboard of my narrow dorm room bed. Since fall semester of my third year of law school was over, my roommate had already gone back to Utah to be with his father and three mothers. Normally I would go home for the holidays.
As far back as I can remember, every December twenty-third through the twenty-fifth my mother works herself to exhaustion while forbidding anyone to help her. Since I am not married, I am seated at the kiddy table, where I dodge meatball and manicotti grenades courtesy of my little nieces and nephews. Then the gifts are bestowed with price tags on them so we all know “How many hours your father and I had to work to be able to buy our children such beautiful things.” This is followed by “oohs” and “ahhs” for every gift except the presents from me, which garner comments from my parents and two sisters like, “Oh well, I can wear that for dress-down day at work… if I keep on my coat.” After the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins arrive for dessert (cannoli grenades at the kiddy table), my mother’s side (the Mascobellos) eat the pastries, and my father’s side (the McGraths) drink the liqueurs, while I sit upstairs in my old bedroom reading law case decisions on the Internet.
This Christmas is going to be different. Throughout my childhood I heard stories about my mother’s now deceased father who had a first cousin in Capri, Italy. Mom, “too exhausted from taking care of all of you to survive such a journey,” had recently spoken on the phone to her deceased father’s cousin’s daughter-in-law (got that?), and the two women had arranged for me to spend this Christmas with my Italian relatives. This led to my Christmas in Italy with my Italian cousin, Paolo Mascobello.

It is my pleasure to welcome back a writer who always tickles my funny bone, MM author Joe Cosentino, to tell us about his latest release, a holiday short MM romance novella with a HEA ending set on the island of Capri, A Home for the Holidays published by Dreamspinner Press. 

Joe, the story is set in Italy and I saw in the dedication that it was a place you'd been persuaded to visit. What was it about Italy that inspired a story set there? 
After writing two Bittersweet Dreams novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart Series) published by Dreamspinner Press, I needed a vacation. My parents, sister, niece, aunts, uncles, and cousins had been telling me for years to travel to Italy. I always resisted due to the long plane ride and steep cost. However, like Kunta Kinte charting his roots, I decided it was time. So my spouse and I dipped into our savings—and dipped into the Dramamine, and booked a flight and bus tour from the US to Rome, Naples, Venice, Assisi, Lake Como, Milan, Florence, the Amalphi Coast, Pompeii, Tuscany, and Lake Maggiore. We were exhausted, but we had the vacation of a lifetime seeing the most gorgeous architecture, natural resources, and views of any of our trip. We also ate delicious food and reveled in the art, history, and beauty (noticing all the statues were of very muscular, naked men). The people were warm and friendly as was the weather. However, there was no site more gorgeous, magical, and romantic than the Island of Capri.
While on the boat ride to the Marina Grande, the sight of the enormous cliffs sitting majestically on the water literally took our breath away. From the funiculare (cable car) we marveled at the stunning views of the island below and Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. At the Piazetta (main plaza) we boarded an island bus that zoomed around harrowing, tight corners like a car in a Fun House. We travelled to Via Krupp in the southern part of the island, and we walked through what Italians call “the villas of the rich and famous,” underscored by the sparkling turquoise sea below. We swam in gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by artistic white stone formations like Marina Piccola. When we arrived at Mt. Solaro, our guide told us it was highest point on the Isle of Capri, five hundred and eighty-nine meters above sea level. As we looked out at the fog, the sun came up and the wind blew the vapors of fog upwards, crowning the clouds, and revealing stunning views of the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria in the distance. As we looked out over the turquoise water, white mountains, and azure sky, I felt like I was in heaven. However, the most magical of all was the Grotta Azzurra (the Blue Grotto). As our boat went through the tiny portal of the expansive cave, my breath was taken away by the water’s brilliant shades of iridescent sapphire and emerald from the sun’s reflection on the water in the cove. Capri also had the most amazing restaurants and shops on the water’s edge. And the people somehow all seemed beautiful and sensuous.
Upon arriving home, I had to write a short novella about that amazing place.

In A Home for the Holidays, Bobby is meeting his Italian relatives for the first time and sharing Christmas with them. How do you celebrate the holiday season? Do you have traditions or do you like to be new and spontaneous? 
I wish I had a winter holiday like Bobby’s in A Home for the Holidays. My Christmas memories are of my older sister and male cousin wrapping a blanket around me, putting me in a trash can filled with yellow construction paper, throwing sheets around themselves, and charging the neighbors money to see our nativity play. At least I played the leading role!
As the years went on, Christmas in my big Italian family included grace by my father (“Bless us, let’s eat.”) my mother displaying her ceramic Santa napkin holders (“When I die take these out, think of me, and cry buckets.”), a huge feast where my spouse and I dodge food grenades at the kiddy table, and opening lavish gifts (one year my parents gave my sister a house and me a sweater).
It’s not much different now. Still, I have always loved the winter holiday season with carols, hot chocolate by the fire, snow, decorated trees and wreathes, and the quest for peace, joy, equality, and goodwill to all.

The food! My mouth watered at the foods mentioned in this story. Tell me about them! 
Italian food is quite different in Italy than it is in the US or in other parts of Europe. Meals are served in courses with mouthwatering chicken, fish, pasta, rice, and vegetables dishes. The food isn’t smothered in cheese as it is in the US. Olive oil, lemon, and fragrant herbs like basil and saffron are used to bring out the amazing flavors. People will have to read the novella to find out the various dishes served at each meal, but let’s just say they’ll be really hungry afterward.

Bobby and Paolo are distantly related, was this something you had to think about before you wrote it, or was it no big deal at all? 
As Paolo tells Bobby in the story, dating or marrying one’s third cousin is common place in Italy. Actually my great aunt and uncle were second cousins. That may explain a lot about me. Hah. As they say, “When in Rome….” Since I brought Italian culture to the story, I felt this element was just another part of that culture. 

This story could be described as insta-love. What is your view on insta-love or (as I prefer it called) love at first sight. Does it exist? Or is it lust in disguise? 
I am a total believer in love at first sight. Actually in the story Bobby (a young, Italian American law student) visits his quaint Italian relatives in their stunning villa in Capri, and he and Paolo (Bobby’s handsome, muscular, sexy Italian third cousin) get off to a rocky start. However, it doesn’t take long for the Italian moon to work its magic.
Like Harold in An Infatuation and Jonathan in A Shooting Star, Bobby is sweet, sensitive, and smart. As a law student, he has buried his head in his books. As the novella begins, he is ready for an adventure—and ready for first love.
Like Mario in An Infatuation and David in A Shooting Star, Paolo is handsome, muscular, charismatic, and like many people in Italy, much more interested in love than in work. Unlike Bobby, Paolo is very experienced in matters of the heart. Paolo loves the finer things in life, but he doesn’t want to work for them. He is not interested in everlasting love. Hence the conflict between Bobby and Paolo. Paolo is loosely based on my cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy.
BTW, Bobby’s mother is loosely based on my mother. She is hysterically funny, and loves her son dearly. Paolo’s grandmother is loosely based on my grandmother who really said, “A boy leaves home with a wife or in a coffin.”

Would you consider yourself a romantic? 
Besides the fact that I was an actor, I think one of the reasons my novels and novellas contain a great deal of humor, mystery, and drama is that I’m not a romantic. However, going to Italy changed that. I think this short novella reflects that unquenchable spirit of romance.
Romance also plays a big role in my upcoming The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (my gay fairytales) novella releasing from Dreamspinner Press in February. Romance is also a large part of my Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward novels releasing from Nine Star Press. It is a new series set in a gay beach resort in New Jersey also full of humor, mystery and drama.

Italy is a place that speaks of romance and love. What is your most romantic moment or memory?  
Like Bobby and Paolo, my spouse and I sat at Mt. Solaro in Capri, looking at the views of the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria. I’ll never forget it.

Have you written other stories that take place in interesting locations? 
Yes, my Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it set at a fictitious Edwardian style college in Vermont. In Drama Queen theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle (releasing 2016) Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In Drama Cruise (releasing 2016), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. Drama Queen hit #18 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list in its category, and is available as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook performed by the very talented Michael Gibloe.
My Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, take place upstate New York, in New York City, in Hollywood, and in Washington, DC. In Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press), ex-child star Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (releasing in 2016 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

As always, I really enjoyed your interview. Thank you for stopping by. How can your readers contact you? 
I love hearing from readers! They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by JOE COSENTINO, an HEA holiday short story published by Dreamspinner Press and released on 2/12/15
e-book: $3.99
Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian Island of Capri to meet his eccentric, extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after. “Reading this little holiday treat is like taking a romantic trip to gorgeous Capri, Italy!”

“I could see the lovely sites as Joe described them with such beauty and prose. I could feel the growing desire between the two young men and the heat building as well.” Cathy Brockman Romance

“You can see the beauty of Capri, almost taste the incredible food laid out on the page. Paolo and Bobby’s romance is sweet and tender.” Divine Magazine

“I adore the character of Bobby” “the heartwarming family moments” “The vivid and almost lyrical descriptions that Joe Cosentino uses when Bobby is arriving on Capri or sightseeing all over the island with Paolo.” 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.

“I was there with Bobby and Paolo, feeling the sun on my face and the warm swell of the sea as I walked barefoot on the sea’s edge, the author’s brilliantly descriptive words took me to that beautiful place where Bobby and Paolo fell in love.” Three Books Over the Rainbow.

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek 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, Charles Keating, 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 releases in 2016 are The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press).

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

ISBN: 978-1-63476-536-7

Cover Art: Paul Richmond
Words: 15,000
Release Date: 2/12/15