Welcome to author Joe Cosentino, who’s joining us with a character interview he’s put together with the characters from his Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology, from Dreamspinner Press. Enjoy!
Joe: Thank you Bobby McGrath, Paolo Mascobello, and Geoffrey McGrath Mascobello from the Bobby and Paolo holiday stories by Joe Cosentino for interviewing today. Dreamspinner Press just released your latest story, The First Noel, as an e-book, and a paperback of all four Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories! How do you feel about that?
Bobby: It feels great to jump out of a Kindle and stretch out.
Paolo: I agree with Bobby. It gets boring in there all year waiting for each December when we can finally show our stuff.
Geoffrey: My Dad and Papa are terrific, but I think our stories should be called “The Bobby, Paolo, and Geoffrey holiday stories.”
Joe: Tell us about your series, story, and setting.
Bobby: We were born inside Joe Cosentino’s head. After writing two Bittersweet Dreams novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and his humorous gay take on his favorite fairytales: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month) published by Dreamspinner Press, Joe wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on his trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays.
Paolo: That’s my home, where my family has a beautiful villa.
Geoffrey: Sounds like a good family trip, Papa.
Paolo: That may be another story.
Bobby: Readers, if you’ve never been there to Capri, go!
Geoffrey: I’m ready for the trip, Dad.
Paolo: Or read the story, which is a lot less expensive.
Bobby: In A Home for the Holidays, I, a young, Italian American law student from Philadelphia, travel to Capri during the winter holidays to meet my eccentric Italian relatives.
Paolo: And Bobby falls in love with me.
Bobby: My handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo.
Geoffrey: When do I come along, Dad?
Bobby: Not until the next book, which thankfully readers begged for.
Paolo: The Perfect Gift, a two-part story takes place over the next two Christmases, where Bobby and I move to Philadelphia, and overcome numerous obstacles for the perfect wedding (December Grooms), and to adopt a seven-year-old son (An Unexpected Present).
Geoffrey: That’s me!
Bobby: Again, readers pleaded for more Bobby and Paolo holiday stories.
Geoffrey: They liked me. They really liked me!
Bobby: So Joe wrote The First Noel, the next installment for young lawyer yours truly and my young fashion designer husband Paolo. My hysterically funny parents and quirky best friend Jared are back too.
Geoffrey: And so am I!
Bobby: In the story, December has rolled around again. Jared and Jared’s lover, (the second) Noel, have spotted my husband Paolo in a cozy restaurant with a young man named (the first) Noel. Who is the muscular, gorgeous, and charismatic first Noel?
Paolo: Read the story and find out.
Bobby: Also, due to doctor’s orders, my Dad has turned in his Santa suit at his department store. Finally, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by an anti-gay organization, has arrived on a mission to take back our eight-year-old son Geoffrey.
Geoffrey: Yours truly.
Bobby: Just when everything seems to be going up in flames like a dry wreath too close to the fireplace, Santa appears and rings in a happily ever after ending you won’t want to miss.
Paolo: As was the case with The Perfect Gift, this story is packed with cozy holiday settings including Victorian carolers singing under candy cane-adorned city street lamps, productions of A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker, the Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad, and the adorned Christmas tree, market booths, and snowmen at Dilworth Park.
Bobby: And the story ends in an exciting and romantic finale at the Delaware River Waterfront fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Paolo: Humor, romance, adventure, drama, mystery, and a touch of holiday magic make these stories the perfect gift for the holiday.
Geoffrey: It works for me.
Joe: Tell us about the characters in your story.
Paolo: Bobby has Joe’s sensibility. However, he is twenty-six with long gorgeous auburn hair, striking emerald eyes, and a cut swimmer’s build. More importantly, Bobby is sweet, sensitive, and smart. He works as a young lawyer on discrimination cases and therefore is passionate about LGBT equality. He is also passionately in love with his husband. That’s me.
Bobby: Paolo is also twenty-six. He is loosely based on Joe’s cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy. Paolo is handsome, muscular, and sexy with wavy chestnut hair and dreamy sapphire eyes. He is also a gifted fashion designer who is very much in love with his husband. That’s me. My parents are loosely based on Joe’s. They are hysterically funny and dramatic Italian Americans, and love their son dearly. Again, that’s me.
Geoffrey: Geoffrey, Bobby and Paolo’s eight-year-old adopted son, is adorable, sweet, and smart. I also love my dads.
Bobby: He’s also quite modest. Jared, my best friend and colleague, is a total riot. In this story Jared finally finds love.
Paolo: Noel, an ex-professional football player, is tall, muscular, charismatic, and a man of mystery. To find out more, you will have to read the story.
Joe: What about The First Noel makes it different from other MM holiday short novellas?
Geoffrey: My dad, papa, Uncle Jared, and I are in it!
Bobby: There’s that, and the wonderful winter holiday locations, humor, mystery.
Paolo: And the happily ever after ending make the short story a terrific read.
Bobby: Also, I think everyone can relate to feeling bowled over by holiday-time stress, and yearning for a perfect, romantic holiday.
Joe: Bobby and Paolo, you are distant cousins. Might that ruffle some feathers?
Paolo: Distant cousins marrying is not unusual in Italy.
Bobby: Joe’s married great aunt and great uncle were distant cousins.
Joe: As a college professor/department head, where does Joe find the time to write so many books?
Bobby: Joe writes nights and summers. We tell him what to write. It isn’t unusual for Joe to laugh, cry, feel romantic, and be surprised by our antics.
Joe: Do you think the Bobby and Paolo holiday stories would make a good movie or television series? If so, who would play you?
Geoffrey: Do I ever!
Bobby: I see Zac Efron as me.
Paolo: And Dave Franco as me.
Geoffrey: Come on, producers, make us an offer!
Bobby: Like Paolo, Geoffrey, and me in our stories, I hope everyone reading this gets a happy ending this holiday season. Enjoy our special holiday gift to you.
Paolo: Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.
Geoffrey: And we love hearing from readers at Joe’s Website
About the Books
Each Christmas has marked a milestone in Bobby and Paolo’s love story. But will this year be their last noel? It’s no surprise Bobby isn’t feeling much holiday spirit—not when he suspects his husband, Paolo, might be interested in his new business associate, the incredibly handsome Noel. On top of that, Bobby’s father is hanging up his Santa suit at the department store due to health issues; and worst of all, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by antigay extremists, is threatening their family. She’s trying to take away Bobby and Paolo’s adopted son, but she’ll have to face their supportive friends, family, and pastor before she can tear Geoffrey from the only real home he’s ever known.
With so many challenges in their path, the December grooms will need an extra helping of holiday magic this year. Rumor has it Santa’s on his way to spread some holiday cheer.
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The holidays are a magical time for everyone, but they hold special meaning for young lawyer Bobby McGrath and fashion designer Paolo Mascobello. Their whirlwind romance begins one December on the Isle of Capri, where they meet and fall in love, and each holiday season adds a new building block to their life together. Celebrate with Bobby, Paolo, and their colorful friends and family as they marry and start a family. Happily ever after doesn’t always come easy, but with love and the spirit of the season, miracles can happen and Christmas wishes can come true.
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Tour Excerpt ~ The First Noel
“Actually, there’s something I need to tell you.” I sat on the sofa with my heart pounding in my chest. “A lawyer came to see me today.”
“Is that unusual?” Mom rested a hand on Dad’s arm.
“No. But this one brought Geoffrey’s mother with him.”
My parents glanced at each other nervously.
Dad gave a distracted pat at Mom’s hand. “What did they want?”
“Geoffrey. The Adam and Eve Forever Organization is funding her.”
“What’s that?” Dad asked.
Mom tsked at him. “You know from PFLAG, Dad. They’re the antigay, so-called family group. But they haven’t met this family yet.”
“Who heads their organization?” Dad didn’t look like friendly Santa now.
“An ex-televangelist.” I shook my head at the irony.
Dad nodded. “That means they have lots of tax-exempt money ‘for God.’”
“And they have a board of fundamentalist ministers and Republican politicians.”
Mom was surprisingly calm. “What’s Geoffrey’s mother’s name and the lawyer’s name?”
“Calista Simon and David Tong. Why?”
“You’ll see.” She rose and picked up the phone on the desk.
Dad cocked his head. “Who are you calling?”
“Someone who can take care of Simon and Tong.” Mom smiled proudly. “I always knew working as a bookkeeper for a sanitation engineering company in Philly would come in handy one day.”
Dad leapt up and returned the phone to the receiver. “Sit down.”
Mom resumed her seat disgruntledly.
A crease deepened on Dad’s forehead. “Where has Geoffrey’s mother been for eight years?”
“She came from one of the organization’s Christian rehab centers, where she was treated for drug addiction.”
Mom shook her head. “These young people nowadays with their drugs. They say they get started because they’re nervous. If they’re nervous, they should do what your father does: take a tranquilizer.”
“Says the woman who won’t even take an aspirin,” Dad said.
“That’s where it starts!” Mom bellowed, “Gateway drugs!”
Dad sat back down. “Bobby, can they take Geoffrey away from us?”
Mom glanced over at the phone. “Not as long as Carmella Mascobello has a pulse!”
“Will there be a court case?” Dad looked as worried as I felt.
“The custody hearing will take place in the judge’s chamber without a jury.” I swallowed hard. “The judge has a history of siding with the birth parents.”
“If we lose, can you appeal?”
I nodded. “But the judge can place Geoffrey with his mother during the process.”
Dad’s voice broke. “What can we do?”
“I know what I’m doing.” Mom pointed to the phone.
I stood. “When the time comes, can you both be witnesses for us?”
My parents leapt to their feet and placed their arms around me.
“There are no better parents than you and Paolo,” Mom said.
“We’ll tell that to the judge, son.”
I hugged them. “Paolo and I learned from the best.”
My father placed a hand on my shoulder and I felt like a child again. “Your mom and I were given the gift of three wonderful children. We thought each of you was a miracle, and we still do. It was also a special kind of miracle when Geoffrey came into your life.”
Mom put a hand on my cheek, the gentle touch never aging even though the lines around her eyes had. “It doesn’t matter how we get our children. What matters is how much we want them and love them. This woman wanted nothing to do with Geoffrey for eight years. You and Paolo are Geoffrey’s parents. He chose you and you chose him. Use everything you’ve got as a lawyer and as a parent to hold on to him.” She smiled. “And if all else fails, remember your mother can take out the garbage!”
About the Author
Bestselling author 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 (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, The Perfect Gift; 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, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and 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.