Love, love, love Christmas stories. There’s something about tinsel and baubles and mulled wine that tugs at the heartstrings and makes me go all warm and mushy. Mind you, that might just be the mulled wine. Dangerous stuff, that.
Incipient liver failure aside, the Christmassy elements just intensify how delightful it is to host Joe here today to talk about his Christmas story, published a few days ago. Over to Joe to tell us more about it…
(Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)
by Joe Cosentino, published by Dreamspinner Press
After writing two Bittersweet Dreams novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and my gay take on my favorite fairytales: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month) published by Dreamspinner Press, I decided to explore my Italian American roots. That led me on a wonderful trip to the gorgeous, romantic, and magical Island of Capri in Italy. Turquoise waters surrounded steep silver cliffs with gorgeous villas nestled on them like rare jewels. The food was fantastic, and the people were captivating. So, I wrote a short novella taking place on Capri, A Home for the Holidays, which was published by Dreamspinner Press. In my story, Bobby, a young, Italian American law student, travels 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 reviewers praised the short story, feeling as if they had taken a trip to Capri for a pittance of the cost. A year later, the popular audiobook performer Joel Leslie performed the audiobook to much acclaim. I assumed that would be that. Wrong! Readers begged, even demanded to know what happens to Bobby and Paolo after they leave Capri for Bobby’s home state of Pennsylvania. Since I was an actor, I have a vivid imagination. So, I closed my eyes and asked Bobby and Paolo what happens next. The Perfect Gift, the second Bobby and Paolo novella, was born.
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’ll keep writing these stories about Bobby and Paolo if readers keep reading them. I hope you all get what you’d like, and even more importantly, what you need for Christmas. Enjoy my special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of hugs.
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
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”
“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.”
“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.
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