6 Questions for Author Joe Cosentino

DramaOne of the great pleasures of doing this website the last four years has been the opportunity to interview and get to know so many wonderful people – activists, advocates, artists, fellow travelers, and authors. Joe Cosentino is one of them, a terrific spirit, engaging personality and, judging from his output, indefatigable writer. His newest book, Drama Queen (A Nicky and Noah Mystery) is just out from Lethe Press and combines high drama with high humor, a delicious combination. (You can read more about the book as a Featured Book at lgbtSr here.) I asked Joe ‘6 Questions’ and he found the time to answer them. I’ll also be speaking with Joe again on an upcoming Live Mic with Mark podcast in July.

MM:  Joe, welcome back to lgbtSr. When last we spoke, your new Nicky and Noah mystery series was set to come out in the summer, and here we are! Thanks for answering ‘6 Questions.’ Let’s backtrack a little. The first time we talked, your book, An Infatuation, had just come out from Dreamspinner Press. How has that done and what’s the reaction been?

Joe CosentinoJC: I am so touched by all the readers who told me they laughed and cried reading An Infatuation, and begged for a sequel. Readers fell in love with Harold and Mario, which thrills me. The ebook novella was released by Dreamspinner Press in February, and it is still selling well. While there isn’t a sequel per se, I have another MM Bittersweet Dreams ebook novella releasing from Dreamspinner Press in the fall. It’s another remembrance piece entitled, A Shooting Star. Like the Nicky and Noah mystery series, it takes place in a college theatre department, however, this college is in Colorado. Also, two minor characters from An Infatuation have large roles in the novel I am currently writing, Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back.

MM: You also have Paper Doll (A Jana Lane Mystery) out from Whiskey Creek Press, as well as several novellas. You’re very prolific. What sort of writing routine do you keep?

JC: I’ve written two more novels in the Jana Lane series: Porcelain Doll and Satin Doll, awaiting publication. As you know, in Paper Doll (book one), ex-child star Jana Lane has to uncover who attacked her on the studio lot at eighteen and who is attacking her twenty years later. In Porcelain Doll, Jana makes a comeback film and solves the murders onset. In Satin Doll, Jana travels to Washington DC and becomes involved in a political murder mystery.

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6 Questions for Author Maurice W. Dorsey, PhD

Maurice

Author Maurice W. Dorsey was recently nominated for a QBR Wheatley Book Award for Businessman First, his biography of Henry G. Parks, Jr.

I had the pleasure of meeting Maurice at this year’s Rainbow Book Fair – and now the double pleasure of asking him ‘6 Questions.’ His book, Businessman First, tells the story of Henry G. Parks, Jr., a successful African American businessman. Maurice was as nice and engaging as his book is fascinating – a story that both needed to be told, and that Maurice promised to tell. He has, in spectacular fashion.

51fobgfz4hL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_MM: Congratulations on being nominated for a QBR Wheatley Book Award. Can you describe those awards and how you came to be nominated?

MWD: QBR The Black Book Review, the Harlem Book Fair are partnered by the Columbia University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library, Literacy Partners, Inc. and C-Span Book TV. The Harlem Book Festival is the largest and most respected African American literary festival. I was recommended by a friend in Washington, DC.

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6 Questions for Author Marshall Thornton

Marshall1
Marshall Thornton

If you’re a reader of gay mysteries, you’ll inevitably come across the name Marshall Thornton. His Boystown detective series is among the more widely known and admired series in the genre. The series received two honorable mentions and was a runner-up in the Rainbow Awards, and has twice been a finalist for the Lambda Book Award – Gay Mystery. He’s currently re-releasing the series, with Boystown 7: Bloodlines set for release in March.

Marshall’s a prolific writer, with books that include Desert Run, My Favorite Uncle, and The Ghost Slept Over, to name a few. Somehow he found time to answer ‘6 Questions’! And here they are … Mark McNease/Editor

MM: I was looking at your bio. Having lived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, I’m wondering: why Long Beach? What got you there?

41RtLNivrbL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-50,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_MT: Like many decisions in life, moving to Long Beach was a bit random. In my early thirties I decided to go back to college to finish my B.A. I applied at both Cal State Northridge and Cal State Long Beach and got into both. The deciding factor was that the Cal State Long Beach brochure said that you could see the ocean from campus—and, if you go to the top of the tallest building you can. Looking back, that’s a ridiculous reason to choose a college. But I’ve been here about twenty-two years. It’s really a great city.

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6 Questions for Author Jean Ryan

JeanI’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to know Jean Ryan, a gifted writer and generous spirit whose story, Manatee Gardens, opens the collection Outer Voices Inner Lives. Jean has since kept up a correspondence with me and had several of her blog posts featured here at lgbtSr. Her collection, ‘Survival Skills (Ashland Creek Press) is available for anyone interested in superb writing and stories with deep insight into the human experience. I couldn’t think of anyone better for a 6 Questions feature. – Mark/Editor

MM: It’s been really good to get to know you more since we “met” through the Outer Voices Inner Lives collection. Can you tell readers a little about Jean Ryan? Native Vermonter, now in Napa, CA …

JR: I was born and raised in Vermont. After college I moved to Boston and eventually wound my way to California, drawn by visions of sunny beaches and the freedom to live openly as a lesbian. Berkeley was everything I’d hoped for and more. It is still a treat to drive down from Napa and walk through the colorful neighborhoods of Berkeley, where everyone is accepted and anything goes.

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6 Questions for Olivia Hart, Her Excellency, Royal Countess de Orenburg

Frank, Olivia and Ophelia
Frank, Olivia and Ophelia

By Rick Rose

I recently read about Beautiful By Night, James Hosking’s documentary in which he invites the audience into the lives of three older drag performers at Aunt Charlies, a legendary venue in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Olivia Hart was one of those three veteran performers in what some consider a disappearing art form. You wouldn’t know it from talking to Olivia. I had the pleasure of asking her ‘6 Questions,’ which she graciously answered. – Rick

Miss Olivia Hart
Her Excellency, Royal Countess de Orenburg
“From the Heart, Through the Court, For the Community”

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6 Questions for Author David Lennon

The author in 1975
The author in 1975

I learned about author David Lennon a few years ago when I read his first mystery, The Quarter Boys, set in New Orleans. Subsequently, his Michael Doucette and Sassy Jones Mysteries series was nominated for three Lambda Literary Awards and won the 2010 Lammy for Best Gay Mystery. I just finished his newest novel, DeadFall, and had the pleasure of asking him ‘6 Questions,’ which he graciously answered in depth and detail. – Mark McNease/Editor

MM: You have a new book out, DeadFall, that begins in 1975. It made me think a lot of having been a gay teenager, first love, regrets and what-ifs. What inspired you to write that story, and why now?

DL: The why now part is easy. I’m at an age where there’s most likely more time behind than ahead, so I’ve begun to reflect on the past. As I mention in the introduction, the summer of 1975 when I was thirteen was one of my favorite times because I was experiencing so much for the first time and it all felt so intense, heightened by hormones and possibly other substances. It was also the time when I first felt like I was leaving childhood. All of that is something I’ve thought about trying to recapture for about five years now.

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6 Questions for Lady Ellen, Founder of Le Femme Finishing School

head shot for email or webpageLast week I shared a recent Aged to Perfection podcast with Lady Ellen, founder of Le Femme Finishing School in New Jersey, the only one of its kind in the state. Talking to Ellen, I quickly realized the deep value of what she offers her clients: a space to be themselves, to explore their identities, express their spirits and use their experiences with Ellen to emerge from the chrysalis into themselves. Following are six additional questions for her about the School, her clients and her mission.

MM: What is some of the most common guidance your clients are looking for?

LE: Most clients want to see what they would look like as a female, want to know if they can “pass” in public and wish to learn makeup application techniques. I teach my clients what they would have learned from the women in their lives if they had been raised as a woman. I offer lessons in makeup, deportment, movement, image and style and constantly tell them to keep their knees together when wearing a skirt. That is why clients come to me, but often they thank me the most for lending them a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, an understanding heart that makes them feel accepted. I give a lot of advice about accepting one’s self and going forward with confidence and courage. Liking what they see in the mirror helps build that confidence and positive self image.

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Multimedia and LGBT Visionary Jeffrey Marsh Joins the Aged to Perfection Podcast

Jeffrey MarshWhat better way to start the New Year off than a chat with Jeffrey Marsh? Jeffrey exploded on Vine with his short, intensely inspirational videos about being yourself and celebrating who you are, and his #DontSayThatsSoGay campaign. Seen as both an example and a lifeline by many people who feel different in a world that often doesn’t accept differences, Jeffrey talked with us about self-acceptance, happiness, joy, and making your own space in the world.

Co-hosts Mark McNease and Rick Rose had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffrey just before the holidays and we think you’ll find him as encouraging, generous and supportive of everyone’s unique expression as we did.