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GUEST POST: Drama Detective by Joe Cosentino

Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery

by Joe Cosentino

Didn’t you always think that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were gay lovers? They sipped tea together at the fireplace. Shared meals. Traipsed around town as a unit. And argued like an old married couple. They seemed to always know what the other was thinking, and therefore they had this silent, deep connection. Holmes and Watson also balanced each other perfectly with Holmes the observant, analytical partner and Watson the deep thinker. A vacation in England confirmed it for me when I visited the Sherlock Holmes restaurant, and I later stood flesh face to bronze face with the Sherlock Holmes statue. The gay vibes were abundant. As Nicky would say, “I felt like a priest at altar boy induction.”

After that trip, I started to think, “What is even gayer than a Sherlock Holmes story?” Since my spouse and I were at the airport in New York City, it hit me like an eleven o’clock number: a Broadway musical! So, I combined my infatuation with Sherlock Holmes and musical theatre for the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery novel, where Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with his husband Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Their best friend, Martin Anderson (who is the theatre department head like me), Martin’s husband Ruben, their office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street.

For those of you who haven’t read the first four novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series (and you should!), it is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning. At the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver.

In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit. Who am I to argue? One reviewer wrote Drama Queen was the funniest books she’d ever read! In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which my spouse and I also did). Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. (The first three books are also available as wonderful audiobooks!) In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar.

And now the release of book five: my homage to Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and musical theatre queens everywhere! So put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and coat, grab your pipe and theatre program, and take your front row seat for the musical. The game is afoot in Drama Detective!

DRAMA DETECTIVE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

purchase links:

http://myBook.to/DramaDetective

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/739440

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-detective-joe-cosentino/1126899713?ean=2940154485842

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a Sherlock Holmes musical in a professional summer stock production at Treemeadow College, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague Noah Oliver as Dr. John Watson. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky dons Holmes’ persona on stage and off. Once again Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fifth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up, the game is afoot!

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, 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

“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” Optimumm Book Reviews

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews

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.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Excerpt of Drama Detective by Joe Cosentino:

Since Tony and Mark had finished rehearsing the opening number, I moved back to my seat front and center. I opened the bag at my feet and downed some vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, turmeric, and L-theanine with apple juice for energy. After calling for the actors’ attention on stage, I rose and attempted to give a few acting notes to London’s West End theatre actor Trevor Worth (our diabolical Professor Moriarty) and professional wrestler seeking a legitimate theatre credit Bruno Locho (as Scotland Yard’s dimwitted—not much of an acting challenge—Inspector Lestrade). Standing center stage, Trevor wore a long black coat and Bruno sported a wrinkled umber-colored suit. “Trevor, when you take off the prostitute costume on stage in the opening number to reveal yourself as Professor Moriarty—the jewel thief—stand more stage left so you are in the shadows.”

The tall, thin, sixty-year-old actor sprouted lines on his face like marijuana in a teenager’s window garden. His natural British accent compounded like a televangelist’s mansion during a television pledge drive as he said, “Have I told you that I have played the role of Moriarty in eighteen different Sherlock Holmes productions?”

More times than a closet gay actor tells the press he’s too busy working to date.

Trevor flicked back his long, thin shoe polish black hair and looked down his longer and thinner nose at me. “And did I also mention the productions spanned six countries?”

Bad news travels fast. “I’ve read your resume, Trevor.”

“And as the rest of the company knows, I will be starring as the title character in next season’s Broadway play aptly titled Moriarty, produced by the legendary Tom Rairy.”

“Trevor, what’s your point?”

“My point, Mr. Director, is that nobody knows the role of Professor Moriarty better than I. And Professor Moriarty would never change disguises in the dark. He would proudly switch personas where everyone can see him and then disappear.”

“I got a problem with that.”

I rested my elbows on my knees. “What’s your problem, Bruno?”

The wrestling star sucked in enough breath to expand his already expansive nose and chest. “Instead of Moriarty running away, me and him should go at it.”

“Go at it?” I asked like a sailor walking the plank.

“Yeah. Moriarty versus Lestrade in the ring.” Bruno’s dark eyes lifted to his bald head. “The ad for the show can go like, ‘Le Strade and Moriarty Shoot Off Head to Head.’”

Sounds more like an ad for a gay porn film to me.

Harvey Snigger (Porky Johnson) stood stage left with his hand on his ample hip, did a double take, and shook his jowls back and forth as if on the small screen. “Wrestling? Really, Bruno? My TVQ is on the line with this show. I won’t be party to a phony wrestling match.”

“Phony!” Bruno advanced on Harvey. “I leaped off the ropes and squashed guys double your size.”

“And Dumb It Down for Dad clobbered wrestling in the TV ratings,” Harvey replied with a sniff.

Bruno ripped off his tie and jacket. The shirt came next. “Let’s see how easily I can clobber you!”

Harvey sniffed like a rabbit in a genetically modified carrot garden.

Bruno prepared for attack. “And will you stop that annoying sniffing!”

Before real blood was shed on stage, I asked for the technical rehearsal to resume with the next song, where the famous Holmes, having just solved a case in Africa, flies in a helicopter over the heads of the audience. Corey called the cue from the stage manager’s console off stage. Reminiscent of that infamous tragedy at the Booth Theatre, the helicopter descended from the ceiling – and crashed into a box seat. As the cast and crew shrieked, the helicopter’s tail rotor flew off smack into Harvey Snigger standing on stage. While student technicians rescued the helicopter with our Sherlock Holmes trapped inside but unscathed, I called for another break.

Thankfully unharmed (except for his ego), Harvey stormed off stage into the wing shaking the rotor, and his chubby fist, at young Corey Sundance. “What kind of a stage manager are you? You nearly got me killed!”

My ex-student slid down in his chair. “Not my fault, dude.”

Harvey snorted like a pig staring at a truck load of bacon. “Over the entire course of our rehearsals, I haven’t seen one positive attribute of yours.”

Check out his butt on the internet.

“In the world of television, you’d be fired before the first commercial break,” Harvey shouted in Corey’s face.

“This isn’t the battle scene in Les Mis. Leave the kid alone.” Our author and musical director appeared at Corey’s side.

Harvey snarled like a conservative politician at a lecture on global warming. “Do you know who you are talking to?”

Mark Melody answered, “A chubby little guy who gets angry and turns greener than Elphaba in Wicked and does double takes and jowl rolls on a sitcom that would insult the intelligence of a teenager with an I.Q. of ten who is hooked on crack.”

Harvey did in fact turn green, do a double take, and shake his jowls. Then he stampeded downstage center and flailed his fatty arms at Ruben and me. “Producer, Director, if these two amateurs aren’t fired immediately, it’s roll the credits and show’s over for me, meaning you can kiss the TV audience goodbye.” He sniffed wildly.

 

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GUEST POST: Maui, A Cozy Mystery Paradise by Joe Cosentino

MAUI, A COZY MYSTERY PARADISE

Drama Luau, the fourth Nicky and Noah comedy/mystery/romance novel

by Joe Cosentino

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been all over the world, and no place is more beautiful, exotic, and romantic than Maui, the perfect location for a gay cozy mystery.

A few years ago, my spouse and I survived the long plane ride and visited hidden white sandy beaches (our favorite was the beach used in the movie South Pacific), giant and spectacular waterfalls (as in the opening of Fantasy Island), craters of every hue on steep mountaintops, palm trees waving in the gentle breeze, and incredibly low key and hospitable Hawaiians. We braved the white-knuckle drive to the fantastic Seven Sacred Pools, yawned at the gorgeous sunrise at Haleakala, snorkeled in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing. We also attended a luau with a dramatic boat procession, pig roast and ceremony, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and of course the hula dancer show. The dancers were muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis, flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, who gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano.

So when it came time for Nicky and Noah to go on their honeymoon in the fourth novel in my popular Nicky and Noah mystery series, I knew they had to go to Maui. It was great fun including all the things my spouse and I did on our trip into this fast-paced, humorous, spine-tingling mystery with a very shocking ending. Nicky and Noah have the time of their lives solving this one, and also find their relationship in for quite a change.

As you remember, in Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016), Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. In Drama Cruise, it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which my spouse and I also did). Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple.

Now in Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than a priest wants a new altar boy convention.

And watch for Drama Detective, book five, releasing in six months!

It is my joy and pleasure to share these stories with you. So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau!

DRAMA LUAU (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

http://myBook.to/DramaLuau

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711186

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-luau-joe-cosentino/1125994872?ean=2940154062050

Theater professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!

 

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015):

“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Bike Book Reviews

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

Praise for DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:

“Each (Nicky and Noah mystery) is a wonderful mixture of sex, comedy, romance and murder, but when Cosentino took it to an Alaska cruise and the high seas, well, it tossed it up into theatrically delicious magic….I loved this story. I love this couple. What on earth is going to happen to them next? I can’t wait to find out.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; 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, 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. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Excerpt of Drama Luau by Joe Cosentino:

Rivaling our heated argument with the Kapenas, the fake volcano onstage erupted, thanks to the theatrical effects of red lights and smoke. The dancers entered the stage to welcoming applause and executed their opening number. I held Noah’s hand as the men gestured toward the palm trees, ocean, and mountains behind them. As the dance built in intensity, they stomped, grunted, and made faces in honor of the goddess of the ocean. Though lead dancer Kal was positioned front and center for most of the dance, each dancer filled the stage with dramatic character (thanks, Noah!) and strong presence. The conclusion of the opening number was met with appreciative applause from the audience.

After a brief musical interlude, the dancers returned to the stage in their grass skirts and performed the next few numbers. Kal maintained his magnetic charisma. Though older and drooping a bit in the middle, dance captain Ak and bulldog faced Kimu held their own, as did cute little Ahe. Not surprisingly, Ahe’s lover, Keanu, commanded the audience’s attention with his obvious desire to move from dancer helper to lead dancer. With each successfully completed routine, Noah and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Pulling off their skirts and wearing only G-strings, the dancers performed their homage to the creation god. I noticed that both of the Kapenas seemed to be quite interested in that number.

Finally, the stage lights dimmed, and the cast lit their fire clubs. Waving them enthusiastically to honor the fire goddess, each dancer performed his routine beautifully. As I had instructed, a technician turned on the fan near the stage to highlight the flames that danced along as the men carried them. I thanked the theatre gods when Kimu, no doubt having taken a swig in the dressing room, doddered a bit but managed to stay on his feet until the end of the fire finale.

“Nicky, look!”

I followed Noah’s index finger pointing to a tiki lamp onstage as it came crashing down on Kimu’s head. Kimu saw the light.

The music stopped as the audience shrieked. Noah and I raced up onto the stage. Checking Kimu’s pulse, Noah said, “Nicky. He’s dead!”

The stage became a blur of activity with dancers, technicians, Walter, the Kapenas, wait staff, and band members racing around like bear cubs without their mother.

Feeling like the star of a 1940’s thriller, I stood at the apron of the stage. “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Before anyone could answer, Noah tapped my shoulder. “Nicky, Kimu’s gone.”

I continued scanning the audience for a doctor or a nurse. “Maybe there’s still a chance to save him.”

“No, Nicky, he’s really gone,” Noah said.

I looked behind me at the place onstage where Kimu had fallen. It was empty.

 

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INTERVIEW: Drama Muscle by Joe Cosentino

DramaMusclecover

DRAMA MUSCLE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO from Lethe Press

Blurb

It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!

Q&A with Joe Cosentino

Hello, Joe. Welcome back to Because Two Men Are Better Than One. Thank you for visiting.

My pleasure. Thank you for all that you do to get out the good word about gay-themed novels.

You’re a college professor/department head in the Theatre Department. When do find the time to write?

I write in the evenings. Being a little tired helps loosen my creative energies and flow. Plus my spouse has gone to bed, so the house is quiet, leaving me with all the voices in my head.

Where do you write?

I have a cozy home study with a window seat, fireplace with a cherry wood mantel (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mysteries), a huge cherry wood desk, and cherry wood bookshelves. It would be hard not to write in a study like that.

You’ve said in interviews that your novels are “theatrical.” What do you mean by that?

Since I started as an actor and playwright, I write a great deal of dialogue. My novels are also quite cinematic. Hear that film and television producers?

Any plans for the Nicky and Noah mysteries to become a television series?

Sure, I have lots of plans. I’m a legend in my own mind. Now I just need a TV network to have the plans too.

Who would you cast in the leading roles?

I’d cast Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, me as Martin Anderson (the theatre department head), and Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents.

You acted in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint 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). What was it like acting with all those celebrities?

First, I’m so glad Holland Taylor came out. It’s never too late. As for the celebs, in every case I worked with them before they became famous, and they were all gracious, hard-working, kind, and very funny. I recommended Rosie O’Donnell go on Star Search, and she did!

Since you are a college theatre professor, is the Nicky and Noah series based on your college?

Treemeadow College exists only in my head. My colleagues kid me that if anybody at my college ticks me off, I kill him/her in the series? Hah. To be honest, I like my colleagues and students too much to murder them in my books. By the way, they love my books and want to be in them. However, only Martin Anderson, Nicky and Noah’s department head, is based on a real person—me. Martin is a loyal, hardworking department head and professor who fully supports his faculty colleagues, office assistant, and the students in his department. Like me, he is also a little bit, well quite a bit, of a gossip. He also has a terrific husband.

Why did you set the series in a college university?

As a college professor/department head, I have always been aware that colleges are rife with mystery, romance, and humor. In each book Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.

Why did you write a gay mystery/comedy/romance series?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books I like reading: funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending!

You say they are “cozy mysteries.” What does that mean?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears. The setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the reader guessing, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I’ve heard the readers fall in love with them. In the first novel (Drama Queen), it is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance. In this current book (Drama Muscle), it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. The third book (Drama Cruise not yet published) takes us on a cruise to Alaska for sights of glaciers and whales while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

Was Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, well received?

Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer said it was the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue? When the ebook reached the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook (with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe) sold like tickets to Aladdin after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery.

What was the plot of Drama Queen?

In Drama Queen college theatre professors were dropping like stage curtains and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah had to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit.

What is the storyline of Drama Muscle, the current Nicky and Noah mystery?

In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Bodybuilding Department. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.

Why did you set the second novel in the Bodybuilding Department?

I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. Not to mention the muscles! After watching a bodybuilding competition on television (I admit it!) I noticed the link between bodybuilding and theatre. So I decided the second Nicky and Noah mystery would take place in the Bodybuilding Department at Treemeadow College.

How do you think up all the clues, red herrings, and surprises in the novel?

I learned from the best! I’ve read every Agatha Christie novel and play many times. She is a genius at outlining when and where to give the reader what information. I love the inversion in her books, where she uses sleight of hand to lay out all the information, but not in a straight forward manner. The reader becomes the sleuth to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I also learned from reading many writers like Armistead Maupin how to write quirky, zany, but lovable characters.

Nicky is described as having an enormous manhood. Does that help him solve the murders?

It doesn’t hurt. Well, maybe it does. Hah. Nicky has to flirt his way into some places to get certain information, so his handsome face, muscular body, and huge penis are definitely assets. Even more, however, Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues. Most of all, Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective. Nicky has such amazing wit, perseverance in the face of adversity, and smarts. I love his sense of determination in not only nabbing the murderer, but also getting his man—Noah. Nicky knows what he wants and how to get it. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he wants to help them. He also has no problem taking on the role of hero. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. However, my favorite character in book two is Noah’s mother who is devoted to her son—almost as much as she’s devoted to her camera!

Your Dreamspinner Press novellas (An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and the upcoming (January 27) The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?

I love eggs but I also love oatmeal. It’s the same thing. I’d ask them to give Drama Queen and Drama Muscle a try. Like I found eating liver and onions as a kid, they may acquire a different taste.

What did you learn about reviews after Drama Queen?

Drama Queen got mostly great reviews from review sites, bloggers, and readers. I learned to concentrate on those reviews and not read the few negative ones. Writers (like everyone else) need to be supported and encouraged, not torn down. We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the love of our books and our readers. We put our hearts out there to be embraced not stamped on. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it after chapter one and read something else. Why write a scathing review?

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Write every day. 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 with an open submissions policy who publishes the kind of story you’ve written. If that publisher rejects it, immediately send it to the next one.

Is it hard to write comedy?

I’ve always had a funny mind. I can hear almost anything and see the humor in it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my parents bought me a sweater and my sister a house. When I asked my mother if I was an orphan, she replied, “Orphans don’t have sweaters. Appreciate what you have. And by the way, it cost me $39.99.”

Why do you write gay fiction?

Obviously gay stories are part of my life. Also, there are still many untold stories about gay people. Go to the mall and look at the movie posters sans any gay characters on them. What does that say to the teenagers in those malls?

You have another mystery series. Tell us about your Jana Lane mystery series.

I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press), 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 (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), 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 (not yet released 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 (not yet released 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.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Nine Star Press is publishing my two novels that take place at a gay summer resort on the Jersey Shore: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward.

How do you feel about straight women writing and reading gay romance novels?

Bravo for them!

Like Drama Queen is Drama Muscle available as an ebook, paperbook, and audiobook?

The ebook and paperback are out. This gives the reader an option to read it on a Kindle, Nook, computer, or with book in hand on the beach or in bed. The audiobook, again performed by the amazing Michael Gilboe, will be out shortly.

How can your readers get their hands on Drama Muscle, and how can they contact you?

The purchase links for Drama Muscle are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers! So give Nicky and Noah a read and contact me via my web site. Let’s all pump up!

Excerpt

As the ethereal sound of horns parted the heavenly clouds, the young gods and goddesses appeared in a ray of white light. Standing as strong as the stone columns behind them, the deities displayed stunning muscles, colossal beauty, and mammoth ambition housed in the smallest and most seductive of white garments. Lightning flashed as they formed a resilient line and each struck their first flawless pose. Zeus was dark-skinned and as powerful as thunder. Ganymede at his side had skin of white porcelain and a clever stare. Hercules and Adonis were the perfect blend of masculine vigor and physical splendor. Athena was a gorgeous, olive-skinned warrior, and Aphrodite a lovely, fair-skinned temptress. Achilles watched them all, vowing to be victorious in the end.

“Good work, everyone!”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a white-stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and picturesque village of Treemeadow in the equally quaint and picturesque state of Vermont. As inscribed on the two bronze statues at the college’s entrance, the college’s name comes from its founders, Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. Tree and Meadow were madly wealthy, madly generous, and madly in love. The old gents would no doubt be proud to know that Noah Oliver (Professor of Acting) and I have become a current generation couple at Treemeadow College. That’s not to say Noah and I look anything like our college’s founders. We aren’t made of bronze for one. We wear dress shirts, slacks, and blazers in the fall season rather than heavy dark suits. Also, the Treemeadows were small, thin, scholarly types. Noah and I are both tall. I am of the dark hair, long sideburns, Roman nose, pumped body (thanks to the gym on campus) variety. Oh, there’s one other small thing. Well, it’s not really small. To the delight or horror of my past boyfriends, I have a nine-and-a-quarter-inch penis—flaccid. Luckily, Noah is delighted and totally open (pardon the pun) to new adventures. Noah has luxurious curly-blond hair, batting blue eyes, and the warmest heart in New England. His body is firm and smooth, but not toned as he never goes near the gym—until now!

Each year the top students in the Bodybuilding Department compete in a contest to be named the Top Toned Tan Trojan at Treemeadow (Try saying that three times fast). Actually, the real name is Treemeadow’s Annual Bodybuilding Competition. The winner receives an enormous gold cup, and more importantly, the year’s college tuition free. Given the rising cost of tuition at Treemeadow, this is no lightweight matter (pardon the pun again).

Bodybuilding Department Head Professor Brick Strong asked my Theatre Department Head, Martin Anderson, if Noah and I could use our theatrical expertise to add a dramatic flair to this year’s bodybuilding competition. Since I was not directing a play that semester, Martin agreed to give Noah and me release time, thereby changing our mantra from “Let’s put on a show” to “I’m gonna pump you up.” That led to Noah and me hauling lighting, smoke, sound, and set equipment, along with a number of skimpy Greek period costumes, from the Theatre Department building to the Physical Education building. The plan was that I, as a directing professor, would direct the production, and Noah, as an acting professor, would work with the student-athletes on stage presence for their individual poses.

“Okay everyone, Professor Oliver will take it from here.” I stepped aside and leaned against the gym wall.

Noah flicked back his gorgeous blond locks and took my place in front of the students like a new king taking the throne after a revolution. Sounding delectably butch, he said, “Let’s take a little time to discuss each of your characters. The Greek period was a—”

“That’s the period we’ve selected for the competition in terms of characters, set, and costumes,” I said.

Noah smiled in my direction.

I think Noah and I are the perfect couple. “Rodney, we know that your character, Zeus, was the father of gods and men—” Rodney Towers was tall, dark, and massive with muscle. “—which is why your toga has a thunderbolt on it,” I said.

Noah stiffened.

“I’m always happy to help,” I said.

“So I see.”

“But Professor Oliver is totally in charge now. So everyone, please listen to Professor Oliver,” I said.

“Thank you.” Focusing back on Zeus, rather Rodney, Noah said, “The Greek gods in mythology were part god and part human—”

“Which is why I selected this motif for the competition. You all have human emotion, but your strength and powers are supernatural.”

“Right,” said Noah with a tight jaw.

I folded my arms across my chest. “Professor Oliver is really good at working on character development, so pay close attention to him.”

Noah took in a deep breath. “And the Greek gods were quite amorous—”

“With both sexes,” I said. “Zeus and Ganymede were just one pair of famous lovers who influenced the arts.”

“Excuse me, everyone.” Noah put a hand on my shoulder and ushered me to a corner of the gym. “Nicky, I appreciate your help, but—”

I put my arm around Noah. “You don’t need to thank me. I love you, and I am always here to help you.”

“Well can you please…stop?”

“Did I say something wrong?” I asked dumbfounded.

“I would like to be able to finish a sentence! Will you let me do that?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you.”

“I won’t say another word,” I said as we walked back to the students.

“Promise?” Noah whispered in my ear.

“Of course.” I looked at my watch. “You should move the rehearsal along, since there’s lots more to do.”

Buy Links

Lethe Press

Amazon

About the Author

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Drama Queen and Drama Muscle  Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, 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, 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 novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:

“Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever” “brilliant” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don’t come more whodunnity than this.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah. If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews

“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay

“a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel” The Novel Approach

“The tangled weave of murder mystery and other mysteries comes to a startling conclusion that is both satisfying and mind boggling.” MultitaskingMomma

“I am not used to reading books that make me snigger out loud, but in Drama Queen Joe Cosentino has struck a great balance between his use of tongue in cheek humour and a compelling mystery which we want to see solved.” Divine Magazine

“Nicky and Noah are two sexy leading characters who conduct the investigation in this comedic caper with wit and style.” Vance Bastian Reviews

“Cosentino does a wonderful job of writing a mystery that keeps the reader guessing right up until the end.” Barron Owens Reviews

“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Bike Book Reviews

“The author clearly knows of what he speaks on all matters theater, and the kind of authentic details he brings to the table in terms of characters and staging makes this immensely entertaining.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews

“Joe Cosentino has brilliantly done it again! His latest novel, Drama Queen, is the most fascinating mystery of all time. I loved the laugh out loud moments and the crazy fast-paced plot. Readers will instantly be drawn into Joe Cosentino’s stunning mystery. I recommend this novel to readers worldwide and look forward to reading the next adventure by this talented writer.” Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity, Inc.

*****

Congratulations to Joe Cosentino for winning Best Contemporary Novel, Best Mystery Novel, Best Crime Novel, and Best Humorous Novel of 2015 for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press, in the Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll Awards!

http://www.lethepressbooks.com/store/p303/Drama_Queen%3A_A_Nicky_and_Noah_Mystery.html