Drama Oz by Joe Cosentino – Q&A

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino who is celebrating yesterday’s release of Drama Oz, the 14th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel.

Joe Cosentino, congratulations on the release of the fourteenth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series, Drama Oz.

Thank you. I’m proud to be a friend of Dorothy’s.

So many readers love your Nicky and Noah mysteries, Player Piano mysteries, and Jana Lane mysteries. Which are your favorite?

As my parents say about my older sister, “The first is always the most special.” However, I love all of my series. Each have humor, quirky characters, sweet romance, cozy settings, plot twists and turns, and shocking whodunit endings. They all have an element of show business just like me. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are perfect for readers who love gay cozy mysteries with a wallop of humor. Readers of gay fantasy mystery will adore the Player Piano mysteries. People who like a straight female protagonist with a gay male sidekick will adore the Jana Lane mysteries.

Why do you think the Nicky and Noah mystery series has lasted over a decade now?

I haven’t found any other MM comedy mystery romance series set in the world of academia and theatre. Also, nobody else has my warped sense of humor.

Why did you pick The Wizard of Oz and Key West as the show and location for the fourteenth novel?

The Wizard of Oz is my favorite classic movie musical. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the wonderful world of Oz began as a book and later a series of books by L. Frank Baum. Those cherished books are displayed on my bookcase with worn edges from numerous reads over the years. Whenever I felt anxious, depressed, or stressed, I reached for those glorious treasures. And I still do! Like Dorothy, I enter the land of Oz to meet new friends and embark on a wonderful adventure. Key West, Florida is one of my favorite places. If you haven’t been to Key West, it’s a peninsula with white sandy beaches laden with foamy waves tickling jagged rocks under an azure sky dotted with marshmallow clouds. Gorgeous white seagulls and towering lighthouses herald gorgeous pink, violet, and gold sunrises and sunsets. Quant guesthouses, theatres, and restaurants inhabited by people open and affirming to all line the shore. So in my novel, our favorite thespians stage an original musical adaptation of the much-loved classic entitled, Friends of Dorothy, at the Wizard of Oz theme park in Key West.

Tell us about Drama Oz, the 14th Nicky and Noah mystery novel.

A killer is loose in the Wizard of Oz theme park theatre. The young actress cast as Dorothy is quite the diva. The young actors cast as Toto, the Munchkin Leader, and the Winged Monkey Leader fully inhabit their roles and their G-string, chaps, and loincloth respectively. Of course Nicky and his crew use their drama skills, including playing wacky characters in investigative role-plays with the suspects, to catch the killer before the witch’s fireball sends them up in smoke.

It’s great to see our favorite characters back.

Gay and hunky Sherlock Holmes, Nicky Abbondanza, is the wizard onstage and off, doing double duty as show director and playing the Wizard. As Nicky says, “It takes a wiz!” Nicky’s gorgeous and devoted husband, Noah Oliver, is cast as the Scarecrow sitting on a long pole (pun intended). Their teenage son, Taavi, plays the role of the Tinman with a large can of lube, and his best friend, Ty, counters as the Lion with a playful tail. Nicky’s best friends, older couple Martin and Ruben, join the cast playing Aunt Em and Uncle Henry “going down on the farm.” They also double as Glinda who does it good and the Wicked Witch of the wild West.

Who are the new characters/suspects/victims for book fourteen?

Adorable actor Pip Manning plays Toto in the show. His affections waver between handsome Mormon Drew Gateway the stage manager and bodybuilder Detective Rick Boulder. Gymnast with a secret Topper Tucker, who plays the Winged Monkey Leader, has his wings set on stocky Taz Zaman, who plays the Munchkin Leader. A crew of woman technicians and the diva starring as Dorothy have more baggage than an airport.

What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?

It’s 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 (as Nicky would say) “faster than a Republican ex-president ordering a riot at the Capitol.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

How are the novels cozy?

Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces. This novel in Key West is as cozy as ever at the popular and picturesque vacation site loved by so many.

For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us the titles of the novels in the series.

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, and now Drama Oz.

Many of your characters are of various ethnicities and sexual identities. Is that deliberate on your part?

Absolutely. We live in a diverse world. A story taking place at a college or in the world of theatre would be unbelievable if everyone were the same.

I’m sure you’ve been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.

Many many times! Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! I’ve written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!

How would you cast the TV series?

Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, me as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Luke Macfarlane as Nicky’s brother Tony.

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

The purchase links are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers! So do Nicky and Noah. I tell them everything!

Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.

It was my pleasure. As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the hysterically funny antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns than a QAnon member hearing real news. I’m more excited than a red state limiting voting rights to share this fourteenth novel in the series with you. So follow the yellow brick road to a girl with a dog who is one hot bitch, a wicked witch who would kill for a new pair of shoes, a sexy Wizard who wants to bang the Scarecrow’s brains out, a Tinman and Lion embarking on a mixed marriage, plenty of monkey business, and murder!

And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line. I’ll share it with Nicky and Noah!

The Treemeadow College theatre crew stage an original musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, entitled Friends of Dorothy, at a summer theme park in Key West. Quickly cast and crew members melt away like a witch submerged in water. Nicky, as the Wizard on stage and off, must save the show and figure out whodunit. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before a witch’s fireball sends them up in smoke. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourteenth novel in this delightful series. It’s a scorcher! So follow the yellow brick road. The stage lights are coming up in Oz on a girl with a dog who is one hot bitch, a wicked witch who would kill for a new pair of shoes, a sexy Wizard, a Scarecrow sitting on a big pole, a Tinman with a giant can of lube, a Lion with a long tail between his legs, plenty of monkey business, and murder!

Enjoy an Excerpt

A rooster’s crow heralds the start of a new morning on a farm in Kansas. A small elderly woman wearing a housedress matching the gray bun on her head comes out of the farmhouse. At the sight of her overflowing bucket, penned pigs, goats, cows, and horses come to attention for their morning meal. A tall, thin, aging man in black overalls sticks his pitchfork into a pile of hay as gray hair covers his forehead. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry share a, “Good morning.” Lively country western music plays, and they belt out a hand-clapping song, “Goin’ Down on the Farm,” which leads to bump and grind choreography between the couple and the animals. When a horse rubs against her, Aunt Em hollers, “Who do I look like, Catherine the Great?”

“You’re way older than the eighteenth-century Russian empress, my love,” Uncle Henry retorts.

“Stop!” Hello Nicky-and-Noah fans, it’s me, your favorite armchair (or rather play director’s chair) sleuth, Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, which in my case stands for Pretty Hot Detective. I’m not a real detective. I actually solve all of my cases. This one’s number fourteen. But who’s counting? Me! I’ve directed plays, musicals, a runway show, bodybuilding competition, movies, and even a television pilot at Treemeadow College in picturesque Vermont, where I am a Professor of Play Directing in the Theatre Department. However, I’m not in Treemeadow now. Where am I? Here’s the story. My handsome, loyal, and wonderful husband, Noah Oliver, Associate Professor of Acting, and I planned a lavish summer vacation cruising (no pun intended) the Mediterranean with our teenage son, relentless thespian and co-sleuth Taavi Kapule Oliver Abbondanza. Reality and a migraine struck when Noah and I remembered our salaries as college professors. So recalling our free trips to Alaska (for staging a murder mystery dinner show on a cruise) and Hawaii (for directing a luau show), Noah and I discreetly let theatre producers know we might be available for summer stock. In other words, we begged for a job. We turned down offers from Arab and African nations where being gay is a crime punishable by death. We’re funny that way. Instead, we took a (slightly) less risky job in a blue dot in the red state of Florida: the new Wizard of Oz Theme Park in Florida’s Key West. The park features beloved costumed characters chased around the yellow brick road by screaming children wielding the Wicked Witch of the West’s crystal ball, Dorothy’s slippers, and the Tinman’s oil can purchased at exorbitant prices from the Emerald City gift shop. Park activities include Throw a Fireball at the Scarecrow, Drop a House on the Wicked Witch of the East, Burst Glinda’s Bubble, and Munch with a Munchkin. The themed restaurant features Green Witch Warts, Flying Monkey Droppings, and Uncle Henry’s Jellyroll with Aunt Em’s Bread Box. The thrilling ride attractions enable visitors to spin in a tornado and land on a Munchkin, dive into Toto’s basket, and ride in a hot air balloon with a Wizard full of hot air. But I digress. Back to the only thing that really matters—the theatre!

At the center of the park is an enormous enclosed theatre that would make any tax-exempt billionaire televangelist green (pun intended) with envy. So, the park management hired me to direct an original musical production of the much-loved classic based on the original books by L. Frank Baum. The stories where Dorothy’s slippers are chic silver, and her post-adventure comeback line is simply, “I’m so glad to be home again.”

My first decision was to cast the most charismatic and talented actor I know as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz—the wonderful me. At forty-six with the body and maturity of a twenty-one-year-old (both courtesy of the gym at Treemeadow College) and hailing originally from Kansas, I was a perfect fit for the Wizard—unlike my costume. With my olive skin, dark hair, and over six-feet tall status, I admit I looked quite dapper in the Wizard’s three-piece Victorian suit which matched my emerald eyes. My tapered trousers were trim in the waist, hips, and inseam. Hence the big problem—or the big asset depending on the situation. You see, my nearly foot-long penis—unaroused—though Noah’s treasure, has been a costumer’s nightmare. So while our costume designer, Gabriela Boada, and her daughter and assistant, Ava, took out my slack’s inseam (causing it to be an outseam), I wore my contemporary dress slacks.

My thirty-nine-year-old youthful (grr!) husband’s milk-and-honey face turned to scarlet until I cast him as the Scarecrow (and the cast’s acting coach). Actually, Noah, having grown up in a Wisconsin dairy farm, was perfectly cast as Dorothy’s first friend in Oz. Our seventeen-year-old son, Taavi, threatened to put a curse on me from his native Hawaii until I offered him an oilcan and the role of the Tinman, Dorothy’s second cohort in Oz.
My best friend, department chair, and mentor, Martin Anderson, filled out a pink slip (no pun intended) with my name on it until I asked him to write the new musical, which he appropriately titled, Friends of Dorothy. I cast Martin’s husband, Ruben Markinson, in the dual roles of Uncle Henry and the Wicked Witch of the West. This prompted Martin to strap me into his chairlift and use his diaper as a slingshot to lob his C-PAP machine at me until I cast Martin as Aunt ‘Em and Glinda the Good Witch of the North. Their sixteen-year-old son, Ty Wilde Anderson Markinson, strangled me with Martin’s compression stockings until I cowardly gave him the role of the Lion. And we were off to see the Wizard.

So here I sit, front row center at the technical dress rehearsal of our extravaganza as the evening hours drift by like piercing arrows to my brain. Everything is coming together as smoothly as a QAnon member storming the Capitol under orders of a past Republican president.
Martin pointed to the dancer playing the horse. The young man’s bare torso and full brown jockstrap gave “hung like a horse” a new meaning. “That horse is even more hung than you, Nicky. And a whole lot friskier!”

I typed on my electronic tablet, “Why didn’t the twister cart off Aunt Em?”

About the Author: Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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Character Interview with Nicky and Noah from DRAMA TV – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino back with an Interview with Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, the leading characters in his Drama TV, the 13th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel. Check out the giveaway at the end of the post.

Nicky and Noah, you have hit it big with your mystery series!

Noah: Nicky definitely has hit it big.

Congratulations on the release of the thirteenth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series.

Nicky: Thank you. Thirteen is our new lucky number.

Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.

Noah: Nicky is a gorgeous hunk.

Nicky: And Noah is always honest.

Noah: He’s tall with dark hair and sexy long sideburns, a cleft chin I love to kiss, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a muscular body thanks to the gym on campus.

Nicky: I call it the chamber of horrors and self-abuse.

Noah: Best of all, Nicky has a huge heart. And something else that is huge.

Nicky: And Noah likes that.

Noah: It sure doesn’t hurt. Well, not too much anymore. (He blushes.)

Nicky: Noah is tall, with silky golden blond hair, true-blue eyes, milk and honey skin, and a body I love to hug all night long. And Noah always cares about others. Especially me. And I adore him.

Nicky and Noah: And we both love solving mysteries!

Nicky: Talking together is a cute couple thing we do.

Tell us about Drama TV, the thirteenth novel in your popular, award-winning series.

Nicky: Noah and I

Noah: And our best friends Martin and Ruben

Nicky: And our sons Taavi and Ty shoot (no pun intended) the pilot episode for a television series based on our first caper, Drama Queen.

Noah: When Nicky and I first fell in love.

Nicky: Where else would we do the television show but cozy Treemeadow College during winter break? It will come as no surprise to Nicky and Noah fans that cast members disappear like a TV newscaster with a broken teleprompter.

Noah: As usual we use our drama skills to catch the killer

Nicky: Before Noah and I get cancelled.

As usual, calamity ensues in book thirteen. 

Nicky: Of course! I do double duty (Try saying that three times fast while chewing gum) directing and playing myself in the TV pilot.

Noah: And thanks to a bit of nepotism, I play Noah Oliver.

Nicky: Our witty and wild best friend Martin Anderson, Theatre Department Chair, plays himself

Noah: And to his husband’s chagrin, Martin casts Ruben in the multifaceted role of a dead body.

Nicky: Our stagestruck son Taavi tries to steal the show as enterprising film student Kyle Samson

Noah: And Martin and Ruben’s cocky son Ty holds his own as unlucky in love theatre major PJ Myers.

Nicky: Martin’s sassy office assistant, Shayla Johnson, plays Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla Johnson. And long-suffering detective Manuello is such a bad actor he has difficulty playing himself!

Who are the new characters in book thirteen?

Noah: Incredibly handsome, muscular, and sexy young actor Cam Mark plays incredibly handsome, muscular, and sexy theatre major (and the star of the Jack the Ripperesque college production) David Amour. Though Cam isn’t as sexy as Nicky.

Nicky: Or Noah. Madame Mirembe, a reality TV show talent contest winner, plays theatre major Kayla Calloway. Southern beauty pageant winner Caroline Joy is theatre major Jan Annondale.

Noah: Broadway rap star Tadeo Torres is cast as theatre student Ricky Gonzalez.

Nicky: The professional actors, like the students they play in the Drama Queen TV pilot, are hiding many secrets.

Who was your favorite new character? 

Nicky: Noah.

Noah: New character, Nicky.

Nicky: Oh, I really admire hunky actor Ford Heathcliff who plays hunky junior detective John Dickenson. Ford has risen above his disability to become quite an admirable young man.

Noah: We know all about rising things, don’t we, Nicky? My favorite character is Nicky.

Nicky: New character, Noah.

Noah: Oh, our adorable makeup and hair stylist Stuey Socks wears his rouge on his cheeks and his heart on his sleeves.

Which new character do you like the least? 

Nicky and Noah: Everyone who is murdered. (smile)

Which new character is the sexiest? 

Nicky: Chris Jones, the statuesque actor playing Professor of Movement Jackson Grier, though Noah is sexier.

Noah: Tadeo Torres is sweet and cute as a lollipop, but Nicky is sweeter and cuter.

What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?

Nicky & Noah: Us!

Nicky: Actually, it’s 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 faster than an evangelical judge taking away LGBT rights. At the center is the touching relationship between Noah and me. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other.

Noah: Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said Joe is “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

Nicky: Even though Noah and I tell Joe everything to write. 

How are the novels cozy?

Noah: Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

Nicky: It’s even more cozy in winter with snow blanketing the campus and surrounding the village. 

Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there? 

Noah: Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit.

Nicky: So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over like an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar. And no matter what is thrown in my path as a sleuth, I always end up on top.

Noah: Which is just fine with me. 

For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us the titles of the first twelve novels in the series.

Nicky: Let’s see how fast I can do this. Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Fraternity. Take it, Noah, while I catch my breath.

Noah: Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Dance (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan. Phew!

Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced the series?

Noah: As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, Joe knows first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! He never seems to run out of wild characters to write about.

Nicky: His faculty colleagues and students kid him that if any of them tick me off, he’ll kill them in his next book. And he probably will. The little guy is fearless!

What do you like about the regular characters in the series? 

Noah: I love Nicky’s never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. He’s genuinely concerned for others, and he’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. He’s also a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is me.

Nicky: Noah makes the perfect Watson to my Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like me, Noah is gifted at improvisation, and creates wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer.

Noah: I think it’s terrific how Martin and Ruben throw riotous zingers at each other, but they’re so much in love. You don’t see a lot of older gay characters in books nowadays. Of course Martin’s administrative assistant, Shayla, thrives on her one-upmanship with Martin, and he thrives right back.

Nicky: And our kids, Taavi and Ty, fit into our thespian crime-solving group perfectly.

How about your parents? 

Nicky: They’re hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies and television. I also love how Noah’s father is a ham and an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers.

Noah: Nicky’s mom’s Mafia ties and addiction to church Bingo are also a riot. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing. 

I’m sure Joe has been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.

Nicky: Many many times. Hence the title Drama TV. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! Joe has written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!

How would you cast the TV series?

Noah: Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as me, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as my parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, Joe as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as Nicky’s brother Tony.

Joe has written other mystery series: the Player Piano mysteries and the Jana Lane mysteries. There are mystery elements in his Cozzi Cove series and Found At Last series. A story in Joe’s Tales from Fairyland Anthology is a mystery. 

Nicky: They’re great stories, but Noah and I aren’t in them. Next question.

What’s next for the Nicky and Noah mysteries?

Nicky: Whatever we whisper in Joe’s ear.

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

Nicky: The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site.

Noah: Nicky and I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells us everything you say about us! 

Thank you, Nicky and Noah, for interviewing today.

Nicky and Noah: Our pleasure.

Noah: So relax on the sofa and reach for the remote. The TV screen is exploding with sexy young heartthrobs, egotistical reality TV show contestants, a soap opera diva, a hot rap singer

Nicky: and murder!

It’s winter break at Treemeadow College, and Theatre professors and spouses Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, their best friends Martin and Ruben, and their sons Taavi and Ty are starring in a television pilot for the Nicky and Noah Mysteries series based on their first caper, Drama Queen. More is shot than footage as cast members drop like giant flat screen TVs mounted by an intoxicated carpenter. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get cancelled. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining thirteenth (yikes!) novel in this delightful series. So relax on the sofa and reach for the remote. The TV screen is exploding with sexy young heartthrobs, egotistical reality TV show contestants, a soap opera diva, a hot rap singer, and murder!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Smoke, streetlamps, beggars, and ladies of the evening permeate the Victorian London street. A dangerously handsome young man in an expensive suit twirls his dark cape around the shoulders of a beautiful young woman. Her hair and gown are blonde and flowing. The man’s crystal blue eyes sparkle as he kisses her ivory neck. She reaches for his broad back. He grasps the broach fastened at her neck by a thick ribbon, and he squeezes tighter and tighter. The elated expression on her youthful face transforms to one of abject horror. After she gasps her last breath, the woman lay motionless on the gray cement next to another young woman whose blood trickles from her dark skin onto her burgundy gown. The murderous Adonis flicks back his long dark velvety hair. After admiring his two victims, he spots his next prey. A smaller and darker man removes his jacket and ruffled white shirt exposing a ripe, muscular chest. As if offering himself as a human sacrifice, he reaches out, resting his hands on the other man’s bulging biceps. After they share a passionate kiss, the taller man retrieves the knife hidden inside his high black boot. He holds it erect and then plunges it into the other man’s side. As the murderer stares down at his third victim, he says, “The Lord is vengeful and strong in wrath. And revenge is oh so sweet.”

The deceased blonde woman sits up and says, “Did my hair and makeup look okay?”

Wiping the blood off her arm, the dark woman asks, “Was Caroline in my light?”

The young male victim rambles to his feet. “Can Cam and I try the kiss again?”

“Cut!” Hello, TV land. It’s Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing and director of theatre, bodybuilding competition, cruise dinner theatre, luau show, film, ballet, modeling runway, and now television. What am I doing directing a television pilot during winter break here at Treemeadow College in picturesque Vermont? A television network made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Literally. My credit card payments were due at the same time as a television network executive saw a play I directed at the college. The plan was hatched for me to direct a television pilot chronicling my first mystery case at the college. As they say, the first is always the most special. Just ask my mother about her oldest boy—me! My first case of twelve so far, Drama Queen, was also unique because it brought me together with my husband, Noah Oliver, Associate Professor of Acting. When five of our professor colleagues dropped faster than the curtain on a David Mamet play for an audience full of nuns, Noah was one of my suspects—which he never lets me forget. (He also never lets me forget my age, forty-five, since he’s a youthful thirty-eight.) After that first case, Noah became the Watson to my Holmes, the love of my life, my spouse for life, and the co-parent to our adopted son, Taavi. Back to the TV pilot. I cast the best actor I know as myself—me. Noah began drafting divorce papers until I cast him in the appropriate role of himself, Noah Oliver. Our son, definitely an Oliver-Abbondanza, craves the theatrical limelight as well as the detective’s flashlight, making us a three armchair detective family. So Taavi, sixteen, threatened to become a Republican terrorist storming the Capitol if I didn’t cast him in the role of suspect Kyle Samson, Treemeadow College film major. My best friend and Theatre Department Chair, Martin Anderson, was happier than a QAnon member spotting a Jewish laser from outer space when I asked him to write the script and play himself in the TV pilot. Martin’s husband Ruben vowed to hide Martin’s diapers and dentures until I cast Ruben as one of the murder victims. Martin and Ruben’s fifteen-year-old adopted son, Ty, began phoning nursing homes for Martin and Ruben until I cast Ty as theatre major and suspect P.J. Myers. Martin’s secretary, adversary, and confidant, Shayla Johnson, hinted at burning our paychecks, so I cast Shayla in the plum role of herself, Shayla Johnson. Finally, my nemesis, Detective Jose Manuello, bitten by the Treemeadow acting bug in my past shows, talked his way into playing himself. Manuello told me he wanted to be close by when shooting (pardon the pun) wraps, and members of the TV cast and crew are murdered. Oh, Manuello, ye of little faith. It’s an Abbondanza production. They’ll be murdered long before that. Speaking of which, the television network cast professional actors from Los Angeles and New York in the remaining roles, and we lodged the actors in the dormitory on campus. So, like a warning before the Great Hurricane of 1780, the slate board was raised, and we shot first exterior and now interior scenes. This current scene in our ruby theatre documents the Jack the Ripper style play I was directing at Treemeadow College a decade ago, “when I was a hunk.”

“You’re still a hunk to me.” Noah sat in the front-row theatre seat next to mine. His strawberry shampoo made me weak in the knees—which were getting weak anyway.

I pointed to the neck brace under my shirt collar. “I don’t feel like a hunk.”

He kissed the cleft in my chin. “You’ll always be my hunk. No matter how old and feeble you become, Nicky.”

“Thanks, Noah.” I think. True, my Italian-American genes had left me with tight olive skin, a Roman nose, and emerald eyes. Yes, the gym at the college had rewarded me with a muscular body. Of course, my wardrobe (copied by Noah, Taavi, and Ty) of a well-appointed dress shirt, dress slacks, and blazer made me look dashing. And then there is that other tidbit. Well, not exactly a tidbit. More like a titan. Why beat around the bush (no pun intended)? Like a new member of AA who is called to speak first, I’ll come right out and say I have a nearly foot-long penis—flaccid—which thanks to Noah isn’t flaccid very much.

Noah’s azure eyes, milk and honey skin, and radiant blond hair made him the picture of youth. Grr. “I’ll always adore you, Nicky.” He giggled. “Even when you’re old—er.”

I kissed his soft, youthful (grr) cheek.

Noah cooed. “Remember when we first met in this theatre, Nicky?”

“Yes, my graduate assistant, Scotty Bruno, was hot for you.”

“But I chose you, the love of my life. Despite you thinking I was a suspect in the Drama Queen murders.”

See?

Noah rested his head on my shoulder.

“Ow!”

“Sorry. How’s your neck, Nicky?”

“Ask the compressed nerves.” I sighed. “It’s no fun growing old.”

“Unless you have someone wonderful to grow old with.”

We started to kiss.

“When do we shoot my scene, Pop?” My son took the other seat next to me.

I turned toward him too quickly. “Ow! You can’t always be on camera, Taavi.”

“Then can I be onstage?” Taavi’s dimples resembled the craters of his homeland Hawaii.

Noah leaned toward our son. “My scene comes first.”

“Help, I’m trapped inside an actor sandwich!” I said.

Noah winked. “You can be the meat, Nicky.”

I whispered in his soft ear, “Later my love.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he whispered back. “Literally.”

“I’m counting on it.”

Taavi’s dark eyes raised to his dark hair. “I can hear that.”

Noah did a doubletake. “How can you hear us whispering, but not shouting for you to go to bed at night?”

“Selective listening,” I explained to Noah.

Taavi cocked his head. “Is that an acting technique like sense memory and emotional recall?”

“For you, yes. And speaking of shouting.” After clearing my throat, I shouted to my cast onstage, “Caroline, Madame, and Tadeo, we can edit out your comments, but for future don’t break character until I call, ‘Cut!’”

About the Author: Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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Giveaway: Post a comment on what you love most about a good gay mystery on television. The one that lights up our wide screen the most will win a gift Audible code for their choice of one of the first three Nicky and Noah mystery audiobooks: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, or Drama Cruise.

An Interview with Nicky Abbondanza by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino who is celebrating the recent release of Drama Pan, the 12th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel. Post a comment about why you love a gay cozy mystery. The one that tinkers our bell the most will win a complimentary audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe.

Enjoy an Interview with Nicky Abbondanza

Nicky, you’re like Peter Pan, the guy who never grew up!

Noah says I grow “up” in bed each night. (smile)

Congratulations on the release of the twelfth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series.

Thank you. I bought Noah a dozen roses to celebrate.

Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.

Noah says I’m totally hot. Now you know why I love him so much. I’m tall with dark hair and long sideburns Noah loves to kiss, a cleft chin, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a hunky body thanks to the gym on campus I call the torture chamber.

And?

Noah says I have a huge heart. Among other huge organs, which is just fine with Noah.

Tell us about Drama Pan, the twelfth novel in your popular, award-winning series.

It’s all about me (smile). In Drama Pan my merry theatrical crew at Treemeadow College create our own musical version of Peter Pan entitled, Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Enter the belligerent Couture family of avant-garde technical designers as guest artists. In no time the Coutures are hung out to dry by a mass murderer. For the twelfth time we thick as thieves thespians (Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter) use our drama skills, including playing outrageous characters, to catch the killer before they get thrown to the crocodiles.

As usual, calamity ensues.

Of course! I do triple duty as director, Mr. Darling, and Captain Hook. (See, it’s all about me. smile) Noah gets the title role of Peter Pan. He slept with the director. (smile) Our witty and wild best friends Martin Anderson, Theatre Department Chair, and his husband Ruben camp it up as a tiger of a Tiger Lily and swarmy Smee the pirate respectively. Our stagestruck son Taavi tries to steal the show as Michael Darling, and Martin and Ruben’s cocky son holds his own as John Darling. Martin’s sassy secretary Shayla plays Mrs. Darling, and longsuffering detective Manuello hits the ground as Nana and the Crocodile. I have my hook full as technical dress rehearsals for the show get off to a start more rocky than Captain Hook’s boat, and Taavi and Ty fall unrequitedly in love with the same person.

Who are the new characters in book twelve?

Graduate assistant and technical director Jax Jun insists the play violates his “religious freedom.” Santino Thirio, senior theatre major and stage manager, pumps his muscles while pumping others to invest in his dream to become a producer. Twink Tripp Taleb, the sophomore theatre major playing Tinker Bell, has his fairy dust aimed at Santino. Oscar Romero, tall and brawny sophomore theatre major with the loud singing voice playing the Merman, has his fins in the water over Tripp. All of the actors are exasperated over the avant-garde technical aspects of the show, none more than Tiara Moore, junior theatre major playing Wendy.

Who was your favorite new character?

Oscar Romero, the student who plays the Merman, wearing a g-string and fins. He has a song in the show called “What’s Between My Legs.” His affection for the student playing Tinker Bell is really sweet.

Which new character do you like the least?

All of the Coutures! The family of technical designers are egotistical (I wouldn’t know about that. smile), arrogant, predatory, and opportunistic. It’s great fun to watch them get the hook.

Which new character was the sexiest?

Dark-eyed muscleman Santino Thirio, our student stage manager who knows how to work a lighting board—and work everyone around him.

What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?

Me! I’m a legend in my own mind. Actually, it’s 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 “faster than a Super PAC buying a conservative politician.” At the center is the touching relationship between Noah and me. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other. Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said Joe is “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue? Even though I tell Joe everything to write.

How are the novels cozy?

Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?

Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over “like an anti-gay politician in the back of a pick-up truck.” No matter what is thrown in my path, I always end up on top, which is just fine with Noah.

For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first eleven novels in the series.

I’ll let Joe do that. He needs to be good for something. Take it away, Joe.

Joe: In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. 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. 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/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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. Martin and Ruben, their sassy 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. In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Adding to the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), during rehearsals of The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow, muscular dance students and faculty cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. In Drama Runway Nicky directs a runway show for the Fashion Department. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer. In Drama Christmas Nicky, Noah, and crew don their gay apparel in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol, entitled Call Me Carol! More than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, our favorite thespians use their drama skills to catch the killer and make the yuletide gay before their Christmas balls get cracked.

Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced your series, Nicky?

As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, Joe knows first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! He never seems to run out of wild characters to write about. His faculty colleagues and students kid him that if any of them tick me off, he’ll kill them in his next book. And he probably will. The little guy is fearless!

What do you like about the regular characters in the series?

I like my never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. I’m genuinely concerned for others, and I’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. I’m also a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. Noah is blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted. He makes the perfect Watson to my Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like me, Noah is gifted at improvisation, and creates wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. I think it’s terrific how Martin and Ruben throw riotous zingers at each other, but they’re so much in love. You don’t see a lot of older gay characters in books nowadays. Of course Martin’s administrative assistant, Shayla, thrives on her one-upmanship with Martin, and he thrives right back.

How about your and Noah’s parents?

They’re hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers. My parents’ goal to feed everyone and protect their children is heartwarming. My mom’s gambling addiction is also a riot. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.

I’m sure Joe has been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.

Many many times. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! Joe has written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!

How would you cast the TV series?

Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as me, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as my parents, Joe as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as my brother Tony.

Tell us about Joe’s other mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
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Noah and I aren’t in them. So take it away, Joe.

Joe: 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 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. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. 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.

And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?

Noah and I aren’t in those either. So you’re on again, Joe.

Joe: A reviewer compared them to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books. I was incredibly humbled and flattered. I love those books, and they are incredibly cinematic (hint-producers)! They are: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. The series (NineStar Press) is about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories of Cal and his family and the guests as Cozzi Cove, each so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island.

What’s next for Joe?

It depends on what Noah and I tell him.

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

The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site. I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells Noah and me everything you say about us!

Thank you, Nicky, for interviewing today.

My pleasure. I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns than a congressional hearing to impeach a treasonous ex-president. I’m more excited than a Republican governor taking Democrats off the voter rolls to share this twelfth novel in the series with you. So take your seats and throw the fairy dust. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up without Viagra, a pirate with a huge hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman perplexed at what’s between his legs, and murder!

It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and Theatre professors and spouses Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, their best friends Martin and Ruben, and their sons Taavi and Ty are sprinkling on the fairy dust in an original musical extravaganza of Peter Pan entitled Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! Pirates shout more than “Yo, ho!” when a family of visiting technical designers, the Coutures, drop like yesterday’s fashions. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get the hook. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining twelfth novel in this delightful series. So take your seats and believe in fairies. The stage lights are coming up in Never Land on a lad who won’t grow up without Viagra, a pirate with quite the hook, a twink called Tink, a Lily who’s a tiger, a Merman surprised at what’s between his legs, and murder!

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his 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.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” 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

“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network

“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Enjoy an Excerpt

The Darling’s white nursery was lit only by the three lamps, one at each bedside. Wendy, Michael, and John knelt at their beds singing their nightly prayer with Big Ben and the London Bridge watching over them outside the nursery window. Suddenly, the three children were hung from the ceiling like bandits in the old West.

“Stop!” Remember me? It’s Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College and Vermont’s theatre armchair Sherlock Holmes. My last name means ‘an abundance,’ which is certainly true in my case. An expression in my Kansas hometown is ‘hung like an Abbondanza,” given the fact that I have a nearly foot long penis—flaccid—which it has been constantly during tech week. For any of you who aren’t insane enough to direct a play, tech week is the time when the technical elements are added to a production, and any director worth his weight in Playbills yearns for a straitjacket and a long commitment to a mental institution harboring no thespians, which of course doesn’t exist. So here I sit front row center in the college’s ruby (like the color of my eyes) theatre with electronic tablet in hand contemplating how to begin my suicide note.

Why am I in the college’s theatre during spring break week—a time when students are generally away getting STDs and unwanted pregnancies? My younger brother Tony arranged for the award-winning Couture family of technical theatre designers to be visiting artists at Treemeadow for the Theatre Department’s spring extravaganza. So my best friend, Theatre Department Head/Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, went right to work writing an original musical production of Peter Pan called Every Fairy Needs a Big Hook! After rehearsing much of spring semester, we finally hit tech week before opening night.

Outside our Edwardian-style campus, trees are budding over the low white stone wall and walkways surrounding the campus. A rainbow array (no pun intended) of flowers peeks out from behind the university’s white stone entrance, where the bronze statues of Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow, the gay couple who founded the university, have again become a resting spot—and relieving spot—for multicolored birds of many species. The calm, cool spring air ripples in the surrounding lake and brush over the bordering majestic mountains. However, inside the theatre, we are feeling anything but calm or cool.

“Why are the children dangling from the ceiling like track lighting?”

That was the renowned Jules Couture, avant-garde set designer, taking center stage. Jules, in his fifties, small, wiry, with an enormous nose to match his huge ears, looks like an aardvark in heat.

“Because your flying apparatus is even more temperamental than you are, Jules.” Jax Jun, theatre graduate assistant and technical and musical director for our show, locked eyes with Jules. In their techie black turtlenecks and chinos, the two men looked like beatnik renegades from a 1950’s funeral.

Jules ran a shaky hand through his dark hair and narrowed his gray eyes. “There is nothing wrong with my flying equipment.”

“Except that it ejaculates prematurely.”

No pun intended.

Jules groaned. “My family and I cannot work like this, Nicky.”

I can relate.

Jax’s exotic jade eyes widened. “None of us would have to ‘work like this’ if I were designing the show.”

Jules snickered like a Republican president pardoning his cohorts in crime. “The Coutures have designed shows to rave reviews from our native France to Italy to London and throughout the US on our way to Broadway.”

“Your avant-garde style may work in some venues, but it’s out of place in this show and at our university,” replied the graduate assistant.

“How so?”

Jax scratched at his thin dark locks. “A set that looks like a teeth-whitening commercial, turning Never Land into outer space, and the revealing Merman and Tinker Bell costumes are against my religious freedom!”

I cleared my throat, which unfortunately didn’t clear my head. “Can we discuss this another time, gentlemen, since the children have hit the roof—literally?”

About the Author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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The Player’s Encore by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino who is celebrating yesterday’s release of The Player’s Encore, the second book in his Player Piano Mysteries series. Post a comment on what you love about player pianos, gay romance, Key West, Tuscany, or whodunits. The one that tickles our ivories the most will win a complimentary e-book of The Player, Player Piano Mysteries Book 1, by Joe Cosentino.

Joe, congratulations on the release of The Player’s Encore, a new MM mystery/romance/fantasy novel.

I’m ready for my encore. (smile)

For anyone who hasn’t read The Player—and they should!—recap the first novel in The Player Piano Mysteries series for us.

I decided to blend my love of the Art Deco period with my passion for the contemporary cozy mystery—with a gay slant—and out came The Player. It is the story of Andre Beaufort, a grade school music teacher living in Hoboken, New Jersey, who having found a player piano in the basement, brought back to life the spirit of dapper Roaring Twenties playboy Freddy Birtwistle—the original owner of the house. The two men got off to a rocky start, but they eventually fell madly in love and solved two murder mysteries—in Freddy’s old city house and country house.

Why did you have Freddy come from the Roaring Twenties period?

I’ve always loved the Roaring Twenties period: the pinstriped suits and beaded dresses, Art Deco houses and furnishings, catchy tunes from Gershwin and Porter, wealthy bon vivant personalities, the Charleston, catchy expressions like “the bee’s knees,” and of course the player piano.

Why did you decide to write a second book in The Player series?

I worried that readers might not like The Player as much as they adored my popular Nicky and Noah mystery series. To my elation, readers loved The Player, and they begged me for another Player novel. Since I love the beach (hence my Cozzi Cove series) and Italy (as noted in my A Home for the Holidays Bobby and Paolo Holiday Story 1), I decided that Andre and Freddy would next solve murder mysteries in Freddy’s old house in Key West and at his family’s past villa in Tuscany.

What happens in book 2?

As in book 1, readers get two stories for the price of one! In part I of The Player’s Encore: The Beach House, Freddy yearns to visit his family’s beach house in Florida. So, Andre and Freddy embark on a vacation to the stunning home which has become a bed and breakfast. Before Freddy can say “zotched,” a young, mysterious houseboy is murdered, the second hunky houseboy to meet the same fate. As it turns out, the suspects are all related to the latest victim: his desk clerk boyfriend, his incredibly handsome cousin who happens to be a doctor, and his feuding parents. Also in the mix are the accountant with slippery books, a studly new houseboy who can’t keep his feather duster in his pants, and a little girl with a secret that changes Andre and Freddy’s lives. Since the detective obsessed with the case has come up with an empty seashell, it’s once again up to lovers Andre and Freddy to find the murderer and save the inn—and themselves!

In part II: The Villa, Andre and Freddy venture off on a vacation with Andre’s uncle, an ex-priest, to Tuscany, where they stay at an inn that happens to have once been Freddy’s old family villa. Before the sun sets golden on the hills, a young, handsome, wealthy guest is murdered. The suspects are the victim’s distant father who is his competitor in business, a sexy Italian guide with a secret, two hunky gay travelers connected via a travel app, and a straight married couple who appear ready to embark on new sexual conquests. At the same time, Freddy finds his deceased sister’s diary and makes a surprising discovery that changes his life. When the muscular Italian detective investigating the murder seems lost in his spaghetti, it’s yet again up to lovers Andre and Freddy to solve the mystery and save the day!

What’s special about the novel?

The two mysteries include lots of sexy characters, cozy settings, humor, surprising plot twists and turns, fun red herrings, a touch of drama, a shocking yet justifiable ending, and of course lots of sweet romance.

Why a player piano?

While walking through an antique shop upstate New York, I came across an old player piano. It was handcrafted from maple, mahogany, and spruce with an elaborate leaf pattern molding. In the center section stood the roll of pre-programmed music on perforated paper: George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” from 1926. While listening to the song, I couldn’t help imagining who might have owned the Pianola. Since player pianos were popular with the wealthy in the Roaring Twenties, I imagined the owner, like the piano, was a player and a socialite from a family who made their fortune in the railroad industry. I named him Freddy Birtwistle.

Tell us more about the dazzling and captivating Freddy.

Freddy is tall and lean with slicked-back jet-black hair, violet eyes, high cheekbones, a thin nose, and rosy cheeks. True to his time period, he is meticulously dressed in a pinstriped black suit and vest, white silk shirt, and gray suspenders with matching bowtie and silk pocket handkerchief. His shoes are shiny black patent leather with white spats. Even more interesting than Freddy’s looks and wardrobe are his alluring and joyous bon vivant personality. Since Freddy socialized with the rich and famous of his time, he has numerous entertaining stories to tell about the elite of his time. Oh, and Freddy is a ghost, having been shot at thirty years old by a misinformed jealous husband.

Is book 2 told through Andre’s perspective as was the case with book 1?

Yes, now twenty-seven, Andre Beaufort is tall and thin with a cut body, amber eyes, dark hair, milk chocolate complexion, and a bubble butt. Andre and Freddy are happily in love. They are a ghostly Holmes and mortal Watson.

Who are the supporting characters in The Player’s Encore?

In Part I at the Key West beach bed and breakfast, we meet hunky houseboys Christian Hart and Nico DeFina, Christian’s parents and his gorgeous cousin Dr. Spencer Hart, Christian’s boyfriend beefy desk clerk Yusef Raji, oily inn manager Troy Grey, and his young daughter Ana Grey. When Christian is murdered, Butch Detective Ken Evans solicits Andre’s help who asks for Freddy’s assistance in catching the murderer.

And in the second story?

In part II in the Tuscan Villa, we meet Andre’s hunky Uncle Darryl right out of the priesthood, the inn’s beefy owner Bartolo Lotto, cute travelling roommates Rai Ming and Felix Gutierrez, young A-lister Colin Maverick and his gray fox father CEO of Maverick Enterprises Julian Maverick, and a straight married couple ready to expand their horizons. Sexy Detective Francesco Ferrari seems more interested in Uncle Darryl and Bartolo Lotto than solving the murder mystery. So, it’s Freddy and Andre to the rescue.

How are the stories cozy?

They take place in a quaint bed and breakfast on the beach and in a gorgeous Tuscan villa overlooking olive orchards, vineyards, lemon trees, and rolling hills kissed by the sun.

Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?

MM doesn’t have to mean only erotica, dark thrillers, or young adult novels. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries and now The Player series, my books include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect page-turning whodunits.

Many of your characters in The Player and The Player’s Encore are of various ethnicities and sexual identities. Is that deliberate on your part?

Sure. We live in a diverse world. Literature should reflect that.

I’m sure you’ve been told that the books would make a terrific TV series. How would you cast a TV version?

Here’s my wish list to for the regular cast: Matt Bomer as Freddy, Blake Young Fountain as Andre, Wanda Sykes as Freddy’s Aunt Nia, and now Wilson Cruz as Freddy’s Uncle Darryl. Come on, TV producers, make me an offer!

How can your readers get their hands on The Player’s Encore?

The purchase links are below.

Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.

My pleasure. I hope everyone will give The Player’s Encore a play. I’m sure, like Andre and me, you will fall in love with Freddy and have a great deal of fun trying to solve the mysteries. And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line at my website.

Can a man and a ghost be soulmates? When young music teacher Andre Beaufort unleashed the ghost of dapper Roaring Twenties playboy Freddy Birtwistle from his antique player piano, he never imagined they would fall in love and solve two murder mysteries. Now Freddy yearns to visit his family’s beach house in Florida. So, Andre and Freddy embark on a vacation to the stunning home which has become a bed and breakfast. Before Freddy can say “zotched,” a young, mysterious houseboy is murdered, the second hunky houseboy to meet the same fate. Will Andre and Freddy find the murderer to save the inn—and themselves?

A year later, Andre and Freddy venture off on a vacation with Andre’s uncle, an ex-priest, to Tuscany, staying at an inn which happens to have once been Freddy’s old family villa. Before the sun sets golden on the hills, a handsome young guest is murdered. Will Andre and Freddy uncover the secrets of Freddy’s ancestral home, solve the mystery, and find eternal love?
The Player’s Encore, the second installment in the popular Player Piano Mysteries series by Joe Cosentino, includes two cozy mysteries: The Beach House and The Villa.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Bag in hand, I made my way inside the house and down a long white marble hallway. A muscular, young man with olive skin and jet-black hair and eyes stood behind the counter. Offering me a white smile, he said, “Welcome to Apollo Branchus.”

I stood opposite the counter, dropping my bag at my side. “Thank you. I’m Andre Beaufort.”

“I’m Yusef Raji. We spoke on the phone.”

“I remember.”

He glanced at his computer screen. “You are registered for room five.”

“The player piano room.”
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“You saw our photos online?”

I nodded. “And Ava confirmed it for me on the front porch.”

He rubbed his wide nose. “Ava is a bit precocious. She’s our manager’s daughter.”

“She told me.” I explained, “I’m a grade school teacher. I like talking to kids.”

“What do you teach?”

“Music.” I grinned. “Not math, which was good news for Ava.”

A tall man who appeared to be in his thirties with receding mousy brown hair entered the counter area from a closed door marked “Manager.” “I’m Troy Grey, the manager. I apologize if my daughter bothered you.”

I replied, “It was no bother at all. I enjoyed speaking with Ava. She welcomed me to the inn. Ava seems like a bright little girl.”

Troy offered me a wan smile. “Yes.”

“Mr. Beaufort is registered in room five,” Yusef said.

Troy’s small brown eyes focused on me. “Welcome. I hope you enjoy your stay.” As he exited through the same door, I wondered why Ava’s father wore a violet silk shirt and designer black slacks and she dressed like an urchin.

“Yusef, aren’t you going to introduce me to the new guest?”

I spun around to face a short, very muscular young man with smooth olive skin, curly chestnut hair, and a Roman nose.

Yusef waved toward him. “Andre Beaufort, this is Nico DeFina, our houseboy.”

“Every house needs a boy.” Clad in a skintight cranberry T-shirt and white shorts, Nico aimed his wide pecs and massive bulge in my direction. “Welcome to the bed and breakfast, Andre.”

“Thank you.”

He licked his full lips like a blood hound spotting a rib roast. “I’ll do my best to make you…comfortable.”

Yusef cleared his throat. “I need to check him in.”

Nico’s sapphire eyes focused back on Yusef. “All right. I’ll check in with you later.” Nico winked at me. “Let me know if you need any checking out after checking in.” He disappeared.

I asked Yusef, “Is he always that friendly?”

“You got away easy. He asked the last guest checking in if he wanted a slab of beef between his buns.”

We shared a laugh.

Yusef glanced back at his computer. “Now, I have your deposit to reserve the room. May I scan your credit card to cover additional expenses?”

I handed him my card. As he scanned it, I asked, “Does the owner live on the premises?”

Yusef shook his head. “But Troy is in regular contact with him.”

“How long have you worked here?”

“Eight years.”

“How about Troy?”

“Twelve.”

“Did Ava’s mother work here too…before she passed away?”

“Arabella was the cook.” He grinned. “She was full of life and laughter…until she became ill three years ago. Troy was understandably devastated.”

I nodded. “Life is so fleeting.”

“One of the reasons to take vacations.”

I agreed. “Especially in places as beautiful as this one.”

“Then let’s get you started.” He handed me a key. “This will unlock your room and the front door, which we lock at midnight. The beach outside is private for our guests only. There are beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and bottled water on the front porch.” Yusef’s eyes rested on my biceps and pecs. “You’ll need to bring your own bathing suit.”

I held up my bag. “Not a problem.”

“After travelling, you must be ready for a rest before dinner. The two parlors on this floor are open to guests as is the front porch. Refreshments are served in the back parlor each day at four. Breakfast is served seven-thirty to ten am in the garden room, toward the back of this floor. Through the front sitting room are the stairs to the bedrooms. Your room is the last one on the left.” He glanced at my small bag. “Obviously, you won’t be needing help with your luggage.”

“Do you have any recommendations for dinner?”

He scratched at his thin beard. “There’s a great restaurant just three blocks north of us. They serve local-caught fish and key lime pie made from local limes. The food is amazing.”

“Sounds great.” I grinned. “Thank you for being so helpful.”

He returned the smile. “My pleasure. Enjoy your stay. And please let me know if you need anything.”

About the Author: Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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Writing Drama Christmas by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as he celebrates the recent release of Drama Christmas, the 11th book in the Nicky and Noah Mystery Series. Post a comment about why you love models. The one that sends us down the runway will win a gift Audible code for the audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe!

A Special Christmas Carol to Nicky and Noah fans: Writing Drama Christmas
When my eighth-grade teacher announced we were going to do A Christmas Carol as our class play, I knew I had to play Ebenezer Scrooge, the leading role. I saw past Scrooge’s greed and mistreatment of others to his lonely childhood, lost love, and strong work ethic. I adored Scrooge’s witty sense of humor. Oh, I also believed Scrooge and Marley were more than just business partners. So when contemplating Nicky and Noah’s December play production at Treemeadow College for their eleventh mystery novel, realizing every Christmas needs a good carol, I created a musical version of A Christmas Carol entitled “Call Me Carol!”

The play and the novel include the usual Nicky and Noah hilarity and of course murder! The regular cast are back this time donning their gay apparel to make the yuletide gay. The character I patterned after myself, Nicky and Noah’s best friend and gossipy department chair Martin Anderson, plays Scrooge/Carol. Hunky and hilarious well-endowed armchair sleuth, Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza, plays Scrooge’s “hard” working clerk Bob Crotchitch. Nicky’s handsome and loyal husband, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, takes on the role of Scrooge’s handsome and loyal nephew Freddy. Nicky and Noah’s starstruck son, Taavi, is a hammy Tiny Tim. Martin’s husband, the put-upon Ruben Markinson, does double-duty playing Scrooge’s “partner” Jacob Marley and the Ghost of the Lover of the Past. Martin’s sassy office assistant, Shayla Johnson, adds her indomitable sarcasm to the role of Scrooge’s Housekeeper. Finally, Nicky’s favorite target, the inept Detective Manuello, is corralled by Nicky into playing the Ghost of the Lover of the Present. Nicky and Noah’s both sets of wacky parents are also along for the bumpy ride.

New characters in this eleventh novel include gorgeous Assistant Professor of Music Barrett Knight (Ghost of the Lover of the Future) who wants to make sweet music with Nicky and Noah (pun intended). Muscleman Roman Giamani, the student set designer with a huge secret, has his design on someone else in the show. Student costumer Logan Benton and student stage manager Colton Corrigan share their tortured pasts and yearn for a happy future. Will it be a shared future? Hunky ensemble members wealthy Lucas Alencar, ex-hustler and current wanna-be reality show TV star and president Buck La Rue, and diner worker Marc Micklos all claim to be straight, but visit gay establishments. Lighting designer student Alec Griffin shines the light on everyone’s antics.

Nicky has his hands full as technical dress rehearsals for the show get off to a rocky start. Taavi falls unrequitedly in love. A homeless teenager is found living in the theatre. Ensemble members claim their belongings have been stolen. More than stockings are hung as hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes and murder after murder multiplies. As Nicky would say, “Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter.” Once again, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to catch the killer before their Christmas balls get cracked. I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling cozy mystery with a surprise ending. As Nicky would say, “I’m more excited than an anti-gay politician at a male bodybuilding competition during a costume malfunction.”

For those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah (and you should!), it’s 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 (as Nicky would say) “faster than a hooker at a Republican convention.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. 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. 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/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective, 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. Martin and Ruben, their sassy 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 streetlamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle, Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Adding to the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance, during rehearsals of The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow, muscular dance students and faculty cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. In Drama Runway Nicky directs a runway show for the Fashion Department. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer.

As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the hysterically funny antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! In the words of Nicky, “I’m more pleased with them than a priest creating an altar boy service manual.”

It is my great thrill, joy, and pleasure to share this eleventh novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The stage lights are coming up on an infamous miser, Victorian lovers of the past, present, and future, a not so Tiny Tim, and murder! And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line. I’ll share it with Nicky and Noah!

It’s winter holiday time at Treemeadow College, and Theatre Professor Nicky Abbondanza, his husband Theatre Associate Professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and best friends Martin and Ruben are donning their gay apparel in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol, entitled Call Me Carol! More than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer and make the yuletide gay before their Christmas balls get cracked. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eleventh novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The stage lights are coming up on an infamous miser, S&M savvy ghost, Victorian lovers of the past, present, and future, a not so Tiny Tim, and murder!

Enjoy an Excerpt

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Like an open snow globe, the quaint Victorian village at Christmastime featured a lit candle shop, bay windowed toy store, succulent butcher shop, frilly hat maker, multicolored flower shop, and cozy inn. Festive holiday wreaths and elaborately decorated trees adorned all the establishments, except for one—Ebenezer Scrooge’s Counting House.

Suddenly, jazzy music played as the street inhabitants faced front singing and dancing of their city at Christmastime, “Oh de London, It’s Not Only Merry, It’s Gay.” During the last refrain, the fog swirls turned into black gusts, and the delicate snowflakes transformed into snowdrifts. Ducking for cover, the passersby screamed and hurried off the street. The shops blurred away like a painting under a faucet.

“Stop!”

Like a good holiday fruitcake, I’m back. It’s me, Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, loving husband to Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, and doting father of Taavi Kapule Oliver Abbondanza—who calls me the director of his latest show. You’ve probably guessed the show is Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol. As many of you know, Treemeadow College in picturesque Vermont was founded by gay couple, Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow, whose bronze likenesses are celebrated at the college’s entrance—where many a grateful student has relieved himself after a dorm party. Given Treemeadow’s history, we couldn’t do a straight (pardon the pun) version of the Dickens classic. So, my best friend and Theatre Department Head, Martin Anderson, threatened to put coal in his long-suffering husband’s compression stockings if Ruben Markinson didn’t agree to produce an alternative version of the famous play. Ruben, feeling the holiday spirit—and Martin’s shoe in the seat of his leisure suit—secured a grant from the Gay, Gay, and Even More Gay Foundation to cover our budget. Then Martin wrote the book, music, and lyrics to Call Me Carol!, claiming the lead role of Scrooge/Carol for himself, and offering the part of the Ghost of Jacob Marley/Scrooge’s Lover of the Past to Ruben—commenting that Ruben was as old as any ghost. As director, I cast the most talented actor in the country, if not the world, to play Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Crotchitch—me. My husband, Noah, threatened to put anti-freeze in my eggnog if I didn’t cast him as Nephew Fred in addition to his position as acting coach for the show. Our son, Taavi, had a family court judge on his cell phone until I gave him the role of Tiny Tim. New Assistant Professor of Music Barrett Knight agreed to be musical director and play the Ghost of Scrooge’s Lover of the Future—after I reminded him about his upcoming fall tenure hearing. Theatre students not anxious to get home to relatives gloating about their children making big money in the business world were cast as ensemble members. Students also took on the tasks of choreographer, set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, and stage manager. Local Detective Jose Manuello, wanting to keep an eye on the production—and on me—offered to play the Ghost of Scrooge’s Lover of the Present. Let me explain for anyone who hasn’t read the previous ten Nicky and Noah mysteries—and you should! Mystery and mayhem follow me like a Republican president and a stolen Supreme Court seat. My productions are always met with bravos and wild applause. However, they’re also rife with murder—which I always use my theatre skills to solve. Hence Manuello’s interest in me and this show.

Since you can’t see me, I’m thirty-five. Okay, you got me, I’m really a youthful forty-three, tall, with dark hair, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, sexy cleft in my chin that Noah loves to kiss, and a pretty muscular body thanks to the torture devices in our college gym. There’s something else Noah loves to kiss. Brace yourself, Nicky and Noah newbies. I have a nearly foot long penis when erect. And despite my age, it’s erect a lot. That genetic gift from the Abbondanza line has helped me catch many a murderer, and it has made my father’s bakery a favorite with the women and gay men in Kansas—especially Papa’s cream pie.

Generally, Noah, Taavi, and I wear dress shirts, dress slacks, blazers, winter overcoats, and a long scarf. Since we are donning our gay apparel for this show, we’re outfitted in Victorian-era three-piece suits that are as uncomfortable as a Democrat at an Alt Right meeting.

So here we are at the start of winter break in tech week for our show. For you non-thespians, that’s the week prior to performances when the director generally bemoans his ulcer while suffering a heart attack en route to the psychiatric ward. Sitting in my front-row center seat in the theatre house—clutching my director’s notepad and pen like a surfboard during a tsunami—I called out to the student stage manager at his console offstage left, “Colton, what’s going on?”

About the Author:
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

The Player by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino who is celebrating the recent release of the first book in his new series, Player Piano Mysteries, The Player. Post a comment here on what you love about a ghostly romantic mystery. Freddy and Andre’s favorite will win a Dreamspinner Press backlist e-copy by Joe Cosentino of your choice!

Joe, wecome back and congratulations on the release of The Player. Time to play. 🙂
How did you become a storyteller?

My mother says I tell tall tales—and she’s right! I’ve always had a wild imagination. My parents always feared what I’d make up and tell neighbors about them. And they still do! I appropriately majored in theatre at college. Then I went on to act opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical 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). Finally, I began writing plays and ultimately writing novels. Since I’m a cozy mystery reading fanatic, and there are so few gay cozy mystery series out there, I was happy to fill the bill—or in this new novel, the pinstriped suit.

How do you find the time to be a college professor/department head and do all this writing?

I’m a night owl, so I write late into the night.

Where do you write?

In a very cozy environment! My home study (very much like Martin Anderson’s office in my Nicky and Noah Mysteries) includes a fireplace with a cherry wood mantel and a cherry wood desk and bookcase. I also have a window seat beneath a large window/gateway to the woods.

Do you write an outline before each book?

For a mystery, an outline is imperative. It’s important to plot out all the clues and surprise reveals. I generally think of a great idea for a new book at 3 a.m. If I can remember it the next day, or read my notes on my night table, I draft the outline. Since I was an actor, I also write a character biography for each character. Then I close my eyes and let the magic happen. As I see the scenes in front of me like a movie and the characters start talking to each other in my head, I hit the computer. My spouse reads my second draft. After we argue, I write my third draft. The fourth draft is after notes from my editor.

Which other MM authors do you read?

All of them!

What have you learned about reviews?

I always encourage readers to post a reader rating and review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible. That’s how people find out about books. It’s like applauding for an actor at the curtain call. My reviews are generally very good. I don’t read the few negative reviews. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it after chapter one and read something else, rather than posting a low rating and mean review. Remember, folks, karma can be a bitch! What you put out there, you very well may get right back at you. Writers don’t do it for the money. We do it for the love of our books and our readers.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Don’t listen to naysayers. Find the magic within yourself. Get in front of the computer and start writing your unique story. Don’t copy anyone. Write what you know and feel passionate about. Write every day. Don’t be afraid to take chances. 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 who has an open submissions policy and who publishes the kind of story you’ve written, or publish it yourself.

Is it hard to write comedy?

Not for me. I’ve always thought funny. I remember as an actor, directors telling me to stop making my scenes so funny. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my mother gave me a jacket and my sister a house. When I complained, she said, “But it’s a nice jacket.” Thanks, Mom!

Why do you write gay fiction?

Why not? LGBT people have many interesting untold stories. Go to a mall and look at the row of movie posters without any LGBT characters in them. Visit a bookstore and see cover after cover of opposite sex love stories. Take a look at so many of our political and so-called religious leaders who raise money and gain power by demonizing LGBT people and trying (and often succeeding) to take away civil rights under the guise of their “religious freedom.” I mourn for the young gay kids who consider suicide. So I support organizations like GLSEN, and I write stories that include LGBT people and themes. However, just as my Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its LGBT leading characters and straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. I’m hoping the same will occur with The Player. Most people like a clever mystery, a sweet romance, and a good laugh, regardless of the sexuality of the characters.

The Player isn’t your first mystery series.

Right. After my Nicky and Noah Mysteries series won awards and became incredibly popular to my delight, readers asked if I had written a second LGBTQ mystery romance series. My Jana Lane Mysteries series could have fit the bill, however, the supporting rather than leading characters are LGBTQ in that series. So, The Player was born.

How did you create your leading character, the dazzling and captivating Freddy Birtwistle?

While walking through an antique shop upstate New York, I came across an old player piano. It was handcrafted from maple, mahogany, and spruce with an elaborate leaf pattern molding. In the center section stood the roll of pre-programmed music on perforated paper: George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” from 1926. While listening to the song, I couldn’t help imagining who might have owned the Pianola. Since player pianos were popular with the wealthy in the Roaring Twenties, I imagined the owner, like the piano, was a player and a socialite from a family who made their fortune in the railroad industry. I named him Freddy Birtwistle and envisioned him as tall and lean with slicked-back jet-black hair, violet eyes, high cheekbones, a thin nose, and rosy cheeks. True to the period, he was meticulously dressed in a pinstriped black suit and vest, white silk shirt, and gray suspenders with matching bowtie and silk pocket handkerchief. His shoes were shiny black patent leather with white spats. Even more interesting than my creation’s looks and wardrobe was his alluring and joyous bon vivant personality. I decided Freddy socialized with the rich and famous of his time, and at thirty years old, he was shot by a misinformed jealous husband. An eternal partier, poor Freddy had died having never found true love.

Is this your first book featuring a character who is a ghost?

Yes! My popular Tales from Fairyland series (The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland) includes fantasy LGBTQ characters, but the stories are my comic gay spins on classic fairytales. And my Cozzi Cove series includes LGBTQ characters in romantic and mysterious situations that border on fantasy, but that highly praised series is more of an LGBTQ romance serial. So, the time has come for Freddy Birtwistle in The Player!

Is the story told through Freddy’s perspective?

No, my central character is twenty-five-year old Andre Beaufort. He’s described as being tall and thin with a cut body, amber eyes, dark hair, milk chocolate complexion, and a bubble butt. Andre is a grade school music teacher who finds the player piano in the basement of his apartment building. By pedaling it and playing famous songs of the Roaring Twenties, Andre brings back the ghost of Freddy, the original owner of the house before it was converted into apartments.

Do Freddy and Andre fall instantly in love?

Not exactly. The two get off to a rocky start, but eventually they find their way into each other’s hearts.

How do they become a ghostly Holmes and earthbound Watson?

Part I: The City House takes place in Hoboken, New Jersey. When Andre’s neighbor, a beautiful woman of mystery, is murdered in the building, Andre must protect his aunt, his best buddy, and himself by joining with Freddy (who only Andre can see—leading to comical misunderstandings) to catch the murderer. In Part II: The Country House, Andre travels to Freddy’s old country home in Cold Spring, New York, which has become a bed and breakfast. Andre discovers a player piano there as well, which joyously brings Freddy to him there. When the owner of the inn is murdered, the game is afoot again, and Andre and Freddy solve their second murder mystery as they continue to fall deeper in love.

What’s special about this book?

The two stories include sexy characters, cozy settings from the Art Deco period, my unique sense of humor, surprising plot twists and turns, fun red herrings, a touch of drama, a shocking yet justifiable ending, and of course lots of sweet romance.

Why two parts?

Since my readers are so loyal and wonderful, I decided to offer them a special gift with The Player. It is actually two books for the price of one!

Who are the supporting characters in The Player?

In Part I, Andre’s protective Aunt Nia manages Andre’s apartment building. His best buddy, Victor Martinez, is an actor who gets excited about a commercial audition to play a hemorrhoid. Victor enters into a love affair with cross-dressing lawyer Alexander Popov, the murder victim’s twin brother. The victim’s husband, sexy mystery author Denis Sokolov, just happens to write a novel that mirrors the murder. Hunky and sexy college film professor Leander Bryce enjoys exercising in his skivvies at the window while Andre watches. Milo Archer, a college student with a crush on Andre, wants to start a revolution. Hot personal trainer Hunter Buck and gorgeous grade school vice principal with a secret Preston Steele complete the list of suspects, all of whom share a secret past with the victim, including the police detective, Takoda Shawnee.

And in the second story?

Evangelical ex-judge Cynthia Butler Russell, the owner of the bed and breakfast originally owned by Freddy’s family when it was a mansion, is murdered in her office. The suspects include Cynthia’s straying husband Jim, her envious and comically alcoholic sister Sherry, Cynthia’s gorgeous gay son Nelson, Nelson’s muscular lover Sergio, and Sergio’s PFLAG mother Renata. While staying at the inn, Andre befriends Gabriel, an adorable sleepwalking architect. Andre also meets Zian, a cute painter who desires Gabriel, and Dustin Kelly, the tall detective hiding an interesting secret.

Who is your favorite character?

That’s like asking a parent for the name of their favorite child, though my parents would have no problem naming my sister (smile). If I have to choose, I’ll say Freddy. His upbeat attitude and spirit (no pun intended) are glorious. As Freddy might say, he’s a real lalapazaza!

Which character do you like the least?

Cynthia Butler Russell chooses the hate of her restrictive religion over the love of her son. There’s not much to like in that.

Which character was the hardest to write?

Freddy’s comical stories about his past with celebrities from his era were fun to write, but they required a great deal of research and imagination.

Which character is the sexiest?
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Quite a few of them are hotsy-totsy, as Freddy would say. I’ll pick Preston Steele. After people read the novel, they’ll know why.

How are the stories cozy?

They take place in Art Deco environments with fireplaces, turrets, window seats, balconies, and comfy chaises and armchairs opposite gorgeous murals, wallpaper, and statues. The windows sport views of the glistening Hudson River and sun-kissed mountains.

You were born in New Jersey, and you currently live upstate New York. Did that play a part in selecting your locations for The Player?

Absolutely. As Freddy would say, those places are Ell’s hips!

How can your readers get their hands on The Player?

The purchase links are below.

Will there be more Player novels?

The Player’s Encore, the Player Piano Mysteries book 2, will be released next year.

Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.

My pleasure. In the words of Freddy Birtwistle, “You’re a blue Serge!”

I hope everyone will give The Player a play. I’m sure, like Andre, you will fall in love with Freddy and have a great deal of fun trying to solve the mysteries. And I love to hear from readers. So drop me a line at my website.

When young music teacher Andre Beaufort discovers an antique player piano in the basement of his apartment building, he is visited by the ghost of the original owner: a dapper and charismatic playboy from the Roaring Twenties, Freddy Birtwistle.

Andre has never seen a ghost and Freddy has never been one, so they get off to a rocky start. But when Andre finds his neighbor murdered on his doorstep, he and Freddy join forces to narrow the pool of suspects.

Soon Andre and Freddy discover that opposites attract, even if one’s alive and the other dead. Together these amateur detectives make an enticing team, and it’s a good thing too, because the first murder they solve together won’t be their last. But the real mystery isn’t just whodunit—it’s how a romance between a man and a ghost can have a happily ever after ending.

The Player contains two stand-alone cozy murder mysteries, The City House and The Country House.

Praise for Joe Cosentino’s Books:

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless…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

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet.” Urban Book Reviews

“The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours….If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews

“I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing.” BooksLaidBareBoys

Enjoy an Excerpt

THE PLAYER piano stood upright, demanding my attention and beckoning me toward it. Having an MA in Music, specializing in the Roaring Twenties era, I could tell it was a genuine pianola authentic to the period. It was handcrafted from maple, mahogany, and spruce with an elaborate leaf-pattern molding. Aunt Nia stood next to me in the corner of the basement with her hand planted firmly on her ample hip. Her familiar scent of coconut soap permeated my senses.

“Andre Beaufort, are you going to stare at that dusty old piano while the entire apartment building floats into the Hudson River?” My aunt missed her calling as an actress.

“How long has this pianola been here?” I asked.

“I’d say since the year of the flood, but with this leaky pipe, I don’t want to tempt the fates.” She handed me a roll of Teflon duct tape, led me to the ladder, and pushed me by my behind up to the top. “You get that bubble butt from my side.” She giggled.

My father, French Canadian, and my mother, African American, had died with my baby brother in a car crash when I was four years old. My mom’s sister had raised me ever since in the building she managed, an Art Deco mansion converted into an apartment building. I had lived in apartment 1B with Aunt Nia until my twenty-first birthday. For the last four years, I’ve exerted my independence and lived on my own—in apartment 3A—a walk-up that keeps my legs toned and my inherited butt firm. As I ripped a piece of thick tape off the roll, I asked Aunt Nia, “Shouldn’t you call a plumber?”

“I did, but he’s booked until the end of July.” Looking authoritarian in her peach ankara maxi dress and matching bib collar necklace, Aunt Nia announced, “The tape should hold for a month.”

“Is that all right with the owner of the building?”

“Who knows?”

“How can you work for someone you’ve never met?”

Still beautiful at fifty-five, Aunt Nia shook her head, and long dreads formed a halo around her smooth face. “I get my monthly check, and the bills are paid. So Florida’s Tzar Me In Corporation is all good by me.”

“But shouldn’t they know about this?”

“What the owner doesn’t know won’t hurt him—or me. I’ll email ‘office’ about it.”

I wrapped the tape around the pipe and the leak stopped. “Maybe I should have been a plumber.”

She snickered. “You’d make more money.”

“True, but you know I love teaching.” I grinned. “Now that it’s the end of June.”

“I hear that.” Aunt Nia, who was a high school guidance counselor, chuckled as she helped me down the ladder.

As a grade school music teacher, it was fulfilling to share my love for music with children, teaching them about history, culture, self-expression, emotion, and different sounds to calm and delight. However, with so much state-required administrative work thrust upon me lately, fewer children labeled “gifted and talented,” and pushy parents demanding their tone-deaf and entitled children have solos in the school’s spring concert, I was in dire need of my summer break.

After handing my aunt the roll of tape, I was drawn back to the player piano. Sitting on the dusty bench, I sneezed and then placed my feet on the pedals. The center section at my eye level was open, so I could see the roll of preprogrammed music on perforated paper. It was a George Gershwin song from 1926: “Someone to Watch Over Me.” As I pressed the pedals, a few familiar notes played. “It still works!” I rose and lifted the top of the bench. “Aunt Nia, there are nine more rolls of music in here! Who owns this?”

“It must have been left here by the original owner in the 1930s. The building has changed ownership a few times since then. I guess nobody wanted it. I can’t say that I blame them.”

“Can I have it?”

About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Dreamspinner Press stories: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando, The Player Piano Mysteries: The Player/The Player’s Encore; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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 he 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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

WRITING THE NICKY AND NOAH MYSTERIES by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino who is here to visit with us today to celebrate the recent release of the 10th book in his Nicky and Noah series, Drama Runway. Post a comment about why you love models. The one that sends us down the runway will win a gift Audible code for the audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe!

WRITING THE NICKY AND NOAH MYSTERIES

When I decided that my life as a college theatre professor was so full of mystery, humor, and romance that I had to write a book about it, I never thought it would turn into a cozy murder mystery novel. I also never imagined the novel, Drama Queen, would be voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine and be so incredibly popular with readers. Even more shocking was that Drama Queen spawned the very much-loved Nicky and Noah mystery series winning many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions with Drama Runway (book 10!) releasing August 1!

For those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah (and you should!), it’s 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 (as Nicky would say) “faster than a priest lassoing an altar boy with his rosary beads.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?

In Drama Queen Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. 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. 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/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective 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. Martin and Ruben, their sassy 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. In Drama Fraternity Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring Noah and Taavi at Conall Castle in Scotland: When the Wind Blows Up Your Kilt It’s Time for A Scotch. Rounding out the cast are members of the mysterious Conall family who own the castle. When hunky men in kilts topple off the drawbridge and into the mote, it’s up to Nicky and Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance during rehearsals of The Nutcracker ballet at Treemeadow, muscular dance students and faculty cause more things to rise than the Christmas tree. When cast members drop faster than Christmas balls, Nicky and Noah once again use their drama skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out who is trying to crack the Nutcracker’s nuts, trap the Mouse King, and be cavalier with the Cavalier before Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest.

Now in the tenth novel, Drama Runway, Nicky is directing a fashion show for the Fashion Department at Treemeadow showcasing the new black leather line by famous fashion designer Ulla Ultimate of Ultimate Fashion (FU for short). The visiting professor’s rebellious son, Treemeadow fashion student Cory Ultimate, is featured as one of the models. The other hot and hunky male student models are feuding exes Shane Buff and Julio Bonero as well as picked upon plus-size model Cosmo Capra. To keep peace in the family (and arsenic out of his oatmeal), Nicky has also cast his handsome husband Noah and their adopted son Taavi as models in the show. Of course Nicky’s best friends, Theatre Department Head Martin Anderson and his long suffering spouse Ruben, are producers, with office assistant Shayla Johnson on hand to supply sassy remarks (Try saying that three times fast and not spraying someone’s face). Nicky’s droll nemesis, Detective Manuello, and Nicky and Noah’s both sets of riotous parents are also along for the rocky ride.

As rehearsals for the show begin, Nicky is “happier than a conservative politician and a Russian spy rigging an election.” However, Nicky finds out quickly the runway is a dangerous place as sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps. Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before the couple end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer.

Added to the colorful cast of characters are Lila Hekekia, a fashion design student screaming for “religious freedom” as she eyes Ulla’s show for herself. Lila’s pursuit takes a spin when she finds out her current squeeze, Associate Professor of Fashion Design Tyler Greenway, had a questionable past with Ulla. Accident-prone fashion student, Johnny Riley, has a secret known only to muscular stage-managing student, Hoss Packer. Businessman Miles Jeffrey has been hired by Ulla to find a husband for Cory, in hopes that her son will finally settle down. Miles finds it to be a difficult task given Cory’s penchant for throwing himself at the other male models. As passions and tempers explode, once again Nicky, Noah, and friends use their theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.

It is my joy and pleasure to share this tenth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The runway lights are flashing, the music is pulsating, and the models are ready to make their entrance. Curtain up on the ultimate in fashion, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder!

It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a runway show for the Fashion Department. Joining him are his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. The show, designed by visiting professor Ulla Ultimate, is bound to be the ultimate event of the season. And bound it is with designs featuring black leather and chains. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining tenth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The runway is lighting up with hunky models, volatile designers, bitter exes, newfound lovers, and murder!

Enjoy an Excerpt from Drama Runway

Ulla explained, “Cory, I certainly understand that young people need to…play the field. I did some of that myself when I was in college. But those who play into overtime generally find themselves losing the game.”

Taavi scratched his dark hair. “I don’t understand.”

“You don’t need to.” Martin waved Ulla on, salivating at the prospect of getting some new gossip. “We’re listening.”

“You think I don’t care about you? You’re wrong. I’ve been quite concerned about your antics.” Ulla continued as if a judge reaching a verdict. “Cory, you’ve sown enough wild oats to make oatmeal to feed a third world nation. I thought long and hard about what to do about it. Here is my decision. I’ve given Miles the task of finding you a husband. Hopefully someone as responsible as Noah.”

I pulled Noah into me and asked Miles, “How will you accomplish your task?”

“Ulla has told me a great deal about Cory. I also plan to interview him myself.” Miles’ long finger moved charts around a handheld computer tablet. “I’m seeking the perfect ying to Cory’s yang.”

Ruben glanced over at Cory’s bulging crotch. “He has quite a yang.”

Martin pushed his shoulder. “Which you’ll never see.”
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Ulla continued. “Miles will interview all the single, young, gay men here at Treemeadow during spring break, until he finds the perfect mate for my son.”

“And if he doesn’t?” Martin licked his full red lips.

Ulla unveiled a plastic white smile. “He will.”

Cory glared at his mother. “We’re not Moonies. You can’t arrange a marriage for me!”

“No, but I can cut off every cent that goes to you now and after I’m dead, if you don’t agree to date whomever Miles selects for you.”

Cory’s face hardened. “Are you sure you want to do that, Mother?”

“Positive.”

Norman Bates anyone?

Cory stumbled backward a few steps. After regrouping, he approached Miles. “You’re not hooking me up with some dweeb.”

Miles offered a thin smile. “I plan to follow your mother’s orders and find the right man for you.”

“All right.” Cory played along. “I like hot, dangerous guys with a wild streak.” Cory’s dimples looked like craters. “You want to know about me? Here’s my motto. I think of men like pancakes. You flip the first one over to warm your griddle and prepare you for the whole stack.”

That gives new meaning to ‘a hot man.’

Miles came pointy nose to wide nose with him. “Get some rest, little boy. I’m starting my interviews tomorrow. Your mom wants you to settle down. So settle down.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“We’ll see about that. I think you’ve met your match, Cory. Goodnight, gentlemen.” Miles led Ulla through the side door into the lobby and out of the theatre.

About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Dreamspinner Press stories: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando, The Player Piano Mysteries: The Player/The Player’s Encore; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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 he 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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

Q&A with Theo and Jamison, the leading characters in Finding Armando by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino who is celebrating the recent release of Finding Armando and Found at Last. Post a comment about reuniting with a lost love. The one that tickles our heartstrings the most will win any backorder book by Joe Cosentino published by Dreamspinner Press!

Q&A with Theo Stratis and Jamison Radames, the leading characters in Finding Armando
Theo and Jamison, congratulations on the release of your story Finding Armando, Found At Last e-book 2, and the paperback novel of Found At Last (Finding Giorgio & Finding Armando).

Theo: I could have never done it without Jamison.

Jamison: I could have never done it without Theo.

Theo: Now our lives are open books.

Jamison: And that’s how we like it!

Since the readers can’t see you, Theo describe Jamison.

Theo: Jamison’s last name, Radames, means hero. It sure fits him. Coming from a Swedish and Egyptian heritage, Jamison is twenty-eight, tall, very muscular, with crystal blue eyes, peaches and cream complexion, a strong nose, and jet-black hair.

And Jamison, how about Theo?

Jamison: Theo is twenty-six, tall, with sexy dark hair and eyes, and a hunky build. His first name means godlike, and his last name, Stratis, means good soldier. Theo is both those things. Theo cares about others deeply, yearns for fairness and justice, and loves with all his heart.

What happened after the release of Finding Giorgio, Found At Last series book 1?

Theo: Our first story, Finding Giorgio, was a novella cherished by so many people. They fell in love with Jamison, as I did.

Jamison: And with Theo, as I did.

Theo: The readers also admired how Jamison and I risked so much to reunite Nolan and Giorgio, who were separated at eighteen years old by their homophobic parents. Thankfully, our story didn’t end there.

Jamison: As the new owners of Nolan Giorgio’s Resort in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, Jamison and I have a new challenge.

Theo: That’s the story of Finding Armando, Found At Last book 2.

Tell everyone the story of Finding Armando.

Theo: Jamison and I embark on a second search, this one for our friend, resort manager Asher’s lost love, Armando, separated from him years ago under the military’s old Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Jamison: Complicating matters further, my playboy younger brother, Kendall, pays us a visit on leave from the Navy.

Theo: And a woman in need makes Jamison and me a shocking offer.

Is the second story also told through your perspective, Theo?

Jamison: I’d have it no other way.

Do you two reunite the separated lovers again and find a happily-ever-after ending for yourselves?

Both: Our lips are sealed.

Theo: But I will tell you this second At Last story, like the first one, is full of humor, adventure, drama, surprises, plot twists and turns, and of course sweet romance that will bring a tear to your eyes and warm your heart.

Jamison: Because it’s about us!

Why are the two Found At Last novellas so special?

Theo: Each of the two stories offers a current romance and a past romance that will stay with you for a long time to come.

In Finding Armando, we meet Jamison’s playboy younger brother Kendall and the resort’s conservative assistant manager Phoenix. They seem like an unlikely couple.

Jamison: And theirs is a very rocky road to romance, which makes their storyline exciting, humorous, and very sexy.

What else is special about Finding Armando?

Theo: The story’s location in the Pennsylvania Poconos mountains is gorgeous with its log cabins near stunning lakes surrounded by sun-kissed mountains. I especially like that both At Last stories also include an older gay couple, which you don’t find much in MM literature.

Jamison: And it’s a story about us!

Are your families back in Finding Armando?

Jamison: They sure are, and they are as entertaining as ever. I love Theo’s big Greek family, and readers do too!

Theo: Ditto for Jamison’s family!

Who is your favorite character in Finding Armando?

Jamison: Theo.

Theo: Jamison.

Which character is the sexiest?

Theo: Jamison.

Jamison: Theo.

Come on, guys. Which other characters do you admire?

Theo: Jamison’s younger brother Kendall is a bad boy on the brink of becoming a man. Physically he is a younger version of Jamison, however, unlike Jamison he is always on the lookout for fun and frolic. I see the potential in him, and he doesn’t disappoint.

Basically the issue of erectile dysfunction means that the person tends to face erection issues as the blood on line levitra continue reading here vessels which deliver blood to the penile and also to the deterioration act of heart or several brain arteries. These types of offer you will get from online pharmacies. find out over here cialis online online Careprost is not suitable for young age like for those who cannot cialis generic cipla seek help from any doctor. Chiropractors work within the prescription for viagra body’s natural healing abilities and view healing and good health as a whole body process. Jamison: I admire the resort manager, our friend gray fox Asher Hillel. In his younger days, Asher was taunted for being Jewish and gay. He was separated from the love of his life in the Navy during the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Yet he made a success of himself.

I’m sure you’ve been told Finding Armando would make a terrific movie. How would you cast it?

Theo: Colton Hayes should play me.

Jamison: And Ezra Miller can play me.

Theo: I can also see John Barrowman as Asher, Charlie Carver as Kendall, and Shemar Moore as Phoenix.

Jamison: Come on, TV producers, make Joe an offer!

Tell us about Joe’s other books published by Dreamspinner Press.

Theo: Joe’s In My Heart series includes An Infatuation which was loosely based on his high school years, and A Shooting Star which was loosely based on his college years.

Jamison: The Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories are about distant cousins who meet in Capri, Italy, fall in love, marry, and adopt a son.

Theo: And the Tales from Fairyland stories are Joe’s comic gay take on my favorite fairytales.

Jamison: Theo and I aren’t in any of them.

Joe also wrote the popular Nicky and Noah mystery series, Cozzi Cove series, and Jana Lane mystery series.

Theo: Yup. And Jamison and I aren’t in any of them.

How can your readers get their hands on the Finding Armando e-book and the Found At Last (Finding Giorgio & Finding Armando) paperback?

Theo: The purchase links are below.

Thank you, Theo and Jamison, for interviewing today.

Theo: Our pleasure. I hope everyone will read both Found At Last stories at last. I’m sure, like me, you will fall in love with Jamison.

Jamison: And you will fall in love with Theo.

Theo: As we bring together lost lovers from the past.

Jamison: And we love to hear from readers. So contact us through Joe at his website.

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

AND

Theo and Jamison meet while volunteering at a nursing home and come together on an investigative adventure to reunite elderly Nolan with his first love, Giorgio. Their sleuthing skills are needed again to create a second chance at happiness for resort manager Asher and his first love, Armando. As they search for the men who got away, Theo and Jamison grow closer, and the lessons of the past could change their lives—and their future—forever.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Finding Armando

Asher appeared to be transported back in time. “I always knew I was gay. Coming from a small farming town in Pennsylvania, I never acted on it. After attending community college, I joined the Navy and remained there for eight years. It was the best time of my life until….” Sitting back, he said, “Let me start at the beginning. During boot camp, I noticed another recruit from Pennsylvania. He had piercing, tortured gray eyes like a wounded animal. The guy was always alone, never speaking to anyone. I learned his name was Armando Caro.”

The name seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it.

“Armando had jet-black wavy hair and a wide, strong build. Though we never spoke, he and I stole furtive glances at each other during drills, meals, and before bed. I wondered who he was, what he was thinking, and if he liked me.” He took in a shaky breath. “A bunch of the other guys in boot camp weren’t thrilled about me being Jewish.”

I asked, “How did you know?”

“They called me Christ-killer, Jew-boy, kike.”

“That would do it.”

“One night after lights out, they dragged me from my bed into the latrine.” A look of terror filled his face. “One guy held my hands behind my back. Another pressed down on my feet. Three others pummeled my face and stomach. I’d never been so afraid in my life. I screamed, thinking my life was over and wondering what my parents would do when the Navy shipped home my dead body. Like an angel of mercy, Armando appeared and threw them off me. I had never seen anyone fight like that. As if a windmill in motion, he landed punch after punch until they fled back to their beds. When Armando and I were alone, he rested my head on his shoulder, and he asked me if I was all right. I told him, ‘I’m all right for the first time in my life.’ Then he took a clean cloth, washed the blood off my face, and ran his fingers through my hair. Finally, he held me in his strong arms and rocked me back and forth. After that night, the others left me alone.”

“Armando was a true hero,” I said.

Asher nodded. “After boot camp, I couldn’t believe my good fortune when Armando and I were stationed on the same ship in the Middle East. One night after chow, he slid a piece of paper into my pocket. It read, ‘Meet me in the storage room near the forecastle at 0200.’ When I arrived, without saying a word, Armando took off his uniform and skivvies. Then he removed my clothes, and he gently rested me on top of some old blankets. Covering me with his powerful mass, he kissed me softly and tenderly. And I started to cry.”

“Why?”

“I had never felt anything so wonderful.”

“What happened next?”

“Armando taught me how to make love. I’m not talking only about the mechanics. I mean love itself.” He rubbed his forehead. “My parents proved their love to me by working hard—my father as a salesman and my mother as a bookkeeper and homemaker. As a kid, I heard a lot about the importance of making ends meet, owning a presentable home, wearing clean clothing, and having good manners. But my folks were never affectionate to each other… or to me.”

“And Armando was different?”

“That’s an understatement. He hugged and kissed me continuously throughout our lovemaking. Afterward, he pressed my back against his strong chest, wrapped his arms around me, and whispered of his love in my ear. Armando opened a whole new world for me, but it existed solely in that storage room. I never wanted to leave it.”

“But you had to.”

Asher made eye contact with us again. “Armando and I met in our secret place whenever we could get away, going mad when we were apart and living for those precious hours together. We not only made love, we shared our hopes and dreams for the future, and our fears too. I told him about my family life and my goal to enter the business world. Armando was from a poor neighborhood, and his family was very Catholic. His father was a car mechanic. Armando was a champion boxer in high school, and he wanted to have his own gymnasium someday. I told him I’d like to manage it. We both studied and worked hard in the Navy. Like the other gay couples onboard ship, we kept that side of our lives hidden, and nobody bothered us. Eventually Armando and I were each promoted to chief petty officer.” His face hardened. “That’s when the trouble started.”

“The trouble?” I asked.

Jamison was a step ahead of me. “You were in the military during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.”

About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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 he 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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page
Buy Finding Armando at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Buy Found at Last at Dreamspinner Press.

Finding Giorgio by Joe Cosentino – Q&A and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino who is joining us for an interview at his release of Finding Giorgio, Found At Last book one, published by Dreamspinner Press. Post a comment about a lost love. The one that tugs at our heart strings the most will win an e-book of any of Joe’s back titles published by
Dreamspinner Press!

Welcome, Joe. Let’s jump right in and examine your head and heart.

Please be gentle. (smile)

Always. How did you become a storyteller?

My mother says I tell tall tales—and she’s right! I’ve always had a wild imagination. My parents always feared what I’d make up and tell neighbors about them. And they still do! I appropriately majored in theatre at college. Then I went on to act opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint musical 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). Finally, I began writing plays and ultimately writing novels. Since I’m a cozy mystery reading fanatic, and there are so few gay cozy mystery series out there, I was happy to fill the bill—or in this new novel, the pinstriped suit.

How do you find the time to be a college professor/department head and do all this writing?

I’m a night owl, so I write late into the night.

Where do you write?

In a very cozy environment! My home study (very much like Martin Anderson’s office in my Nicky and Noah Mysteries) includes a fireplace with a cherry wood mantel and a cherry wood desk and bookcase. I also have a window seat beneath a large window/gateway to the woods.

Do you write an outline before each book?

Since this book has a cinematic energy, an outline was very useful. I generally think of a great idea for a new book at 3 a.m. If I can remember it the next day, or read my notes on my night table, I draft the outline. Since I was an actor, I also write a character biography for each character. Then I close my eyes and let the magic happen. As I see the scenes in front of me like a movie and the characters start talking to each other in my head, I hit the computer. My spouse reads my second draft. After we argue, I write my third draft. The fourth draft is after notes from my editor.

Which other MM authors do you read?

All of them!

What have you learned about reviews?

I always encourage readers to post a reader rating and review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible. That’s how people find out about books. It’s like applauding for an actor at the curtain call. My reviews are generally very good. I don’t read the few negative reviews. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it after chapter one and read something else, rather than posting a low rating and mean review. Remember folks, karma can be a bitch! What you put out there, you very well may get right back at you. Writers 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. Think about that the next time you post a reader comment.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Don’t listen to naysayers. Find the magic within yourself. Get in front of the computer and start writing your unique story. Don’t copy anyone. Write what you know and feel passionate about. Write every day. Don’t be afraid to take chances. 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 who has an open submissions policy and who publishes the kind of story you’ve written, or publish it yourself.

Is it hard to write comedy?

Not for me. I’ve always thought funny. I remember as an actor, directors telling me to stop making my scenes so funny. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my mother gave me a jacket and my sister a house. When I complained, she said, “But it’s a nice jacket.” Thanks, Mom!

Why do you write gay fiction?

Why not? LGBT people have many interesting untold stories. Go to a mall and look at the row of movie posters without any LGBT characters in them. Visit a bookstore and see cover after cover of opposite sex love stories. Take a look at so many of our political and so-called religious leaders who raise money and gain power by demonizing LGBT people and trying (and often succeeding) to take away civil rights. I mourn for the young gay kids who consider suicide. So I support organizations like GLSEN, and I write stories that include LGBT people and themes. However, just as my Jana Lane series with its gay supporting characters has huge crossover appeal for gay people, the Nicky and Noah series with its LGBT leading characters and straight supporting characters has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal for straight people. My Cozzi Cove series does as well.

You are incredibly prolific. How do you think up your stories?

My In My Heart series (An Infatuation and A Shooting Star) was loosely based on my high school and college years. The Cozzi Cove series was inspired by my childhood summers at the New Jersey shore and my love for serial drama. Some of my stories came to me while travelling. For example, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories were inspired by my trip to the romantic and magical Island of Capri. The Nicky and Noah mysteries came about due to my life as a college theatre professor (and trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland), and the Jana Lane mysteries were stimulated by my years as a professional actor (and trips to California, Washington, DC, and New York City).

And your current release?

I love the Hudson Valley, New York in the fall with its stunning views of the rippling water, white church steeples, multicolored leaves, and sun-kissed mountains from the Walkway Over the Hudson. The Pocono Mountains in the Pennsylvania are also my favorites. So I decided to set a story there. I especially like that the novella includes a few older characters, a rarity in MM literature. These characters are quite fascinating.

Tell everyone the story of Finding Giorgio.

In Finding Giorgio, Theo Stratis, an unlucky in love young accountant, registers at his upstate New York LGBTQ Center to visit an elderly gay person. Theo is matched with Nolan Downes who lives in a local nursing home. The young man is charmed by the eccentric ex-pharmacist and his wisecracking caretaker Tanisha. However, Theo is shocked at Nolan’s request for him to find the love of Nolan’s youth: Giorgio Roberto. Upon questioning Nolan, Theo finds out Giorgio’s parents had separated Nolan and Giorgio at eighteen after their romantic summer at a Poconos resort. Nolan had kept Giorgio’s picture and his love for Giorgio in his heart ever since. Theo is also surprised to meet the gorgeous Jamison Radames, a medical director, who is visiting the same nursing home. Theo and Jamison embark on an exciting adventure to find Giorgio. Their search takes them to an old neighborhood, a veterans’ center, a homeless shelter, and all the way from New York to Boston. Along the way, Theo and Jamison uncover a great deal about Giorgio and about themselves. By the end of the novella, two brothers are reunited, and two couples emerge in an emotional climax that will leave you overjoyed but also tear at your heartstrings.

What’s next?

Finding Armando, Found At Last Book Two. More on that later.

How can your readers get their hands on Finding Giorgio?

The purchase links are below.

Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.

My pleasure. I hope everyone will read Finding Giorgio. I’m sure, like me, you will fall in love with Theo, Jamison, Nolan, and Giorgio and their amazing story. And I love to hear from readers. So contact me at my website.

When young accountant Theo Stratis visits Nolan Downes, an elderly gay man in a local nursing home, he is surprised by Nolan’s request: find the lost love of his youth, Giorgio Roberto. Theo is also surprised to meet handsome and successful Jamison Radames, who is visiting the same nursing home. As Theo and Jamison embark on an investigative adventure to find Giorgio, they discover a great deal about themselves and each other. Solving the mystery of what happened to Giorgio might mean happily ever after for more than just Nolan.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I slowly walked Nolan out of the room, down the hallway, and into the lounge with large windows overlooking the Mid-Hudson Bridge surrounded by the clear azure sky. After we were settled on a sofa next to a marble fireplace, he tented his fingers. “I want to tell you about a man I once loved.”

Assuming he had forgotten, I replied, “You told me about Frank.”

“Not that man.”

That caught my attention.

“His name was Giorgio Roberto.” Nolan’s face lit up. “I knew him when we were eighteen years old.”

“And you still remember him?”

“I remember everything about Giorgio.” He grinned like a schoolboy.
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“How did you two meet?”

Nolan gazed straight ahead as if turning back the pages of time. “My father was a high school history teacher. My mother was a writer. Every summer we vacationed at a resort in the Pocono Mountains: my father, my mother, my sister, and me. We had a wonderful time back then—swimming in the lake, mountain climbing, playing volleyball and checkers, and eating the family-style meals in the dining room.” His eyes brightened and cheeks grew rosy.. “Every summer there was a dance contest. My sister and I won each year.” He winked at me. “I still have a few moves.” He extended his leg, then rested back, recovering on the sofa. “We didn’t have air-conditioning back then. So the summer of my eighteenth year, after Clancy and I took the silver cup, I headed out of the community room to the veranda while all the other boys inside asked my sister for a dance—except for one boy.”

“Giorgio?”

Nolan nodded. “I was standing outside, staring at the gray mountains and the inky lake. Then I saw him, bathed only in starlight as he sat on the balcony railing.”

“What did he look like?”

Nolan reached into his pocket and displayed an old black-and-white photograph of two attractive young men sitting on a large rock. Giorgio was average height. But that was the only average thing about him. He had wavy jet-black hair and a strong Roman nose. A white T-shirt barely contained his rippling muscles, and tight black jeans with a button-up fly housed his bulge. Black boots and a black leather jacket finished the look.

I pointed to the young man next to Giorgio in the photo. “You were quite the looker yourself, Nolan, with your handsome face and cut body.”

“I was what you now call a ginger.” He smiled. “And being with Giorgio made me feel so special. Giorgio gazed at me as if he could look straight into my heart. Though I had never seen him before, he seemed so… familiar, as if we had known each other in a parallel universe. I stared into his dark eyes, and for the first time in my life, I was safe. It was as if I had come home after a long, exhausting journey.” Nolan sat up straight with a grin on his face as if reliving it. “We stayed like that for some time, watching each other, smiling, but not saying a word. Finally, Giorgio said in a velvety voice, ‘Where’d you learn to dance like that?’ I tried to answer, but my voice broke like a choirboy’s. When I found my voice, I said, ‘My sister and I have been dancing together since we were little kids.’ Giorgio unleashed the most radiant smile I’d ever seen. ‘So, she’s your sister. That’s good,’ he said. ‘Why is that good?’ I asked. He came closer and I breathed in the scent of his mint gum. ‘That means she’s not your girlfriend,’ he said. ‘I don’t have a girlfriend,’ I replied. Then I breathed a sigh of relief when he said, ‘Looks like we have that in common.’ He asked me to dance with him, and I did. Giorgio and I stood out there for most of the night, talking about our families, friends, schools, vacations, hobbies, likes, dislikes, fears, and dreams.”

“Did you live far apart?”

Nolan shook his head. “My family was in Poughkeepsie and Giorgio’s in Hyde Park.” He recited as if it had all happened yesterday, “Giorgio’s father was a butcher. His mother a seamstress. He had two older brothers. They worked for his father. Though Giorgio had never been on a plane, he was fascinated with them, stopping dead in his tracks to watch every time one flew overhead. Giorgio told me he wanted to be a pilot. I told him I found that exciting. He replied, ‘I like that I excite you.’ When I told him I wanted to be a pharmacist, he asked me, ‘Does a pharmacist work on a farm?’” Nolan smiled nostalgically.

“Did you guys spend a lot of time together?”

He cooed. “Every waking minute of that summer. We played shuffleboard, ping pong, went fishing, and we enjoyed food marathons and walks through the woods. Our favorite activities were swimming and boating. When I saw Giorgio in his tight lemon swim trunks, I nearly fainted. He told me I looked ‘adorable’ in my navy trunks.”

Feeling like a gossip columnist, I asked, “Did anything romantic happen?”

“Not for most of the summer.” Nolan grinned. “But the last week we were there, Giorgio and I were in a sailboat far from the shore. It was a calm summer day, so the boat was barely moving. We were out on the lake for about an hour when he suddenly turned to me and said, ‘I want to see you after we leave here.’ I told him I wanted the same thing. Then to my surprise, he leaned in and kissed me, and I kissed him back. It was as if the lion’s gate had been opened. Once we started, we couldn’t stop. We held on to each other for dear life, hugging and kissing until our mouths ached. After tearing off our swimsuits, we made love, experimenting and learning as the sun’s golden rays surrounded our rocking boat. When we were through, I rested my head on his chest. As we kissed and held hands, we pledged our love to each other. When we got back to shore, we planned to meet the next morning after breakfast. Giorgio went to his family’s cabin as usual, and I did the same. That night, as every night, I hugged my pillow, pretending it was Giorgio, my first love.”

“What happened when you met at breakfast the next morning?”

“We didn’t.” Nolan’s eyes filled with moisture. “That night, our sailboat must have been closer to the shore than we had thought.”

“Somebody saw you?”

He nodded. “Giorgio’s father. He pounded on my family’s cabin door early the next morning, ranting and raving at my father that ‘my son can never see your son again.’ Back then, many Irish and Italian people feuded. Adding homosexuality to the mix, which was illegal and thought of as a mental illness, sent our two fathers over the edge.”

My heart broke for Nolan. “What did your dad do?”

A crease appeared on his forehead. “My father damned me to Hell and sent me away to a Catholic college, where I ironically had to dodge frisky priests.”

“And Giorgio?”

“On the day we left the resort, I saw him from inside our car.” A tear slid down his face. “He had a welt on his cheek and a blackened eye.”

“After that, didn’t you try to contact him?”

“I wrote to him every day from college. My letters were all returned to me unopened, I assumed by Giorgio’s father. After my first year at college, I came home for the summer. When I drove to Giorgio’s house, the woman who answered the door was Dutch. She had bought the house from a realtor, and she hadn’t heard of the Roberto family. When I went back to college for my second year, I met Frank. We kept our relationship a secret… at the college and to our families.”

“Your parents never knew about Frank?”

“They knew all right, but they called Frank my ‘roommate’ or ‘friend.’” He sighed. “My parents and I could have been such close friends; instead we were distant relations.”

“And you never saw Giorgio again?”

“Only in the midst of a crowd of people, each time realizing it was just my imagination.” He placed the picture back inside his pocket.

I heard a silky, masculine voice. “Nolan, they let you out of your room? Are the other residents safe?”

I glanced up at the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. He seemed about my age, tall with a peaches-and-cream complexion and jet-black hair. There was a quiet dignity about the man, whose periwinkle sweater and dark slacks housed his muscular physique.

At the sight of him, Nolan giggled merrily. “Darn, you found me! Next time I’ll try hiding under the sofa.”

“You’re so thin, you could fit.”

The two men shared a laugh.

Nolan noticed the confused look on my face. “Theo Stratis, this is Jamison Radames.”

I rose and extended a hand.

About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Faerie; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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 he 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.

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Bruce Willis and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Joe Cosentino who is celebrating the recent release of Drama Faerie, the 9th Nicky and Noah Mystery. Post a comment about why you love faeries. The one that tickles our tights and tunics the most will win an audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe.

BRUCE WILLIS AND A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

As a young actor, I performed in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream opposite Bruce Willis. That was certainly an exciting experience. As you can imagine, I found him to be witty, kind, and a good actor. He even tried to match me up with someone. While that didn’t work out, I believe our production was well acted, directed, staged, and designed, I realized later the play script is truly perfect. That is probably why the play has inspired so many movies in its image, the most popular being Were the World Mine and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. Who can resist the play’s stirring sexuality, midnight romance, bawdy humor, and magic and mysticism as the spirit world collides with the mortal world? We enjoy laughing at our own foibles as lovers make fools of themselves—in both our world and in the world of the faeries. We marvel as a magic potion in the hands of a mischievous faerie sidekick changes the underdog to the desired one in matters of the heart, and a queen becomes vulnerable to the love of an ass. Finally, we cheer as all is well that ends well.

So, when it came time to write the ninth Nicky and Noah mystery novel, I couldn’t resist having a Globe Theatre replica built at Treemeadow College for an all-male (as in Elizabethan days) production of my favorite Shakespeare play. Did I mention it’s a musical version of the show called It Takes a Fairy for Love in the End? My leading character, college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza, directs and co-stars (as Oberon, the Faerie King) opposite his husband and colleague Noah (as Titania, the Queen of the Faeries), their son Taavi (Oberon’s mischievous servant Puck), and best friend and department head Martin (Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazon). True to Shakespeare’s original, there are lots of comical hijinks, particularly among the theatre students cast in the show—with their muscles rippling out of their tunics, and bulges expanding their tights. Gender role reversals and comical musical numbers add to the hilarity. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking fencing to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. Old beloved cast members are back, including Nicky’s best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben, Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s droll nemesis Detective Manuello, and Nicky and Noah’s both sets of riotous parents. New characters include hunky theatre majors Ray Zhang (Demetrius), Elliot Hinton (Lysander), and graduate assistant Yates Aldrich (Lysander’s understudy). True to the play, the three guys are all hot for raven-haired Braedon Walsh (Hermia) to the chagrin of Braedon’s best friend Enoch Grayson (Helena). Rounding out the cast are punk rocker Talvin Moore (Demetrius’ understudy) who has caught the attention of Ganesh Ghosh (Titania’s boy). Add to the mix a clumsy prop girl who can’t keep the swords (or the actors) straight. Not to mention Detective Manuello (Bottom/Pyramus) may have an admirer in Associate Professor of Fencing Hank Brickman (Flute/Thisby). With Congressman Christian Evangelica determined to close down the show for including faeries and bottoms, havoc certainly ensues. Since it is a murder mystery novel, there are more murders than (as Nicky would say) anti-gay politicians in the back room of a gay bar during a blackout. As in the first eight novels in the series, Nicky and Noah use their theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.

For those of you who haven’t yet ventured to the land of Nicky and Noah, it’s 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 (as Nicky would say) faster than a priest facing an altar boy with a robe malfunction. At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue? As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, I know first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. My books are full of them!

In honor of my wonderful experience with Bruce Willis and A Midsummer Night’s Dream many years ago, it is my joy and pleasure to share this ninth novel in my award-winning Nicky and Noah mystery series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on faeries, bewitched lovers, an Amazon queen, a hungry Bottom, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder!

It’s summer at Treemeadow College’s new Globe Theatre, where theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With an all-male, skimpily dressed cast and a love potion gone wild, romance is in the starry night air. When hunky students and faculty in the production drop faster than their tunics and tights, Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining ninth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on star-crossed young lovers, a faerie queen, an ass who is a great Bottom, and murder!

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

“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.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” 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

“For fans of Joe Cosentino’s hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network

“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers

“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn’t laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books

“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance

“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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The silver starlight cast its enchanted glow on a forest in Athens, Greece. Faeries in G-strings and garlands made of multicolored flowers bend over the resting Queen of the Faeries as they sing a rousing “It’s All Greek To Me.” A Greek horos turns into a hip shaking Calypso number. After the climax, the exhausted faeries become covered in a puff of smoke, which rapidly increases in volume. The disappearing faeries hack and gasp for air.

“Stop! We aren’t doing Summer and Smoke people.” It’s me, Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a cozy Edwardian white stone college surrounded by a cozy lake and cozy mountains in a cozy tree-laden town in cozy white church-steepled Vermont. Cozy, huh? I’m tall, with dark hair and long sideburns, emerald eyes, and olive skin thanks to my parents’ genes—which, like Dorothy, live with my folks in Kansas. Thanks to the gym on campus, I’m pretty muscular. My sense of humor has been called snide, snarky, and cocky. Ah, speaking of cocky, I have a nearly foot-long penis. Just thought I’d throw that out there. Well, not literally. However, I have used that little, or should I say not so little, endowment to help me solve some of my previous cases. I’m not a detective…exactly. I’m what cozy mystery readers call an armchair detective or amateur sleuth, having solved eight mass murder cases that stumped local detectives in Alaska, Hawaii, Scotland, and of course at Treemeadow College.
Treemeadow was named after its original founders, gay couple Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow, who are enshrined in statues at the college’s entrance—right under the dive-bomber pigeons. Following in our founder’s bronze footsteps are my best friend and department head, Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, and his longtime husband, Ruben Markinson. Ditto for my hubby, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, and yours truly. Why am I sitting on an uncomfortable wooden bench watching student technicians repair an overactive smoke machine on the stage above me?

Martin had an idea to build a replica of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan Globe Theatre on a barren piece of land in our college campus. After doing some research, he found a grant from a business in China supporting Global Awareness projects. Incorrectly assuming the grant was to build a Globe Theatre, Martin threatened to hide Ruben’s diapers until Ruben filled out the application. Ruben, the retired CEO of a gay rights organization, as a master grant writer, secured the grant, which will culminate in a visit from the Chinese donors to observe Treemeadow’s progress in “world relations.” Martin’s response to this piece of news was, “Since they don’t speak English, we can tell them the play fosters better global relations.” I explained that many business people in China speak English. Martin retorted, “Most people who speak English don’t understand Shakespeare.”

Since our premiere production in the new space performs in the summertime, we selected A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Martin wanted to set the play in the back room at Republican Party headquarters after they hired male strippers to celebrate the party’s (no pun intended) latest anti-gay legislation. When I, as play director, nixed that idea, Martin pitched a Mormon elders secret initiation meeting, or a seminary shower room during a blackout. I opted instead for the authentic Elizabethan approach, where male actors play all the roles, both male and female characters, just like in the days of Shakespeare. After Martin threatened to give me an eight-a.m. class every semester for the rest of my life, I agreed to let Martin add original songs to the production, rendering our show A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the musical, or as Martin calls it, You Need a Faerie for Love in the End.
Having rehearsed for a month, we are now in tech week. That’s the hallowed time when we put all the elements of the show together—acting, song, dance, costumes, props, sets, music, lighting, special effects—culminating in a nervous breakdown for yours truly.

I am playing Oberon, aptly named King of the Faeries. As for my costume, I can tell you first-hand that G-strings itch, silver satin drapes fall off, cellophane wings poke into people (making fast enemies), and a huge crown gives you a huge headache. My gorgeous husband Noah is Titania, Queen of the Faeries (pun intended). Our adopted son from Hawaii, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule (try saying that three times fast with your mouth full of poi), threatened to report us to Child Protection Services if I didn’t cast him as Puck, trickster servant to Oberon. At only twelve years old, since our son has been with us, he’s acted in two movies, a Broadway musical, and a ballet. At this point, in order to get Taavi to eat his breakfast, Noah and I need to ask for his autograph. He’s definitely one of the family.

“How’s my faerie king holding up?” Noah sat next to me, looking scrumptious with his marine blue eyes and peaches and cream skin surrounded by a long blond wig. At thirty-four, Noah is seven years younger than me, but who’s counting years? Now that I’m over forty, I am! He hugged me, and our faerie wigs collided—a hazard of the faerie trade.

I rested my head on my husband’s soft shoulder and basked in the scent of his strawberry shampoo. “What time is it?”

“Ten o’clock. Two hours before faeries roam the theatre.”

“Faeries roam the theatre morning, noon, and night.” I glanced around. “Especially this theatre.”

Noah arranged the silver satin woodsy gown around his long legs. “I like playing your faerie queen.” He giggled. “On stage and off.”

“You know I’d have it no other way.”

He nuzzled his face into the fold at my neck. “Tell me about it.”

“You’re the love of my life, the perfect Watson to my Holmes.” We shared a kiss, which brought me back to consciousness.

About the 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, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (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 he is happily married. Joe’s books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.