WHY I CREATED A COZY GAY MYSTERY SERIES
by Joe Cosentino
For most of my life I’ve read cozy mystery novels. Though full of murder and mayhem, they always made me smile, challenged my brain, and relaxed me. You don’t see too many cozy gay mysteries out there. I’ve often wondered why. What could be better than a brain-teaser with plot twists and turns, hidden clues, and a surprising ending, filled with humor and romance, all taking place in a comfortable environment—with lots of gay people? So I decided to create a new series, the Nicky and Noah mysteries, premièring with Drama Queen published by Lethe Press.
In the series Nicky and Noah, college theatre professors, live and work in the fictitious, quaint college town of Treemeadow, named after its original founders, gay couple Tree and Meadow. The Edwardian style college campus in winter provides plenty of opportunity for Nicky and Noah to sip hot chocolate at the fireplace and stimulate their little gray cells—and other things. Since Nicky and Noah use their theatrical skills to find the clues and solve the murders (five of them!), the novel is chock full of wacky characters, comic antics, and witty dialogue as in an Armistead Maupin novel. Like an Agatha Christie, the mystery is the central focus with red herrings and inversions leading to a shocking but justifiable and satisfying conclusion. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I hope the readers will fall in love with them.
In this first novel in the series, Drama Queen, Nicky and Noah have to uncover why college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains as Nicky directs the college production—a murder mystery. In Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah have to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In Drama Cruise, Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show on board ship.
I hope you give this new series a try. It’s bound to put a smile on your face.
It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!
I left my students to their private discussion and joined my young graduate assistant seated on a red velvet bench in a turreted area of the lobby. As I dug into my sizable piece of cake, Scotty leaned into me like a cat facing a sardine,
“Since it looks like the tech rehearsal will run late, I can teach your morning Theatre History class tomorrow.”
“That won’t be necessary, Scotty.” Just stick your finger down your throat then head to the gym as usual.
“With teaching your classes, assessing and updating curriculum, going to faculty meetings, advising students, writing your articles, advising the theatre club, and directing plays, I worry that you may get sick.”
You’d unleash the bubonic plague if it meant getting my job. I patted his shaved and oiled knee, and said a la Margo Channing, “I’m fine, Scotty. Just leave your notes on tonight’s performance in my office box tomorrow.”
“Am I too late for the party?” My knees dipped as Noah Oliver took off his coat and scarf and stood next to me. “Happy birthday, Nicky!” He winked at me. Maybe we can adopt seven children, run away to the hills, and start a family singing act.
Scotty leapt from his seat like it was a pogo stick. “Have a piece of cake, Noah. No nuts!”
I beg your pardon?
“Thanks for remembering, Scotty.” Noah sat between Scotty and me and dug into the creamy wonder. Was that a familiar smile between Scotty and Noah?!
Scotty explained as if he was Noah’s husband, “Noah is allergic to nuts, Nicky.”
Hopefully not to mine.
Noah took me in with his baby blue eyes. Did I notice a look of lust in them?
“How’s the show going?”
What show? Oh! “We’re all exhausted, frazzled, panicked, and certain of a great opening night.”
Noah squeezed my hand. “You’re an amazing director. The creative way you move your characters around the stage, how the elements of design compliment the story, and your unique vision is thrilling to watch. I expect nothing short of brilliance in this production.” Noah beamed with pride. “And you have some powerful student actors in the show.” Scotty collected our empty plates. “Noah is a terrific acting teacher.” He gazed at Noah with pure adoration. “The students are lucky to have you.”
Since theatre is a collaborative art, I said, “Tyler’s execution of David’s scenic design is amazing, and as usual Tyler has been a total work horse. Ariella’s costumes have an incredible gothic look, but they’re light enough for the students to move around in them.”
Noah whispered in my ear, and I restrained myself from throwing myself on top of him. “Can I speak to you about something…personal?”
“Sure.” How about a June wedding?
Reviews of Drama Queen
“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don’t come more whodunnity than this.”
Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“If you are looking for a fun mystery, lots of humor, like actors, play directors and hot professors, sweet romance and mild, mostly off-page but sensual man-sex this is definitely for you!”
MM Good Book Reviews
“If you like broad comedy with a side of crime and a host of suspects, Drama Queen should fill the playbill nicely.”
“I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah. If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?”
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews
“The mystery took me on a journey with plenty of twists and turns and left me questioning who the murderer was. The romance portion was cute and sexy all rolled into one.” “As for the drama, this book has drama on every page, and for those of us who appreciate the theater, there is plenty of behind the scenes happenings!”
“a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel”
The Novel Approach
A SHOOTING STAR
the second novella in the In My Heart series from Dreamspinner Press
On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.
“Do you always look at other people’s things?”
I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.
Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”
Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.
“What’s your name?”
He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”
“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”
I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”
“They were gifts, mostly.”
“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“I’m David Star.” He took a bow.
Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“What happened to your last roommate?”
“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”
“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”
His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”
“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”
“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”
Reviews for AN INFATUATION the first novella in the In My Heart series by Joe Cosentino from Dreamspinner Press:
“Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success.”
MM Good Book Reviews
“Joe Cosentino proves there’s more than one way to a happy ending in An Infatuation, a story of first love and heartbreak delivered in a fresh and funny voice.”
The Novel Approach
“Don’t miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe Cosentino for putting your heart on the page for us to savor!”
Bike Book Reviews
“It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day”.
Nautical Star Books
“I recommend this book to anyone reminiscing about that one that got away.”
“I think you will be left breathless with the reality and emotion behind An Infatuation.”
Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com