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Welcome Joe Cosentino - Drama Muscle

A big welcome to Joe Cosentino today as part of his blog tour for his new release Drama Muscle.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
My mother said to me the other day, “Do people really buy your books?” I wonder if Stephen King’s mother asked him that. Hah. Actually my mother loves my books—and I make her buy them. She has always been a big fan. As kids my sister, neighborhood friends, and I created full theatrical, costumed and choreographed musical productions in the garage. After majoring in theatre in college I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). Moving on to playwriting and ultimately writing novels came next. Along the way I received two master’s degrees and became a college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah mystery series). I’ve written four MM novellas in 2015 published by Dreamspinner Press: An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (releases January 27). My Nicky and Noah mystery comedy series is with Lethe Press. My ex-child star Jana Lane mystery series started with Paper Doll in 2015 (Whiskey Creek Press) and continues in 2016 at Wild Rose Press with Porcelain Doll (releases mid March), Satin Doll, and China Doll. Finally, my gay resort on the New Jersey Shore beach series will be published soon by Nine Star Press: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. My friends say I write my books faster than they can read them!

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. It is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I’ve heard the readers fall in love with them. As a college professor/department head, I have always been aware that colleges are rife with mystery, romance, and humor. In each book Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.

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. What could be better than a brain-teasing puzzle taking place in a comfortable environment with lots of gay people? Like an Agatha Christie novel, the mystery is the central focus with red herrings and inversions leading to a satisfying conclusion. As in an Armistead Maupin novel, the characters are wacky, surprising, and endearing.

Reviewers called Drama Queen hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer said it was the funniest book of the year! Who am I to argue? In Drama Queen college theatre professors were dropping like stage curtains and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah had to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. When the ebook reached eighteen on the Amazon bestsellers list in its category and the paperback and audiobook (with all twenty-four roles played by Michael Gilboe) sold like tickets to Les Mis after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery.

I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. What dedication! I quickly noticed the link between bodybuilding and theatre. So I realized the second Nicky and Noah mystery would take place in the Bodybuilding Department at Treemeadow College. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Bodybuilding Department. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.

The third book (Drama Cruise not yet published) takes us on a cruise to Alaska for sights of glaciers and whales while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. You guessed it, the cast members start dropping like anchors, and Nicky and Noah must figure out why.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2016 and beyond?
I’ll be editing my Jana Lane mystery series. I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press), Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll (The Wild Rose Press mid March), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

I am also editing my Cozzi Cove series about Cal Cozzi who inherits a gay resort on a gorgeous cove at the New Jersey Shore. There are two novels: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward from Nine Star Press.

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I am also editing Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery. Here’s a snippet:

The stunning movie star’s long jet-black hair created a silky fan on the cold marble floor. Surrounding her were the guilt-ridden expressions of her possessive husband and producer, handsome young paramour and co-star, aggressive agent and female lover, jealous sister and stand-in, and makeup man who knew all her secrets—and she knew his. A detective arrived on the scene, took one look at the murdered beauty, and fell in love.
“Nice job, people! Let’s take ten.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a white stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and picturesque village of Treemeadow, Vermont. How did I become the director of a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a ten-night June cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back?

How did you come up with the title for Drama Muscle?
Since Nicky and Noah are from the Theatre Department at the college, and the mystery takes place in the Bodybuilding Department, it seemed like the perfect title. Since I work out every day (yet see very little results!) and am enamored of the real bodybuilders who are so big they don’t even need to iron their shirts, Drama Muscle holds a special place in my heart.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
To stop laughing out loud. Some of the characters and situations cracked me up. My favorite character in book two is Noah’s mother who is devoted to her son—almost as much as she’s devoted to her camera! I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marries their fathers. That comes out even more in book three.

Also, the Kim twins bodybuilding students can read each other’s minds. So their dialogue is always in answer to something the other has thought. While this is really funny to read, it was difficult to write.

Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
The character of Mack Heath in the book taught me that bodybuilders can be as insecure, fragile, sweet, loving, and kind as anyone else.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day. When you have a story you think is perfect, ask someone you trust to read it. Then after doing another draft, email it to a publisher with an open submissions policy who publishes the kind of story you’ve written. If that publisher rejects it, immediately send it to the next one.

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

Are there any characters that you write, that are based on you, or people you know?
Since the Nicky and Noah series takes place at a college, my colleagues at my college kid me that if anybody at my college ticks me off, I kill him/her in the series? Hah. To be honest, I like my colleagues and students too much to murder them in my books. Martin Anderson, Nicky and Noah’s department head, is based on me. He’s a loyal, hardworking department head and professor who fully supports his faculty colleagues, office assistant, and the students in his department. Like me, he is also a little bit, well quite a bit, of a gossip. My knowledge of theatre is also very evident in the series. The other characters and the location came from my head. As my mother says, “How do you think up all these crazy things? Well, you always were a bit crazy as a kid.”

If you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it? And yes world domination is an acceptable answer.
I would arrange it so people trying to take away the civil marriage rights of gay/lesbian families could experience what it feels like to have their own civil marriage rights in jeopardy. I would also wipe out all disease, hunger, violence, homelessness, and loneliness. Finally, I would put my books in every home all over the world!

Bonus questions: Any plans for the Nicky and Noah series to become a television series?
I have plenty of plans. I need a TV network to have them too. Can’t you see Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, and me as Martin Anderson? Come on, TV producers, make your offers!




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







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

“Good work, everyone!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noah smiled in my direction.

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

Noah stiffened.

“I’m always happy to help,” I said.

“So I see.”

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

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

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

“Right,” said Noah with a tight jaw.

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

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

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

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

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

“Well can you please…stop?”

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

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

“Of course.”

“Thank you.”

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

“Promise?” Noah whispered in my ear.

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to Joe Cosentino for winning Best Contemporary Novel, Best Mystery Novel, Best Crime Novel, and Best Humorous Novel of 2015 for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press, in the Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll Awards! http://www.lethepressbooks.com/store/p303/Drama_Queen%3A_A_Nicky_and_Noah_Mystery.html

Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote ,i>The Perils of Pauline</i> educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Paperback: novel
Publisher: Lethe Press
Language: English
Cover Art: Denny Minonne
Cover Design: Inkspiral Design
ISBN-10: 1590215664
ISBN-13: 978-1590215661
ASIN: myBook.to/DramaMuscle
Release date: January, 2, 2016

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WIPs aka the to do list

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