We’ve seen great things in 2015 from today’s Guest Author, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us this year. Join me as Joe Cosentino shares his latest release, Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel published by Lethe Press.
Hello, Joe. Welcome back to the site. You’ve become a regular here.
I love answering your questions!
Great. Here’s the first for today. You’ve told us in the past that you acted opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). What was it like acting with all those celebrities?
In each case, I worked with them before they became famous, and in each case they were gracious, hard-working, kind, and very funny. BTW, I can see Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis playing Noah’s parents in a TV version of Drama Muscle! Can you make that happen? Hah.
Sure. On the next question. Your Dreamspinner Press novellas (An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were well received. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?
I love salmon but I also love chicken. It’s the same thing. I’d ask them to give Drama Queen and Drama Muscle a try. Like I found eating pea soup as a kid, they may acquire a different taste.
You were here when Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, was released. Was that novel well received?
Readers fell in love with Nicky and Noah as they fell in love with each other—and solved the mystery. 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 The Producers after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery.
And now Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, is available as an ebook, paperback, and soon audiobook. Tell us about it.
In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Bodybuilding Department. In the novel Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.
Why did you set the second novel in the Bodybuilding Department?
I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. 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.
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.
Who was your favorite character to write in Drama Muscle?
Nicky has such amazing wit, perseverance in the face of adversity, and smarts. I love his sense of determination in not only nabbing the murderer, but also getting his man—Noah. Nicky knows what he wants and how to get it. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he wants to help them. He also has no problem taking on the role of hero. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. However, my favorite character in book two is Noah’s mother who is devoted to her son—almost as much as she’s devoted to her camera!
Noah’s father is pretty hilarious too.
I 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.
Will Nicky’s parents visit too?
We meet Nicky’s parents in book three, Drama Cruise. They are equally hysterical.
Who was the easiest character to write?
Martin Anderson, the department head, who I patterned after myself was easiest to write. I love his dedication to the college, paternal instincts toward Nicky and Noah, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like that he is happily married. Though briefly in books two and three, we get to know Martin’s husband quite well in the third novel, Drama Cruise.
Which character do you like the least?
Professor of Bodybuilding Van Granite may have muscles and a chin like granite, but he appears to be after Noah, definitely a no-no.
Which character was the hardest to write?
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 really difficult to write.
Is it hard to write comedy?
I’ve always had a funny mind. I can hear almost anything and see the humor in it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my parents bought me a sweater and my sister a house. When I asked my mother if I was an orphan, she replied, “Orphans don’t have sweaters. Appreciate what you have.”
And you have another mystery series, your Jana Lane mystery series.
Yes, 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 (releasing March 15 from The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Nine Star Press is publishing my two novels that take place at a gay summer resort on the Jersey Shore: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward.
With your college professor/department head duties, how do you have the time to be so prolific?
My friends kid me that I write books faster than they can read them. I’m a night owl and write late into the night.
What advice do you have for unpublished writers?
Write every day (or as in my case-night). 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.
How can your readers contact you?
Via my web site, http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. I love to hear from readers. I hope everyone gives Nicky and Noah some help in figuring out whodunit, and has some laughs along the way!
DRAMA MUSCLE (a Nicky and Noah mystery) a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO from Lethe Press
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!
Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:
“Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever” “brilliant” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don’t come more whodunnity than this.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah. If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews
“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay
“a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel” The Novel Approach
“The tangled weave of murder mystery and other mysteries comes to a startling conclusion that is both satisfying and mind boggling.” MultitaskingMomma
“I am not used to reading books that make me snigger out loud, but in Drama Queen Joe Cosentino has struck a great balance between his use of tongue in cheek humour and a compelling mystery which we want to see solved.” Divine Magazine
“Nicky and Noah are two sexy leading characters who conduct the investigation in this comedic caper with wit and style.” Vance Bastian Reviews
“Cosentino does a wonderful job of writing a mystery that keeps the reader guessing right up until the end.” Barron Owens Reviews
“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Bike Book Reviews
“The author clearly knows of what he speaks on all matters theater, and the kind of authentic details he brings to the table in terms of characters and staging makes this immensely entertaining.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
“Joe Cosentino has brilliantly done it again! His latest novel, Drama Queen, is the most fascinating mystery of all time. I loved the laugh out loud moments and the crazy fast-paced plot. Readers will instantly be drawn into Joe Cosentino’’s stunning mystery. I recommend this novel to readers worldwide and look forward to reading the next adventure by this talented writer.” Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity, Inc.
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Publisher: Lethe Press
Cover Art: Denny Minonne
Cover Design: Inkspiral Design
Release date: January, 2, 2016