OS: Welcome again to Joe Cosentino, author of Drama Luau! Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us about your newest book!
Thanks for having me! Here’s a little bit about Drama Luau; NICKY, NOAH, AND ME
Drama Luau, the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino
I remember sitting in my office at the theatre department of my college amidst students with questions, faculty with complaints, and administrators with requests. It dawned on me faster than a right-wing politician thinking up a new anti-gay law. The theatre department at a college is the perfect setting for a comedy mystery. As a college theatre professor, I could use my knowledge of theatre and academia, bump off anybody I don’t like in the books, and have a great deal of fun. An avid cozy mystery reader since childhood, I have long dismayed at how few gay cozy mysteries are out there. This was my chance to change that! But where would my series take place? I decided on fictitious Treemeadow College, a quaint, white stone, Edwardian, fireplace laden private university in Vermont originally founded by a gay couple: Tree and Meadow. Who would be my amateur sleuths? An adorable gay couple who are theatre professors of course! Given my wacky sense of humor and impatience for longwinded novels, I knew the clues and murders (and laughs) would come quickly, and there would be enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning rapidly. Finally, as a romantic, I wanted a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver as they solve a murder mystery in each novel.
Lethe Press released the first novel, Drama Queen, in 2015, where college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. I wasn’t prepared for the response, which was amazing! Reviewers called Drama Queen “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “a captivating whodunit.” One reviewer wrote Drama Queen was the funniest books she’d ever read! The readers fell in the love with Nicky and Noah as they fell in love with each other. The audiobook, performed by Michael Gilboe, was also a hit. I did the happy dance on my desk when Drama Queen was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Humorous Novel, and Contemporary Novel of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll.
Readers and my publisher asked for another Nicky and Noah mystery, and I was more than happy to oblige with Drama Muscle, a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention of 2016. In book two, Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. Also, Nicky and Noah’s relationship reaches a milestone by the end of the novel. Again, Nicky and Noah fans loved it, and Chip Hurley’s audiobook version was a favorite.
I kept on writing, happier than a priest at an altar boy convention. In Drama Cruise, it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which my spouse and I also did). Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. The great reviews continue, and Brad Enright is working on the audiobook for release this summer.
In my current release, Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at fictitious Maui Mist Resort, and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. The suspects are a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife (who give new meaning to the term family values), and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar.
Why is the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery set in Hawaii? They call it paradise for a reason. Maui is the most beautiful place on Earth. A few years ago I talked my spouse into taking the thirteen-hour plane ride to a land laden with white sandy beaches, tall and majestic waterfalls, multicolored craters on mosaic mountaintops, palm trees waving in the soft breeze, and laid back and friendly Hawaiians. We marveled at the hidden beaches, took the white-knuckle drive to the gorgeous Seven Sacred Pools, gasped at the sunrise at Haleakala, swam in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing. On our last night in Maui, we went to a luau complete with the boat procession, pig roast, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and the hula dancer show. The dancers were amazing! Incredibly muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis, flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano. It was great fun including all the things my spouse and I did on our trip into this fast-paced, humorous, spine-tingling mystery with a very shocking ending. Nicky and Noah have the time of their lives solving this one, and also find their relationship in for quite a change.
So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau! And watch for Drama Detective, book five, releasing in six months, and Drama Fraternity, book six, releasing next year!
DRAMA LUAU (a Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Theatre professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!
Praise for DRAMA LUAU, the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery:
“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. DRAMA LUAU joins his other books on my 5-star reread shelf. It may actually be my favourite one yet! Highly recommended.”
Praise for DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:“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
“Joe Cosentino does it again with Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery. I loved the humor, drama, and theater work inside. Plus, the romance and murder investigation keep readers turning the pages. Absolutely, must read this latest book in the series.” Urban Book Reviews
“If you are looking for a good, funny book to shake the blahs, love mystery, humor and romance, and a story with a twist or two, you’re bound to love this.” Cathy Brockman Romances
“I have been an avid reader of Joe Cosentino’s books for some time and he has yet to let me down. His ability to write highly original, yet somehow realistic, characters is one of his greatest strengths as a writer. Their quirks and personalities fill the pages in a way that makes for a fabulously entertaining and totally engrossing read. I loved this book and highly recommend it to lovers of farce, humour, murder mystery and sweet MM love stories.” Divine Magazine
“The characters are charming and entertaining….had me in stitches….This is the delightful third episode in the Nicky and Noah Mystery series. It is a fun-filled and entertaining murder mystery for LGBT cozy mystery fans.” Readers’ Favorite
“Each (Nicky and Noah mystery) is a wonderful mixture of sex, comedy, romance and murder, but when Cosentino took it to an Alaska cruise and the high seas, well, it tossed it up into theatrically delicious magic….I loved this story. I love this couple. What on earth is going to happen to them next? I can’t wait to find out.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“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
“fast-paced, action-packed story….fabulous cast of characters….if you love a murder mystery then this book is for you.” Books Laid Bare Boys
“As this highly entertaining story rolls on, I find myself laughing and getting into the who- done-it craze. This is a great book, it made me feel happy just reading it. The main characters are almost perfect, which just makes things better.” Crystal’s Many Reviewers
“The humor is laugh-out-loud, he didn’t just say that, funny. The scenes of affection occur mostly off-stage, behind closed doors, yet remain joyfully suggestive and highly sensual. Every character gets his due and the ending will have you sniffling with happiness.” Diane Nelson, Sand in My Shoes Reviews
“If Clue had taken place on a college campus it would have been Drama Queen. This was a fun, campy, sexy romp.” Guilty Indulgence Book Reviews
Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):
“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine
“Joe Cosentino has done it again! He has created another brilliant masterpiece for us all. A cozy sleuth mystery combined with humor and attractive themes.” Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity Inc.
“Book 1, Drama Queen was always going to be a hard act to follow with its belly ache laughter approach but in this “smirkathong” – yes I was smirking throughout the book, my top lip still aches – the author succeeded in delivering another comic classic!” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“a perfect balance of humor and romance into a continuously twisting plot.” “Cosentino will keep you entertained and guessing until the very end.” 3 Chicks After Dark
“If you like a fast-paced, humorous mystery with some quirky characters, lots of twists and the hot, sensual, man-sex, this is definitely for you. I promise you a laugh a minute!” Cathy Brockman Romance
“As with the first book, there are laugh out loud, completely funny sections. And enough of the mystery and suspense that keeps me reading” “I look forward to the next story” The TBR Pile
“laugh out loud funny” “Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the killer to be revealed.” “As a romance, readers will love seeing Nicky and Noah settling in to living together in their Victorian home.” “I highly recommend this series.” Joyfully Jay Reviews
“Such a well woven story that is literally laugh out loud funny.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“Joe Cosentino offers his readers something original and very different to the generic contemporary M/M romances out there and because of that I can’t recommend Drama Muscle enough; it is another moment of genius by Joe Cosentino!” Kirsty Loves Books
“This is a wonderful addition to the series! I fell in love with Nicky in the first book and he just gets better. Filled with humor and action. Noah evolves in this story, his character grows into a more mature yet still adorable sidekick to Nicky. They are perfect together, in detective work and in family situations. I hope that there are more to follow.” Crystals Many Reviewers
Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015):
“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
“If Clue had taken place on a college campus it would have been Drama Queen. This was a fun, campy, sexy romp.” Guilty Indulgence Book Reviews
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
An excerpt of Drama Luau by Joe Cosentino:
The olive-skinned, barefooted muscular men wore loincloths (malo), coconut necklaces, shell bracelets and anklets, and flower (lei) head garlands. With the powerful emerald mountain behind them, the dancers (‘olapa) aerobically executed hand signs, knee sways, and foot stomps toward the turquoise sea (makai), as their deep, full voices chanted to the goddess of the ocean (Namakaokahai). The lead dancer (alakai) and the dance captain (kumu) moved front and center executing their tree in the breeze hand gestures. The dancer helper (kokua) made gestures to the ocean waves behind them.
The ‘ukulele, steel guitar, and bass accompaniment ended. The dancers slouched and looked toward the rows of tables and chairs facing them.
“Kimu, stand further upstage.”
“Nicky, they don’t know what upstage and downstage mean.”
“Thanks, Noah. Kimu, stand behind the other dancers, so Kal and Ak are the focus of the dance.”
That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Associate Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, an Edwardian style private college in the quaint state of Vermont. My husband and the love of my life, Assistant Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, Noah Oliver, is by my side, right where I like him. Why am I directing a luau show at the Maui Mist Resort in Hawaii? Our honeymoon in Maui was a gift from our parents. But when the customers of my parents’ bakery in Kansas became glucose intolerant, and the clientele of Noah’s parents’ dairy farm in Wisconsin found themselves lactose intolerant, Noah and I were left tolerating the bill. So my department head and his husband hit the internet and found this luau show directing job, which came with free airfare, hotel, and food for two. Enticed by the gorgeous tropical location and the gorgeous luau dancers, Martin Anderson, Professor of Theatre Management at Treemeadow College, and Ruben Markinson, director of one of the top gay rights organizations in the country, decided to tag along and keep us out of trouble. Since Martin and Ruben are our best friends, that was more than fine with Noah and me.
Since you can’t see us, I am thirty-six, tall, with dark hair, green eyes, a Roman nose, cleft chin and long sideburns. Thanks to the gym at Treemeadow College (named after Tree and Meadow, the gay couple who founded it), I am pretty muscular. One minor thing. Actually, it’s pretty major. I have a nine and-a-quarter by two-inch penis, which causes Noah to tell everyone we are “going clubbing” when we have sex.
Noah is handsome with wavy blond hair, crystal-blue eyes, porcelain skin, and hotter and sweeter buns than any found in my dad’s bakery. Martin is short, thin, and bald. As an incredible gossip, he resembles an alien looking for a good piece of news to bring back to his home planet. Ruben is tall, thin, distinguished-looking, with salt and pepper hair and two large eyes watching over Martin. Though Ruben would never admit it, like his husband, Ruben revels in the dish too.
I said to the dancers, “The opening (ho’i) number will be fine. Let’s move on.”
Whereas the first dance was an introduction to the dancers, the second number, in honor of the creation gods (Kane and Lono), is a sensual dance, where the muscular dancers get to flex, grunt, and gyrate.
Sitting next to me at the front table opposite the stage, Noah rested a hand on my knee. “Did my character work with the dancers pay off?”
I nodded. “They all seem like characters to me.”
Noah squeezed my hand as the five dancers came on stage, now wearing grass skirts. Kal (short for Kalani), at twenty-five, is tall, strikingly handsome, muscular, the leader of the pack, and he knows it. Ak (Akamu), at thirty-five, was once the stallion of the troupe, but a receded hairline and wrinkles had transformed Ak to dance captain. As leaders, Kal and Ak take focus in the dance numbers, either dancing downstage center or up center on the platform in the shape of a volcano. Pretty ironic since Kal and Ak are ex-lovers and ex-friends.
Current lovers Keanu (dancer helper), at medium height with a growing paunch, and Ahe, young, small, and cute as a button, took their places midstage and looked at each other adoringly.
Finally, Kimu, at medium height with a bull dog face and protruding belly, stood farthest upstage. The only straight member of the troupe, Kimu, said, “Are you girls ready to dance?”
Keanu left his lover, Ahe, and approached Kimu. “What a surprise, Kimu. Liquor on your breath.”
Leader Kal added, “Yeah, Kimu, during the last number you were wavering more than the palm trees near the stage fan.”
Kimu answered, “Hey Kal, is it true that you gave Keanu a pity lei?”
These guys are worse than the divas I work with in the theatre. “Can we please start the number?”