Guest Post:- Joe Cosentino

As Nicky would say, “I’m happier than an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar during a blackout” that readers still love the Nicky and Noah mystery novels. How did it all begin? As a kid I had terrible insomnia. Believe it or not what finally got me calmed down was reading cozy mysteries. I loved the humor, eccentric characters, quaint locations, exciting clues, tricky red herrings, cagey plot twists and turns, and the surprise endings sending me to blissful dreamland.

Later as a professional actor in film, television, and theatre starring opposite stars like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Jason Robards, and Bruce Willis, I learned that life is truly a stage, and we are all merry players.

Moving on to becoming a college theatre professor and ultimately chair, it was clear to me that a college theatre department is full of mystery, humor, and romance. Between students telling me their latest drama (pun intended), I decided to write a cozy murder mystery novel set at a college theatre department. I never imagined that novel, Drama Queen, would be voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine and would be so popular with readers. Even more shocking was that Drama Queen spawned my twelve additional Nicky and Noah mystery novels to date, winning many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

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 at altar boy induction.” 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 readers 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?

Many of the novels take place at cozy Treemeadow College (built by gay couple Tree and Meadow), an Edwardian style college in picturesque Vermont. By the thirteenth novel, so many students and faculty members have been murdered, the local Detective Manuello said the college should send a cemetery plot certificate along with the acceptance letter. However, it’s Nicky, Noah, their son Taavi, and Nicky and Noah’s best friends and colleagues Martin and Ruben and their son Ty who solve the murder mysteries. How? By using the business of show to dress up as comical characters for hysterically funny investigative role plays with the unknowing suspects.

In Drama Queen Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College. 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 “(Is Holmes a Homo?) 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 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. 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. In Drama Pan the merry theatrical crew at Treemeadow College create an original 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 the thick as thieves thespians (Try saying that three times fast while eating peanut butter) use their drama skills, including playing outrageous characters, to catch the killer before they get thrown to the crocodiles.

Now in the thirteenth novel, Drama TV, the troupe shoot (no pun intended) the pilot episode for a television series based on their first caper, Drama Queen. Where else would they do the television show but cozy Treemeadow College during winter break? Beloved old characters are back, and new characters emerge for mystery, romance, humor, and murder! It will come as no surprise to Nicky and Noah fans that cast members drop like television ratings. Once again, our favorite thespians use their drama skills to catch the killer before they get cancelled.

I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns than (as Nicky would say) “a QAnon member hunting for alien babies.”

I’m more excited (as Nicky would say) “than a closet gay evangelical judge taking away LGBT rights” to share this thirteenth novel in the series with you. 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!

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