Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to Joyfully Jay. Joe has come to talk to us about his latest release, Drama Muscle, a Nicky and Noah mystery. He has also brought along a great giveaway Please join me in giving Joe a big welcome!


Book Two: Drama Muscle, published by Lethe Press

With all the talk about the importance of exercise, I purchased spiffy workout clothes and a fancy water bottle, drank a protein shake, headed to my local gym, and began my new exercise regime. As the loud speakers blared a pounding rock song, I looked around at the young, beautiful people exercising effortlessly. Their muscles were so big they didn’t even need to iron their clothes. And they exercised effortlessly on what appeared to me to be devices of torture. Always one to jump in, I worked out on the cardio machines, universal gym machines, and free weights. As Donald Trump on the news ranted and raved on the twenty television sets stationed around the gym, it all seemed mind-numbing. Still, satisfied with my new dedication to exercise, I went home, had dinner, showered, and went to bed.

DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mysteryThe next morning, I couldn’t move. I thought I was paralyzed. Every inch of my body was sore. My muscles cried out like a conservative politician at an environmental rally. I somehow crawled out of bed, and severely modified my workout program—with my home equipment. However, since then I have had an incredible respect for bodybuilders. And not only for the obvious reasons—their amazing muscles. Can you imagine having to eat and drink protein every two hours, lift heavy weights for three hours a day, shave a different body part each day (How do they reach certain places?), spray tan, and pose in tiny gold trunks until their veins pop out? I started watching bodybuilding competitions on television (I admit it!) and marveled at the theatricality of it all. The music, the posing, the cheering, and the adoration. So I decided the second Nicky and Noah mystery would take place in the Bodybuilding Department at Treemeadow College.

If you haven’t read Drama Queen (and you should!), you don’t know what I’m talking about. Let me fill you in. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are set in a fictitious 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 romance series, where the setting is warm and cozy (lots of hot chocolate by the cherrywood fireplace), the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep you guessing, 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. Since my favorite authors are Agatha Christie and Armistead Maupin, there are clues, red herrings, and inversions with wacky, surprising, and endearing characters. Not to mention a shocking conclusion when we find out whodunit and why! 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.

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. Readers told me they loved Nicky and Noah. Reviewers were equally enthralled calling it “the funniest book of the year,” “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “a captivating whodunit” with a “sweet love story.” So who am I to argue? When the ebook hit 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 Book of Mormon after the Tony Awards, it was time for another Nicky and Noah mystery.

In the current novel, Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Physical Education Department. 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. I’ll never tell.

As a college theatre professor/department head, I have always been aware that colleges are rife with mystery, romance, and humor. My background and love for theatre are quite evident in Drama Queen. Now with Drama Muscle I can share my newfound adoration for bodybuilding. It is my joy and pleasure to share these stories with you. So take your front row seat. The curtain is going up on young bodybuilders at Treemeadow College. Lights (and weights) up! And let me know what you think at Let’s pump up!


“Toner was angry because Noah gave him a bad monologue performance grade in acting class—which Jonathan deserved!”

“That’s what I assumed, Nicky,” Martin Anderson said like a mental health worker trying to calm down a manic patient.

Noah, Martin, and I were seated on tall leather chairs next to Martin’s cherrywood fireplace mantel. Melon-colored monogrammed napkins rested on our laps, and three china cups filled with steaming cocoa were perched on the cherrywood end table. As usual Shayla Johnson, Martin’s sassy office assistant, was stationed at the crack in Martin’s office doorway to ensure she heard every word that was said inside.

Our father-figure and Theatre Department head adjusted his melon-colored bowtie and sweater vest then rested his tiny hand on Noah’s tense shoulder. “Besides, given the fact that Jonathan Toner is…deceased, his complaint will obviously go nowhere.”

Noah and I breathed a joint sigh of relief, nearly causing the fire to go out in the fireplace.

“So, tell me, how are things going over in the Physical Education building?” asked Martin with a concerned look in his aging eyes.

I took a sip of cocoa. Noah wiped the mustache off my upper lip. “Noah and I have added dramatic touches to the bodybuilding competition, but the bodybuilding students seem to have enough drama of their own.”

A devoted gossip, Martin slid to the edge of his chair like a priest at new altar boy training. “Do tell, Nicky!”

I explained, “Jonathan Toner was blackmailing Kim and Tim Sim to keep silent about their sexual orientation to big bucks papa Sim. Toner was also jealous of the department head’s attention to students Jillian Flowers and Mack Heath.”

“Not to mention Professor Granite’s and Professor Stryker’s support of the Sim twins,” added Noah.

“And now Jonathan Toner is dead.” Martin seemed lost in the amber flames. Then looking at Noah and me, he added, “It seems like Holmes and Watson will have an encore performance.”


DRAMA MUSCLE, a Nicky and Noah mysteryIt 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!

Buy Links:


Joe Cosentino at a Barnes & Noble Booksellers signing for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mysteryAmazon 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).

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!


Joe has brought a copy of the audiobook for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino (performed by Michael Gilboe, published by Lethe Press) to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter (Joe would particularly like to hear why you like mysteries). The contest ends on Friday, February 5th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post
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