Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to Joyfully Jay. Joe has come to talk to us about his release, Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah comedy mystery. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway. Please join me in giving Joe a big welcome!
Cruising is Lots of Fun
Cruising is a blast! Okay, not THAT cruising. The kind on a big boat. I know what you’re thinking. Who wants to get seasick on a rocking carnival full of people wearing polyester? I thought the same thing until my spouse talked me into going on a ten-day cruise to Alaska. And believe it or not, the trip was a blast!
Our huge ship was packed with terrific restaurants, where we ate like kings. We enjoyed the health club, yoga classes, spa, pool, and sitting on the deck gazing at amazing ocean views of glaciers and waving whales. Our porter adored us and wanted us to adopt him. There was a “Friends of Dorothy” meet up, which provided friends for our trip.
The land excursions were a blast, including a helicopter ride where we walked on glaciers, a tramway over the mountains, a totem pole park, a log climbers’ show featuring butch loggers with huge logs (no pun intended), a frontier habitat, and a Native American village. I’ll admit we even attended an art show, played bingo like senior citizens on church night, gambled like card sharks at the casino, and saw a musical revue with singing and dancing cupcakes.
If you haven’t yet read Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Humorous, and Best Contemporary novel of 2015) and Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) published by Lethe Press, what are you waiting for? The first two 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 Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, impersonate people, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book. Reviewers called Drama Queen “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” “a captivating whodunit,” and “the funniest book ever written.” Who am I to argue? Drama Muscle received similarly glowing reviews.
Now 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. Martin Anderson (Nicky and Noah’s department head) and Martin’s bickering husband are also along for the rocky ride. As in the first two books, there are a slew of colorful, hysterically funny victims and suspects like the cruise director who talks endlessly about her glory days as a theatre major in college, the ship’s doctor who is looking for the secret of life, Nicky and Noah’s porter who wants them to adopt him, and the captain of the boat who insists he has seen the ghost of his former sea captain. The theatre professors are equally as colorful, including an alcoholic who believes he has seen a mermaid, a hypochondriac looking for love, a comic with a cat of nine tails in her closet, and a Shakespearian actor who can’t keep his hands off his volume of the Bard—or off anyone else. And who is the mysterious Professor Nan Joy Hassahl?
So take your front row seat. The boat is leaving from port. Lights up and ahoy matey! Alaska here we come!
Noah and I left the lounge and took the all-glass elevator down to the main level, marveling at the enormous circular marble stairway opposite us.
Noah took my hand and squeezed it. “I’m so glad we’re doing this, Nicky.”
“Whatever floats your boat,” I replied kissing his cheek.
Kissing my sideburn, Noah replied, “You float my boat.”
I grabbed his bottom as we came out of the elevator. “I wonder what happened to Jeff. We need the star’s confidant character.”
“He probably hasn’t gotten his sea legs yet,” Noah replied with compassion as usual. “We can check on him later.”
We looked at the various stores, restaurants, and four-piece wind orchestra serenading us.
“What do you want to do now?” Noah asked.
“You know what I want to do.” I put my arm around Noah’s welcoming shoulders. “However, I told Martin we would meet him and Ruben at the pool.”
Noah sighed in ecstasy. “Ah, whiling away the afternoon at the pool. I could get used to this, Nicky.”
We walked up the grand staircase, which rivaled the set from Gone with the Wind. In our cabin, we changed into bathing suits—form-fitting for Noah and baggy for me. After a quick elevator ride down, Noah and I sat poolside.
We marveled at the azure sky morphing into the aqua ocean rolling away to the turquoise pool, all reflected in Noah’s gorgeous eyes.
Noah held my hand. “I feel like I’m in heaven, Nicky.”
“Wherever you are is heaven for me.” I kissed his hand.
“Can we stay here forever?” Noah asked as he settled deeper into his overstuffed chaise.
I sipped my lemonade. “Enjoy it now. Treemeadow College owns us come September.”
“And don’t you forget it.” Martin Anderson served us a late afternoon snack of triple decker grilled veggie sandwiches with sweet potato fries and spinach salad from the outdoor buffet. Short, thin, and pushing seventy, my mentor, department head, and best friend sat on the chaise lounge next to me and motioned for his husband to join him on the next chaise. Ruben Markinson, the CEO of a large gay rights organization and Martin’s taller half, followed his husband’s prompting.
“Don’t you two look spiffy?” I said like a teenage son with his parents on the beach.
“What a change to be out in the sun. It’s glorious!” said Martin.
“Amen,” added Ruben.
Martin said, “Though we had to spend a half hour putting on sunscreen.”
Noah and I grinned at Martin and Ruben’s matching attire: enormous beach hats, floor-length white terry cloth robes, and fluffy slippers.
“Is your cabin all right?” asked Noah, always concerned about others.
“How was lunch in the dining room?” I asked, pulling out Noah’s nuts (the nuts on his salad—since he’s allergic).
Martin waved our questions away like mosquitoes at a picnic. “Everything is fine.” His brown eyes doubled in size as he unleashed them behind his giant sunglasses. “Tell me about the rehearsal.” As producer, Martin was in charge of approving our contracts with the cruise line and securing our costumes and props for the dinner theatre production. However, as always, Martin’s main interest was gossip.
I answered, “Noah is terrific as Cheyenne’s young paramour. Cheyenne is ghe perfect temptress of mystery.”
Martin put his small hand over my mouth. “I’m sure everyone is wonderful.”
He slid to the edge of his chaise. “I want the dirt. How are the cast members getting along…or not getting along?”
When I hesitated, Ruben said, “You’d better tell him, Nicky. If you don’t, this trip will be hell for me. Besides, you know he’ll get it out of you sooner or later anyway. So let’s make it sooner and enjoy the beautiful day.” He winked at Martin.
Theater professors and couple, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are going overboard as usual, but this time on an Alaskan cruise, where dead college theatre professors are popping up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. Further complicating matters are Nicky’s and Noah’s parents as surprise cruise passengers, and Nicky’s assignment to direct a murder mystery dinner theater show onboard ship. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the curtain down on vacationing theatre professors before it is lights out 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 third novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and ship ahoy!
Purchase Links: Lethe Press
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 and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out 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. 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, and has won many Rainbow Award Honorable mentions including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press).
Joe has brought an audiobook copy of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter (and Joe would love to hear about your thoughts on cruising). The contest ends on Wednesday, February 8th at 11:59 pm EST.
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