A Long Overdue Update on the Sixth Sense Series

 

Whew.

When I look at how much time has passed since I published anything in the Sixth Sense series, I’m embarrassed. I released the third book in the series, Truth and Consequences, in 2015. I released a revised and expanded version of the first story in the series, Unspeakable Words, in 2017. From then, nothing but crickets.

It’s no secret I’ve been struggling these last four years. What I find interesting is how my personal and professional traumas all dovetailed with the election of Donald Trump as the US President. No, I don’t blame all my trials and losses on the Trump presidency, but the additional weight of the gross corruption and incompetency of his administration—as well as the corrosion of civil rights, environmental controls, and the utter and complete failure to even attempt to manage a deadly pandemic–were additional body blows when I’d already been felled by one hit after another. I’ve made no bones about that.

It doesn’t help that I’m an empath. I internalize the emotions of those around me every bit is much as Gem in the Star Trek:TOS episode with the eponymous title. I never knew that was a thing until recently, but it makes a ton of sense now. And let me tell you, the collective despair of nearly everyone I knew made it difficult to deal with already challenging situations in my own life.

For years now, I’ve promised to finish the Sixth Sense series. To not leave the few–but dedicated–fans hanging indefinitely. The more time that has passed, the harder it has been to pick up the threads of the story arc, and the fears that whatever I write will disappoint grow larger with each passing year.

Well, no more. With the declaration of Joe Biden as our president, it’s as though a huge weight has been lifted from me. Are all our problems going to magically disappear? No. Sadly, we have a crapton of work to do in order to both undo the damage caused by the Trump administration and to insure the safety of democracy for the future. We are still in the grip of a pandemic that is spreading exponentially in the US and we’re running out of time to effect climate change. Strides made in civil rights have been seriously eroded by an administration that embraced fascism and gave permission to white supremacists to crawl out of the woodwork.

But for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel as though I’m a passenger in a bus being driven toward a cliff by people who seem to believe their wealth or faith will prevent their half of the bus from being destroyed.

What that means is yesterday, for the first time in years, I’ve opened the draft of Deal with the Devil, the final installment of the Sixth Sense series, and have begun working on it again. While it’s probably a bit late to give it the NaNo treatment, my goal is to have a completed draft by the end of this year and to publish it early next spring. To hold my feet to the fire, I intend to contact the artist who did the updated covers and secure the final one.

Let’s do this, people.

Website Hacked: These German Posts are NOT mine

My apologies: it’s just come to my notice that my website has been hacked. I assure you, I am working on the problem. In the meantime, these posts in German are not being issued by me. Please accept my apologies and be patient while I try to shut it down. Thank you.

Angry Ann by Josh Janssen flickr creative commons

Piracy Still Isn’t Cool

Back in 2016, I wrote a heartfelt post about something that was taking place on Facebook: a reader, claiming to be too poor to buy books, wanted to know the best sites to locate bootleg sources of her favorite author’s stories. When confronted about her behavior, she laughed it off and blocked anyone who tried to get her to see why this was wrong.

My response to this outrageous attitude was to write Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me, and the follow up post, Dear Broke Reader and Your Sense of Entitlement (Part 2). To my surprise, the post went viral, was shared by Wil Wheaton, and then several of my favorite authors came by to show their support, including Dana Stabenow and Elizabeth Moon. Believe me, no one was more shocked than I was at how this post resonated with so many.

Tonight, once again, I learned of another pirate site offering several of my stories as free downloads. They do not have the right to do this. I will be contacting them and filing a DCMA notice with them, not that I think it will do much good. I’m not listing the site here because I don’t want to send more traffic to a site that is infringing upon my copyright (unless it is to share with fellow authors so they, too, can send takedown notices).

I just have to say one thing. I get that times are tough. I get that people need their escapism. It’s why I write in the first place. Or I did.

See, I haven’t published anything in the last four years. Why? Well, for starters, I’ve experienced an avalanche of personal loss since the end of 2016. (Funny how everything wrong in my life seems to coincide perfectly with the current administration, but that’s a post for another day…) I’ve jokingly said elsewhere that if I put all the things that have happened to me in one story, I’d be run out of town for such an unrealistic plot. But the truth is I’ve lost and buried more than I wish to share here, and I went into a deep dark place as a result. I worked, came home, fell into bed, got up, and went to work again. There was no creativity, no joy. I’m not saying this to beg for sympathy or even to explain my failure to finish the Sixth Sense series. It’s just a simple fact: when you are severely depressed, you might be able to function, but you can’t necessarily create. In my case, this was true.

Just when I began pulling out of this dark hole, the pandemic struck. I am an essential worker. I don’t get to stay home: I’ve had to continue to go into work with the added stress of wondering if I’m going to get exposed to a disease that would probably kill me if I caught it. Guess what? It’s hard to be creative in that environment, too. I’m not saying this to complain–I know I’m lucky to still have income coming in–I’m stating the facts.

And the fact is, even though you know in your heart that people need stories of hope and encouragement more than ever–stories that make them forget their fears–stories that end well–it’s hard to feel that anything you write could possibly matter when the world feels like its ending and everything you love is threatened. When you find out once again that something you created is being downloaded for free by a site that doesn’t give a rat’s ass if they have the right to do so or not, it’s hard to see the point in continuing to publish your work.

That’s ultimately my decision. But I have to tell you, unchecked piracy makes the likelihood of my continuing to write much, much lower.

I can’t help but wonder if Lee Child or James Patterson know their books are on this site?

And I dearly wish someone would tell Nora Roberts her books are there as well. I’d love to see that site go down in the flames of her wrath.

 

Interview with Nicky from Drama Faerie: Book 9 of the Nicky and Noah Series by Joe Cosentino

Interview with Nicky Abbondanza, the leading character in Drama Faerie, the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel by Joe Cosentino

 

Hi, Nicky! Congratulations on the release of the ninth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series.

 

Gee, thanks. I’m happier than an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar during a power outage.

 

The novels in the series have been called “laugh out loud funny,” “sexy shenanigans,” “brilliant brain teasers,” “sweet romances,” and “a combination of Murder She Wrote, The Hardy Boys, Hart to Hart, and a British farce.”

 

Stop, I’m getting a big head. Well, if you read the series, you know I’ve already got one (pun intended). Actually, I share the success of our series with the love of my life, my husband and theatre professor colleague, Noah Oliver. Also, our son Taavi, our parents, and our best friends Martin and Ruben. And of course, all the readers—who we absolutely adore!

 

Why are your books called gay cozy mysteries?

 

Because readers get cozy with Noah and me. And we like it! Our books include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a priest chasing an altar boy with a malfunctioning robe. No matter what is thrown in our path, Noah and I always end up on top. At least I end up on top, which is just fine with Noah. Many of the novels take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.

 

For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first eight novels in the series. (Nicky and Noah fans can skip to the next question.)

 

In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains at Treemeadow College, and college theatre professors Noah and I have to use our theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit while I direct the school play. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Noah and I don our gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells in my bodybuilding competition. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Noah and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as I direct a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are our both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. In Drama Luau, I am directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and Noah and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head/best friend and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In Drama Detective (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), I’m directing and ultimately co-starring with my husband Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Martin and Ruben, their sassy office assistant Shayla, my brother Tony, and our son Taavi are also in the cast. Of course dead bodies begin falling over like hammy actors at a curtain call. Once again Noah and I use our drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before we get half-baked on Baker Street. In Drama Fraternity, I’m directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring Noah, our son Taavi, Martin, and Shayla. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Noah and I once again need to use our drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before we hit the final reel. In Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), I’m 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 Noah and me to use our acting skills to figure out whodunit before we land in the dungeon. In Drama Dance (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), 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, Noah and I once again use our 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 we end up in the Christmas pudding.

 

Which brings us to your current release, Drama Faerie.

 

Now in Drama Faerie, it’s summer at Treemeadow College’s new Globe Theatre, where we are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called It Takes a Fairy for Love in the End? 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, Noah and I need to use our drama skills to figure out who is taking fencing to the extreme before we end up foiled in the forest.

 

Do you and Noah take on roles in the play?

 

I direct and co-star (as Oberon, the Faerie King) opposite my husband Noah (as Titania, the Queen of the Faeries), son Taavi (Oberon’s mischievous servant Puck), and best friend and department head Martin (Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazon). Since it is Treemeadow College after all, there are lots of comical hijinks, particularly among the theatre students cast in the show—with their muscles rippling out their tunics, and bulges expanding their tights. Gender role reversals and comical musical numbers add to the hilarity. Oh, and of course there are more murders than conservative politicians owned by the NRA. Once again Noah and I use our theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.

 

Can you give us a run down on some of the other characters?

 

Old beloved cast members are back, including my best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben, Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, my droll nemesis Detective Manuello, and our both sets of riotous parents. New characters include hunky theatre majors Ray Zhang (Demetrius), Elliot Hinton (Lysander), and graduate assistant Yates Aldrich (Lysander’s understudy). True to the play, the three guys are all hot for raven-haired Braedon Walsh (Hermia) to the chagrin of Braedon’s best friend Enoch Grayson (Helena). Rounding out the cast are punk rocker Talvin Moore (Demetrius’ understudy) who has caught the attention of Ganesh Ghosh (Titania’s boy). Add to the mix a clumsy prop girl who can’t keep the swords (or the actors) straight. Not to mention Detective Manuello (Bottom/Pyramus) may have an admirer in Associate Professor of Fencing Hank Brickman (Flute/Thisby). With Congressman Christian Evangelica determined to close down the show for including faeries and bottoms, havoc certainly ensues.

 

How would Noah describe you?

 

Noah would say I’m handsome with dark hair and long sideburns, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, muscular, smart, and charming. And my enormous manhood doesn’t hurt (or maybe it does). He’d say I have a never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. And that I am genuinely concerned for others. Finally, I’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. Oh, he’d also say I’m a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver.

 

And Noah?

 

Noah is gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted to his family and friends. He makes the perfect Watson to my Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, Noah is quite gifted at improvisation, and he creates wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. He’s also a terrific father to Taavi.

 

It’s nice to see an older couple in the series.

 

Martin Anderson (our department head and best friend) is loyal and supportive of Noah and me. His one up-man-ship with his office assistant Shayla is a riot. I’ll admit that Martin is a bit of a gossip. It’s great when Ruben keeps Martin’s theatricality in line with hysterical barbs. The older couple stay sharp by engaging in their verbal warfare, but it’s all done in deep admiration and respect. Finally, it’s wonderful to see an elderly couple so much in love, and how they can read each other like a book—no pun intended. I hope Noah and I age to become just like them.

 

Do you like Noah’s parents as much as we’re led to believe in the books?

 

Yes! They’re absolutely hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers. My parents’ goal to feed everyone and protect their children is heartwarming too. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.

 

Who was your favorite new character in Drama Faerie?

 

Sharon Delwab, our props girl, told me the most hysterically funny “horror” stories about doing props gone wild for past shows.

 

Which new character do you like the least in book nine?

 

I started out not liking Ganesh Ghosh, a young visitor from Noah’s hometown in Wisconsin. The young man definitely grew on me as I cast him in the play and helped him come out to his father. It was also great to see Ganesh fall in love with someone in the cast.

 

Which new character in book nine was the sexiest?

 

Probably sweet raven-haired Braedon Walsh (Hermia). Hunky Ray Zhang (Demetrius), Elliot Hinton (Lysander), and Yates Aldrich (Lysander understudy) couldn’t help fighting over him.

 

Tell us about Joe’s Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.

 

Noah and I aren’t in them, but they’re still really good. I guess Jana Lane whispers in Joe’s ear too. Joe 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 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. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. 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.

 

Joe’s Dreamspinner Press novellas (In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Holiday Tales from Fairyland) were so well received, winning various awards. What would you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?

 

I’d tell them that my mysteries sell just as well, and I’d ask them to give Noah and me a chance. Just try us, you’ll love us.

 

And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?

 

Cal Cozzi must whisper in Joe’s ear too. NineStar Press published Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. They are about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories of Cal and his family and the guests as Cozzi Cove, each so full of surprises. Cozzi Cove is a place where nothing is what it seems, anything can happen, and romance is everywhere. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island and reminiscent of Armistead Maupin’s Tales books.

 

How can your readers get their hands on Drama Faerie, and how can they contact you?

 

The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site. Joe tells me everything, so message me through him. I love to hear from readers! So does Noah!

 

Thank you, Nicky, for interviewing today.

 

It is my joy and pleasure to share this ninth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on faeries, bewitched lovers, an Amazon queen, a hungry Bottom, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder!

 

DRAMA FAERIE (the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

http://mybook.to/DramaFaerie

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/993418

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-faerie-joe-cosentino/1135276418?ean=2940163403288

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/drama-faerie-a-nicky-and-noah-mystery

 

 

It’s summer at Treemeadow College’s new Globe Theatre, where theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. 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 will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining ninth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on star-crossed young lovers, a faerie queen, an ass who is a great Bottom, and murder!

 

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

 

“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.” Divine Magazine

 

“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…

Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews

 

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews

 

“For fans of Joe Cosentino’s hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 

“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network

 

“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers

 

“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn’t laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books

 

“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

 

“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

 

“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

About the Author:

Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). 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 Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe’s books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

 

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Paperback: 227 pages

Language: English

Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, Shakespeare, college

Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva

 

Excerpt of Drama Faerie, the ninth Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino:

After we showered (together), we rested under our white satin sheets with our heads on our hypoallergenic pillows. Noah wrapped his legs around mine. “How do you think tech week is going so far?”

I sighed. “The same as usual. Like a mental institution during a three-alarm fire at the site of an earthquake during a world war.”

“We’re lucky to have the new theatre.”

“Thank Martin and Ruben. And the Chinese.”

He placed his head on my chest, and I ran my fingers through his hair. “You look so sexy in your Oberon costume, Nicky.”

“Right back at you as Titania.”

“And Taavi is the perfect Puck.”

“Martin and Ruben are having a blast as Hippolyta and Theseus.”

“I know! Their arguments have been even more robust than usual.”

“Don’t say the word ‘bust.’” I chuckled. “I’ll never forget the sight of Martin’s lopsided bosoms. He looked like a woman who had burned only half her bra.”

Noah smiled. “I still can’t believe Manuello is understudying Egeus and Bottom/Pyramus.”

“Neither can Manuello.”

“Dante is doing a fine job in the role, despite not knowing what his character is talking about.”

“They can probably hear him in Stratford. And he sure fills the costume.”

“Dante’s a good colleague.” Noah sat up and rested his back on the oak headboard. “Why did he leave his college in Pittsburgh?”

My ego surfaced—as usual. “It must have been to work in one of my productions.”

“At the party for the cast in the dorm last weekend, Dante had a bit too much to drink. When you were talking to a group of students, he sat beside me on a loveseat, telling me how helpful I was to him his first year at Treemeadow. And how much he likes me.”

My spine stiffened. “Did he come on to you?”

“Not really.”

I joined Noah at the headboard. “What does that mean?”

“He asked if he could somehow help me in return.”

“Did you tell him you have a husband for that?”

“I sure did.”

“Good.” I kissed his cheek. “Did he take the hint?”

Noah nodded. “But there’s something mysterious about him, as if he’s hiding some kind of secret.”

“Most people have secrets.”

“I guess.”

“He was nice enough to offer Enoch Grayson his office hour to talk.”

“About what?”

I felt like a gossip columnist on daytime television. “It seems that plain Enoch is interested in hunky Elliot Hinton and our studly grad assistant Yates Aldrich.”

“I saw the three of them at that dorm party. Our Demetrius, Ray Zang, was with them too. Elliot, Yates, and Ray all seemed interested in Enoch.”

“But according to Enoch, their ‘interest’ ended after the party.”

“I wonder why?”

“Enoch said Elliot gave him a pity lay, Ray didn’t want Elliot showing him up, and Yates saw Enoch as the closest thing he could get to his real target—Braedon Walsh.”

“How horrible!”

“College can be a rough place.”

“Nicky, aren’t Enoch and Braedon best friends since grade school?”

I nodded. “But it’s a sticky situation.” No pun intended. “It appears Elliot and Yates, and probably Ray, are fighting over cute little Braedon.”

“Which one does Braedon prefer?”

“None of them from what he told Enoch.”

“Do you think Braedon is trying to spare Enoch’s feelings?”

“Could be. Braedon’s a good friend to Enoch. He seemed really upset that Enoch was hurting, and he offered to help.”

“Did Enoch take him up on it?”

I shook my head. “Enoch threw Braedon’s popularity in his handsome face.”

Noah rubbed his forehead. “Nicky, I just realized something. Our cast member’s lives are like their characters in the play at the start of the show. Elliot and Yates who play Lysander, and Ray who is Demetrius, desire Braedon who is cast as Hermia. And nobody desires Braedon’s best friend, Enoch, who plays Hermia’s best friend Helena.”

“But the difference here is that Braedon isn’t interested in Elliot, Yates, or Ray. At least he says he’s not interested.”

“Nicky, a professor with a mysterious past, a college student enamored of three other students who all have eyes for the student’s best friend.” Noah rested his knees against his chest. “Secrets, unrequited love, jealousy. They’re all motives for murder.”

I pulled Noah down, and spooned him into my chest. “I hope that doesn’t happen.”

“Me too. Good night, Nicky.”

“Good night, Noah.”

As we lay together drifting off to sleep, I wondered who in our cast or crew would turn out to be a murderer.

Will There Ever Be A Conclusion to The Sixth Sense Series?

I’m going to be completely honest here. I know it’s been four years since Truth and Consequences was released, the third book in the Sixth Sense series. I know I left things on a bit of a cliffhanger, something I didn’t foresee being a problem because I was working on the final installment, Deal with the Devil. I had every intention of finishing that book and the series in 2017. But several things happened all at the same time, all of which impacted my ability to write.

I had multiple deaths and losses in the family. They began in 2017 and continued well into 2018. Communities I relied on for support closed. Our current administration here in the US seems hell-bent (and I don’t use that term lightly) on destroying or reversing all gains made in civil rights, healthcare, and environmental protections in the last fifty years, threatening everything I believe in and those I love. The planet is on fire and our long-term prognosis is grim. My health took a beating and I fell into a well of chronic pain and depression.

It all seemed so pointless, you know?

But there was one other factor I haven’t mentioned, and that was the fact my spidey senses were tingling over the situation at Dreamspinner Press. Royalty statements, and then payments themselves started coming later and later, always with plausible excuses until you started compiling them all. How could so many things conspire to prevent a business from, well, doing business? Hurricanes, software issues, bank problems, delays getting checks in the mail, delays in the server making the switch to direct deposits, difficulties in the transition from quarterly to monthly payments… I confess, I was mired in my own issues and chose to ignore the elephant in the room, especially since I wasn’t actively writing for them. But I heard whisperings and rumblings behind the scenes. Someone I knew who is a brilliant author subbed to DSP, and was treated–in my opinion–very shabbily in a manner that seemed intended to put her off publishing altogether. (Shortly after that, DSP closed to open submissions, instead concentrating only on specific lines within their press) I’d had my own battle royale when assigned a new editor with my last DSP book, who seemed to have merely run my manuscript through an editing program demanding changes both arbitrary and without adding meaning or clarity to the story. I ended up requesting assignment to another editor.

And subconsciously at first, these events added to my feeling I couldn’t finish the Sixth Sense series. Later, when I began thinking about writing and publishing Deal with the Devil on my own, I realized Dreamspinner had first right of refusal to the characters, and so again, my motivation to complete the series withered on the vine.

Then the payments ceased to come altogether. I’ve received one payment from DSP in all of 2019. In October, I made the difficult decision to pull my titles from Dreamspinner Press and take back the rights to my stories. Dreamspinner gave me my first shot at being a published author. I owed them a lot. But they are also a business, and they violated their end of the contract with me. And the last thing I wanted was for them to declare bankruptcy holding the rights to my titles, which would then become assets in settling their debts.

It’s not just me. You should read this Publisher’s Weekly article.

I’ll be blunt: I didn’t have the spoons to repackage and self-publish my backlist. I’d done a little self-publishing before, but these books needed re-editing and to have the specialized formatting stripped out. Some needed new covers. I didn’t have the funds or the juice to do all this, and yet I hated the thought of all those years of work just lying on my hard drive with nothing to show for it. So I did the work, got the titles back up, fought with the third party vendors still hosting my stories to TAKE THEM DOWN, and got them into Kindle Unlimited for the first time ever.

And now, am discovering they are selling. Better than they had in DSP’s hands for the last few years.

Slowly my mood toward these stories–and my writing in general–has begun to change. I’m no longer sad over my personal losses, and terrified of the direction this country is going in. I’m no longer sad that Dreamspinner is having trouble and looks to be in danger of closing.

I’m mad. Pissed off. Livid.

And you know what? I’m not going to let depression, or DSP, or anything else thwart me from finishing this series. It may not be the best thing I ever write, and I can’t promise when it will be released but by God, I will finish Deal with the Devil and give closure to the Sixth Sense series.

I will not go down without a fight.

 

Sarah Madison Titles are now in KU!

Wow! I hardly know how to announce this except to get right to the point: for the first time EVER nearly all of my works are now available in KU! That’s right, you heard me–almost everything I’ve written: The award-winning Fool’s Gold and The Boys of Summer, The Sixth Sense series, and Holiday House Swap are all available in Kindle Unlimited.

You can find the links on Amazon here.

I’d love it if you could spread the word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crying for the Moon is available again on Amazon

I’m so pleased to share this announcement with you! Crying for the Moon has received a new cover and is now back on Amazon for just $2.99! Don’t you just love this cover??

 

Also, looking for a little light holiday read? Holiday House Swap is also just $2.99 for a limited time. Enjoy!

The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series now available on Amazon

Just a brief update: I’ve got The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series back up for sale on Amazon–at only $3.99 if you know someone who has been waiting patiently for a reduced price!

I’d appreciate help in getting the word out–also, if you notice something wrong with the files, please, PLEASE let me know. I’ve only done a little self-publishing, and it doesn’t come easily to me yet. If I’ve screwed up, I want to fix it!

Also, for some reason, the digital versions of these stories aren’t showing up on my author page on Amazon, only the print copies. I’m trying to get Amazon to fix it, though!

Other titles to follow.

The Boys of Summer

The Sixth Sense Series


Unspeakable Words

 

Walk A Mile

Truth and Consequences

A Brief Update on the Status of Sarah Madison Books

Just a quick word to let people know the current status of my stories. I’ve received back the rights for the stories contracted to Dreamspinner Press and am currently removing inactive links from the website, as well as putting my titles back up for sale on various outlets. Some of the works will need new covers, some will probably need re-editing. All of this takes time and energy, which I only have in short supply. But I promise, I will get the titles back up as soon as possible, on the off chance you’re coming to this site hopeful of a purchase. 🙂

I’m also giving serious consideration to dropping my Facebook pages. I have marked reservations with the way Facebook runs its business, including the data collection on its users and the disregard for the truth in its advertising. I’d long ago decided FB would never get another dime from me, but while I suspect deleting my account wouldn’t affect them in the slightest, it’s one of the only measures I can take in protest of their unrestricted actions.

As such, you might want to consider either subscribing to this blog or my newsletter, should you want to keep up with updates on potential releases, sales, and news items.

Cutting ties with Dreamspinner and the future of Sarah Madison Fiction

This has been a hard post to write. So much so, I’ve put off doing it time and again.

Earlier this month, I made the difficult decision to ask for a reversion of rights for my stories with Dreamspinner Press. The decision was made for a variety of reasons, not the least of which concerns my own struggle to continue writing MM romance.

Were it not for Dreamspinner Press taking a chance on me and publishing Unspeakable Words back in 2010, I doubt I would be a published author today. I can’t believe it’s been almost nine years to the day. But the truth of the matter is I haven’t subbed anything to DSP in years, and now seems to be the right time to end our association. It was not a decision I made lightly. I do not have any hard feelings toward DSP, just a sense of regret, the way one does when a chapter in your life closes.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be getting back all my DSP titles. The plan is to re-edit, re-cover (if needed) and re-publish, though I confess, that looms before me as a daunting task when I have so little spoons to work with these days. It is also a financial outlay that I can ill-afford and not likely to give me a huge ROI on books that have been out for years.There is a strong probability I will be putting some of these titles in KU, though that remains to be seen.

If I sound discouraged, I am. To be honest, I don’t know what this means for writing future books under the Sarah Madison name. I’ve been promising for years now I would finish the Sixth Sense series and give it closure, but as you can see, that hasn’t happened despite all my best intentions. And the dissolution of my relationship with DSP will probably slow that timetable down once again.

By 2020, it will have been ten years since the release of the first edition of Unspeakable Words. It would be nice to end the series within a decade! But I have to accept the fact I can’t make promises any more.

I’m not certain what this means for my writing in general. Publishing is a hard business, especially if I’m in the longest publishing drought of my life. Perhaps the answer is to try my hand at something new, a different genre, a different kind of storytelling. Perhaps the answer is to accept the closing of this door and call it done.

But I’m a storyteller at heart. Even if I stop publishing, I won’t stop writing. It may just be stories I write for my own amusement, but I’ll still keep writing.

My biggest apologies to the fans of the Sixth Sense series who have begged for the final installment. I promised and I haven’t delivered. I’d like to believe I’ll still get there–I want to give Lee and Flynn their ultimate HEA as much as you want to read it–but I’m running a few quarts low on faith these days.