Hi everyone. I’m so happy to get to be here today to celebrate the release of The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean, book one in a new series of cozy mysteries. These stories revolve around a shy, awkward researcher at a university in central California who investigates histories mysteries and in the process gets himself and his friends involved in murders.
It’s funny that I wrote a book that involves the true identity of Shakespeare (one of those histories mysteries) and then moved to Ashland, Oregon, the home of the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’m thrilled with my new homes and one of the reasons is that I love plays. I studied theater in college and intended to pursue it as a career until I was diverted into writing, which I loved even more. But I thought I’d share some of my favorite plays. Some of these are faves because they’re truly great literature, and some are just fun to watch. In a few cases, a works appearance on this list might have something to do with the performance I saw, rather than the play itself. This is in no particular order —
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – I think this play is so amazingly funny, witty and clever that I’ve seen in many, many times and read it an equal number. When Cecily and Gwendolyn discuss the spade I lose it every time.
- Noises Off by Michael Frayn – I saw this the first time in New York and knew nothing about it going in. Wow, was I surprised! This play is so funny, you literally can’t laugh hard enough. The movie is okay, but the wonder of the play is seeing the wild ass sight gags and physical comedy happening in front of your eyes.
- Copenhagen by Michael Frayn – This play is in dramatic contrast to the last and written by the same great playwright. Copenhagen is based on an imagining of an actual event that occurred in 1941 when two Nobel Laureates met to discuss the atomic bomb. Chilling! And amazing.
- A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams – I love almost every play of Williams so I somewhat arbitrarily picked one. The astonishing characters in Streetcar, especially the amazing Blanche, make this play, whether seen or read, unforgettable. And, of course, Williams explored the challenges and sometimes horrors of being gay in his era in plays like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer and others.
- Tartuffe by Moliere – If you can find a good performance of any Moliere play, run don’t walk! A genius at mixing comedy with dark and meaningful themes, Moliere amazes me in every performance.
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare – Who can choose? I love most Shakespearean plays whether presented in their traditional formats or updated in time and setting. I’ve seen Shakespeare in Nazi Germany, 1930’s Harlem, on Wall Street and main street. It can all be fantastic if well done.
- 7. Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser, Damon Runyon, etc. I love a lot of the classic musicals so I’m picking this one as a representative sample. They also made this into a wonderful film although the music was changed some. The story of the slicker than slick gambler and the Salvation Army “dame” is classic.
- Medea by Euripedes – I adore the Greek playwrights although we don’t get a lot of chance to see their works performed these days. Medea is again a representative example, but she is so histrionic and passionate, the play is always super memorable.
I can go on and on, but these are a few plays that have rocked me over the years. What are yours?
A cozy mystery with a tongue-tied nerd of a history professor tempted by a gorgeous graduate student and millions of dollars if he can solve one of history’s greatest mysteries — who was Shakespeare really?
The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean
by Tara Lain
Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford-who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.
It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.
Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case-or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.
When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise…
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Goose bumps on top of goose bumps.
traveled out along his nerves from the soothing touch of Blaise’s hand until
the hairs on his arm weren’t the only things standing up. Why did Blaise just
turn his whole existence upside down? When Blaise was around, Llewellyn wanted
things it was stupid for him to want. Things that only happened to the special,
lucky guys. Forever things.
spite of himself, he sighed and slowly lowered his head to Blaise’s shoulder.
dropped his cheek against Llewellyn’s hair. For minutes they just sat like
that, their beer bottles dripping on the coffee table. Weirdly, it was the most
peaceful moment Llewellyn had experienced in… at least days. Since that fateful
night when he’d first seen Blaise dancing.
Blaise slipped a hand under Llewellyn’s chin and turned his head toward him.
Almost like he was stealing his breath, he moved his lips ever so slowly toward
Llewellyn’s, pausing a half inch away. Llewellyn’s lips quivered, the scent of
the beer they’d both drunk filling his head. Dear God, could he climax just
from the anticipation of kissing Blaise?
finally their lips touched. Softer than Marie’s fur.
bam! Blaise grabbed Llewellyn’s head
and devoured his mouth like a five-course banquet menu.
silly analogy used in novels, that people went up in flames—not silly anymore.
Llewellyn’s nervous system overloaded before Blaise’s tongue had even explored
the deeper recesses in his mouth. He heard himself moaning and whimpering.
Embarrassing, but he couldn’t stop.
brain knew there was something off about Blaise. Some truth that needed
exploring. He didn’t care. He wanted to delude himself all the way to the
bedroom. He’d trade his greed to know the answers for a night in Blaise’s arms.
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels, Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.
You can find Tara at Lain