Please welcome first-time guest Frank Anthony Polito. Frank is here in support of his cozy mystery Rehearsed to Death, the second book in his Domestic Partners in Crime series which just came out on May 23.
One lucky commenter will win a copy hot off the presses. See details below.
Take it away, Frank!
Hello! Since this is my first-ever guest post on The Wickeds, and since I’m relatively new to the world of cozy mysteries as a writer, I thought I’d introduce myself. My name is Frank Anthony Polito. I’m the author of the “quozy” (queer cozy) series, Domestic Partners in Crime, published by Kensington. I live in the Detroit suburb of Pleasant Ridge with my real-life domestic partner, Craig, and our two rescue dogs, Clyde and Jack, who both make appearances in my cozy mysteries.
As of this writing, there are two novels in the series: Renovated to Death and Rehearsed to Death (on sale May 23, 2023). The books feature a queer millennial couple, Peter “PJ” Penwell and John Paul “JP” Broadway, who renovate old houses as part of their hit TV show “Domestic Partners” and, of course, help solve a murder in their quaint little Michigan town.
Long before I was a writer, though, I had dreams of being a famous actor. I studied Theatre at Wayne State University, which is where I met Craig, and together we moved to New York City in our mid-20s. Sadly, my biggest claim to fame was working as a glorified extra in the movie “One True Thing” in a scene where I served salad to Meryl Streep. (She was suuuper nice!) But once I realized my acting career was never going to take off, I decided to try my hand at playwriting. After receiving my MFA from Carnegie Mellon, I was given the opportunity to adapt a play that I’d written, based on my own life growing up as a gay teen in the totally awesome ’80s, into my first novel, Band Fags!
But back to Domestic Partners in Crime…
When my editor approached me to write the cozy series, Craig and I were once again living in Michigan, after leaving New York City in 2013. When we first moved back, we chronicled our home-buying experience on the hit HGTV show “House Hunters.” This is what sparked the idea for Renovated to Death, since Craig and I thought it would be super fun to have our own HGTV show on which we renovate our 1924 Craftsman Colonial. (Almost 10 years later, we’re still not finished!)
But for book 2, I wanted to show another side of the couple and their lives. Since JP is also an actor, and PJ started his writing career as a playwright, in Rehearsed to Death they are on hiatus from their TV show. They use their time off to return to the world of the Theatre, when they produce a play that PJ has written, and JP is the star.
One of the fun things about being a cozy mystery author is incorporating your other skills/talents/hobbies into the world of your main character(s) and sharing with your readers a glimpse into this other world. While I haven’t done any acting or had a play of mine produced for quite some time, it was a lot of fun to dive into the backstage drama of the story…and to kill off the diva director, who may or may not be based on an actual Theatre director whom I once worked with, once upon a time.
How about you readers? Have you worked on your own home renovation projects and how did it go for you? Or…have you been involved in any sort of theatrical productions, be it community-based or professional? Please share your stories with me in the comments for a chance to win a copy of my latest cozy, Rehearsed to Death. One winner (sorry, from US or Canada only) will be chosen within 2 days of this posting.
About Frank Anthony Polito
Frank Anthony Polito is an award-winning author and playwright. He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon and a BFA in Theatre from Wayne State.
Frank resides in Pleasant Ridge, MI with his partner, Craig, and their two dogs, Clyde and Jack. Readers can visit him at www.frankanthonypolito.com
About Rehearsed to Death
Peter’s first play is having its world premiere at Pleasant Woods’s community theater. His handsome one and only, JP, has the lead. Rehearsals have begun. And New York City’s award-winning, hotshot helmer, Xander Sherwood Deva, is directing. Unfortunately, the controlling, arrogant, poison-barbed, egomaniacal diva has everyone on edge. No wonder he finally pushes someone over it . . .
Xander is found strangled to death in the same extra-long, imported cashmere scarf he’s been brandishing like a boa ever since he arrived. In the name of making art, he’s burned a lot of bridges and made a lot of enemies but which one wanted to bring down the curtain on him?
SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES
BUY LINKS FOR REHEARSED TO DEATH
No house renovation and no claim to fame. I did get to meet della reese on a movie set.
No worries! But how fun to be on a movie set with Della Reese. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
I read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. Looking forward to book #2.
Hello! Thanks so much for reading my first-ever cozy mystery. Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂
Welcome to the blog, Frank! I’m delighted to have you here, and I love the premise of your series! Am to order the first book.
I live with my own domestic partner, who renovates antique houses. He has renovated down to the studs two homes (one built in 1780, and the latest one, built in 1890) while we were living in them, so I know the taste of dry wall dust!
I always thought I wanted to act in community theater when I retired, but since I’ve been a full-time fiction author for a decade now, it appears I will never retire, lol.
Hi, Edith. What an honor to have you comment on my guest post here. Thanks so much! Recently, I read your Maddie Day “Murder on Cape Cod” and enjoyed it very much. Sounds like your partner is pretty handy, which is always a nice thing to be when living in an old house. If you ever get the chance to get involved with your local community theatre, I highly recommend it. Maybe you could even adapt one of your cozies for them to produce as a stage play? Just a thought 🙂
Good morning Frank! Always glad to meet a new to me author.
Although we haven’t actually done a home renovation, we have over years found out what we did not like or what didn’t work for our needs in our two past homes. When we decided to downsize and move to our dream destination in the Ozark Mountains, we actually drew up our own floor plans putting in what we had to have, what we wanted but never had before and left out all the negatives from the other homes. Now over 6 years later, we can’t think of a thing we would change. It was a matter of learning from the past and being able to dream about the future that made it all possible.
Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Rehearsed to Death”, which sounds wonderful. I’d love the opportunity to read and review it.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Hi, Kay. Thanks for reading my post and commenting. How wonderful that you’re now living in your dream home after all those years! While we do love our home, there are several items on our wish list that it lacks, so I envy your being able to build the perfect house.
Frank, your book sounds like a hoot! We have a lot in common. I was an actor and then began writing plays, eventually transitioning to TV with my performing itch scratched by improvisation, namely Theatresports. (I’m a protege of the late Keith Johnstone.) Congrats on the release and best of luck with it!
Thanks, Ellen! I envy your TV writing experience. It’s something I’ve always aspired to do. I see that you wrote for a favorite show of mine, Rita Rocks. Stan Zimmerman is a fellow Michigander, and we’ve met and keep in touch via social media. Small world 🙂
FRANK: Welcome to the Wickeds, and it’s great to meet a new author.
No home renos stories for me since I have been a lifelong renter.
What has been hardest & easiest part of moving from playwriting to writing quozy mysteries?
Hi Grace! Great to meet you here too. There is something to be said for renting, especially when you need to have something fixed — and someone else will do it for you 🙂 Craig and I rented for years in New York City. Back then, we never thought we’d own our home someday. It’s still hard to believe sometimes. As for moving from playwriting to quozy mysteries, I think the hardest part has been coming up with all the required extra words that it takes when writing a novel, compared to a play. It’s also harder to be “theatrical” in a novel, and things like using repetition and heightened language don’t always go over well with readers.
Hi, and congratulations on your new release! I was involved in semi-professional theater here in Portland, OR as a stage manager, for about 25 years. I loved (almost) every minute of it, and have way too many stories to tell. Looking forward to reading the book!
Thanks so much! I appreciate your reading my post and commenting. I do miss the Theatre, but not all the backstage drama 🙂
Years ago I replaced the interior siding on our porch. It was a small job so no problems
Hi, Sandy! Good for you getting that job done without any issues. I find that even the smallest projects take waaay longer than I think they will. “There’s always something” has become a personal mantra of mine over my years of home renovating 🙂
Welcome to the blog, Frank! I love your photos and wish you would have gotten that HGTV show! I loved acting in high school. I look forward to reading your books. Thanks for joining us!
Hi, Sherry! Thanks for your comment. *I* wish we would’ve gotten that HGTV show too 🙂 But then I suppose I would’ve never started writing cozy mysteries, and we wouldn’t be here right now 🙁
Congratulations Frank!! You have had a very exciting life…Your renovation mystery series sounds intriguing, and we watch HGTV all the time, and may have even seen the episode that featured you! How fun to play alongside Merryl Streep! My wife and I have moved so much, so we have both had homes built, and others renovated. One of those homes was a Craftsman, and we loved it. As far as theater, I grew up performing in school plays in my native Chile, and then carried on when I came to the USA as a teenager. I love acting, and have auditioned for TV shows, but gotten close…but no cigar. Now the acting tradition has passed on to my grandkids. All 3 are child actors, and have appeared in numerous commercials, and my 12-year-old granddaughter usually plays the lead in her community theater musicals. We are going to go see her in MOANA next weekend. FUN! We only read cozies, and are so glad to be introduced to you by my friends the Wickeds!! All the best! luis at ole dot travel
Hello! Nice to hear from you here. I think everyone should give acting, or being involved in the Theatre, a try at some point in their lives. It’s a fun way to build community and be part of something that is fun and fulfilling. How exciting for your grandchildren! Children make for the best actors because they are less inhibited than we adults and know how to just have fun 🙂
Congratulations on your second release! Sounds like quite the hoot.
Always wanted to do community theater, but all have only offered musicals and believe me when I say I could empty a house! Home reno? Oh, my. Redid the kitchen in my first house while living there. Eat my dust became a mantra. The cool thing? I removed the wall installed air conditioning units – discovered the original builder used newspaper to fill the empty spaces around the units. The papers were flexible enough to read. Who cared about those holes in the wall when you could read all the news (and even better – the ads) from 1950!
Thanks for your comment, Kait. I love musicals, but while I can carry a tune I never felt confident enough as a singer to play a leading role. Isn’t it great the things you find hidden in the walls when renovating an old house? I love those old ads from the 1950s!
No home reno or theater projects for me, but my son & daughter-in-law have both in their lives. They are slowly renovating their house, currently saving up to update their large kitchen & dining area. In addition, my daughter-in-law has a degree in theater and works with local theater companies on set design.
The books sound like fun!
Hi, Judith! So you are home renovation and Theatre adjacent? Nice! Thanks for reading my post and leaving your comment 🙂
Hello, Frank! Your dogs are adorable. And I live in Pittsburgh, so I’m very familiar with Carnegie Mellon!
Our house in Pittsburgh was build in 1927, so yeah, very, VERY familiar with home renovation. Almost 25 years later, my hubby decided we’d basically made this into the house he always envisioned – so of course we bought a vacation home in Ligonier, built in the 1950s, that we are in the middle of, you guessed it, renovating!
Gluttons for punishment, that’s us.
Hi, Liz! I absolutely loved living in Pittsburgh and will be back there on Sunday 6/11/23 for a mini cozy con at the Oakmont Library, hosted by Mystery Lovers Bookshop. If you’re free, please stop by. Several of us cozy authors will be there 🙂 Best of luck with the current renovations on your 1950s home. Mid-century is my favorite style after 1920s.
I’ve seen the ads – I’ll try to stop by since I don’t live that far from Oakmont.
welcome frank and congrats on the second book. I have never done anything in the theatre or renovations. your are braver than i am.
fruitcrmble AT comcast DOT net
Thanks so much! I appreciate your reading my post and saying hello here 🙂
Oh, I love the premise of this series. Gotta get to my indie bookseller (Aaron’s in Lititz, PA) to order the books. Sure would love to win one, tho’! I won’t say I truly renovated any house we’ve lived in, but I sure have done a lot of fixing up! I’ve stripped enough wallpaper to cover the Louvre, painted enough to cover Boston. Did a lot of repairs along the way. Mostly I enjoyed it. However, I discovered I had a more blue vocabulary that I was aware of.
Hi, Ginny! Don’t even get me started on wallpaper stripping. Right now I’m in the midst of using a steamer to strip the walls of our home office room, after discovering the previous owners had painted over old wallpaper that, from the looks of it, dates waaay back to 1924. To top it off, the plaster beneath isn’t finished, so next we’ll need to have a top coat applied. Thankfully, my brother-in-law is a professional plasterer 🙂
Congrats on book two!
When I was in eighth grade, my family added on to our house. But I haven’t been involved in any home renovations since then. My parents hired contractors, so it was a few months of work, but nothing that dragged out too long.
I was involved in a couple of plays in college, just in the chorus, but it was a lot of fun. I wish I had the time to be more involved.
(No need to enter me in the giveaway.)
Thanks, Mark! I think hiring out renovation work is the way to go, if you can. Will save you lots of stress. But there is something satisfying in finishing a job all by yourself…it can just take a while 🙂
Our home reno was this past winter and now Spring.. The ensuite bathroom, minor powder room, and kitchen. Can hardly wait for it to be completed. Love the sweet dogs. Both my daughters love acting in school plays and one is extremely talented. Can hardly wait to enjoy your books. Best wishes.
Hi, Laini! Thanks so much for your comment. That feeling you get when a home reno is completed…priceless! I hope yours is done sooner than later. We’ve been working on our house for what feels like for-ever 🙁 Tell your daughters I said “Break a leg!” on their next school play, whenever that may be. Hope you do enjoy the books. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you ever get around to reading them.
Hi and welcome! My husband does all our house renovations. Never had any problems, thankfully! Our kids help him so its a win for me. HA!
Congratulations on the book! Thanks for the chance! You are a new author to me.
Thanks so much, B! Happy to be here 🙂 Good for you getting your kids to help the hubby out with your home renos. I actually don’t mind doing the work. It’s getting motivated that’s the hard part for me. Glad I’m finally on your radar as an author. I’ve been publishing novels now for 15 years. Hard to believe. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. I will be stripping wallpaper in our home office 🙁
Hello, I guess you can say I was part of a remodel project My husband and I bought an unused dance hall, had it moved to our property, set it on a foundation and made it into a home. Although it was two stories high, there was no second floor. The building had been built in the 1930’s which meant it had been well crafted. Since it was a dance hall, the floors were all hardwood. We had to insulate, sheetrock, divide into rooms, have plumbing put in since there was none, repair windows. So I know about double headers for doors, how to calculate stairs since we did set up a floor for the second floor. We used local stone from a stream and a metal rim from an antique wagon wheel for the support for a woodstove. We found and old screenhouse on a local cranberry bog from the same era, bought it and used its lumber for the second floor of the house. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Wow. Just wow. Thanks for reading my post and sharing your story. Definitely does sound like the experience of a lifetime 🙂