Joe Cosentino is a very welcome guest here at the blog, an old friend popping along to visit us with details of his new release, published a few days ago, set in the mystery/comedy/romance world of Nicky and Noah. I love having Joe come to visit! And this time he’s brought along Noah, one of his leading characters, for an interview with the press me. In this book, Joe’s taken one of my favourite plays, added the twist of a love potion and serious swordplay – do check out the delicious pun in the book’s blurb about that! – and it sounds like great fun. Read on for more.
There’s a lot here today, so do use this list to help you through:
About DRAMA FAERIE
the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery – a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
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!
Paperback: 227 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, Shakespeare, college
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
Release Day: February 1, 2020
Buy DRAMA FAERIE
Interview with Noah Oliver
a leading character in Drama Faerie, the 9th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel by Joe Cosentino
Hi, Noah. Congratulations on the release of the ninth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series.
Thank you! I’d like to thank the academy… Actually, I’d like to thank the loves of my life: my husband and son. I couldn’t have done it without Nicky and Taavi. And they couldn’t have done it without me!
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.”
All true! So many readers love them. And we love the readers right back!
Why are your books called gay cozy mysteries?
Because readers get cozy with Nicky 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 (as Nicky would say) a priest chasing an altar boy with a malfunctioning robe. No matter what is thrown in our path, Nicky and I always end up on top. At least Nicky ends up on top, which is just fine with me. 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 Nicky 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) Nicky 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. Nicky 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 yours truly 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, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and we 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), Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with me 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, Nicky’s 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 Nicky 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, Nicky is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring me, 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, Nicky 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), Nicky is directing a historical film co-starring moi 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 Nicky 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, Nicky 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, Nicky 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 Nicky take on roles in the play?
Nicky directs and co-stars (as Oberon, the Faerie King) opposite me (as Titania, the Queen of the Faeries), our son Taavi (Oberon’s mischievous servant Puck), and our 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 (as Nicky would say) conservative politicians owned by the NRA. Once again Nicky 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 our best friends the comically cantankerous Martin and Ruben, Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s 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.
I’m sure you’ve been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.
Many many times. Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! Joe has written a teleplay pilot of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!
How would you cast the TV series?
Here’s Joe’s wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, Joe himself as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as Nicky’s brother, Tony.
How would Nicky describe you?
Nicky would say I’m gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted to my family and friends. He’d also say I make the perfect Watson to his Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) And he’d say I have a heart larger than a televangelist’s mansion. Finally, Nicky would say I’m quite gifted at improvisation, and I can create wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. Finally, he’d say I’m a terrific father to Taavi. Takes one to know one.
And how would you describe Nicky?
Nicky is handsome with dark hair and long sideburns, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, muscular, smart, and charming. His enormous manhood doesn’t hurt (or maybe it does at first). I love his never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. And also that he is genuinely concerned for others. Finally, Nicky will do anything to solve a murder mystery. Like me, he’s a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is me.
It’s nice to see an older couple in the series.
Martin Anderson (our department head and best friend) is loyal and supportive of Nicky 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 Nicky and I age to become just like them.
Do you love Nicky’s parents as much as he loves yours?
Yes! They’re absolutely hilarious. And very loud! I love Nicky’s mother’s gambling on the sly, and his father’s dislike for any pastries but his own. Both sets of our parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.
Do you realize how similar you are to your father?
We’re both amateur sleuths, and we drive like maniacs. But I could never watch all those movies!
Who was your favorite new character in Drama Faerie?
Obviously Ganesh Ghosh, who I babysat back in Wisconsin when he was a kid. I was so pleased that Ganesh turned out to be a handsome, well-mannered young man who loves the theatre. I was also thrilled when he found first love in our show, and came out to his father.
Which new character do you like the least in book nine?
Congressman Christian Evangelica. His name says it all.
Which new character in book nine was the sexiest?
It’s a three-way (no pun intended, as Nicky would say) tie between hunky Ray Zhang (Demetrius), Elliot Hinton (Lysander), and Yates Aldrich (Lysander understudy).
How does Joe find the time to be a college professor/department head and do all this writing?
Nicky and I keep him up nights, whispering ideas into his ear until he writes.
Tell us about Joe’s Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
Nicky 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 as books and audiobooks, 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 not to hurt Nicky’s and my feelings and give us try. I’ll bet they love us too!
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 here. Joe’s contact links, including his website are here. Joe tells us everything, so message us through him. I love to hear from readers! So does Nicky!
Thank you, Noah, for interviewing today.
It is our 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!
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
The silver starlight cast its enchanted glow on a forest in Athens, Greece. Faeries in G-strings and garlands made of multicolored flowers bend over the resting Queen of the Faeries as they sing a rousing “It’s All Greek To Me.” A Greek horos turns into a hip shaking Calypso number. After the climax, the exhausted faeries become covered in a puff of smoke, which rapidly increases in volume. The disappearing faeries hack and gasp for air.
“Stop! We aren’t doing Summer and Smoke people.” It’s me, Nicky Abbondanza, PhD, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a cozy Edwardian white stone college surrounded by a cozy lake and cozy mountains in a cozy tree-laden town in cozy white church-steepled Vermont. Cozy, huh? I’m tall, with dark hair and long sideburns, emerald eyes, and olive skin thanks to my parents’ genes—which, like Dorothy, live with my folks in Kansas. Thanks to the gym on campus, I’m pretty muscular. My sense of humor has been called snide, snarky, and cocky. Ah, speaking of cocky, I have a nearly foot-long penis. Just thought I’d throw that out there. Well, not literally. However, I have used that little, or should I say not so little, endowment to help me solve some of my previous cases. I’m not a detective…exactly. I’m what cozy mystery readers call an armchair detective or amateur sleuth, having solved eight mass murder cases that stumped local detectives in Alaska, Hawaii, Scotland, and of course at Treemeadow College.
Treemeadow was named after its original founders, gay couple Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow, who are enshrined in statues at the college’s entrance—right under the dive-bomber pigeons. Following in our founder’s bronze footsteps are my best friend and department head, Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, and his longtime husband, Ruben Markinson. Ditto for my hubby, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, and yours truly. Why am I sitting on an uncomfortable wooden bench watching student technicians repair an overactive smoke machine on the stage above me?
Martin had an idea to build a replica of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan Globe Theatre on a barren piece of land in our college campus. After doing some research, he found a grant from a business in China supporting Global Awareness projects. Incorrectly assuming the grant was to build a Globe Theatre, Martin threatened to hide Ruben’s diapers until Ruben filled out the application. Ruben, the retired CEO of a gay rights organization, as a master grant writer, secured the grant, which will culminate in a visit from the Chinese donors to observe Treemeadow’s progress in “world relations.” Martin’s response to this piece of news was, “Since they don’t speak English, we can tell them the play fosters better global relations.” I explained that many business people in China speak English. Martin retorted, “Most people who speak English don’t understand Shakespeare.”
Since our premiere production in the new space performs in the summertime, we selected A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Martin wanted to set the play in the back room at Republican Party headquarters after they hired male strippers to celebrate the party’s (no pun intended) latest anti-gay legislation. When I, as play director, nixed that idea, Martin pitched a Mormon elders secret initiation meeting, or a seminary shower room during a blackout. I opted instead for the authentic Elizabethan approach, where male actors play all the roles, both male and female characters, just like in the days of Shakespeare. After Martin threatened to give me an eight-a.m. class every semester for the rest of my life, I agreed to let Martin add original songs to the production, rendering our show A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the musical, or as Martin calls it, You Need a Faerie for Love in the End.
Having rehearsed for a month, we are now in tech week. That’s the hallowed time when we put all the elements of the show together—acting, song, dance, costumes, props, sets, music, lighting, special effects—culminating in a nervous breakdown for yours truly.
I am playing Oberon, aptly named King of the Faeries. As for my costume, I can tell you first-hand that G-strings itch, silver satin drapes fall off, cellophane wings poke into people (making fast enemies), and a huge crown gives you a huge headache. My gorgeous husband Noah is Titania, Queen of the Faeries (pun intended). Our adopted son from Hawaii, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule (try saying that three times fast with your mouth full of poi), threatened to report us to Child Protection Services if I didn’t cast him as Puck, trickster servant to Oberon. At only twelve years old, since our son has been with us, he’s acted in two movies, a Broadway musical, and a ballet. At this point, in order to get Taavi to eat his breakfast, Noah and I need to ask for his autograph. He’s definitely one of the family.
“How’s my faerie king holding up?” Noah sat next to me, looking scrumptious with his marine blue eyes and peaches and cream skin surrounded by a long blond wig. At thirty-four, Noah is seven years younger than me, but who’s counting years? Now that I’m over forty, I am! He hugged me, and our faerie wigs collided—a hazard of the faerie trade.
I rested my head on my husband’s soft shoulder and basked in the scent of his strawberry shampoo. “What time is it?”
“Ten o’clock. Two hours before faeries roam the theatre.”
“Faeries roam the theatre morning, noon, and night.” I glanced around. “Especially this theatre.”
Noah arranged the silver satin woodsy gown around his long legs. “I like playing your faerie queen.” He giggled. “On stage and off.”
“You know I’d have it no other way.”
He nuzzled his face into the fold at my neck. “Tell me about it.”
“You’re the love of my life, the perfect Watson to my Holmes.” We shared a kiss, which brought me back to consciousness.
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