I am frankly awed by my friend Joe. He is the hardest worker I know. If I had one tenth of his commitment and energy, I’d have rather more books to my name than I have right now! I’m awed, Joe is awesome.
Today he’s sent along one of his two great characters, Noah Oliver, to sit in the hot seat and answer questions. I have always said that characters take on a life of their own…
An Interview with Noah Oliver
from Joe Cosentino’s Drama Christmas, the eleventh Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
Noah, you are the gay Watson!
I thought Watson was gay.
Congratulations on the release of the eleventh novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series.
Thank you. Nicky and I are donning our gay apparel and making the yuletide gay.
Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.
Nicky says I’m tall, with silky golden blond hair, true-blue eyes, milk and honey skin, and a body he loves to hold all night long. Nicky is tall with dark hair and sexy long sideburns, a cleft chin I love to kiss, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a muscular body thanks to the gym on campus (he calls a masochists’ market). And Nicky has a huge heart. Oh, another of his organs is huge. And that’s just fine with me.
Tell us about Drama Christmas, the eleventh novel in your popular, award-winning series.
In Drama Christmas Nicky directs and play Bob Crotchitch in an original musical version of A Christmas Carol, Call Me Carol, at Treemeadow College. Since I threatened him with divorce and our son Taavi threatened to take a picture of him with bedhead, Nicky cast me as Scrooge’s Nephew Freddy and Taavi as Tiny Tim. Our best friend, Department Chair Martin Anderson, threatened to give us both 8 a.m. classes if Nicky didn’t cast him as Scrooge/Carol and Martin’s husband Ruben Markinson as Marley/Ghost of the Lover of the Past. Martin’s sassy office assistant, Shayla Johnson, said she’d glue our office doors closed if Nicky didn’t cast her as Scrooge’s Housekeeper. Nicky also cast his favorite target, Detective Manuello, as Ghost of the Lover of the Present. Our wacky parents are also along for the bumpy ride. The show proves that every Christmas needs a good Carol. However, more than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, Nicky and I use our drama skills, including impersonating others, to catch the killer before our Christmas balls get cracked. I know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling mystery with a surprise ending. As Nicky would say, “I’m more excited than a televangelist shopping for a multi-million-dollar compound after pledge week.”
As usual, calamity ensues.
Not only Nicky’s pants are full. He has his hands full as technical dress rehearsals for the show get off to a rocky start, Taavi falls unrequitedly in love, a homeless teenager is found living in the theatre, ensemble members claim their belongings have been stolen, and of course murder and mayhem is magnified. As Nicky would say, “Try saying that three times fast wearing a lip ring.”
Who are the new characters in book eleven?
Assistant Professor of Music Barrett Knight plays the Ghost of the Lover of the Future. Barrett tries to make sweet music with Nicky and me (pun intended). Muscleman Roman Giamani, student set designer, has his design on someone else in the show. He also has a huge…secret. Student costumer Logan Benton and student stage manager Colton Corrigan share their tortured pasts and yearn for a happy future. Hunky ensemble members wealthy Lucas Alencar, ex-hustler Buck La Rue, and diner worker Marc Micklos claim to be straight, but visit gay establishments. Lighting designer student Alec Griffin shines the light on everyone’s antics.
Who was your favorite new character?
Ty Wilde, a thirteen-year-old, tough, homeless boy infiltrates the theatre—and Martin’s heart. When the entire chorus is murdered, Ty steps in as the Waif character and saves the show.
Which new character do you like the least?
Lucas Alencar, who comes from big money. Unfortunately, he spreads rumors not the wealth.
Which new character is the sexiest?
I’ll say violet-eyed, ginger Barrett Knight, but nobody is as sexy as my Nicky.
What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?
Nicky and me! Actually, it’s a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, as Nicky would say, “faster than a conservative politician taking away workers’ rights.” At the center is the touching relationship between Nicky and me. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other. Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said Joe is “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue? Even though Nicky and I tell Joe everything to write.
How are the novels cozy?
Many of them take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious 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. It’s even more cozy in winter with snow blanketing the campus and surrounding the village.
Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?
Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they 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 over as Nicky would say, “like an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar during a power outage.” No matter what is thrown in our path, Nicky always end up on top. And that’s just fine with me.
For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first ten novels in the series.
I’ll let Joe do that since he wrote them—with our help. Take it away, Joe.
Joe: In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of the Year) Nicky directs the school play at Treemeadow College—which is named after its gay founders, Tree and Meadow. Theatre professors drops like stage curtains, and Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out why bodybuilding students and professors in Nicky’s bodybuilding competition at Treemeadow are dropping faster than barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from across the US. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort and he and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Their 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 his 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, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s 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 Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple 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 Noah, Taavi, and Martin. Rounding out the cast are members of Treemeadow’s Christian football players’ fraternity along with two hunky screen stars. When the jammer, wide receiver, and more begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending young hunky actors to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel. In Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Nicky is 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. Adding to 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 Noah to use their acting skills to figure out whodunit before Nicky and Noah 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 Noah once again use their 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 Nicky and Noah end up in the Christmas pudding. In Drama Faerie, Nicky and friends are doing a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Treemeadow’s new Globe Theatre. 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 use their drama skills to figure out who is taking swordplay to the extreme before Nicky and Noah end up foiled in the forest. In Drama Runway Nicky directs a runway show for the Fashion Department. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before Nicky and Noah end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer.
Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced your series, Noah?
As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, Joe knows first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! He never seems to run out of wild characters to write about. His faculty colleagues and students kid him that if any of them tick me off, he’ll kill them in his next book. And he probably will!
What do you like about the regular characters in the series?
I love Nicky’s never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. He’s genuinely concerned for others, and he’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. He’s also a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is me. I make the perfect Watson to his Holmes. I’ll admit I have a large heart and a soft spot (no pun intended) for others. I also enjoy using improvisation to create the wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer. I think it’s terrific how Martin and Ruben throw riotous zingers at each other, but they’re so much in love. You don’t see a lot of older gay characters in books nowadays. Of course Martin’s administrative assistant, Shayla, thrives on her one-upmanship with Martin, and he thrives right back.
How about your parents?
I love my mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and my father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how my father is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marry their fathers. Nicky’s parents’ goal to feed everyone and protect their children is heartwarming. His mom’s gambling addiction is also a riot. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.
I’m sure Joe has 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 of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!
Tell us about Joe’s other mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
Nicky and I aren’t in them. So take it away again, Joe.
Joe: I 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.
And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?
Nicky and I aren’t in those either. So you’re on again, Joe.
Joe: A reviewer compared them to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books. I was incredibly humbled and flattered. I love those books, and they are incredibly cinematic (hint-producers)! They are: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. The series (NineStar Press) is about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. I spent my summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for me. 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.
What’s next for Joe?
Joe has a new cozy mystery series, The Player Piano Mysteries. Book 2, The Player’s Encore, releases March 15, 2021. The Player Piano Mysteries take his mystery writing into the supernatural world since the sleuth, dapper Freddy Birtwistle from the Roaring Twenties, is a ghost! But Nicky and I aren’t in them.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Christmas, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site. Nicky and I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells us everything you say about us!
Thank you, Noah, for interviewing today.
My pleasure. As Nicky would say, “I’m happier than a priest at altar boy training.” It is my great thrill, joy, and pleasure to share this eleventh novel in our series with you. So take your seats. The stage lights are coming up on an infamous miser, Victorian lovers of the past, present, and future, a not so Tiny Tim, and murder!
It’s winter holiday time at Treemeadow College, and Theatre Professor Nicky Abbondanza, his husband Theatre Associate Professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and best friends Martin and Ruben are donning their gay apparel in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol, entitled Call Me Carol! More than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer and make the yuletide gay before their Christmas balls get cracked. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eleventh novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The stage lights are coming up on an infamous miser, S&M savvy ghost, Victorian lovers of the past, present, and future, a not so Tiny Tim, and murder!
E-book and Paperback: 193 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, winter holiday, drama, academia
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
Release date: December 1, 2020
Noah placed his handmade cyan quilt blanket over us, and we snuggled by the fire. “Are you relieved the first day of tech week is over?”
I snickered. “I’ll be more relieved on opening night.”
“Everyone is good in their role. The ensemble is quite strong. And the student designers are doing a fantastic job. Not to mention keeping the budget down.”
I couldn’t disagree. “Still, it’s a strange group.”
Noah did a doubletake. “Stranger than usual?”
I kissed his sweet shoulder. “Logan, our student costumer, is somewhat of a voyeur.”
“I caught him gaping at the entrance to the ensemble men’s dressing room.”
“What did you do?”
“I diplomatically asked him to have the actors come to the costume shop to pick up their costumes, rather than his delivering them to the dressing rooms.”
“Logan’s a sweet kid and a gifted costume designer. He learned from his mother, who designed clothing back in the Philippines.” I sighed. “The poor guy had a rough childhood being beaten up by bullies in school, but he kept right on designing and making their girlfriends’ clothes.”
“Bully for him.”
No pun intended.
“The teachers, administrators, and even the police evidently looked the other way when Logan was bashed.”
“How sad.” Noah kissed my cheek. “I saw Logan talking to Colton Corrigan. I wonder if there’s something between them?”
“Yeah. Colton’s camera. He was interviewing Logan for Colton’s vlog.”
“Colton’s a good student stage manager.”
“When he isn’t interviewing people. That camera has become one of his appendages. I hope he concentrates on calling the cues in the show.”
“He will.” Thinking positively, Noah said, “Roman Giamani did a wonderful job with the set design.”
“When the projectors work, and when Roman isn’t tearing into Barrett Knight for not casting him in the ensemble.”
“But we all agreed with Barrett that Roman should be student set designer.”
I groaned. “And now I feel like we’re making a movie instead of a stage musical.”
Noah waved my concerns away. “The sets look terrific. We just need some rehearsal with it.” His baby blue eyes begged for affection. “Speaking of Barrett, are you upset with me for inviting him to dinner again tomorrow night?”
“No, Barrett’s great.” I lay back and rested Noah’s head on my chest. “He’s a terrific Ghost of the Lover of the Future, gifted musical director, versatile musician, fine teacher, and a really nice guy. It’s a shame Lucas Alencar told the dean Barrett cancelled so many classes this semester.”
Noah nodded. “Why do you think Lucas did it?”
“I overheard the ensemble boys talking about it in their dressing room.”
Noah rose on one elbow. “What were you doing there?”
“Eavesdropping. Lucas ratted on Barrett to the dean for his pal Buck La Rue, who evidently covets Barrett’s role as the Ghost of Scrooge’s Lover of the Future. Lucas also told the dean about his other buddy in the ensemble, Marc Micklos, who plagiarized Lucas’s final paper for a psychology class. Since Marc has his eye on Lucas’s job as choreographer, it might have been a warning to Marc.”
“What did the dean do?”
“If Marc is to be believed, she had a romp with him and buried the whole thing.” No pun intended.
Noah’s jaw dropped open. “Do you believe Marc?”
I shrugged, and Noah’s head bobbed up.
“Shouldn’t we tell someone?”
“Let’s stay out of it for now. It could just be the boasting of a ‘straight’ young man. Besides, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye.”
My Watson perked up. “What do you mean?”
“Lucas, Buck, and Marc say they’re best friends. But they don’t act like it. And their backgrounds seem so different.”
“Lucas Alencar comes from a wealthy North Carolina tobacco family, complete with a female porn star mistress on the side for daddy Alencar. Buck La Rue left his humble beginnings in Louisiana to become a male escort—for wealthy women. Marc Micklos, Lucas’s roommate, worked in his parents’ Greek diner in New Jersey.”
“That’s quite a character breakdown.”
I sat up yoga style. “But the oddest thing is Lucas dated Ivy Donovan from the female ensemble, and Marc Micklos sees Holly Patton—Ivy’s roommate.”
“I admit it’s an anomaly for straight men to be chorus boys, but it’s not unheard of.”
I tented my fingers. “Except that Lucas attended a gay bar, Buck works out at a gay gym, and Marc booked a trip at a gay travel agency.”
My Watson asked, “Do you think Lucas, Marc, and Buck are gay-friendly straight guys, bi, closet gays, gay-for-pay hustlers?”
Rubbing my chin, I replied, “I’m not sure.” As Noah and I rested in each other’s arms, I thought about our quarreling cast and crew, wondering which one of them would be murdered first.
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.
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel. He is also the author of the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore; the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings; the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel; and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando. His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com