by Joe Cosentino
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an audio download of the first book in this series Drama Queen, and links to purchase Drama Christmas.
Joe Cosentino, congratulations on the release of the eleventh novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery series.
Thank you. I’m making the yuletide gay. (smile)
So many readers loved your Jana Lane mystery series (The Wild Rose Press) and The Player, Player Piano Mysteries Book 1 (Dreamspinner Press). What do you say to readers who might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?
I’d tell them that my Nicky and Noah mysteries have won many awards, and they sell just as well if not better. I’d ask them to give Nicky and Noah a chance, as my mother said to me as a kid about escarole and beans—now my favorite soup.
Tell us about Drama Christmas, the eleventh novel in the series.
In Drama Christmas, hunky and hilarious armchair sleuth Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza (Bob Cratchit), his handsome husband Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver (Nephew Freddy), their son Taavi (Tiny Tim), best friends Department Chair Martin Anderson (Scrooge/Carol), Ruben Markinson (Marley/Ghost of the Lover of the Past), and Martin’s sassy office assistant Shayla Johnson (Housekeeper) star in a musical version of Scrooge’s A Christmas Carol at Treemeadow College, entitled Call Me Carol! The show proves that every Christmas needs a good Carol. Nicky’s favorite target, Detective Manuello (Ghost of the Lover of the Present) and Nicky and Noah’s both sets of wacky parents, are along for the bumpy ride. However, more than stockings are hung when hunky chorus members drop like snowflakes. Once again, Nicky and Noah use their drama skills to catch the killer before their 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 buying a new mansion after pledge week.”
It’s great to see our favorite characters back.
Nicky had no other choice but to cast his family members and friends in the show. Before Nicky made that decision, Noah had a kitchen knife ready, and Taavi was on the phone with social services. Nicky 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 after murder multiplies. As Nicky would say, “Try saying that three times fast with braces on your teeth.”
Who are the new characters/suspects/victims for book eleven?
New characters in this novel include Assistant Professor of Music Barrett Knight (Ghost of the Lover of the Future). The dreamy musical director wants to make sweet music with Nicky and Noah (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.
What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?
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 removing environmental and finance regulations.” At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. We watch them go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as we fall in love with them). 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 I’m “a master storyteller.” Who am I to argue?
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.
For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first ten novels in the series.
You don’t need to twist my arm. I’m already twisted. (smile)
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 U.S. 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 streetlamps 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.
Many of your characters are of various ethnicities and sexual identities. Is that deliberate on your part?
Sure. We live in a diverse world. A story taking place at a college would be unbelievable if everyone were the same.
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! I’ve written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!
How would you cast the TV series?
Here’s my 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, me 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.
Tell us about your Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.
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 U.S. senator in a new film, and she 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 1980s, 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.
What’s next for you?
The second novel in my Player Piano Mysteries, The Player’s Encore, releases March 15, 2021. The Player Piano Mysteries take my mystery writing into the supernatural world since the sleuth, dapper Freddy Birtwistle from the Roaring Twenties, is a ghost!
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Christmas, and how can they contact you?
The purchase links are below, as are my contact links, including my web site. I love to hear from readers! So do Nicky and Noah. I tell them everything!
Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today.
My pleasure. It is my great thrill, joy, and pleasure to share this eleventh novel in the 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!
Drama Christmas (the 11th Nicky and Noah mystery) by Joe Cosentino
Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love a good Christmas mystery. The one that lights up our tree the brightest will win a gift Audible code for the audiobook of audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe! US residents only and you must be 18 or over to enter. Winner will be chosen on December 12, 2020.
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