Hello, Joe Cosentino! Congratulations on the release of the eighth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series.
Thank you. I’m a legend in my own mind. 🙂
Completely justified, I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by to answer a few questions. As an author, we often get asked this, but when writing, do you use people and events from your own life?
As a theatre college professor/department chair (like Martin in the Nicky and Noah mysteries), I never seem to run out of wild characters to write about. My faculty colleagues and students kid me that if any of them tick me off, I’ll kill them in my next book. Since my spouse and I have travelled extensively, those situations often pop up in my books. I hear other things pop up as well when the readers read Nicky and Noah’s love scenes 🙂
*Snort* Too funny! It’s terrific you have such a rich background from which to draw on for your stories. It seems tailor-made for your series. Tell me, 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 faster than a priest heading for altar boy training (as Nicky would say). No matter what is thrown in their path, Nicky and Noah always end up on top. At least Nicky ends up on top, which is just fine with Noah.
I love cozy mysteries, so I agree with everything you’ve just said! When you wrote Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, did you envision this as a series?
Totally. Though each book has its own complete story and ending, I wrote the first three books together. When they were so popular, I kept writing.
You’re a much better planner than I am! Did you forget certain things about the characters and their environment?
I keep really good notes on everything for continuity. Also, the regular characters are like family to me. I know them so well. I love watching them and their relationships grow and develop. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books into major characters later on, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben. It’s equally fun creating important new characters like Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi. Finally, I enjoy creating new suspects in each book. I laugh out loud when writing these novels, and the endings still surprise me—even though I wrote them!
That’s really wonderful to hear. Are Nicky and Noah based on any of your younger colleagues?
Like most of the characters in my books, Nicky is a combination of a few people I’ve known. He’s handsome, muscular, smart, charming, and he has an enormous manhood, which doesn’t hurt (or maybe it does). However, what I admire most about Nicky is his never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. Nicky is also incredibly devoted to his family and friends. Noah is blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted. He makes the perfect Watson to Nicky’s Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like Nicky, Noah is quite gifted at improvisation, and he creates wild and wonderful characters for their role plays to catch the murderer.
You make them sound so charming! (I’m with you on Sherlock and Watson, too) Since both you and Nicky are of Italian-American decent, are Nicky’s parents like yours? Are Noah’s parents like your spouse’s parents?
Both Nicky’s parents and Noah’s parents have many of the traits of my parents. They’re absolutely hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s 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. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.
You’ve written twenty-five books in total so far. I envy you your productivity! As a college professor/department head, where do you find the time?
I’m a night owl, writing late into the night.
Any parting words, Joe?
Everyone read the blurb below and buy Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery novel. You’ll die laughing!
Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today. Congratulations on this latest release–I’m sure it will be another smashing success!
It is my joy and pleasure to share this eighth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Cavalier. And of course hilarity, romance, and murder!
DRAMA DANCE (the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery)
by JOE COSENTINO
Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is back at Treemeadow College directing their Nutcracker Ballet co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With muscular dance students and faculty in the cast, the Christmas tree on stage isn’t the only thing rising. When cast members drop faster than their loaded dance belts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is cracking the Nutcracker’s nuts, trapping the Mouse King, and being cavalier with the Cavalier, before Nicky and Noah end up stuck in the Land of the Sweets. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eighth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on the Fairy—Sugar Plum that is, clumsy mice, malfunctioning toys, 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
“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” 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
Bestselling 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; 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 was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
Excerpt of Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino
The Victorian-era playroom was adorned with wallpapered walls of pink and gold swirls. A large window hovered over a cushiony toy chest. Standing guard on one side was a grandfather clock and a pink chaise lounge on the other. Elaborately decorated gift boxes of all shapes and sizes stood between them. Cherished music played as couples in elaborate gowns and vested tuxedos executed a promenade at the Stahlbaum’s holiday party. Little boys in knickers galloped with their toy horses, and sweet girls in frilly party dresses danced with their dolls. A small, thin, elderly man entered in a puff of smoke, causing a hush in the room. Uncle Drosselmeyer, in a maroon suit, motioned for pretty young Clara, dressed in white, to join him next to the Christmas tree adorned with gold balls, candles, and garland. Clara’s younger brother, Fritz, joined her with mischief in his eyes. The adults and children left the playroom, except for Drosselmeyer, Clara, and Fritz. The lights in the room flickered as the bald man waved his tiny arms and magically produced—a garlic crusher.
“What happened to the nutcracker?” I asked from the front row center orchestra, resting the notepad and pen on my lap.
Ruben Markinson entered the stage from the wings. “I couldn’t fit a nutcracker up Martin’s sleeve.”
Martin Anderson dropped his Uncle Drosselmeyer persona and sneered at his husband. “So you expected Clara to dance with a garlic crusher?”
Ruben replied, “It’s less absurd than you dancing on stage at your advanced age, Martin.”
Martin glared at his longtime companion. “My body is a temple.”
“And it’s in ruins!” Ruben replied.
We’re back! For you Nicky and Noah mystery virgins, let me explain. I’m Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a quaint college in picturesque Vermont. Treemeadow was named after the quaint gay couple who founded it: Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. They are immortalized together in bronze at the quaint college entrance—to the delight of every pigeon in the county.
I had taken a sabbatical from teaching to direct and star in a Broadway play and direct two movies. But when producers responded to my calls with, “Don’t call us—ever again,” I realized that “those who can, do; those who did, teach.” So, missing my college more than a hooker misses a john with a fat wallet and narcolepsy, it was back to Treemeadow for me, where I was recently promoted from Associate Professor to Professor. For you non-academics, that means I make more money now. But I don’t teach and direct shows for the monetary rewards. I do it for the ulcers and heart attacks. This semester, after teaching my theatre classes at accelerated hours, I finished my classes mid-semester; and my department head and best friend, Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, loaned me out to the Dance Department to direct their December production of The Nutcracker ballet. Since I have gotten myself out of many traps, I also agreed to understudy the cheesy role of the Mouse King.
For the carnally conscious, I’m tall, with dark hair, a cleft in my chin, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, and long sideburns. I have a muscular body, thanks to the gym on campus—and to my fear of giving into gravity now that I hit the big four zero.
My husband of five years, recently promoted Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, as usual joined me as the production’s acting coach. Noah’s dance training in college made him a perfect understudy for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier. By the way, Noah is seven years younger than me. But it doesn’t bother me. At all!
Noah is gorgeous with golden blond hair, sea-blue eyes, milk-and-honey skin, and a tight little body. We both always wear dress shirts, dress slacks, and blazers, except to bed. Speaking of clothing, to my tailor’s horror and Noah’s delight, I have a nearly foot-long penis when erect. Had I been a caveman, I wouldn’t have needed a club. A gay porn star would hang his head (both of them) next to me. Why am I telling you this? I tell you everything.
As for the rest of the cast and crew, elderly Martin is playing Clara’s elderly Uncle Drosselmeyer. Martin’s equally elderly husband, Ruben, agreed to be our props master. Dance faculty members took on the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier, the Mouse King, and choreographer. The star dance students were cast in the roles of Clara, Clara’s understudy, the Nutcracker, and the Nutcracker’s understudy. In the ensemble, the remaining senior dance students filled the roles of the parents, and the freshmen were cast as the children. I brought my theatre student, Nate Owens, along as stage manager. Other theatre students are doing the set, lights, sound, and costumes.
Finally, due to his vast talents, and my nepotism, Noah’s and my eleven-year-old adopted son, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule, was cast as Clara’s brother, Fritz.
Now back to the action.