A big welcome to Joe Cosentino as part of his release for Drama Runaway.
Q&A with Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, the leading characters in Drama Runway, the tenth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
by Joe Cosentino
Joe: Hi, Nicky and Noah. How are my very own Holmes and Watson?
Nicky: I always thought Holmes was a homo.
Noah: And John was his john.
Joe: Moving right along. Congratulations on the release of the tenth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series now on preorder sale until August 1 release day!
Nicky: Thanks. It’s great to get out of the books and stretch. As you know, I have a big head.
Noah: Two actually.
Joe: Nicky, since the readers can’t see you both. Describe Noah.
Nicky: My hubby is tall, with golden blond hair, and crystal blue eyes. He smells like fields of strawberries. And he’s all mine.
Noah: That’s so sweet.
Nicky: Thank Joe. He wrote it.
Joe: And Nicky?
Noah: My Nicky is tall, with thick dark hair, a sexy Roman nose, and piercing eyes like emeralds. Thanks to the gym on campus, he has quite a muscular body, which I tend to enjoy quite often. Not to mention his nearly foot long—
Joe: Hotdogs he brings home for dinner. What makes this series so special?
Nicky and Noah: Us!
Nicky: The Nicky and Noah mysteries is 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 faster than a priest lassoing an altar boy with his rosary beads. At the center is the touching relationship between Professor of Play Directing Nicky Abbondanza (that’s me)
Noah: and Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other (as you fall in love with us). Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets i>Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said you’re “a master storyteller,” Joe.
Nicky: But she didn’t mention that we tell you everything to write.
Joe: How are the novels cozy?
Noah: 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.
Nicky: Plus, I’m a cozy kind of guy. I like to cuddle.
Noah: With me.
Joe: Tell us about your current release.
Nicky: I don’t think we should talk about our sex lives.
Joe: I meant the current book release.
Nicky: Ah. I’m on loan from the Theatre Department, directing a fashion show for the Fashion Department at Treemeadow College—founded by gay lovers Tree and Meadow. The plan is to showcase the new black leather line by famous fashion designer Ulla Ultimate of Ultimate Fashion (FU for short). The visiting professor’s rebellious son, Treemeadow fashion student Cory Ultimate, is featured as one of the models. The other hot and hunky male student models are feuding exes Shane Buff and Julio Bonero, and picked upon plus-size (Try saying that three times fast at a microphone) model Cosmo Capra. As rehearsals for the show begin, I’m happier than an anti-gay politician in a drag show. However, I find out quickly the runway is a dangerous place as sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps. Noah and I need to use our drama skills to figure out who is taking the term “a cut male model” literally before my hubby and I end up steamed in the wardrobe steamer.
Joe: Why did you pick a fashion show as the setting for book ten?
Nicky: You picked it, Joe! As usual, we had no choice but to come along for the ride.
Noah: And what a ride it was! The anticipation in the air, flashing lights, pounding music, enticing runway, gorgeous models, captivating clothes, and revealing costume malfunctions.
Joe: And all your favorite people are back!
Nicky: To keep peace in the family (and arsenic out of my oatmeal), I cast my handsome husband, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, and our adopted son, Taavi, as models in the show.
Noah: Of course our best friends, Theatre Department Head Martin Anderson and his long suffering spouse Ruben, are producers, with office assistant Shayla Johnson on hand to supply sassy remarks.
Nicky: Try saying that three times fast and not spraying someone’s face. My best sparring partner, Detective Manuello, and Noah’s and my both sets of riotous parents are also along for the fun.
Joe: Does a reader need to have read the first nine books before reading book ten?
Nicky: No. Each book is a separate mystery—all about us! However, I recommend reading them in order to watch how I nab Noah and we start our family. It’s quite a story!
Joe: Who are the new characters/suspects/victims for book ten?
Noah: Added to the colorful cast of regular characters are Lila Hekekia, a fashion design student screaming for “religious freedom” as she eyes Ulla’s show for herself. Lila’s pursuit takes a spin when she finds out her current squeeze, Associate Professor of Fashion Design Tyler Greenway, had a questionable past with Ulla. Accident-prone fashion student, Johnny Riley, has a secret known only to muscular stage managing student, Hoss Packer. Businessman Miles Jeffrey has been hired by Ulla to find a husband for Cory, in hopes that her son will finally settle down. Miles finds it to be a difficult task given Cory’s penchant for throwing himself at the other male models.
Nicky: As passions and tempers explode, once again Noah, our friends, and mostly me use our theatrical skills to trap the murderer in a shocking climax—no pun intended.
Joe: Who was your favorite new character in Drama Runway?
Nicky: Johnny Riley, with each of his fingers bandaged from sewing in the shop, is an absolute hoot. His romance with muscular Hoss Packer, the student stage manager, is quite touching (pun intended) as well.
Noah: Johnny’s personal secret isn’t revealed until later in the book. It’s a doozy!
Joe: Which new character do you like the least in book ten?
Noah: Lila Hekekia is riotously funny as the student crying “religious discrimination” whenever she doesn’t get something she wants.
Nicky: Like so many evangelicals today, she practices quite the opposite of what she preaches, and she is shocked when others—like me—stand up to her bigotry.
Joe: Which new character was the hardest to understand?
Nicky: Ulla’s son Cory is wild, wicked, and wonton. (Try saying that three times fast while putting on lipstick.) However, he is acting out in hopes of gaining his mother’s attention, and ultimately her love. Their dynamic is quite layered and interesting. Kudos to you Joe, but mostly to me.
Joe: Which new character in book ten was the sexiest?
Noah: Ulla’s assistant, Miles Jeffrey, is secure in his own gorgeous skin. He knows what he wants, and ultimately (pun intended) how to get it. But he’s not sexier than Nicky.
Nicky: Or Noah.
Joe: For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us a bit about the first nine novels in the series.
Nicky: 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 Noah 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) Noah 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. Noah 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 Noah 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, I am directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort, and Noah and I 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.
Noah: 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 our son Taavi, Martin, Shayla, and me. 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.
Nicky: In Drama Castle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), I’m 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. 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 Noah 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, Noah 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.
Noah: In Drama Faerie, a Globe Theatre replica is built at Treemeadow College for an all-male production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 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.
Joe: Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?
Nicky: 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 conservative politician removing environmental regulations. No matter what is thrown in our path, Noah and I always end up on top. At least I end up on top.
Noah: Which is just fine with me.
Joe: When you appeared in Drama Queen, did you envision this as a series?
Noah: Totally. Though each book has its own complete story and ending, you wrote the first three books together. When they were so popular, you kept writing—with us whispering into your ear.
Joe: I’ve been told the books would make a terrific TV series. Who would you like to play you?
Nicky: Here’s our cast wish list: Matt Bomer as me, Neil Patrick Harris as Noah, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as Noah’s parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as my parents, you as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla, and Joe Manganiello as my brother, Tony.
Joe: Want to tell the readers about my other books?
Nicky: Sure, even though we’re not in them. Hint. Hint. Let’s start with the Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press). 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: My Dreamspinner Press novellas (In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando, and The Tales from Fairyland) were so well received, winning various awards. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?
Noah: I’d ask them to give Nicky and me a chance. “Just try us, you’ll love us.”
Joe: What do you think about my New Jersey beach series?
Nicky: I’m wondering why we’re not in this series from NineStar Press. The Cozzi Cove novels (Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings) 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.
Joe: How can your readers get their hands on Drama Runway, and how can they contact you?
Noah: The purchase links are below.
Nicky: And readers can contact Noah and me through your web site. We love to hear from readers!
Joe: Thank you, Nicky and Noah, for interviewing today.
Nicky: It is our joy and pleasure to share our tenth novel in the series.
Noah: So take your seats, everyone. The runway lights are flashing, the music is pulsating, and the models are ready to enter.
Joe: Curtain up on the ultimate in fashion, and of course hilarity, romance, and murder
Nicky and Noah: Nicky and Noah style!
DRAMA RUNWAY (the 10th Nicky and Noah mystery)
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
preorder sale ends August 1 release day!
It’s spring break at Treemeadow College, and theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a runway show for the Fashion Department. Joining him are his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. The show, designed by visiting professor Ulla Ultimate, is bound to be the ultimate event of the season. And bound it is with designs featuring black leather and chains. When sexy male models drop faster than their leather chaps, Nicky and Noah will need to 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. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining tenth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The runway is lighting up with hunky models, volatile designers, bitter exes, newfound lovers, 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 plotlines, 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 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, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas; the Dreamspinner Press stories: 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/Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Found At Last: Finding Giorgio/Finding Armando, The Player Piano Mysteries: The Player/The Player’s Encore; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; 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.
Paperback: 55,220 words, 187 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
Release date: August 1, 2020
Excerpt of Drama Runway, the 10th Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino:
The sparkling lights from above illuminated the long stage like stars blanketing an airport runway. Four handsome, young male models, whose bodies were cut like perfect diamonds, strutted down the walkway—lined with flashing lights. Each man was in black leather activewear. One model wore a vest housing tight abs, shorts surrounding a bubble butt, and boots adorning long legs and large feet. Another sported lean muscles under a T-shirt, spiked dog collar, and skintight slacks hosting a palpable bulge. A third spun around in a long flowing coat. The fourth stretched in revealing workout clothes. Each model, with a sensuous glance or a flick of luxurious hair, claimed his section of the runway. The fifth, a young teen, stole the show in black leather jogging shorts and T-shirt as he spun a basketball on his fingertip.
One of the four young men, a bit larger than the rest, slipped a candy bar from his black leather waist pouch. After stealing a bite, he accidentally dropped the wrapping onto the stage floor. The moment his leather heel slid over it, the model took to the air, landing bottom-up at the edge of the runway—mooning the audience. The music for the opening song played: a rock version of “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.”
“Stop!” It’s me again, Nicky Abbondanza, PhD—standing for pretty hot daddy—now that I’m forty-two years old, accent on the old. Actually, my students tell me I’m “well preserved for my age.” I’m tall, with dark hair, a Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a cleft chin my hubby loves to tickle with his tongue. Thankfully my body hasn’t dropped yet thanks to the gym on campus, which keeps my muscles pumped and my stamina pooped. Also, I’m called “larger than life.” It isn’t a comment on my witty personality. To the delight of my husband, horror of my tailor, and envy of my gay friends, I have a nearly-foot-long penis when aroused—which happens nowadays as frequently as a student not texting during one of my lectures.
Why is Treemeadow College’s Professor of Play Directing rehearsing a fashion runway show? The answer is Ultimate, that’s Ulla Ultimate of Fashions Ultimate. Ulla, having conquered the fashion world in Europe and the US, wanted to be a visiting college professor. As the expression goes, “The other man’s grass always gives you a better high.” Seeking a safe place to try out her controversial new spring line and wanting to be near her Theatre major son, Ulla contacted our college president. He contacted the dean who contacted the head of the Fashion Department who contacted my best friend and head of the Theatre Department, Martin Anderson, who contacted yours truly. After Ulla was hired as a visiting professor, she was offered the fashion show scheduled for spring break. Martin asked me to add some theatrical flair to Ulla’s runway. Faster than a priest lassoing an altar boy with rosary beads, I needed to cancel my group’s spring break gay cruise to Iraq. This upset my husband, Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, whose thirty-fifth birthday we just celebrated. (Okay, I’m a cougar.) Our thirteen-year-old adopted son, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule, and Martin’s husband of an age, Ruben Markinson, also gave me shoulders colder than Uranus. No pun intended. That is, until I asked Noah to be the fashion models’ acting coach, Ruben to co-produce the runway show with Martin, and Taavi to be a junior model. I, of course, would direct the production to give it the Abbondanza theatrical flair—or curse (more on that later).
Unfortunately, my husband, son, and I don’t have the gay fashion gene. We each wear a dress shirt, dress slacks, and blazer on a daily basis. However, we definitely have the ham gene. Our little troupe has put on plays, musicals, a murder mystery dinner theatre piece, a luau show, a ballet, and even a couple of movies. So, I assumed a runway show would be easier to piece together than a president’s Russian money laundering trail. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.