At a gay fairytale theme park in San Francisco, the Treemeadow College theatre crew stage an original musical adaptation of Cinderella entitled, Let’s Ball. The adorable actors playing Cinder and Prince Charming fear they may not get a happy ending as local detectives drop around them like a royal flush. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before an explosive pumpkin threatens to make the show a bomb. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fifteenth novel in this delightful series. It’s a blast! So hurry to your seat. The stage lights are coming up in the royal kingdom of Fabulous on a king with a long scepter, a queen who is a real queen, a fairy godmother with a roving wand, a stepmother who grabs them by the crown, a servant left alone to stimulate himself, two stepbrothers demanding full service, a prince with a slipper fetish who is seeking a royal screw, and murder!
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An Interview with Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver
the leading characters in Joe Cosentino’s Drama Prince,
the 15th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
Nicky and Noah, you are an adorable couple.
Nicky & Noah: We couldn’t agree more!
Congratulations on the release of the fifteenth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery romance series.
Nicky: Try saying that three times fast while blowing a bubble.
Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.
Noah: Nicky is a gorgeous hunk.
Nicky: And Noah can’t tell a lie.
Noah: 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.
Nicky: I call it the torture chambers.
Noah: Best of all, Nicky has a huge heart. And something else that is huge.
Nicky: And Noah likes that.
Noah: It sure doesn’t hurt. Well, not too much anymore. (He blushes.)
Nicky: Noah is tall, with silky golden blond hair, true-blue eyes, milk and honey skin, and a body I love to hug all night long. And Noah always cares about others. Especially me. And I adore him.
Nicky & Noah: And we both love solving mysteries!
Nicky: Talking together is an adorable couple thing we do.
Tell us about Drama Prince, the fifteenth novel in your popular, award-winning series.
Nicky: It stars me!
Noah: And co-stars me!
Nicky: Noah, and I venture to a gay fairytale theme park in San Francisco to stage an original musical adaptation of Cinderella entitled, Let’s Ball.
Noah: However, we get a royal screw as four local detectives drop around us like (as Nicky would say) a priest’s robe at altar boy training.
Nicky: Good one, Noah. Once again, my Watson and I use our drama skills to catch the killer before an explosive pumpkin threatens to make the show a bomb.
As usual, calamity ensues in book fifteen.
Nicky: More calamity than when a past Republican president ordered a terrorist takeover of the Capitol. But let’s talk about me. I direct the show and play King Charming—the king with a long scepter.
Noah: Nicky cast me as his Queen—onstage and off. Our best friends, Martin and Ruben, are along for the wild ride as the Stepmother/Fairy Godmother and the Duke (who wants to grab his brother the King by the crown) respectively—but not respectfully.
Nicky: Our sons, Taavi and Ty, are cast as Gro and Tesque, the stepbrothers demanding full service from Cinder.
Who are the new characters in book fifteen?
Noah: Things heat up pretty quickly between the hot young actors playing Cinder and Prince Charming.
Nicky: As well as the sexy young men cast as the Mouse/Footman and the Mouse/Coachman.
Noah: The playwright and his musclebound agent/stepbrother are also in the mix.
Who was your favorite new character?
Noah: New character, Nicky.
Nicky: Adorable Amador Lorenz as our Cinder is sweet, kind, and very much in love with Paddy Braden, our Prince Charming, who is quite charming but a bit of a player.
Noah: My favorite character is Nicky.
Nicky: New character, Noah.
Noah: Tej Vevi, our Mouse/Coachman is a young man of integrity who is very much in love with the actor playing the Mouse/Footman: Nate Friedman. Can they get past the difference in their heritage for a happily ever after ending?
Which new character do you like the least?
Nicky and Noah: All the detectives.
Nicky: Luckily, we solve the mystery.
Which new character is the sexiest?
Nicky: Our playwright, Kirk Castle, would say his agent and stepbrother, the muscular and sexy Carl Catalango.
Noah: Life imitates art as Kirk serves his stepbrother a la Cinder in the play.
What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?
Nicky & Noah: Us!
Nicky: 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 faster than a priest chasing a new altar boy into the Confessional. At the center is the touching relationship between Noah 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.
Noah: 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 are we to argue?
Nicky: Even though Noah and I tell Joe everything to write.
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: This novel in San Francisco is cozier than a priest in the Confessional with a new altar boy, since the popular and picturesque city is loved by so many. In the book we get to visit a few of my favorite spots like the Castro Theatre, Pink Triangle Park, and Faerie Hollow.
Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?
Noah: 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.
Nicky: So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over like an anti-gay politician in the back room of a gay bar. And no matter what is thrown in my path as a sleuth, I always end up on top.
Noah: Which is just fine with me.
For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us the titles of the novels in the series.
Nicky: The Nicky and Noah mysteries are Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance. Take it, Noah, while I catch my breath.
Noah: Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, and now Drama Prince. Phew!
Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced the 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.
Nicky: 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. The little guy is fearless!
What do you like about the regular characters in the series?
Noah: 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.
Nicky: Noah makes the perfect Watson to my 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 me, Noah is gifted at improvisation, and creates wild and wonderful characters for our role plays to catch the murderer.
Noah: 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.
Nicky: And our son, Taavi, fits into our thespian crime-solving group perfectly.
Noah: So does Martin and Ruben’s son Ty.
How about your parents?
Nicky: They’re hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies and television. I also love how Noah’s father is a ham and an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers.
Noah: Nicky’s mom’s Mafia ties and addiction to church Bingo are 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.
Nicky: 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!
How would you cast the TV series?
Noah: Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as me, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as my parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, Joe as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla.
Nicky: And Luke McFarlane as my brother Tony.
Joe has written other mystery series: the Player Piano mysteries and the Jana Lane mysteries. There are mystery elements in his Cozzi Cove series and Found At Last series. A story in Joe’s Tales from Fairyland Anthology is a mystery.
Nicky: They’re great stories, but Noah and I aren’t in them. Next question.
This novel has quite an amazing ending. Is it the last novel in the series?
Nicky: Only the mystery muses know.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Prince, and how can they contact you?
Nicky: The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site.
Noah: Nicky and I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells us everything you say about us!
Thank you, Nicky and Noah, for interviewing today.
Nicky and Noah: Our pleasure.
Noah: We know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns (as Nicky would say) than a past Republican president’s bankruptcies, affairs, and illegal charities.
Nicky: We’re more excited than the Supreme Court taking away LGBT rights under the guise of “religious freedom” to share this fifteenth novel in the series with you.
Noah: So wave your Fairy Godmother’s wand, ride coach, and head to the palace for a ball with a charming prince who has a slipper fetish!
Nicky: I promise you a happy ending!
Nicky & Noah: And murder!
Ragged, hungry, unemployed, and overtaxed villagers stand in the Fabulous Kingdom square singing the lament, “Things Aren’t So Fabulous in Fabulous Kingdom.”
In a small stone cottage at the edge of the kingdom, a handsome young man in rags sits on a three-legged wooden stool next to an anemic kitchen fire. His dark hair, dark eyes, and olive-colored cheeks and hands are smudged with cinders: the product of pouring coal into the sitting room and bedroom fireplaces for his stepmother and two stepbrothers. Cinder, muscular from doing so many chores, and lonely from his life of solitude, sings the touching ballad, “Stimulating Myself.” A voice is heard saying, “Doesn’t that have a double meaning?”
“Stop!” Hello Nicky and Noah fans. We’re back! Just like a recurring case of herpes. It’s Nicky Abbondanza, director of plays, musicals, bodybuilding competition, murder mystery show, luau show, films, modeling runway, ballet, and television. Not to mention top thespian sleuth (and I do mean top), having solved fourteen mass murder mystery cases. Here I am sitting in another theatre à la Abe Lincoln waiting for my execution. However, unlike Abe in his toxic box seat, I’m front row center holding the play director’s survival kit: an electronic tablet and cyanide pills. For you Nicky and Noah newbies, or our loyal fans having a senior moment, I’m Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College (founded by wealthy gay couple Tree and Meadow) in Treemeadow Vermont, where everything is cozy—including the fifty murders that occurred there. The top line of the college application asks, “Burial or cremation?” But I’m not at Treemeadow now. Our last summer’s foray into theme park theatre was such a success, a lucrative offer came my way from another theme park this summer: the newly constructed Fairies’ Tails Theme Park appropriately in a suburb of San Francisco. The city of steep hills, crowded cable cars, and painted ladies—including the drag queens. The newly built theme park offers walk-around characters like a wolf chasing a twink in a red hoodie, a guy named Tom with a roving thumb, three S&M pigs, a snow queen, a wooden hunk with a pointy nose and growing appendage, and the Catholic priests’ favorite—little boy blue who blows his horn. Rides include swinging on a long vine and sitting on a giant’s lap. Attraction highlights are visiting the home of a golden-haired youth surrounded by three bears, and the abode of a young hunk with a snow-white complexion and seven devoted little daddies. Where does this daddy fit in? No pun intended. My task is to create and present an original musical of Cinderella in the theme park’s new Fairies’ Tails Theatre. My department chair and best friend, Martin Anderson, eyeing the plum role of the Fairy Godmother for himself, offered me his script entitled, Every Boy Needs a Fairy with a Big Wand. Thankfully an up-and-coming gay playwright from San Francisco, Kirk Castle, had heard about the new theme park and submitted his superior musical version, Let’s Ball, and we were off. Casting the play was the next order of business. Although I am forty-seven, I look thirty (if I squint at a mirror in a darkened room). My maturity, tallness, dark hair and long dark sideburns (thanks to the men’s hair coloring rinse that doesn’t look like shoe polish) make me the perfect queen to play the king with a long scepter. And BTW my real scepter is nearly a foot long—flaccid! The recipient of all that royalty is my forty-year-old, handsome, sweet, adoring and adorable husband Noah Oliver, Associate Professor of Acting, who is playing the queen to my king (onstage and off). Before my friend Martin could attack me with his defibrillator, I cast Martin in the dual roles of Stepmother and Fairy Godmother. This caused Martin’s long-suffering husband, Ruben Markinson, to create a slingshot with his hernia belt and wallop me with his dentures until I agreed to cast Ruben as the duke, the king’s brother. How old are Martin and Ruben? A schizophrenic scribe hearing voices in his head once wrote, “In the beginning…” Martin and Ruben were born before that. Taavi Kapule Oliver Abbondanza, who Noah and I adopted as a little boy from his native Hawaii, threatened to hurl me into an erupting volcano during an earthquake unless I cast the eighteen-year-old as stepbrother Gro. Martin and Ruben’s seventeen-year-old adopted son, Ty Wilde Anderson Markinson, resorted to his street roots by writing on buildings in graffiti, “Nicky Abbondanza is middle-aged,” until I cast him as the second stepbrother, Tesque. That left the remaining roles to be cast with local professional actors: Amador Lorenz as Cinder, Paddy Braden as Prince Charming, Tej Vevi as Mouse/Coachman, Nate Friedman as Mouse/Footman, and Sloan Thomas as Horse. Hiring the ensemble members, designers, and technical crew came last. Since Noah and I (as copied by Taavi and Ty) wear a dress shirt, dress slacks, and a blazer, we enjoy dressing up in our fairytale (no pun intended) costumes. Covering my pumped up (before it all drops down) gym body is a gold tunic and crown with royal blue tights (over a crushing dance belt) and a long cape.
The comment stopping this run-through, like a parent coming between a priest and a new altar boy, was made by Carl Catalango, our playwright’s agent and stepbrother. I turned to the mere twenty-three-year-old sitting down the row to my left. “Yes, Carl, the opening song has a double-meaning. Just like directing a show. You see while putting together a production can be a creative and fulfilling experience, it can also be a total nightmare. For example, in this production, our non-stop technical dress rehearsal just came to a screeching halt—like a voting-for-all law presented by Democrats to Republicans in Congress. Why? Not for the usual reasons like a diva actor causing conflict, or mishaps with the sets, lighting, costumes, or props. This run-through was stopped because the playwright’s agent asked if the opening song has a double-meaning!”
Kirk Castle, sitting next to Carl, adjusted his round glasses and rubbed his dark receding hairline. Gazing at his stepbrother adoringly, the author said, “Carl, the ‘Stimulating Myself’ song uses subtext, which is a great writers’ tool.”
No pun intended.
Kirk explained, “Cinder is poor, exhausted, lonely, and frustrated by the pandemonium around him.”
I can relate.
“In this rare moment of solitude, we get a glimpse at Cinder’s pain.”
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, Drama Pan, Drama TV;
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.