I'm not quite sure how it happened, but it's February!! Which means it's time for a new release from one of my favorite guest authors, Joe Cosentino. Not only does Joe's prolific tendencies keep me amused and neck-deep in reading material, he's also an electric cattle-prod of inspiration for me to stop over committing in every other area of life and get back to writing. He's here to day to share with us his latest release with Dreamspinner Press, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND.
Welcome back, Joe! You are definitely one of my most frequent guests.
Thank you. I’m like lice. I keep coming back. LOL. Seriously, I love your site, and I always feel so welcome here.
You are! Before we start the interview, congratulations to you for winning four Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll Awards!
Five, and two second place awards, but who is counting? (smile)
Tell us which they were?
All right, if you insist (LOL). DRAMA QUEEN the first Nicky and Noah mystery won Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, and Best Contemporary. The cover of AN INFATUATION won Best Cover. AN INFATUATION also won second place for Best Romance, and I won second place for Best Author. It was so unexpected and such a thrill. I am so thankful to all the readers who voted for me. It makes all the hours of toil and trouble so worth it, and makes me want to write more.
You certainly are prolific. For anyone new to the site, remind us of your current and upcoming releases to date.
My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press is a farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-it. In DRAMA QUEEN theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza, to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver. In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE (not released yet), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.
I also have a mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters. In PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press), 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. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL (The Wild Rose Press releasing March 15), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), 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. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. I am writing RAGDOLL now, where Jana stars in a mystery TV series and once again life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.
I love mysteries. Is it difficult plotting the clues?
It’s an incredible amount of work and also fun planning the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprise but justifiable ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations.
Are you writing or editing anything else now?
I have a new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. This is ironic since I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin at the beach! NineStar Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon about handsome Cal Cozzi and his gay resort at the New Jersey shore.
I’m getting tired just listening to this. You’re a college professor/department head, when you do you have the time to write so much?
Like Martin Anderson, the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah series, I have a cozy office overlooking the woods with a cherry wood fireplace mantel, desk, and bookcase. It’s the perfect place to write evenings and weekends.
You are here today to talk about your latest release, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. When did your fascination with fairytales begin?
I feel as if I am on a psychiatrist’s couch. Hah. As a kid my older sister read me fairytales in bed every night before sleep. I was completely entranced by the beautiful stories of peasants becoming princes and princesses and finding true love. The gorgeous locations, wit, wonder, drama, and happy endings filled my young mind like beans in a counting jar. I wanted to live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality to those kingdoms. I learned how to read by reading those cherished, worn fairytale books.
What fairytale is your favorite?
Cinderella. It has the perfect elements: larger than life characters, humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending.
What led you to write your own fairytales?
As I read and reread my favorite fairytales, I was saddened to see no openly gay characters in any of my favorite stories. I asked myself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a prince? Wouldn’t a tired, hungry, homeless blond boy seek refuge in a house with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage trying to tell him? Did Jack enjoy his time with the Giant more than he let on? Could the Snow Queen be a handsome, frigid prince? What’s the good of fairy dust without any fairies?’
What are your fairytale stories about?
“The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart. The stories are full of romance, humor, and adventure.
Tell us more about the main characters in each of the four stories.
Cinder is sweet, giving, kind, and totally devoted to his family. He wants nothing more than to see them happy. Due to his selflessness, the spirits of his two deceased dads grant him a wish to go to the king and queen’s ball. Prince Charming is handsome, strong, and of course—charming. Like Cinder he wants to help the poor in his kingdom, but he doesn’t know how to do it. That’s where Cinder comes in. Cinder and Prince Charming are perfect foils and perfect soulmates.
Gideon begins as a selfish teenager. Thanks to Ben (the mature and hunky brother on Bear Mountain), Gideon learns the true meaning of love and family.
Pinocchio and Jack learn in their story to transcend their pasts and love themselves, and each other, again.
Gaelen is a sheltered young man who finds his inner strength to save his love, Kiernan, from the wicked Prince Isidore. Along the way he is tempted by three handsome men in the forest, but his heart always belongs to Kiernan.
What is the moral of the novella?
Everyone is welcome in Fairyland, and everyone deserves love and happiness.
Who is your favorite character in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and why?
I love all of them, but my favorite are Cinder’s funny, sweet, devoted dads.
Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write and why?
“Ice Cold” was a stretch for me since unlike most of my other work it is a fantasy epic. I enjoyed it though and I love all of the colorful charactersGaelen meets on his journey.
Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most and why?
Gideon sparing with Ben was a blast. Those two really heated things up in “The Golden Rule.”
How did you handle writing love scenes in a fairytale?
Fairies make love. No pun intended. Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in this novella are as beautiful and magical as the stories.
Who is your ideal reader of your books?
My ideal reader craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. He/she relishes in beautiful locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book. Finally he/she is willing to read any genre and be carried along for the ride.
What frustrates you?
People who demean and attack the rights and self-worth of others, including those who hide behind their religious or political beliefs to do so. That theme surfaces in a number of my books.
Have you ever thought about going back into acting?
Yes, I’d love to play Mr. Ringwood in AN INFATUATION, Professor Katzer in A SHOOTING STAR, Simon Huckby Jana’s agent in the Jana Lane mystery series, Martin Anderson the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah mystery series, and Mortimer in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. Hear that movie producers!
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND
by JOE COSENTINO
published by Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thenakedprinceandothertalesfromfairyland-1964627-143.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-naked-prince-and-other-tales-from-fairyland-joe-cosentino/1123242972?ean=2940157650803
Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.
Praise for Joe Cosentino’s books from Dreamspinner Press:
“unbelievably beautiful” “a masterpiece” Lovebytes Reviews
“as Joe Cosentino proves time and time again, with his wonderful writing and storytelling ability, love will prevail, and you will smile from ear to ear." Kathy Mac Reviews
“a master class in how to write short fiction (or any fiction). Joe Cosentino has provided a work that will leave you thinking and wanting to savor and re-read it again and again.” GGR Reviews
“Like an onion, Joe Cosentino's stories have layers.” “For those readers looking for something a little bit different - dare I say unique? For those readers who like to laugh. For those readers who appreciate the nuances of people and the way each character is different. For those readers who want to read a damn good story - check out this author. I'm glad I did.” “A truly fabulous read.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“This story just blew me away.” Cathy Brockman Romance/MM Good Book Reviews
“From the beginning I was enthralled and couldn’t wait to finish the book.” Inked Rainbow Reads
“really grabs you and tugs at your emotions” “unique and enjoyable.” Nautical Star Books
“It turned out exactly how I wanted it to.” BFD Book Blog
“This is polished prose at its best. Intelligent writing, a thought-provoking plot and characters befitting the theater genre” “one of my favorite reads this year.” Love’s Last Refuge Reviews
“Don't miss this one friends, it is a heartfelt story magical in the telling! Thanks Joe for putting your heart on the page for us to savor!” Bike Book Reviews
“It’s unusual for me to get sucked into a book in the first chapter but it grabbed me early and I read the whole thing in one day”. Nautical Star Books
“There were times I laughed and then there were times I cried…unforgettable.” Multitaskingmomma Reviews
"I really loved this book and having an ending that made me laugh and cry at the same time is testament to the brilliant writing." BooksLaidBareBoys
"The author executed his storyline with a marvelous precision that would be the envy of many authors. He draws the readers into the lives of his characters, they become real and in turn, their emotions becomes yours." "If you can only afford to buy one more book this year, buy this one.” Three Books Over the Rainbow Reviews
As was his custom, Cinder sat at the fireplace, lit a candle, and placed his pet mouse from the jar onto his lap. He closed his eyes and asked his fathers to help him get to the ball to give his stepsister her missing apparel for her dance with the prince. Suddenly the flame of the candle flickered, and Cinder heard his fathers’ voices. Cinder’s father Maxwell, told him how much he missed him. Cinder’s other father, Mortimer, reminded Maxwell that he missed Cinder too. Maxwell explained to Cinder that he was safe and happy in the other world. Mortimer interjected that Maxwell should not forget that Mortimer was safe and happy in the other world with Maxwell. It was the most comforting moment of Cinder’s life, except for meeting the young man in the meadow.
Maxwell then said, “Cinder, my son, whom I love more than anything in all creation, your fathers have been granted one night, and one night only, with the power to help you. And we have chosen this night.”
“Tell our boy what we are going to do for him,” said Cinder’s other father Mortimer.
Maxwell explained that Cinder would attend the prince’s ball.
Cinder could not believe what he was hearing. At first he thought it was a dream, but no dream could ever be so wonderful. Knowing his stepsister must be heartbroken without her hat and bag, Cinder hoped he could get them to her before she danced with the prince.
“Tell Cinder the stipulation, Maxwell.”
“I was just about to do that, Mortimer.” Then Maxwell said to Cinder with tenderness in his voice, “My son—”
“He’s my son too, Maxwell,” added Cinder’s other father.
After taking a calming breath, Maxwell continued. “Our son, the great force has granted me—”
Mortimer cleared his throat.
“Has granted us the special power to send you to the prince’s ball, but the power will last for one night only. At the stroke of midnight, everything will return back to the way it was.”
Cinder was incredibly grateful to his fathers. He wanted more than anything to tell them how much he loved them and to ask them so many questions, including whether they could help him see the young man from the meadow again. But before Cinder could speak, a slight breeze grazed his cheek. The breeze grew slowly and steadily in intensity and finally became a gust of wind as Cinder’s burlap clothing magically transformed into an exquisite powder blue suit, ruffled shirt, and handkerchief. Cinder looked down at his feet and noticed the mouse’s pickling jar had been transformed into handsome glass slippers. The wind continued to grow until it threw open the cottage door, carrying a pumpkin from the root vegetable bin and Cinder’s pet mouse with it. Cinder hurried outside and marveled as the pumpkin turned into a stunning gold coach and the pet mouse expanded into a handsome coachman. The squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit, and blue jay frolicked in the wind until they became four striking white horses.
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). 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, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming releases are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (NineStar Press) and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press releasing March 15). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com