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.
Pages or WC: 30,000 words
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Excerpt from The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland
Things were looking grim in Fairyland. Gideon Golden’s parents had come home sooner than he expected. So the eighteen-year-old yanked up his overalls and posed in front of the hearth as if he had not just lost his virginity.
Jack, tall and lean, pulled up his pants, patted down his rumbled auburn hair, jumped over the candlestick, and ran out of the small thatch-roofed golden cottage, calling over his shoulder, “It was fun, buddy.”
Looking at the shocked expressions on his parents’ faces, Gideon trembled in his clogs. Sweat ran from his forehead down his handsome face, just missing his crystal blue eyes and falling onto his powder blue shirt. As he anxiously awaited his parents’ reactions, Gideon noticed his curly golden-blond hair was matted against his neck.
Gideon’s short, portly mother and tall, pole-thin father, wearing an umber dress and suit respectively, glared at their son like a knight facing a dragon.
“How long has this been going on, Gideon?” Gideon’s mother asked in a nasal rage.
“Will you be silent, Minerva? As the man of the house—” Gideon’s father glared at him. “—apparently as the only man, I will choose the questions to ask Gideon.” He took in a deep breath. “Now, Gideon, how long has this been going on?”
“I met Jack this afternoon when I went for a walk on the little bridge over the brook,” Gideon explained. “Jack is a very nice boy.”
Gideon’s father grabbed his son by his ear. “That’s the point, Gideon. Jack is a boy. And you are a boy.”
“How could you do this to us?” Gideon’s mother cried.
“Will you stop your incessant prattle, Minerva?” Gideon’s father said with a stern look on his narrow face. He pulled on his son’s hair. “How could you do this to us?”
“And right in our own cottage!” wailed Gideon’s mother.
“He knows where he did it, Minerva,” Gideon’s father said.
Gideon replied, “Jack wanted to do it on the bridge, but the Baker and his Wife were nearby picking blueberries.”
“Not the Baker’s Wife!” Gideon’s mother said with a hand clutching her heart. “Katatonia is in my spinning wheel group. I will never be able to look at her over a spindle again!”
Gideon’s father sat at their wooden table with his head in his hands. “That bridge is near the coal mines. I’ll be a laughingstock if those gossipy dwarves saw you.”
Review by Janice Birnie
Happily ever after in Fairyland.
In The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, Joe Cosentino recreates classic fairy tales and fairy tale characters, linked ( pun intended) by fairyland protection and lubrication. Princes fall in love with princes, male characters become female and the world of fairy tales will never be the same. But then again, the original stories had a cross dressing wolf, a boy who spent way too much time with a pirates hook and Jack who was very nimble and surprisingly quick. I often wondered what the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker did in the tub. But I digress. That’s an answer for another book.
Each of the four stories in this novella is a new take on an old story or a meeting of disparate characters who find magical and unexpected connections.
Cinder is an incredibly talented costume and makeup designer, and the stepson of a clearly unhappy witch of a woman. A chance meeting with a naked man in the woods, stirs feelings in Cinder he didn’t know were possible. His journey to find his Prince is fraught with misunderstanding and mishap but it’s a fairy tale so we know he’ll probably get his HEA.
The Golden Rule tells the story of Gideon Golden, homeless after being discovered post coitally with nimble Jack and ejected by his homophobic parents. Alone and frightened, Gideon stumbles upon a beautiful house in the mountains where he meets three very hot, very human, bears. Will any of the Bears be just right for the newly renamed goldilocks?
What Ever Happened To..? is the story of a journalist (Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk) interviewing a now adult Pinocchio. They find they have much in common and, as size queen Jack discovers, It’s not Pinoccchio’s nose that grows when he tells lies these days…
Finally, In Ice Cold, eighteen year old Gaelen must save Kieran, the young man he’s grown to love, from an evil Prince. Kieran has been abducted and had his memories and gentle heart stolen by the Prince. Finding a way to release him from the Prince and his evil magic may prove more difficult than Gaelen had hoped. A little help from some fairyland residents gives him the weapons he needs, and a chance to return home with his one true love.
Reading this novella a line from Willy Wonka sprang to mind: “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” Joe Cosentino is a wise and very funny man. The Naked Prince and Other Takes from Fairyland is littered with absurdist humor and delicious nonsense. If, like me, you sense of humour is rooted in the absurd, then this book is definitely for you. It makes for a funny, delightfully original read on a lazy afternoon. And they’re fairy tales, so you know the chances of a HEA are pretty high.
Congratulations, Joe, on winning more Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards of 2015 than any other author!
Thank you. And a big thank you to all the readers who voted for me! I am still on Cloud 9! It makes all the hours at my computer worth it. Well, almost. Hah. Seriously, these awards are like big hugs from readers. They make me want to keep writing—and I will!
You won big with DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery published by Lethe Press in four categories: Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humor, and Best Contemporary. What is it about that novel that you think clicks so well with readers?
One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she’s ever read in her life. That’s a keeper! Another reviewer wrote it is a gay Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys. I love those shows! Yet another reviewer wrote it is a humor book, mystery novel, and romance novel all rolled into one terrific package. Readers have told me that as Nicky and Noah solve the mystery and fall in love with each other, they fall in love with Nicky and Noah. They also say the over the top and farcical elements, like Nicky and Noah impersonating other people to investigate the crimes, give them a good laugh, which we can all use nowadays. A la Agatha Christie, there are lots of clues, plot twists and turns, and a surprise yet earned ending. As in an Armistead Maupin novel, there are quirky, wild, yet endearing characters. Readers also seem to like the cozy element, since the novels take place at Treemeadow College, named after the founders, a gay couple, Tree and Meadow. The beautiful New England white stone Edwardian campus sports mountain and lake views, hot chocolate at fireplaces, and gorgeous winter and fall settings. Finally, they seem to like Nicky, who truly cares about other people and wants to help them. He is a real hero, and a one-man man, and that man is his Noah. 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 (released January 2) 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.
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 of course the ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations. It needs to be fun along the way to discovering whodunit.
You’re a college theatre professor/department head like Martin Anderson in the series. Is the series based on your life at your college? I sure hope not!
My colleagues and students kid me that if any of them tick me off, I will kill them in a novel. Hah. Actually, I like them too much for that. And they like the books! However, I did use my knowledge of theatre and academia to give the series a realistic touch.
And your AN INFATUATION from Dreamspinner Press took 2nd Place for LGBT Romance Novel favorite, and you took 2nd Place for Favorite LGBT Author.
I was especially thrilled with that because AN INFATUATION was the first MM novella I wrote! It is loosely based on my high school years and attending my high school reunion. Following that I wrote A SHOOTING STAR, which is loosely based on my time as a theatre major in college. Both novellas did so well as e-books that Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together in paperback releasing March 21.
And you wrote another novella published by Dreamspinner Press.
Yes, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, is loosely based on my amazing trip to the gorgeous, magical, and romantic island of Capri, Italy.
Before you were a writer, you were an actor.
Yes, I acted with Holland Taylor in the ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID, Charles Keating on NBC-TV’s ANOTHER WORLD, Jason Robards in a Commercial Credit Computer commercial, Rosie O’Donnell in an AT&T Industrial, and Bruce Willis and Nathan Lane in plays on stage.
What was it like to work with those stars?
In each case it was before they were big stars. However, each was incredibly professional, hard-working, kind, and very funny!
You are back with us today to tell us about your latest release, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press. When did your fascination with fairytales begin?
As a kid my older sister (She’ll love me telling you that) 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. My sister and I put on shows in our living room for unsuspecting and gullible family members. Since our budget was small, like us, we used blankets for royal capes, wooden spoons as scepters, and serving bowls for golden crowns. Later as an adult I wrote musical plays for professional theatre companies (Interborough Repertory Theater, Pegasus Productions, and TSF Productions) that toured to young audiences. Many of them were based on fairytales like Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
What is your favorite fairytale?
Cinderella. It has the perfect elements: larger than life characters, humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending.
What led you to put the gay spin on them?
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 the 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.
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 inThe Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and why?
I love all of them, but my favorite are Cinder’s funny, sweet, devoted dads. I want to play Mortimer in the animated movie! Hear that Disney!
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 characters Gaelen meets on his journey.
Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most and why?
In “The Golden Rule,” Gideon sparing with Ben was a blast. Those two really heated things up.
How did you handle writing the love scenes?
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.
What’s next for you?
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. 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. 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. 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.
Finally, I have a new series of novels in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star 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.
You are certainly prolific. As a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write so much?
My friends tease me that I write faster than they can read. I write at night after my spouse has gone to bed. Like Martin Anderson in the Nicky and Noah series, I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat. My mother asked me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write at night?” I guess not!
How long does it generally take you to write a book?
About three months.
What is your writing process?
I write a plot summary and biography for each character. Sometimes I write an outline and other times I wing it. I show the second draft to my spouse for his notes. The third draft goes to the publisher.
You have worked with four different publishers. How do you find the right publisher for each book?
You search the publisher’s web site to see what kinds of books they publish, and you look for the perfect fit.
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.
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, and of course Martin Anderson the theatre department head in the Nicky and Noah mystery series. Hear that movie producers!
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
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 (Nine Star 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