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.
This was a fun grouping of four fairytales. I enjoyed seeing how Mr. Cosentino adapted stories many already know, but he still made them his own. I really liked how other nursery rhyme, fairytale, and fable characters are mentioned in passing throughout the story as if all of the characters are from the same place and know each other. I was dying laughing at all of the “royal protection” and “Fairyland protection” throughout the stories. It brought a comic aspect to the stories to show everyone is being safe but still has that kind of silly and whimsical aspect you expect from fairytales. Each story is independent but they’re interconnected and a definite pleasure to read.
I liked the twist on Cinderella in “The Naked Prince”. It’s a fun over the the top kind of a fairytale. The step mother and step sisters are wonderfully evil. They treat Cinder so horribly. But love definitely prevails in the end. The part with the queen and step mother was a bit of a stretch. However, the ending is so sweet. I love how he stays true to the original story as much as possible.
Gideon in “The Golden Rule” is so completely helpless. He tries so hard to be taken seriously. But he’s kind of funny the way he stops around and demands to be seen as an adult. The story was equal parts predictable and not at all. The ending is sweet though and you can’t help but smile.
“Whatever Happened To…?” Was such acute story. It started out a little slow. But it once the story hit its strideI couldn’t help but smile through the rest. I loved how we got a glimpse at Jack and Pinocchio as they loved through the years. It’s nice seeing how the characters stay together and live out their happily ever after. This story would have been the perfect if this story was the last with the way it ended.
There were parts of “Ice Cold” I liked and parts I didn’t. I wasn’t a fan of how both Gaelen and Kieran were with others in the story, even if it’s not explicit or in any major way. Those pieces didn’t add to the story or further the plot. However I liked how Gaelen didn’t give up and found Kieran no matter what. I really enjoyed how he stuck to the original Snow Queen story more closely than some of the more recent renditions in main stream media. It’s fun to see this story gender switched and made into a romance.
Molly: You look adorable on the right side of the book cover. Are you really that cute?
Cinder: I’m blushing. After my dads died, I spent most of my life doing my stepmother’s and stepsisters’ hair and makeup, and designing and sewing their clothes. I haven’t thought much about how I look. But that all changed when I met a gorgeous naked man in the field outside my stepmother’s cottage. He was so handsome and strong, but also kind and considerate, and yes, absolutely charming, hence his name (as I found out later) Prince Charming.
Molly: Did you ever think you would end up with a prince and live in a palace?
Cinder: Never. To be honest, I don’t care about any of that. Wherever Prince Charming lives is home for me. Once Prince Charming met me, he realized there’s more to life than good looks, a strapping princely build, wearing royal garb, and living in grandeur with servants honoring his every whim. That leads to lots of humor, drama, conflict, and a perfect ending for us—and social justice to our kingdom!
Molly: Prince Charming sure looks buff on the cover. How did he get so hot?
Cinder: From archery, fencing, and of course riding his royal stallion.
Molly: Why haven’t we seen a gay prince in mainstream fairytales or movies?
Cinder: As a kid Joe Cosentino’s older sister read him fairytales in bed every night before sleep. He 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 his young mind like beans in a counting jar. Joe wanted to live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality to those kingdoms. Later as an adult, he 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. Joe recently reread many of his cherished fairytales, and he was saddened to see no openly gay characters in any of them! So he asked himself, ‘Why aren’t there any gay people in fairyland? Why couldn’t a peasant boy fall in love with a handsome prince—like me? 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?’ Miraculously I and the other characters in The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland were born in four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and magically gay tales from Fairyland. How lucky am I to star in the first tale!
Molly: What are the stories about?
Cinder: “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 me, Prince Charming. Will Cinder and I confront our manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find ourselves, and find one another? I can give you a hint. We are still living happily ever after together in Fairyland. 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. All four stories are terrific, but I like mine and Cinder’s best.
Molly: Who is your favorite character in THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND, besides yourself?
Cinder: Prince Charming is so sweet, caring, warm, and wonderful. That’s him on the left of the cover. How lucky I was to find him. Actually, he found me! It was truly love at first sight when we met in the woods and later at the palace ball.
Molly: Will you be starring in more of Joe Cosentino’s books?
Cinder: This is it for me. However, all of his books are great. If you haven’t yet, also check out AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Award for 2nd Place Best LGBT Romance of 2015), A SHOOTING STAR, and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS from Dreamspinner Press. If you like mysteries, don’t miss out on DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Awards for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, and Best Contemporary Novel of 2015) and DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah Amazon bestselling mysteries from Lethe Press. And Joe told me he is working on a new series about a gay resort at the New Jersey shore, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD coming soon from Nine Star Press. I wonder, is the New Jersey shore anything like Fairyland? Joe tells me it is quite different, but equally magically.
Molly: How can your readers contact you and Prince Charming?
Cinder: Joe will get any messages to us. He loves to hear from readers. It gives him a break from hearing from characters like me. They can contact him at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
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 (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.
Post a comment below about why you love fairytales. The one that we think wins the glass slipper will receive an e-book of Joe Cosentino’s hit novella AN INFATUATION (published by Dreamspinner Press) from the author. Don’t forget to include your email address so you can be contacted if your comment is chosen!