Joe’s one of my favourite regulars here at Love That’s Out Of This World, and I’m delighted to welcome him back, pin him into a (relatively!) comfy chair and shine bright lights at him while he’s asked probing questions about his latest releases: the Holiday Tales from Fairyland e-book novella (the second volume of Tales from Fairyland, following The Naked Prince and Other Tales) and the Tales from Fairyland Anthology paperback (a compilation of both volumes).
There’s quite a lot in this post so you can use the handy-dandy menu to jump to the bits you want. Or, you know, just read on!
Interview with Joe
Why did you write Holiday Tales from Fairyland?
There is so much to be sad about in our world today. I needed to feel happy and joyous. So, I thought about the two things I love most: holidays and fairytales, and I wrote Holiday Tales from Fairyland/Tales from Fairyland Book 2. Also, after my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland/Tales from Fairyland Book 1 was published by Dreamspinner Press with an audiobook performed by Joel Leslie, readers and listeners raved about my gay, comic, romantic twists on Cinderella, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, and The Snow Queen. They begged me to write more stories from Fairyland. To be honest, I missed Fairyland and couldn’t wait to go back. So I did! Finally, I still find it tragic that LGBT people are not represented in traditional fairytales. So I changed that—again!
What is it that you love about the holiday seasons?
At Halloween, I like studly jack-o-lanterns on neighbors’ front porches, white sheets turned into drag ghosts at eerily-lit windows, and friends dressed as campy witches. The month of December turns me into a giggling child anticipating creative department store window displays of Santa and his favorite elf, Scrooge and Marley, Rudolph and Prancer, and snowmen dressed like GQ models. Victorian holiday house tours find me oogling at fireplace mantels and antique furnishings brimming with Christmas stockings, gingerbread houses, and hand-carved ornaments. Not to mention the actor playing the Victorian-era father.
When did your love of fairytales begin?
When my older sister first read them to me before bed eat night. I was totally entranced by peasants becoming princes and princesses and finding true love. The quaint locations, wit, wonder, drama, and happily ever after endings filled my young mind like fairies in an enchanted forest. I wanted to live in those palaces, meet the charming princes, and bring financial equality to those kingdoms.
Tell us about the three stories in Holiday Tales from Fairyland
The first story takes place on Halloween. I’ve always loved The Headless Horseman by Washington Irving. In my version, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the town folk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? You’ll see! Every Christmas I salivate over the wonder Nutcracker Ballet. So in the second story, on Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended, and find out: Who Killed Clara? Finally, my favorite Winter Solstice story is Vasillisa, the Beautiful. So the third story brings us young Vasily who falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day? Story three spills the winter beans.
Fairyland is a very gay place.
The gayest. It’s Fairyland after all!
Tell us about the heroes in each of the three stories.
Ichabod Crane is a young schoolteacher whose heart has been stolen by the town hunk, Brom Bones. Ichabod not only needs to win over the man he loves, but also win over the hearts and minds of the bigoted residents of Sleepy Hollow. Cavalier is smart, witty, and looking to partner dance with Mr. Right. Young man of mystery, Fritz, makes his dance belt swell and his heart sing as Cavalier interrogates the suspects to save the man he loves before the last dance. Orphan Vasily gazes out his window watching a gorgeous man ride by on his horse three times a day. He follows the man and discovers he is a prince bewitched by the witch, Baba Yaga. Vasily has to use his smarts, creativity, and heart to save himself and his loving Prince Anton. Vasily is in for an incredible surprise at Baba Yaga’s cottage.
Are you excited about the paperback of the entire Tales from Fairyland Collection?
Yes, beyond words! What I hope is that everyone reads and these funny, sexy, heartwarming, romantic, fairytales. They will no doubt bring you back to better, joyous times. I also hope the movie studio producing those amazing animated fairytales finally realizes that fairytales should include everyone—including the schoolteacher who finds love in Sleepy Hollow!
What other stories have you published?
For Dreampinner Press, In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are loosely based on my high school and college years. Readers still tell me how much those stories make them laugh, cry, and changed their lives. My popular, heartwarming Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories are A Home for the Holidays (which takes place on the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri), The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel (releasing 12/7). There I go again writing about the holidays that I love!
And you have two award-winning mystery series with other publishers.
Reviewers called my Nicky and Noah mysteries “the funniest books ever written,” captivating mysteries,” and “The Hardy Boys meets Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart.” Adorable couple, college theatre professors Nicky and Noah, solve murder mysteries on their Treemeadow College (named about gay couple Tree and Meadow) campus and on tour in Drama Queen, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle (releasing 2/1/19). My popular Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press) feature an ex-child movie star making a movie comeback and solving murder mysteries on set. Jana has a gay agent and gay best friend who provide lots of gay humor. The five novels are Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll.
You also wrote the Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press.
Cal Cozzi runs a gay resort on the New Jersey Shore. We get his story and the sexy, entertaining, and often surprising stories of his gay residents each summer. The novels are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings.
What do you do other than write?
I’m a college theatre professor/department head like Martin Anderson in my Nicky and Noah mystery series. My colleagues and students kid me that if any of them tick me off, I will kill them in a novel. Hah. Prior to that 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. I also have two master’s degrees, which I never let my spouse forget, though I don’t make him call me “master.”
How do you have the time to write?
I write at night when the house is quiet and my spouse is asleep. My mother said, “Don’t you have anything better to do at night than write? I wonder if Jackie Collins’ mother asked her that?
Where did you get your sense of humor?
My mother is a riot. For example, when she asked me what I wanted for Christmas, so I wouldn’t return her gift, I said, “A red shirt.” She replied, “I don’t like red. I’ll get you a blue one.”
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Write about what stimulates you with characters you adore. Just as I did improvisation as an actor, I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens! An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it. When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat. Finally, don’t forget the humor and mystery! And of course, the romance!
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, “If you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything.” I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and read something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? In any case, worrying about reviews doesn’t help, so why bother?
How is it working with different publishers?
It’s terrific working with the right publisher for the right book or series. I recommend researching each publisher before submitting your work to ensure it’s a good fit.
How do you handle writing 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.
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
About Holiday Tales From Fairyland + Buy Links and Excerpt
It’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? On Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended and find out: Who Killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day?
“Hey, that reminds me.” Brom shook a thick finger at him. “You promised to teach me reading, remember?”
“When would you like to start?”
“As my mother used to say, ‘Now is better than never.’”
“All right.” Ichabod reached into his pocket for the first wooden letter he had taken from the schoolhouse. He placed an “A” on the rug. “What does that letter look like to you?”
Ichabod stared at Brom and squinted.
“Here. I’ll show you.” Brom took Ichabod’s hand in his and moved Ichabod’s fingers from one shoulder blade, down to his waist just above his buttocks, and back up to the other shoulder blade. Ichabod couldn’t deny enjoying the lesson. “Yes, well, let’s move on.” He put down a “B.”
“That looks like me too!”
“I don’t follow.”
“Here’s the top part.” He moved Ichabod’s hand across one of his expansive pectoral muscles. “And this is the bottom part.” He continued downward to his bulging crotch.
“Ah, c-c-correct. It’s a b-b-b ‘B.’” Ichabod’s body and voice shook so much Bart covered his ears with his paws. “And this?” He put down a “C.”
“Your figure.” Brom moved his own hand from Ichabod’s small shoulder down and around his smooth buttocks.
Ichabod nearly exploded out of his britches. “I think we’ll stop at ‘C.’”
“Why? We’re just getting started!” Brom reached into Ichabod’s pocket to see if there were any other wooden pieces. “What else do you have in there?” His full lips were inches away from Ichabod’s.
Ichabod’s nostrils were filled with Brom’s woodsy scent. He yearned to wrap his arms around Brom’s wide back and rest his head on Brom’s strong chest.
Bart nuzzled his head against Ichabod’s chest.
Brom laughed. “It looks like you have a friend.”
The dog licked Ichabod’s face.
Brom yawned and rose to his feet. “I’m bushed. I can learn more letters tomorrow night. Time for bed.”
Ichabod looked down at the rug. “Should I sleep here with Bart?”
“Bart sleeps in the bed with me. You can sleep in the barn.”
Ichabod rose and headed toward the door. Bart ran there first and barked at him. Ichabod jumped back. “Did I do something wrong?”
Brom snickered. “Bart doesn’t want you to leave. So I guess you’ll have to sleep with us. I warn you. I snore like a bear.” He disappeared into the bedroom.
Ichabod entered the room, hearing his heart pounding in his ears. He found Brom bare-chested in long johns, laying on his back in the bed. He gasped at the sight of Brom’s broad shoulders, bulging biceps, mountainous pectoral muscles, and washboard abdominals.
“Hurry up in while there’s still room. Bart likes to stretch out.”
Ichabod quickly disrobed, rested his eyeglasses on the night table, and lay on his side with his back towards Brom. He could barely contain his excitement, or the bulge in his long underwear.
Brom covered them with a blue checkered quilt. “It can get chilly at night. Sometimes really chilly.” Brom reached his powerful arm over him and spooned Ichabod’s back into his strong chest. As Brom snored lightly, Ichabod felt the other man’s warm breath on his neck. Bart leapt onto the bed and lay at their feet. For the first time in his life, Ichabod felt at home.
About the Tales from Fairyland Anthology paperback + Buy Links
A compilation of both volumes of Tales from Fairyland: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland.
Welcome to Fairyland, a magical place where your favorite fairytale characters come out on the other side of the rainbow. Poor and beautiful Cinder offers his clothes to a naked prince in the woods in a twist on the classic Cinderella tale. Eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three irresistibly burly men on Bear Mountain. Romance ensues between that stringy guy with a growing appendage and the character with a thing for giants. A handsome but cold-hearted prince bewitches young Kieran into being his captive. Can Gaelen thaw the ice palace and save his love?
Then it’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of Sleepy Hollow balk, the headless horseman rides into town teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. When hunky Cavalier turns sweet on sweet Fritz, it’s time for the dancing private investigator to question everyone involved with Clara and the Nutcracker to find out who killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, can orphan Vasily rescue a tortured prince from Baba Yaga, releasing him from the witch’s conversion therapy, and dance around the prince’s pole on May Day?
Praise for The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland
“This is a brilliant work, filled with imaginative twists and sly asides. This is adult literature, overflowing with sometimes gentle but often biting humor, and these fairy tales take on a new edginess without ever losing the morality underpinning each story. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland gets my highest recommendation! If I could give it more than 5 Stars I would. Bravo, sir, bravo!” GGR Reviews
“Sometimes you are lucky enough to find an author that ticks every box you want as a reader, today I’m that lucky reader….a great saucy, fun collection and highly recommended.” Three Books over the Rainbow
“…the stories are all well done and smart, engaging, funny and sweet.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“The Naked Prince and Other tales from Fairyland is a fun, hilarious collection of stories. Joe outdid himself taking old favorites from our childhood and putting a grown-up spin on them….If you like gay princes, sexy bears, giants, reporters, fairy tales, comedy, suspense, and, sweet, fun man-sex, this is for you.” Cathy Brockman Romance
“If you haven’t read anything by Cosentino, you don’t know what you are missing. His humor and penchant for drama bring these old favorites a new life as he ventures deep into Fairyland….If you love fairytales, you’ve got to read the naughty versions – they are even better!” Joyfully Jay Reviews
“I was most surprised by the author’s sense of humor and his ability to get me to not only laugh out loud, but actually to “belly laugh.” I highly recommend this to audiobook lovers, and especially to those who loved fairy tales in their childhood.” Hearts on Fire Reviews
“In this wickedly entertaining take on classic fairy tales, Joe Cosentino gives us four short stories full of all the characters you remember from storybooks – Cinderella, Pinocchio, Goldilocks, Captain Hook, Jack and the Beanstalk, Prince Charming and many more – but fair warning: This ain’t your childhood Cinderella. Welcome to a world where it isn’t Pinocchio’s nose that grows when he tells a lie. Goldilocks discovers three sexy daddy bears in the woods and ‘someone’s been sleeping in my bed’ takes on a whole other connotation. Jack is ‘very nimble’ but sadly also ‘amazingly quick’ and Prince Charming dons ‘palace protection’ for hot sex with Cinder. Extra bonus points for this wonderful quip: ‘I always suspected he had more down his throat than a frog.’” Gay Book Reviews
Joe Cosentino is the author of six novellas published by Dreamspinner Press: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Audiobook of the Month); the In My Heart series: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; and the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel; the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Favorite LGBT Mystery), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press).
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 professor/department chair residing in New York State.
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com