Finding the Fairy in Fairytales with Joe Cosentino

January 27, 2016

Finding the Fairy in Fairytale

Hi, fairytale lovers, this is Joe Cosentino taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog. Don’t worry, they let me do it. You might have read my three novellas from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Award for 2nd Place for Favorite MM Novel of the Year!), A SHOOTING STAR, and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I’m here with you to talk about my current novella releasing today (Happy Release Day!), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND.

The Naked Prince cover

I had terrible insomnia as a kid, and my older (sorry, sis) sister read fairytales to me at night so I would finally go to sleep. It worked! And it still works today! Except I read them to myself now to fall asleep. I know what you’re thinking. How can those sometimes violent, sexist, dark stories relax you to sleep? I was and still am totally transported by those magical tales of common people defying the odds, struggling through misfortune, surviving abuse, and ending up with their one true love—often a prince or princess in a palace! The likeable characters, witty dialogue, creative plot twists and turns, stunning illustrations, sense of wonderment, high drama, and of course happily ever after endings still make me cheer (and obviously konk out at night). I wanted (and still do) to live in those quaint mountain villages, rub elbows (and other things) with those charming princes, outsmart the witches and top 1%ers, and live happily ever after in those palaces. So my sister and I wrote, directed, choreographed, and costumes elaborate musical fairytales for our very patient family and neighbors. No ten million-dollar Broadway budget for us. Our parents’ card-table, bedsheets, blankets, robes, coats, serving bowls, and wooden spoons were all we needed for our audience to enter fairyland.

After college I continued playing make believe as a professional actor including acting in fairytale-like productions such as Roar of the Greasepaint on stage with Nathan Lane, A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage with Bruce Willis, and the ABC-TV Afterschool Special My Mother Was Never a Kid with Holland Taylor. I also wrote and directed musical plays for professional touring theatre companies, many based on fairytales like The Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

As such a lover of fairytales I often wondered why there are no gay characters in them! Okay, Prince Charming does seem a little gay. Peter Pan may have a thing for the captain’s hook. And I have my suspicions about what the seven dwarves really did with the Woodsman in the woods. Yet there are no openly gay characters or same-sex romances in fairytales. I had my hopes up when Disney and other companies produced Broadway musicals and movies based on fairytales. But no luck. When openly gay celebrities like Chris Coffer wrote fairytale books, again I assumed the breakthrough would come. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Surely there are some gay people in fairyland! Why don’t we read about them?

As a writer, my imagination kicked into gear, and I started thinking about my favorite fairytales. Why couldn’t a poor boy living with his stepmother and stepsisters fall in love with a handsome prince? Couldn’t a blond boy who was thrown out of his home for being gay seek shelter with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage really about? Did Jack and the Giant do more up there on the beanstalk than they let on? And could the Snow Queen be a tantalizing, smooth-faced prince with a cold heart?

So I wrote four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and definitely gay tales from Fairyland for THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. “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 the 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.

So if you’re a fairytale lover like me, or even if you aren’t, I think you will enjoy these very gay fairytales. Maybe movie studios will finally take notice, and realize the most entertaining inhabitants of fairyland are the fairies.

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I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Now it’s YOUR turn. Write a comment about your favorite fairytale. Why do you love it? What’s gay about it? After seventy-two hours I will choose the comment that tickles my Fairyland dust the most and the winner will receive a gift e-book of my hit novella from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (soon to be partnered with A SHOOTING STAR for a paperback version releasing March 21!). Thanks for reading my blog post. I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

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An excerpt from THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND:

 

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.

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Purchase Links:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

ARe

 

Links to Joe Cosentino:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

8 Responses to “Finding the Fairy in Fairytales with Joe Cosentino”

  1. Trix says:

    I always loved THE FROG PRINCE, though I don’t know if that counts because I prefer the Muppet adaptations. (I always relate to the part where Kermit tells the prince in song that being a frog is much better, and being married to a Muppet frog would be pretty cool…)

  2. Hi Trix, Thanks for sharing. I love The Muppets too. The Frog Prince is a great fairytale and ripe for MM adaptation!

  3. Lorraine says:

    Not entering but my favourite of all time is Beauty and the Beast…so many possibilities.

  4. H.B. says:

    I’ll have to also go with Beauty and the Beast being my favorite. There are just so many ways to twist the story and the characters.

  5. Thanks, Lorraine and H.B. There’s a new Beauty and Beast movie coming out with live actors. Alas, no gay storyline though. I agree there are many possibilities with that story!

  6. Sara says:

    It’s a tricky question. I can’t really think of a gay (modern use of the word) fairy tale, a couple of myths maybe; there’s one in Norse mythology when Tor and Loke dress up in women’s clothes in order to get Tor’s hammer back, and quite a few of the old ancient classical tales such as The Tale of Gilgamesh and the close friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but they aren’t truly fairy tales.

    My all time favorite fairy tale though is a Norwegian tale about a too proud princess and one of her many suitors who have been crossed by her rude behaviour and decides to teach her a lesson. He tricks his way into her bed, dressed as a poor beggar, during the course of three nights. When she ends up with child she is forced to marry the beggar. Of course in the end, after a lot of trouble and several tests, it all works out for the best. The girl has learnt her lesson and ends up with both the prince and the kingdom and the baby.

    With some changes you could adapt it to a more gay storyline I think.

  7. Thank you, Sara! You bring up a great issue, and the reason why I wrote the stories. There are no classic fairytales (or film adaptations of them) with major gay characters. I sure hope that changes soon. Thanks for the idea about the Norwegian tale. It sounds great.

  8. Thank you Trix, Lorraine, HB, and Sarah for sharing. I enjoyed reading each of your comments. The winner of the AN INFATUATION e-book will be notified shortly. Keep reading fairytales and spreading the fairy dust!

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