Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino and Joel Leslie to Joyfully Jay. Joe and Joel have come to talk to us about their new audiobooks, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and A Home for the Holidays, written by Joe and narrated by Joel. They have also brought along some audio samples to share, as well as a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
JOE: Okay, I’ll start off with a bit of namedropping. I was a professional actor working opposite stars like Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint on stage), Rose O’Donnell (AT&T Industrial), Charles Keating (NBC-TV’s Another World), Holland Taylor (ABC-TV’s My Mother Was Never a Kid), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit Computer). So when I morphed into becoming a playwright and eventually a novelist, I was thrilled by the warm and wonderful reactions from readers and reviewers, but the actor in me wanted more. Watching my books become audiobooks has fulfilled that inner desire.
I was incredibly lucky to find voice artist performer/producer Joel Leslie who approached the audiobooks as an actor, asking me in depth questions about each character’s background, education, socioeconomic level, age, personality type, and even how I would describe him/her as an animal. He even asked me each character’s preferred sexual position in bed!
Joel is amazingly versatile (with his voice) as he realistically, comically, and beautifully creates stables of characters, no two alike. Though I wrote my stories, when I heard the audiobooks, I couldn’t help laughing, being surprised by certain plot twists, and falling in love with each of the characters.
In my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland novella, Cinder in “The Naked Prince” is a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters. One day on the meadow, he offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. This leads Cinder on a romantic adventure to the palace that you won’t forget. You’ll laugh hysterically at Joel’s Queen character (reminiscent of Maggie Smith), be turned on by the Prince, and want to cuddle with sweet Cinder. In “The Golden Rule,” when young Gideon Golden is caught with nimble Jack, Gideon is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three hunky men living on Bear Mountain. Joel uses his flair for accents to create Gideon’s urban parents and southern bears: Bo, Ben, and Butch. And get ready for the sexiest Woodsman you’ll ever hear! It’s Christmas Eve in “Whatever Happened To … ?” A reporter with a fetish for giants interviews a celebrity with a growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction. Again Joel captures the characters’ whimsical and rocky road to romance. Finally, in “Ice Cold,” young Gaelen embarks on an amazing adventure to melt Kieran’s frozen heart and save his lover from the clutches of the evil Prince Isidore. You won’t want this story to end as Joel offers the perfect entryway into this captivating tale.
Let’s hear a bit from Joel next. Joel, what was it like for you recording my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland?
JOEL: When I saw the cover of the book, I absolutely fell in love. I wanted to narrate the book sooooo badly. I am a complete ‘Disney Queen’ and a huge animation buff… so the idea of getting to create these characters, almost as if I was doing my own classical animated take on them was too good to resist. When I read the book, I realized what a unique challenge it was going to be. Joe is such a creative writer, and each story had its own style and feel. In order to do justice to each story we had to find a different approach that was unique to each tale. We actually tried a few ‘tester’ narrations with his Facebook fans to see whether they responded the most to an American or a British narrative. I’m a dialect fiend. I used to teach them at NYU, and so that was a really fun way into giving individuality to these characters. Jack (of Beanstalk fame) is a British folk story, and Pinocchio is Italian…so those two felt natural. With Goldilocks, he wrote these burly lumberjacks as the bears, so it fell into this Appalachian kind of place. It was so much fun, and Joe really trusted me to make really strong choices with the characters. But, no matter how far we went with them, they still had to come from a place of truth and heart. These characters all take themselves very seriously.
The thing that really struck me the most about the stories was that they aren’t just gimmicky or cute. Joe has crafted really beautiful and important morals and themes into the tales. Lessons about love and companionship and loneliness, and he makes very artful allusions to what particular challenges come with gay relationships. These characters are dealing with rejection from their families, discovering their true selves, the fears of sharing their feelings and the bloom of first passions. I was so impressed that he took a ‘cute’ idea and fleshed it out into real, touching stories that were full of both whimsy and resonance.
JOE: And now here’s a few words about this story from the reviewer at Joyfully Jay: “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!”
Next, in my A Home for the Holidays short story, on holiday break American law student Bobby visits his extended Italian family and falls in love with his self-centered third cousin, the stunningly handsome, muscular, and sexy Paolo Moscobello in the most gorgeous place on earth: the Island of Capri in Italy.
Joel perfectly captures the Italian sights, sounds, scents, tastes, characters, humor, romance, and adventure of Bobby, Paolo, and their families in this magnificent island. He plays each member of the Moscobello family so beautifully, you won’t believe all those character voices came from one person. You’ll fall in love with these characters and not want to leave them. You will also feel as if you are right there with Bobby and Paolo at the Marina Grande, the Piazetta (main plaza), and Via Krupp underscored by the sparkling turquoise sea below. As you listen, close your eyes and take a swim in the gorgeous white sand beach at Marina Piccola surrounded by artistic white stone formations. At Mt. Solaro, the highest point on the Isle of Capri, gaze out at the stunning views of the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the mountains of Calabria in the distance. And don’t miss the boat ride through the Grotta Azzurra (the Blue Grotto) with its brilliant shades of iridescent sapphire and emerald from the sun’s reflection on the water in the cove.
Let’s hear from Joel again on bringing this story to audio life. Joel, how was it recreating these endearing characters on this enchanted island?
JOEL: It was really fun to be able to do New York Italian Sopranos-sound for Bobby’s family and then move into a the more earthy, sensual sounds of Capri. I love voicing Italian women…they are just strong and gutsy and full of life. In my head Bobby’s mother is Lanie Kazan. And Paulo’s mother was Sophea Loren. At first I was really concerned about how to keep all the Moscobello family members clear for the listener, but Joe wrote them with such specificity that it was an easy task. One of my favorite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun, and I just adored how this felt kind of like a gay cross between that and Moonstruck. Hear, again, Joe writes with great, broad humor, but always on a foundation of honest emotional depth. Considering it’s a fairly short novella, the characters really grab on to you. It seems to me that these boys definitely deserve a sequel! What do you say, Joe?
JOE: I say, stay tuned.
Finally, here are a few comments about this story from amazing author AM Leibowitz: “I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail.” “exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.”
Joel’s acting and my writing are the perfect blend of two actors creating two unforgettable stories you won’t want to miss. So listen up!
Joe and Joel have brought some audio excerpts from each of the books to share. (Note: there may be a slight delay before the audio fully loads)
The Naked Prince:
Home for the Holidays:
THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND
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.
- Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Naked-Prince-and-Other-Tales-from-Fairyland-Audiobook/B01M667L7A/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1477080276&sr=1-1
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MCVSSPY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477080991&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Naked+Prince+audiobook
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/naked-prince-other-tales-from/id1094932154?mt=11
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian Island of Capri to meet his eccentric, extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Moscobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after. “Reading this little holiday treat is like taking a romantic trip to gorgeous Capri, Italy!”
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A-Home-for-the-Holidays/dp/B01N0DV3FT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479506049&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Home+for+the+Holidays+Joe+Cosentino
- Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/A-Home-for-the-Holidays-Audiobook/B01MQJ2OZY/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1479506188&sr=1-1
More about Joe Cosentino
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press), Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. Upcoming releases are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press). 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
More about Joel Leslie
Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. Among the m/m series he records are NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart, Haley Walsh’s Skyler Foxe Mysteries, Sloane Kennedy’s Protectors, Adam Carpenter’s Jimmy McSwain Files, Perie Woolford’s Sam Dorsey’s Gay Popcorn, and Smith and LeNoir’s Blackballed trilogy. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.
He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs. He records projects outside of the m/m genre under the name Joel Froomkin. Visit www.joelleslienarration.com for more and friend him on facebook at Joel Leslie Froomkin.
Joe and Joel have brought 5 audiobooks to give away in the winner’s choice of Home for the Holidays or Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland! Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, December 8th at 11:59 pm EST.
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