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Title: COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD
Author: Joe Cosentino
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Arai TAn
On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey Shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are once again open for summer and love. The vacationers include Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran, a Tony Award winning actor and his estranged producer/husband with their two hired studs, Jarek and Zeus. Computer analyst Sam enlists his best friend Chase in a scheme to attract hunky Raul. Middle aged Gil Van Truren wants to end it all—until he sees a vision of his first love. Cal also has his hands full with college student Michael—his new young lover—Michael’s study buddy Carlo, man of mystery George Valis, and Connor, the houseboy packed with muscles and a wondering sponge. All the while Hunter, a female gay romance novel enthusiast, experiences gay life off the page. What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove?
An Interview with Cal Cozzi and Michael Rodgers, the leading characters in COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD by Joe Cosentino, a novel published by NineStar Press
I have with me today Cal Cozzi and Michael Rodgers, the leading characters in Joe Cosentino’s second Cozzi Cove novel, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. Since the readers can’t see you, how about you tell them what you look like.
Michael: Cal is thirty years old. Old enough to be my uncle.
Cal: I’ll put you over my knee for that.
Michael: I wish.
Cal: Like most people’s, your wish will come true when we get back to Cozzi Cove.
Tell us more about Cal Cozzi.
Michael: Cal is tall and muscular with amazing pecs. His Italian and Scottish heritage left him with sexy auburn hair, a strong nose, and luscious lips that I like to kiss.
How about Michael Rodgers?
Cal: Michael is a nineteen-year-old college student with dark skin, tantalizingly exotic eyes, and a toned body I like between my sheets.
How did you two guys meet?
Cal: We met in the town of Cozzi when Michael assaulted me.
Michael: But Cal turned the tables on me.
Cal: You’ll have to read about it in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back.
Did you always run Cozzi Cove, Cal?
Cal: I dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After my parents died in an automobile accident, I found my calling: managing Cozzi Cove.
And what is Cozzi Cove?
Cal: Cozzi is a New Jersey shore town named after my great-grandfather who built eight bungalows on a private cove called Cozzi Cove. He also made every stick of furniture in each bungalow by hand—each with a nautical theme. Each bungalow has an amazing view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I loved as a kid, and still love. It’s home. Guessing his son was gay, my dad turned Cozzi Cove into a gay resort. I’m honored to follow in my dad’s footsteps.
What’s a cove?
Cal: Tell him, college boy.
Michael: The bungalows on Cozzi Cove are set on a stretch of cove formed when softer rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.
How did Joe Cosentino think up you two guys and Cozzi Cove?
Cal: Joe’s family vacationed every summer at his aunt and uncle’s bungalow on the New Jersey Shore. He has terrific memories of swimming and making sandcastles at the beach, wading in the bay, playing miniature golf, eating salt water taffy, jumping up and down on trampolines, and eating at his family’s favorite seafood restaurant. All of those places are in the fictitious place Joe calls Cozzi Cove.
Michael: But it’s not fictitious to us. It’s where we live—and love.
The first book was Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back. How was that received?
Cal: After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back released, many readers and reviewers praised its romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories.
Michael: They liked us. They really liked us.
Cal: So Joe wrote Cozzi Cove: Moving Froward. As with the first book, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems.
Michael: Cal and I are in each book. And we have a few steamy scenes together.
What other characters are in both books?
Cal: Connor, the college student assisting me, is packed with muscles and hormones. He revels in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove.
Michael: Which Connor enjoys in both books. I also work for Tommy Malone, a bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar and has held a torch for Cal since high school. Cal, my little sex magnet.
Cal: Keep it up and you may lose your other job. Carla Mangione runs Carla’s Seafood Restaurant. She holds a similar torch for my sister Taylor who drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs in each book. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around Taylor, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to me. Taylor is in for a huge surprise in this book.
As was the case with book one, book two is made up of interwoven stories about you and the guests in the seven bungalows.
Michael: After Joe’s hit novella A Shooting Star was released, many readers wanted more time with two of the leading characters, college theatre majors Jonathan and Barry. So two of the guests at Cozzi Cove this summer are loosely based on how Jonathan and Barry might be as middle-aged men. Joe calls them Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran in this book. They are a Tony Award winning actor and his estranged producer/husband with their two hired bodybuilder studs, Jarek and Zeus. Rodney and Dennis’ theatrical bantering makes me laugh. Jarek and Zeus are surprising sweet and touching.
They sound enticing.
Michael: I prefer Cal.
Cal: And your muscular study buddy from college, Carlo from Italy.
Michael: Carlo’s my photography class partner. And how about you spending so much time with the resident man of mystery, handsome George Valis?
Cal: And computer analyst, Sam, enlists his best friend Chase in a scheme to attract Sam’s hunky, unsuspecting best friend, Raul.
Michael: And Hunter, a female gay romance novel enthusiast, wants to experience gay life off the page.
Cal: Don’t forget middle aged Gil Van Truren who tries to end it all—until he sees a vision of his studly first love from college.
What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove this summer?
Cal & Michael: You’ll have to read the book to find out.
What is the moral of the story?
Cal: Take a chance on love. As Michael and I did.
Did Joe pattern Cal after himself and Taylor after his sister?
Cal: A few traits here and there, but Joe and I are very different, though his sister is opinionated like Taylor.
You two guys go through a rough patch as your relationship continues in this book, and Cal you make a personal shocking discovery.
Cal: That’s Cozzi Cove, just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a game changer.
Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels?
Michael: I hope so. Otherwise Cal and I will get bored just taking up space in Joe’s brain.
The novels are quite dramatic. At times they read like a film or television show.
Cal: Given Joe’s background as an actor and playwright, that isn’t surprising. Readers seem to like the quirky characters in scenes full of emotion with lengthy dialogue.
Michael: They also like the humor and mystery in the stories.
Do you see Cozzi Cove as a movie or television series?
Cal: I can see Matt Bomer as me.
Michael: And Corbin Bleu can play me.
There are also a number of love scenes in the books, including for you two. How did readers respond to those?
Cal: The love scenes in the books are pretty tame compared to many. I think they’re sweet, sexy, and touching.
Michael: Like Cal.
The books have gotten amazing reviews, and one or two not so good ones. How do you feel about that?
Cal: We’re thrilled that people love our stories. As for the few who don’t, as my mother always said, if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say it all.
What frustrates you?
Cal: People who demean and attack the rights and self-worth of others, including those who hide behind their religious or political beliefs to do so. Religious freedom means freedom to practice your religion, not discriminate against others. There’s a bit about that in the book.
Tell us about Joe’s other gay romance releases.
Michael: An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart bittersweet dreams novellas) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on Joe’s high school and college years respectively. They were so popular as individual e-books, Dreamspinner Press published them together in one paperback. Joe still receives comments from readers that those stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. An Infatuation won Second Place in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Award for Best Romance of 2015. A Home for the Holidays is Joe’s popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press about an American law student who, as Joe did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland from Dreamspinner Press is Joe’s gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.
Cal: Michael and I aren’t in them.
Joe also has two mystery series.
Cal: Joe’s Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. 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, the prime suspect in the murder. Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Contemporary, and Best Humorous Novel of 2015) is available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook performed by Michael Gilboe. It is often on Amazon’s bestseller’s list in its category. In Drama Muscle 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 (releasing soon), 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. Michael and I aren’t in them.
Michael: In the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll 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), 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 (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 (releasing 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.
Cal: We’re not in those either.
But you are both in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. Besides reading the Cozzi Cove novels, how can readers connect with you?
Cal: Joe loves hearing from readers. They can contact him at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. He’ll tell us what they said. He tells us everything. And we help him write his books about us.
Michael: So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal’s welcome mat is out.
Cal: I hope to see you there!
In their bungalow, Sam Wang and Chase Alexis had unpacked in the front bedroom, and changed into matching lavender midriff shirts and white shorts. Standing at the bureau mirror, Sam gazed nervously at his round pectorals, shapely thighs, and firm bulge. “How do I look?”
Chase looked at Sam in the mirror. “Great as usual. But—”
“Let’s take a look at you.” Sam looked in the mirror at Chase’s tan, muscular arms, legs sprinkled with thin blond hair, and sculpted abdominal muscles. He’d never been happier to have such a great-looking best friend. “Perfect.”
“Isn’t this getup a bit much?” Chase asked.
“We work out at the gym together three nights a week.” Sam tightened his bubble butt and then examined it in the mirror. “It’s time to use our assets. As they say, ‘All is fair in lust and war.’ ”
“Sam, you know I’d do anything for you. But this plan—”
“Will work.” Sam sat on the easy chair. “Because it makes perfect sense.”
“How does this make sense?”
“It makes sense, Chase, because when Alex the bully beat you up in third grade, I screamed and pulled out his hair. When you wanted a pet frog, I stole a live one from the biology lab in high school. When you had no date for prom, I was your date.”
Sam wasn’t letting Chase off that easily. “And when you needed an A paper written in college when you were on academic probation, I wrote the paper.”
Chase sat on the bed. “Okay. Okay.”
Sam was on a roll. “And when you took Drawing 1, I drew your masterpiece. When your mother was in the car accident, I visited her every day because you were too busy at your gymnastics meets.”
Sam sat next to Chase, enjoying this. “Not to mention I also recommended you for your job, and then covered for you after you got it and stayed home weeping and wailing about the men that got away.” Sam thought about the many men he’d had to hear about during numerous evenings at home while Chase cried on his shoulder. But Chase was worth it.
“All right! I told you I would do it.”
“Then stop complaining about it.” Sam noticed he was sitting next to a gay man without sucking in his stomach. Thank goodness it was only Chase.
Chase rested his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “I’ve done plenty for you too, pal.”
“What have you done for me?”
“I bought you that mauve shirt you love for your birthday, kept track of your rubber bands when you had braces on your teeth, and gave the hot male nurse your number when you had your appendix taken out.”
Sam hated when Chase was right. “Let’s take the focus off us and put it where it belongs—on the most perfect person on the planet. The man of my dreams.”
“Shouldn’t you lower your voice? He’s in the back bedroom.”
Sam shut the door. “Do you think he heard us?”
“I doubt it. He’s probably listening to music on his earphones. Which, by the way, he did for most of the ride from Jersey City while you blabbered about whether or not you should marry me.”
“But he looked so cute!’ Sam bit his knuckles, pretending they were Raul’s nipples. “Did you see the way Raul glanced over at me while I was driving?”
“He wanted you to pull over at the rest stop.”
Sam jumped up and down on the bed in excitement. “That’s when I saw Raul wink at me.”
“His eyes were dilated from having to pee so badly.”
“Where was all this humor when we entered the comic contest in high school? We bombed like a Girl Scout at a diabetics ward.”
Chase took Sam’s hand. “Sam, listen to me. I know you think you are in love with Raul.”
“Think? Think! I can hardly keep my wits in my head and my schlong in my pants when I see him. I think about Raul day and night.” He lay on his back and closed his eyes, reliving the splendor. “Raul’s olive skin, dreamy dark eyes, muscles for days.”
“It’s nice to know you aren’t simply lusting after the package.”
Sam jumped up. “I don’t love Raul’s package.” He smirked. “Well, yes, I love Raul’s package, but I also love what’s inside him.” Sam wrapped his arms around himself, pretending he was with Raul. “Raul’s inner strength, shy but secure manner, sense of honesty, and—”
Chase replied, “You just said Raul is honest.”
“Then why don’t you believe him when Raul says he’s straight?”
“Because he isn’t.”
“How do you know?”
“Don’t you see the way he looks at me? How his face lights up whenever I enter the room? How he always sits next to me, and puts his arm around me?”
“He likes you as a friend.”
Sam said as if an affirmation, “Raul wants me.”
“He’s just comfortable around gay men.”
“So comfortable, he’s one himself. Or at the very least bi.”
Chase slid to the edge of the bed. “Then why do you think he tells everyone he’s straight?”
“Because he hasn’t come out yet.”
“But his brother and his only friends are gay. What’s he waiting for?”
“Maybe Raul is a three on the Kinsey scale. Maybe he’s a late bloomer. I don’t really care, Chase. As long as Raul blooms all over me.” Sam lay on his back again, pretending Raul was looking down at him.
Chase lay on his side next to him. “If Raul is so in love with you, why the crazy plan?”
Sam rolled over onto his side to face Chase. It reminded him of the fun they had as kids when he and Chase slept under a tent in Chase’s backyard. Focusing back on Raul, Sam said, “Raul needs a little nudging along.”
“And you think that me posing as your boyfriend will make Raul jealous enough to beg you to leave me and go with him? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?”
Sam heard Raul walking down the hallway. “He’s coming. Put your arms around me.”
“No, after our vacation when I’ve withered away from a broken heart.”
Raul knocked on their bedroom door.
“Hurry up!” Sam wrapped his arms around Chase’s narrow waist. “Bury your nose in my neck.”
“You smell like vanilla.”
“It’s my body lotion.”
“How come you never let me use it?”
“You never asked me.”
“Can we focus here?” Sam called out sweetly, “Come in!”
Raul opened the door, wearing a sky-blue T-shirt and black chinos. “Hey, you two lovebirds, let’s go for a walk in town.”
Sam pushed Chase away. “He can’t keep his hands off me.” He looked at Chase. “Right, honey?”
Chase picked up his cue. “Right, lover.”
Sam thought things were going exactly as planned as the three guys left their bungalow and headed for the parking lot, passing Cal Cozzi’s bungalow.
Post a comment about why you love the beach in summer. The one that floats our boat the most will win a gift e-book of AN INFATUATION, by Joe Cosentino published by Dreamspinner Press, from the author. AN INFATUATION was voted Second Favorite Romance of 2015 in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll. myBook.to/AnInfatuation
About the Author
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back & Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll & Porcelain Doll & Satin Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, 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, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press) and China Doll Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!
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