We’re pleased to have author Joe Cosentino joining us today on the tour for his latest release, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. Joe’s chatting a bit about his characters and is also offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of book one in the series, Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back. Entry details are below.
Watching My Characters Grow and Change
I’ve never had children, but I’ve always assumed parents take pride, disdain, and/or surprise in watching their creations grow and change. That is exactly the case when a writer creates a series. You work hard to make each a captivating, original, and believable character moving through the (hopefully) brilliant storyline you’ve created for him/her. As he/she interacts with the other characters you’ve created, his/her personality sharpens and becomes even more specific and endearing. You feel as if these characters are your own children, and you know their special talents, hopes, fears, dreams, frustrations, what/who turns them on, and their frailties and foibles.
When writing a series, you see these characters grow, develop, and change as they age, meet new people, and face various life experiences and challenges. This has never been more true for me than in writing my popular Cozzi Cove series of novels published by NineStar Press.
My hero is handsome and sexy ex-professional football player Cal Cozzi. Check out the cover of book one, Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, to see Cal in the flesh. Cal was brought up at Cozzi Cove, a beautiful and private strip of land on the New Jersey Shore. Cal’s great grandfather built the eight bungalows on the cove. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation, Cal’s father opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort. After his parents died in an automobile accent, Cal proudly took over the ownership of the resort.
Cal lost his first love to cancer, but from the moment he met college student Michael Rodgers, the friction, and the love, have ignited between them. Michael is with Cal on the cover of book two, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. Michael comes from a troubled home and feels grounded creating a life with Cal, amidst Michael’s hope to become a professional photojournalist. Michael wants marriage and Cal isn’t so sure he’s ready to jump back onto the marriage wagon.
Cal’s brother George is featured on the cover of book three, the current release, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. When George and his ex Aaron reunite at Cozzi Cove, the surprising truth is revealed about why Aaron left the relationship.
Taylor, Cal’s comical top one-percenter sister, drops in from all over the world to check in on her brothers, and on Cozzi Cove. Book three reveals a shocking secret about Taylor. Good thing Taylor’s best friend, Carla Mangione of Carla’s Seafood Restaurant, is there to pick up the pieces and more.
Bald, tattooed, muscular Tommy of Tommy Malone’s Bar has had a crush on Cal for years. When someone from Tommy’s past comes to Cozzi Cove, Cal is forced to do some serious self-evaluation, and Tommy is off on a wild adventure.
Connor, the houseboy packed with muscles and a roving sponge, enjoys flirting with the guests. In book three, Connor is the subject of an experiment on human sexuality by a handsome young college psychology professor.
And each summer/novel brings a fascinating array of guests to Cozzi Cove, including a virgin gay romance novelist, a gay porn star, a minister, a merman, a ghost, two angels, a vampire, and more, but beware, nothing is what it seems in the magical paradise called Cozzi Cove.
About the Book
It’s time for another summer of sun, sand, suntan lotion, sandals, and Speedos on Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey Shore. Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are once again open for love. This summer, sexy Cal welcomes back his brother and sister, who are confronted with people from their pasts. Connor, the maid packed with muscle and mayhem, becomes the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on human sexuality. Tommy, the strapping, bald and tattooed local bartender, is captivated with guest Cory Magnum, a police officer with a secret. Another guest, Bill, a disbelieving pastor, is inspired by a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove. And Cal and Michael reach a plateau in their relationship. What secrets, humor, tragedies, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold in this magical place called Cozzi Cove?
A soaring golden orb turned the violet, pink, and tangerine sky into a canvas of blue. Early morning was Cal Cozzi’s favorite time. Treading water in the cove that had boasted his family name for generations, Cal felt as if his blood was the bay water, his flesh was the sand, and his soul was the sun. And Michael Rodgers was his heart. Michael swam over to him and wrapped his stocky arms around Cal’s neck. Cal cupped Michael’s firm bottom and squeezed him in closer. As Michael caressed Cal’s muscled back, they shared a salty wet kiss.
Cal looked up at a seagull gliding to the lighthouse in the distance. He pondered having the freedom to fly away from Cozzi Cove, but there was no place he’d rather be than in the confines of his legacy with the man he loved.
Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built everything in the sleepy town on the New Jersey shore, including the eight bungalows on the cove. This beautiful spot was the result of sun and salt water wearing away softer rocks more quickly than the harder rocks surrounding them.
Cal’s legacy was passed down to him from his great-grandfather through his grandfather, Calvin Cozzi II, and finally by his father, Calvin Cozzi III. Cal’s father, sensing his son’s sexual orientation as a boy, had opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort.
Though Cal had dabbled briefly as a professional football player, and then as a restaurant owner, neither was a good fit. It wasn’t until after the unfortunate death of his parents in an automobile accident that he found his true calling: managing Cozzi Cove. The previous summer, Cal had been united with his half-brother, George, an architect, and the two of them had recently completed renovations on the bungalows, expanding them to add modern amenities while maintaining their grandfather’s nautical theme.
The tip of his head only reached Cal’s chin, so Michael had to stretch up to kiss his nose. Cal’s Italian and Scottish heritage had given him height, auburn hair, emerald-green eyes, an olive complexion, a strapping build, and a wide nose, which, as noted, Michael liked to kiss. “Should we be skinny-dipping at the start of a new summer season?”
“Probably not.” Cal ran a strong hand through Michael’s chestnut hair and gazed into his exotic eyes.
“What if a guest comes early?”
“He can get his own boyfriend.” Cal pressed his tongue inside Michael’s welcoming mouth. It felt warm, and Cal wanted more. As Michael stroked Cal’s broad shoulders and round pectoral muscles, prominent from working out at Cozzi’s gym, Cal pressed his nose against Michael’s thick neck and enjoyed the scent of vanilla. Michael’s African-American and Swedish heritage awarded him smooth golden skin that Cal loved to caress. Cal thought about the eleven-year difference in their ages, how they had met when Michael, still in the closet, tried to gay bash him in an alley, and the year Michael still had left to finish college. It was illogical and improbable for Cal and Michael to be together, yet it felt incredibly right. At that moment, he couldn’t be more in love with Michael.
George Valis, wearing a violet polo shirt and white shorts that accentuated his muscular legs, stepped out of Bungalow Seven and met them at the cove. “Hey, my ex back in Maine dumped me, remember? Stop rubbing in your happiness, you two.”
“Have breakfast with us.” Michael’s dimples appeared. “Cal is making a feast.”
“And Michael is cleaning up after me.”
“As usual.” George winked at Michael.
They got out of the water and put on the terrycloth robes they’d left on a rock at the water’s edge. Cal smiled at the sight of his brother’s height and eye color, which was exactly the same as his own. Cal and George shared the same father, with George being the result of Cal Cozzi II’s infidelity. They had met for the first time last summer when George looked Cal up, and Cal couldn’t have been happier to have a brother like George. He mussed George’s dark hair affectionately. “After breakfast, I’ll pack a lunch for your ride back to Maine.”
Michael’s shoulders slumped. “Do you have to go?”
Cal put his arm around Michael, recalling the brother Michael had lost two summers ago to suicide. “Bungalow Seven is always here for George.”
“Good.” George grinned like a kid with a secret. “It looks like I’ll be staying for a while longer.”
“Yeah!” Michael gave George a hug. “Cal will make a special celebration dinner tonight.” He kissed Cal’s cheek. “My favorite is surf and turf.”
“How about I leave my turf and throw you in the surf at the main beach instead?” Cal kissed Michael’s neck and then turned to his younger brother. “What’s up, bro?”
George looked at them and giggled. “Clearly you two, just before I arrived.”
Cal moved in and placed George in a playful headlock. “Look, little brother, the guests will be here soon. If you want breakfast, spill it.”
About the Author
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); Drama Queen (Divine Magazine Readers’ Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel and Humorous Novel), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), and A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press); and Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries. 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. He was voted 2nd Place for Favorite MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous awards.
Post a comment about why you love the beach. The one that floats our boat the most will win an e-book of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, the first novel in Joe Cosentino’s popular Cozzi Cove series, published by NineStar Press.
*Contest Ends: 11:59pm Eastern Time on Sunday, February 5, 2017*