We’re so pleased to welcome author Joe Cosentino today on the tour for his latest release, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, from NineStar Press. Joe put together an interview this time around, so enjoy and then be sure to check out the Giveaway details below.
Joe: As a lover of the New Jersey Shore, I created a fictitious gay resort on a beautiful cove in the New Jersey Shore. Cozzi Cove is a magical place, where anything can happen, nothing is what it seems, and romance is everywhere. Ex-professional football player Cal Cozzi runs the resort with his husband, sister, and brother. Their stories, and the stories of the bungalow guests each summer, are the tales of Cozzi Cove. After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Many readers begged for a return trip to Cozzi Cove, so I wrote Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters in book four.
What is the storyline of Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings?
Joe: Cal Cozzi is now thirty-three years old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. He finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise. Cal and his husband, Michael Rodgers, a recent college graduate in photojournalism, are expecting a baby. Cal has a new houseboy: blond and muscular Billy Dean, a red letter Christian college student who signed a chastity pledge in his hometown Alabama. Obviously, that doesn’t last very long at Cozzi Cove. Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Europe as usual. As a type-A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to her brother. Taylor’s wife, Carla, plays a pivotal role in book four as she is the surrogate for Cal and Michael’s baby. Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them away from Cozzi Cove. A bisexual guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling guest he prefers: Annabel or Andrew. An occult enthusiast guest, Jonathan, encounters a sexy vampire at the cove. As usual, secrets are revealed and romances blossom in the magical place called Cozzi Cove.
What is the moral of the story?
Joe: We are all connected to our past, present, and futures.
Who is your favorite character in Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings and why?
Joe: That’s like picking a favorite child, though my mother would have no problem picking my sister the accountant who has a “real” job. I love all of the characters, but Cal holds a special place in my heart. I adore his honesty, courage in the face of adversity, and loyalty to his husband, family, friends, and guests. Cal’s connection to his ancestor who built Cozzi Cove is explored in the new book, which I really like.
Which one of your characters was the most fun to write? And why?
Joe: Billy Dean’s southern expressions and Annabel’s British expressions cracked me up. Of course Taylor is always hysterically funny. Her wife, Carla, gives Taylor a run for her money in book four. I laughed out loud many times while writing her.
Which character was the most difficult to write? And why?
Joe: Guest Vlad was difficult with his vampire persona, but as a huge fan of the old Dark Shadows serial, I was up to the task.
Are you Cal, Michael your spouse, and Taylor your sister?
Joe: Cal is more like the person I’d love to be. One of the guests in book four, Jonathan the tax auditor, is a great deal like me. I want to play him in the movie. Taylor is very much like my sister, though my sister won’t admit it—in public.
The novels are quite dramatic and the stories are seamlessly intercut. At times they read like a film or television show. Did you do that on purpose?
Joe: Definitely. I wrote a screenplay version of the first novel. Come on, producers, make me an offer! Couldn’t you see Matt Bomer as Cal? Actually, I could see Matt Bomer as anybody in anything.
There are also a number of love scenes. How did you go about writing them?
Joe: Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. I have been told the scenes are character-driven, sweet, and sexy.
Do you react like a reader when you read your books?
Joe: Totally. I just reread Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings and laughed, cried, gasped, and felt romantic. I was shocked at the ending of each storyline.
Tell us about your other gay romance releases.
Joe: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press) are first-love novellas loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. I still receive comments from readers that those stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press) is my cherished holiday short novella about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating distant cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press) is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen. Joel Leslie did the incredible audiobooks.
The Cozzi Cove novels have mysterious elements, but you also have two mystery series.
Joe: Right. My Nicky and Noah mystery series (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. 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 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. In Drama Luau, muscular male hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts as Nicky directs the Luau show. It’s up to Nicky and Noah to figure out whodunit and why. In the Jana Lane mysteries (the Wild Rose Press), 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. Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. In Satin Doll 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. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, where she is faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art on the set. 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.
How can your readers contact you?
Joe: I love hearing from readers! They can contact me at My Website.
So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!
About the Book
Welcome back to the romantic and magical place called Cozzi Cove, seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer, Cal and his new husband Michael, along with sister, Taylor and her wife, Carla, prepare for the first in the next generation of Cozzis. To add to the action: Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise; Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them far away from Cozzi Cove; red-letter Christian and new houseboy, Billy Dean, gets his wish when meeting Jesus and John at the cove; summer guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling he prefers—Annabel or Andrew; and Jonathan, an occult enthusiast, encounters a sexy vampire. As usual, nothing is as it seems when romance blossoms once again at Cozzi Cove. What secrets, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold? Find out in Book Four of the Cozzi Cove series.
Just as Michael and Cal were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”
“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.
“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”
“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.
Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”
“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.
After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”
“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.
Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”
“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”
“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.
Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”
She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”
Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”
“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”
Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”
Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”
“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.
Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”
“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.
“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”
“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.
“If I get any more milk in me, my breasts will explode.” She took a sip and swallowed as if drinking fish oil laced with liquid soap.
Cal asked, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”
Carla nodded. “Maybe that’s why this kid has been jumping around inside me like a Mexican hat dancer. Do either of you have any Mexican blood?”
“African and Scandinavian,” Michael replied.
“Scottish and Italian,” Cal said.
“Well, maybe he was doing a tribal dance and the tarantella.” Carla flicked back her long dark hair. “While I was lying awake in bed, I did the baby’s astrology and numerology charts.”
Michael asked, “How can you do that without knowing his birthdate?”
Carla glared at him. “I decided if he doesn’t come out of me by the end of the week, I’m pulling my nephew out with tongs.”
“What did the charts show?” Cal didn’t believe in the occult, but he was thankful to get Carla’s mind off her discomfort.
Carla smiled. “He’s going to be kind, strong, fair, honest, and quite successful.”
“Of course he is. He’s our son.” Cal kissed Michael’s cheek.
“Let’s hope he’s kind enough to make an appearance soon.” Carla ate more of her breakfast.
Michael asked, “How is Dotty doing running the restaurant during your maternity leave?”
“Fine.” Carla sat back. “I should never go back.”
Cal grinned. “You wouldn’t leave Carla’s.”
“You’re right.” She winked at Cal. “That restaurant is as much a part of me as Cozzi Cove is a part of you.”
Michael seemed miles away.
“What’s wrong?” Cal asked.
Michael shrugged, his head hanging down.
Carla said, “Don’t be shy, Michael. You know I’m family now. I married Cal’s sister. Remember? You were there, marrying this guy.”
Since Michael wasn’t talking, Cal asked Carla, “When is my dear sister coming for a visit?”
Carla sighed. “Taylor said she’d be here after her business meetings in Paris and Rome, but before her meetings in Washington, DC and New York.”
“What does that mean?” Cal asked.
“It means Taylor and the conservative big-money boys are making sure the top one percent stay that way.” She turned to Michael. “You’re not off the hook so easily about your pouting. What’s up?”
“A lot, last night.” Michael patted Cal’s crotch.
Cal put his arm around his husband. “We know something’s wrong, Michael. Spill it.”
“And feel free to spill my milk while you’re at it,” Carla said, pushing away her glass.
Michael pushed it back in front of her. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”
“But?” Cal asked.
Michael rested his chin on his hand. “Cozzi Cove has been in your family for generations, like Carla’s Seafood Restaurant has been in Carla’s.”
“So?” Cal asked again.
“So you both belong here. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the man I tried to gay bash.”
Cal took his hand. “Michael, you’re my husband. Cozzi Cove is as much your home as it is mine.”
“It doesn’t feel that way.”
Carla groaned. “Did my wife say something obnoxious to you the last time she visited?”
“Taylor said lots of obnoxious things to me the last time she visited, but that’s not it.”
“Then what is it, Michael?” Cal asked.
Michael bit his lower lip. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I can’t think of a place I’d like living more than Cozzi Cove. But this is your land, your inheritance, and your soul. Sometimes I feel like an outsider.”
At that moment, there was a knock at the front door. “That must be my new houseboy,” Cal said, getting to his feet.
Carla leaned on the table and pushed herself off the chair. “I don’t want anyone seeing me like this. I’m going back to my bungalow.”
“Take this for the road,” Michael said, handing her the glass of milk.
She downed the milk in one gulp and cringed. “If I don’t come out of my bungalow in a week’s time, send in the bulldozer.” Carla left out the back kitchen door.
Cal paused at the kitchen entry, looking on as Michael cleared the table and started stacking the dishwasher. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said.
“It’s fine, really.”
Unconvinced, Cal left for the living room.
About the Author
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll of 2015 for Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, and Best LGBT Contemporary Novel of the Year. He wrote the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Favorite), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). 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. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards!