Why did you write COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK?
My aunt and uncle had a bungalow on the New Jersey Shore. Every summer my family would stay with them. My sister and I had the time of our lives playing at the beach, bay, miniature golf course, trampoline emporium, eating salt water taffy, and dining at our favorite seafood restaurant. All those places and experiences are in the novel in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore.
After my two Bittersweet Dreams novellas, An Infatuation (2nd Place Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award of 2015 for Best MM Romance) and A Shooting Star (In My Heart Series) published by Dreamspinner Press, were released countless readers begged me for more time with one of the characters from An Infatuation. So that character and his brother are the first guests at Cozzi Cove.
What is a cove?
A cove is formed when softer rocks are worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This creates a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.
What is the storyline of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK?
Cal Cozzi opens his string of seven guest bungalows on Cozzi Cove for the summer. Built by Cal’s great-grandfather, each bungalow is furnished with hand-carved nautical furnishings, and has a stunning view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. Assisting Cal is ginger, muscular Connor, the maid packed with muscles and a roving sponge. This summer the vacationers are two brothers/college students who look alike, but couldn’t be more different. Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. A wealthy older couple, Josh and Greg, play matchmakers for their gorgeous son Christopher. Opposites attract as multifaceted Tim meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. Finally computer game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman. Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected for him. Since Cozzi Cove is a magical place, the novel is full of humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions. Everyone has a secret at Cozzi Cove.
Tell us more about the main characters.
Cal, short for Calvin, is thirty years old, tall, and muscular. His Italian and Scottish heritage left him with striking auburn hair and a strong nose. He dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After Cal’s parents died in an automobile accident, he found his calling: managing his family’s seven bungalows around the rocky cove in the New Jersey shore town named after his great-grandfather. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, Cal’s father had turned Cozzi Cove into a gay resort. Cal is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Lance is twenty-four, short, stocky, African American with dark hair and dark eyes and amazing dimples. He grew up poor, and worked hard getting scholarships and maintaining good grades throughout school. As a second grade teacher, Lance is off during the summers, his favorite time of year. This leaves him more time to do what he loves most: being with Cal.
Connor, the college student assisting Cal, is packed with muscles and hormones. He revels in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove.
Tommy, the bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar has held a torch for Cal since high school.
The guests are a conglomeration of interesting characters with amazing stories. However, things are not always what they seem at the mysterious, romantic, and magical place called Cozzi Cove.
What is the moral of the story?
Take a chance on love.
Who is your favorite character in COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK? And why?
Sean the gay romance novelist who is a virgin embarking on love off the page for the first time in his life. I want to play him in the movie version!
Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?
One of the guests, Tim, was difficult to write. You’ll know why when you read the novel.
Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?
Cal’s sister, Taylor. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to her brother.
Are you Cal, Lance your spouse, and Taylor your sister?
A few traits here and there, but we’re very different, though my sister is opinionated like Taylor. Harold (An Infatuation), Jonathan (A Shooting Star), and Bobby (A Home for the Holidays) have many of my traits. Stuart (An Infatuation) and Barry (A Shooting Star) are based on my spouse.
Will this become a series?
The second book, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, is written and set for release by NineStar Press on April 18.
The novel is quite dramatic. At times it reads like a play or screenplay.
Given my background as an actor and playwright, that isn’t surprising. I love writing quirky and endearing characters in scenes full of emotion with lengthy dialogue. I also like including humor and mystery in my stories. There are lots of surprises in this novel.
Do you see Cozzi Cove as a movie or television series?
Very much so. Make me an offer, producers!
There are also a number of love scenes. How did you go about writing them?
Lovemaking is a part of life, so it makes sense to include love scenes in novels. The love scenes in my books are pretty tame compared to many. I have been told they are sweet, sexy, and touching.
Do you react like a reader when you read your books?
Totally. I just reread COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and laughed, cried, gasped, felt romantic, and can’t wait to read the next one.
Who is your ideal reader of your books?
My ideal reader craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. He/she relishes in beautiful locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book. He/she also loves humor, romance, mystery, and a good surprise ending.
How do you feel about women writing and reading MM fiction?
I think it’s great. The more the merrier.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything. I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and read something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.
What frustrates you?
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.
Tell us about your other gay romance releases.
An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart bittersweet dreams novellas) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. They were released as e-books, but are so popular that Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together in a paperback releasing late March. Readers tell me those two stories made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and changed their lives. I am very proud of them. (An Infatuation won Second Place in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Romance Novel.)
A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press 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 third cousin.
The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland from 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.
You also have two mystery series.
My 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’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary 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 next year), 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 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 (Whiskey Creek Press), 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. 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 (releasing April 29 from 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 this summer 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.
I love mysteries. Is it difficult plotting the clues?
It’s an incredible amount of work and also fun planning the clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, and surprise but justifiable ending. I also keep in mind that a good mystery also includes strong characters, romance, comedy, drama, and interesting locations.
How can your readers contact you?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head to Cozzi Cove. I hope to see you there!