COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK
by JOE COSENTINO from NineStar Press
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE COSENTINO, author of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, a novel published by NineStar Press
- Why write about the Jersey shore? What drew you to that particular location?
I spent my summers as a kid on the New Jersey Shore. It was the best time of my life. My aunt and uncle had a bungalow there. My sister and I built sandcastles at the beach, swam in the bay, played miniature golf (I always won!), jumped up and down on trampolines, ate salt water taffy, and dined at our favorite seafood restaurant with a projection of dancing musical instruments. 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. The resort is run by Cal Cozzi. 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.
- Did you ever spend time during the summer in bungalows like those?
I used my aunt and uncle’s bungalow as the model for the bungalows on Cozzi Cove built by Cal’s great-grandfather. There was a screened-in porch, a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, and an outdoor shower. The furnishings and décor were hand-carved expressions of nautical themes.
- Mermen – fact or fiction? lol Ok, what’s the fascination with mermen? So many people can’t get enough of them and tales that evolve around them…
After a vacation on the Jersey Shore last year, I was so enthralled with the white sandy beaches, foamy waves splashing on jagged rocks, crystal-blue sky kissed by fluffy clouds, the gorgeous lighthouse in the distance, and that warm, comforting sun, I decided to write a new series based there. When I asked my friends on Facebook what to include in the first novel, they responded with suggestions like: coconut-scented suntan lotion, hot guys in Speedos, cool shades, fluffy beach towels, entertaining love stories, and my unique sense of humor. One old friend replied, “Don’t forget the merman!” I think the idea of a handsome half-man/half-fish with long seaweed-like hair, sea-blue eyes, muscles like rippling waves, and a salty-tasting kiss appeals to many people. It certainly does to Arthur in COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK.
- Fun, romance and summer always seem to flow together. Magic too. What gave you the idea to combine them?
My favorite movie as a kid was Hayley Mill’s Summer Magic. Hayley and her family moved into a new house in the New England countryside and romance blossomed everywhere. I decided my series wouldn’t include traditional magic, but would have that same sense of wonderment and romance in Summer Magic. The series is about Cal but also includes intercut stories featuring his guests (a la The Love Boat). As I began writing the stories, I realized nothing is what it seems at Cozzi Cove, and everyone, including Cal, has a secret. Very quickly in the writing process, Cozzi Cove became a place of romance, magic, and mystery.
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. Mario and Harold, two brothers/college students 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.
The other regular characters, besides Cal, include Lance who 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. Carla, who owns the seafood restaurant in town, has a crush on Cal’s sister, Taylor.
- What was your favorite memory of summer growing up?
I remember going for a walk one summer on the Jersey Shore and finding a private 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. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Thinking back, it was probably private property and I shouldn’t have wondered there. However, it was an emotional and spiritual experience I will never forget. Cozzi Cove is an extension of that amazing memory.
- Is there a real Cozzi Cove?
Only in my head—and in COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK. Also, in the second book, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, which is written and set for release by NineStar Press on April 18. So grab your Speedo, shades, and beach towel and join me at Cozzi Cove. There’s a bungalow waiting for you!
About Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back
On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love. Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher. When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. And what will happen when 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. What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?
Excerpt of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK by Joe Cosentino
As Lance rested in bed and Cal was putting on jeans, sandals, and a canary polo shirt, they heard Connor enter the living room and call out to Cal. After giving Lance a kiss on the cheek, Cal begrudgingly left his lover, shut the front bedroom door after himself, and then met up with Connor, who was standing next to the living room sofa.
Connor said, “It’s good to be back at work.”
“How were your grades at college this year?”
Connor shrugged his muscular shoulders. “Pretty average.”
Cal thought, If average is getting Cs and Ds. “I’m guessing you were quite involved with extracurricular activities.”
“One or two.” He giggled. “Maybe, three.”
Cal had a soft spot for the kid. “You did a nice job preparing the bungalows yesterday.”
“I aim to please.”
Cal thought the nineteen-year-old looked like an American flag in cutoff blue jeans that matched his eyes, a T-shirt and sneakers that matched his red hair, and pale skin with freckles.
“How can I be of service to you today, boss?”
Cal ignored Connor’s obvious double meaning.
“Just the usual routine.” Cal wasn’t immune to Connor’s charm, but Connor was a kid, and Cal was a one-man man. “Carry their luggage into the bungalows when the guests arrive. Turn down beds at four p.m.” He attempted to look sternly at the boy. “… Without you in them.”
“Me come on to a guest?” Connor feigned surprise.
“Yes, you, Connor. This is a vacation resort, not the baths.” Cal moved behind his desk. “After today, make up the rooms late mornings and early afternoons. Leave the sheets and towels in front of the garage for the laundry pickup. And don’t forget to sweep out the parking area.”
Connor saluted. “Aye, aye, Capitán .”
They heard a knock at the front door. Cal shouted, “It’s open.”
“Is this the office?”
“We’re informal here,” Cal explained. He typed into his computer, and then motioned for the young man to join him.
“I’m Mario Ginnetti.” He placed a piece of luggage at his feet. “Is it okay to park in the lot?”
Connor seemed to nearly salivate at Mario’s arms in his violet short-sleeved shirt. “You can park anywhere you like.”
Ignoring Connor, Cal said, “Yes, that’s the lot for the bungalows.” Cal handed Mario a key. “You’re in Bungalow One. I’ve got your credit card, so you’re all set.” He took a map from the topmost desk drawer. “The ocean beach is open to the public and is only minutes away. You can swim, surf, snorkel, or go on a glass-bottom boat there.” He pointed to various black dots on the map. “You’ll want to get some groceries here. Tommy Malone’s is a good bar, and Carla’s is my favorite seafood restaurant. This place has killer ice cream, which you can work off here at the gym.”
Connor interjected with, “If you need help finding anything, just ask me. I’m a native.”
“Or you can come into the office and ask me.” Cal handed Mario the map and then pointed outside. “The cove is private property. You can sit out there all you like. The bay water is calm and warm. As you can see, the view is amazing.”
Connor added with a grin, “Nude sunbathing is permitted.”
Mario was visibly trying to take it all in.
“Any questions?” asked Cal.
Mario’s dimples appeared. “Will the weather always be this nice?”
“From your lips to the sea gods’ ears.” Cal smiled. “The weather report calls for rain, so that means it’s going to be sunny all week. Connor will take you to your bungalow.”
Connor looked like the wolf meeting Little Red Riding Hood as he took Mario’s luggage. “Follow me, Mario.”
About the Author…
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama MuscleNicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain 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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Paulineeducational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (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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Publisher: Nine Star Press, Release Date: March 21, 2016
Cover Design: Arai Tan
Length: 60,000 words