Today I am so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to Joyfully Jay. Joe has come to talk to us about his release, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway. Please join me in giving Joe a big welcome!
Joe Cosentino interviews sexy Connor O’Riley, a character in Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out
Joe: Hi, Connor. Thank you for joining me in this interview.
Connor: It’s great to get a break from cleaning the bungalows at Cozzi Cove, and flexing my muscles in my thong on the beach.
Joe: Since they can’t see you. Tell the readers what you look like.
Connor: I’m tall, very muscular, with white skin, freckles, curly ginger hair, and crystal-blue eyes. Like the American flag, I like to let it all hang out in the wind.
Joe: As a character in all three of my Cozzi Cove beach series novels, tell the readers about the magical, romantic, and fascinating place called Cozzi Cove on the New Jersey shore.
Connor: Cal’s great-grandfather built the eight bungalows on the private cove with an amazing view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. Sensing Cal’s sexual orientation as a boy, his father opened Cozzi Cove as a gay resort. After he passed on, Cal was proud to carry on the tradition. I’ve been working as a maid for Cal during my four years in college. Unfortunately, thanks to all my time spent having hook-ups on the beach, I may need another four years to graduate.
Joe: Tell the readers what is a cove.
Connor: 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. I have lots of fun out on the cove at night as you know. Don’t tell Cal.
Joe: After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories.
Connor: They liked us! They really liked us!
Joe: They sure did. So I wrote Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. As with the first two books, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop characters like yours in book three.
Connor: I’m definitely developed, dude.
Joe: Tell them the storyline of Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out.
Connor: Handsome ex-football player Cal Cozzi is now thirty-two years old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. His lover of two years, Michael Rodgers, a hunky college photography student, landed at his doorstep and the two of them have never looked back. I looked at Michael, but unfortunately he never looked back at me either.
Joe: In this book, Cal and Michael reach a plateau in their relationship.
Connor: That’s Cozzi Cove, just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a game changer. On to the next character. Me. Connor, the college student assisting Cal, is still packed with muscles and hormones. I also still revel in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove—which I occasionally, okay which I regularly enjoy. In book three, I agree to becoming the subject of a handsome young psychologist’s study on nymphomania with unexpected results. Then there’s Tommy, the bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar and has held a torch for Cal since high school. He meets a beautiful female police officer staying at Cozzi Cove, which leads to a shocking revelation.
Joe: And then there’s Cal’s younger brother, George, who showed up in book two.
Connor: What a turn on. He’s on the cover of book three. I wouldn’t kick George out of the cove at night. Well, I wouldn’t kick most men out. A man from George’s past comes to Cozzi Cove, which leads George on a romantic roller coaster ride. And Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs 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 Cal and George. We learn something shocking about Taylor’s past in this book, and she goes through some pretty emotional experiences. Lucky for Taylor her best friend, Cozzi restauranteur Carla Mangione, is there for support.
Joe: And Bill, a disbelieving pastor, sees a vision of two sexy male angels on the cove, which leads him to start a new life.
Connor: That’s pretty hot! What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove?
Joe: What do you think is the moral of the story?
Connor: I think the moral is that it’s important to step out. Take a chance on love.
Joe: Nice job.
Connor: You wrote the books, dude.
Joe: I also like the message about accepting one’s self and others. In particular, that religious freedom means freedom to practice your religion, not to discriminate against others.
Connor: I have a question for you. Is Cal based on you? Is Michael based on your husband? Taylor on your sister? Am I based on one of your students?
Joe: 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. You’re a combination of a number of guys I met when I was a young actor.
Connor: Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels? I really like the humor, mystery, plot twists and turns, and the surprise endings in the stories They really keep us on our toes.
Joe: Cozzi Cove: New Beginning releases March 27.
Joe: I’d like to see Cozzi Cove as a television series. Make me an offer, producers! I want to play Pastor Bill Gayton in this story.
Connor: Who do you see playing me?
Joe: How about Prince Henry in his acting debut.
Connor: That’s hot!
Joe: How do you feel regarding people reading about your love life?
Connor: It’s a total turn on. How do you feel when you read the books?
Joe: I just reread Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out and laughed, cried, gasped, and felt romantic.
Connor: I don’t spend much time on my homework, but my professors seem to take a lot of time preparing for classes. As a college professor/department head, how do you have the time to write all these great scenes for us?
Joe: I write at night after my spouse has gone to bed. I have a beautiful cherry wood study with a fireplace, huge desk, bookcases, and window seat overlooking the woods. When I complain about my schedule, my mother says, “Just think how hard you would work if you had a real job, like your cousins (lawyers).”
Connor: I can’t even write a paper over the course of a semester. How long does it generally take you to write a book for us?
Joe: About three months working evenings and weekends with all of you talking in my head.
Connor: Tell them about your Dreamspinner Press gay romance novellas, Joe. Even though I’m not in them. Pout.
Joe: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively and first love. A Home for the Holidays is my popular 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 third cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland 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.
Connor: You also have two mystery series.
Joe: You should be my press agent. My Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are hysterically funny, gay, cozy, who-dun-its taking place in the wacky world of theatre academia. Drama Queen won Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, and Best Contemporary novel of 2015. Drama Muscle received a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. Drama Cruise recently released, and Drama Luau and Drama Detective will follow later this year.
My Jana Lane mysteries (the Wild Rose Press), with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, are set in the tantalizing world of 1890’s movies, television, and theatre. They are Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll.
Connor: I’m getting turned on. It’s time for me to get back to Cozzi Cove. Tell the readers how they can reach me for a hook up.
Joe: Through me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Connor: So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Cal and I have a bungalow waiting just for you.
Joe: I hope to see you all there!
“Hello. I’m Dr. Nastas Flowingstream.”
Cal and Connor turned to look at a tall, lean man in a tan leisure suit, standing in the doorway. He looked to be in his mid-twenties and had piercing dark eyes covered by black-framed glasses. “Hello, Dr. Flowingstream. Welcome to Cozzi Cove.”
“Doctor?” Connor stood, salivating like a dog at a top one-percenter’s barbecue. “Are you a <em>medical </em>doctor?”
The man shook his head, and jet-black hair waved from side to side. “I’m a college professor at State. It’s my first year.”
Connor’s sapphire eyes dimmed. “Whatever, dude.”
Nastas grimaced. “Do you have a problem with college professors?”
“I’m a college student at State. In my fourth year, graduating as soon as I make up the classes I failed.”
Nastas replied, “I don’t permit students who fail my class to retake it.”
“Harsh behavior anyone?”
Sensing the tension between them, Cal asked, “What subject do you teach, Dr. Flowingstream?”
“I passed that, but you weren’t my professor,” Connor explained.
“I know. I’d have remembered you,” Nastas said.
“And I’d have remembered you, Nastas,” Connor replied.
“I prefer that my students call me Professor.”
“Since I’m not one of your students, I’ll call you Nastas.”
Cal had never seen Connor behave toward a guest in any manner other than warm and friendly, and unfortunately flirtatious. Nastas Flowingstream certainly pressed Connor’s buttons.
Cal found Nastas’ name on his computer screen. “Nastas, this is Connor. He can take your bag to Bungalow Three.”
Connor bent over and lifted the tan bag. “I’m here to serve.”
Cal shot Connor a threatening look.
Connor mouthed “sorry” to Cal.
Handing Nastas his key and map, Cal said, “Please feel free to use the cove any time you like.”
“It’s a beautiful view,” Nastas said.
“And the town is equally nice.” Cal added, “This map will help you navigate through it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.”
Nastas nodded. “Thank you. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my stay. The new academic year will be here before we know it.”
Connor’s jaw tightened. “And I’ll be there…again.”
Cal leaned over the desk. “Since you’re <em>here </em>now, Connor, perhaps you can show Nastas to Bungalow Three.”
“Follow me, Professor.” Connor led Nastas out the front door.
Nastas clearly enjoyed explaining his beliefs to younger people. “Based on what I overheard you and Cal Cozzi speaking about before I entered the room, my guess is your perspective is that you want to become intimate with any guy you’re attracted to. And since the end, no pun intended, justifies the means, you’ll say or do whatever is necessary to make that happen.”
Connor couldn’t disagree.
“And if I were what you call, ‘hot,’ you’d no doubt lure me into this bed, and if I were interested, which by the way I’m not, we’d be having sex by now. However, your perspective of me is one of a stuffy young college professor who is as appealing as a moldy cheese sandwich. My perspective of you is of someone who is probably quite bright, but is wasting his life hopping from bed to bed.”
It was like being hit with a course syllabus?made out of brick. How did this guy know so much about him? It was as if Nastas could read his mind, and his crotch, which were often the same thing.
“Did I offend you?”
“No matter. If I did, it would be <em>your </em>perspective. Since it wasn’t my intention to offend you, offense wouldn’t be my perspective or my reality.”
Connor tried to understand. “What <em>was </em>your intention?”
“I’ve studied many theories of behavior and various types of personalities. So standing outside Cal’s bungalow, when I overheard your conversation about the man you were with in the park today, on a strictly clinical level, I was fascinated.”
Connor should have felt insulted, but he didn’t.
“Of course you exhibit the usual traits of a typical nymphomaniac, but there are some differences in your case that interest me. On the one hand, sex appears to be a game for you. Yet on the other hand, you seem to crave real companionship.” Nastas looked at Connor as if he were a leg of lamb at a butcher shop. “Tell me. Why do you feel the need to be intimate with so many men?”
“Because they’re hot.”
“And why is it you take rejection so easily?”
“Because it happens to me a lot.”
“No.” Connor felt as if under a microscope.
“I’ll explain. I believe there is a real person under all those muscles, short tight clothes, baby-blue eyes, batting eyelashes, and come-on performances. Your Pavlovian response when a man you’re attracted to comes near you interests me a great deal as a psychologist. I’d like to get inside your head.”
Connor wasn’t too sure about Nastas coming anywhere near his head, either one of them.
“Connor, I’d like to spend some time with you.” Nastas sat at the desk. “To pick your thoughts apart. Analyze you. Use every tool I have to delve into your psyche as deeply as possible.”
“Delve in deeply with your tool?” While Nastas’ shiny black hair and towering presence were a bit of a turn-on, Connor shied away from skinny, overly intelligent, older guys. However, Nastas wasn’t any worse looking than some of the guys he’d met out on the cove. “Maybe we could meet later at the cove.”
“Not like that. I’d like to schedule a few sessions with you.”
“I’m not interested in anything long-term, dude.”
“To ask you questions, jot down your replies, and if my hunch is correct, write an article about you that will set the current theories revolving around nymphomaniacs on their ass. No pun intended.”
Connor couldn’t believe his ears. “You want to analyze me? Like a psychiatrist?”
Nastas tented his fingers. “I’m a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. Think of it more like a conversation for me to understand your thought processes and perhaps give us both, and the psychology community, some insight into what makes you tick.”
“What would it cost me?”
“Just a few hours of your time.”
Connor thought about it. It might not be so bad to find out more about himself. Why he had so much sex but never felt satisfied afterward. Why he didn’t seek a relationship like most people when they hit adulthood. “Okay.”
“When are you through with work?”
“I finish turndown service at five.”
Nastas rose. “Good. Let’s meet out on the cove then.” He led Connor to the front door and closed it after him.
As he walked down the cove, Connor hoped he’d made the right decision.
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?
Praise for Cozzi Cove: “In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay
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.
Joe has brought a copy of Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, the first Cozzi Cove novel, to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter (and feel free to share why you love the beach). The contest ends on Sunday, March 5th at 11:59 pm EST.
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