A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

skythane8-1With each book I read from J. Scott Coatsworth, the more I want to read.

His latest book, released today, tells the tale of two young men from different backgrounds, an older woman who serves as a mother figure along the way, and a boy that the three find along their way. 

Xander’s life on Oberon has not been easy.  He is a Skythane, a winged being, among the Lander, humans.  His foster parents were murdered by the Syndicate, the local crime organization.  He was “adopted” by the crime boss, which meant Xander servers a sex slave for him and his friends.  He is rescued by a man named Alix who takes him to Oberon City.  He is getting by and that is good enough for him.  His friend and surrogate mother Quince asks him to pick up a corporate representative wanting a tour of the mines.

Jameson has had a far more comfortable life.  Adopted by one of the founding families of Beta Tau, he has been pampered.  He has followed his family’s Christianist values and it due to be married next year.  He studies to become a psych and has last worked at a mining outpost.  He has been sent to Oberon to meet with representative with OberTech, the company that basically runs the planet of Oberon.  Little does he know he is going to go  for the adventure of his lifetime.

Quince, unbeknownst to Xander, is from Titania.  Titania and Oberon were one planet until the great divide.  Every 750 years, a solar flare from the sun threatens the population of the planets.  Her mission is to guide the two young princes whom she has watched over to help reunite the planet.  So she has arranged for Prince Davyn (Xander) and Prince Lyrin (Jameson) to meet so she can take them from Oberon to Titania to prevent both worlds from being destroyed by combining the two halves of the planet together again, as told by the ancient prophecy.  Along the way, they meet a young boy they name Morgan.  Xander feels he cannot leave the boy behind as he was so many years ago.  Quince thinks he is a demon and should be left behind if not killed.  Only time will tell which of them is correct as they journey against time, corrupt companies, and crime syndicates in order to complete their mission.

Once again Coatsworth has built an entertaining world for his story to take place in.  The idea of a planet being split in half with each behind a veil to the other is interesting.  The only way to get from one side to the other is a portal opened only one time a day.  The relationship between Xander and Jameson is helped along the way by Quince with use of an agent that brings about romantic desire.  Jameson, whose world is basically turned upside down acclimates himself to his new situation well enough.  The ending provides lots of opportunity for a sequel, which I hope there will be. 

The cover by Anne Cain has a young Skythane with his wings hovering over his world.  It fits the book well. 

Sales Links

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

Book Details

Ebook, 244 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-404-3

In Our Science Fiction Spotlight: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth (guest post and excerpt)

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Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

Available for Purchase by

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Scott Coatsworth here today talking about writing and his newest science fiction release, Skythane. Welcome, Scott.

✒︎

Writing the Perfect Story by J. Scott Coatsworth

As a writer, you are just one part of the wide and diverse community that makes a book actually happen. Once you type those last two words “the end”, it takes a village to transform your little manuscript into the finished work of art that your readers will hold in their hot little hands.

Chief among these villagers are your alpha and beta readers.

These are both now typically conflated under the title of “beta reader”, but they do mean fairly specific things. An alpha reader is usually the first peson who reads the book after you finish it, and may send you back to the drawing board for things like problems with the overall structure of the book or the storytelling, whereas a beta reader typically gives you a critique that is more limited in scope.

Both of these types of readers are critical to the process – they can help you catch things you are too close to the story to see.

For Skythane, one of my dear writer friends played the role of alpha reader. Her conclusion? That I had the bones of a cool story, but I had to figure out a lot more of the science and background to make it a great one.

Her critique set me back a few months, but in the end it made Skythane a much better story.

It’s a good thing when a pre-submission reader helps you catch errors before the publisher sees your work, but just once, I want to write a story that even my harshest reader thinks is perfect. Or at least in decent enough shape for submission.

The consolation? Once a story has run the gauntlet, it is pretty damned near perfect. And that’s gotta be worth something.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blurb

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

About the Author

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Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks

 With RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino

As we wind down our series on audiobooks, I wanted to talk to the authors who write the stories that get narrated.  Find out what they are looking for in a narrator, what they think of their stories being read out loud?  Is it too strange?  Does it seem surreal?  Or just right?  This is what I found, thank you, authors RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino for helping us out this week…

The Authors  Perspective

♦︎From Author RJ Scott, author of The Heart of Texas audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden and a consistent favorite among our reviewers:

Way back, when I was with Silver, a narrator did The Christmas Throwaway for me. I loved his voice, Sean Crisden, and to date he has done all of my audio books (apart from one short that was with DSP).

I don’t listen to my audiobooks, I have proofers that do that for me to check them. I am also not a listener to audio books.

I think I know why. They go too slow for me, so the one time I have listened to an audio book I listened to it on double speed (LOL). My thoughts about story buzz all over the place, and I get impatient to get to the story. This is the same when I read – I speed read.

I know that audio is a growing market, and i have had requests for my books to go into audio – hence trying the water with the Sanctuary books. This has led to me putting The Heart Of Texas out on audio which has been hugely successful. This is good as there is a huge investment financially in getting the books out there.

♦︎From Author J. Scott Coatsworth, who’s audiobook The Autumn Lands was a real hit with our reviewer Paul B:

♦︎From Joe Cosentino,who has a November audiobook release of a previous book: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland narrated by Joel Leslie our narrator guest of last week and published by Dreamspinner Press.http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

  •   What do you look for in an audiobook narrator?

 Since my books are generally on the theatrical side (like me), I look for an audiobook narrator who is an actor capable of expressing numerous emotions and playing various roles effectively. Since humor is such an important part of books, I seek a performer with a great sense of humor and comic timing evident in their narration. Finally, I seek a narrator who can transport me to amazing places, pluck at my romance heartstrings, and keep me riveted as the plot twists and turns unfold. Michael Gilboe did a great job narrating my Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, published by Lethe Press. His wry sense of humor, spot on comic timing, and ability to inhabit twenty-two characters make that audiobook great fun to hear. It also didn’t hurt that Michael, like Nicky Abbondanza in the series, is a college theatre professor. Though straight himself, Michael was quite comfortable with the gay content in the novel. Coming from the Midwest, Michael also has crystal clear diction, which is so important in an audiobook. Michael was able to build beautifully the tension to the shocking ending, where we find out whodunit and why. When the readers of Divine Magazine chose Drama Queen as their Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Humorous Novel, and Contemporary Novel of 2015, I shared the kudos with Michael. I’m hoping he’ll do Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, which just won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. Joel Leslie is currently recording an audiobook version of my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press, releasing in November. Also an actor, Joel has a strong connection to his emotions, crisp diction, and the ability to believably play many characters. Having lived in both England and the US, Joel is also able to narrate with an American or British accent, perfect for my gay take on my favorite fairytales.

  •   Do you listen to your audiobooks?

Do I ever! Ask Michael Gilboe, if he’s still speaking to me-hah. I listened to every word of Drama Queen and emailed Michael a number of requested corrections. He was nice enough to make every one. I have to admit, though I wrote the book, when I heard the audiobook I laughed out loud hysterically, and I was shocked by the ending. I am very much looking forward to hearing The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland when it is completed.

  • What made you want to see your books in an audiobook format?

Everyone tells me my books should be made into TV series. It totally agree. Until that time comes, audiobooks, like radio dramas in times past, are the next best thing. If an audiobook is narrated well, the listeners should see the characters and their stories in front of them.

  • Do you listen to audiobooks in general?

I’d better. My spouse is Audible Approved audiobook narrator, Fred Wolinsky, who has quite a following, including me. We decided he wouldn’t do my books to keep our marriage safe. Hah. Actually, I am working with another narrator, Charissa Howe, on my straight (with gay supporting characters) mystery series, the Jana Lane mysteries. Charissa is recording Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery now. She’s amazing actress who embodies Jana (an ex-child star making her movie comeback and solving murder mysteries along the way) and all the quirky characters beautifully. I better go now, I have some correction requests for Charissa. Happy audiobook listening!

Thank you, RJ, Scott, and Joe, for all that wonderful insight.  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and our listeners/readers look forward to more of your stories, in every format!

A Listener’s Perspective

And finally I asked those that listen,  from two different angles.  One for whom  english is a second language, our Stella and Barb, our Zany Old Lady.

From Stella:

My thoughts on what I like in a audiobook narrator… To me the voice needs to be perfectly clear and let me understand each word. I saw a lot of talks around by not English readers like me, often scared of trying audios because the narrator could be too English or too American, or simply too quick in the narration. I don’t have a lot of audios but before picking the few I have, i went to audible and listen to a LOT of samples. And let me tell you, few narrators do a really great job for what I look in an audio.

From Barb, our Zany Old Lady:

A great narrator is a voice actor—a person who can bring a story to life just by using their voice. 
A great narrator plays the roles of each of the characters in the story, giving each a personality and a voice of his/her own. 
A great narrator knows the story inside and out before recording, and if unsure of a word’s pronunciation, finds out before speaking it.
A great narrator understands the difference between reading a story, telling a story, and living a story. 
A great narrator convinces me that the most important task I need to do today is to stay immersed in this particular story. He (or she) transports me to a place from which I really don’t want to return.
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And in the end, isn’t that what great stories are supposed to do?  Transport us out of our daily lives into other worlds, contemporary, supernatural, fantastical…whatever we may be looking for!  A great narrator tells an author’s story in a manner that make’s us feel it, live it, cry and laugh and yes, maybe even fan ourselves because of that author’s words flowing out to our ears through a particularly memorable voice.   Its a gift.   And when combined with the that of a equally talented author, the result is one that beckons, sparkles and makes the audiobook a deep and moving  experience.  What a joy!

My thanks to Joel Leslie, our narrator last week and guest.  His terrific giveaway of 10 audiobooks is still running.  Please leave a comment today or on the blog last week to be entered.  Contest ends on the  30th of September at midnight.  Don’t forget to leave an email address where you can be reached if chosen.  We are choosing 10 winners!  So get those entries in.   Here is the link to the Joel Leslie Interview/Contest:  http://wp.me/p220KL-8fa

My thanks to RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth, and Joe Cosentino.  Their bios and media information can be found at the end of today’s blog.  Coming up in October?  Another new topic, a spooky Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reading contest, and much more.  Stay with us!  And now for this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, September 25:

  • Authors on Narrators~Last Thoughts on Audiobooks with RJ Scott, J. Scott Coatsworth and Joe Cosentino
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, September 26:

  • Cover Reveal – Snow & Secrets (Stanford Creek #3) by RJ Scott
  • In the Release Day Spotlight: God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord by Varian Krylov (author interview and giveaway)
  • Riptide Tour – Kinky Sprinkles by LA Witt
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Pendulum by L.C. Davis
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish

Tuesday, September 27:

  • Blog Tour: Dominique & Other Stories by Brenda Murphy (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sean McKissack’s To Be a Different Someone
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell
  • A Caryn Review: Out of My Mind by AJ Truman
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Places in Time by Cardeno C
  • A MelanieM Review: Dragon’s Dilemma by Mell Eight

Wednesday, September 28:

  • Dreamspinner Press’ One Pulse Anthology Release Tour and a Interview with Jon Keys, author of A Single Night
  • Book Blitz: DC Juris’s short story, Star’s Embrace (excerpt and giveaway)
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: From the Get Go by Sean Michael
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Making Waves (Wrench Wars #4) by Marie Sexton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

Thursday, September 29:

  • In the Spotlight: Jamie Deacon ‘Caught Inside (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Morning My Angel by Sue Brown- (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Beach Rental Anthology Tour and Giveaway
  • An Alisa Review: Night Train To Naples (Night Train #1) by Carolina Valdez
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend by Nicki Bennett and Narrator Rusty Topsfield

Friday, September 30:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz for “Spell Cat” by Tara Lain
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: A Nice Normal Family by John Terry Moore
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Faire Secrets (The Faire Folk #4) by Madeleine Ribbon
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Babe in the Woodshop by Ashlyn Kane, Claudia Mayrant, & CJ Burke

Saturday, October 1:

  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna
  • A Paul B Review: Flight Anthology by Queer Sci Fi
  • A MelanieM Review: The MCB Quarterly, Vol 5

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~About the Authors~

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J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

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Joe Cosentino

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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RJ Scott

RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over ninety MM romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing. 
 
RJ also writes MF romance under the name Rozenn Scott.
 
The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.
 

A Paul B Audiobook Review: The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth and Narrated by Vance Bastian

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

autumn-lands-audioJerrith, a human boy from the Vandis city of Althos, has had a rough life.  His mother died when he was four.  The only thing he has to remember her by now is the leaf pendant he now wears around his neck.  His father has become an alcoholic and abusive since his wife’s death.  The only saving grace for Jerrith has been his apprenticeship at the blacksmith.  However he might have thrown even that away after he is caught kissing an elf boy in the town square.

Caspian has had things just as rough recently.  A prince of the land of Nevis, he has had his wings removed and forced into exile in the land of Vandis.  As part of the exile, Cas’s memories of what forced the exiled have been wiped clean, so he has no idea WHY he is in Vandis.  To make matters worse, members of the royal guard are keeping an eye on him.  He has no idea what compels him to kiss the cute Vanders boy, but he does.  Having been caught and beaten, Cas now awaits his fate in the dungeon.

Learning that the boy he kissed is in trouble and knowing he has no future in Althos once word gets out about him kissing the Nevers boy, Jerrith decides to rescue Cas.  Using what little magic he know chanting “I’m not here” over and over, he makes himself, and anyone in contact with him, disappear from view.  Having broken free, the pair must now travel back to Caspian’s home in the Autumn Lands on Nevis while trying to elude the royal guard on their tail.  Once there, they will have to confront the king as to the reason for Cas’s exile and hopefully stay alive in the process.

I was totally captivated by this story.  The author does a great job of building the worlds of Vandis and Nevis.  The dull drab world of Vandis stands in contrast to the metallic, futuristic world of Nevis.  The mythology of how the Autumn Lands serve not only to tell the history of the two lands but also compels the actions of our two protagonists.  Jerrith has an “Alice in Wonderland” type moment when his first sees the capital city of Nevis.  The happily ever after ending is not quite what the reader/listener would expect but it is satisfying.

Vance Bastian narrates this tale and I really enjoyed his style.  His voice is a little different from the other audiobooks I have listened to in that it is not quite as deep as the others I have heard.  He deftly moves between character voices and gives Jerrith a voice I would imagine him having.  I hope to have an opportunity to listen to more of his narration.

Sales Links

Mischief Corner Books

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Book Details:

Audiobook, 3 hours 12 minutes, 12 chapters
Published:  July 12, 2016 by Mischief Corner Books

Love Fantasy? Check out J. Scott Coatsworth’s ‘The Autumn Lands’, a new MM Romance/sci fi/fantasy (excerpt)

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The Autumn Lands by J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay

Release Date: 1/27/16
Goodreads Link

Blurb

Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.

But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.

Excerpt

Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer’s Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain’s Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn’t slow down and didn’t dare glance back.

The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.

His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:

The kiss.

The unexpected shock of it.

The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man’s golden eyes.

At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.

It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.

Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.

Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.

He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.

Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith’s own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.

His eyes were wide and golden, and they’d met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to ‘prentice to the blacksmith. The man’s gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.

Then he’d been gone.

Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.

The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.

Sent home at last well after nightfall, he’d heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist’s shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.

The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he’d returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.

Buy Links

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon  | KoboBookstrand | ARe | iBooks

j-scott-coatsworth

Author Bio

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

A Paul B Review: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars   ★★★★★

The Homecoming - cover2Aldiss Harrison’s exploration voyage back to Earth became a mission of survival even before it began.  With no hope of returning back to the planet he calls home, will Aldiss and his crew survive the planet their ancestors left over 500 years ago?

The people of Antana had abandoned Earth over 500 years ago.  The ravages of mankind on its home planet had taken their toll.  They have settled on Antara building a new society.  Aldiss Harrison is scheduled on a mission to explore what has happened to earth since their departure.  Aldiss hopes he is more successful than his grandfather, who disappeared without a word on a similar mission.

However, their mission of exploration quickly becomes one of survival as a massive solar flare takes aim at Antara.  The crew of six becomes a crew of four as two of the crewmembers had not arrived in time to launch.  Left behind was Aldiss’ ex Lorin the team archaeologist.  As the team crash-lands into Earth, they realize that their team might be even smaller as one is having trouble coming out of stasis.

Hari is a member of the Blackthorn clan of wolves.  These wolves have two forms.   Their winter form is that of wolves.  Their summer form resembles the two-legged creatures of yore.  Hari is one of the few members of his clan to shift between forms at will.  When Hari sees a streak of light across the sky followed by a loud noise, he sets out to investigate.  When he arrives, he sees an object obviously made by the two legs and a pair of eyes coming from it.  Hari alerts the pack.  Most back off but one, Neru,  goes off alone.  Hari’s mother sends him to keep track of the troublemaker.  When Hari stops the attack on the two leg (Aldiss), Hari finds that he has found his errah, his chosen mate.  Aldiss and Hari must fight dissention among the clan of wolves and make sure the remaining crew members adapt to their new home world in order for them to enjoy their new relationship.

This book clicks on just about every level.  The heartbreak Aldiss feels at the loss of not only his home planet but his ex (even though he states there is nothing romantic between them anymore) is palpable.  The hope of a new home world is quickly set back first by the crash landing and the dangers that caused but also with the troubles of Cat’s illness coming out of stasis.  Add in the inter clan squabbles about what to do with their now returned ancestors and it spells trouble.  Hari is guided not only by his mother but the keh, the spirits of his ancestors.  The two “Law & Order” type twists near the end of the book complete the upheaval.  But the feeling of hope at the end of the book makes the ride worth taking.  This author is new to me and I look forward to reading more from him.

London Burden has come up with one of the most gorgeous covers I have seen this year.  It is drawing of a winter scape, with Hari in his white wolf form, standing on a hill overlooking the crash site that Aldiss’ ship landed.  This cover should make the list of top ten for the year.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book details

Ebook, 71 pages
Edition:  English
Published:  July 29, 2015 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN:   9781620045831

In the Book Spotlight: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth (author interview and giveaway)

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 TH Cover

The Homecoming by  J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: London Burden
Release Date: 7/29
STRW In The Spotlight Header

Sales Link:  Less Than Three Press

My Interview with Author J. Scott Coatsworth on writing, The Homecoming and Much More

  • Tell me a little about you and your writing:

Thanks for inviting me on the blog again! I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid in elementary school in Tucson, Arizona. I wrote my first (longhand, illustrated in crayon) short story in fourth grade – and won a writing contest. In junior high, I graduated to an old manual typewriter, and eventually to an old IBM PC.

I’ve always been fascinated with Fantasy and Sci Fi and the intersection of the two. Most of my stories have revolved around those things; but lately, I’ve added a third thing to the mix – a little MM romance/interaction.

  • You have a new novella coming out – The Homecoming. What’s it about, and how does it fit into that scheme?

The homecoming was a story I started years ago. I wrote maybe three or four scenes, but never finished it. Then I saw a call for stories about the forest, and thought this piece would be perfect. But I had to give it a mixed-genre twist.

There is a romance in the story, but it’s not the main aspect. I call “The Homecoming” my wolfman-spaceman story, and it really does blend some aspects of sci fi with some aspects of shifter wolves. So it hits upon all three of my current writing interests.

  • Are you a full-time writer?

Oh, I wish. I have so many ideas I want to explore. But my husband Mark and I run our own little internet company, and that takes most of our time. I do try to sneak in an hour or hour and a half to write each day.

What other projects do you have going, writing-wise?

Hmmm, let’s see. I’ve finished two other novellas that are awaiting possible publication – one of them is a marriage equality love story set in my old home town of Tucson; the other is an elf in post-climate change San Francisco piece.

But I’m also working on a novel in four parts – basically four connected novellas – that will serve as the prequel to another novel I wrote in my twenties, but never published – I plan to go back to that one and rework it, eventually.

I also have an MM sci fi trilogy I’m working on called Oberon.

  • One more question – what do you do when you need to relax?

Relax? I don’t understand the question. *grin*

Thanks, Scott, for dropping in.  Now more about Scott’s new novel, The Homecoming.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

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STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Hari reached the edge of the woods just in time to see Neru crouching to leap at the two-legs. Young fool.

He gathered himself and jumped after Neru, knocking him aside as his teeth reached for the two-legs’ throat.

Neru turned and snarled at him, backing away toward the woods.

Hari stood firm, ears back, hackles raised, and drew the corners of his mouth back to reveal his teeth. Back off, Neru.

The whelp shook his head and grinned with the brashness of youth, until Hari leaped at him and nipped his ear. With a surprised yelp, Neru turned his head, deferring to Hari’s strength. As you say, brother. There was a cockiness to Neru’s look that unsettled him.

The other wolf backed up slowly then turned to disappear into the woods.

Hari caught a glimpse of Mavi watching from the shadows. The old wolf snarled, and slunk off after her son.

What do you seek, old mother? Hari wondered, watching Mavi’s silver-tipped tail flicker into the darkness. It was clear where Neru’s courage and cunning had come from.

Hari turned back toward the two-legs. He was holding a strange stick, not unlike the one that Hari’s grandmother had shown him in the wolf dream.

But it was his face that caught Hari’s eye. He knew that face. The two-legs’ eyes were white-gray, and his jet-black hair was swept to the side.

Despite the danger, he shifted in the manner only a few of the clan are able to do in the cold. He grew quickly taller and less hairy but no less muscled, and stood naked before the two-legs.

They stared at each other for a long moment. Hari felt an immense attraction washing over him. He saw in his summer form that this two-legs was beautiful. His own body responded to this… man… in an unexpected way, seeing and feeling things his winter form could not. Hari leaned forward and sniffed the stranger, drinking in his musk. It smelled enticing. Strangely familiar.

He sensed the two-legs stiffen, and to reassure, him, Hari licked the man’s neck.

The two-legs was trembling now like a young whelp, so he tried something else. He took the stranger’s face in his hands and kissed him.

The shaking slowed, and then the man was kissing him back. Hari was hungry for him, like a starving wolf at the end of a long, hard winter.

It is not the time for this, the keh whispered in his ear.

He broke contact and turned away, ashamed that he was betraying his Clan, and for lust. An emotion of his summer form.

“I’m sorry,” he said to the two-legs, without looking back. “It won’t happen again.” Even he was not sure if he meant Neru’s attack, or the kiss.

He shifted back into his winter form and loped off into the woods after his pack mates.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.j-scott-coatsworth

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Scott is giving away one copy of The Homecoming.  To enter to win you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the Rafflecopter link to enter and make sure we have your email address to reach you if you are chosen.  Contest runs from July 22 to August 5th, at midnight.

In the Spotlight: Between The Lines by J. Scott Coatsworth (author interview and excerpt)

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BTL Cover

Between The Lines by J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date:  July 15, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon |  Kobo | All Romance | Barnes & Noble

Author Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth

You describe your story as a ” present day magical realism M/M romance”, what does that mean exactly?

Magical realism is the infusion of a little magic, or fantasy, in the everyday world, In “Between the Lines”, this comes via the medallion, which allows its holder to “see” the unspoken thoughts behind the words that people say. I love playing with magical realism aspects – they give the story more color, texture and depth.

 What is it about the fantasy genre that draws you in?

I love the total escapism that High Fantasy gives you – and the fact that these worlds often run to three or five or ten books, so I can “live” there for extended periods of time.

Favorite fantasy book or movie?

Lord of the Rings. I started reading it when I was in second grade. I cried my eyes out when Boromir died. And I finished the whole thing in less than a year, and it changed me and set me on a new path.

Were you a voracious reader as a child?

Yes. My mom had these two shelves where she kept her sci fi and fantasy books from the Science Fiction Book Club, double-stacked. It was my own personal sci fi library. Oh, the worlds I discovered there – Pern and Middle Earth come immediately to mind – which still have a hold on me today.

If so, what book or childhood author had the greatest impact on you?

Tolkien and McCaffrey. Tolkien for the intricate beauty with which he built his world – down to the history and language that made it such a complete experience. And McCaffrey for the way she effortlessly melded sci fi and fantasy, and how she could write such deep sadness that it touched me in my bones.

What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?

I’d like a cottage in Lothlorien, please. Seriously, I was enchanted. I read once that, while Tolkien was writing LOTR, he “paused for ten years” in Lothlorien. I understand. I would too.

Dragons or fairies or both?

Oh, totally faeries. You can’t sleep with dragons. Unless they are dragon shifters, but that’s a whole other thing.

What is your favorite fantasy element to include in a story?

I’m in love with the “powerful magical object” trope – a holdover, I’m sure, from the one ring, which still has me in its thrall. Preciousssssss….

What’s next for you as a author?

I’m writing a series of novellas that serve as a prequel to the first novel I ever wrote (as yet unpublished) – I’m setting the scene for myself to go back and climb that mountain again.

I also have a sci fi trilogy waiting in the wings. Just gotta find the time… 🙂

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the Chief of Staff for a Republican California State Senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young, blond, blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad break-up, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a new light. And nothing will ever be the same.

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

It began with a medallion.

The piece was a simple wooden disk, hand carved with the shapes of leaves and forest boughs and polished by centuries of use, giving it a patina of great age.

It sat upon a small green velvet pillow—the kind jewelers sometimes use, rather unsuccessfully, to enhance a plain necklace of false pearls. The kind you might expect to find on your grandmother’s settee, in a slightly larger size, embroidered with “Home Sweet Home.”

Yet there was something compulsive about it—something hidden in the dark crevices of the carving, filled with the dust of ages.

At least that’s what Brad would recall years later, when he thought back on the first time he saw it: the moment when the lines of his mundane life suddenly snarled, snapped, and ultimately recombined into something quite different.

Of course, he didn’t know any of this at the time.

Book Details:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63476-235-9
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 15k, Format: eBook
Release Date: 7/15, Price: 3.99

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

j-scott-coatsworth

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth