Category Archives: Fantasy

Guest Blog: Scott Coatsworth on “The Autumn Lands”

TheAutumnLands-ScottHey Jamie,

Thanks for letting me stop by your blog to talk about The Autumn Lands, my latest novella that released yesterday from Mischief Corner Books.

It’s the classic story of boy meets elf, boy and elf run away from village where boy grew up, jump into a river, cross through a forest and a bunch of hills, and end up somewhere neither one could ever have imagined.

Jamie asked me to do something a little offbeat for this posting, so I cast my two lead characters.

For Cas, my elf guy who’s just a little dangerous, I chose Chris Hemsworth – the guy is gorgeous, and has just the right amount of smoulder to pull off Caspian’s rakish and more worldly character.

For Jerrith, I chose Kris Allen, winner of American Idol (love you, Kris, but Adam Lambert was robbed. Just sayin’). Kris is cute with just enough innocence, especially in his Idol days, to make a convincing Jerrith.

I hope you’ll read The Autumn Lands with these two in mind, and let me know what you think!

chrishemsworth1Blurb

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.

Kris+AllenExcerpt

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:
http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p91/The_Autumn_Lands.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Lands-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B01APHN02W/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-autumn-lands

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-autumn-lands

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theautumnlands-1964243-148.html

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/OxBjab.l

j-scott-coatsworthAuthor 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.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

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Filed under Fantasy, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Guest blog: J. Scott Coatsworth on his novel “Between the Lines”

BTL CoverI wanted to thank Jamie for inviting me to stop by his blog for my tour – I’m excited to have not just one, but two new novellas coming out in the same month.

Between the Lines is the first, my political mm-romance magical realism story set in my current hometown of Sacramento.

The Homecoming is much different – I call it my spaceman-wolfman story – set a few centuries in the future, exploring what might happen when man comes back to Earth.

I’ve known Jamie for a little over a year, but in that time he’s become a close friend. We hang out a lot on Facebook, and he’s one of a handful of friends I trust to give me guidance on my cover designs, my story ideas and much more.

Being a writer can be difficult. You don’t get into this business to make money. Some people manage to put together a living from it, and a lucky few make it big. You have to do it for the love of writing, and because you have to write.

Jamie is one of those great, prolific writers that does what he does for the love of the art. He inspires me, and I hope my new works are half as good as what he does.

Thanks, Jamie!

BTL CoverBlurb

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.

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.

Buy Links for Between the Lines:

Dreamspinner:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6645

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Between-Lines-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B011A0STW4/

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-betweenthelines-1840887-143.html

Buy Links for The Homecoming:

Less Than Three Press: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=95&products_id=929

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Homecoming-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B012U86JFO/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-homecoming-31

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.

Website:  http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

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Filed under Contemporary, Fantasy, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, SciFi

Finalists in the Rainbow Awards!

FinalistSMBoth Billy’s Bones and By That Sin Fell the Angels are finalists in the Rainbow Awards this year!  My YA fantasy novel, Dreams, also made the cut!

Unfortunately, we won’t find out who won until December, and the competition is steep.  Click on the image to see the other finalists!  I’m honored to be included among them.

In other news, I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for my college romance Screw-Ups!

I’ve also submitted a steampunk novella called The Watchwork Man for an anthology, finished round two of edits on my Christmas story (The Healing Power of Eggnog) for the Dreamspinner 2013 Advent Calendar, and I have part three of the Dreams of Fire and Gods YA trilogy (Gods) coming out on October 17th!

It’s been a busy two weeks.

The Dogs of Cyberwar

The Dogs of Cyberwar

I now find myself without a deadline for the first time since the summer began.  So I’ll need to set some new ones.  I’ve been re-reading what I’ve written for A Mote in the Eye — part two of the B.A.L.O.R. Cycle, my cyberpunk trilogy which began with The Dogs of Cyberwar.  I’ve been promising to finish that forever, but other deadlines kept interfering.  I’m liking what I’m reading, so I’m setting myself a deadline of October 31st to have at least A Mote in the Eye finished and the third section started.  The story is, in my humble opinion, just too good to let it languish unread forever.

I’m also hoping to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.  I have a murder mystery in my head that takes place on Mount Washington.

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Filed under Christmas, Cyberpunk, Drama, Fantasy, gay, Historical, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Romance, SciFi, Victorian, Writing, Young Adult

Guest Blogger: Grace Duncan on World Building, Geography & Climate

It is no secret by now that I love research. For anyone who’s kept up with my blog posts (especially the last one about research) or read my bio, they are, undoubtedly, aware of just how much I do.  Some of it isn’t necessary, but that’s okay. I love it and I feel it makes a world much fuller and more realistic if you include all the right details.

One big portion of that is the world-building.  Most of us have a general idea when and where our story will take place, but refining that into something that can become real, that the reader can feel and smell and hear takes a lot more thought – and the aforementioned research.

I had a firm picture in my head of what the world was that Teman came from and where he lived. I knew it was a desert, I knew he roamed (he was a gypsy, after all).  I knew what the city they were in during the opening chapter looked like in my head. I just had to get that on paper.

ACRThe pictures I found were amazing! It’s very easy for me to get lost in the first place on the internet and when I found so much that was exactly what was in my head, it took a supreme effort to remember I had a lot to do.   I discovered that the second series of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed games had a lot, visually, of what I thought my world should look like.  Set at a later time than my story (Assassin’s Creed: Revelations happens during the Renaissance) but the desert cities didn’t change all that much in that time, so I knew I’d found what my city looked like.

I have boatloads of details in my head that never made it into the book which is, I think, one of the downfalls of world-building.  I have so much I want to tell about! So much I want to put in! But I know that I wouldn’t necessarily want to read pages and pages of description like some of my favorite authors are guilty of (*coughTolkiencough*).  So even though I know that there is a large, busy marketplace that runs from the river dock through a number of the tight, winding streets, it didn’t make it in there.  Even though I can see the tiny alleys, hear the fishwife calling her wares or smell the roasting lamb, it stays in my head.  And though I know that Behekem contains everything from the shady parts of town (with the taverns Teman undoubtedly patronized before being caught) to the upper class districts (where the nobility keeps residences while they are there), it’s something I just have to make notes on and hope someday I get the chance to put it in a blog post like this.

BlueMosqueBut Neyem’s capital city of Behekam was only a small part of the world. I quickly realized that the main city (and its palace, which I loosely base off of the Blue Mosque in Turkey) was by far, not the only setting I’d be using and set out to draw a very rudimentary map.  Thankfully, Jamie rescued me and took my (really basic) map and turned it into something quite beautiful (See above).  So as I started to put together my outline, I saw desert trips, other cities and even an oasis to include.

So back to the drawing board I went to decide on the other countries.  My world is small, I will readily admit that.  But I decided that Neyem, its neighbors and the politics surrounding it all didn’t necessarily need to be huge.  So I made my own choices and gathered Europe and Asia and brought them much closer.

Neyem_rendered2

To the northwest is Saol.  Think Medieval England the names are Celtic, the vegetation very European and the country, in general… quite vague.  I needed contrast to Neyem and the Asian-based neighbor Tiantang, but knew that I wasn’t going to need remarkably more than that.  So I settled on the country, the capital (Calafort) and a rather… entertaining gentleman who serves as its ambassador.  I do hope you enjoy reading Lord Atherol as much as I enjoyed writing him.

ForbiddenPalaceTo the southwest, then, is Tiantang.  Obviously Asian, it is unashamedly patterned after China.  The Empress Tian lives in a palace that is, in essence, the Forbidden City and I spent great gobs of time looking through pictures of it and China in general (though weeding though the pictures of the Great Wall was annoying).  So when I finally pulled myself out of the Internet and started writing about Bathasar, Teman and their company approaching the city, I am sure I spent too much time describing it.  A big part of it was inspired by this picture:

China

Duankou, Tiantang’s capital city is an odd mix of the three countries in my world: Tiantang (of course), Neyem and Saol.  It is a prominent port city with a spot on my world’s version of the Silk Road – the overland trade routes.  No wonder it’s a conglomeration of the world.  It is set up in districts – one for Saol, one for Neyem and the biggest (of course) is for Tiantang, all characterized by their architecture and marketplaces.

The world of Choices is relatively small, but I hope it still feels full and diverse with enough details to pull the reader in and give them the opportunity to feel and hear it.  I certainly enjoyed making it and put even more of it into the next book, Deception.  What do you like to see in the worlds you read and write about? What makes it real for you?

Do be sure to leave a comment so that I can award a bag of goodies to someone!

Thank you so much, Jamie, for hosting me! It’s a real honor and pleasure.

ChoicesLGBorn and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday. 

Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer. 

The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?

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Filed under Fantasy, gay, Guest Blogger, World Building, Writing

“Murderous Requiem” has been contracted!

Murderous RequiemSounds a bit like a disease, doesn’t it?  But no.  I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for my occult mystery novel, Murderous Requiem!

As anyone who’s been following my blog or facebook page knows, I’ve been fretting about the marketability of this book for a long, long time.  It has a lot of sex, some of it rather raunchy, and more importantly a lot of occult information concerning ceremonial magick that could make some readers uncomfortable.  There is a romance between the main character and his ex-boyfriend, but since they’re in a sort of “free-love” commune environment, they have sex with other people while they’re working things out with each other.  Some readers don’t like that.  There are also some parts that cross over into horror.

I wasn’t sure if Dreamspinner would like it, because it doesn’t fit the classic romance model.  But they publish a wide variety of stories, so it was worth submitting it to them to see.  And now I have a contract!  Yay!

No info on a release date at this stage, but I’ll let everyone know when I have something.  Incidentally, the “cover” design to the left isn’t official and definitely won’t be the cover.  I cobbled that together from pictures I found on the Internet and used it as my “cover” for NaNoWriMo a couple years ago.

In related news, I did not win NaNoWriMo this year.  I didn’t even come close.  But I did get a start on my YA novel, Dreams of Fire and Gods book three, and re-wrote the ending of Dreams of Fire and Gods book two.  Trust me, the new ending is infinitely better than it was when I submitted it.  I’m very lucky that my publisher was understanding enough to humor me, when I asked her if I could resubmit the epilogue after we’d already signed the contract.  I also finished most of the edits on Dreams of Fire and Gods book one — we’re at the galley proof stage now.  That one will be released through Harmony Ink Press on December 15th.

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Filed under Fantasy, gay, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Writing, Young Adult

“By That Sin Fell the Angels” is now in editing!

It’s surprising how addictive editing can be.  Just knowing that what you’re working on is being polished up for print in a few weeks is a huge rush.  It can be frustrating at the same time, if you’re trying to actually write something new at the same time you’re working on your edits — especially if the two manuscripts are completely different in tone — but I still love it!

So even though I’ve been frantically working on book two of my YA fantasy trilogy (Dreams of Fire and Gods — don’t ask me what the subtitle for this one is yet), I’ve still been jonesing to get back to editing…something!  Anything!

My publisher had been tossing various forms at me to fill out for By That Sin Fell the Angels:  the cover art form, the  blurb form, the dedications….  Those are all set (though I have yet to see any designs for the cover — I can’t wait!).

Incidentally, here’s the blurb:

It begins with a 3:00 a.m. telephone call. On one end is Terry Bachelder, a closeted teacher. On the other, the suicidal teenage son of the local preacher. When Terry fails to prevent disaster, grief rips the small town of Crystal Falls apart.

At the epicenter of the tragedy, seventeen-year-old Jonah Riverside tries to make sense of it all. Finding Daniel’s body leaves him struggling to balance his sexual identity with his faith, while his church, led by the Reverend Isaac Thompson, mounts a crusade to destroy Terry, whom Isaac believes corrupted his son and caused the boy to take his own life.

 Having quietly crushed on his teacher for years, Jonah is determined to clear Terry’s name. That quest leads him to Eric Jacobs, Daniel’s true secret lover, and to get involved in Eric’s plan to shake up their small-minded town. Meanwhile, Rev. Thompson struggles to make peace between his religious convictions and the revelation of his son’s homosexuality. If he can’t, he leaves the door open for the devil—and for a second tragedy to follow.

So I just received the first edits and now I have to approve them or reject them (with an explanation for why I don’t like them) and add any of my own (with review tracking turned on in Word, so the editor can accept or reject my suggestions).  Then I have to send it back by Tuesday.  Usually we go back and forth about three times before the final galley proof is sent to me.

The novel should be coming out at the end of August!

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Filed under Drama, Fantasy, Religion, Writing, Young Adult

Good Reviews for “Saturn in Retrograde”!

In addition to generally positive reviews of Saturn in Retrograde from readers on Goodreads, the novella has been noticed by a couple of review sites.

Serena Yates, from QMO Books (which is unfortunately temporarily offline for renovations of the site), gave the book 5-stars and said:

The story built very nicely. There are quite a few hints as to what is going to happen (most of which I figured out, but not all). Despite that, I loved watching the story unfold and following the details of how Patrick and Joshua arrived at where they needed to be. As for the big surprise at the end? That was truly shocking, yet no less logical. If you like time travel stories with a scientific slant, if two men separated by 25 years wanting to be together sounds like an interesting problem to solve, and if you like the slight headaches caused by trying to think in temporal circles, I am pretty sure you will love this story.

You can read the entirety of Serena’s review on Goodreads, though you probably have to have an account.  The link is here.

Don, at Hearts On Fire Reviews also gave it 5-stars and had this to say:

Patrick and Joshua were terrific together as a couple and the sex was hot.  Mr. Fessenden did a lot of research on the scientific end of the book which made the book all the better.  The numerous plot twists and turns kept me interested and guessing.  The unexpected HEA ending blew me away with surprise.  I didn’t see that coming at all and I’m still going over it in my mind.  I highly recommend this mind twisting book to anyone who loves a good puzzle.

The entire review can be read here.

So…Yay!

Now you’re probably wondering, “Does this guy do anything besides sit around all day reading his reviews?”

The answer is, “Yes.”   But it hasn’t been very exciting as a spectator sport.  I’ve mostly been writing.  By That Sin Fell the Angels is in editing now, so that will take up a good deal of my time for the next month or two.  I don’t have a firm release date for that one yet, but I believe the plan is for sometime in August.

I also signed a contract for a YA fantasy novel called Dreams of Fire and Gods: Awakening, which is part one of a trilogy!  I’m frantically writing part two now, because my publisher wants it fast, fast fast!  Don’t worry — it won’t suck.  So far I’m really liking it.

Whereas the first part was a traditional sword & sorcery story with a band of adventurers fighting monsters, as they trek through the wilderness, then fighting a big battle against an enemy army at the end, part two is a bit different.  We’re seeing a lot more of the political and religious struggles going on in the empire.  I’ve also introduced a third viewpoint character, in addition to the two heroes: an assassin who is attempting to kill one of the heroes for the emperor!

And no, before you ask…I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones yet and this isn’t my attempt to emulate all of the political maneuvering in that series.  It’s just the way the story is developing on its own.  I love it!

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Filed under Fantasy, Romance, SciFi, Writing, Young Adult