Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 1/27/16
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.
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 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.
Mischief Corner Books (info only): http://www.bookstrand.com/the-autumn-lands
Thanks to Chris for welcoming me to Wicked Faerie's Tales. Chris asked me how I come up with my characters and storylines.
I had to stop and think about that. I'd like to say that they just come to me whole-cloth, but that's only happened a couple times, and both of those stories were very short.
As far as creating characters goes, it tends to be really organic for me. I usually start into the story, and the character details build up as I go. It's like being in a dark room, and bit by bit, the light starts to illuminate different aspects of the characters around me. By the time I finish the story, I have a much better idea of who they are and where they came from, and I strengthen this in second draft.
For instance, at the start of my new novella "The Autumn Lands", all I knew about Jerrith at the start was that he was young and gay and running from a kiss. But by the time I finished the first draft, I knew he was brave and sheltered, that he had brown eyes and hair and cute little ears, that he had reservations embracing his sexuality because of his father and his small-town upbringing, and that, once he made up his mind about someone, he was fiercely loyal.
Storylines are another matter. The inspirations for these vary widely for me. Sometimes I just dive in and see where a story goes. Other times they start with an iconic image, like the half-world in the novel I'm currently working on called "Oberon".
Sometimes they come from an anthology call. "The Autumn Lands" grew out of a call from Mischief Corner Books for a story with a fall theme. And sometimes I take an older story or start of a story and giving it a new direction.
I've learned I do need some structure when I write, or my stories will go awry or stall. But I don't like to have too much or it can kill my creativity.
No matter how I stumble across my storyline, I iron out my plot issues in second and third drafts, so that when I submit the story, it will make sense and hold together well.
Writing is an adventure for me—I love to convey to my readers that same sense of wonder and discovery that I feel when I write.
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.