Today I am so pleased to welcome J. Scott Coatsworth to Joyfully Jay. Scott has come to talk to us about his latest release, Skythane. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Five Things I’ve Learned About Writing
I’ve been writing seriously now for just over three years, after having taken a two decade break. I’m so happy to be back at it again – it’s great to see my words in print.
I’ve learned a few things in those last few years, and I thought I’d share them with you.
1) Write Every Day: It’s hard, and you won’t always be able to do it. That’s okay. But if you were really meant to be a writer – and you’ll know it because you’ll find you can’t not write – you should try to put some words down on paper every day. Some days will be better than others. And on some days it will be all but impossible. But it feeds you and makes you a happier person when you do what you were meant to do.
2) Write What You Love: It’s tempting to chase what’s selling, but unless you write insta-books, you’ll never catch it, and you’ll almost always be unhappy with the results. So write what makes YOU happy – and put all that love and passion into your work. Your readers will feel it when they read your stories.
3) Research Research Research: Whatever you are writing, it will be better if you get the details right. For Skythane, I had to do a bunch of it, some of it after the book was written when a good beta of mine called me on lack of specifics. Do yourself a favor and get the research out of the way earlier rather than later.
4) Respect the Community: If you are writing about someone who is not like you, learn everything you can about them. If you’re a cisgender gay man, like me, and you are writing about someone who is transgender, you should know what you’re talking about when you write the character. Talk to your trans friends and ask them to beta your work. It may save you a world of hurt later.
5) Keep At It: You may not make it as an author overnight. Many folks will never make it at all. But if you don’t keep going, I can guarantee that you won’t make it. I love being a published author – and I am thankful every day that I made it this far. Who knows how much farther I’ll go? Don’t shortchange yourself. Keep at it.
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!
Xander’s bike flew over the crowded streets of Oberon City. It was midmorning, as far as Jameson could tell from the slanting rays of sunshine over the city.
The wind whipped through his hair, making a rat’s nest of it. He was going to look a mess when he arrived at the OberCorp Headquarters, but there was nothing to be done for it. He mollified himself with the thought that it was the company representative’s fault.
Jameson clung to Xander’s waist, uncomfortable at being so close to the other man, but terrified all the same to loosen his grip. The man’s wings settled in around him like a feathered blanket.
Xander Kinnson had wings—he was a skythane man.
Sure, the whole wings thing had been in the briefing, but reading it and seeing it in person were two very different things. They were beautiful, running up from his shoulder blades into the sky when he had them extended, and powerful. The dark feathers glimmered with an iridescent sheen in the sunlight.
Jameson didn’t think he would have the courage to fly—hoverbike flight was unnerving enough. And yet… wings.
They whipped past heavy armored transports and automated delivery trucks that rode the streets below them, mixed in with pedestrians and even some wagons and rickshaws, as strange an assortment of traffic as he had ever seen in one place.
“We’re going to Oberon Corp Headquarters, right?” he shouted at Xander over the noise. He hated shouting.
“What?” Xander shouted back.
“Sorry. Can’t hear you!”
Jameson gave up. He settled in to observe the city around him.
The huge arcos formed a virtual blue metallic wall ahead that began to block out the sunlight as the hoverbike moved closer. They were impressive in their uniformity, reminding him of the statues of Easter Island he’d visited during his trip to Old Earth.
From this vantage point, the city seemed much bigger than it had looked from the shuttle flying in, but outside of the impressive architecture of the arcos, the rest of Oberon City was made up of much less impressive, shorter buildings, with the tallest of these topping out around fifteen stories. They were in varied states of decay, with broken windows and rusted stanchions, some of them overrun by wild vines. The city looked like it was badly in need of an urban renewal project—a few buildings were in such bad shape that Jameson was amazed they hadn’t already collapsed under their own weight.
After about fifteen minutes, Xander’s bike slowly dipped down to the ground, coming to a landing between a couple of low buildings. They arrived at a nondescript three-story, concrete-slab structure that would have fit into almost any urban cityscape. It was made entirely out of prefab plascreet panels like all the other ugly buildings around it.
Xander palmed a sensor next to the metal roll-up door and it chugged up noisily, revealing a storage space maybe three meters wide by about three times that length deep. He pulled the bike inside and parked it, beckoning for Jameson to dismount.
Jameson did as he was told, though he was starting to get worried. When it came right down to it, he knew nothing about this man, having taken Xander at his word that he really was a representative of OberCorp.
How could he know for sure?
The idea nagged at him.
The man might be a pirate who preyed upon unsuspecting arrivals at the immigration center. He certainly t the profile—standoff sh, antisocial, certain he was always right. Jameson had seen that many times before in his practice. Then again, most sociopaths were more social.
At least he’d made it to the city now. It might be best to get out of here and find his own way to OberCorp.
Jameson started to back slowly out of the storage unit, away from Xander. He could make a run for it.
“Stay right there,” Xander said without turning, his voice sharp. “This is a bad part of town. It’s dangerous, especially for off-worlders who don’t know any better.”
Jameson looked out onto the street nervously. Oberon City was a lot grittier at ground level than it had appeared from the shuttle—the pavement looked petrochemical based, and it was uneven and black, so different from the beautiful marble streets back on Beta Tau. Some dark fluid owed in fits and starts down the gutters, and it gave off a nasty smell: part urine, part hydrocarbons, part rotting food.
He was overdressed for such squalor. “Are there any good parts?” He stepped back inside with a sniff.
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.
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.
Welcome, Scott, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing. Congratulations, too, on the publication of Skythane!