Today I am so pleased to welcome J. Scott Coatsworth to Joyfully Jay. Scott has come to talk to us about his latest release, Slow Thaw, part of the Mischief Corner Books Escape from the Holidays collection. He has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Scott a big welcome!

Writing the Holidays

Every year I decide I want to write a holiday story, and every year, I miss about half of the deadlines for the calls for submissions from the various queer publishers looking for a bit of eggnog, tinsel, a dreidel or a glittery ball in Times Square.

Yet somehow I’ve managed to put one out, one way or another, just about every year.

I tend to run on the weird and wild side of things though, so you very rarely get a straightforward holiday romance out of me.

My first one, “A New Year,” jumped decades like frogs jump lilypads, telling the extended story of a human and fae couple who only meet every eleven years, at New Years.

My next run at it, the story “Ten,” was written for the WROTE podcast, and instead of jumping years, it jumps boyfriends – or at least prospects for boyfriends, in a twelve-day dating bonanza leading up to Christmas. (Oh, and I am re-releasing this one as a stand-alone short this year).

Then came “Wonderland” in Mischief Corner Books’ “This Wish Tonight” anthology. Despite the lovely (and very holidayish) title, this tale takes place in the aftermath of a flesh eating zombie attack that kills off most of the people on Earth. Don’t worry – this happens only in a couple flashbacks, and no zombies were actually harmed in the writing of this book. It’s actually quite a sweet take on Christmas for the last two men standing. Oh and did I mention, one of them has OCD?

Last year, I finally went mainstream. MCB published “I Only Want to Be With You” (yeah, I know. Another song title. It’s a sickness) – inspired (somewhat ironically) by another song – “Save The Best for Last.” There are no zombies, no date-o-ramas, and absolutely no paranormal critters of any kind. Only an unrequited love, and the spirit of Christmas.

Which brings me to this year. I was pushing through the final book in my Liminal Sky series, and had absolutely no time to write another short story, yet alone a novella. And yet… see… there was this holiday call from MCB for “Escape From the Holidays.” I had an idea. And my writer brain couldn’t resist.

Suffice it to say that “Slow Thaw” is a somewhat traditional gay love story, set in a very untraditional place – Antarctica – with a backdrop of climate change and an Earth in peril. It’s my chance as a writer to serve up a little social consciousness, wrapped in a love story – spoonful of sugar, right? And what a fun research rabbit hole to go down.

I hope to collect all of these (and maybe a few more) into my own holiday anthology one day. But for now, you can only get “Slow Thaw” from Mischief Corner and their distributors.

I hope you like it. And keep your eye out for my next holiday story in 2019. I still need to write something with aardvark and armadillo shifters. 😉


Javier Fernandez is a climate scientist living in a research station near the South Pole. Since his husband was killed in a car crash, he’s preferred to be alone, and is less than thrilled to have a junior scientist thrust upon him by his rich patron.

Col Steele is a trans man fleeing a bad break-up. He is ready for the next step in his career, and eager to spend Christmas anywhere but at home.

When a crack in the ice separates the two men from safety, they are forced to come to terms with their own losses and each other.


Collection Blurb:

For the second year in a row, Mischief Corner Books is putting out a winter holiday collection – ten stories revolving around various December holidays:

The end of year holidays can get overwhelming for anyone. Things to do. People to see. Last minute work obligations to take care of. Sometimes it’s just easier to escape from it all, running away from the responsibilities and expectations, or ignore the underlying disappointment from relatives who don’t see eye-to-eye with you.

Because escaping the holiday grind can lead to new, unexpected paths, and breathe new life into one that’s been stuck in a rut. Giving something to run to instead.

Sometimes, getting away from it all lets you know what you really have. Sometimes, taking a chance on the unknown leads to what you really want.


Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality.


Mischief Corner Books is giving away a $25 Mischief Corner Books gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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