J. Scott Coatsworth’s LGBTQ+ magical realism “circle of friends” book The River City Chronicles is out in audiobook format! And there’s a giveaway.
Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.
A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.
Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who runs the restaurant; recently widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.
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Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home.
The sign on the window read “Ragazzi” (the boys), lettered in a beautiful golden script just two months old. Investing in this little restaurant his uncle had left to them when he’d passed away had been their ticket out of Italy. But now with each passing day, as seats sat empty and tomatoes, pasta, and garlic went uneaten, the worry was gnawing ever deeper into Matteo’s gut.
Behind him in the open, modernized kitchen, Diego was busy cooking—his mother’s lasagne, some fresh fish from San Francisco, and some of the newer Italian dishes they’d brought with them from Bologna. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.
They’d sent the rest of the staff —Max and Justin—home for the evening. The three customers who had shown up so far didn’t justify the cost of keeping their waiter and busboy on hand.
Matteo stopped at the couple’s table in front of the other window. “Buona sera,” he said, smiling his brightest Italian smile.
“Hi,” the man said, smiling back at him. He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. “Kinda quiet tonight, huh?”
“It always gets busier later,” Matteo lied smoothly. “Pleasure to have you here. Can I get you anything else?”
“A little more wine, please?” the woman said, holding out her glass so the charm bracelet on her wrist jangled.
“Of course.” He bowed and ducked into the kitchen.
He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek.
His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. “Più tardi. Sto preparando la cena.”
“I can see that. Dinner for a hundred, is it? It’s dead out there again tonight.”
Diego shot him a dirty look.
Matteo retrieved the bottle of wine from the case and returned to fill up his guests’ glasses. “What brings you in tonight?” Maybe they saw our ad.…
“Just walking by and we were hungry. I miss the old place though.… What was it called, honey?”
Her husband scratched his chin. “Little Italy, I think?”
“That’s it! It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian.”
Matteo groaned inside. “So glad you came in” was all he said with another smile.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Scott Coatsworth
Do you reward yourself for writing, or punish yourself for failing to do so? How?
Totally. I have what I call my Writing Chocolate” – Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar. I break up four pieces into 24 little pieces, and use them as incentive for writing. Finish a page, eat a piece of chocolate. Spoiler Alert – I often eat more pieces during my writing session than I finish pages. But it’s all good. J
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Mostly just the professional blogger ones, but every now and then I dip my toes into the Amazon or Goodreads ones when I happen across one of my books there. I’m fortunate to usually get good reviews, but I had one once that said something along the lines of “His writing sucks and doesn’t live up to the fancy ‘Coatsworth’ name.” Far from being hurt, I laughed about that one for days, and it still makes me smile.
How long do you write each day?
Between forty-five minutes and an hour-and-a-half. I get up early and write while my mind is freshest. I go into the kitchen with a laptop that’s been stripped of Facebook and email, and put on my noise cancelling headphones and a bit of music and just write. On a good morning, I can knock out 2000 words, but I consider anything a success – as long as I keep the writing moving.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My first one took about five years, and I wondered how in the hell writers could make a living when writing a book took so bloody long. In the last four years, I’ve averaged two a year, and I could probably manage three if I really put my mind to it. Mine are long, usually 90-120k words, so they do take a bit of time just to spool out all those words.
What are you working on now?
I’m almost finished with a new YA sci-fantasy trilogy. For folks who are familiar with my work, The Tharassas Cycle (The Dragon Eater, Then Gauntlet Runner, and The Hencha Queen) is set in the same world as “The Last Run” and “The Emp Test,” and develops ideas from those two earlier works. It’s almost finished (first draft) and planned for release in 2022. Once that’s done, I plan to return to the characters from Dropnauts for the sequel, Coredivers.
Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow with two pink flamingoes in Sacramento. He inhabits the space between the here and now and the what could be. 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 the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecting their own reality. Scott is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
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