J. Scott Coatsworth Guest Post: Getting to the Cover

Gay Book Reviews is thrilled to have J. Scott Coatsworth blogging with us today singing Anne Caine’s praises!

One of my favorite parts of the publication process is working on the cover with a great designer.

I’ve always been happy with my covers, but this one was exceptional.

I chose cover designer Anne Caine because I loved the layered nature of her covers, and the great look she managed to get that said both sci fi and romance – exactly what Skythane needed.

The first cover art she sent was amazing – it nailed what I wanted, and needed only a few changes to make it perfect: the world in the cover looked more like a dead moon than a living planet, and there were some extra background images that I felt cluttered an otherwise amazing cover.

Anne found a new planet and background, and the cover was even better. A couple minor tweaks, and I was in heaven. It was exactly what I had wanted.

Skythane cover by Anne Caine

The story would have ended there, if not for an unexpected plot twist. A couple days after signing off on the cover, I got an email from Anne – the new cover was too close in look and feel to an existing Dreamspinner cover. I couldn’t have the cover of my dreams, or the cover guy who had seemed so right for Xander.

It was back to the drawing board.

Anne tried out a new cover guy, but he just wasn’t right.

I asked if I could look for a new model, and Anne sent me to her favorite photo site. I spent a couple hours hunting around, and found one I thought was perfect – the right attitude, with a bit of mysterious shadowing. I sent it off to her, and then asked a couple friends for their opinions on the new guy.

One of them pointed out that I’d managed to find the same cover model in the same pose as the cover I was trying to get away from. I hadn’t seen it, but when I compared the two images side by side, it was undeniable. The hair had been changed on the other cover and the color was different, but sure enough, it was the same photo. Life has a funny way of biting you in the ass sometimes. *grin*

In the end, it worked out. I was still able to use my original cover guy with some different colors and a new orientation of the cover elements, which I think works even better than the original.

I love this cover. I love the tone, the balance it strikes between sci fi and MM romance, and the hidden clues it gives to the story.

I just hope you enjoy it (and the story) as much as I have.


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!

Title: Skythane
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal, legends, gay romance, Destiny, adventure/action, danger
Page Count: 293 pages
Reviewed by: Natosha

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 Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane 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.

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Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

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. 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.

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I love a man in uniform! Cops, Firefighters, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, they are my favorite! I also love some angst in a good story and friends-to-lovers. M/M erotica alone doesn’t do it for me. It’s gotta have a story and some conflict. BDSM when I’m in that mood and threesomes with 3 men or 2 men and 1 woman, again when the mood strikes. Hetero? Sure, if it’s really good. HEA ONLY!

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