I'm pleased to have J. Scott Coatsworth as my guest today and talking covers.
I LOVE working with an artist on the cover for a new book. It's your chance as an author to see your work through someone else's eyes, made real. I've been through the process three times now, and it's been fun every time (at least for me; I've probably sent at least one cover designer away screaming).
This time around, I was working with the talented Catherine Dair. She had read my story (which was really cool) and had an idea for the cover. She pitched it, and I loved it. I thought it would be fun to walk you through the process.
The first step was to decide what the cover should actually depict. I had suggested a certain scene near the end of the book. But Catherine read it and had a better idea:
"So when I was reading, I *loved* this image: 'Cas rummaged through his carry sack, pulling out a dark ball the size of his palm. He rubbed it together between his hands and it lit with a golden light, lifting up to float over his shoulder. "A will-o'-the-wisp," he said softly. Its warm glow lit up Jerrith's beautiful features, reflecting in his deep brown eyes. Jerrith stared at it wonderingly. "Just a little earth magic," Cas said with a grin.' I love the idea of showing them early in the journey together, and showing this bit of magic, enticing readers of what is to come.'
I loved the idea. So she got to work, and in a couple days she sent me a character sketch:
It was rough, but I loved the feeling of it. I made a few minor suggestions, and then she asked me about the background. The Autumn Lands takes place in an alien land, so we settled on teardrop trees from the story. A couple days later I got my trees:
It's really cool to see these things come together layer by layer. The next thing was to layer the characters on top. I got Cas first:
Then Jerrith wandered in…
A little glow from the wisp, and we had a cover.
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.
Release Date: 1/27/16 Pairing: MM Price: 3.99
Meet J. Scott Coatsworth
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 site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Andrew gladly lets Milo drive his car; he hates driving, especially when he can play radio DJ and watch the scenery go by. He looks at Milo: the way the fading light before dusk changes the tone of his skin; the way the muscles of his arms stand out and his lips curl as he sings along, awfully, to the radio. Milo smiles at him and Andrew flashes a brief one back, wonders how obvious he’s being, and looks back out the window at the slipping sand that spills onto the road and the ramshackle businesses along the road.
“So what got this bee in your bonnet?” he asks suddenly.
Milo shrugs. “You sound like my grandma.”
“Awesome; I like her. Let’s focus.”
“So... okay.” Milo clears his throat and his fingers tighten on the wheel. “I um, think I have something to tell you. But I’m—”
“Is everything okay?” Andrew interrupts, scanning his memory for any signs of additional distress Milo might have displayed in the last few months.
“Yeah. Well. I mean, um… whatever. But I—”
“What? You’re worrying me.”
Milo sighs and pulls into the parking lot of a restaurant with a giant crab on the roof. “I can’t do this and drive.”
“Okay,” Andrew says slowly, then unbuckles his belt and turns to face him. Milo’s face is a little drawn.
“So, I think I might be gay,” Milo blurts. “I mean, I know. I know I am.”
There’s a full minute of silence in the car while Andrew tries to work the words out. Static screeches in his ears, fleetingly numbing his reaction. Focus. He has a few seconds to control his face, to tamp down that sprout of irrational hope seeding despite the chaos, and be ultimately supportive.
“Um.” Andrew licks his lips and tries to pull himself together. That seedling wants to grow into something bigger, and he can’t let it. He looks at Milo’s face, which has morphed into something more vulnerable and worried. Hope is a hollow bell in his chest, ringing loud and dissonant; he wants to vibrate out of his skin with the inappropriateness of his own reactions. This is about Milo, not him. “You aren’t worried that I’m mad or something, are you?” he manages to say.
“I don’t know. Um, your face is doing... a thing,” Milo replies.
Reflexively Andrew puts his hands to his cheeks. His fingers are cold. Okay, so he definitely doesn’t have his face under control. “No, I... wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.” Andrew’s brain, sometimes faster than his mouth, is careening backward. “Maybe I should have had a clue.”
“Well, for starters, you kissed me back.”
Buy the book:
IP Web Store: store.interludepress.com
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-it-takes-jude-sierra/1122958963?ean=2940152470109
Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-it-takes/id1059511076?mt=11
All Romance eBooks: (Pending, will send to you tomorrow)
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/What-It-Takes-Jude-Sierr/9781941530597/?a_aid=InterludePress
Meet the author:
Jude Sierra began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read "pool+tv." She first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil, and is still a student of the form.
As a sucker for happy endings and well-written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband's dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room. She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive and many that have found a home in the fanfiction community.
She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press.
Where to find the author:
What It Takes will be published by Interlude Press on January 14, 2016. Connect with author Jude Sierra at JudeSierra.com, on Twitter @JudeSierra, on Goodreads at goodreads.com/Jude_Sierra, and on Facebook at facebook.com/JudeMSierra.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27829994-what-it-takes
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Art: Nelli I
Cover Design: C.B. Messer
Tour Dates & Stops:
14-Jan: Book Lovers 4Ever, Lee Brazil, Inked Rainbow Reads
15-Jan: Havan Fellows, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire
18-Jan: Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, A.M. Leibowitz
19-Jan: Velvet Panic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
20-Jan: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, The Novel Approach
21-Jan: Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews
22-Jan: BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter
25-Jan: Nautical Star Books, My Fiction Nook
26-Jan: Emotion In Motion, Bayou Book Junkie
27-Jan: Full Moon Dreaming, Alpha Book Club, QUEERcentric Books
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing BA Tortuga author of Refired
Hi BA, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hey there! I’m the luckiest girl on Earth – I’m married to the woman of my dreams, I’ve got the best job in history and I live in the New Mexico mountains. I’ve been publishing romance novels for… whoa. Many years.
Refired is the story of recovering alcoholic, Josh McPhee, and Kris Cerny, high-powered businessman and rancher – two former lovers that own a failing Austin art gallery together.
When Kris Cerny walks back into Two Spirits, the art gallery he owns with Josh McPhee, all he wants is a clean break. Austin's booming real estate market means the building he bought years ago is worth a fortune, and with the sale, he and Josh can finally go their separate ways. They won't be reconciling, right? Josh may be sober now, but an addict is always going to be an addict, and Kris can't take that chance again.
Josh isn't willing to sell. Not yet. He's discovered a new artist in Santa Fe he knows will put Two Spirits in the black, and if he can just make a success of the gallery, maybe he can earn Kris's respect, if not recapture his love. He need Kris to give him time for one more buying trip, one more gallery show. Josh wants nothing more than a final chance to make things right. Kris agrees to let Josh have this last ditch effort on one condition-- he wants to go along for the ride. On the way Josh hopes they'll find the next big thing in the art world as well as peace, forgiveness, and a love he thought was lost forever.
Say something to your fans.
Is I love all y’all enough?
I love all y’all. Thank for sticking with me while I learn, while I explore, while I try to tell the best story I can.
Thank y’all for loving my boys.
Thank you for the emails, the letters, the private messages, the hugs at conventions.
I love all y’all.
Josh sat there in the office that had been his for seven years, two months, and three days, looking at the cowboy who he’d thought, once upon a time, was going to be his one and only, feeling a little like he was drunk.
He rolled the five-year-sober token between his fingers, letting it settle him. Not drunk. Not even a bit.
“What? What did you say to me?” He left off the you sorry son of a bitch part.
“We got a buyer for the gallery.” Kris stared at him, calm as could be, one hip settled on the edge of his desk.
“The gallery isn’t for sale.” He owned half, dammit. Still.
Kris nodded easily. “Frankly they just want the building. Quite an offer. I don’t see how we can pass it up.”
“The gallery isn’t for sale.” He was fairly sure the words were succinct enough for Mr. Business.
“The neighborhood has changed, Josh. It’s not a boho, arty area anymore. It’s all high-priced condos and tapas bars.” Kris’s expression softened just slightly. “I think it’s time to let it go.”
This wasn’t about the gallery. This was about them. Him and Kris.
“Josh, please at least look at the offer.” Kris stood, straightening his fancy cattleman’s. God, he looked like a stuffed suit. Kris looked better in beat-up Wranglers.
“I’m not interested.” Josh felt like sitting down and pounding the floor with his fist. This wasn’t right. None of it. He knew he was a fuckup. Had been a fuckup. But he was working his shit out.
The gallery was back to breaking even, if not making a profit. Josh thought he deserved a chance to get some good new artists in for a show.
“Then are you going to buy me out?” Kris asked.
Fuck. Kris knew he couldn’t do that. The business finances were an open book. Josh wasn’t even taking a salary for another three years to pay back Kris’s initial investment.
“I don’t have to. We’re equal partners. All I have to do is say no.”
Kris frowned, dark brows drawing together over his bright green eyes. “Dammit, Josh, how long are you going to pretend this is going to work?”
He touched the coin again. Five years. Five years sober. Five years proving he could be trusted. Five years and it wasn’t enough.
“This gallery is my life.” Simple as that. He had no friends anymore, no one. He came to work and went to meetings. He hadn’t gone out to dinner with Kris since…. Christ. Christmas? Maybe? Had they even done Christmas?
“Then what do you want me to do? The building is really the only asset.”
“I’m going on a buying trip. Santa Fe area. Why are we even talking about this?” Why are you even here? Go find another project.
Kris was, like, the king of finance now or something. He had investments all over, could probably walk away from the gallery without even taking a money hit.
“Buying? With what? Your good looks?”
Meet the Author
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife (still amazing to say that), Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has gone to the high desert mountains and fallen in love. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery ménages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
Tour Dates & Stops:
The Novel Approach, My Fiction Nook, Book Lovers 4Ever, Nautical Star Books, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Gay Book Reviews
MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Emotion in Motion, KathyMac Reviews
Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows, Bonkers About Books, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Decadent Delights
Open Skye Book Reviews, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Kiki's Kinky Picks, A.M. Leibowitz
Louise Lyons, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Love Bytes, Bayou Book Junkie
Chris McHart, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Unquietly Me
Caraway Carter, QUEERcentric Books, Joyfully Jay
Happily Ever Chapter, Molly Lolly, Nic Starr, Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Cathy Brockman Romances, Gay Media Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming, Prism Book Alliance
V's Reads, Iyana Jenna, The Literary World of the Gifted Grammy, Lee Brazil
The Hat Party, Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, Alpha Book Club, BFD Book Blog
Rebecca Cohen Writes, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Making It Happen, Charley Descoteaux, Nephy Hart
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