Cailleadhama by J. Scott Coatsworth (audio) – Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway

Colton is a trans man living in a climate-changed world. He plies the canals that used to be city streets, earning a living taking tourists on illicit journeys through San Francisco's flooded edges beneath the imposing bulk of the Wall.

Tris is an elf who comes through the veil to the City by the Bay - the Caille - on a coming of age pilgrimage called the Cailleadhama. He is searching for his brother Laris, who went missing after crossing through the Caille years before.

The two men find they have common cause, and together they set off to find Laris in a world transformed by the twin forces of greed and climate change. And in the end, they find out more than they ever expected, both about the warming world and their own selves.

Release Date: Monday, April 26th, 2021

Publisher: Other Worlds Ink

Cover Artist: J. Scott Coatsworth

Word Count: 23800

Genres: sci-fi, sci fantasy, urban fantasy, cli-fi, dystopian

LGBTQ+ Identities: gay, trans ftm

Tropes: lost prince, portal fiction

Keywords/Categories: sci fi, science fiction, sci fantasy, fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian, gay, trans, transgender, LGBTQ, queer, portal, lost prince, climate change, cli-fi, San Francisco


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Once & Books: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?

J. Scott Coatsworth: Damn, that’s a hard question. I’d have to say Sherri S. Tepper. Although she passed away a couple years ago, she was one of the most amazing spec fic authors I’ve ever read. Her books would stay with me for weeks or months after I read them, and she wasn’t afraid to go after the big ideas and controversial topics. Her book Beauty still gives me chills. Down down down into the garbage chute!

O&B: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.

JSC: Hmm, there are two ways I can answer this. My first spec fic sale was “The Bear at the Bar,” a sort of gay freaky Friday tale set in a gay bar. It was picked up for the “A Taste of Honey” anthology by BG Thomas and Anne Reagan in 2014, and got me started on my professional writing career. But my actual first publication happened 26 years before, when I was part of a book called “Raising Each Other,” a guide for teens and parents, which came out when I was twenty.

O&B: How long do you write each day?

JSC: I get up at 5:30 most days and start writing by 5:45. I usually manage a good hour and a half, and can cover a lot of ground in that time. Sometimes I’ll also write in the afternoon of I’m on a tight deadline. At that pace, I can get a couple novels and some short stories done each year. :)

O&B: Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Tell me about it.

JSC: In fact, we took a trip to San Francisco for this one. In Cailleadhama, the sea level has risen a good 30-40 feet, so I wanted to figure out what that would mean in San Francisco, and how folks would get around with that much water surging through the streets. We walked the route for the first half of the story and I took a ton of pictures and notes, much of which made it into the final story in one form or another.

O&B: What are you working on now?

JSC: I’m publishing the first book in a new trilogy – “Dropnauts” – that’s loosely connected to my Ariadne Cycle series, on May 10th. I’ve also written the first two books in another trilogy, The Tharassan Cycle: “The Dragon Eater,” “The Gauntlet Runner” and “The Hencha Queen.” It’s a sci-fantasy YA trilogy that I’ll be shopping on the agent circuit shortly. Next up, the sequel to “Dropnauts” – “Corediver.”


Colton sat at the old, salvaged mirror in his wreck of an apartment, high above the Main Street Canal on San Francisco's drowned waterfront. Not that San Francisco didn’t have its pride. As the Capital of Pacifica, she was still a center of commerce and politics.

But canal rats like Colton didn’t matter much anymore.

The bed behind him, salvaged from another abandoned apartment, was a mess of sheets, a reminder of the trick he'd brought home the night before, someone who'd been paid enough to overlook Colton's shortcomings.

Colton took out a vial of testosterone—his last one, bought at a dear price from the Pharmacist. He pulled out a clean syringe and took off the plastic top, pulling out the stopper to 5 milliliters. He inserted the needle into the bottle, and pushed the air in, an act familiar to him from long practice. Then he pulled out the last of the drug, flicking the syringe twice and pushing out all the air bubbles.

He replaced the needle with a smaller gauge, dumping the larger one into an old caramel corn can he kept for his medical waste.

He used a piece of cotton and a bottle of cheap liquor to wipe down the injection site on his thigh, sterilizing it as best he could. Once it was dry, he took a deep breath, pinching his muscle and pulling his skin to the side. He inserted the needle into his leg, drawing the syringe back a bit to make sure there was no blood. He had to be careful to avoid injecting the hormone directly into his bloodstream.

It hurt a little, but he was used to it.

He dumped the used syringe and the empty vial into the can. He had friends who weren’t so careful to use clean needles, for their hormones or recreational drugs. Some of those friends were now dead, or worse.

Next, he took the medical bandages that he carefully washed every day, and wrapped them around his chest, binding his breasts tightly.

He didn’t look at them. He hated those reminders of his female body—he'd been running from that accident of birth for years.

He wrapped the bandages around himself three or four times, holding in his breath. Once he had his breasts secured, he adjusted them to the side to make his chest as flat as possible.

He looked at the results in the mirror. It would have to do.

He wished he could afford to be re-sequenced. To truly make his body match his gender, to not feel counterfeit in his own form.

Colton glanced out through the broken window. The lights of the City were starting to come on over there as dusk approached. He lived in a no man’s land, the part of the City where the water encroaching from the Bay had reached the old first and second floors. Toward the heart of the City, on the other side of the Wall, the rich still carried on as if nothing had changed.

Those with money called the drowned parts of the city the Canal District. It ran from the old Levis Plaza down to China Basin along the City’s Bay side. There were a number of tony restaurants on the roofs and higher floors of the City behind the Wall that offered views of this supposedly "romantic" neighborhood. For a fee, you could even take a ride through the ruins on a gondola.

That was Colton's “day job”. It brought in enough money to afford food, hormones, and little else, at least, when he was able to pay Mason his overdue boat storage fees.

So at night, he haunted the drowned streets, looking for those he could help, or sometimes relieve of their excess cash.


Scott is giving away your choice of a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate or a signed first edition of the Liminal Sky: Ariadne Cycle Trilogy (USA only).

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The author

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 queer 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, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

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