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Contemporary magical realism from J. Scott Coatsworth – The River City Chronicles

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 run 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.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.


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.

About the Author

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him. Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark. His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention. You can find him at Dreamspinner here, Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueeRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.

Publisher: Other Worlds Ink Editors:

Jude Dunn


Comedy, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fantasy – Magical Realism, Gaylit, Inspirational, Interracial, People of Color, Younger Characters


author – american, format – book, format – novel, format – novel >100K, format – paperback, format – self published, what – concept – acceptance, what – concept – family conflict, what – element – coffee, what – element – court hearing, what – emotion – guilt, what – emotion – hope, what – emotion – love, what – emotion – survivor guilt, what – topic – friendship, where – city – sacramento, where – country – usa, where – general – high school, where – general – restaurant, where – state – california, who – description – ensemble cast, who – description – established couple, who – description – friends, who – description – over forty, who – description – runaway, who – occupation – author, who – occupation – barista, who – occupation – chef, who – occupation – parent, who – occupation – restaurant owner, who – occupation – small business owner, who – occupation – waiter, who – occupation – web designer, who – occupation – writer, who – religion – catholic

Pairings: MF, MM Heat Level: 1 Romantic Content: 1 Ending: Click here to reveal Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Straight, Transgender Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35 Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35 Protagonist 3 Age: 46-65 Tropes: Adopted Child, Age Difference, Coming of Age, Coming Home, Death of Parent, Families/Raising Kids, Married Life, Queer Wedding, Secret Baby, Second Chances, True Love Word Count: 115000 Setting: USA, California, Sacramento Languages Available: English, Italian Translators: Claudia Milani Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters


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