The Queer Writer: December 2022

We're here, we're queer, we're full of holiday cheer!

Or maybe. I dunno. Sometimes it can be tough. When I'm stuck in that difficulty, I find watching queers being joyful can help. (Lyrics here.)

The publication season is predictably slowing down, but there's still some great upcoming books this month, including a cooking themed rom-com, a heist on the Titanic, humorous Instagram revenge, and an inclusive parenting guide.

My Novel Immersive Program for LGBTQ+ Writers is returning for another year! Join a group of 10 novelists as you learn, workshop, and build community over nine months. The application window will open from January 9th to March 27th and the Open House is February 22nd. Decisions will be sent out in early May and the program starts June 6th. Scholarships are available, class is remote, and queer, trans, and/or nonbinary identities of all experiences are encouraged to apply.

Also, Indya Moore's Transanta program is back! Give holiday presents and/or basic necessities to trans kids in need! The deadline for kids to apply is December 16th. To give presents, take a look at this walkthrough, check the Transanta feed every day for new letters, and click the corresponding letter in the Transanta bio link to be taken to that youth's gift registry. You can also give donations to support Transanta operations year-round.

And if you have any giving left in your system after that, please consider a paid subscription to The Queer Writer! With both yearly and monthly options available, support is as low as $5 a month. But no matter what, thank you for being part of this newsletter. I hope it's bringing you inspiration and joy to write, read, and feel more connected to the queer literary scene!

Is there an upcoming queer book you’re excited about? Know of a great opportunity for queer writers? Read an awesome article about the (marginalized) writing world? Leave a comment! And as always, please share this newsletter with people you think might be interested.

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If you’d like to donate to the sliding scale fund, please contact me.

Queery-ing: Navigating Agents and Publishers While Queer

  • Saturday, December 3rd, 2022 from 11:00am to 1:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Sliding scale: $50/$75/$100/$150 ($100+$50 scholarship donation)

What does a “very nice deal” mean in a publishing contract announcement? What’s a pre-empt? How does the trajectory from query to book deal normally work? Navigating the publishing industry is confusing at the best of times, but when you’re also a marginalized writer, it can feel overwhelming. In this 2-hour crash course, we’ll spend the first half in lecture and information—including query letters, industry language, standard agent contract rates, the differences of publishing houses, and more—and the second half in Q&A, all centering queer writers and the particular challenges they may face.

*This class is intended only for writers who identify as queer, trans, and/or nonbinary.

***3 SEATS LEFT*** Writing Outside of Your Lane

  • Saturday, December 17th, 2022 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $75, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

Over the past several years, the publishing world (and its readers) have thankfully demanded more diversity within stories. But as welcoming as this change is, it can leave many non-marginalized writers with anxiety. How are you supposed to go about it? What if you mess up? Are you allowed to write about marginalized people at all? This 3-hour course provides mainstream writers with the basics of how to write a marginalized character with which they don’t have a lived experience, breaking the process down into the bare bones of Self-Reflection, Research, Craft, Editing, and How to Handle Backlash. With pragmatic and clear-cut information—as well as the wisdom from such writers as Alexander Chee, Peter Ho Davies, and Stella Young—writers will leave this course with significantly more insight, awareness, and confidence to produce the most accurate and empathetic work they can.

*This class is open to all identities.

***4 SEATS LEFT*** Novel Writing Workshop for Queer, Trans, and/or Nonbinary Writers

  • 10 Thursdays starting January 12th, 2023 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Sliding scale: $500/$675/$850/$1,350 ($850+$500 scholarship donation)
  • 9 students maximum

Many queer, trans, and/or nonbinary writers may have experienced workshops in the past that were silencing, unhelpful, or damaging when being workshopped by a predominantly cisgender/heterosexual writing group, however well-intentioned the group may have been. This workshop course is designed to help create a more intimate and relatable space for queer, trans, and/or nonbinary writers to both give and receive feedback on their works in progress. This class is for queer, trans, and/or nonbinary novelists who have taken advanced workshops before, are well versed in matters of craft, and who have already made some progress on a first draft.

The goal of this course is to workshop at least 30 pages in ten weeks (minimum, depending on class size). Feedback will be delivered using the novel-in-progress method: reading your pages (up to 15 pages, double-spaced, 12pt font) aloud in class at least twice in the course, and receiving on-the-spot, non-silencing feedback from your fellow novelists and instructor.

*This class is intended only for writers who identify as queer, trans, and/or nonbinary. Novels specific to queer, trans, and/or nonbinary themes are not required.

*Previous students of this course are welcome to return and continue workshopping their pages.

Novel Immersive for LGBTQ+ Writers Open House & Info Session

  • Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Free!
  • 75 seat maximum

Thinking of applying to the Novel Immersive for LGBTQ+ Writers? GrubStreet will host an online Q&A session with instructor Milo Todd on Wednesday, February 22nd, from 6:00-7:00p.m. Milo will answer any questions you have about the Novel Immersive, including the workload, the application process, what the program does and doesn’t entail, the schedule, the philosophy behind our approach, and anything else you have on your mind! Please note that the upcoming round of the Novel Immersive for LGBTQ+ Writers, which begins in June 2023, will take place online via Zoom.

***NEW*** Writing Group: Accountability Cafe for Queer, Trans, and/or Nonbinary Writers

  • 6 Thursdays starting March 30th, 2023 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $170, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

Having trouble finding the time to write? Want a group of peers to keep you on the path to your writing goals? Just want to be in the presence of some fellow LGBTQ+ writers? Grab a coffee and join the instructor-led Accountability Cafe, a virtual space specifically dedicated to queer, transgender, and/or nonbinary writers! In this low-stress environment, we'll meet for 90 minutes once a week on Zoom to write, connect, ask questions, and share snippets of our work, all while the instructor pipes in study/focus music to help bring home that cafe feel. Come join us; accountability has never been so chilled out!

*This group is only available to LGBTQ+ writers.

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Disclosure: I'm an affiliate of Any purchase through my storefront supports local bookstores and earns me a commission. Win-win!

A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson

Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he's right back home in Harper's Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can't delegate to save his life. Logan O'Hare doesn't understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him--he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn't have many options besides Xavier. Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they'll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

Josefa is an unapologetic and charismatic thief, who loves the thrill of the chase. She has her eye on her biggest mark yet--the RMS Titanic, the most luxurious ship in the world. But she isn't interested in stealing from wealthy first-class passengers onboard. No, she's out for the ultimate prize: the Rubiyat, a one of a kind book encrusted with gems that's worth millions. Josefa can't score it alone, so she enlists a team of girls with unique talents: Hinnah, a daring acrobat and contortionist; Violet, an actress and expert dissembler; and Emilie, an artist who can replicate any drawing by hand. They couldn't be more different and yet they have one very important thing in common: their lives depend on breaking into the vault and capturing the Rubiyat. But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they've worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes. While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer...

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

When their ex-boyfriends get together and start Instagramming a disgustingly perfect summer of love, Jack and Nate decide to concoct a mutual Insta-worthy summer adventure of their own to prove they're just fine and everything's great. Of course, it's hard to have an epic summer road trip when they're stuck in a van with Nate's mid-life crisis-bound parents and his annoying younger sister. And it's been years since Jack and Nate have said more than a few sentences to each other. But their followers don't have to know any of that. How hard could faking the high life be? Posting as @TheHeartBreakBoys, the duo stumbles into one hilarious situation after another--and each discover that maybe the cure for heartbreak has been the boy riding next to him all along.

So When Are You Having Kids: The Definitive Guide for Those Who Aren't Sure If, When, or How They Want to Become Parents by Jordan Davidson

As we expand our understanding of what "family" means, we need to change the way we think about having kids. How much does it cost to have kids? How long can I wait? What if I have fertility issues? And, wait a I even want kids? If you're unsure whether you want kids or struggling to decide, this book is for you. So When Are You Having Kids? is not your parents' parenting book, nor is it a how-to for getting pregnant. It's a nonjudgmental, inclusive guidebook for women, men, gender-nonconforming people, same-sex couples, and prospective single parents who want to make an informed decision regarding if and how they bring children into the world. Combining research with over 100 compelling real-life stories, the resources in this book are as diverse as the generations they're meant to serve.

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Novel Incubator Open House & Info Session

  • What: "Interested in taking your novel to the next level? Join us for an informal Q&A session on our Novel Incubator program. We'll give you all the information you need to know about the application process, what the program entails, the schedule, the philosophy behind our approach, and anything else on your mind."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 1st, 2022

Abandon Journal

  • What: "We want to showcase writing and artwork that has been created with abandon. That term is free to be interpreted liberally, but ideally it is the kind of work that takes risks, created in a space wherein the artist doesn’t care what anyone else thinks or what everyone else is doing. Issue #4 is 'Abandon Love.' Interpret that how you wish."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $15
  • Deadline: December 1st, 2022

Quill (Queer) Prose Award

  • What: "The Quill Prose Award is for a work of previously unpublished prose with a minimum of 150 pages by a queer (LGBTQIA+) writer."
  • Fee: $10
  • Pay: $1,000 and publication of manuscript
  • Deadline: December 1st, 2022

Lesbians with Trans Identifying Partners

  • What: "Sinister Wisdom is looking for poetry, prose, and art from lesbians with trans identifying partners. Identifying terms are defined broadly. If you can see your work in this issue, we would love to read it. We are particularly interested in work that bridges, reimagines, or transforms historical dialogue about identity."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 1st, 2022

LGBTQ+ Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction - Book Length Manuscripts

  • What: "The new imprint is now open to submissions of queer positive science fiction right on the bleeding edge of what is possible. We’re looking for all subgenres of speculative fiction involving LGBTQ+ characters written by LGBTQ+ authors, including but not limited to: sci-fi, interstitial, slipstream, horror, and supernatural fictional manuscripts."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: Publication
  • Deadline: December 15th, 2022

West Trade Review

  • What: "West Trade Review strives to put forth the best contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (memoir/personal essays) and publishes a mix of established and up and coming writers.  We are committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and want to hear from underrepresented voices of all types."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 15th, 2022

Black Joy Unbound: An Anthology

  • What: "Inspired by a deep longing for writing that embodies the vivacity of Blackness and Black life, BLF Press will produce a multi-genre collection that encompasses a broad spectrum of literary writing on Black joy. Provocation: What might our writing look like if it were imbued with characters and themes centered on joy and delight?"
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $75
  • Deadline: December 31st, 2022

MEHFIL: A Special Issue of the Margins

  • What: "The Margins seeks work for a new notebook featuring queer artists from the South Asian subcontinent and the South Asian diaspora on the theme of Mehfil: An Evening of Entertainment and Enchantment, to be published online and in print in Summer 2023. Margins fellow Rajat Singh will guest edit this notebook as part of the I Want Sky series. Edited by Bazeed, the I Want Sky series seeks to make queer existence tangible and add to the queer archive."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $o
  • Deadline: December 31st, 2022

Feminist Formations 2022 General CFP

  • What: "An interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal, we publish innovative work by scholars, activists, artists, poets, and practitioners in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Our subject matter includes national, global, and transnational feminist thought and practice; the cultural and social politics of genders and sexualities; and historical and contemporary studies of gendered experience. The journal values established and emerging lines of inquiry and methods that engage the complexities of gender as implicated in forms of power such as race, ethnicity, class, nation, migration, ability, and religion."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $o
  • Deadline: January 1st, 2023

The Sun

  • What: "We publish personal essays, fiction, and poetry. Personal stories that touch on political and cultural issues are welcome. We encourage submissions from writers of color. Surprise us; we often don’t know what we’ll like until we read it."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $300-$2,000
  • Deadline: rolling

Black and Asian Feminist Solidarities

  • What: Seeking “new pitches and finished pieces that interrogate past, present, and future issues within the realm of Black and Asian feminist solidarities, and that imagine possibilities between our communities through various written forms.”
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling

Baest Journal

  • What: Baest Journal, "a journal of queer forms and affects," seeks to publish work by queer writers and artists.
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling

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The Strange State of the Novel in the "Age of Amazon"

by Hannah Gold

As one of the most profitable companies in the world and as a bookseller, Amazon has amassed a surplus of visibility; less is known about its effects on literary production in terms of aesthetics and sociality. This is precisely what Mark McGurl, in his new book Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon, sets out to discover. “Amazon,” he writes, “is nothing if not a ‘literary’ company,” one that is “making an epic narrative out of the speedy satisfaction of popular want.”
...McGurl argues that without explicitly mentioning the company that controls their commercial destinies, many of these novels owe their characteristic structures and styles to the “sheer expressivity of Amazon’s corporate culture,” coupled with the vast expansion of America’s service industries in recent years. What it means to be a reader has changed too. The incessant prodding to consume more leaves the reader nursing a curious sense of emptiness and need. This is not unrelated to McGurl’s observation that “the sped-up culture that delivers that novel to your doorstep overnight is the same culture that deprives you of the time to read it.”

'I'm So, So Tired of Having to Justify My Writing'

by Yanyi

Justifications are arguments for outside authorities. If you’re tired of making them, you have to ask to whom you want to answer in your writing. Will you continue to give your power to the hegemonic authorities you don’t even respect? Or will you look to your communities? To yourself?
This is your fork in the path. You have learned that you are not like other writers. You might have learned, too, that you will not be able to write like other writers. Your value, your power, lies in your difference, your difficulty, your ineffability, sometimes even to yourself. To express yourself in public, you must discover who you want to be there. To write, you have to discover how, and by whom, you want to be read.

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You made it to the end! Here’s a little reward for you:

  1. If your character could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?
  2. Why is this change meaningful to them? Is it something they truly want for themselves? Or is it something they've been convinced they need?
  3. Want to share what you came up with? Leave a comment!
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Until next time, foxies! Be queer, write stories!