The Queer Writer: December 2023

The Novel Immersive for LGBTQ+ Writers is returning for its third year! Join a group of 10 novelists as you learn, workshop, and build community over nine months. Scholarships are available, class is remote, and queer, trans, and/or nonbinary identities of all experiences are encouraged to apply. The 2024-2025 submission window opens from January 8th to March 26th with a virtual open house on February 22nd. Class starts on June 4th, 2024 and ends February 25th, 2025. If you'd like to receive email reminders about the submission window--when it opens, when it's about to close, and the date of the virtual open house--please fill out this form.

Another The Queer Writer exclusive is afoot! I'm finally launching Transcestors, a series of free 1-hour sessions on trans and queer (but mostly trans) history. What does this have to do with fiction writing? Not much. It's simply a collection of unnecessarily in-depth research I did for my various historical fiction novels. These classes will be free to all newsletter subscribers, whether paid or free. Depending on capacity, I'm hoping to offer at least four different Transcestors sessions during 2024. First up: Pirates of the 1600s Atlantic!

It's that time of year again! Transanta is back to brighten trans and/or nonbinary youths' holiday season. Last year, the Transanta community "sent gifts and spread joy to 3,842 trans youth." If you have the capacity, please consider a donation, a gift, or both!

The publishing world is entering its usual hibernation, but we still have some great titles coming up, including a Floridian Christmas rom-com, a post-apocalyptic indictment of corporate cis feminism, a drag club romance, wolf royalty, a rom-com of rivals, the latest Heartstopper, and more!

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? Let me know! And as always, please share this newsletter with people you think might be interested.

Upcoming Classes

The Age of AI: ChatGPT, Prosecraft, and Other Writer Concerns

  • Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

ChatGPT can produce entire stories with just a few prompts. Prosecraft scraped the text of over 25,000 published books for “the linguistic analysis of literature” without consent. Some literary magazines have been flooded with AI-generated stories to the point that they’ve had to shut down. People are selling AI-generated stories on Amazon under the names of established authors.

With this sudden onslaught of AI use in ill-intentioned hands, it’s understandable that writers, journals, publishers, and the whole of the literary community feel panic. But the first steps in combating fear and despair is to investigate a given problem and connect with your peers. In this 3-hour session, we’ll look at the above situations, discuss our thoughts and feelings, and engage in writing prompts aimed to both strengthen our confidence in our work and understand how to ethically use AI as writers (if we choose). Writers will leave class with a firmer understanding of the situation and a better knowledge of AI, what they can (and can't) do about it, and see how nothing can stop the irrepressible beauty of—and desire for—human-generated prose.

How to Start a Newsletter

  • Friday, January 12th, 2024 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

With social media on fire, many writers are seeing newsletters as the wave of the future. Newsletters not only break away from the bombardment of information on social media (resulting in greater focus and dedication from your followers), but they also provide more control and the potential for monetization without ad revenue, data mining, or other shady practices. But all these benefits also come with work. In this 3-hour session, we’ll look at the basics of starting a newsletter, tips for success, platforms available, and exercises to help brainstorm personal approaches, providing students with the tools to enter the next stage of information sharing.

Queer Writing Essentials

  • Saturday, March 9th, 2024 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

Writing authentic marginalized work can come with some unique problems, especially if/when we engage with the mainstream publishing industry or its readers. This 3-hour class was designed to help queer writers navigate some of the less-discussed aspects of marginalized writing, including how to introduce your characters as queer, creating effective social justice themes within your storytelling, handling “relatability,” and how to invite in outside readers without compromising your story’s authenticity. Peppered with writing exercises, this class will engage with works from such authors as Gabby Rivera, Andrea Lawlor, Rajiv Mohabir, Kacen Callender, Akwaeke Emezi, Carmen Maria Machado, Jordy Rosenberg, and more.

*While this class is designed with queer writers in mind, cisgender/heterosexual writers are welcome to attend and learn. However, please know we won’t be discussing introductory levels of queer representation or community, nor the do’s and don’ts of writing outside of one’s lane.

**FREE!** Transcestors Series: Pirates of the 1600s Atlantic

  • Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 from 11:00am to 12:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Free!

How do modern-day portrayals of queer and trans pirates stack up to the real thing? Were there any pirates who we'd today define as trans? How did pirates view queer sexual orientations and gender presentations? What about other so-called political topics, such as slavery and disability? Take a look at queerness during The Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1730), centered around the Atlantic Ocean, with opportunity for Q&A. Note: This session includes mentions of queer/transphobia, racism/slavery, murder, sexual assault, misgendering/deadnaming, and appropriation.

Transcestors is a series of free 1-hour sessions focused on trans and queer (but mostly trans) history based on Milo Todd's research for his historical fiction. Those interested must have any subscription tier of The Queer Writer, paid or free, and must use their subscriber email to register for sessions. For safety reasons, sessions will NOT be recorded. Donations are not expected, but the opportunity to donate will be available during sessions. A Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees ~15 minutes before a session starts.

*Sessions are open to all identities, but please know Transcestors centers trans and/or nonbinary attendees.

Anticipated Books

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

Caught in a Bad Fauxmance by Elle Gonzalez Rose

Devin Baez is ready for a relaxing winter break at Lake Andreas. That is, until he runs into his obnoxious next-door neighbors the Seo-Cookes, undefeated champions of the lake's annual Winter Games. In the hope of finally taking down these long-time rivals, the Baezes offer up their beloved cabin in a bet. Reckless? Definitely. So when annoyingly handsome Julian Seo-Cooke finds himself in need of a fake boyfriend, Devin sees an opportunity to get behind enemy lines and prove the family plays dirty. As long as Devin and Julian's families are at war, there's only room for loathing between them. Which is a problem because, for Devin, this faux game of love is feeling very real.

Lucero by Maya Motayne

In the aftermath of Sombra's return, the balance between light and dark magic has been destroyed and chaos has broken out in Castallan and around the world. Sombra's shadows have taken over to create monstrous versions of everyone Finn and Alfie love, and with war between Castallan and Englass looming, the prince and the thief must band together one last time--to save their entire world. To stop the magical imbalance, they must find the stone relics of Sombra's body before the god can unite the pieces and regain his full strength once more. But the laws of magic no longer apply, and with their own magic--and even the laws of time itself--drastically changing at every turn, Finn and Alfie are left on their own to stop Sombra and fulfill their prophecy before it is too late and the darkness reigns. Will they restore balance to their world or will its light be gone forever?

Heartstopper #5: A Graphic Novel by Alice Oseman

Nick and Charlie are very much in love. They've finally said those three little words, and Charlie has almost persuaded his mum to let him sleep over at Nick's house... but with Nick going off to university next year, is everything about to change? By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper encompasses all the small moments of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn

The year is 2050. Ava and her girlfriend live in what's left of Brooklyn, and though they love each other, it's hard to find happiness while the effects of climate change rapidly eclipse their world. Soon, it won't be safe outside at all. The only people guaranteed survival are the ones whose applications are accepted to The Inside Project, a series of weather-safe, city-sized structures around the world. Jacqueline Millender is a reclusive billionaire/women's rights advocate, and thanks to a generous donation, she's just become the director of the Inside being built on the bones of Manhattan. Her ideas are unorthodox, yet alluring--she's built a whole brand around rethinking the very concept of empowerment. Shelby, a business major from a working-class family, is drawn to Jacqueline's promises of power and impact. When she lands her dream job as Jacqueline's personal assistant, she's instantly swept up into the glamourous world of corporatized feminism. Also drawn into Jacqueline's orbit is Olympia, who is finishing up medical school when Jacqueline recruits her to run the health department Inside. The more Olympia learns about the project, though, the more she realizes there's something much larger at play. When Ava is accepted to live Inside and her girlfriend isn't, she's forced to go alone. But her heartbreak is quickly replaced with a feeling of belonging: Inside seems like it's the safe space she's been searching for... most of the time. Other times she can't shake the feeling that something is deeply off. As she, Olympia, and Shelby start to notice the cracks in Jacqueline's system, Jacqueline tightens her grip, becoming increasingly unhinged and dangerous in what she is willing to do--and who she is willing to sacrifice--to keep her dream alive.

Second Chances in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander

Eli Ward hasn't been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he's a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he'll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare. Just when he thinks this trip couldn't get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who's somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick's world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can't keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli. Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past...or move on together.

A River of Golden Bones: Book One of the Golden Court by A. K. Mulford

Twins Calla and Briar have spent their entire lives hiding from the powerful sorceress who destroyed their kingdom...and from the humans who don't know they are Wolves. Each twin has their own purpose in life: Briar's is to marry the prince of an ally pack and save the Golden Court. Calla's purpose is to remain a secret, her twin's shadow . . . the backup plan. No one knows who Calla truly is except for her childhood friend--and sister's betrothed--the distractingly handsome Prince Grae. But when Calla and Briar journey out of hiding for Briar's wedding, all of their well-made plans go awry. The evil sorceress is back with another sleeping curse for the last heir to the Golden Court. Calla must step out of the shadows to save their sister, their kingdom, and their own legacy. Continuing to hide as a human and denying who she truly is, Calla embarks on a quest across the realm, discovering a whole world she never knew existed. Outside the confines of rigid Wolf society, Calla begins to wonder: who could she be if she dared to try?

All the Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows

With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, newlywed and tentative lovers Velasin and Caethari have just begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they're summoned north to Tithena's capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch. With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother's heir and Velasin's old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they've managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Cae's recent losses have left him racked with grief and guilt, while Vel struggles with the disconnect between instincts that have kept him safe in secrecy and what an open life requires of him now. Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan's court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive. Because there's more than one way to end an alliance, and more than one person who wants to see them fail...and they will resort to murder if needed.

Just Like a Fairy Tale by Cameron James

Luca's dreams are finally coming true when he secures a spot in the infamous Drag Club, The Rose Quartet. After years of perfecting his art, his moment is here but there's still another first that's niggling in the back of Luca's mind: he's never been in love. But maybe the beautiful boy who he's certain would never like him back could change that. To Jackson, The Rose Quartet is like a second home having been raised amongst the fabulous Queens of the past, but his confidence has been shook after a disaster breakup he believes his demisexuality played a part in. With the health of his grandfather deteriorating by the day, Jackson doesn't have time for the new Queen who's catching his eye, right? Both have an undying love for drag which is ultimately what brings the two of them together, but will these two Drag Queens ever figure out what's right in front of them?


Ouch! Collective

  • What: "We accept work from queer, nonbinary, trans, and other LGBTQIA+ artists and writers from around the world. Send us your visual art and creative writing that evokes the strange and unusual with a punch of–metaphorical or literal–glitter. We want to see your bold and dreamy creations that force us to bear witness. Please don’t send us written work exceeding 1,500 words."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $20
  • Deadline: December 10th, 2023

2024 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices

  • What: "The 2024 Writers Retreat will be held in person from July 28-August 3, 2024, at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
  • Fee: $30 application fee; $2,100 tuition if accepted
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 11th, 2023

Knee Brace Press

  • What: "All submissions must relate to chronic illness, disability, mental health and/or neurodivergence in some way. What that means is pretty much up to you. Within that, we currently publish art, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and poetry, but we are certainly open to work outside of these categories."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 15th, 2023

Litmus Press Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Open Call: Poetry

  • What: "We are seeking poems as part of a volume of contemporary Indigenous LGBTQ2SIA+ poetry. Along with the project concept is a growing awareness that people outside the gender binary have always existed with traditionally respected roles within Native communities. Poetry has a crucial part to play in Indigenous activism and language revitalization; poetry in the form of song is also at the center of our religious traditions. To give a sense of the scope of two-spirit poetry, the goal is to present a mix of established and emerging writers. This collection will begin and reflect the current movement into a powerful futurity, guided by the voices of Indigenous poets whose genders and sexualities are fluid and expansive."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 15th, 2023

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation 2024-2025 Scholarship Application

  • What: "The LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation awards scholarships to build leadership and promote diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied communities. Scholarships may be used for any postsecondary education, including nontraditional/alternative programs and vocational training. Applicants must provide proof they are a resident of Texas."
  • Fee: N/A
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: December 31st, 2023


  • What: "JanusWords is our newest literary quarterly magazine featuring words of queer, trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming writers. All who find themselves reflected in the LGBTQIA+ community are encouraged to submit. JanusWords is a collection of poetry uplifting the voices of a historically unrepresented group. The publication exists to give these poets an opportunity to see their work in print and share their perspectives."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: December 31st, 2023

Bi Women Quarterly Spring 2024: Letters to Self

  • What: "Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give your younger self some much needed advice? Or perhaps you want to write to your future self about the moment you’re currently living in, so you don’t forget any part of it, or to provide some advice? What if you were asked to write to your present self—what would you say? Share your letters to yourself of advice, wisdom, and memories, with us for our next issue!"
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: February 1st, 2024

Prismatica: Spring 2024

  • What: "Prismatica Magazine is a quarterly LGBTQ fantasy & science fiction magazine. Prismatica features short fiction and poetry from emerging and established LGBTQ authors. In the magazine’s stories and poems, readers can find fantasy and science-fiction of all sub-genres and cross-genres. We happily include magical realism, contemporary science-fiction, urban fantasy, and more."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling

The Afterpast Review

  • What: "The Afterpast Review is a feminist literary magazine dedicated to uplifting underrepresented voices. We accept poetry, prose, and dramatic writing from all writers. ​Submissions do not have to fit into a specific category nor do they have to be about feminism. All accepted submissions will be published in the magazine."
  • 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


When Cause Doesn’t Follow Effect: How to Structure the Strange

by Rebekah Bergman

I gravitate toward fiction that some might call strange. I like stories that are free from the logic that governs our reality. Who says time—in fiction—must move forward smoothy and in one direction? Who says effects must follow clear causes? I also love when writers innovate with structure, stretching what a storyteller can do with form.

In 2015, as I worked to complete my MFA in fiction, I began an investigation. I wanted to better understand how these two elements—structure and the strange—can combine. How might the unreal overlap with, blur behind, or nest inside the real? And what can a writer achieve by structuring the strange in innovate and intentional ways?

At some point while taking notes on the stories I read, I started sketching. I’m not a particularly visual person, but I felt like a simple illustration might help me better approach these questions. I began creating basic maps of how the stories were operating.

These diagrams of the strange have been incredibly instructive in my writing process. They’ve showcased the diverse ways the real and the strange might collide in fiction and how those collisions can represent elements of our strange, real world.

The Rise of Literary Friendships

By Isle McElroy

Knowing they would all be vying for the same awards and speaking engagements, Thompson-Spires organized a dinner with other Brooklyn writers releasing books that year. They bonded with each other as peers, and when their books were published, rooting for one another became second nature. In building these friendships, she was able to see more clearly the distinction between writers and the writing industry. The industry pits writers against each other. The industry is publishing houses deciding which books to promote. The industry is award ceremonies; it’s reviews and parties and magazines choosing who to profile. But writers are not the industry. “The industry was going to do what it was going to do to our books,” Thompson-Spires told me. “It was sort of out of our hands, and the more I could bond with those other people, the more I saw us as individuals and our work as individuals. That made it difficult to feel any kind of competitiveness with them.”

… The support between writers follows a similar impulse. Undergirding every conversation I had was a common desire to ensure that other writers can not only survive, but thrive in an industry that increasingly reduces the value of creativity to sales numbers. As sales figures turn artists into numbers, a fitting reaction is for artists to treat one with a greater sense of humanity, to create friendships and communities defined by enthusiasm and mutual aid. And perhaps most importantly, these relationships are what help writers thrive.

Time and again, the authors I spoke to noted how indispensable these relationships were for their careers. The publishing industry, as many reiterated, often placed them in competition with each other, whether they wanted to compete or not. The solution isn't for writers to buckle in and compete harder. Instead, the avenue for success lies in sharing resources and inspiration.

Milo Todd's logo of a simple, geometric fox head. It has a black nose, white cheeks, and a reddish-orange face and ears.
Until next time, foxies! Be queer, write stories!