The Queer Writer: May 2024

I'm excited to announce a new section of The Queer Writer monthly newsletter! Following the Anticipated Books section, we'll now have the ICYMI section! Books are too often overlooked, especially those written by marginalized people. Also, plenty of books follow the natural progression of a so-called slower rise to attention rather than being instant successes. To help re-normalize this fact and to combat the belief that books are only relevant within 2-6 weeks of their publication date, I'm happy to give a shoutout to previously published books. All you have to do is ask! (If nobody makes a request for a given month, then we'll just skip the section for that newsletter. Simple!)

Want a previously published book showcased? Let me know! The given work must: 1) be written by a self-identified member of the LGBTQ+ community, 2) be published within the last five years, 3) has not yet appeared on the ICYMI list, and 4) wasn't included in the Anticipated Books section within the last three months. All genres and independently-published works welcome.

A new publisher, Galiot Press, is currently raising funds on Kickstarter so they can open their doors and print their first three books! They're "a women-led press publishing bold, astonishing books from new voices and traditionally overlooked writers." They aim to approach publishing in ways that are better for authors, readers, and the environment. Methods include "a response to every single query that comes in," "equal access for agented and un-agented authors," "equal treatment (same advance, same marketing budget, same coaching and support)," "author royalties that are about three times industry standard," "books that will not go out of print," and more. They sound pretty cool, so check them out and spread the word so they can reach their goal!

Thank you for your patience regarding the free mentorship sessions through GrubStreet! I don't have much new information yet, but I do know it's happening. This time, it looks like they're assigning instructors specific days and times when our "office is open" rather than us individually coordinating with each writer. If you'd like to be notified by email as soon as I hear that my sessions are available, please fill out this form. (Reminder that these free mentorship sessions are only available to previous students of mine through GrubStreet classes.)

And finally, we once again have tons of phenomenal books releasing this month, including a romance between two competing drag kings, a dark Jewish folklore fantasy set in 19th century Eastern Europe, a rom-com around a scandal to whitewash Armenian food, a YA about a trans boy and a nighttime dream circus, a romance between a ballerina and a burlesque dancer, an historical fantasy about a honey witch, a hilarious nod to 1950s lesbian pulp fiction, 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

**FREE!** Transcestors Series: The Stonewall Rebellion

  • Saturday, June 1st, 2024 from 11:00am to 12:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Free!

What happened during the multi-night rebellion around the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969 in Greenwich Village, New York? What was the first thing thrown and who threw it? Who took part and who stayed away? Hear the details of what happened when (predominantly) impoverished, BIPOC gender nonconforming people decided they'd had enough of police brutality, and how this ultimately led to the creation of Pride Month. There will be opportunity for Q&A at the end of the talk. Note: This session includes mentions of queer/transphobia, racism, police brutality, slurs, murder, sexual assault, and misgendering/deadnaming.

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. 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.

Genre-Queer: Narrative Structures for the Other

  • 6 Mondays starting June 17th, 2024 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm ET (6:00pm to 8:00pm CT)
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $222, funds available for individuals on public assistance
  • 17 students maximum

Throughout our history of marginalization and oppression, queer voices have created our own ways of speaking and expressing ourselves. But with us so Othered in queer tongues, how do we tell our stories to the mainstream authentically? In this queer-focused course, we’ll look at several literary tactics for expressing ourselves—such as Fracturing, Modulating, Fabulism, and Spiraling—as well as finding our voices as queer people and tackling such conundrums as slang and cultural references. We’ll look at examples of such writers as Carmen Maria Machado, Jordy Rosenberg, Akwaeke Emezi, and more to help us assert our stories in ways that demand us to be heard without compromising our queerness. This course includes weekly opportunities to have short stories of given experimental narratives verbally workshopped.

*Cisgender/heterosexual people are welcome to attend this course if they're eager to learn about storytelling methods beyond the traditional narrative arc.

Writing Outside of Your Lane

  • Friday, June 21st, 2024 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, 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.

Novel in Progress

  • 8 Thursdays starting July 11th, 2024 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $540, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

First drafts of novels can be messy, amorphous, and daunting. Sometimes, extensive critical feedback can be counterproductive before the first draft is finished, yet writers often find themselves losing focus without support and guidance. In class, we will do exercises, discuss craft issues—characterization, the protagonist's desire, plot and outlining, endings—and read short scenes from each other's work, providing feedback in an environment that recognizes the specific challenges of the novel in progress. Novels of all genres are welcome. Please bring the first page (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins) of your novel to the first class.

*This class is open to all identities.

Anticipated Books

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

Don't Be a Drag by Skye Quinlan

When eighteen-year-old Briar Vincent's mental health takes a turn for the worst, her parents send her to spend the summer in New York City with her older brother, Beau, also known as the drag queen Bow Regard. Backstage at the gay bar where Beau performs, Briar just wants to be a fly on the wall, but she can't stand by when the cute but conceited drag king Spencer Read tries to put down another up-and-coming performer. To prove to him that even a brand-new performer could knock him off his pedestal, Briar signs up for the annual drag king competition. There's just one flaw in her plan: Briar has never done drag before. With the help of her brother and a few new friends, Briar becomes Edgar Allan Foe, a drag king hellbent on taking Spencer down. But unless she can learn how to shake her anxiety and perform, she doesn't stand a chance of winning Drag King of the Year, overcoming her depression and inner demons, or avoiding falling for her enemy, who might not be so bad after all.

Thirsty by Jas Hammonds

It's the summer before college and eighteen-year-old Blake Brenner and her girlfriend, Ella, have one goal: join the mysterious and exclusive Serena Society. The sorority promises status and lifelong connections to a network of powerful, trailblazing women of color. Ella's acceptance is a sure thing--she's the daughter of a Serena alum. Blake, however, has a lot more to prove. As a former loner from a working-class background, Blake lacks Ella's pedigree and confidence. Luckily, she finds courage at the bottom of a liquor bottle. When she drinks, she's bold, funny, and unstoppable--and the Serenas love it. But as pledging intensifies, so does Blake's drinking, until it's seeping into every corner of her life. Ella assures Blake that she's fine; partying hard is what it takes to make the cut... But success has never felt so much like drowning. With her future hanging in the balance and her past dragging her down, Blake must decide how far she's willing to go to achieve her glittering dreams of success--and how much of herself she's willing to lose in the process.

The Sins on Their Bones by Laura R. Samotin

Dimitri Alexeyev used to be the Tzar of Novo-Svitsevo. Now, he is merely a broken man, languishing in exile after losing a devastating civil war instigated by his estranged husband, Alexey Balakin. In hiding with what remains of his court, Dimitri and his spymaster, Vasily Sokolov, engineer a dangerous ruse. Vasily will sneak into Alexey's court under a false identity to gather information, paving the way for the usurper's downfall, while Dimitri finds a way to kill him for good. But stopping Alexey is not so easy as plotting to kill an ordinary man. Through a perversion of the Ludayzim religion that he terms the Holy Science, Alexey has died and resurrected himself in an immortal, indestructible body--and now claims he is guided by the voice of God Himself. Able to summon forth creatures from the realm of demons, he seeks to build an army, turning Novo-Svitsevo into the greatest empire that history has ever seen. Dimitri is determined not to let Alexey corrupt his country, but saving Novo-Svitsevo and its people will mean forfeiting the soul of the husband he can't bring himself to forsake--or the spymaster he's come to love.

The 7-10 Split by Karmen Lee

For teacher Ava Williams, some subjects are not up for debate. Like history--specifically, the one she has with Grace Jones, bowling pro and local celeb. Who is now, for no identifiable reason, teaching at the same small-town Georgia high school as Ava. Once upon a time, they were thick as thieves, best friends, rivals who pushed each other, and total bowling nerds. Then they shared a kiss, sweet and confusing...and after that, they split and nothing was ever the same. Ava is pretty sure she has every reason to hate Grace. Especially when the school's soggy potato of a principal announces--finally--that the students can have the bowling team Ava has been pushing for, for years...only to hand it to Grace. Now they're expected to be partners and lead their new bowling team to victory in six months. And with that, their rivalry is back. Fierce, ultracompetitive...and with an undeniable attraction that pushes, pulls and crashes together. It's history. It's chemistry. And it's just a matter of time before it way or the other.

A Little Kissing Between Friends by Chencia C. Higgins

Music producer on the rise Cyn Tha Starr knows what she likes, from her sickening beats in the studio to the flirty femmes she fools around with. Her ever-rotating roster has never been a problem until her latest fling clashes with Jucee, her best friend and the most popular dancer at strip club Sanity. It makes Cyn see Jucee in a different light. One with far fewer boundaries and a lot more kissing. Juleesa Jones makes great money dancing the early shift and spends most evenings with her son, her Sanity family or at Cyn's house. Relationships are not high on the priority list--until she's forced to admit that maybe friendship isn't the only thing she wants from her bestie. But hooking up with your ride-or-die is risky. Jucee isn't just Cyn's best friend--Jucee is her muse. When Cyn lays down her tracks, it's Jucee she imagines in the club throwing it back to every note. If they aren't careful, this could crash and burn...but isn't real love worth it?

Lavash at First Sight by Taleen Voskuni

Twenty-seven-year-old Nazeli "Ellie" Gregorian enjoys the prestige of her tech marketing job but is sick of the condescending Patagonia-clad tech bros, her micromanaging boss, and her ex-boyfriend, who she's forced to work with every day. When Ellie's lovingly overbearing parents ask her to attend PakCon--a food packaging conference in Chicago--to help promote their company and vie to win an ad slot in the Superbowl (no big deal), she's eager for a brief change and a delicious distraction. At the conference, she meets witty, devil-may-care Vanya Simonian. Ellie can't believe how easy it is to talk to Vanya and how much they have in common--both Armenian! From the Bay Area! Whose families are into food! Their meet-cute is cut short, however, when Ellie's parents recognize Vanya as the daughter of the owners of their greatest rival, whose mission (according to Ellie's mother) is to whitewash and package Armenian food for the American health-food crowd. Sworn as enemies, Ellie and Vanya must compete against each other under their suspicious parents' scrutiny, all while their feelings for each other heat to sizzling temps.

Second Night Stand by Karelia Stetz-Waters and Fay Stetz-Waters

Prima ballet dancer Lillian Jackson is all about control--on stage and in bed. Which is precisely why she keeps her hook-ups to one night, and one night only. No strings. No phone numbers. No scones in the morning. There's no room for mistakes, especially now that her dance company's survival depends entirely on winning a million-dollar cash prize in one of America's biggest reality competitions. That is, until one night with a certain curvy, blue-haired siren changes everything... As burlesque dancer "Blue Lenox," Izzy Wells is the queen of on-stage seduction. Almost no one knows that she's close to losing everything--her theater, her home, and her troupe--unless she wins this competition. Now she's going toe-to-toe with a gorgeous ballerina in front of the world. The chemistry between them is hot, but even more distracting are the feelings they're starting to develop. There's no way Lillian can fit Izzy into her life, and Izzy knows better than to fall for someone who can't put her first. But if they can make it through the show with their hearts and dreams intact, they just might win the biggest prize of all.

Flyboy by Kasey LeBlanc

After an incident at his school leaves closeted trans teenager Asher Sullivan needing stitches, his mother betrays him in the worst possible way--she sends him to Catholic school for his senior year. Now he has to contend with hideous plaid skirts, cranky nuns, and #bathroomJesus. Nighttime brings an escape for Asher when he dreams of the Midnight Circus--the one place where he is seen for the boy he truly is. Too bad it exists only in his sleep. At least, that's what he believes until the day his annoyingly attractive trapeze rival, Apollo, walks out of his dreams and into his classroom. On the heels of this realization that the magical circus might be real, Asher also learns that his time there is limited. In his desperation to hang on to the one place he feels at home, Asher sets both worlds on a collision course that could destroy all the relationships he cares about most. Now he must decide how far he'll go to preserve the magical circus, even if it means facing his biggest challenge yet--coming out.

The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields

Twenty-one-year-old Marigold Claude has always preferred the company of the spirits of the meadow to any of the suitors who've tried to woo her. So when her grandmother whisks her away to the family cottage on the tiny Isle of Innisfree with an offer to train her as the next Honey Witch, she accepts immediately. But her newfound magic and independence come with a price: No one can fall in love with the Honey Witch. When Lottie Burke, a notoriously grumpy skeptic who doesn't believe in magic, shows up on her doorstep, Marigold can't resist the challenge to prove to her that magic is real. But soon, Marigold begins to care for Lottie in ways she never expected. And when darker magic awakens and threatens to destroy her home, she must fight for much more than her new home--at the risk of losing her magic and her heart.

Noah Frye Gets Crushed by Maggie Horne

Noah Frye just had the Best Summer Ever. Not only did she have an epic time at science camp, but her new camp friend Jessa is going to Noah's school in the fall. Noah can't wait to introduce Jessa to her best friends Zoey and Luna when classes start. But when the friend group is reunited after their summer apart, something seems to have changed: Zoey and Luna have discovered boys, and now it's all they want to obsess over. Suddenly, it feels like Noah is the odd one out in their friend group, especially since Noah hasn't ever even considered boys in that way. When Noah finds herself caught in a lie about having a boy crush of her own, she decides she'll do anything to fit in with her friends again--even if that means using the scientific method. Noah's crush experiment is simple: find a boy, fake a crush until it turns real, and get her friends back. But that might be easier said than done, especially when Noah can't stop thinking about Jessa. What ensues is a hilarious and heartwarming turn of events in this queer contemporary middle grade story about friendship, first crushes, and self-discovery.

Hot Boy Summer by Joe Jiménez

Mac has never really felt like he belonged. Definitely not at home--his dad's politics and toxic masculinity make a real connection impossible. He thought he fit in on the baseball team, but that's only because he was pretending to be someone he wasn't. Finding his first gay friend, Cammy, was momentous; finally, he could be his authentic self around someone else. But as it turned out, not really. Cammy could be cruel, and his "advice" often came off way harsh. And then, Mac meets Flor, who shows him that you can be both fierce and kind, and Mikey, who is superhot and might maybe think the same about him. Over the course of one hot, life-changing summer, Mac will stand face-to-face with desire, betrayal, and letting go of shame, which will lead to some huge discoveries about the realness of truly belonging.

Adoptee Song by Maria Picone

Adoptee Song is a chapbook about transnational adoption conceived around three organizing themes - a childhood of longing and belonging, wings of flight and journey that center the decisions of parents and guardians, and the names and language summoned by this - that explore the cleft between what a life may have been and what it is.

Perfume and Pain by Anna Dorn

Having recently moved both herself and her formidable perfume bottle collection into a tiny bungalow in Los Angeles, mid-list author Astrid Dahl finds herself back in the Zoom writer's group she cofounded, Sapphic Scribes, after an incident that leaves her and her career lightly canceled. But she temporarily forgets all that by throwing herself into a few sexy distractions--like Ivy, a grad student researching 1950s lesbian pulp who smells like metallic orchids, or her new neighbor, Penelope, who smells like patchouli. Penelope, a painter living off Urban Outfitters settlement money, immediately ingratiates herself in Astrid's life, bonding with her best friends and family, just as Astrid and Ivy begin to date in person. Astrid feels judged and threatened by Penelope, a responsible older vegan, but also finds her irresistibly sexy. When Astrid receives an unexpected call from her agent with the news that actress and influencer Kat Gold wants to adapt her previous novel for TV, Astrid finally has a chance to resurrect her waning career. But the pressure causes Astrid's worst vice to rear its head--the Patricia Highsmith, a blend of Adderall, alcohol, and cigarettes--and results in blackouts and a disturbing series of events.

Coexistence: Stories by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A grieving mother calls out to her faraway son. A student forgoes the lurid appeal of dating apps in exchange for a painter's love. The anonymous voices of queer native men converge amid violent eroticism. A man just out of prison balances the uneasy weight of family and freedom, while a professor returns home to conduct research only to be haunted by a dark specter. The stories and voices in Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut story collection are buoyed by philosophical undergirding, poetic demand, and the complex relationship between aesthetics and ethics. Belcourt pirouettes through the short story form in his signature staccato voice, imagining a range of characters from all walks of native life. He is an expert in celebrating the ways Indigenous peoples make total conquest impossible.

Linus and Etta Could Use a Win by Caroline Huntoon

Linus is the new boy at school, and he's trying to keep it quiet. After coming out as trans last year and managing the attention that came with it, he's more than happy to fade into the background of his new middle school. Etta isn't like other kids at school, and she's proud of it. The class misanthrope and the owner of the greenest hair at Doolittle Middle School, she's still reeling from a painful friendship breakup, making her more than happy to burn middle-school bridges before she heads off to the local alternative high school next year. When Etta's over-it-all attitude sparks a challenge from her ex-best friend, Marigold, to get Linus elected student body president, Linus is thrust back into the spotlight. But what started out as a bet quickly turns into a true friendship between Linus and Etta, one that could be in jeopardy if Linus finds out the real origins of his and Etta's connection. Can Linus and Etta's friendship withstand the betrayal of the bet?

Bad Habit by Alana S. Portero (author) and Mara Faye Lethem (translator)

Anchored by the voice of its sweet and defiant narrator, Bad Habit casts a trans woman's trying youth as a heartfelt odyssey. Raised in an animated yet impoverished blue-collar neighborhood, Alana S. Portero's protagonist struggles to find her place. As the city around her changes-the heroin epidemic that ravages Madrid through the '80s and '90s, rallying calls of worker solidarity and the pulsing beat of the city's night scene- she becomes increasingly detached from the world and, most crucially, herself. Yet through her eyes, the streets and people of Madrid are illuminated by a poetry absent from everyday life. And by this guiding light she begins to plot her own course, from Margarita, the local trans woman whose unspoken kinship both captivates and frightens her, to Jay, her first love and source of an inevitable heartbreak, to the irrepressible diva Caramel. As she forges ahead, she sets her compass to a personal north star: endeavoring to find herself. But with each step forward, she is confronted by a violence she doesn't yet know how to counter; in this exciting, often terrifying, world each choice is truly a matter of life and death.

True Love and Other Impossible Odds by Christina Li

College freshman Grace Tang never meant to rewrite the rules of love. She came to college to move on from a grief-stricken senior year and to start anew. So she follows a predictable routine: Attend class, study, go home and visit her dad every weekend. She doesn't leave any room in her life for outliers or anomalies. Then, Grace comes up with an algorithm for her statistics class to pair students with their perfect romantic partners. Though some people are skeptical, like Julia, Grace's prickly coworker, Grace is confident that her program will take all the drama out of relationships. That's why she keeps trying to make things work with her match, a guy named Jamie. But as the semester goes on and she grows closer to Julia, Grace starts to question who she's really attracted to.


Want a previously published book showcased? Let me know! The given work must: 1) be written by a self-identified member of the LGBTQ+ community, 2) be published within the last five years, 3) has not yet appeared on the ICYMI list, and 4) wasn't included in the Anticipated Books section within the last three months. All genres and independently-published works welcome.

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

Joy, to the World by Kai Shappley and Lisa Bunker

Joy, a twelve-year-old trans girl, just moved to Texas with her mother and older brother. Her family has accepted Joy as the girl she is early in her transition, with little fuss, leaving Joy to explore her love of sports, competition, teamwork, school spirit, and worship. But when she is told she's off the cheerleading team, Joy wants to fight for her right to cheer. As her battle with the school board picks up momentum, Joy attracts support from kids all around the country...she even gets the attention of her hero, trans activist Kai Shappley.

Deconstructing the Fitness-Industrial Complex: How to Resist, Disrupt, and Reclaim What It Means to Be Fit in American Culture, edited by Justice Roe, Williams Roc Rochon, and Lawrence Koval

Fit is subjective. Who our society designates as fit--and who gets to be fit in our society--is predefined by the coaches, gyms, and systems at large that uphold and reproduce the Fitness Industrial Complex for their own structural and material gain. The Fitness Industrial Complex uplifts some bodies while denigrating others. Bodies that are Black, Brown, queer, trans, poor, fat, and disabled--bodies that don't conform, that resist and disrupt--are excluded from being "fit." Through the stories and experiences of activist trainers, coaches, and bodyworkers of diverse identities and experiences, this anthology interrogates: The ideas and beliefs we've internalized about health, fitness, and our own and others' bodies; How to deconstruct and re-envision fitness as a practice for all bodies; The fitness industry's role in upholding and reinforcing oppression; Exclusivity, unsafety, and harm in mainstream fitness spaces; How to empower ourselves and our communities to push back against the FIC.

Tempting God by Christopher Soden

John Berger once said "We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice." And Miles Davis quipped: "Don't play what's there, play what's not there." What we have in Christopher Soden's wonder filled Tempting God is, as the title suggests, an intense questioning of the everyday we live and also the invisible mystery behind it. The struggle is one of identity and relationships, and often one seems "like a thrush caught blindly / banging in an endless black flue." Counterpointing intimacy and memory, this masterful book forges a solution in moments "of intersection, {where} the earth / was a glad and remarkable / home, swaddling me / in the promise of miracles / within reach." It is the God within us that Christopher comes to realize, and that the temptation is to create and preserve one's identity-something we can all learn from this book.

This Tenuous Atmosphere by Maria S. Picone

This Tenuous Atmosphere is a linked series of surreal, speculative fictions. This innovative and lyrical narrative follows Asia, a Korean girl who becomes a hybrid spacecraft and goes to live among the ghost men and their culture of destructive capitalism in space. In this story of adoption, identity, and belonging, Asia never forgets her longing to return home and find her mother, but she is torn between loyalty to her port of origin and a desire to explore deep space.


Foglifter Journal: Issue 9, Volume 2

  • What: "Foglifter welcomes daring and thoughtful work by queer and trans writers in all forms, and we are especially interested in cross-genre, intersectional, marginal, and transgressive work. We want the pieces that challenged you as a writer, what you poured yourself into and risked the most to make. But we also want your tenderest, gentlest work, what you hold closest to your heart. Whatever you're working on now that's keeping you alive and writing, Foglifter wants to read it."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $50
  • Deadline: May 1st, 2024

Bi Women Quarterly Summer 2024: More Than One Letter

  • What: "'B' isn’t the only identity in our yummy alphabet soup. To those of you who identify as bi+ and also as asexual, trans, intersex, or anything else under the rainbow: tell us what it’s like to be you! We want to hear about how your identities intersect, what challenges you’ve faced, or what opportunities you’ve been given. And most importantly, we want to know what it would take to be able to bring your whole self comfortably and proudly into these bi+ spaces."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: May 1st, 2024

Joy! A Celebration of Queer Happiness: A National Juried Exhibition

  • What: "We don’t want to candy coat anything, or be toxically positive, but it seems like everything that everyone is working toward with Pride is about the basic right to be safe and happy. But while that’s simple in concept, it’s not so simple to achieve with all the hate that still poisons the well. That’s what makes Pride so moving for us. It’s an expression of effervescent joy; the kind of joy that only comes from emerging or being released from oppression. Joy in the face of oppression is defiant. It is protest. And we feel like that’s the core of contemporary Pride. We invite you to show us your art that celebrates that defiant JOY, be it in the smallest moments of domesticity or the larger expressions of breaking free. All mediums are welcome."
  • Fee: $25
  • Pay: $400 (1st Place); $200 (2nd Place); $100 (3rd Place)
  • Deadline: May 20th, 2024

GrubStreet Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers

  • What: "GrubStreet’s Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers provides financial and professional development support to two self-identified Black writers interested in teaching classes, participating in events, and working with our instructors and staff to deepen our curriculum. The fellowship includes compensation of $25,000, artistic mentorship, a showcase of the Fellows’ work, and access to the GrubStreet community and the Muse and the Marketplace conference. In time, the program aims to offer sustainable support to Black Writers and create a cohort of fellows who have direct access to GrubStreet resources, classes, and events. We also hope the fellows can influence GrubStreet’s pedagogy and cultural vision based on their experience and feedback."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $25,000
  • Deadline: May 30th, 2024

Wayfarer Books: Radical Authenticity Prize for Trans & Non-binary Writers

  • What: "At Wayfarer Books, we believe poetry is the language of the earth. We believe words, shaped like rivers through wild places, can change the shape of the world. We publish poets and writers and renegades who stand outside of mainstream culture—poets, essayists, and storytellers whose work might withstand the scrutiny of crows and coyotes, those who are cryptic and floral, the crepuscular, and the queer-at-heart. We are more than just a publisher but a community of writers. Our mission is to produce books that can serve as a compass and map to all wayfarers through wild terrain. This prize is open to works of poetry, creative nonfiction, memoirs, and essay collections. (No fiction, please.)"
  • Fee: $15
  • Pay: Hybrid publisher; please see website
  • Deadline: June 30th, 2024

Let's Say Gay!: A Queer Youth Literary Journal

  • What: "Let’s Say Gay is open to queer artists between the ages of 13 and 18, and is currently accepting short fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We only accept one entry per category, but welcome submissions in multiple genres (you may submit one entry for both poetry and visual arts). Selections are broken into two age-based categories: 13-15 and 16-18. Proof of age will be required for applicants whose work is chosen. Your piece will be published with your age and your first name, or the penname you choose. Your submission can be printed with full anonymity. Safety is paramount."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: July 1st, 2024

Bella Books Call for Submissions

  • What: "At Bella Books, we believe stories about women-loving-women are essential to our lives—and so do our readers. We are interested in acquiring manuscripts that tell captivating and unique stories across all genres—including romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, etc. We want our books to reflect and celebrate the diversity of our lesbian, sapphic, queer, bisexual, and gender non-conforming community—in all our glorious shapes, sizes and colors. Our desire to publish diverse voices is perennial. We don’t want to tell your stories for you—we want to amplify your voices....We publish romance, mystery, action/thriller, science-fiction, fantasy, erotica and general fiction. At this time, we are particularly interested in acquiring romance manuscripts."
  • Fee: N/A
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: rolling

Rebel Satori Press: LGBTQIA+ Speculative Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Manuscripts

  • What: "Rebel Satori Press is pleased to announce the start of our new imprint for LGBTQ+ speculative fiction, Queer Space. 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: N/A
  • Deadline: rolling

Homebound Publications: LGBTQIA+ Writers (Poetry & Creative Nonfiction)

  • What: "Homebound Publications is a Trans/Queer Owned publishing house based in the Berkshire Mountains. Across all our imprints, we are deeply invested in reading and publishing diverse voices spanning across different religions, ethnicities, and marginalized communities. We strongly welcome submissions from of writers within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities, writers living with a disability, writers living with refugee status. . . to name a few. Writers from all backgrounds and communities should consider our press a safe space."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: Hybrid publisher; please see website
  • Deadline: rolling

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


There Is No Point in My Being Other Than Honest with You: On Toni Morrison’s Rejection Letters

by Melina Moe

Morrison’s letters are unexpectedly forthcoming. Often, she supplements her rejections with diagnoses of an ailing publishing business, growing frustrations with unimaginative taste, the industry’s aversion to risk-taking, and her own sense of creative constraint working at a commercial press (especially in the late 1970s and early ’80s; Morrison left editorial work to be a full-time novelist in the early 1980s). They sketch a “road not taken” in mainstream publishing, as experimental volumes, poetry, and short story collections were increasingly treated as suspect investments of editorial time and publishing house resources. Current market conditions made for “a losing proposition for the publisher and a hopeless one for short story writers,” Morrison informed one author, and unless they were penned by famous novelists, short story collections were “almost like the publication of poetry”—that is, “practically impossible to make a profit from.” In another, lengthy letter from 1977, Morrison outlined how the economics of a book project depended on the mechanisms of distribution. It wasn’t just that casual readers didn’t buy short story collections, but that the major institutions responsible for generating widespread enthusiasm and name recognition were also uninterested: “Book clubs do not make offers for collections of short stories; mass paperback houses do not make offers for collections of short stories by single authors and so we are left with the hope that ten or fifteen thousand people will go into a bookstore and ask for a particular author by name.” The rejection concludes with Morrison’s admission that “[t]here is no point in my being other than honest with you, you should continue to publish in magazines and if you ever decide to write a novel, I’d be delighted to look at it.”

Amazon is filled with garbage ebooks. Here’s how they get made.

by Constance Grady

If, as they used to say, everyone has a book in them, AI has created a world where tech utopianists dream openly about excising the human part of writing a book — any amount of artistry or craft or even just sheer effort — and replacing it with machine-generated streams of text; as though putting in the labor of writing is a sucker’s game; as though caring whether or not what you’re reading is nonsense is only for elitists. The future is now, and it is filled with trash books that no one bothered to really write and that certainly no one wants to read.

The saddest part about it, though, is that the garbage books don’t actually make that much money either. It’s even possible to lose money generating your low-quality ebook to sell on Kindle for $0.99. The way people make money these days is by teaching students the process of making a garbage ebook. It’s grift and garbage all the way down — and the people who ultimately lose out are the readers and writers who love books.

None of this is happening through any willful malice, per se, on the part of the platforms that now run publishing and book-selling. It’s happening more because the platforms are set up to incentivize everything to cost as little as possible, even if it’s garbage.

…The grift is that technology and retail platforms have incentivized a race to the bottom when it comes to selling books. Together, without ever caring enough about the issue to deliberately try to do so, they have built a landscape in which it’s hard to trust what you read and hard to sell what you write.

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 books!