The Queer Writer: May 2023

The concept of more sunlight during the day is finally dawning (heh) on many of us, which means we have more time to enjoy ourselves outside AND more time to write. Or maybe even--gasp--write outside! Pretty sure that means double the writing and double the outside!

The problem with May is that a deluge of queer books is upon us, far more than can be listed here. But isn't it such a nice problem to have? This month, there's an anthology of stories on trans magic, an autistic student facing down a technological apocalypse, a young girl's sudden ability to bring anything back to life, a culinary t4t romance, a nonbinary ice skater finding their place in competitive sports, a trans masculine memoir about navigating the world of gay sex, a young queer couple facing down ICE, and more!

There's also two new classes available: Non-Toxic Masculinity in Fiction, in which we examine how to create healthy representations of masculine-identified characters; and History Reclaimed: Facts and Fictions, in which we navigate how to fill in the gaps of erased people and moments of (marginalized) history in our fiction while still honoring their legacies.

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

  • 6 Fridays starting May 12th, 2023 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $150/$175/$200
  • 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? In this low-stress environment, we'll meet for 90 minutes once a week on Zoom to write while I pipe in study/focus music to help bring home that cafe feel. And yes, previous Accountability Cafe attendees are welcome to return!

*This group is only available to LGBTQ+ writers.


  • 8 Wednesdays starting June 7th, 2023 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $2,500/$3,000/$3,500
  • 4 students maximum

This high-intensity course for 4 queer novelists provides two full reads of each student's novel. Meet for 90 minutes once a week in June for workshopping, take July "off" to edit your work, and return in August to workshop your new draft. Workshops are non-silencing and will include at least 2 pages of written feedback per student. Due to the size and nature of this course, each student must show up to every class, must actively participate in both verbal and written feedback, must have workshop experience, must have a polished draft, and must have a novel shorter than 120,000 words. Class dates are: 6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16, and 8/23.

*This course is only available to LGBTQ+ writers.

***NEW*** Non-Toxic Masculinity in Fiction

  • Friday, June 16th, 2023 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

It’d be an understatement to say that mass media is riddled with harmful depictions of masculinity. To help turn the tide of damaging morals and inappropriate role models, we must not only understand the patterns of toxicity that are presented at large, but how we can better portray masculine-identified characters. It’s possible to create male characters that are neither damaging nor lifeless.

In this 3-hour class, we’ll engage in writing exercises and discussions to help us better pinpoint toxic versus non-toxic portrayals of masculinity—including sex, consent, violence, and humor—and look at non-toxic examples in both written and visual media from such fiction writers (and directors) as Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Kacen Callender, Barry Jenkins, Akwaeke Emezi, Janet Mock, Our Lady J, Daniel Kwan, and more. With this approach, we’ll learn how to create engaging, complex, and even messy male characters that are simultaneously helpful to society and the masculine identity.

*This class is available to all identities.

***NEW*** History Reclaimed: Facts and Fictions

  • Friday, June 30th, 2023 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

The people who lived before us have made each of us who we are today. There can be a great pull to portray these lives and moments of history in fictional narrative. But what if an historical fact wrecks the plot we’ve concocted? What do we do if one’s lived experience messes with the purposes and points we want our story to make? How do we portray the history of marginalized communities when so much of it has been forsaken, co-opted, or destroyed? Using examples from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jordy Rosenberg, Doug Wright, Rebecca Makkai, and more, we’ll look at how to honor facts, forsake facts, and even turn history completely on its head—all while respecting the people who lived these lives. Students will walk away with a stronger knowledge of mindful research and plotting, pitfalls to avoid, and how to turn barriers of accuracy into deeply impactful moments.

We’ll look at the fictionalized representations of such people and events as Eliza Hamilton, Phillip DeVine, Brandon Teena, Dr. Alan L. Hart, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, “Honest Jack” Sheppard, Mark Read(e), the Underground Railroad, the AIDS epidemic, and the Stonewall Uprising.

*This class is available to all identities.

Novel Writing Workshop for Queer, Trans, and/or Nonbinary Writers

  • 8 Mondays starting July 10th, 2023 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $530, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

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. 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 particular workshop course is designed to help create a more intimate and relatable space for queer, trans, and/or nonbinary writers to give and receive feedback on their works in progress, while also generating new material.

The goals of this course are to workshop at least 15 pages in eight weeks—minimum, depending on class size—as well as to identify and brainstorm any shortcomings in craft areas such as characterization, point of view, structure, plot, and scenes. Each class will include workshopping two students, with the final hour dedicated to accountability and generating new material. 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 once in the course—again minimum, dependent on class size—and receiving on-the-spot, non-silencing feedback from your fellow novelists and instructor.

*This class is intended for writers who identify as queer, trans, and/or nonbinary only. While novels that deal with queer, trans, and/or nonbinary themes are certainly welcome, they’re not required for this class.

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

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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!

Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa

The Santos Vista neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, is all Ander Lopez has ever known. The smell of pan dulce. The mixture of Spanish and English filling the streets. And, especially their job at their family's taquería. It's the place that has inspired Ander as a muralist, and, as they get ready to leave for art school, it's all of these things that give them hesitancy. That give them the thought, are they ready to leave it all behind? To keep Ander from becoming complacent during their gap year, their family "fires" them so they can transition from restaurant life to focusing on their murals and prepare for college. That is, until they meet Santiago Garcia, the hot new waiter. Falling for each other becomes as natural as breathing. Through Santi's eyes, Ander starts to understand who they are and want to be as an artist, and Ander becomes Santi's first steps toward making Santos Vista and the United States feel like home. Until ICE agents come for Santi, and Ander realizes how fragile that sense of home is. How love can only hold on so long when the whole world is against them. And when, eventually, the world starts to win.

Transmogrify!: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic by g. haron davis (ed.)

Transness is as varied and colorful as magic can be. In Transmogrify!, you'll embark on fourteen different adventures alongside unforgettable characters who embody many different genders and expressions and experiences--because magic is for everyone, and that is cause for celebration. Featuring stories from: AR Capetta and Cory McCarthy, g. haron davis, Mason Deaver, Jonathan Lenore Kastin, Emery Lee, Saundra Mitchell, Cam Montgomery, Ash Nouveau, Sonora Reyes, Renee Reynolds, Dove Salvatierra, Ayida Shonibar, Francesca Tacchi, and Nik Traxler.

A Trans Man Walks Into a Gay Bar: A Journey of Self (and Sexual) Discovery by Harry Nicholas

After his relationship with his girlfriend of 5 years ended, Harry realised he was a single adult for the first time - not only that, but a single, transmasculine and newly out gay man. Despite knowing it was the right decision, the reality of his new situation was terrifying. How could he be a gay man, when he was still learning what it was to be a man? Would the gay community embrace him or reject him? What would gay sex be like? And most importantly, would finding love again be possible? In this raw, intimate and unflinchingly honest book, we follow Harry as he navigates the sometimes fraught and contradictory worlds of contemporary gay culture as a trans gay man, from Grindr, dating and gay bars, to saunas, sex and ultimately, falling in love. Harry's brave and uplifting journey will show you there is joy in finding who you are.

This Is the Way the World Ends by Jen Wilde

As an autistic scholarship student at the prestigious Webber Academy in New York City, Waverly is used to masking to fit in--in more ways than one. While her classmates are the children of the one percent, Waverly is getting by on tutoring gigs and the generosity of the school's charming and enigmatic dean. So when her tutoring student and resident "it girl" asks Waverly to attend the school's annual fundraising Masquerade disguised as her, Waverly jumps at the chance--especially once she finds out that Ash, the dean's daughter and her secret ex-girlfriend, will be there. The Masquerade is everything Waverly dreamed of, complete with extravagant gowns, wealthy parents writing checks, and flowing champagne. Most importantly, there's Ash. All Waverly wants to do is shed her mask and be with her, but the evening takes a sinister turn when Waverly stumbles into a secret meeting between the dean and the school's top donors--and witnesses a brutal murder. This gala is harboring far more malevolent plots than just opening parents' pocketbooks. Before she can escape or contact the authorities, a mysterious global blackout puts the entire party on lockdown. Waverly's fairy tale has turned into a nightmare, and she, Ash, and her friends must navigate through a dizzying maze of freight elevators, secret passageways, and back rooms if they're going to survive the night. And even if they manage to escape the Masquerade, with technology wiped out all over the planet, what kind of world will they find waiting for them beyond the doors?

Chasing Pacquiao by Rod Pulido

Self preservation. That's Bobby's motto for surviving his notoriously violent high school unscathed. Being out and queer would put an unavoidable target on his back, especially in a Filipino community that frowns on homosexuality. It's best to keep his head down, get good grades, and stay out of trouble. But when Bobby is unwillingly outed in a terrible way, he no longer has the luxury of being invisible. A vicious encounter has him scrambling for a new way to survive--by fighting back. Bobby is inspired by champion Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao to take up boxing and challenge his tormentor. But when Pacquiao publicly declares his stance against queer people, Bobby's faith⁠--in his hero and in himself⁠--is shaken to the core.

Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson

Ellie Engle doesn't stand out. Not at home, where she's alone with her pet fish since her dad moved away and her mom has to work around the clock. Not at the bakery, where she helps out old Mr. Walker on the weekends. And definitely not at school, where her best friend Abby--the coolest, boldest, most talented girl in the world--drags Ellie along on her never-ending quest to "make her mark." To someone else, a life in the shadows might seem boring, or lonely. But not to Ellie. As long as she has Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand, she's quite content. Too bad life didn't bother checking in with Ellie. Because when a freak earthquake hits her small town, Ellie wakes up with the power to bring anything back to life with just her touch. And when a video of her using her powers suddenly goes viral, Ellie's life goes somewhere she never imagined--or wanted: straight into the spotlight. Surviving middle school is hard enough. Surviving middle school when paparazzi are camped out on your front lawn and an international pop singer wants you to use your powers on live tv and you might be in love with your best friend but she doesn't know it? Absolutely impossible.

Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee

Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs--in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt's struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn. Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan's stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. In Theo's glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo's relatives reveal their true colors--but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can't risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems. Can Dylan save his family's business and follow his heart--or will he fail to do both?

Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon

Life isn't easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn't hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they're nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away. When Mars' triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there's a place for them on the ice at all.

Chef's Choice by TJ Alexander

When Luna O'Shea is unceremoniously fired from her frustrating office job, she tries to count her blessings: she's a proud trans woman who has plenty of friends, a wonderful roommate, and a good life in New York City. But blessings don't pay the bills. Enter Jean-Pierre, a laissez-faire trans man and the heir to a huge culinary empire--which he'll only inherit if he can jump through all the hoops his celebrity chef grandfather has placed in his path. First hoop: he needs a girlfriend, a role that Luna is happy to play...for the right price. She's got rent to pay, after all! Second hoop: they both need to learn how to cook a series of elaborate, world-renowned family recipes to prove that Jean-Pierre is a worthy heir. Admittedly, Luna doesn't even know how to crack an egg, but she's not going to let that--or any pesky feelings for Jean-Pierre--stop her.

If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St Jude

Avery Byrne has secrets. She's queer; she's in love with her best friend, Cass; and she's suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it. Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.

The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom by Allison L. Bitz

Bridget Bloom's out-of-this-world voice is the perfect fit for center stage. When Bridget's admitted to Richard James Academy, a college prep boarding school with a prestigious music program--where heartthrob Duke Ericson attends--all her dreams are on track to come true: leave the hometown where she's never belonged, fall in love, and launch her Broadway career. But upon arriving at the academy, she learns that due to her low music theory scores, she's not eligible to perform or earn the sponsorship she needs to afford the tuition. Worst of all, Dean of Students Octavia Lawless, the one person with the power to reverse the decision, challenges her to work on her humility . . . by not singing at all. Without her voice, Bridget will have to get out of her comfort zone and find a new way to shine. Good thing she is unstoppable!

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Foglifter Journal

  • 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."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $50
  • Deadline: May 1st, 2023

new words {press}

  • What: "nw{p} is a trans and gender expansive poetry and hybrid journal, but that doesn’t mean work must be related to those topics. We publish work from emerging and established trans poets. We love polished work that makes us stop mid-poem to catch our breath and relish words; words that surprise us and feel like they were agonized over; words that make us catch fire."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: Two copies and a year subscription
  • Deadline: May 3rd, 2023

Kweli Journal

  • What: "Kweli’s mission is to nurture emerging writers of color and create opportunities for their voices to be recognized and valued. By creating a community of Black, Indigenous and POC artists and programming based on artistic excellence and rigor, Kweli empowers writers to share stories that engage and impact our communities. Our vision is for a world where the narratives being told reflect the truth of our histories and the possibilities for our future."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: May 30th, 2023

Rebel Satori Press: Novellas & Novelettes

  • What: "Rebel Satori is seeking short form fiction, novels, and novelettes for its new Bijou Book Series. Manuscripts should be 25-30K words in length. Themes may include LGBTQIA+, spirituality, mindfulness, speculative fiction, fantasy, and magick."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: Publication
  • Deadline: May 31st, 2023

The AutoEthnographer: "QUEER" Special Issue

  • What: "Rarely in the history of our English language  has a word so quickly and so profoundly shifted in meanings and usage as  the word queer has throughout the last century. As such, The AutoEthnographer is excited to announce a new call for submissions that celebrate, problematize, challenge, or illuminate the many meanings of 'queer' whether referring to emotion, difference, critical theory, or sexuality."
  • Fee: $5 donation requested
  • Pay: $25
  • Deadline: May 31st, 2023

Genre: Urban Arts Queer Black and Brown Creative Anthology

  • What: "Calling all Queer People of COLOR Creatives! Genre: Urban Arts seeks to give Black and Brown Queer perspectives a space to be vocal with your artistic medium, wherever it falls on the spectrum. Our goal is to highlight voices of the LGBTQ+ community that often go unheard or are misunderstood. Come join us in illuminating the readers' experience in an artful way! We want to hear what YOU have to say! Spread the word."
  • Fee: $5
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: August 30th, 2023

Stellium Literary

  • What: "Stellium centers Black queer and trans creatives. We still accept work from other Black and QTPOC creatives. We seek those emerging and established (with an emphasis on emerging)."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $50
  • Deadline: rolling

Boston Writers of Color: Literary Support Program

  • What: "GrubStreet's Boston Writers of Color program is excited to offer a limited number of $125 and $250 stipends for BIPOC writers. The funds are to be used for submissions, contests, fellowships, retreats, expenses for writing needs, and any other literary opportunities."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $125-$250
  • 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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AI-generated fiction is flooding literary magazines--but not fooling anyone

by Mia Sato

Since that first submission, [Sheila] Williams has received more than 20 short stories all titled “The Last Hope,” each coming from different author names and email addresses. Williams believes they were all generated using artificial intelligence tools, along with hundreds of other similar submissions that have been overwhelming small publishers in recent months.
...“I just basically go through them as quickly as I can,” Williams says of the pieces she suspects are AI-generated. “It takes the same amount of time to download a submission, open it, and look at it. And I’d rather be spending that time on the legitimate submissions.”
For some editors, the influx of AI-generated submissions has forced them to stop accepting new work.
...For Williams, the editor of Asimov’s, being forced to use her time to sift through the AI-generated junk pile is frustrating. But even more concerning is that legitimate new authors might see what’s happening and think editors won’t ever make it to their manuscript.
“I don’t want writers to be worried that I’m going to miss their work because I’m inundated with junk,” Williams says. The good stories are obvious very early on. “The mind that crafts the interesting story is not in any danger.”

THE INDIE FILES: Bringing Back the Weird to Indie Publishing

by Rachel A. Rosen

However, traditional publishing only markets a tiny number of experimental voices each year, and their independent equivalents struggle to find traction and an audience. Messy, rebellious, and groundbreaking works are relegated to the margins, regardless of the scale of the press. The result is a SFF publishing landscape where adherence to convention dominates.
The roots of this stagnation are economic. As profit margins tighten, room for experimentation and risk-taking shrinks. Marginalized creators and independent authors are particularly impacted by the economics of the industry.
...Independent authors can work together to engage in collective publishing and cross-promotion outside existing structures. If anyone can write, anyone can become a publisher. By dividing and conquering the work of editing, designing, and especially marketing a book, a group of writers can accomplish what an independent writer cannot.
Finally, we owe it to ourselves, as readers and writers of speculative fiction, to create a culture of thematically and stylistically challenging books. Engage in literary critique and analysis, step outside the comfort zone of bestsellers in your own reading, and promote lesser-known works on social media, book clubs, and podcasts. There is a desire and demand for innovative work in the most innovative of genres, if we know where to look.

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Until next time, foxies! Be queer, write stories!