Authors and Publishers: MyQueerSapphFic is having a $.99 Halloween Sale from Friday, October 27th – Tuesday, October 31st. If your book has a Halloween theme, contains vampires, witches, zombies, etc. or falls into the suspense, thriller, or horror categories you can list it in the sale, FREE.
The only requirements beyond genre and theme are that you drop your price to .99/country equivalent for the full period from Friday, October 27th through Tuesday, October 31st.
3 eBook maximum.
Deadline to submit is by 11:59 PM your local time, Sunday, October 22nd.
Kindle Countdown deals are allowed but must be noted on the submission form so we can advise readers on limited availability. Countdown deals are only available in the US and UK.
And so it began…
Two and a half years ago, indie author KC Luck established iReadIndies, a collective organization “to bring visibility, recognition, and support to independent authors who put their own time, effort, and resources into self-publishing quality sapphic literature.”
Over the ensuing time, more than 200 indie authors have joined the collective at no cost. All are free to participate in free mentoring, training, group marketing efforts, anthologies and more. There are monthly author meetings, a newsletter for authors, social media outlets that allow the authors to collaborate, reader facing social media accounts, and reader groups on Facebook to promote the authors and their work. Indie book loving readers can also be on a mailing list just for them.
In the early days, near the tail end of the first major wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was talk of future writing retreats, conferences, and awards. It was a huge undertaking for KC, and a true labor of love.
KC has decided to step down. She’s established quite a legacy, and she’ll be missed…but she’ll never be far away. In her stead, Erin and I are taking over, continuing her legacy, and building for the future.
Why take over iReadIndies?
We too love indie authors of sapphic literature and the readers who support them. Of all the books we advertise here at MyQueerSapphFic, 95% (or more) are indie. Our weekly newsletter has thousands of reader subscribers who love hearing about discounts on and new releases of the books they love.
All of that said…we’ve decided we need to make two immediate changes that will help us reach out to more authors, reach more readers, and grow for the future.
- We’re incorporating and changing the name (slightly) to iReadIndies International – AKA iReadIndies International Inc. – We’ll still have the roots of a collective, but with open arms to the world of sapphic indie literature, the diversity of the writers and authors who create it, and all the readers who love it.
- We’re applying to make iReadIndies International Inc. a non-profit organization. – We’ve got a few hoops to jump through to get there including getting the transition made/website back up and running under our management, filing our non-profit application, and obtaining tax exempt status.
Moving forward and into the foreseeable future, I’ll be the executive director of what we’ve been calling iRI, for short. I’ll be responsible for most of the transition effort, and the day to day operations of iRI thereafter. With KC’s help and some input from members of the collective, We’ve already vetted a small starting board of directors to stand up the new iteration of our not quite so new organization. The board will oversee the organization and keep me in line!
Erin Hodgson will serve as the first President of the board. Serving as members and other officers will be authors Edale Lane and Max Ellendale, and voracious reader and editor Tammie Lynn. Going forward, board positions can be added as needed. Multiple authors and a few readers have volunteered to help in other capacities.
Why a non-profit?
KC paid for nearly everything out of her own pocket, out of the goodness of her heart. As we grow and plan things like a more formal mentorship program, writing retreats, writer/reader conferences, visibility at established conferences and events, and annual awards, we’re going to need funding.
- The benefits of being a non-profit: We’ll be able to receive tax-deductible donations, have access to grant funding, and we’ll be better able to build credibility with donors and partners.
- The challenges of being a non-profit: There are challenges, always, with any organization. For us our biggest challenges will be fundraising, managing volunteers, and complying with regulations.
- The future: Being a non-profit will allow us to make a difference in the lives of indie authors and the readers who love great books by giving us not only the platform KC started, but the ability to grow and change with the times…and they are heady times we live in!
The website will be down for a few more days or so, as we transition. Watch for it to return and (over time) expand, watch your iReadIndies email (if you joined the list before the transition), and watch social media. We’ll resume all of the things below and more, soon:
- Book contests and giveaways
- Indie author anthologies in multiple genres (mass giveaways!)
- Author Spotlights/Readings
- Author (self published/aiming to publish) and writer (write for fun) specific groups for brainstorming, networking, collaboration, venting, and more.
- New release announcements
- Resource listings
- Author classes and masterclasses on craft, editing, publishing, and marketing…especially marketing!
Additionally, with funding, volunteers, and lots of planning and coordination we’re aiming for:
- A website that showcases the authors of the collective and their books, where readers can find great books by genre and trope.
- Membership sites like KoFi and/or Patreon with exclusive content from authors of the collective to support iReadIndies and programming for the authors of the collective.
- Awards in 2024 for 2023 works and the establishment of a formal awards nominating and judging process for future years.
- Writing retreats in at least two locations (US and abroad?) beginning in 2024.
- A small (weekend?) conference in Scotland in 2024. Exact location to be determined.
- Representation at various levels at US based conferences in 2024 like GCLS (July, location to be determined), Women’s Week (October, Provincetown), LCLC (October, Palm Springs, California) – We’ll likely – unfortunately – skip ReadOUT in Gulfport, Florida for 2024 and regauge the political climate there in 2025.
- A first iRI US based conference with an awards presentation in 2025, likely in Columbus, Ohio for the first year.
We’re building on a solid foundation from a great legacy, and we’re just getting started!
Activist, poet and essayist Minnie Bruce Pratt passed away on July 19th, 2023. She was 76.
Minnie was a radical southern femme, feminist poet, essayist, educator, and activist. She was a founding member of the Combahee River Collective, a black feminist organization that was one of the first to articulate a radical analysis of the intersections of race, class, and gender oppression. Pratt’s own work was deeply informed by her experiences as a white, working-class, lesbian woman. Her poems and essays explored themes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and violence.
Pratt was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1948. She grew up in a working-class family and attended segregated schools. After graduating from high school, Pratt attended Wellesley College, where she studied English and creative writing. After graduating from Wellesley, Pratt moved to New York City, where she began her career as a poet and essayist.
In 1974, Pratt co-founded the Combahee River Collective. The Collective’s statement of purpose, written by Pratt, is one of the most important documents in the history of black feminism. The statement articulates the Collective’s belief that “the major systems of oppression are interlocking, and that women of color experience oppression in ways that are both similar to and different from those of white women.”
In 1991, The New York Times named Crime Against Nature a Notable Book of the Year, and the American Library Association honored the volume with its Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature. The works focused on her experience as a lesbian raising sons. The book was reprinted and distributed in 2016 as the first title from Sapphic Classics, a co-edition between Sinister Wisdom Magazine and A Midsummer Night’s Press to reprint seminal works of lesbian poetry.
Pratt published six books of poetry, including “The Sound of One Fork Against the Other” (1981), “S/He” (1985), and “Ordinary Life” (1995). She also wrote several books of essays, including “Identity Lessons” (1998) and “Situating Autobiography” (2003). Pratt’s work has been widely anthologized and translated into several languages.
Pratt was a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, for over 30 years. She was also a founding member of the Women’s Studies program at the University of Maryland. She spent the last years of her academic career as professor of women’s and gender studies as well as writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University. She retired in 2015.
Pratt was a tireless advocate for social justice and a powerful voice for the oppressed. Her work will continue to inspire readers for generations to come.
In addition to her writing, Pratt was also an active activist. She participated in protests against racism, sexism, homophobia, and violence. She also worked to raise awareness about the intersections of oppression. Pratt was a founding member of the Southern Organizing Committee for Human Needs and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She was also a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Women and the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays.
Pratt was a brilliant writer, thinker, and activist. She was a powerful voice for the oppressed and a tireless advocate for social justice. Her work will continue to inspire readers and activists for generations to come.
Here are some additional details about Pratt’s life and work:
- Pratt was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award.
- She was a member of the editorial boards of several journals, including “Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society” and “American Quarterly.”
- Pratt’s work has been featured in several documentaries, including “The Combahee River Collective: A History in Documents” and “For the Record: The Life of Minnie Bruce Pratt.”
- Pratt was awarded the National Women’s History Association’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 2014.
Pratt is survived by her sons Ben and Ransom Weaver. She was proceeded in death by her longtime partner and later spouse, activist and the author of ‘Stone Butch Blues,’ Leslie Feinberg in 2014.
Pratt’s death is a loss to the world of literature and activism. She was a brilliant writer and thinker who used her work to challenge injustice and oppression. Her legacy will continue to inspire others for years to come.
Pratt’s sons have suggested anyone wishing to make memorial donations in her name make them to the to the Friends of Dorothy House in Syracuse, which provides care and support to people living with HIV or AIDS.
May she forever rest in power.
This week’s blog post focuses specifically on resources for sapphic literature writers. This is intended to be a living document. Links will be added as they are found.
Here are some of the best online writing and information resources for sapphic fiction authors:
- From award winning author and senior Ylva Publishing editor, Jae, her website and newsletter for authors, The Sapphic Quill, and her craft books and tips newsletter written under her legal name, Sandra Gerth.
- Malinda Lo’s Blog – Sections on writing and on LGBTQ YA Fiction
- Not specifically sapphic, but imminently useful: Writing with Color, a Tumblr site dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial, ethnic and religious diversity.
- Writer Beware: For ALL writers. Educate yourself. Stay safe from scams and scammers.
Writing workshops and Training: There are many writing workshops that focus on sapphic fiction. These workshops can be a great way to learn from experienced writers and get feedback on your work.
- Lambda Literary – Resources for Writers – Their stated goal is to help writers at all stages of their writing journey. Specifically check out their Learn with Lambda programs for LGBTQIA authors.
- Golden Crown Literary Society – Offers an annual writing academy that meets weekly, virtually for 9 months each year and includes a mentorship program, an annual conference with a craft track, and numerous online educational opportunities throughout the year, many of which are free.
Online communities: Besides the resources we’re beginning to develop here at MyQueerSapphFic, there are many online communities for sapphic fiction authors where you can connect with other writers and with readers, get feedback on your work, and learn about the industry. Some of these sites and communities also review books and/or allow advertising. Some of our favorite communities include:
- iHeartSapphFic – Reader heavy focus with lots of promos for authors to participate in (mostly free/some paid advertising spots) and a book finder database that puts ours to shame. We’re working on it!
- iReadIndies – A place for readers of indie published books and a collective for indie authors (not published through any established large publisher, university press, sapphic press/publisher, or other LGBTQIA press/publisher).
- Lesfic Marketing Alliance Facebook Group – Just what it says. Authors only, getting together to share tips and help each other promote.
- The Lesbian Review (TLR) – Reader heavy focus built on thousands of book reviews. Also review movies and more. There are opportunities to promote and to appear at reader facing events (mostly online through webinars and on Discord)
- Queer Romance Ink – Mostly a place to advertise (author pays). Large, searchable book database for readers that is growing more sapphic, but leans heavily toward gay fiction. Not just romance.
Review Sites and Book Bloggers: Some sites and bloggers accept ARC copies, some do not. Some use Netgally. Check with each individual site or blogger before requesting a review or sending your book/eBook.
- KittyKat’s Book Review Blog
- (The) Lesbrary
- Lesfic ARC Club – A facebook group where you can find reviewers
- Lesfic Sapphic Women Loving Women Book Reviews and Promos – A Facebook group where you can find reviewers
- Lez Review Books
- Mx Pheobe’s Viewpoint
- Rachel’s Sapphic Reviews
- Rainbow Book Reviews
- Rainbow Round Table – News and reviews for GLBT books from the American Library Association (ALA)
- Sapphic Book Review
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – Not a sapphic site but they review romance books with any pairings and they list sapphic books in their book finder.
- The Lesbian Reading Room – This site previously run by Velvet Lounger may be offline. Velvet can be found in Facebook sapphic reader groups doing promotions.
- TLR (formerly The Lesbian Review)
Agents and publishers: There are a number of publishers who specialize in sapphic fiction. If you’re interested in getting your work published traditionally rather than self-publishing, you can research them to find the right fit for you. Agents are typically necessary for large, mainstream publishers. There are far too many of those publishers and agents to list.
The publishers below lean toward sapphic literature or accept it exclusively. Each will typically take a direct submission. Check their websites before submitting for information and guidelines.
- Affinity Rainbow Publishing
- Aunt Lute Books – Radical feminist press that does publish queer/sapphic books
- Bedazzled Ink
- Bella Books
- BLF Press – (Concentrates on queer women of color)
- Bold Strokes Books
- Bywater Books
- Desert Palm Press
- Dirt Road Books – Publisher appears to be defunct
- Flashpoint Publications – Absorbed Regal Crest Publications
- Sapphire Books Publishing
- Triplicity Publishing
- Queen of Swords Press
- Ylva Publishing
Other publishers who focus on LGBTQIA fiction and often take direct submissions:
- Carnation Press
- Cleis Press
- Dreamspinner Press
- Interlude Press
- Launch Point Press
- NineStar Press
- Pride Publishing
- RedBone Press – (concentrates on black lesbians and black gay men)
- Riptide Publishing
- Supposed Crimes
These lists are by no means exhaustive and will continue to evolve.
These books offer insights into the craft of writing sapphic fiction, as well as advice on how to represent sapphic characters and relationships in a way that is authentic and respectful.
- Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels – by Gwen Hayes – Not sapphic, but inclusive and a must for romance writers
- Writing the Other: A Practical Guide to Inclusive Fiction by Paula J. Massood
Awards: There are multiple awards programs for LGBTQ+ books. Some are dedicated to sapphic books and some exclusively to gay books or bisexual books. Other awards and award programs are more general in nature. Listed below are reputable programs authors and publishers can submit to. Many require a submission fee which helps to keep the awards program viable. Some of the organizations giving awards are profiled in other areas of this blog post.
The Goldies – Sapphic exclusive awards in multiple categories given in July of each year by the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) for works published between January 1st and December 31st of the previous year. To facilitate judging, GCLS staggers the submission deadlines. Submissions generally start in late August or very early September of the publishing year for all books published through at least the first half of the year (January through June). the final submission period ends in mid to late January of the year following the year of publication. There is a submission fee.
The Lammys – Given by Lambda Literary each year in May or June for (primarily) books published in the previous calendar year. There are exceptions. Lambda has lesbian specific categories, gay specific categories, bisexual ones, and transgender ones. There are also some overall LGBTQ categories not broken out by orientation including – for some reason – the broad category of ‘Mystery.’ Submissions begin September 1st of the publishing year and extend slightly into the year following. There is a scaled submission fee.
The Lesfic Bard Awards – Sapphic exclusive awards in multiple categories given annually for books published the previous calendar year. Submissions are generally open all year for books published that year and close in January of the year after the publishing year. There is a submission fee. Note, if you write gay fiction as well, they also sponsor the Gay Scribe Awards.
The Publishing Triangle Awards – The Publishing Triangle presents 10 awards annually. Two awards, one for non-fiction, and one for poetry are lesbian only. Others are closed to sapphic books and still others are open to the full spectrum of LGBTQIA orientations. Submissions open in late September and run through early December of the publishing year.
Foreward Indies Book of the Year – These prestigious awards are open to all indie published books, both by individual indie authors and authors from small and boutique presses like those of you with Bella, Bold Strokes, Ylva, etc. Submissions are open year round. They close on January 31st of the year following the publishing year. Finalists in all categories are named in March. Winners are named in June. There is a (steep) fee to submit.
Ippy Awards – An unaffiliated, but prestigious awards program for independent publishers/indie authors who publish books for an English speaking audience. There are dozens of award categories including one for LGBTQ+ Fiction. Early bird entries are in September and November. The current entry cutoff is March 16th, 2024. Submission fees are required for each category of submission.
Stonewall Book Awards – Sponsored by the American Library Association’s Rainbow Round Table. The award honors one exceptional book each year in each of three categories (adult fiction, adult non-fiction, and childrens/YA). Submissions (free) are open during the publishing year. The winners are announced in January of February of the year following the publishing year with the actual award (plaque and monetary) given at the ALA annual conference in June.
Please note: The Rainbow Awards were given each year by Elisa Rolle through 2021. They appear to have stopped with that year.
Here are some other resources that you may find helpful:
The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) – Mentioned above under workshops and training – A nonprofit organization supporting an international community of readers, writers, publishers, editors, audiobook narrators, and fans devoted to increasing the diversity, accessibility, quality, and visibility of sapphic and women-loving-women literature.
The Lambda Literary Foundation – Also, mentioned above, Lambda Literary provides resources for LGBTQIA+ writers, including a mentorship program, a writing retreat, and a literary awards program.
The Publishing Triangle is a professional organization for LGBTQIA+ writers, editors, and publishers. They offer a number of resources for writers, including a mentorship program, a writing contest, and a book fair.
The 2023 winners of the annual Goldie Awards bestowed by the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) were named on Saturday, July 1st at the awards ceremony held at their annual convention, which was in Denver, Colorado, this year.
New from GCLS this year, after receiving a substantial grant from the Aronson-Besthoff Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, are monetary awards for the highest scoring debut novel, the highest scoring book in each genre category, and the highest scoring book in each of the ‘non-novel’ categories like, non-fiction and poetry.
Also now receiving monetary awards are the top three books determined by ranked choice voting for the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. The institution of monetary prizes necessitated changes in how the Ann Bannon entries were voted upon.
GCLS names 25% of all books entered in each category as finalists as determined by the rankings of the judging panel for the category. In each category, 10% of all entered books ultimately receive awards, allowing more than one winner in larger categories.
Winners are listed below in the order award categories were presented by the GCLS at the awards ceremony. Monetary prize winning books are listed first and noted in each category.
Half In: A Coming of Age Memoir of Forbidden Love by Felice Cohen/Dividend Press – Felice and her book were profiled here previously. – Also won $1,000 prize
This was a new category this year. There were more than 30 audio books entered, and three winning narrartors were chosen.
*Links to narrator names go to the lists of Audible audio books they have narrator credits for including the book they won for. Not all books they’ve narrated are sapphic books.
Enigma by Suzie Clarke, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
Despite Chaos by Stacy Lynn Miller, published by Bella Books
Secret Agent by Michelle Larkin, published by Bold Strokes Books
Contemporary Romance Short Novels:
Trial and Error by Carsen Taite, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
Truly Wanted by J.J. Hale, published by Bold Strokes Books
Perfect Rivalry by Radclyffe, published by Bold Strokes Books
Defiant Hearts – Lee Lynch, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring $1,000 Prize
Delafield by Katherine V. Forrest, published by Spinsters Ink – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
Hunting Gold by Ann Aptaker, published by Bywater Books
Last Chance Chicago by Diana DiGangi, published by Bywater Books
Young Adult Fiction:
Can I Trust Her? by Frances Lucas, published by Bella Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
Contemporary Romance – Mid Length Novels:
The Last Lavender Sister by Melissa Brayden, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
She’ll Steal Your Heart by Rachel Lacey, Self Published
With a Twist by Georgia Beers, published by Bold Strokes Books
I Dare You to Love Me by Lori G. Matthews, published by Bella Books (Lori has a short mystery in a giveaway available through July 5th, 2023)
Christmas Mouse by Rachel Spangler, published by Brisk Press
The Mermaid Hypothesis by Siri Caldwell, published by Brussels Sprouts Press
Time Out of Time by Arleen Paré, published by Caitlin Press and Dagger Editions – $1,000 prize winner
Dead Letters from Paradise by Ann McMan, published by Bywater Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize $1,000
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson, published by Arcade – Skyhorse
New Adult Fiction:
Catching Feelings by Ana Hartnett Reichardt, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize, $1,000
Once in Berlin by Jo Havens, self published – Top Scoring Novel Prize, $1,000
Observations on the Danger of Female Curiosity by Suzanne Moss, published by Aesculus Books (previously featured on this site)
Escorted by Renee Roman, published by Bold Strokes Books – Top Scoring Novel
Contemporary Romance – Long Novel:
Plain English by Rachel Spangler, published by Bywater Books – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
Chemistry by Rachael Sommers, published by Ylva Publishing
Purposefully Accidental by G Benson, Self Published
Over the Moon with You by Jaime Clevenger, published by Bella Books
Something’s Different by Quinn Ivens, published by Ylva Publishing
Endurance by Elaine Burnes, published by Mindancer Press/Bedazzled Ink – Top Scoring Novel Prize – $1,000
The Mage and the Monster by Barbara Ann Wright, published by Bold Strokes Books
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson, published by Arcade – Skyhorse – Top Scoring Debut Novel Prize – $1,000
Truly Wanted by JJ Hale, published by Bold Strokes Books
Observations on the Danger of Female Curiosity by Suzanne Moss, published by Aesculus Books (previously featured on this site)
Honey in the Marrow by Emily Waters, published by Ylva Publishing
Love and Duty by Catherine Young, published by Bold Strokes Books
Sandra Moran Writing Academy Scholarship: Beth Caldwell
Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award:
Gold and $3,000 – If I Don’t Ask by EJ Noyes, published by Bella Books
Silver and $2,000 – Just a Touch Away by Jae (This book was previously featured on this site)
Bronze and $1,000 – Broken Beyond Repair by Emily Banting (This book was previously featured on this site)
Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design:
Observations on the Danger of Female Curiosity by Suzanne Moss, published and cover by Aesculus Books (This book was previously featured on this site)
Lee Lynch Classic Award:
Home Girls by Barbara Smith
From the book blurb and from Amazon:
“The pioneering anthology Home Girls features writings by Black feminist and lesbian activists on topics both provocative and profound. Since its initial publication in 1983, it has become an essential text on Black women’s lives and writings. This edition features an updated list of contributor biographies and an all-new preface that provides a fresh assessment of how Black women’s lives have changed-or not-since the book was first published.”
Contributors are Tania Abdulahad, Donna Allegra, Barbara A. Banks, Becky Birtha, Julie Carter, Cenen, Cheryl Clarke, Michelle Cliff, Michelle T. Clinton, Willie M. Coleman, Toi Derricotte, Alexis De Veaux, Jewelle L. Gomez, Akasha (Gloria) Hull, Patricia Jones, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Raymina Y. Mays, Deidre McCalla, Chirlane McCray, Pat Parker, Linda C. Powell, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Spring Redd, Gwendolyn Rogers, Kate Rushin, Ann Allen Shockley, Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, Shirley O. Steele, Luisah Teish, Jameelah Waheed, Alice Walker, and Renita Weems.
The Trailblazer Award is given annually by GCLS to an author for lifetime achievement. The 2023 awardee is:
Alison’s brief bio:
ALISON BECHDEL has been a careful archivist of her own life and kept a journal since she was ten. Since 1983 she has been chronicling the lives of various characters in the fictionalized “Dykes to Watch Out For” strip, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period” (Ms.). The strip is syndicated in 50 alternative newspapers, translated into multiple languages, and collected into a book series with a quarter of a million copies in print. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as “one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century.”
Her books and collections of some of her comic strips are available in English on Amazon. Some books have also been translated into German.
Note: All of these books are available at Amazon. Many which were by traditional publishers and small sapphic presses are available both directly from the publisher and at all other major retailers. Over time, we’ll add the top scoring books to this site with all purchase links from the publishers and all retailers, followed later by links to and/or pages for all of the other award winning books. This is a major undertaking as I do it all by hand. I wanted to get the list out to you as soon as I could. We’ve included the publisher information. Please shop for these bo wherever you feel comfortable.
The Amazon links here are affiliate links. We (this site/Erin and I) earn a small commission if you purchase a book. Those commissions help to defray the cost of maintaining this site and sending out the weekly newsletter.
The authors appreciate your support and we at MyQueerSapphFic do too! Thank you for reading and loving sapphic literature!
Do you like your mystery, thriller, and suspense stories to have sapphic characters? If you do, and you haven’t heard about this giveaway yet, it’s your lucky day.
Seven authors, myself included (Anne here. Hi!) penned original short stories or novellas to give away for a limited time. The giveaway ends July 5th.
You can go right to the giveaway page here, or read on below for my brief review of each story. For those of you leaving, enjoy!
My own book in the giveaway is called, Hunting You Down. It’s suspense with a little bit of thriller rather than my usual mystery. I won’t review my own work, of course, but I will say this story was a departure from what I had planned…something my loyal mystery readers will benefit from later.
I started writing a short story for this months ago, when I first put the giveaway together. It quickly became apparent that my ‘short story’ was going to become novel length. It grew to over 30,000 words before I set it aside for later and started another short story featuring the detective character from the first story.
That second story got away from me too. You see, I don’t plot short stories like I (meticulously) plot novels. In fact, I don’t plot them at all. I just let them flow, and flow it did. So much so that 14,000 words in I was just getting started. That short story will now be a prequel novel for an all new series that will start coming out in 2025 and the original short story turned novel I started will be the first book in the series. Stay tuned!
I had to get completely away from my love of investigations to arrive at a true (and finished!) short story for this giveaway. I hope you like it. I’m interested in what you think about the ending. Love it? Hate it? Either way, I’d love to hear it.
My good friend Barbara Winkes is one of the few people I know with a longer sapphic mystery/suspense/romantic suspense series than I have. Her Carpenter and Harding series is at 15 books. Plus, she’s started a couple of other series in similar veins too. She’s always busy writing and she has many, many books out and in the works, but she managed to contribute a story for each previous giveaway and now one for this one she’s contributed, Exes and Lies.
The story starts off seemingly tame, moves into suspense, then becomes a real thriller. The couple in the story? They have issues and needs only a full length book (or three) will resolve. Barbara really needs to add writing a book for this couple to her to do list…but it will probably be romance. Hopefully, the suspense/thriller days for Pax and Ashton end with this short!
In a total coincidence, which we had a back and forth email conversation about, Pax is the name of the detective in the mystery short stories turned novels I started a few months ago then set aside to publish in 2025. Small world. Great minds…pick your cliché!
I admit to not having read any of Elliott Hay’s work prior to reading this short prequel story, Friends in Need, because there’s no mystery work released yet. I pre-ordered the first novel in her series (only $.99 right now) and I’ll read it when it releases July 11th. I’m looking forward to it. Elliott also publishes gender bendy Sci-fi as Si Clark.
This story is a great introduction to the ‘grannies,’ Madge, Peggy and Carole, and the hurting friend they try to help, Gertie. There’s a riddle in the names there that comes out in the story…but if you can’t glean it from what I’ve given you, you’ll have to read the book.
The premise is these friends have a little knitting club that meets at a café, and they murder people when necessary, only this time, murder isn’t an option because that might do more harm than good for Gertie. I love the premise for the series, and I can identify with the reason they can’t do what they would normally do in Gertie’s case…but I can’t tell you why I identify without giving a chunk of the plot away. Let’s just say, they come up with a unique solution to the problem.
Please be sure and read through to the acknowledgements portion of this short. You’ll get some insight into Elliott’s creation of the characters and the upcoming series.
Ocean and I have been friends for a long time. Back in 2019, pre-covid, we sat down at the Pittsburgh GCLS conference and made plans to write a series together. Covid messed that all up and, it would seem, the time for the idea that was hot at the time has now passed. Maybe someday we’ll revisit it.
Ocean can be an enigma. She writes imaginative fiction (Lesbian Sasquatch, anyone?). She writes poetry. Mostly, she writes horror. It’s not blood curdling horror, but she sure knows how to give you the creeps.
Ocean participated in the first original short story giveaway we did. Her story was a little more horror than mystery or suspense, but you could definitely put it in the thriller category.
She’s back for our third giveaway and this time she’s written a full on suspense story with Skull Castle that will have you thinking everything is fine until about half way through. At that point, you’re going to think one character is nuts for doing the things she does, especially if you’ve read any of Ocean’s horror work, and you’re going to question the sanity of the other main character for going along with it. The payoff is worth it though. You’ll be shaking your head that you didn’t put it all together a lot sooner.
Cade Haddock Strong, like Ocean, participated in the first original story giveaway and now she’s back for the third one. We’re happy to have her back too!
Cade’s story, An Uncanny Resemblance, has some themes that are similar to another story in this round of books. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I’ll let you dear readers figure out which one…
One of the requirements of this particular giveaway, other than the story being either mystery, thriller, or suspense, is the story must be ‘sapphic.’ There is indeed a sapphic main character in this story, but her sexuality is not at all the focus of the story. That’s a constant debate among readers who lean more toward romance versus those who have a preference for mysteries and thrillers. Romance readers tend to feel overt/pervasive sexuality is what makes a book sapphic, whereas many mystery, suspense, and thriller readers don’t care to see it on the page unless it fits in the story. Those of you in the former camp will be disappointed with this story. The rest of you will enjoy it.
Lori G. Matthews is new to these mystery, suspense, thriller promotions, and apparently to the genre as well. She’s previously published romance novels with Bella Books. Known for her romantic comedy, she brought those writing chops to this short, entertaining mystery, The Birder Murders.
In another round of ‘great minds think alike’ this story has a few things in common with Ocean’s story. It also has characters that are 40+ like in my story, though age doesn’t come out until well into this story. You’ll like these ladies. In fact, one of them finds herself liking the other in spite of herself.
If you’re into birds, this will be a great story for you. If you’re not, you’ll learn some new things, like the concept of a ‘big year.’ I had an inkling what it might be but I still looked it up! Google is your friend.
Last, but by no means least, is a story from fairly new friend to me, someone I’ve come to know and worked with a little over the past year, Edale Lane, with Nefarious Intent. Edale has the same problem I do; she has trouble writing ‘short’ works. She tends to run long too. We almost didn’t get a story out of her for this giveaway and that would have been a shame.
Her story is reminiscent of a work by Barbara Winkes, Amber Alert, but it’s also very different. If you’ve read that, you’ll find some of the same themes running through this story. Too, the ending is similar, but also different. The investigator in Barbara’s story wasn’t sapphic but some victims were. Here, both sides are sapphic.
Like Barbara, I’d like to see Edale take two of these characters and carry on with them and that’s all I’m going to say!
This giveaway runs through July 5th. After that, the authors can do with their stories as they wish. Some may continue to give them away. Some may not. Why take a chance?
Anne Hagan: I recently had an interesting Twitter DM exchange with Felice Cohen. For my blog post this week, I asked her a ‘few’ questions.
Anne: Tell us about yourself, Felice.
Felice: I am an author, motivational speaker, Holocaust educator and professional organizer. I am the oldest of three daughters and I split my time between New York City and Cape Cod, MA where I grew up and my family lives.
Anne: You originally approached me about your memoir, ‘Half In.’ Please tell us about the book and why you wrote it.
Felice: Half In: A Coming-of-Age Memoir of Forbidden Love is about the secret, lesbian, age-gap affair I had with my boss, Sarah, when I was 23. She was 57 and had a long-term lover. It’s also about figuring out your sexuality and where you fit in the real world.
The affair lasted for ten years until Sarah’s death, upon which I mourned her as I’d loved her: in secret. I carried a lot of shame from the affair partly because it was a gay relationship, and partly from the age difference. I feared what people would think. (This was the early 90s when it was “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”)
I started to write about us as a way of dealing with her death. Every subsequent relationship after Sarah I was only ever half in, unable to fully love anyone else as I was still stuck on Sarah. The writing was helpful, but if I wanted to love again, if I wanted to move on, I knew had to tell our story.
Anne: I’m truly sorry for your loss. In our first conversation, I wasn’t aware Sarah had passed and I asked you if she had read your book. How do you think she would have felt about it?
Felice: Sarah always supported my writing and even joked early on in our affair that I could one day write about us. She died 20 years ago so she never saw the book. But I know she would have given it her blessing.
Anne: ‘Half In’ wasn’t your first book. What was, and what prompted you to write it?
Felice: My first book, What Papa Told Me, is about my grandfather’s life before, during and after the Holocaust. In college I learned that my maternal grandmother, the woman I am named after, didn’t die of cancer as I’d been told, but committed suicide. When I asked my grandfather why she did it, to explain he had to talk about something he’d never spoken about with anyone, and that was about her experience in Auschwitz.
I wrote an op-ed about my grandmother in college (I was a weekly columnist) and after that my grandfather asked me to tell his story. It was only supposed to be for the family, but then when the video of my tiny apartment went viral, that book sold around the world. It’s taught in schools, has been translated to Polish, and I’ve spoken to over 25,000 people around the world about my grandfather, and I’m still getting asked to speak about him.
Anne: You mentioned a video about your ‘tiny apartment’ as you were speaking about your grandfather. After we first spoke, I went out and found the video and watched it. It gave me dorm room/barracks room flashbacks, but not at all in a bad way. Some good memories from those times! I digress…So, at least one video is still out there and you published a book in 2016 to go along with it that’s been of interest to readers from all walks of life. Readers want to know; how did you do it and for how long?
Felice: I moved into that tiny apartment because the low rent allowed me to quit my stressful job (as chief of staff to the president at Hunter College) and finish writing What Papa Told Me. I planned to stay only one year, putting 77 boxes into storage, but at the end of that year, I loved my lifestyle and didn’t want to leave. I was living life on my own terms, getting up when I wanted, spending my days writing, organizing apartments, cycling, traveling.
I ended up staying 5 years and left only because I was evicted. Every year I stayed I went back to storage and got rid of stuff based on the not needing or wanting it. After 5 years I got rid of all of it. After the video went viral (it now has over 25 million views) I was interviewed on Good Morning America. The landlord saw me, saw my name and realized I was subletting illegally.
After five years I had saved a lot of money (low rent, yes, but with little space I hadn’t bought much), and my grandfather helped me buy a larger place. I then wrote 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (…or More). It’s about how I wound up living in that space, how it changed my life, and it also gives tips on organizing and decluttering.
Anne: What are you working on now?
Felice: I am a minimalist, but the one thing I saved all my life was every handwritten letter I’ve ever been sent from family, friends and exes. I’ve put them (about 1,000) together into a book and am creating what I at first was calling a “reverse memoir,” but the more I edit it, the more I realize it’s actually stories about people in my life, I’m just the common denominator, the one person these people have bared their souls to.
Anne: When will it be out?
Felice: I’m hoping it comes out next year.
Anne: Have you written any fiction? If so, what?
Felice: I write the series The Fancy Tales. They are modern day versions of the classic fairy tales (Cinderella, Peter Pan, etc.) we all grew up with that take place in New York City and contain a wholesomely presented and slightly sophisticated LGBTQ+ twist. All the magic happens in Central Park.
These tales (She’safella, Peter Pan Zee, etc.) are for kids, teens, and adults (gay or straight!) to enjoy. Most boys and girls grow up reading fairy tales where the prince finds his princess. But what about those boys who dream of meeting the boy of their dreams? Or those girls who dream of finding the girl of their dreams? For them, there are The Fancy Tales.
Anne: Tell us about your writing process.
Felice: Write a first draft, then edit, edit, edit, edit, edit. I like to write from 6 to 10am, when my mind is most fresh. I can go back in the late afternoon and edit if I need.
Anne: Coffee or tea?
Felice: Tea! Numi Gunpowder green tea. I also have an addiction to chai lattes, but they’re too much sugar so I’ve had to quit cold turkey a few times.
Anne: I’m always happy to find a fellow tea drinker in the age of coffee everything! Now, how about your favorite meal?
Felice: Roasted salmon and roasted vegies. Or anything my mom makes. Or breakfast for dinner!
Anne: Breakfast for dinner is always a popular choice in my house. And, frankly, I loved it growing up, too.
Anne: What do you do for fun?
Felice: Cycling, rollerblading, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, walking, reading, jigsaw puzzles, hanging with my family.
Anne: One more…What’s your weirdest habit/skill?
Felice: I can still recite the first 30 elements in the Periodic Table of Elements. I can also juggle. And if you throw grapes at me, I can catch them in my mouth.
Anne: Somehow, I suspected the juggling… It’s been great talking with you, Felice!
‘Half In’ at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Half-Coming-Age-Memoir-Forbidden/dp/B09XZM7FC2 (but book can be purchased anywhere you buy books). It’s available in paperback, ebook and audiobook.
Lambda Literary announced the 2023 Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) winners on Friday, June 9th, at their annually held awards presentation.
We previously pulled all of the books with sapphic characters and themes out of the list of Lammy finalists. That post is here.
Please note: This article uses the terms sapphic and lesbian because while the literary world is increasingly moving towards a more expansive definition of sapphism, Lambda Literary still uses ‘L’ for lesbian writing in its awards program.
Lesbian/sapphic fiction, memoir/biography, romance and poetry each have their own Lammy categories. This tends to be true for gay, bisexual, and transgender works too. Other categories are combined and presented as ‘LGBTQ+’ including comics, drama, erotica, mystery, spec fiction, YA, Middle Grades, and more.
In our previous post we noted the panel of 65 judges had their hands full when it came to deciding on the Lambda Literary Award finalists – with over 1,350 books to choose from spread through 25 categories. Eventually, five finalists were chosen in each category. We highlighted those specifically relating to sapphic or lesbian content in the post linked above, and also shared some of our top picks from the LGBTQ+ and bisexual genres that had more sapphic elements.
Now…Lambda Literary has given us the winners and what a list it is! Lots of sapphic/lesbian themed works in the all inclusive LGBTQ+ categories were awarded.
|Lambda Literary Award Winners||Category and Title||Author||Publisher|
|Gods of Want|
Startling stories center the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women in “a voracious, probing collection, proof of how exhilarating the short story can be” (The New York Times Book Review)
|K-Ming Chang||One World|
"For fans of Mexican Gothic, from three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature..."
|Gwendolyn Kiste||S&S / Sage Press|
|The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School |
A sharply funny and moving debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self.
|Sonora Reyes||HarperCollins: Balzer + Bray|
|Appropriate Behavior |
Premiering at Sundance in 2014, Desiree Akhavan’s acclaimed debut feature, Appropriate Behavior, introduced the indie film world to the deadpan, irreverent wit that had already won over fans of her trailblazing LGBTQ web series The Slope.
|Maria San Filippo||McGill-Queen's University Press|
|LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction|
|The Wicked and the Willing |
Love demands sacrifice. Her blood. Her body. Even her life.
|Lianyu Tan||Shattered Scepter Press|
|As She Appears |
Shelley Wong's debut, As She Appears, foregrounds queer women of color in their being and becoming.
|Shelley Wong||YesYes Books|
|Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes |
What is illusion—a deception, or a revelation? What is a poem—the truth, or “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”?
|Nicky Beer||Milkweed Editions|
|Lost & Found: Reflections on Grief, Gratitude, and Happiness |
“I will stake my reputation on you being blown away by Lost & Found.”—Anne Lamott, author of Dusk, Night, Dawn and Bird by Bird
|Kathryn Schulz||Random House|
|The Rules of Forever |
Public school teacher Cara Talarico is determined to pay off her student loans by the time she turns thirty-five and has sworn off everything fun to make it happen—including dating.
|Nan Campbell||Bold Strokes Books|
|LGBTQ Romance and Erotica|
|Kiss Her Once For Me: A Novel |
A festive romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord…only to fall for his sister.
|Alison Cochrun||Atria Books|
Who's lying about what happened at Dirt Creek?
|Haley Scrivenor||Flatiron Books|
Saturday evening I had an online chat with Erin that started out being about the ultimate demise of Women and Words which I realized when I was looking for some inspiration for a sapphic literature blog topic that hadn’t been overdone. Our conversation veered off course as they sometimes do and ended up being about our children.
Erin and her wife are moving their kids with them as they travel the world, schooling them with some lessons and lots of experiences as they go. You can read about the family and their travels on their blog, Wha From Home. Erin says their boys are working on some blog posts of their own for the family travel blog. I can’t wait to read those.
We also talked about the special needs and schooling of the three year old girl in the legal custody of my wife and I since her birth, and the general educational needs and issues with those of the three foster children ages 4, 8, and 13, that have been in our care long term (between two and four years).
Our chat gave me pause…and a blog topic; books about sapphic led families with children. There’s some non-fiction out there. Much of it is well rated, but a few years old or more. Fiction featuring sapphic’s with children is becoming a little more common, especially in the romance genre.
I’ve featured lots of kids in my books, including some kiddos who are the biological or adopted children of sapphic characters because my personal life revolves around family and children. I’d love to put more kids in the books, but I primarily write murder mysteries, so… Let’s just say, having foster kids and dealing with the multiple trauma’s they’ve endured, doesn’t make me want to write books about children in serious harms way.
Today, I’m focusing on books that are non-fiction because I think it’s important that we all see what sapphic led families face and how they cope. Don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom.
Memoirs of the Happy Lesbian Housewife by Lorraine Howell. Lorrain has actually written a two book series. Both books are quite funny and insightful. At this writing, this is the second book according to Amazon and their series numbering. It was actually the first book Lorraine published. She released it in 2014. The book she numbers as ‘2’ was published in 2022.
Available for $2.99 from Amazon and other major retailers.
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood by Amie Klempnaur Miller, published in 2010 by Penguin Random House.
After ten years of talking about children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that.
Some themes are dated here…some are decidedly not. This is available for $15.99 from Amazon and some other major retailers.
In 1977 a law was passed in Florida banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexuality. This law was an important step towards respecting gay and lesbian civil rights. However, immediately after it was passed, a group called Save Our Children vowed to overturn the law. This group stirred up so much fear regarding the idea of a gay role model, such as a teacher, interacting with children that the gay-rights ordinance was repealed.
In 1979 Joe Gantz decided to show more realistic and positive gay role models than the distorted images promoted by the campaign, by finding families raising children in openly gay homes and asking them to tell their story. A Secret I Can’t Tell follows five families raising children in homes where one or both parents were not hiding their homosexuality.
This book was first published in 1983. It was republished in 2022 by Joe Gantz with an update from many of the children 40 years later.
Anne’s Note: This book offers valuable insight into the past because now, in 2023, LGBT rights are regressing again across the US, and most notably in Florida where even speaking the word ‘gay’ is outlawed in elementary schools.
This is available for $9.99 from Amazon and other major retailers.
Zak’s Safari: A Story About Donor-Conceived Kids of Two-Mom Families by Christy Tyner, illustrated by Ciaee Ching.
When the rain foils Zak’s plan for a safari adventure, he invites the reader on a very special tour of his family instead. Zak shows us how his parents met, fell in love, and wanted more than anything to have a baby—so they decided to make one.
Recommended for children ages 4 to 8.
This is available for $2.99 from Amazon or free to read in Kindle Unlimited.
Pride and Joy: A guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans parents by Sarah Hagger-Holt and Rachel Hagger-Holt
Pride and Joy is full of stories, advice, and real-life experience from LGBT parents and their children. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, sometimes surprising, every story sheds new light on what it’s like for LGBT people raising children in the UK and Ireland today. (Published in 2017 ).
Available from Amazon and other major retailers for $9.99
Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II by Daniel Winunwe Rivers, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2013.
This isn’t the oldest book here, but it’s the most extensive history of lesbian and gay families in the US as the author traces LGBTQ family history back into the 1950s, after the end of the second World War, up until publication.
It’s available from Amazon and other online retailers for $9.99
Have a book you’d like to share, especially one that’s more current than many of these? Let us know.
Saturday evening I had an online back and forth chat with Erin. I told her I was looking for some blog post inspiration for the coming week and thought I’d go poke around in the Women And Words archives. I couldn’t. Sadly, they’re gone.
Jove Bell, Andi Marquette, and crew took a step back from the site and their podcast a couple years ago to take a breather and tend to writing, publishing, and other projects, but they left the site operational while they decided when and if they were going to move forward with it. Daily readership had dipped, despite all the work…and it was a lot of work.
Erin and I offered to take the site over and/or assist in operating it back when they first announced the hiatus if they came to a decision that involved letting it go. They weren’t ready to think about that then, and we didn’t push them. Now, I wish we would have pushed a little bit. Such a loss!
Other sites fill some of the gaps like multiple review sites and review bloggers/vloggers. One of the largest and best known is The Lesbian Review (Lots of reviews, some interviews, occasional panels and readings), now known as TLR There’s also iHeartSapphFic which has lots of ways for authors to reach readers through reader focused giveaways, sales, and reader focused content.
The things missing from those sites that could be found in the archives, now lost – possibly forever – from Women and Words are the daily blog posts by a rotating list of writers and occasional guests posters. Andi – AKA Captain Mayhem, posted nearly weekly. Sometimes more. Sometimes a little less. Her columns were always insightful and entertaining. The rest of the regular blogging crew was a made up of readers and authors who covered a wide variety of bookish topics including a lot of ‘favorites’ lists.
Change is always hard. It’s harder still when we lose things that are a part of our collective history as a sapphic community.
You were loved, Women and Words, and you are missed!
EDITED TO ADD: The original site is very much gone. The old URL goes to an error page. It’s been pointed out that an archive of sorts can be found here: https://lesbianauthors.wordpress.com/. The snippets of the posts are gone, but the archive with graphics and post titles seems to go back at least a couple of years covering 2020 and perhaps further back, until June 1st of 2021 when the hiatus officially began. It’s something, but still ultimately sad. ~ Anne