Kobby Ben Ben’s NO ONE DIES YET, set in Accra in 2019, the “Year of Return” that memorialized the many who died during the slave trade in Ghana, following three African American friends as they join in the festivities to explore Ghana’s colonial past as Black diasporas around the world make a pilgrimage to West Africa and its underground queer scene; soon, these friends are thrust into the hands of two guides who they have no choice but to trust and what unfolds is an unsettling tale of murder in a country whose dead slaves are shackled with stories that must be heard, to Christopher Potter at Europa Editions, with Eva Ferri editing, in a nice deal, for publication in spring/summer 2022, by Aida Lilly at kt literary (world English).
2020 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellow R.B. Lemberg‘s THE UNBALANCING, set in the same Birdverse universe as the author’s FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, in which a group of queer and nonbinary magic keepers across an archipelago must come together to save their islands from an environmental catastrophe, to Jacob Weisman at Tachyon Publications, with Jaymee Goh editing, for publication in winter 2022, by Mary C. Moore at Kimberley Cameron & Associates (world English).
Author of WHEN HARRY MET HARRY Sydney Smyth‘s BRIDESMATES, an LGBTQ romance about a brokenhearted man who reluctantly agrees to be a male bridesmaid (a “bridesmate”) in his BFF’s wedding and finds romance along the way, to Rose Hilliard at Audible Originals, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2021, by Emily Sylvan Kim at Prospect Agency, on behalf of et al Creative (world).
Syrian Canadian author, public speaker, and LGBTQ refugee activist Danny Ramadan‘s THE FOGHORN ECHOES, an #OwnVoices novel that begins in war-torn Syria, where a forbidden romance between two boys culminates in a traumatic incident, the echoes of which reverberate through their adult lives in Vancouver and Damascus, to David Ross at Penguin Canada, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Rachel Letofsky at CookeMcDermid.
Autistic debut author Sunyi Dean‘s THE BOOK EATERS, in which a lesbian Book Eater, forced into arranged marriages, gives birth to a Mind Eater and loves her son so fiercely she becomes a monster herself to save him from her family’s violent ways, to Lindsey Hall at Tor, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, for publication in winter 2022, by Naomi Davis at BookEnds (NA).
Author of LAKEWOOD Megan Giddings‘s THE WOMEN COULD FLY, pitched as reminiscent of Kelly Link and Ottessa Moshfegh, about a Black bisexual woman on a journey to come to terms with the loss of her mother, who disappeared mysteriously when she was a teenager; set in a world where witches are real, to Rakesh Satyal at Amistad, in a pre-empt, by Dan Conaway at Writers House (NA).
Author-artist Wallace West‘s debut MIGHTY RED RIDING HOOD: A FAIRLY QUEER TALE, the first in a series of reimagined folktales from a queer perspective, starring a sassy boy in a frilly red riding hood who confronts a bullying wolf espousing gender norms, to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown Children’s, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Marietta Zacker at Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency (world).
Jyoti Rajan Gopal‘s DESERT QUEEN, a biography-in-verse which follows the life of beloved Rajasthani drag performer Queen Harish, known as the Whirling Desert Queen of Rajasthan, who, lit by an inner fire and propelled by a family tragedy, defied the gender conventions of middle class Indian life, battled discrimination and intimidation, and eventually grew up to dance with Bollywood movie stars and on stages across the world, illustrated by Svabhu Kohli, to Arthur Levine at Levine Querido, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2023, by Wendi Gu at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (world).
Young Adult Fiction
Amanda Woody‘s debut THEY HATE EACH OTHER, told in dual POVs, a queer enemies-to-lovers romance that follows 17-year-olds who turn to fake dating after a homecoming disaster; their ploy begins to fail spectacularly, though, when unexpected chemistry and past scars interfere, weaving a profound connection between the two, to Dana Leydig at Viking Children’s, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2023, by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).
Author of HOW WE FALL Kate Brauning‘s THE BALLAD OF DINAH CALDWELL, a futuristic Ozarks thriller pitched as inspired by True Grit, in which a queer teenage girl sees her mother and brother murdered by a local kingpin and vows revenge and revolution no matter the cost, to Ashley Hearn at Page Street, with Tamara Grasty editing, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2021, by Bridget Smith at JABberwocky Literary Agency (world English).
Remi England‘s THE ONE TRUE ME AND YOU, a queer romance in which a beloved fanfic author and beauty pageant contestant find love, and learn what it means to be—and stand up for—yourself, to Alexandra Sehulster at Wednesday Books, for publication in winter 2022, by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary Agency (world English).
NYT-bestselling author of CEMETERY BOYS Aiden Thomas‘s untitled fantasy duology, pitched as Aztec Percy Jackson meets the Hunger Games; and another untitled book, pitched as gay Titanic in space, to Holly West at Feiwel and Friends, in a significant deal, in an exclusive submission, in a three-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, fall 2023, and fall 2024, by Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).
Editor-at-large for LinkedIn and former staff writer for Wired and Fortune Jessi Hempel’s THE FAMILY OUTING, pitched as FUN HOME meets Modern Family, about her family’s transformation from the portrait of traditional charm to a new incarnation, with almost all of them embracing their queer identities, an expansion of her viral Time magazine cover story and a new definition of what it means to live in our changing world, to Rakesh Satyal in his first acquisition at Harper One, in a major deal, at auction, by Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor (NA).
Reality TV star of the Bravo series Shahs of Sunset Reza Farahan’s MEMOIRS OF A GAY SHAH, a humorous and at times heartbreaking story about being gay, Muslim, Jewish, and Persian in America, to Kate Roddy at Sourcebooks, by Steve Troha and Katherine Odom-Tomchin at Folio Literary Management.
Professor of English literature at DePaul University Francesca Royster‘s FIERCE LOVE: A MEMOIR OF BLACK QUEER MOTHERHOOD, examining the conception of what family means, the complexity of queer parenthood, and the influence of race on everyday acts of parenting in a biracial household, to Chelsea Cutchens at Abrams Press, for publication in fall 2022, by Claire Anderson-Wheeler at Regal Hoffmann & Associates (world).
Recipient of an inaugural David Prize philanthropic grant Edafe Okporo‘s ASYLUM, a blend of memoir and manifesto by a young, gay, Nigerian refugee who sought asylum in America after fleeing his home in the wake of violent hate crimes, examining the American asylum process, the modern refugee’s experience—especially the unique challenges facing LBGTQ+ refugees—and his path toward becoming the executive director of the RDJ Refugee Center in Harlem, to Zachary Knoll at Simon & Schuster, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (NA).
Creator of #TheKentTest and culture critic Clarkisha Kent‘s FAT OFF, FAT ON, a humorous memoir about a fat Black woman, telling the story of how a fat body isn’t a cosmic punishment and is one you can grow into, how sometimes family doesn’t always mean home, and sharing ill-fated love affairs of the bisexual kind, to Lauren Hook at Feminist Press, for publication in fall 2022, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world English).
You know those cover designs that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Well this is one of them, so I’m thrilled to be revealing the re-design of Handmade Holidays by ‘Nathan Burgoine, rereleasing* on December 1! (Yes, that’s next week!) Here’s the story:
At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.
A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born. As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.
Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late. Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet.
*Handmade Holidays was originally published by NineStar Press in 2017
‘Nathan Burgoine is a tall queer guy who writes mostly shorter queer fictions, though novels do happen. He tends to write fiction with a dash of the speculative, usually contemporary, and always with queer characters. He’s published dozens of short stories, and released his first collection of short fiction, Of Echoes Born, a series of interconnected short fiction pieces tell a story greater than the sum of its parts.
At the novella length of things, ‘Nathan tends to write queer romance, including his wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gay romance In Memoriam, a trio of holiday-themed romances: Handmade Holidays (chosen family), Faux Ho Ho (fake boyfriend), and the upcoming Village Fool (an April Fools’ Day prank gone wrong). He also co-wrote Saving the Date with Angela S. Stone, as part of the 1Night Stand series, a romance which explores surviving and thriving after a hate crime.
His first speculative fiction novel, Light (think a gay superhero, only not very good at it yet), was a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and his first YA novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks (a teen boy with a tendency to plan out his whole live has to scrap his plans when he develops a teleportation problem), was a finalist for the YA Prix Aurora Award. His other two novels, Triad Blood and Triad Soul (vampires, wizards, and demons, oh my!), are contemporary urban fantasies set in Ottawa.
‘Nathan lives in Ottawa, Canada, with his husband and his rescued husky. You can find him online at nathanburgoine.com.
Today on the site I am so excited to reveal the cover of The Last 8 author Laura Pohl’s first book in her brand new series, The Grimrose Girls! A Beautiful Doom releases from Sourcebooks on August 3rd and features two f/f couples, a demi-bisexual lead, and an aroace lead, and if dark academia and fairytales are your jam, this is your next can’t-miss read. Check out the blurb:
The Descendants meets Pretty Little Liars in this story of four troubled friends, one murdered girl, and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed. Reimagined fairytale heroines must uncover connections to their ancient curses and forge their own paths… before it’s too late.
After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled Ariane’s death as a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.
When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events that no one could have predicted. As the girls retrace their friend’s final days, they discover a dark secret about Grimrose—Ariane wasn’t the first dead girl.
They soon learn that all the past murders are connected to ancient fairytale curses…and that their own fates are tied to the stories, dooming the girls to brutal and gruesome endings unless they can break the cycle for good.
And here’s the iconic cover, designed by Maggie Edkins and Nicole Hower!
But wait, there’s more! We also have the first two chapters: read on!
The first day of school started with a funeral.
This was not, of course, the usual for the Grimrose Académie for Elite Students, whose student body mostly lived to their eighties, and went on to command corporate conglomerates or win Academy Awards, Nobel Prizes and other such trifles. Therefore, everyone was shocked, and whispers were heard in every corner of the castle, from the library tower to the girl’s bathroom on the fifth floor.
The whispers, especially, followed Eleanor Ashworth.
Ella gazed upward self-consciously, tightening her hand on the strap of her bag. “How long do you think this is going to last?”
Eleanor, known to her friends only as Ella, was a small girl of seventeen, with light blond hair cut to her chin and equally light brown eyes, reddened cheeks, freckles all over her face and arms, and clothes that had seen better days. The whispers had followed her before, but never with such commitment.
“A month, if we’re lucky.” Yuki, Ella’s best friend answered, a crease appearing in her ivory forehead.
“We won’t be,” Rory muttered, glaring at a group of younger girls who dared to dart eyes in their direction. “What the hell are you looking at?”
“You do realize that attracts even more attention, right?” Yuki said, raising an eyebrow.
“At least I’ll get a reason to fight,” Rory replied with a satisfied shrug.
The Grimrose Académie was exclusive not only in name, but also in reputation. Its location in Switzerland and the exorbitant prices ensured that only the richest and most powerful were able to attend. It sat on one of Alps’ most beautiful lakes and boasted a giant fairytale-like castle with four towers and white marble, gardens extending beyond the mountains that surrounded them, and a crystalline lake to complete the view.
Studying at Grimrose was a guarantee of your future. When you studied at Grimrose, nothing could ever go wrong.
Except that on the eve of the first day of school, one of the Académie’s most exceptional students had drowned in the lake.
For most students, it meant an uproar. For the Académie, it meant an open line for calling parents reassuring the safety of their children, and keeping the death out of the papers. Drowned in the lake besides the school, alone.
But for Ella, Yuki, and Rory, it wasn’t just another tragedy. Ariane Van Amstel had been their best friend.
Ella avoided the stares and the whispers, knowing all the students wanted to ask her the same questions. Had she been suicidal? Did she know how to swim? Did Ella know she was sad? And why hadn’t Ella helped her?
The last question was the worst, the reminder a sting.. How could she not know if one of her best friends had done the unthinkable? Ariane had been happy, daughter of a rich businessman from Holland and with a bright future ahead of her. Just like everyone in the Académie.
Well, everyone except Eleanor Ashworth.
The worst part about the stares was how they made her feel ashamed, because she ought to have done something. She should have acted. She should have saved her friend, because that’s what friends did.
Ella stepped forward in the cafeteria line, looking at their lonely table in the corner. Everyone else in the cafeteria was lively, friends gathering for the first time in three months, groups coming together with only happiness in their minds. But for them, the table was missing something. Stacie caught her looking wistfully at the popular table, and she gave the smallest nod to her stepsister.
Stacie and Silla, her twin stepsisters, belonged to Grimrose in a way that Ella couldn’t. They paid full tuition. Ella was the scholarship student.
In truth, Stacie and Silla owed their place to Ella. The Académie had personally invited her, but her stepmother ruled that she would go only as long as there had been openings for her two daughters. That had been five years ago. Sharon said if Ella wanted to go to an expensive school, she had to deserve it.
Rory slammed her tray on their table as they settled down. The table felt too big for them now. There was a space where Ariane was supposed to be, at the table she had chosen herself. It felt like a part of her was missing, and Ella could not find anything big enough to hide that absence.
The three girls sat in silence. Ella finished her lunch and opened her bag to pick a pair of knitting needles.
“Knitting already?” Rory asked, chewing with her mouth open.
“This is just…” Ella started. “I promised Ari. Couldn’t finish it because Sharon kept nagging me last week. So now I have to finish it before… before…”
She didn’t finish her sentence, letting out a frustrated breath. Ella knew she was ranting. That she was stuck in a loop. She had to finish her goodbye present. If she didn’t, then…
The good thing was that Ella’s brain could not imagine a consequence worse than the situation they were already in.
“The memorial is this afternoon,” Ella said. “I promised it. I’m doing it. Ella Ashworth doesn’t let her friends down.”
Not even if they were dead, she thought to herself.
Yuki Miyashiro waited for her friends in the garden.
She stood perfectly still as other students passed her, glancing at the tall lonely figure with ivory white skin and dark hair like a raven’s feathers that fell over her shoulders, turning their heads when they met the merciless black eyes.
The memorial was being held in the garden, the only place that could hold all the students, despite being inconveniently close to the lake where Ariane had drowned.
When Rory and Ella showed up, they went in silence together. The gardens were lush and covered in flowers and bright tones of green, the last touches of summer.
“You all right?” Ella asked, and for a moment, Yuki’s stomach twisted in guilt. She should be the one asking the question.
Ella had been her best friend since their first day of school, when Ella had declared Yuki’s shoes were the most beautiful she’d ever seen, and therefore both of them had to be friends. Only later Ella confessed that she didn’t like the shoes that much, but that she found complimenting people was always the best way to make friends.
Yuki wouldn’t know. She didn’t have a lot of friends.
“I’m all right,” Yuki answered, even though it was a lie.
Ella pulled her knitting from her bag. Ella always needed something to do with her hands. She took a deep breath, and Rory glanced at them both.
“You’ve been taking the pills?” Rory asked.
“Yeah,” Ella replied. “Wait, you think I haven’t?”
“That’s not what she said,” Yuki interrupted.
“I’ve been taking them.”
Rory looked at Yuki for reassurance, but Yuki could offer nothing. Ella had been diagnosed with severe OCD and anxiety over a year ago, and it was still an adjustment..
It was a short walk. Every student was wearing their uniform, liberty blue skirts and pants, white shirts and silver ties and periwinkle blue blazers, a crowd of blue descending the path. The rain had stopped but the clouds had stayed, and the sky was gray like the mountaintops. Students started filling the front, but Yuki preferred the back.
Ariane’s parents were standing in the front row. There was no coffin—they would take the body home, sealed up so no one would ever see the bright red flaming head of hair, but there was a picture of her. Yuki avoided Ari’s eyes, and stared at the ground.
Ella had sat down almost immediately on the chair, and Yuki closed her eyes, but there were the whispers, talking of the bloated body, talking of Ariane drowning, her body sinking into the lake, and how they had found her, face up, barely recognizable. Accident. Suicide. Same thing. It didn’t matter. She was dead.
When Reyna Castilla stepped to the pulpit, Yuki was almost glad to hear her stepmother’s voice.
“It’s with great sorrow we are gathered here today,” she started. “One of our most promising students has been taken from us so abruptly. Ariane was a great student, and beloved by all. It’s difficult to describe how terrible her loss…”
Yuki tuned all of it out. Reyna didn’t know Ariane enough to truly understand what it meant to lose her. Her loss was pure, untainted by knowing and loving Ariane.
Yuki’s loss was not pure.
When she looked up, she saw another face in the crowd. Edric, Ariane’s ex-boyfriend. Only one week after he and Ari had broken up, he’d been with someone else. All over each other in the halls.
Yuki wished she could watch him choke.
To calm herself down, she recited the facts of the case to herself.
Ariane did not know how to swim. Ariane would not go near the lake at night. Ariane would not leave without saying goodbye. But there had been no foul play discovered.
Reyna’s eulogy ended, and Ari’s father took over the microphone, giving another thankful speech. All the students in the school were courteous enough to pretend they cared, even though Ariane did not belong with them.
She belonged to us.
Yuki’s heart beat faster in her chest.
The memorial dissolved little after that. Ella got up before any of them could stop her and walked decidedly over to Ariane’s parents. Yuki could almost hear what Ella was saying. She could imagine her words would be firm and kind. A flash of a smile from Ariane’s mother, a hug, Ella handing them the sweater she’d finished.
Someone else approached Yuki, and she turned to see her stepmother.
Reyna rarely looked tired, but today, Yuki could glimpse something raw in her, as if she’d lowered a barrier that wouldn’t be lowered again in the next hundred years.
Reyna didn’t look like she was old enough to be Yuki’s stepmother. Her medium brown skin was flawless, and her rich chocolate brown hair fell in generous waves over her shoulders. She dressed the part of the Headmistress at least, today a dark red dress that was both formal and elegant.
“Walk back with me?” Reyna asked, gesturing to the castle.
Yuki obeyed, as she always did. Perfect posture, walking calmly side by side. Their shoulders never touched. The silence stretched as they climbed.
“How are you doing?” Reyna asked at last, not unkindly.
Yuki did not answer for a moment. She knew what was expected of her. She’d seen the answer in Ella’s hands, in Ella’s gestures, in Ella’s words. She was supposed to be holding up, to accept her loss gracefully, to think of the others.
“Fine,” she answered curtly. “Just fine.”
Reyna paused as they climbed and Yuki was forced to stop her march.
“Yuki, one of your friends just died,” Reyna said. “I’m asking because I know you can’t be all right.”
“Well, I am.”
She spoke the words with such conviction that she almost felt like she could hear them ringing across the gardens, across the leaves and carried by the bird’s wings. I am. I am. I am.
She wouldn’t lose her composure. She was the headmistress’ stepdaughter, after all. Her behavior would always be examined first.
“I’ll ask the police to keep the questions to a minimum,” Reyna said, and Yuki took a deep breath, because she did not lose her composure, because she was always, always, the image of perfect, no matter what happened, and she was not going to lose her cool today. “It’s all routine.”
“I’m just preparing you for what’s to come,” she said. “I don’t want to make this worse for you. I know how hard it must be.”
Except Reyna didn’t know.
She had no idea.
She could never have any idea at all, because Ariane was dead, and it was Yuki’s fault.
Laura Pohl is a Brazilian YA author. She likes writing messages in caps lock, quoting Hamilton and obsessing about Star Wars. When not taking pictures of her dog, she can be found curled up with a fantasy or science-fiction book. She makes her home in São Paulo, where she graduated in Literature. She is the author of THE LAST 8 duology, which won the International Latino Book Awards. Her next novel is A BEAUTIFUL DOOM, which opens the Grimrose Girls duology. Learn more about her on her website (www.onlybylaura.com), and make sure to follow her on twitter, instagram, and pinterest.
Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of The Papercutter by Cindy Rizzo (author of Exception to the Rule), which kicks off the Split series, about a divided United States in a Dystopian future. It releases from Bella Books on June 22, 2021, and here’s the story:
A deeply polarized and ungovernable United States of America has separated into two nations―the God Fearing States (GFS) and the United Progressive Regions (UPR).
Judith Braverman, a teenager living in an Orthodox Jewish community in the GFS, is not only a talented artist accomplished in the ancient craft of papercutting, she also has the gift of seeing into peoples’ souls―and can tell instantly if someone is good or evil.
Jeffrey Schwartz has no love for religion or conformity and yearns to escape to the freedom of the UPR. When he’s accepted into an experimental pen pal program and paired with Dani Fine, an openly queer girl in the UPR, he hopes that he can finally find a way out.
As danger mounts and their alarm grows, Judith embeds a secret code in her papercuts so that she and Jeffrey can tell Dani what’s happening to Jews in the GFS without raising suspicions from the government. When the three arrange a quick, clandestine meeting, Jeffrey is finally faced with the choice to flee or to stay and resist. And Judith is reeling from a pull toward Dani that is unlike anything she has ever felt before.
Cindy Rizzo is the author of three novels, Getting Back (2015, Ylva Publishing), Love Is Enough (self-published, 2014), and Exception to the Rule (self-published, 2013), which won the 2014 Goldie for Best Debut Author. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Unwrap These Presents (Ylva), Conference Call (Bella Books), Language of Love (Ylva), and Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars (Flashpoint Publ.). Cindy has a long career in social justice philanthropy and has served on the boards of many LGBTQ organizations, including currently, Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE). She is a member of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBTQ synagogue. She lives in NYC with her wife and their three cats. They have two adult sons and three wonderful granddaughters.
Today on the site we’re getting a first look at the cover of Prize Money by Celeste Castro, a contemporary lesbian sports romance set on the professional rodeo circuit(!) that releases from Interlude Press on May 11, 2021! Here’s the story:
Eva Angeles is a professional barrel racer headed for her third world title when a competition mishap throws her in the path of an on-the-loose bull. She is saved from impending disaster by a tall, dark, and handsome bullfighter—a woman. Toma Rozene is an equestrian stuntwoman fresh off the set of a blockbuster film when a family emergency calls her home to help run the family business: rescuing fallen rodeo riders before blustering bulls and bucking broncos trample their dreams. Eva and Toma’s shared passions and competitive spirits make friendship easy, but, as their feelings deepen, they must decide if the divergent futures they seek will stand in the way of love.
And here’s the powerful cover by none other than C.B. Messer!
Celeste Castro, she/her, is an American Mexican, Own Voices author from small-town, rural Idaho, where most of her stories take place. She grew up with learning disabilities, though she always kept a journal. When she was a young adult, court-ordered volunteer work helped her find her way—community outreach. In 2009, she graduated from Seattle University with a Master of Public Administration. She began writing fiction in 2015. Her writing credits include HOMECOMING, Bella Books, 2017. LEX FILES, Bella Books, 2018. WE’VE GOT THE POWER, Brisk Press, 2018. THE TAKING, Bella Books, 2019, SAVE THE DATE, Bella Books 2021 and PRIZE MONEY, Interlude Press, 2021. In addition to fiction, she is a staff writer with Hispanecdotes, an online magazine for Latinx writers, where she publishes essays and poetry.
These are tough times, and if you, like me, particularly appreciate books that balance fun escapism with not entirely pretending there is an idyllic and just world around you, then Erin Gough has good news for you, in the form of Amelia Westlake (or, as it was published in the US, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here). It’s a delightful opposites-attract dual-POV contemporary f/f YA romance with one of my absolute favorite kinds of MC: high bookish IQ meets low emotional/social IQ, set at a school for the privileged that’s got some major issues. Or, as the official blurb goes:
Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating.
But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?
Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover of The Wasteland by Harper Jameson and W.A.W. Parker, a historical novel releasing January 5, 2021 that imagines the life of poet T.S. Eliot. Here’s the blurb:
It’s the roaring twenties and London’s elite enjoys a Great Gatsby lifestyle. Poets like Robert Frost are the rock stars, attracting thousands of fans to each of their readings. Gay nightclubs titillate as a youth sub-culture thrives. But beneath the veneer, fascism’s message of nationalism, traditional values, and violent intolerance is on the rise.
Poetically written, The Wasteland follows T.S. Eliot’s rise from obscure bank clerk to the world’s most famous poet. But more than anything, it explores his profound struggle to accept his sexuality. The book weaves a narrative inspired by Eliot’s poems, his letters, and his iconic characters, and is as much a meditation on art, intolerance, and demagoguery as it is a story about the poet’s life.
And here’s the deliciously deco cover, designed by Mark Karis!
When HARPER JAMESON graduated from Brown University with a history degree, there was no inkling that a career as a writer would follow. After running a successful business for years, then launching the Social Impact Conference to support business owners, artists, and activists dedicated to positive social change, Harper realized that storytelling was fundamental to improving the world and that history housed the greatest stories of them all. Harper especially enjoys finding important but forgotten, or misunderstood, figures from the past and bringing them back to life.
W.A.W Parker focuses on telling stories about queer people in history in order to reclaim our cultural legacy. His debut novel, The Divine Proportions of Luca Pacioli, is out now. When he’s not busy rewriting his own queer historical musical, he’s enjoying his husband Raul’s cooking.