Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover forIt’s Pride, Baby!by Allen R. Wells and Illustrated by Dia Valle (Vah-yay), a love letter to the Black gay community that instills hope, assurance, and love within young readers releases May 7, 2024! Here’s the story:
Lift your soul to the sky. Like summer sunbeams― Don’t live behind clouds. You shine!
It’s Black Gay Pride Day in Washington, DC, and two gay parents are getting their child ready for a day at the National Mall. From cheerful neighbors to colorful outfits to fireworks, the vast LGBTQIA+ community is represented here in body, spirit, and pride flags galore! Allen R. Wells’s poetic text perfectly captures the expansiveness of a parent’s love, while Dia Valle’s joyful art bursts off the page. Here are words that children in every family—no matter its color, size, or shape—need to hear.
We are so proud of you!
And here’s the gorgeous, joyful cover, illustrated by Dia Valle and designed by Mariam Quraishi!
Allen R. Wells (he/him) is an author and engineer. He writes picture books to young adult novels, writing a diverse range of stories that reflect the multifaceted black and queer experiences that exist in the world. Born in the late-late 80s in Jackson, MS, and reared in the 90s and early 00s, Allen is definitely a product of Nickelodeon, 90s R&B, and hopeful endings. He’s not on social media that often…LOL, but you can follow him on Twiiter+IG @allenwriteswell allenwriteswell.com
Dia Valle (he/they) is an illustrator and teacher born in Virginia and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He loves to draw cute outfits, tender moments, and colorful settings. They spend all their free time meticulously decorating their tiny apartment. Diavalle.com
Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of Fault by Lumen Reese, an adult sci-fi reimagining of Moby Dick releasing August 24, 2023, complete with an m/m romance between the stand-ins for Ishmael and Queequeg. Here’s the story:
A grieving mother.
A ship crewed by the damned.
The Thing swam out of the magma in the Earth’s core and clawed its way up through the San Andreas Fault on the night that a chunk of the California coast sank into the Pacific. Millions died, including the two children of Lucille ‘Ceely’ Bennett, an accomplished engineer stranded in rural Montana when the cataclysm occurred. Ceely builds a submarine, complete with mechanical arms and a set of harpoons -the biggest on the market- with the intention of going down among the ruins of Los Angeles to collect her daughters’ bodies.
A mother’s love -and fury- drive her to hunt the creature across oceans and decades in this story of grief and revenge.
Today on the site, I’m delighted to reveal the cover of Written With Pride, an all-queer anthology edited by Viveca Shearin, Claudine Griggs, and Fable Tethras, and releasing from Not a Pipe Publishing on June 1, 2023!
Created in opposition to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, Written With Pride is an anthology published by Not a Pipe Publishing exclusively filled with short stories by authors who all belong to the broad and beautiful spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community. The stories range in style and subject matter, as well as genre-from contemporary to speculative fiction. Not all of them have happy endings, but all of them were penned by members of our community who still believe in their voice.
The contents include:
Kiersten Adams – “Anatomy of the Universe and Us”
J.L. Henker – “Are You Really Going to Cook That?”
Ethan Jones – “Bull by the Horns,” “Ferryman”
Marianne Xenos – “Doomcookies and Donuts”
Lina Gerhard – “From the Vine”
Erin Edwards – “Good Bye”
Gwen Tolios – “Isolation Training”
Oliver Fosten – “Wolf Skin”
Katie Kent – “I Hear You”
Summer Jewel Keown – “Scion”
Tucker Struyk – “The Way I see It,” “Getaway”
And here’s the rainbow cover, designed by editor Fable Tethras!
Fable Tethras is a journalist-turned-author who writes depressing science fiction and less depressing fantasy. Their short story, Shrinking, was awarded an honorable mention in the L Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest and is published in Not A Pipe Publishing’s Anthology Shout: An Anthology of Resistance Short Fiction and Poetry. They live in Albuquerque, NM, where they spend most of their time writing or playing board games.
Viveca Shearin started off as a freelance editor who joined Not a Pipe Publishing to work on a single novel and has worked her way to the top. In 2020 she was promoted to co-publisher and co-owner. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. When she’s not working, Viveca can often be found with a big mug of tea (or coffee), her face buried in a good book or video game, and her beloved cat nearby for company.
Claudine Griggs’ fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Escape Pod, Zahir Tales, New Theory, Leading Edge SF, Not a Pipe Publishing, Upper Rubber Boot Books, Mount Island, Ligeia, Flora Fiction, etc. Her story “Helping Hand” appears as an episode in the Netflix series “Love, Death & Robots.” Her first novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, was released on June 1, 2020, and a book-length story collection, Firestorm, was released on March 13, 2022. She has two nonfiction books out regarding trans/gender issues as well. Claudine is a long-time member of the Authors Guild and a member of Science Fiction Writers of America.
Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover for For Never & Always by Helena Greer, a pan and demi second-chance m/f romance releasing November 28th from Forever! Here’s the story:
One surprise inheritance, two best friends (now bitter exes), and three months to prove he loves her, forever and always, in this swoony second-chance romance for fans of Alexandria Bellefleur and Ashley Herring Blake.
Hannah Rosenstein should be happy: after a lonely childhood of traipsing all over the world, she finally has a home as the co-owner of destination inn Carrigan’s All Year. But her thoughts keep coming back to Levi “Blue” Matthews: her first love, worst heartbreak, and now, thanks to her great-aunt’s meddling will, absentee business partner.
When Levi left Carrigan’s, he had good intentions. As the queer son of the inn’s cook and groundskeeper, he never quite fit in their small town and desperately wanted to prove himself. Now that he’s a celebrity chef, he’s ready to come home and make amends. Only his return goes nothing like he planned: his family’s angry with him, his best friend is dating his nemesis, and Hannah just wants him to leave. Again.
Levi sees his chance when a VIP bride agrees to book Carrigan’s—if he’s the chef. He’ll happily cook for the wedding, and in exchange, Hannah will give him five dates to win her back. Only Hannah doesn’t trust this new Levi, and Levi’s coming to realize Hannah’s grown too. But if they find the courage to learn from the past . . . they just might discover the love of your life is worth waiting for.
And here’s the gorgeous cover by the inimitable Leni Kauffman!
Helena Greer writes contemporary romance novels that answer the question, what if this beloved trope were gay? She was born in Tucson, and her heart still lives there although she no longer does. After earning a BA in writing and mythology, and a master’s in library science, she spent several years blogging about librarianship before returning to writing creatively. Helena loves cheesy pop culture, cats without tails, and ancient Greek murderesses. Follow her on Twitter + Instagram @blumagaincurios.
Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover of yet another ace offering by Amanda DeWitt! Wren Martin Ruins it Allreleases November 7, 2023 from Peachtree Teen, and here’s the story:
From the author of Aces Wild comes a hilarious and compassionate romantic comedy for fans of Casey McQuiston and Netflix’s Love Is Blind!
Now that Wren Martin is student council president (on a technicality, but hey, it counts) he’s going to fix Rapture High. His first order of business: abolish the school’s annual Valentine’s Day dance, a drain on the school’s resources and general social nightmare—especially when you’re asexual.
His greatest opponent: Leo Reyes, vice president and all-around annoyingly perfect student, who has a solution to Wren’s budget problem—a sponsorship from Buddy, the anonymous “not a dating” app sweeping the nation. Now instead of a danceless senior year, Wren is in charge of the biggest dance Rapture High has ever seen. He’s even secretly signed up for the app. For research, of course.
But when Wren develops capital F-Feelings for his anonymous match, things spiral out of control. Wren decided a long time ago that dating while asexual wasn’t worth the hassle. With the big night rapidly approaching, he isn’t sure what will kill him first: the dance, his relationship drama, or the growing realization that Leo’s perfect life might not be so perfect aftfter all.
In an unforgettably quippy and endearingly chaotic voice, Wren Martin explores the complexities of falling in love while asexual.
And here’s the gorgeous cover, designed by Lily Steele and illustrated by Ella!
But wait, there’s more! Behold an exclusive excerpt from Wren Martin Ruins it All!
There’s something about decision-making and running full tilt down an empty hallway that doesn’t pair well. I have approximately five seconds to get to the student council room. I can make it in four if I don’t slow down. If I’m lucky, the new faculty advisor won’t be there to see my dramatic entrance. If I’m not—well, I’ll worry about that later.
It’s this overconfident mindset that leads me to believe I can yank open the door and enter the classroom at the same time. Which might have worked. If the door hadn’t been locked.
Rest in peace, Wren Martin. You will be missed.
I collide with the door, my forehead smacking neatly against a solid inch and a half of lacquered wood with a clunk! that reverberates through my entire skull. I stumble backward, clutching my forehead like my hands are the only thing keeping my head from splitting open.
Well, that’s one way to knock.
The door opens. “Oh,” Leo says, peeking through the doorway like he’s expecting a package to be delivered. I can actually feel his eyes skating downward, taking in the entire scene. “Are you okay?”
Of course it’s Leo, six feet and two inches worth of perfect teenage boy. Somehow it’s always Leo when it comes to my humiliations, like fate arranges to put us in the same place at the same time of disaster. I’m not sure if I was cursed at birth to screw up or if Leo was cursed to witness it. Considering I’m the one who physically hit the door, I suspect it might be me.
I close my eyes and exhale through my nose. “Why was the door locked?” I say in an exemplary display of patience and restraint.
A pause. “The door was locked?” I hear its futile clicking as Leo tests it. “Oh, I guess it was. Sorry, Wren. Are you sure you’re okay?”
My eyes snap back open and a vein throbs in my forehead. Or maybe that’s just the cranial trauma.
Okay, before you think badly of me, it’s not just the door. Or that fact that I made a fool of myself. Or that I was running late in the first place, necessitating the fool-making. There’s more at play here that you need to understand.
Reasons why I hate Leo Reyes:
He’s tall. I don’t trust tall people. Ryan is five eight in her boots, and that’s pushing it. And she’s my best friend. Leo is not my best friend.
He’s a morning person. A morning person who goes for runs. In the morning. Worse than that, he talks about doing it like it’s normal.
One year in middle school, his locker was directly above mine. This is unforgivable.
He’s just . . . too much. Too pretty, too charming, too tall (did I mention that?). Too perfect. Teachers love him, he got elected to student council without even trying, and he’s the MVP coder of the robotics team, which has awards hanging up in the school’s front office. He doesn’t even have to try to be the best person at this school. It’s like looking at a photo that’s been airbrushed to hell and back. People are meant to have flaws. When they don’t, they make your animal brain go feral.
Once I saw him eat a banana without pulling the strings off. Like—excuse me?
New: he witnessed me run into a locked door.
So you see, nothing about this situation is ideal.
“I’m fine,” I say, brushing past him and into the classroom with whatever dignity I have left. Once my back is to him, I probe my forehead gently with a wince. Oh, that’s going to bruise.
Amanda DeWitt (she/her) is an author (Aces Wild) and librarian, ensuring that she spends as much time around books as possible. She also enjoys Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons-ing, and even more writing—just not whatever it is she really should be writing. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a master’s in library and information science. She lives in Clearwater, Florida, with her dogs, cats, and assortment of chickens. Find her on Twitter @AmandaMDeWitt and Instagram @am.dewitt.
Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover of In the Ring by Sierra Isley, a YA contemporary about a bi Jewish girl named Rose who starts boxing to cope with her anxiety. In the Ring releases September 15, 2023 from Little Press, and here’s the story:
Rose Berman is losing her mind. At least, that’s what everyone at school seems to think. Plagued by panic attacks that started after her mother’s death, Rose is the target of frequent teasing and rumors. But when the star quarterback takes a joke too far, the school’s tattooed, cigarette-smoking time bomb — Elliott King — steps in and punches him in the face. Rose’s therapist recommends she try out a sport to manage her anxiety. She can’t help but think of Elliott – maybe if she could punch like him, she’d feel safer and stronger.
She sticks out like a sore thumb at the boxing gym, but she soon finds power in the sport and a reprieve from her panic attacks. As their worlds intertwine, Rose and Elliott are forced to face their most daunting opponent outside the Ring: their growing feelings for each other.
But Midtown Ring isn’t just a gym. As Rose falls deeper into the world of boxing, she learns Midtown is a front for a late-night, underground fight club where Elliott King is the headliner. Surrounded by violence and destruction, Rose’s anxiety begins to spiral. She starts hallucinating, just like her mother did before her death, leaving her to wonder if everyone at school might be right. If her newfound physical strength can’t keep her grounded in reality, she may be doomed to walk the same path as her mom.
Sierra Isley is a young adult author originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but currently based in Philadelphia, PA. She graduated from Florida State University in 2021 with a degree in Editing, Writing and Media. Outside of writing, her passions include filmmaking, social media communications and drinking chai lattes. IN THE RING is her debut novel. You can visit her website: sierraisley.com for more information.
Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of The Manor House Governessby C.A. Castle, a classics-inspired literary novel with a genderfluid protagonist set amid Cambridge high society, releasing November 7, 2023 from Alcove Press! (The book even includes five period-inspired illustrations, which are certain to be gorgeous.) Here’s the story:
Orphaned young and raised with chilly indifference at an all-boys boarding school, Brontë Ellis has grown up stifled by rigid rules and social “norms,” forbidden from expressing his gender identity. His beloved novels and period films lend an escape, until a position as a live-in tutor provides him with a chance to leave St. Mary’s behind.
Greenwood Manor is the kind of elegant country house Bron has only read about, and amid lavish parties and cricket matches the Edwards family welcomes him into the household with true warmth. Mr. Edwards and the young Ada, Bron’s pupil, accept without question that Bron’s gender presentation is not traditionally masculine. Only Darcy, the eldest son, seems uncomfortable with Bron—the two of them couldn’t be more opposite.
When a tragic fire blazes through the estate’s idyllic peace, Bron begins to sense dark secrets smoldering beneath Greenwood Manor’s surface. Channeling the heroines of his cherished paperbacks, he begins to sift through the wreckage. Soon, he’s not sure what to believe, especially with his increasing attraction to Darcy clouding his vision.
Drawing energy and inspiration from Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, E.M. Forster, and more, while bowing to popular fiction such as Plain Bad Heroines and Red, White, and Royal Blue, The Manor House Governess is a smart, sublimely charming novel destined to become a modern classic.
Want a little peek into the story itself? Check out this excerpt!
Tomorrow the bushes would be stripped of their berries but today they were abundant and blooming. From where Bron stood, naked at the window ledge of the dormitory’s top-most story, he could spy on the gardener clipping away at the stems of a tree. He’d been observing the man’s labored reach toward every branch—the length of his torso, the nod of his head with every snip—inadvertently mirroring this man’s posture as his own fingers dug into the sill’s grooves. Bron held himself out for one last glimpse of his surroundings: the woods on the left, the hills on the right, the pipes trailing the crumbling walls of the school’s east court. All the while he was doing sums in his head.
Below, the gardener descended the ladder, and raised his sleeves to gather the foliage which had fallen into a pyre at the base of the trunk. But captured by birdsong, he looked up to the building’s eaves. What did he see there? What did he make of the lone figure framed by the square lattice window, their shoulders bare and pearlescent, with hair loose and coiling down sharp, rung collarbones, a flat chest exposed? An androgyne statue, or a careless young woman trapped in an all-boys boarding school. A school teacher, perhaps, there through the holidays.
The gardener moved to get a better look when—“Ah, Christ!”—he tripped on a branch, falling to his knees. Above this scene, Bron stepped back and drew the window shut, having finally decided.
Upon arriving in Cambridge, he would take a taxi from the train station to the address on the envelope, a certain Greenwood Manor, which sounded very grand. Google Maps estimated a near two-hour walk to the manor, marked by a red pinpoint, and the weather forecast threatened the usual early-September drizzle, so there was no chance of walking. He couldn’t show up to his new place of employment drenched and smelling of sweat. What would his employer and new pupil think of him, then? He had to make a good first impression.
The television flickered scenes from Merchant Ivory as he dressed. The boys with whom he used to share these quarters had long since returned home for the summer holidays and were due back in the coming days. The place stood barren, no trace of character or belongings left behind except his own, most of which had already been packed away. He could only carry so much, and the remaining boxes would come to him at a later date, set aside and taped as they were in the furthermost corner of the room. Inside them were an assortment of clothes alongside his most prized possessions—sets of books by the Brontë sisters; a collection of Austen novels; those of Hardy, Forster, Woolf, and Shelley—all of them collected over the course of his life from the high-street’s second-hand bookstore, accompanying him through his years like a friend. He opened them up again and again for comfort. He’d highlighted his favorite passages, written notes to himself in the margins, and learned to turn his favorite quotes (Reader, I married him) into a digital scrawl of black calligraphy which he and thousands of others would post and share across their social media channels. His most cherished book, a hardback edition of Jane Eyre with foiled spine, lithograph illustrations, and a ribbon to demarcate his progress, was comfortably tucked away in the bag he’d be taking with him.
He fixed his hair, a bobby pin stuck between his teeth as he angled another in before applying a little bit of mascara and eyeliner. When it smudged, he wiped it away, and applied it again with a steadier hand. But it was no use. He couldn’t get the flick right. He stopped, shut the compact mirror, threw it into the open bag, and turned to watch the screen, comforted by its misty feel, the light it threw across the room, and the soundtrack muffled by aged speakers.
The film had played to his favorite part: a yellow-green poppy field pockmarked red, the display of wild barley and Italian countryside, and those two people who should not have been together by matter of convention, coming together almost in celebration, in tandem with Bron’s defiance of what some might call “normal.” For times had not changed, boundaries continued to exist, and a child born in possession of an external appendage, or lack thereof, must be either one thing or another.
As someone assigned male but who came to be fond of primarily feminine clothing in his early adolescence, this was not a truth Bron had been born into. It had been an otherwise uneventful Friday evening when Bron stumbled upon Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity on the internet, and such power did he find in those words, where “performance” was no longer a thing ascribed to the arts, but a behavior in which we are all complicit. This theory proved to be a major checkpoint in his life, and with a new mantra to follow, he immediately swapped the shapeless, faded trousers and dull patterned hand-me-down shirts for leggings and other much-loved articles procured from the local Oxfam: high-waisted jeans, frilly blouses, and oversized jumpers that fell just below his natural hipline. Apart from the silhouette sculpting him to appear shorter, he was pleased with this newfound style and would eventually get used to walking without the luxury of pockets at his side. On the weekends he’d haunt the local bookstore in a pinafore dress and trail the fields in a maxi skirt, enjoying the way it flapped in the wind, all the while shrinking at the back of the classroom during the week in his stiff collar and baggy school trousers, waiting, cyclically, for his snippet of freedom. It always came back to this claim: It is the clothes that wear us, and not we them, and the notion coiled around his mind like a tourniquet, limiting the flow of other thoughts. He was not performing. He was fashioning himself in an already established social structure. He knew the codes, and from there governed his own being.
C. A. Castle is a writer and editor. He holds a BA in English Language and Literature from King’s College, London, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, period adaptations, and queer studies. He is also a picture book author as well as an anthologist, where he contrasts the old with the new with a view to capturing the zeitgeist. He currently resides in Cambridgeshire.
Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of Cold Girls by Maxine Rae, a Sapphic coming-of-age contemporary YA releasing from Flux on August 22, 2023! Here’s the story:
Eighteen-year-old Rory Quinn-Morelli doesn’t want to die; she wants refuge from reality for even a minute: the reality where she survived the car crash eight months ago, and her best friend, Liv, didn’t. Yet her exasperating mother won’t believe the Xanax incident was an accident, and her therapist is making it increasingly hard to maintain the detached, impenetrable “cold girl” façade she adopted from Liv. After she unintentionally reconnects with Liv’s parents, Rory must decide: will she keep Liv’s and her secrets inside, or will she finally allow herself to break? And if she breaks, what will she unearth amid the pieces?
And here’s the very cool cover, designed by Cynthia Della-Rovere and illustrated by Alisha Monnin!
Maxine Rae has studied writing at Tulane University, Sarah Lawrence College, and StoryStudio Chicago, where she trained under established authors such as two-time National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward. Cold Girls is her first novel. When not writing or working, she enjoys being a gay icon with her sister, dancing around to alternating ballet and disco music in her apartment, and snuggling with her two cats. You can find her on Instagram at @maxinerae_author.
Today on the site I’m delighted to reveal the cover of Kosoko Jackson’s The Forest Demands its Due, a paranormal thriller releasing October 3rd from Quill Tree, an imprint of The Publisher That Needs To Come to the Table and Talk to Its Union Already. For more on the HCP Union and how you can help support its efforts, click here. I also encourage you to use the Bookshop preorder link below, which directly supports the Strike fund. And now, the story:
Regent Academy has a long and storied history in the small, sleepy town of Winslow, Vermont. But so does the vast, dense forest that surrounds its campus. While the prestigious school is known for molding teens into world leaders, its history is far more nefarious—and far more entangled with the forest—than anyone could begin to suspect.
Seventeen-year-old Douglas Jones wants nothing to do with Regent’s king-making; he’s just trying to forget his past and survive his present. But then a student is killed and, by the next day, no one remembers him ever exiting, except for Douglas and the groundskeeper’s son, Everett Everley. As Douglas begins to research what he finds to be a centuries-long curse in the town, he and Everett awaken a horror hidden within the forest. And to save the town, and the school, the forest wants more blood as payment. The question is, will Douglas and Everett be able to pay the debt?
Critically acclaimed author Kosoko Jackson explores how power can—and will—corrupt absolutely and how cycles of violence are perpetuated throughout history in this high-octane, page-turning dark academia mystery of murder and magic.
And here’s the chilling cover, illustrated by Joel Tippie!
Kosoko Jackson is a digital marketer during the day and an author of books that champion queer Black male characters during his free time. When not writing novels that champion holistic representation of black queer men across genres, he can be found obsessing over movies, drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog, or spending far too much time on Twitter. He lives in The New York Metro area with his Golden Retriever, Artemis. YESTERDAY IS HISTORY was his debut young adult novel, published by SourcebooksFire in 2021.
Will, an agender teen, struggles with the haunting aftermath of parental abuse as they forge a new life and love in this novel that is perfect for fans of If These Wings Could Fly and Last Night at the Telegraph Club.
Will is a 17-year-old on the cusp of freedom: freedom from providing and caring for their abusive, addicted mother, freedom from their small town with an even smaller mindset, and the freedom from having to hide who they truly are. When their drug dealer mother dies months before their 18th birthday, Will is granted their freedom earlier than expected. But their mother’s last words haunt Will: She cursed them with her dying breath, claiming her death was their fault. Soon their mother’s drug-dealing past threatens Will’s new shiny future, leaving Will scrambling to find their beloved former foster mother Raz before Child Protective Services or local drug dealers find them first. But how do you reconnect with family and embark on a new love when you’re convinced you destroy everything you touch?
And here’s the beautiful cover, designed by Barbara Grzeslo with art by Jem Milton!
Maya MacGregor is a writer, singer, and artist. Maya sings and writes in Gàidhlig and in English. You can find their bilingual work on tor.com, in Steall magazine (summer 2020), and Uncanny magazine, with poetry in Poets’ Republic and elsewhere. The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, which earned three starred reviews and was a 2022 Kirkus Best Book, was their debut young adult novel.