As we all bid Good Riddance to 2020, a quick thank-you post from me to close out this true disaster of a year:
Huge thank you to all of the LGBTQReads donors and Patrons who keep this place running and give me some necessary justification for all the time I spend on it <3
One of the things that money goes to is the assistants who help with the tremendous amount of formatting and linking that goes into a site like this, and who make the lovely cover collages I absolutely cannot – huge thank-you to them: Rachel Strolle, Shauna Morgan, Angie, and Mark O’Brien seriously helped carry this site through the year.
Massive thanks to all those who promoted the site and helped it find a larger audience. This year the most special thanks in that regard goes to @spideysunflower, who mentioned it in a reply to Rick Riordan, including some screenshots, and literally gained the Twitter account thousands of followers overnight.
Also very grateful to the booktubers, bloggers (especially at Book Riot and the Lesbrary) who direct people here, and the authors who put shoutouts to the site on their own websites.
And while we’re on authors who are tremendous friends of the site, I want to take a minute to talk about what was, for me personally, the absolute worst part of 2020: losing Corey Alexander/Xan West. As most people reading this probably know, Corey’s work was incredibly special, and I don’t just mean their books; I mean the way they worked to make literature a safe space where marginalized people could find themselves, the way they covered things no one else was, the way they made people excited to write books that Corey might like; I know that was definitely on my mind as I worked on the Chanukah rom-com I hope to self-pub next year. They were a literal inspiration – someone who made you want to write and want to do better and want to write the kind of work that would make them happy; there’s really no overstating how rare and special that is.
I feel very privileged to have gotten to feature some of Corey’s work on the site, and if you haven’t already checked it out, there’s never a better time:
Not much more to say after that, but hoping for much happier, healthier times in 2021! I myself have two books coming (That Way Madness Lies/Flatiron Books, March 16 and Cool for the Summer/Wednesday Books, May 11), so look for me to find a billion ways to talk about them, and of course, I’ll be doing more preview posts both here and on Buzzfeed. (Keep an eye on the latter for my upcoming Winter LGBTQ+ YA preview, which has 25 titles!)
Also coming in 2021? The fifth anniversary of LGBTQReads, which I hope to be turning into a fun fundraiser with the help of wonderful authors etc. so more info to come on that! (If you’re someone who’d like to help, please feel free to drop me a line at LGBTQReads@gmail.com!)
Aaaand that’s a wrap on 2020 – stay safe and healthy, and keep on reading under the rainbow <3
I am delighted to have Xan West back on the site today to reveal the cover of their newest Romance, which just happens to take place during Chanukah! Eight Kinky Nights is a kinky polyamorous f/f Romance releasing just in time for the holiday on December 16, 2019, and includes friends to lovers, roommates to lovers, kink lessons, seasoned romance and getting your groove back tropes, and polyamorous, gray ace, pansexual, Jewish, fat, autistic, and disabled representation. (More details in the tags.) Here’s the official blurb, with content warnings located here:Newly divorced stone butch Jordan moves into her friend Leah’s spare room, ready, at 49, to take on a new job and finally explore kink and polyamory. But moving to NYC during the holidays sends grief crashing through her, and Jordan realizes that when she isn’t solely focused on caring for others, her own feelings are unavoidable. Including her feelings for Leah.
51-year-old queer femme Leah, an experienced submissive kink educator who owns a sex shop, has recently come to terms with being gray ace and is trying to rework her life and relationships to honor that.
Leah has a brainstorm to help them both: she offers Jordan eight kink lessons, one for each night of Chanukah, to help Jordan find her feet as a novice dominant, and to create a structured space where Leah can work on more deeply honoring her own consent, now that she knows she’s gray ace.
She’d planned to keep it casual, but instead the experience opens cracks in the armor Leah’s been using to keep people at a distance and keep herself safe. Now she needs to grapple with the trauma that’s been impacting her life for years.
Can these two autistic queers find ways to cope with the changes they are making in their lives and support each other, as they build something new they hadn’t thought was possible?
And here’s the warm, lovely, kinky cover, illustrated by Hannah Zayit!
But wait, there’s more! Here’s an excerpt!
“So I had this idea and I wanted to see what you thought about it,” Leah said.
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“I was thinking about Chanukah, and had this idea for a present for you. You said you wanted to learn how to be a good dominant. I thought I could give you lessons, as your present. One lesson per night of Chanukah.”
Jordan felt her eyes go wide. She really had not been expecting that. “But, I thought you didn’t want to, so you told Iris to do it.” She hadn’t even decided to say that, had just blurted it out. It probably came out wrong. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.”
“No, no it’s fine. I just want to make sure I understand what you meant. You thought I was rejecting you?”
“Well. Yeah. I mean, I’m used to it. You never took me to kink things. You didn’t really want me to go to your class. You seemed all weird after the party.”
“Oh, fuck. I’ve made a mess of this. I’m sorry. I didn’t take you to kink things because I was trying to be respectful of your vanilla-ness. Now that I know you’re kinky…I think I’ve been playing catch-up. I don’t change how I think of things very fast, you know that about me. So…I’ve acted all weird, not because I’m rejecting you, but because I’m awkward with change.”
“That’s the only thing that’s going on? Nothing else is making this weird?” Jordan wanted to be sure.
“Well, I think that’s the main thing that’s going on.”
“Uh huh.” Jordan knew there was something else.
“There’s this other thing I’ve been dealing with, and I’m still figuring out how to handle it. It might’ve had some splash over.”
“Okay. Do you want to tell me about it?”
“I’m not sure I have the words. But yeah I would, maybe. Though not right this minute.”
“Okay. So you really want to give me kink lessons? I don’t want you to feel obligated.”
“Yes, I really want to.”
“That would actually be great. It was okay getting stuff for my toybag with Iris, and I like her and everything, but if you were up for teaching me, I think that would feel…safer, if that makes sense?”
“Yeah, I get that. We have such a deep friendship, it could make a safer place to learn.”
Jordan nodded. “I trust you, and it feels better learning from another autistic person, honestly. You won’t expect me to learn in an allistic way.”
Leah grinned at her. “I definitely will not expect that. I didn’t even consider that aspect of this.”
“It feels like a big deal, for me anyway. I haven’t had the best learning experiences. You know that, you saw how hard college was for me.”
“Yep, I remember. So I was thinking about eight lessons, one per night, though eight nights in a row might be too much, so they can always be postponed.”
“How would you feel about a structure where I do some teaching, then we do a short scene where you get to practice what we covered? And then we could do follow-up, if you have questions or want feedback.”
“So a bit like where Iris taught me some safety stuff about clips, and then I got to try it out?”
“Yeah, but a bit more formal than that. I might even make a handout for the lesson, and it would be a bit longer, probably. Not quite so quick and dirty.”
“I do better if I get to practice, and a handout would help me, actually. I also get things better if you can lead me to realizing them myself, and help me connect to other things I know.”
“Okay, I can work with that. So it sounds like this is something you want to do, then?”
Jordan took several slow breaths and held the idea for a few moments, just to be sure. “Yes. This is a really wonderful present, Leah.”
“I want to be sure it doesn’t fuck things up with our friendship. You mean so much to me, Jordan. I don’t want this to ruin what we have. So we need to keep it strictly about learning, okay?” Leah’s voice was raw.
“I don’t want us to ruin what we have, either. It’s been thirty years, darlin’. We made it this far; I really think we’ll be okay. Our friendship might change, might have new layers to it, move slightly differently. But then, that’s already started, and it seems okay so far, yes?”
Leah nodded. “I might need you to reassure me about this,” she whispered, closing her eyes.
“I can do that. We have a solid foundation. I truly believe that. We’re just adding new aspects to what we already have. Sex, kink, romance…none of that is more important than friendship.” Jordan watched Leah’s face carefully to see how she reacted to the fact that she’d snuck the word romance in there. A small tentative smile grew on Leah’s face, like she was rolling the words around in her head, wanting to believe in them. She definitely didn’t seem to object to the word. Jordan would just leave it there, for now.
Eight Kinky Nights is available for preorder from Gumroad and Amazon and releases December 16, 2019!
Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, an autistic queer fat Jewish genderqueer writer with multiple disabilities who spends a lot of time on Twitter.
Xan’s erotica has been published widely, including in the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “Trying Submission,” won the 2018 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Their collection of queer kink erotica, Show Yourself to Me, will be rereleased soon.
After over 15 years of writing and publishing queer kink erotica short stories, Xan has begun to also write longer form queer kink romance. Their recent work still centers kinky, trans and non-binary, fat, disabled, queer trauma survivors. It leans more towards centering Jewish characters, ace and aro spec characters, autistic characters, and polyamorous networks. Xan has two other queer kink romances currently available: Nine of Swords, Reversed and Their Troublesome Crush.
First off, though, I somehow forgot to mention the Lesbrary in my last Around the Blogosqueer post?? Clearly I take for granted everyone knows them and their work, but if you don’t, FYI the site is run by Danika Leigh Ellis, who also writes lots of LGBTQ posts for BookRiot. As a bonus, they’re primarily not Romance focused, which makes them an especially nice counterpoint to this and most other LGBTQ sites.
And now, narrowing in from full-blown web sites to much more specific resources, today Around the Blogosphere is focused on some really excellent posts and databases dedicated to helping you find some of the most underrepresented, under-covered LGBTQA+ reads out there!
Around the Blogosqueer is a feature used to highlight other LGBTQIAP lit throughout the internet, and today, we’re focusing on some great sites where you can find the pros in your area of interest! Some of these sites have been asked already to do a little writeup for us on exactly what they do (and if you haven’t, but your siteis here, please consider this an open invite to submit!), but for now, here’s where you can find some fabulous bloggers and book recs!
Sistahs on the Shelf – SotS is run by Rena, a Black lesbian who reviews Black lesbian books. You can also follow on Twitter at @SotS!
WoC in Romance – this is a site highlighting all Romance written by WoC, but there’s a page just for LGBTQ Romances. It’s run by Rebekah Weatherspoon, whose name you may recognize as being a prolific author of LGBTQ lit herself! You can follow on Twitter at @WOCInRomance, and make sure you check out their Patreon; link is in the pinned tweet!
Gay YA – This fab site is dedicated to LGBTQIAP YA and does great theme weeks and bi-monthly book chats under #GayYABookClub! Vee is the Head Enby in Charge (and also runs the @trans_lit Twitter account!), but there’s a whole great staff (including author Katherine Locke, who generally runs the book club chats) and a wide breadth of knowledge here. You can also find them on Twitter, Tumblr…basically everywhere.
LGBT YA -Author Lauren James runs this Tumblr-based review site, and she was actually our very first Around the Blogosqueer interviewee, so more on her and the site here!
Lambda Literary – The one and only! Follow along for reviews, awards, fellowships, and more!
Queer Sci-Fi– Exactly what it sounds like! Nicely extensive resource, covering more media than just books.
Queer SFF – Also what it sounds like! It hasn’t been active in a few months but stands as a good resource for finding solid titles from 2016 and prior. More YA-centric than the above.
Queer Comics– All comics, all queer, all the time! Run by Audrey and Taneka, this is an incredible resource for both print and web comics, and you can find them on Twitter, too, at @QueerComics.
Black Lesbian Literary Collective – To nab from their site, “The Black Lesbian Literary Collective creates a nurturing and sustainable environment for Black lesbian and queer women of color writers.” Looking for more reviews of Black lesbian fic? Ta da! The site is new, so it’s not packed with posts just yet, but there is already an active radio show linked to it. Find them on Twitter at @LezWriters.
The Lesbian Review – While m/m review sites are everywhere, it’s delightful to see a site with a pretty big following that does strictly f/f. Run by Sheena, you can find them on Twitter at @LesbianReviews!
And finally, though it’s really a single post I’m highlighting, my new favorite amazing resource is Reviews of trans and/or non-binary lit by trans and/or non-binary reviewers on Kink Praxis, which is Corey Alexander/Xan West’s author site. This is such an excellent and necessary service, and my great thanks both to them and to all the reviewers who’ve allowed their reviews to be linked!
Got your own favorite resources? Give them a shout in the comments!