What does it mean to be a gay man in America today? This diverse collection of stories chronicling the challenges of gay life at various ages shines a light on the progress made and the progress still to come as family expectations, cultural norms, and religious practices continue to influence gay self-perceptions and out and proud identities in America. With openly gay celebrities, homoerotic images, and LGBTQ+ popular media, being gay is becoming increasingly mainstream. Are gay men still different?
Elijah Golden and Justin Monroe are uncle and nephew with eclectic careers, friends, and family in LA, trying to center joy in their lives.Then their worlds turn in ways nobody expects.
Elijah, a dedicated thespian, auditions by day, does theater by night, and works two jobs on weekends. With enough life for three people, he keeps his recently divorced partner Zaire coasting on bliss…until secrets and real-life dramas test their love.
Justin, Elijah’s uncle, is a single father with teenage twins, and a TV journalist who’s been replaced at the anchor desk when new management arrives. No longer in the public eye, living true to his sexuality is something Justin can finally do. Dating and romance—Justin’s ready for fun. Conflicts with fatherhood and career—he’ll have none.
Elijah and Justin seek happily-ever-afters, but are they too busy to notice happy when it’s there?
A traveling spiritualist is found shot to death in an alley late at night with his underwear around his ankles. But the perpetrator is an enigma. Was it the young trick with a drug problem the spiritualist met in the alley? The unusual woman who runs the boarding house where the trick lives? The dead man’s wife, another spiritualist with secrets of her own? The handsome, alcoholic protégé? The beautiful woman who leads the spiritualist’s fan club? Or someone else altogether?
With a list of suspects a mile long, only Detective Heath Barrington will be able to crack the murder. But Heath’s handsome fellow detective, Grant Riker, has an unlikely connection to their prime suspect that reveals a shady past he’s ashamed to admit. With more questions than answers, a séance may be the only way to the truth. Or perhaps the answer is in the cards? While Heath searches for the murderer, he uncovers more dark secrets than he bargained for, and witnesses firsthand the relentless pressure for LGBTQ+ people in the 1940s to stay hidden in the shadows.
By Jess Faraday
1885, East London
Abigail and Gideon are under siege. Noxious fogs have been bringing their clinic waves of indigent patients with inexplicable symptoms, telling wild tales of a demonic presence in the fog. If that’s not enough, someone wants the clinic for themselves, and they’re using the force of law to get it.
On the other side of town, heiress Meg Eisenstadt and her brother Nat live a life of well-intentioned aimless luxury. She dabbles in social justice causes and he pursues alchemy. And in a secret lab in the depths of Whitechapel, disgraced physician Jin Wylie attempts to rebuild his shattered life by performing dubious research for a shadowy cabal.
They live in separate worlds on different trajectories until the mysterious fiend in the fog brings them together.
Abigail and Meg discover a shared passion for social justice, and for one another. But where does that leave her plans with Gideon? And what of the future of the clinic? Gideon has his own monster. Can he keep it in check without Abigail’s constant presence? Does Dr. Wylie’s research hold the solution to Gideon’s problems, or is it the cause of them? And could Nat’s own dabblings be the key to defeating the vicious killer in the fog?
According to Ivan’s sister Anya, Ivan’s tea leaves promise his perfect match is out there somewhere, just waiting to be swept off their feet. Ivan knows Anya’s always right—an annoying trait for a sister if ever there was one.
Ivan’s own knack with tea might not deal with the future, but it’s pretty good at helping with the here and now. When Walt, a tall, dark, and grumpy soldier shows up at his store, NiceTeas, in obvious need of a hand—and a dog-sitter—Ivan rises to the challenge and offers blends to make Walt’s life a little easier. There’s just no way he can help falling for the guy. But Anya says Walt’s not the one for Ivan, and the tea leaves don’t lie.
Is it worth steeping a here-and-now while waiting for the one-and-only? Ivan’s not sure, but everything tells him it’s all just a matter of finding the right blend.
In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers is a thoughtfully curated collection of short stories at the intersection of racial and queer identity. Comprising both the renowned and emerging voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color authors, across multiple countries, and diverse in style, perspective, and theme, In Our Words reflects the complexity and diversity of human experience.
When Franklin—Fin—Ness makes up his mind it tends to stay made. Running, med school, and caring for his healing mother are things Fin never second-guesses. More stubborn than his mind, his heart picked Orion a long time ago. Seeing Orion again proves his heart is still invested, but his temper and fears about their past repeating have Fin wondering if following his heart is worth losing his mind.
Musician and drifter Orion Starr expects ghosts at his mother’s funeral in his rural Georgia town. He never expects one to be his former crush, Fin. Especially since he ghosted the guy in college. The surprises keep coming as Orion waits to spread his mother’s ashes. He runs into friends, an old bully, and the cops, but the redheaded Fin threatens to make Orion do something he hasn’t done in years—look forward to the future.
An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2021 Saints+Sinners Literary Festival.
By Lee Patton
For 21-year-old gay virgin Gabe Rafferty, the first decade of adulthood is unpredictable and intense.
Flat broke upon college graduation, Gabe navigates the passage from menial work to globetrotting corporate drudge, then strives for a real chance at professional fulfillment. His journey exploring his sexuality—from inhibited innocence, to first-love crises, to random hookups—doesn’t seem to lead to the more sensual, committed relationships he wants. Then he meets Marty, an African American art student, and Gabe must face his white working-class background and racist father for a chance at true love.
Throughout, he traverses the joys and hazards of loving a headstrong cast of friends, including a lesbian couple, and Candy, a straight female friend whose life intersects with Gabe’s in unexpected ways.
For Gabe, what happens after coming of age and coming out is a scramble to survive first journeys into sex, love, and livelihood.
Owen is only confident in two places: at work, supporting clients through IT woes, and when he’s sitting around a gaming table in the role of a smooth and charming bard. He’s never acted on the crush he’s had on his physiotherapist—and total cubcake—Toma. Even though Owen’s no longer Toma’s patient, and his crush hasn’t dialed down in the slightest, Owen can’t figure out how to make a move.
When a friend decides to play a prank involving Owen’s contact list, Owen spends the morning of April Fools’ day inadvertently texting smooth and charming thoughts about Toma... to Toma himself.
By the time Owen discovers the prank, things are completely out of control. Discussions of thighs and awards for the World’s Best Chest have been handed out—not to mention they’ve set an accidental coffee date—and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. When this joke finally gets told, Owen’s convinced he’ll be the punchline, but with a little luck and some nudging from his friends, the last laugh might be the best of his life.
It’s 1937, and Heath Barrington is a naïve twenty-two-year-old about to set sail across the Atlantic on theQueen Mary. While on board, he meets the handsome Lord Simon Quimby, who invites Heath to his estate. Heath falls for Simon hard, but Simon soon becomes withdrawn and distant. Is Simon all he appears to be, or is there more to him than meets the eye? And what of the old gypsy curse Simon claims his family is under? Did it really cause his mother’s death, his sister’s suicide, and his father’s murder, or did Simon have something to do with it all? It’s up to Heath to uncover the truth, despite his heart telling him otherwise.
In this prequel to the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series, Heath discovers that first love changes you forever and drives you to become the person you’re destined to be.
As a baron’s youngest son, Hector Somerville has no real prospects. He will not inherit, and he’s overshadowed by two perfect brothers. While searching for ways to improve his situation, Hector finds respite in an invitation to a country estate—and has a second chance at rekindling his illicit affair with Viscount Wentworth, captain of HBMS Dragon. The upcoming fortnight could be everything Hector dreamed of since their disastrous parting.
Wentworth has forsaken love, and yet, memories of guilt and heartache resurface. He loved a boyhood friend once, Hector’s older brother William, until the man left him, trampling his heart in the process. Years later, he wonders if he ever fell out of love. Is his heart bound by William, or can he create a life with Hector?
High schooler Crispin Haugen already has so many identities to sort through—Asian, Scandinavian, not to mention gay. Then a messenger from another world arrives to tell him he also carries the blood of dragons in his veins.
Transported to the Realm of Fire, where dragons and humans live in harmony, Crispin falls for Davix, a brooding, nerdy scholar. But dark mysteries threaten the peace of Crispin’s new world. Without warning, dragons from the Realm of Air unleash a bloody war.
With everything he cares about on the line, Crispin must find the courage to fight...for justice and for love.
The writing of this book was supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.
By St John Karp
Andre met his best friend Amy on a night like tonight. The way Amy tells it she had to stop him from climbing over the bar at Aunty Bob’s to punch the bartender, though if you ask Andre he’ll say, “What? That never happened. I don’t even know what you’re saying to me right now.”
Now Amy is worryingly missing in action, and Andre goes to Aunty Bob’s on a quest to find her. No sooner does he walk in with his depressingly heterosexual date than his best hat is spirited away by a lesbian in the throes of breaking up with her girlfriend. She in turn has it stolen from her when she starts a fight with two twinks at the bar. The hat makes its way around Aunty Bob’s from one head to another, giving glimpses into the dozens of stories playing out at the same time, unaware of each other but colliding in catastrophic ways. Can Andre find Amy before this party devolves into a nightmare of broken hearts, malevolent drag queens, and spontaneous human combustion? Or has it always happened this way, every night, at Aunty Bob’s Quake City Club?
I know what you are. Five words scrawled on a note, and Heath knew his life was now in jeopardy. He had no choice but to confront the blackmailer and find out what proof he had. But what then? Pay up and risk demands for future payments? Or not give in and throw his life away?
The decision’s made for him when the blackmailer turns up dead. Is Heath a murderer? Even he isn’t sure, thanks to several double martinis. Other suspects include a voluptuous neighbor, a smarmy grocer, a ruthless gangster, Heath’s cousin Liz, who was once married to the blackmailer, and Miss Caldwell, a wily librarian who has eyes for the blackmailer’s current wife, Alice. Heath tries to read between the lines to solve the case of a death overdue before he’s arrested for the crime.
Praise from Mystery Scene: "Pederson successfully evokes and shrewdly capitalizes upon the time in which his mystery takes place, using the era’s prejudices and politics to heighten the story’s stakes and more thoroughly invest readers in its outcome. Plausible suspects, persuasive red herrings, and cleverly placed clues keep the pages frantically flipping until the book’s gratifying close."
By Lee Patton
Determined to record every summer day, young history teacher Luke Devlin starts school vacation imagining he’ll describe backcountry adventures in the Rockies and sun-splashed days home in Denver. But all too soon the season veers into crisis, when his older brother faces life-threatening illness and Luke becomes entangled in a love affair that’s as fast-moving and possibly as fatal as his brother’s diagnosis.
As Luke manages the household for his absent parents and struggles with the constant pressure of his unfinished master’s deadline, his fling with a Wyoming rancher grows serious just as his brother’s crisis overwhelms him. Luke’s love of his native ground and his search for romance collide with the hard realities of mortality and loss during an unexpected summer.
By Louis Barr
Film star Diana Danning hires private eye Clint Steele to find her son, Shane, after he vanishes like smoke in the night. LAPD Captain Hal Flynn suspects Shane disappeared by choice; until Clint and Diana receive a late-night call from Jud Tucker, the most under-the-radar serial killer since Patrick Bateman. Tucker demands five million dollars within twenty-four hours, or nobody will ever find Shane's body.
With no time to lose, Clint turns to his former West Point barracks mate and best friend, Mars Hauser, to lend his cyber espionage and digital black ops skills to the case. As Clint, Mars, and Captain Flynn race against time to rescue Shane and bring Jud Tucker to justice, their greatest threat may be much closer than they know.
By Julian Lopez
This compilation of short horror stories is certain to frighten, but also seduce. From the alluring handsome stranger disguising his true identity as the Grim Reaper to the ancient Egyptian elite returning after centuries to cause mayhem, and spine-tingling tales of the full moon, vampires, werewolves, and other lurking creatures. The Eiffel Tower is only a short distance from the circus, with its sinister freaks coming out to play. Antique Venetian masks serve as optical instruments to see the seducing spirit others cannot, a mariachi is in search of his deceased lover Adrian, and a queen of hearts card promises more is at stake when the odds are just right. All are part of the pleasure of horror in this compilation that delivers like the horror classics…good ole tales of terror.