One of my reading wheelhouses, Gentle Reader, is queer comfort. These are books, mostly romances, featuring queer characters where trials might happen but things all turn out okay in the end. One of the reasons I like these books is because I see them as writing into existence the future we all want.
I struggle to come up with what I can do to help the world right now, and mostly my practice is to try to put good out into it. I’m a reader and a writer, that’s what I know best, and that is where my voice carries the most strength and weight.
So here, without further ado, for Pride and in support of Black authors and artists, are some amazing Black voices – writers – creatives who bring joy and comfort with their talent.
Alyssa Cole’s reluctant royals is more light-hearted but her historical stuff is way more period-drama-delightful so it’s a case of pick your edition with Cole. Most of her stuff is het, so I would start with her charming queer novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.
Via’s gay romances featuring tough military-types with soft squishy centers are some of my favorites, I chronically reread. The sex scenes are numerous and extremely hot, and written with such skill. I would take a master class from Via on how to do hot and emotional at the same time. If you’re a chronic romance reader Via will have hit up at least one of your favorite tropes. I happen to be a big May December fan, so the first Promises book is one of my favorites. Tough bounty hunter with self worth issues is pursued by a much younger lawyer who came back into town expressly to reconnect with the man of his dreams. Gah, so good.
Describes herself as an author of romantic fiction (rather than romance) but her queer offering, Adam Bomb, is definitely romantic. However, if you don’t consider yourself a romance reader, do yourself a favor and check out some of her other offerings. Not only is her website a thing of beauty and a joy forever, what’s amazing about Kilby Blades is how sharp she writes, I think the blades thing runs true in all her work. Also, if you’re an author yourself, check out her non-fiction, particularly the Book Marketing Audit.
Tomlinson writes both gay sci fi and gay superheroes, yeah! I’m into the sci-fi ones, you know me, it’s a niche I totally adore. Tomlinson also writes heterosexual romance. Almost all her stuff is in KU, so if that is your jam, check her out!
Like my Parasolverse? Try C. L. Polk whose acclaimed Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk has a new book this fall, The Midnight Bargain, described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!
Nikki is probably the one who, if you like my parasolverse stuff, you’ll like these stories the most. This is a series of queer steampunk novellas based in an amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone.
Nikki also has a queer cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? Nikki knows the insides and outs, too, because Nikki is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. These are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world. No seriously. They are amazing. If you don’t want to read, at least EAT. NOM.
- S. Renée Bess – mostly f/f romantic fiction, some romance
- Lauren Cherelle – f/f romance and essays
- Mason Dixon – lesbian romance
- Ava Freeman – lesbian romance (found family)
- Alix B Golden – lesbian romance (strong friendships)
- Sheree L. Greer – lesbian romance (right NOW read A Return to Arms about meeting the love of your life at an activist collective, police shooting, sexual, and political freedoms)
- Jasmine Guillory – het romance but lots of queer rep in the found family
- Jack Harbon – gay contemporary and rom com (try Meet Cute Club)
- Nikki Harmon – lesbian romance & sf/f essays
- Chencia C. Higgins – het & queer romance
- Katrina Jackson – romantic suspense, high heat, diverse, and mostly queer (try Pink Slip)
- Micaiah Johnson – try their amazing debut queer scifi The Space Between Worlds
- Meka James – contemporary, erotic
- Christina C. Jones – contemporary modern and complex (bisexual main character in Something Like Love)
- Claire Kann – LBGTQ+ rom com YA (try Let’s Talk About Love featuring and ace main character)
- A.M. McKnight – lesbian romantic suspense
- J. Nichole – contemporary romance, het & f/f, queer rep
- Nikki Rashan – lesbian romance
- Skyy – only one book so far but it’s an AMAZING lesbian romance so I’m hoping for many more
- Rivers Solomon – scifi with queer characters (try An Unkindness of Ghosts)
- Frederick Smith and Chaz Lamar – have one co-authored book and there is some question as to whether it qualifies as romance (it’s on my TBR) but it’s getting rave reviews particularly from within the LA and BlaQ community: In Case You Forgot
- Holley Trent/H.E. Trent – romance for everyone: scifi, paranormal, poly, menage, gay, het
- Yolanda Wallace – lesbian contemporary & suspense
- Rebekah Weatherspoon – contemporary BDSM, erotic, f/f, het, PNR (try Xeni for some delicious comedy)
- K.D. Williamson – lesbian contemporary (self described nerd)
- Nikki Winter – contemporary romance, some f/f
- Fiona Zedde – wide range of novels, some f/f romance
- Black Bi & Lesbian Books
- Queer YA Books by Black Authors
- Reading Black Joy: F/F Romances by Black Authors (with bonus bisexuals)*
* That’s my spy name: Bonus Bisexual. Can’t you just hear it over the coms, “Time to send in… da da da dum… the Bonus Bisexual.)
More we can do?
- Order Books from Black-Owned Bookstores
- Not feeling like reading right now? How about tea? Or chocolate? Or more tea?
- Buy books with POC on the cover! Read amazing romance author Naima Simone‘s article about this. I’ve noticed it in my own sales and this is a horrible, rarely discussed prejudice in buying behavior (and publisher reactive behavior).
- Write to and urge major book bloggers and taste makers (I’m looking at you BookBub) to consider books by Black authors.
Another fun article to read?
Why We Need Queer Escapist Lit from The Lesbrary
A fun watch?
Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),
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Where possible I linked directly to the author’s main website. For the book links, some of these authors write indie, and some of those are Amazon exclusive, in which case the link I shared goes straight there. Otherwise I’ve included links to as many platforms as possible, including audio when I find it. At no extra cost to you these links are sponsor codes. Anything I get from them will be donated to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.Tags: Gail Carriger Recommends