If You Like My Books, Try These Black Authors

It’s weird, Gentle Reader, to try to figure out what people like about one’s own books. But after ten years I have some idea, so I hope you’ll humor my list attempts.

I believe that people read my stuff for comfort, because I’m gentle to my characters, and light and fluffy and funny. People come back to my books because I have queer representation, and because they know there will be romance, found family, and an HEA – basically lots of Heroine’s Journeys.

I tend to think of my stuff in terms of what it is not: gritty, dark, tragic.

So with that in mind, I have some book recs for you that I tried to organize loosely by what you might be looking for next. I chose two per category to focus on, but there’s also longer lists at the bottom.

Something steampunk?

For lovers of the Parasolverse…

P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums 

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Scott Westerfeld called this book:

“A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!”

Nikki Woolfolk‘s series of steampunk novellas

Based in an amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone, her characters are also immensely tough, charming, and queer AF. She also has a cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? She knows what she’s talking about too, she is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. Which are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world.

Something with strong tricky female main characters?

For lovers of the Delightfully Deadly series…

LL McKinney‘s A Blade So Black (The Nightmare-Verse series)

Is a thrilling YA urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland, if you or your teen reads Marissa Meyer, then this series is for you.

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Alyssa Cole‘s historical spies series, The Loyal League

Cole writes romantic historical, scifi, and contemporary with lots of queer rep. Honestly she has something for everyone. Her historical series is period-drama-delightful full of machinations and spies, so if the Finishing School was your jam, try this series.

Something whimsically alt history?

For lovers of the floof…

C. L. Polk‘s acclaimed Witchmark

Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) with more to come, was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk’s novella The Midnight Bargain is described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!

Rebel Carter’s Gold Sky series

This is the first in a Western shared town series all of which feature different interracial couples and groupings, fluffly alt-history of the best kind. This first one is two men who love each other and their mail order bride, the second features is a mail order groom, and the third a best friends to lovers romance.

Leslye Penelope‘s The Monsters We Defy 

In an alternate Washington D. C., 1925: Clara can talk to spirits, a gift that has saved her except that a curse has her indebted to the cunning spirit world. When a powerful spirit offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, Clara seizes the chance. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman around.

“[P]itch perfect, with wit, romance, and a lovable found family.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Fun & Sexy?

If what you really love of my books is when I get all over with the sexy, then here are some authors who bring on the heat with a side of humor and romance.

A. E. Via‘s Promises series

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 her on how to do sexy 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.

Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series

Guillory’s rom coms are (so far) het central, but her supporting cast of characters is always super representative and queer friendly. Lots of found family themes and a ton of humor. Start with The Wedding Date:

“A swoony rom-com brimming with humor and charm.” ~ Entertainment Weekly

“What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel….One of the best books I’ve read in a while.” ~ Roxane Gay

YA with serious girl power?

For lovers of the Finishing School series…

Dhonielle Clayton‘s The Belles series

Okay if you like Hunger Games or The Selection then you need to read these books RIGHT NOW. No, seriously, start with the first one and just keep going. If you have a teen who liked either of these, hell I’ll chuck Maas into “also like” mix, they should be reading these books. They are THAT GOOD.

Brittney Morris‘s debut SLAY

“Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther – inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.”

Sarah Raughley‘s The Bones of Ruin

An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London.

Come on, how can you not want to read that? (I also had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah.)

Queer rep?

For lovers of the San Andreas and Supernatural Society series…

Alyssa Cole‘s Reluctant Royals series

Already on this list once, here Cole is again, this time for her reluctant royals series. More light-hearted than her historical stuff and mostly with het central characters, I would start with the adorable lesbian novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.

Holley Trent/H.E. Trent pick your joy, she’s got it all

Seriously, what does this woman not write? She’s amazing. Whatever your preference, she’s probably written you the romantic joy you crave: scifi, paranormal, contemp with poly, menage, gay, het). I like scifi romance a lot, so I would start with Wager.

More Black Authors Writing Queer Joy here:

30+ Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

Authors from above will also appear on this list, for ease of copy/paste and printing.

More Black Authors Writing Genre Fiction

Mostly SciFi & Speculative Fiction

Mostly Fantasy & Horror


There tends to be more romance on my lists than other books because I gravitate so strongly towards the heroine’s journey, and romance is a guaranteed HEA. These days I read more romance than ever before, so I have a better understanding on what’s happening in this field.


More Lists!

More we can do?

If you are a member of the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group there is a long ongoing list available:


(Hot link not permitted, you’ll need to copy and paste into your browser, and you need to be a member of the group. Sorry, it was the best way to organize the fans, I do pull from there to update my lists here.)

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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Note, this is an ever growing list, as I find more I’ll add more, I promise!

The links?

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 to Amazon. 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 have affiliate codes. Anything I earn from them I will double and donate to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


Posted by Gail Carriger

2 Responses

  1. jillian Fleischman said:

    Hi there! I’m not on the Facebook but I just wanted to recommend an add of Micaiah Johnson’s debut novel The Space Between Worlds to your list of black authors/lgbtqia books. It’s SciFi and only just came out August 4th. A librarian friend recommended it to me and it was a phenomenal read. Thanks for providing this list for all of your fans and for making lovely books with all the feels.

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