Welcome to another queer romance list! Thanks for being interested in a variety of queer romance, and new books by self-published and small press authors. Putting together this list is such a joy for me.
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Why I’m excited to list it: Queer trans author. Self-published.
“The stories of Mothman are true. But you have never heard this version before.
Ezra has very little left to live for. His parents are gone, his graduate program mentor hates him, and he has no chance of escaping the rural Ohio town. Until one evening, while passing the haunted local cemetery, he encounters Gray, a winged creature enchanted by Ezra’s songs. After one steamy evening, Ezra’s life is turned upside-down. Magic is real, and evil is creeping up on the small Appalachian town. Gray needs his help, and Ezra needs Gray, more than he ever realized.”
Note: I am confident from reading the detailed content notes that the use of “dark romance” in the after-blurb notes on Amazon & Goodreads does not mean “dark romance” in the dubcon/noncon romance subgenre way. In the content notes inside the front of the book, it’s referred to as a “dark fantasy” and I think “dark” is being used to indicate tone. Gray is described as a “cinnamon roll monster” by one reviewer.
Why I’m excited to list it: I’ll let the author’s description do the talking: “This story contains maybe .05% of spice but is 100% a kissing book, continuing the story of a newly discovered demisexual main character.” Plus, I’m seeing reviews say the vampire dude is a himbo. Ace, neurodivergent, Asian author. Self-published.
Note: The first book in the series came out back in September, and should probably be read first. It’s called Odd Blood.
“A new normal?
Josephine Pajimula has settled into being a full time Thrall—a human nanny to an elderly vampire—and living with a bunch of dramatic but lovable vampires. Between introducing her undead roommates to new technology and balancing her human relationships, Josephine has her work cut out for her.
When mysterious supernatural events occur, the obvious culprit has to be Misha, the resident spirit… right? Maybe if Josephine wasn’t so distracted navigating her new relationship with Eadwulf, she could think more clearly. Having a vampire for a boss was one thing, but now he’s also her boyfriend!
Can Josephine figure out what’s causing the strange happenings in Rosalee Castle? What will she tell her family at the dinner table? Is “boyfriend” the best title for the guy who is also technically your “vampire master”? And more importantly… Shouldn’t this vampire bite have healed already?”
Why I’m excited to list it: There aren’t enough sapphic romances with nonbinary MCs, IMHO, so I’m always excited to find more. Queer ace author. Self-published.
“Last year, Taylor spent Valentine’s Day with her ex, and that ended… explosively, to say the least. This year, she has everything planned out: wine, chocolate, and a good movie on TV.
There’s only one issue.
When Beck lands in the emergency room after a skateboarding mishap, they’re expecting to take it easy for the evening, but a concussion leaves them unable to drive and in need of an emergency caregiver. The hospital resorts to their emergency contact — their ex, Taylor, who they forgot to remove from their medical records.
Stuck taking care of Beck for the night, Taylor has to see if she’s ready to reconnect, or if they’re both destined for a repeat of the disastrous date from the year before.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Pansexual hero in a queer M/F. Self-published.
“Is it just the (bad) luck of the Irish that keeps pushing Brennan and Quinn together, or something more?
Quinn Hayes and Brennan O’Keeffe are nothing more than perfect strangers, but when their paths cross often over the years, always on St. Patrick’s Day, they realise that they seem to share a connection they’ve never been able to find with anyone else. Their personal lives are messy and chaotic and ever-changing in so many ways, but their link always remains the same — until a struggling, troubled Quinn makes a misguided mistake, and as a result, believes she has lost Brennan for good.
Years later, she unknowingly walks into his bar, and their lives become entangled once again, with Quinn landing a bartending job as Brennan’s co-worker at Irish pub, O’Keeffe’s. Will they finally get it right this time, or will Brennan’s secrets and Quinn’s shadowy past ruin everything once and for all?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary author. Self-published.
“Is a LGBTQ+ friendly dating app the answer to all of Penelope’s dating woes? Her ex-girlfriend turned asexual best friend and roommate sure thinks so. Within a few minutes of swiping, Penelope matches with the mysterious, yet charming Riley, who identifies as queer, but is slow to open up about his sexuality… and everything else.
As Penelope explores dating again, she gets the opportunity to MC a drag brunch, in full drag king regalia. For a long time, Penelope has suspected she might be nonbinary, but that feels like something she’ll sort out on her own eventually… right?
The drag brunch is a smashing success, and she meets a beautiful woman in the audience named Taylor. Penelope falls for her hard, and Taylor supports Penelope as she finally begins to explore her gender identity.
Penelope begins to notice similarities between Riley and Taylor, in the way they think, the way they talk, and most importantly in the way they make her feel. What if the two people she’s falling for are more than just amazing, what if they’re her soul mate?
Follow Penelope’s journey as she navigates the ups and downs of dating, self-discovery, and the search for love and acceptance in a hilariously complicated and ultimately satisfying, queer love story.”
Why I’m excited to list it: I am always down to check out a new sapphic sci-fi. Trans woman author.
“What do you do when your effort to save your girlfriend from a parasitic alien planet destroying entity fails, but the power of her love was strong enough that now the godly alien in her body is in love with you?
If you know, Tessa could really use some help, because she’s in over her head right now. She’s emotionally exhausted, but the fate of the world rests in her hands.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Queer guy writing queer guys. Self-published.
“One freak accident is all it takes to rip open the closet doors and threaten the peace I’ve fought my entire life to gain.
Isaiah Bently is everything I’m not. Rich and charismatic, with a smoking hot body earned through years of hauling people out of burning buildings, he’s the kind of guy everyone either wants to be or wants to be with.
So imagine my surprise when an on-the-job injury forces us together, and I’m faced with the realization that what Isaiah wants…is me.
His sweet, playful touches re-awaken a part of me I’ve spent my entire life trying to deny, and it isn’t long before the simmering attraction between us turns explosive. Behind closed doors, I give him everything he asks of me and more.
But secrets like ours never stay hidden for long. And when my lifelong tormenter discovers I’ve fallen hard for another man, I’m faced with an impossible choice. Bring my relationship with Isaiah out into the open, and risk losing everyone I’ve ever cared about…
Or turn my back on the only person to love me, all of me, exactly as I am.”
Why I’m excited to list it: I beta read an early draft so I know it’s cute as heck! Queer ace author. Small press.
“Jobless Julian has been struggling to get his life in order for a while now. When his sister asks him to dogsit, he’s turned off by the idea. For one, he’s never been a dog person. For two, her pampered pooch Sprinkles takes a lot of extra work.
Thankfully, dog expert, former dog trainer, and current romance writer Cole has experience with Sprinkles. Too bad he’s annoying… and cute. Growing closer feels inevitable, but when a sudden accident makes Cole second-guess Julian’s dog-oriented decision-making, Julian needs to prove he’s changed from doggy downer to man’s best friend. That, or forget the grand gesture and admit this dogsitting thing—and his time with Cole—was only ever temporary.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Trans gal author, and the blurb sounded hella awesome so I started reading it and I’m loving it so far. Small press.
“Kota, a sorceress who works as a detective with the Grimmani Detective Agency, is on her way to a new posting on the world of Proxemus. She’s been charged with transporting a mystical artifact called a Keystone that will allow Proxemus to build a magical gateway back to Kota’s homeworld of Emake Maa. When the Aethership Kota is attacked by pirates, Kota helps fight them off, and finds herself taking care of a half demon woman Nadani who was being held as a slave on the pirate ship.
When Kota and Nadani arrive on Proxemus, Kota is injured in an attempted assassination, and finds herself embroiled in a plot involving cultists who want her dead for some reason. Kota begins to dig into the motives of the assassin, while trying to navigate her growing feelings for Nadani. Something made all the harder by more attempts on her life, and the emotional minefield that Nadani’s past as a slave left behind.
When Kota learns that the assassins may be after Nadani as well, she becomes desperate to learn what they want. Something that puts her on a collision course with a cult that wants to use Nadani and the Keystone to open a permanent gateway to hell itself.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam! Self-published.
“A dressmaker who secretly publishes thrilling romances. Her handsome war-veteran fiancé. And his best friend, a charming artist of ill-repute determined to ruin their relationship.
There are two things standing between Elizabeth Turtledove and her happily-ever-after: her fiancé’s best friend, who despises her, and the blackmailer scheming to steal her savings.
Arthur and Coxley have been inseparable since their schooldays, and Coxley will stop at nothing to keep Arthur for himself. Although he’s all bite and bad manners, Elizabeth can tell there’s a better man hiding beneath that prickly exterior. As she gets to know Coxley and the depth of his friendship with Arthur, she finds another thing in the way of her happy ending. She’s taken their case of mutual pining and inadvertently turned it into a love triangle.
She has a plan to deal with her ridiculous blackmailer by summer’s end. Unfortunately, as much as she’d like to handle this love triangle with equal efficiency, matters of the heart are rarely so simple.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Pan and panromantic ace MCs. Zabo is nonbinary and masc. Self-published.
“At nearly thirty-one years old, Pittsburgh Griffins captain Elias Karlsson’s hockey years are numbered. Everything is changing around him, including his eleven-year friendship with Nikolai Sidorov. Elias would give anything for Nisha to be a permanent part of his life, but their once bedrock-strong bond has broken into a million pieces, and Elias doesn’t know why. More than anything, Elias wants his friend back, but if that isn’t an option, maybe it’s time for him to look outside of hockey for someone to be there with him when hockey isn’t an option anymore.
Nisha’s world is splintering apart. He’s been in love with his two best friends for years, but now one of them has someone. The other, Elias, is searching for everything Nisha wishes he could give him… but he’s looking for it in anyone but Nisha. The farther his friends slip away, the deeper the loneliness sinks in and the bleaker his empty future looks. What can he do but numb the pain in the only ways he knows how?
On the eve of the season opener, Nisha’s unexplained absence threatens the cohesion of the team and puts him and Elias on a collision course of strong wills, broken hearts, and shattered trust. In the end, they may lose the very thing that matters most to them both: each other.”
Why I’m excited to list it: MMWW polyam and everyone’s pansexual. Self-published.
“Her pack is destroyed. Her Alpha is dead. All that Pheir has left is rage.
According to the Conclave, that isn’t punishment enough. For her mutiny, she’ll be married into the enemy Timber pack and forced to abandon her old loyalties.
As far as Pheir’s concerned, being held captive is just a hitch in her plot for revenge. She will find a way to bring her former leader back from the dead. If the Timbers try to stop her, they’ll learn what happens to people who get in her way.
But the Timbers aren’t as united as they seem.
Even outside of Alpha Lev’s newly-assigned marriage, there’s tension between her most trusted officers. Aren and Caius are diametrically opposed, yet the three of them keep finding their way into each other’s beds.
Adding their rival, Pheir, to the mix is fuel to the fire – but the more they learn of their entwined histories, the less they recognize each other. What if they aren’t the people they thought they were? What if digging for each others’ weaknesses unearthed their own?
What if the restless feelings they have for each other have developed into something other than hate?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam. Part of a multi-author series with a mix of pairings/groupings. Self-published.
“Harmony has spent a lifetime silencing her passions, but husbands Garrett and Oliver are ready to turn her lonely note into a brilliant chord. A small town polyamorous romance about chasing your dreams.
Harmony Stevens spends her mornings running errands for pay and her nights working the midnight shift at Sunrise Diner. Yes, her life might be small, but after putting her own dreams on hold long ago to serve as caregiver for her recently-deceased mother, there is little for her to pursue outside of Clover Hill. With too many debts to pay and too many regretful memories in her silent home, she can’t imagine living big and pursuing music like she’d always planned. Her one bright spot is a handsome insomniac regular at work by the name of Oliver—until the moment she sees a new wedding band on his finger.
Years ago, Garrett and Oliver Quaite made a home in Clover Hill, where spoonie Garrett could give vocal lessons from the comfort of home and Oliver could offer affordable telehealth therapy services to the local community. Though ardently devoted to each other, their massive hearts led them to open their marriage years ago. There are always new passions, joys, and experiences to explore, and they’re happy to do so hand-in-hand.
When Garrett overhears Harmony singing, he’s immediately a heart-eyed goner for this siren. With the negotiation of a service exchange—errand running for vocal lessons—an opportunity opens up to finally develop the gifts Harmony’s been repressing for years. But the moment she realizes her handsome married regular is Garrett’s husband, she wonders if she should’ve killed the symphony in her heart before it even began.
Will Harmony sustain the dissonance of her grief-stricken life? Or will Garrett and Oliver give her a soft place to land?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic romance with both MCs in their 70s. Most important secondary character is nonbinary and obviously beloved, from what I’ve read so far. Self-published.
“The new florist in town wants to live her best life.
The hometown florist’s life is just fine as it is, thank you very much.
When the petals stop flying, will they find love, or will both their worlds come tumbling down?
Minnie Thomas wouldn’t change a thing. The septuagenarian sees her closest friend every day, she owns the most successful (and only) flower shop in Juniper Creek, and she loves her star employee, Kat, like family. But when Kat inexplicably quits and Minnie’s friend goes out of town, Minnie’s stable world tilts off-kilter — especially when Kat’s newly arrived free-spirited grandmother opens a flower shop just down the street.
Eleanor Lennox is determined to embrace life again and get to know Kat better. She promised her late wife she would open a flower shop, but she never counted on resistance from Kat’s infuriating former employer. When the mayor asks the two of them to work together on the upcoming Sunflower Festival, Eleanor tries to smooth things over for Kat’s sake — but the feisty florist only works harder to run her out of town. Well, two can play that game.
After connecting during a road trip to pick up flower barrels for the festival, Minnie and Eleanor form a budding relationship — which shrivels when Minnie’s friend announces she’s moving. Will Minnie cling to the past so tightly that she misses out on the beauty the present has to offer her — love with Eleanor?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Butch-femme sapphic romance where both MCs are middle-aged. I read it and loved it, because I adore novellas where the characters take a while to figure out if there are really sparks between them. Self-published.
“Twenty years ago, Jules Saxby-Blake was famous, starring in a popular reality TV show with her beautiful girlfriend, Vienna. She dreamed of a life in the country with her beloved, but Vienna had different ideas and soon broke her heart, took her money, and disappeared to America. Since then, Jules has hidden away on her farm, lonely and damaged.
When her accountant is revealed to have cooked the books and stolen what was left of her savings she turns to a local firm to help her work out if her business can stay afloat. Kath Wilson, recently arrived from London to escape her own sorrows, discovers things are even worse than they’d feared, but offers to help.
As the big reunion show looms, Jules is drawn to Kath, who is as gorgeous as she is kind. But can she struggle free from the pain that has kept her trapped all these years, and begin to trust another woman again?
With Spring comes new hope and new chances, if Jules can begin to believe in them – and in herself.”
Why I’m excited to list it: DRAGON. Sapphic romance by a trans woman author. Self-published.
“When two worlds touch, for only the briefest of moments, the effect is far more reaching than anyone realises. Especially for two woman for whose contact was just as brief as the event.
After a lot of struggle, Elara is finally starting to forge the life that she wants. To write, share her stories, and be accepted for who she is. And find true love. Though that last one seems very much like a dream, something that she pens, but that will never happen to her. Even if the events of the Convergence still haunt her mind.
Riley is a dragon, one of those from the other side who was caught up in the Convergence. A rather dominant force, all things considered. While humanity is largely unaware of her existence and oblivious to her true nature, this side is now as much her home as the other. Not that she’s complaining. She’s enjoying this life that she now has. Mostly.
Except that fate decides that they should meet again, their lives becoming intertwined in ways that neither of them imagined, and suddenly things start surfacing. Thoughts, desires, dreams. And a growing attraction. Yes, there is chemistry between them. Or is it something more? A claim was made after all…
A low angst sappphic shifter romance about learning to follow your heart, of magic, dragons, and two rather different worlds. One just like our own, and the other, of fantasy.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Trans woman MC, trans woman author. Small press.
“Natalie Donovan jumps at a friend’s offer to stay in the family cabin for a month—she desperately needs the chance to get away from, and get over, her messy breakup. She doesn’t count on the owner of the local diner making her heart pound and her body desperate to be touched.
Wren Carne is a lone wolf. As an Alpha shifter, she has no pack and maintains her territory without causing drama, just the way she likes it. When she checks on the girl staying in a local cabin, she’s not expecting her wolf to identify the human as her One True Mate.
As fallout from their pasts encroaches upon the sleepy town of Terabend, Wren must decide if she wants a pack of her own, while Natalie worries that her secret—she’s transgender—might be too much for Wren.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F, they’re both bi. Taiwanese American author. Indie press.
“In this xianxia-inspired contemporary fantasy, a Chinese immortal and a French elf navigate romance, family loyalty, and workplace demands. In her debut novel, Mia Tsai has created a paranormal adventure that is full of humor, passion, and depth.
As a descendant of the Chinese god of medicine, ignored middle child Elle was destined to be a doctor. Instead, she is underemployed as a mediocre magical calligrapher at the fairy temp agency, paranoid that her murderous younger brother will find her and their elder brother.
Using her full abilities will expose Elle’s location. Nevertheless, she challenges herself by covertly outfitting Luc, her client and crush, with high-powered glyphs.
Half-elf Luc, the agency’s top security expert, has his own secret: he’s responsible for a curse laid on two children from an old assignment. To heal them, he’ll need to perform his job duties with unrelenting excellence and earn time off from his tyrannical boss.
When Elle saves Luc’s life on a mission, he brings her a gift and a request for stronger magic to ensure success on the next job—except the next job is hunting down Elle’s younger brother.
As Luc and Elle collaborate, their chemistry blooms. Happiness, for once, is an option for them both. But Elle is loyal to her family, and Luc is bound by his true name. To win freedom from duty, they must make unexpected sacrifices.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Paranormal polyam murder mystery romance, woohoo! I’ve started reading it and I love the main character so far. Francophones, this is available in French as well, titled À Fleur de Peau.
“The small town of St. Adalbert Sur Mer is hiding a dark secret. Three times during the summer, the lifeless body of a Selkie was dumped into the river. Naked, and with a missing pelt.
Louison is sent by her clan to investigate these murders and catch the killer, but her mission derails when she meets two charming strangers whom everyone in town seems to be falling in love with – including herself. Torn between her rising attraction towards Gabrielle and Adrien and keeping the secret of her origins, Louison must dodge tourists, deadly poachers and wildlife protection agents in a wild quest to find her sibling’s murderer – before he kills again.
Skin Deep is a queer polyamorous story where everyone is hiding something and nothing is as simple as it seems.”
Why I’m excited to list it: An asexual romance featuring a transmasc MC. Taiwanese author. Part of a multi-author series with a mix of pairings/groupings. Self-published.
“Yen-Chen and Florence—one tourist, one local—form a reluctant friendship after one too many encounters. Is their growing connection written in the stars, or will Yen-Chen still leave Clover Hill for good?
Yen-Chen Chang is tired of the big corporate world. After quitting his high-paying software engineer job in Seattle, he’s desperate to move back to Taipei to figure out the next stage of his career. When his best friend invites him to visit Clover Hill as the last stop before going home, he gladly welcomes the opportunity to see the town they love.
Florence Hong-Lam Ho is passionate about her shih tzu mix Milk Puff, music composition, and teaching children piano. She is not trusting of strangers, especially those from outside of Clover Hill. When a tourist reaches for the last piece of fènghuáng sū at Wong’s Corner Store at the same time as she does, she hopes to never see this person again, even if her dog loves him already.
But when Yen-Chen and Florence keep running into each other—once, literally—they strike up a reluctant friendship. Is their growing connection written in the stars, or will Yen-Chen still leave Clover Hill for good?”
At the end of each newsletter, I take the liberty of recommending a few of my recent favorite queer reads, from romance to SFF to graphic novels. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite book here! These may not always be self-published or small press; it just depends on what’s gotten to the top of my TBR lately.
“Sixteen-year-old trans boy Miles Jacobson has two New Year’s resolutions: 1) win back his ex-boyfriend (and star of the football team) Shane McIntyre, and 2) finally beat his slimy arch-nemesis at the Midwest’s biggest classical piano competition. But that’s not going to be so easy. For one thing, Shane broke up with Miles two weeks after Miles came out as trans, and now Shane’s stubbornly ignoring him, even when they literally bump into each other. Plus, Miles’ new, slightly terrifying piano teacher keeps telling him that he’s playing like he “doesn’t know who he is”—whatever that means.
Then Miles meets the new boy in town, Eric Mendez, a proudly queer cartoonist from Seattle who asks his pronouns, cares about art as much as he does—and makes his stomach flutter. Not what he needs to be focusing on right now. But after Eric and Miles pretend to date so they can score an invite to a couples-only Valentine’s party, the ruse turns real with a kiss, which is also definitely not in the plan. If only Miles could figure out why Eric likes him so much. After all, it’s not like he’s cool or confident or comfortable in his own skin. He’s not even good enough at piano to get his fellow competitors to respect him, especially now, as Miles. Nothing’s ever been as easy for him as for other people—other boys. He’s only ever been almost enough.
So why, when he’s with Eric, does it feel like the only person he’s ever really not been enough for…is himself?”
This is a self-published 30-page manga, only available digitally on Amazon as far as I know.
“Miyuki is single, female and a lesbian.
No girlfriend, no life partner… and today is her 60th birthday.
This is the first in a series of short stories that portray the single life of those who are of a sexual minority and are middle to senior aged.”
I truly enjoyed how this short slice of life comic just lets main character Miyuki contemplate her present, reflect on her past choices, and weigh whether she’s satisfied. (It’s not meant to be plot-heavy, so don’t go into it looking for that.) I’m hoping Morishima is able to continue the series as planned, because she has a great way of establishing a character’s personality through small details.
This modern YA spinning off the legend of Sleepy Hollow is a lot of fun, with a diverse cast that includes a sapphic romance subplot with a cute-as-heck butch-femme couple.
“Isabel ‘Izzy’ Crane and her family have just relocated to Sleepy Hollow, the town made famous by–and obsessed with–Washington Irving’s legend of the Headless Horseman. But city slicker-skeptic Izzy has no time for superstition as she navigates life at a new address, a new school, and, with any luck, with new friends. Ghost stories aren’t real, after all…
Then Izzy is pulled into the orbit of the town’s teen royalty, Vicky Van Tassel (yes, that Van Tassel) and loveable varsity-level prankster Croc Byun. Vicky’s weariness with her family connection to the legend turns to terror when the trio begins to be haunted by the Horseman himself, uncovering a curse set on destroying the Van Tassel line. Now, they have only until Halloween night to break it–meaning it’s a totally inconvenient time for Izzy to develop a massive crush on the enigmatic Vicky. Can Izzy’s practical nature help her face the unknown–or only trip her up?
As the calendar runs down to the 31st, Izzy will have to use all of her wits and work with her new friends to save Vicky and uncover the mystery of the legendary Horseman of Sleepy Hollow–before it’s too late.”