Ha. I almost typed Pride Moth and you know, I could totally work with that.
A big rainbow-colored moth blazing holes of justice and equality throughout the world and in all things cashmere, its only kryptonite bright lights, the sun, and moth balls.
I’ve already done posts kinda similar to this one, with Sapphics in Space (and Across Time) and Phenomenal F-F-Fantasy, so I’m going to try and not double tap too hard here (but some of those recs are so good).
However, pretty much all of the books in those two lists were traditionally published, and this post I want to highlight some awesome queer indie pubbed books.
Defining indie—works that are either self-published or published through a small (not vanity) press. A small press is a small publishing company (maybe it’s a boutique, maybe it’s niche, maybe it’s just small) not associated with the Big 5 publishing houses, and one that does not charge the author to publish their work. Sometimes they require agents, but a lot of time indie presses don’t.
Vanity presses charges authors to publish, which is…prospective authors, beware. Don’t pub with vanity presses—they take advantage of you (note: a lot of Christian indie presses are vanities).
Here are some great queer blogs who post reviews on a lot of indie books:
And some of my favorite bookstagrammers who post a lot of LGBTQ+ recs:
- A Queer Book Nook
- nonbinary reading
I also highly, highly recommend NineStar Press, who specializes in queer literature and encompasses quite a few genres with a variety of heat levels and no-romance books!
To the Books!
These are the recommendations I received from Twitter! Thanks to @skyekilaen, @AnyaPavelle, @long_spider, @DN_Bryn for your recommendations!
As always, blurbs are from Goodreads
Deadline by Stephanie Ahn
Disgraced witch Harrietta Lee has made a lot of mistakes in her life; there’s a reason she’s got a sizable burn scar slapped across the side of her neck and a formal letter of excommunication from the international underground magical community. But who has time to dwell on the past when you’re trying to make rent in New York? Things are mostly clean and simple, until her next odd job is brought to her by a representative of a powerful corporate family—a family she once had close personal ties to. As she unwillingly digs through six years’ worth of personal baggage, she’s also got to contend with an inhuman admirer shadowing her in the street.
Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker. Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.
Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers. But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart.
Our Bloody Pearl by DN Bryn
The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear. That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs. Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?
Triad Blood by ‘Nathan Burgoine
The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be. But Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat.
The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice
Taking fantasy literature beyond the stereotypes, Daniel Heath Justice’s acclaimed Thorn and Thunder novels are set in a world resembling eighteenth-century North America. The original trilogy is available here for the first time as a fully revised one-volume novel. The story of the struggle for the green world of the Everland, home of the forest-dwelling Kyn, is an adventure tale that bends genre and gender. This work incorporate the three books in the trilogy: Kynship, Weyrwood, and Dreyd.
Come Drink With Me by Michelle Kan
A Dragon, a Phoenix, and an Opera House. Bonds that transcend time, loyalties that defy hardship, and the magic of the places we call Home. (Wherein a Dragon and a Phoenix make their living on earth in an Opera House.) An Aromantic Chinese Fairytale, featuring a queerplatonic relationship and how those relationships can “transcend time, space and the physical plane” (CW [the Quiet Pond]’s review).
Glorious Day by Skye Kilaen
Elsenna Hazen left spaceport security and ended up a royal bodyguard. She should have known better than to fall in love with a princess. It’s been two years since one ill-advised kiss in the garden pulled them apart. With uprisings in the streets, the nervous princess transfers Elsenna back into her service. Her Highness has no idea Elsenna is leaking data to the revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the princess’s oppressive father. Now Elsenna wakes up each day wondering what will happen first: her own execution, or that of the woman she could never stop loving.
The Raven and the Reindeer by T Kingfisher
When Gerta’s friend Kay is stolen away by the mysterious Snow Queen, it’s up to Gerta to find him. Her journey will take her through a dangerous land of snow and witchcraft, accompanied only by a bandit and a talking raven. Can she win her friend’s release, or will following her heart take her to unexpected places? A strange, sly retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen.”
Cinder Ella by ST Lynn
Ella is transgender. She’s known since she was young; being a woman just fit better. She was happier in skirts than trousers, but that was before her stepmother moved in. Eleanor can’t stand her, and after Ella’s father passes she’s forced to revert to Cole, a lump of a son. She cooks, she cleans, and she tolerates being called the wrong name for the sake of a roof over her head. Where else can she go? An opportunity to attend the royal ball transforms Ella’s life. For the first time, strangers see a woman when she walks down the stairs. While Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn’t blink an eye when Cinderella is the one who shows. The princess is elegant, bold, and everything Ella never knew she wanted. For a moment she glimpses a world that can accept her, and she holds on tight.
Edge of the Breach by Halo Scot
There is a hole in the sky. They call it the Rift. A portal to the gods. The scar of a suffering world. Through it, the gods rule the last scraps of civilization, harkening war. As chaos beckons, two leaders emerge from the ashes of a dying planet. Julian Kyder is the son of an abusive rape victim who compensates for his abandonment through psychopathy. Sira Rune is a cancer survivor who dedicates her life to living free and fearless while experiencing the taboo and the unorthodox. Rune is the only one unafraid of Kyder, and that terrifies him, because he only knows how to function through fear. Even though she gives him more chances than he deserves, how much violence can she forgive? When is a person beyond redemption? While he struggles to control his demons and she struggles to find purpose, the gods drag the ruined world into war.
Not For Use in Navigation by Iona Datt Sharma
A refugee arrives from elsewhere in time; a generation ship makes landfall; a vast galactic empire settles to the business of government. Tarot readers find hope in the cards; witches live through the aftermath of war; and Indian mothers think it’s high time you were married. Here are thirteen stories of love and queerness, hope and decolonisation, and the inevitability of change. Includes a new introduction by the author and four previously unpublished folktales.
The Fate of Stars by SD Simper
Worlds collide when Tallora is kidnapped from her ocean home and forced to be a pet to a tyrannical foreign empire. Her only hope for rescue lies with a sworn enemy–Princess Dauriel, infamous for her stone heart and conflicted past. But when Dauriel’s kingdom comes to the cusp of war, could their uneasy alliance be the key to defeating a common foe? Or will their growing feelings for each other lead them to ruin?
And Shall Machines Surrender by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
On the dyson sphere Shenzhen, artificial intelligences rule and humans live in luxury, vying to be chosen as host bodies—called haruspices—for the next generation of AI, and thus be worshiped as gods. Doctor Orfea Leung has come here to escape her past of mercenary violence. Krissana Khongtip has come here to reinvent herself from haunted spy to holy cyborg. But the utopian peace of Shenzhen is shattered when the haruspices begin committing suicide, and the pair are called upon to solve the mystery—and survive the silent war between machines . . .
The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun
Erik, a former teen star living in San Francisco, thought his life was complicated; having his ex-boyfriend in jail because of the scandal that destroyed his career seemed overwhelming. Then Erik learned he was Blooded: descended from the Gods. Lil, a timid apprentice in ’Zebub, is searching for answers to her parents’ sudden and mysterious deaths. Surrounded by those who wish her harm and view her as a lesser being, Lil delves into a forgotten history that those in power will go to dangerous lengths to keep buried. What neither Erik nor Lil realize is that a darkness is coming, something none have faced in living memory. It eats. It hunts. And it knows them.