Queer Debuts from June to December 2019

by K.A. Doore

Earlier this week, I talked about the dearth of lists that shout about queer adult books and I shared my own list of queer adult debuts – up through June 2019, that is. There were so many that I had to split my list in half. Ain’t that something for progress?

Now I’m back with the other half of that list: all the queer adult debut books (that I, personally, know of) that will be coming out through the end of 2019. We’ve got a great mixture of memoir, fantasy, sci-fi, and more coming our way, guys, and I’m so excited.

Return of the Caveat: I haven’t had the time to read every one of the books on this list, so the representation is self-reported by the author or gleaned from reviews.

Caveat the Second: All blurbs are from the Publisher or Goodreads.

SILVER IN THE WOOD
by Emily Tesh
(June 18th 2019 by Tor.com)
Fantasy

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

Rep: M/M

THE LIE
by William Dameron
(July 1st 2019 by Little A)
Memoir

A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.

Do you know me?, the email began, sparking panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity—a forty-year-old straight white male—had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke?

Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret? He was a gay man, a fact he hid from his wife and two daughters for almost as long as he had hidden it from himself.


Rep: Gay

TEMPER
by Layne Fargo
(July 2nd 2019 by Gallery/Scout Press)
Psychological Thriller

After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira Rascher finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? Starring in Temper means working with Malcolm Mercer, a mercurial director who’s known for pushing his performers past their limits—onstage and off.

An edgy, addictive, and fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deceit, and power, Temper is a timely, heart-in-your-throat psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.

Rep: Gay, bi

LORD OF SECRETS
by Breanna Teintze
July 25, 2019 by Jo Fletcher Books
Fantasy

Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

Rep: M/M

BLACK LIGHT
by Kimberly King Parsons
(August 13th 2019 by Vintage)
Literary

With raw, poetic ferocity, Kimberly King Parsons exposes desire’s darkest hollows—those hidden places where most of us are afraid to look. In this debut collection of short stories, Parsons takes us from hot Texas highways to cold family kitchens, from the freedom of pay-by-the-hour motels to the claustrophobia of private school dorms, these stories erupt off the page with a primal howl—sharp-voiced, bitter, and wise. Black Light contains the type of storytelling that resonates somewhere deep, in the well of memory that repudiates nostalgia.

Rep: Queer, bi

THE VENTRILOQUISTS
by E.R. Ramzipoor
(August 27th 2019 by Park Row)
Historical Fiction

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s entire world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network publishing dissident underground newspapers.

Aubrion’s unbridled creativity and linguistic genius attract the attention of August Wolff, a high-ranking Nazi official tasked with swaying public opinion against the Allies. Wolff captures Aubrion and his comrades and gives them an impossible choice: use the newspaper to paint the Allies as monsters, or be killed. Faced with no decision at all, Aubrion has a brilliant idea: they will pretend to do the Nazis’ bidding, but instead they will publish a fake edition of Le Soir that pokes fun at Hitler and Stalin—giving power back to the Belgians by daring to laugh in the face of their oppressors.

The ventriloquists have agreed to die for a joke, and they have only eighteen days to tell it.

Rep: Gay and F/F

GIDEON THE NINTH
by Tamsyn Muir
(September 10th 2019 by Tor.com)
Fantasy

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse in the Ninth House. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service: fight for the Ninth House, or risk letting it die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Rep: F/F, lesbians, skeletons

A SONG FOR A NEW DAY
by Sarah Pinsker
(September 3rd 2019 by Berkley)
Science Fiction

In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world–her music, her purpose–is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.

Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery–no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

Rep: F/F

THE CHILLING EFFECT
by Valerie Valdes
(September 17th 2019 by Harper Voyager)
Space Opera

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

Rep: Pan

THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN
by Jennifer Giesbrecht
(September 24th 2019 by Tor.com)
Fantasy/Horror

The Monster of Elendhaven is a dark fantasy, a twisted tale of revenge set in an original world as oily and real as Jack the Ripper’s London. After a thing with no name washes up on the docks, empty, alone, and unable to die, he becomes obsessed with a frail young man who can twist minds with magic.

Together, they launch a plan so dark and cruel that readers will find themselves cheering for blood, and for these avengers to consummate their horrible passion for each other. But the pair are being hunted by officials from the south, intent on saving the world from the horrors mages can unleash.

Rep: M/M

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN
by A.J. Hackwith
(October 1st, 2019 by Ace)
Fantasy

Claire is Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

Rep: Bi

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WILD LIFE by Keena Roberts (November 12th 2019 by Grand Central Publishing)

Memoir

Keena Roberts split her adolescence between the wilds of an island camp in Botswana and the even more treacherous halls of an elite Philadelphia private school. In Africa, she slept in a tent, cooked over a campfire, and lived each day alongside the baboon colony her parents were studying. She could wield a spear as easily as a pencil, and it wasn’t unusual to be chased by lions or elephants on any given day. But for the months of the year when her family lived in the United States, this brave kid from the bush was cowed by the far more treacherous landscape of the preppy, private school social hierarchy.

By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Wild Life is the story of a daring but sensitive young girl desperately trying to figure out if there’s any place where she truly fits in.

Rep: Lesbian

K.A. Doore’s list of Queer Debuts for the first part of 2019 can be found here.

K.A. Doore is the author of The Perfect Assassin (queer murder fantasy!). She has a BA in Classics and likes to shout about queer books of all flavors. Find her on Twitter @KA_Doore or at her blog