Welcome to the Pride Parade of Books 2022! These fabulous LGBTQ+ books need your support this Pride Month. There’s a wide range of genres and styles, so take your time and find your next read here in the Pride Parade of Books!
The Orchid & The Lion
Dorian Vidales is the star femme Dom on the James Baldwin space station. Laith Ritter is the bratty new sub he has to train for work. The Orchid and the Lion is the story of two men falling in love amidst political turmoil. The first in a trilogy, this book is a sexually explicit love story to queer people and sex workers. Featuring elements of erotica, science fiction, dystopia, mystery, and romance, it’s a genre-blending novel readers are calling “the very, very best of what indie should be.”
The Fifth Yanai
The Fifth Yanai is a story of the value of free will, the triumph of love, and the fight to live life on one’s own terms. Metanoia is the first installment.
In a world ravaged by famine, kindhearted Cultist Ohkai lives in the wilderness serving his Gods, when he is sent from his Sect on a Calling of divine origin. He travels into the heart of a society that opposes the very existence of his kind. But what he expected to be a simple test of his devotion will bring him face to face with his greatest rival — a Temple assassin. When the life of a friend is in danger, Ohkai must risk not only discovery, but his life, to save his friend and fulfill his calling.
An unlikely connection forms between cultist and assassin, and little do they know their meeting was fated, meant to be something more than they — or even their all-knowing Gods — could have ever foreseen.
Rosie collected herbs throughout Lakewood Trees all the time, but she never expected to collect a silver-haired boy from a crater created by a lightning bolt. He couldn’t speak. His clothes were tattered and his only possession was a whispering key clutched tightly in his hand. With help from her only child, Henry, they fed and clothed the boy, whom they aptly named Silver. Henry was immediately drawn to the mysterious boy, but Rosie was wary. For soon after Silver’s arrival, the forest started to walk, the birds started to bite and the sky rained worms. The home Rosie worked so hard to keep became the center of attention to an unspeakable evil. From the author of the series, He Was A Boy Who Smiled, comes Silver, an LGBT+ Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy set in the epic realm of In-Rel.
A Particular Friendship
Paul Van Der Spiegel
APF is a love story about a gay Catholic priest coming to terms with his sexuality. The story has two timelines. In the odd-numbered chapters we meet Tom, an isolated fifty-year old parish priest of St. James’ church, a Jesuit-built church in a northern English town. Tom is an in-the-closet gay man inside the Catholic Church, an organisation that defines homosexuality as inherently disordered. Antony, the only man Tom has ever fallen in love with, the man he abandoned thirty-years earlier, arrives to ask Tom to provide the Sacrament of the Sick to his dying mother.
In the second timeline, the even numbered chapters, we see Tom from childhood through to his ordination as a priest. As Tom grows into adolescence the confusion begins: he has experiences with girls, as well as burgeoning romantic and sexual feelings for his friend, Antony. After they sleep together for the first time, as the pressure to conform to a heterosexual society reaches fever-pitch, Tom abandons his lover and flees to the Church. At Ash Burrow seminary, Tom finds acceptance and other gay men like himself.
The story follows Tom’s emotional collapse and the deterioration of his mental health until he reaches the point where he is actively suicidal. In contrast, we see Tom’s teenage-self approaching life with a sense of potential. After Tom is sacked and St. James’ church is closed, Tom confronts the violent sexual assault he suffered whilst a seminarian at Ash Burrow – and the perpetrator, Derek Worrell, who is now the Bishop of Preston.
Address Book is the new work of fiction by the Costa-shortlisted author of Skin Lane. Neil Bartlett’s cycle of stories takes us to seven very different times and situations: from a new millennium civil partnership celebration to erotic obsession in a Victorian tenement, from a council-flat bedroom at the height of the AIDS crisis to a doctor’s living-room in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, they lead us through decades of change to discover hope in the strangest of places.
Neil says, ‘Every place I’ve ever slept in, I’ve always wondered about what went on at that address before I moved in. To write this book, I went back to some significant places in my own life and let the walls talk to me. The result of that listening is this new cycle of stories.’
Editor Nathan Evans says, ‘I’ve loved Neil’s writing since finding his first book in the university library, so to publish his latest is something of a dream for me. Inkandescent are proud to be working with such an important queer writer with so much to say about where we are and how we got here.’
Brittany M. Willows
A wounded thief in possession of a corrupt legendary magic falls into the care of a girl with the power to purify it—but there’s a catch, and he’s not the only one. Someone is trying to tear down the barrier between the mundane and magical realms by waking more of these Suits, but with two of the four already awake, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?
A Kiss For Luck
After an unexpected inheritance, Connie Munro takes her dream vacation to Italy. On a whim, she kisses a stranger and finds herself in a whirlwind fling.
Jules Brand is down on his luck. A con job gone wrong leads to a murder, with him as the prime suspect. He returns to Florence to turn things around. When Connie asks him for a kiss, he knows his luck has changed.
But Luck is a capricious mistress. Brand’s past catches up to him and Connie is caught in the cross-fire. She wouldn’t trust him with her purse, but what about her life?
Too Like The Lightning
Andrew Madigan just lost everything. With his dreams in the dust and his confidence shattered, he has one summer to figure out his next move. And he’s stuck in Florida for the hottest, loneliest summer of his life.
Enter Coley Brandt, with his easy smile and his green thumb. His friendship reminds Andrew what having a purpose feels like.
Now suddenly, the summer feels too short. Too Like the Lightning is a steamy small-town, age-gap romance. It’s perfect for lovers of second chances, coffee on the back porch, thunderstorms, poetry, and happily ever afters.
The Boys of Bullaroo
The Boys of Bullaroo is a collection of six short stories, each set a decade apart, spanning the period from the Great War to the Vietnam conflict. Linked by an outback Australian town, Bullaroo, the narratives follow the loves, the losses, and the sexual awakenings of men over the course of sixty years.
From the deserts of Egypt and the Light Horse, to prisoner of war camps during the Second World War, and to the flood of American servicemen on R&R during the age of conscription in the 1960s, these tales explore the nature of what it is to love, and to be loved by other men.
Razor gangs, male prostitution, and the immediate post-war flood of emigrants from southern Europe are some of the themes that contribute to the colour and private lives of husbands, brothers, sons, and lovers over the course of the century, told from a unique, Australian perspective.
Twenty-four-year-old Billy is beautiful and sexy. Albert—The Pharmacist—is a compelling but damaged older man, and a veteran of London’s late ’90s club scene. After a chance meeting in the heart of the London’s East End, Billy is seduced into the sphere of Albert. An unconventional friendship develops, fuelled by Albert’s queer narratives and an endless supply of narcotics. Alive with the twilight times between day and night, consciousness and unconsciousness, the foundations of Billy’s life begin to irrevocably shift and crack, as he fast-tracks toward manhood. This story of lust, love and loss is homoerotic bildungsroman at its finest.
‘As lubricious as early Alan Hollinghurst, The Pharmacist is the perfect introduction to a singular voice in gay literature.’
THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
The Oracle Stone
An ancient power. A savior to find. An oath to fulfill. A cosmic vengeance, rekindled. The Oracle Stone is Jekku’s last resort to break his curse, and he’ll find it––even if it unleashes ancient & dangerous magic. But Jekku isn’t the only one searching, and vengeful gods will bring worse than petty curses if he doesn’t find the stone first.
The Oracle Stone is an NA (new adult) high fantasy adventure featuring three queer main protagonists, plus many more side characters.
As King Cnut proved, tide and time wait for no human: An AnthropoScene, the first part of this collection, dives into the rising tides of geo-political change, the second, Our Future Is Now Downloading, explores sea-changes of more personal natures. Nathan’s debut, Threads, was long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. His follow-up bears all the watermarks of someone who’s swum life’s emotional spectrum. Short and (bitter)sweet, this is poetry for a mobile generation, poetry for sharing – often humorous, always honest about contemporary human experience, saying more in a few lines than politicians say in volumes, it offers an antidote to modern living.
‘Poignant, humane and uncompromising’ —STEPHEN MORRISON-BURKE
“The voice floated at the edge of my awareness. I hoped I’d smiled before I let go. In one way or another, I knew what was coming next was the start of a journey—one with two possible destinations.
The first, into oblivion—I’d know nothing about what the arrival platform would look like because I’d be dead.
The second made me afraid that when I did get off the train then I’d wish for the first.”
You can never judge an academic book by its cover. Simon Dyson, a quiet assistant professor, is a man of hidden depths. To the world he presents as a harmless, innocuous, shy and retiring intellectual. However, the man who lurks behind that public persona is far more interesting … and dangerous … and driven.
Wheelchair is a slow burn contemporary psychological crime thriller about a man who suffers from both OCD and PTSD, a man who is unwittingly caught up in a cross-border war between rival crime gangs—a conflict that almost leads to his death, and more than once.
It’s a study of compulsion and of disability, and of the many faces of emotional dependence and sexual compulsion. It’s about how some men cannot just love or make love because their hearts or their bodies lead them to it, but who can only connect emotionally and physically through self-imposed rituals which involve struggle or self-abasement.
Nathan Evans & Justin David
If Alice landed in London not Wonderland this book might be the result. Threads is the first collection from Nathan Evans, each poem complemented by a bespoke photograph from Justin David and, like Tenniel’s illustrations for Carroll, picture and word weft and warp to create an alchemic (rabbit) whole.
On one page, the image of an alien costume, hanging surreally beside a school uniform on a washing line, accompanies a poem about fleeing suburbia. On another, a poem about seeking asylum accompanies the image of another displaced alien on an urban train. Spun from heartfelt emotion and embroidered with humour, Threads will leave you aching with longing and laughter.
A poetic, performative landscape where the everyday bumps up against memories, dreams and magic.’ MARISA CARNESKY
The Stagsblood Prince: Book One of the Stagsblood Trilogy
Gideon E. Wood
When his father dies suddenly, Tel, oversexed and drunken crown prince, is outmaneuvered by his brother, losing the throne. His faith prohibits him from spilling blood, so he accepts the humiliation, working to temper his brother’s baser impulses. But the new king’s reign takes a dark turn, and his collaborators begin to round up undesirables, including those with a magic called the stagsblood.
Tel must decide: Flee or fight? Running means abandoning his people to his brother’s evil whims. Standing his ground means the sin of war. He has no army and only a few allies—and his magical secret.
When city girl Roxanne Barns reluctantly accepts a holiday invite to her best friend Eve’s birthday party in the Scottish Highlands, the last thing she expects is to fall for the very person she’s been dreading seeing again—the feisty Highlander, Alice Campbell.
The moment Alice learns that Roxanne is visiting her home hamlet of Newland, she couldn’t be more suspicious or defensive. A warm welcome is certainly not the plan, let alone falling in love.
Highland Whirl reunites readers with the characters and landscape of Highland Fling in an emotionally enthralling story of trust, friendship, family, and love.
Edited by Justin David & Nathan Evans
Mainstream brings thirty authors in from the margins to occupy centre-page. Queer storytellers. Working class wordsmiths. Chroniclers of colour. Writers whose life experiences give unique perspectives on universal challenges, whose voices must be heard. And read.
‘a wonderful collection of fascinating and unique stories by unique voices’—KATHY BURKE
Apart from herpes and Lulu – everything is eventually swept away.
Just one shimmering pearl of wisdom from pop-star and polymath James Maker, whose worldly observations will (like herpes) once again be on everyone’s lips thanks to his award-winning memoir, remastered with new chapters. If you hadn’t heard of rock bands Raymonde or RPLA – fronted by James in the 80s and 90s – you might be forgiven for mistaking AutoFellatio for fiction. But here fact is more fantastical than any novel, as we follow our hero from Bermondsey enfant-terrible to Valencian grande dame, a scenic journey that stops off variously at Morrissey confidant, dominatrix, singer, songwriter and occasional actor, and is literally littered with memorable bons mots and hilarious anecdotes that make you feel like you’ve hit the wedding-reception jackpot of being unexpectedly seated next to the groom’s flamboyant uncle. According to Wikipedia, very few men can perform the act of autofellatio. We never discover whether James is one of them but certainly, as a storyteller, he is one in a million.
‘Glitteringly epigrammatic, it’s a glam-rock Naked Civil Servant in court shoes. But funnier. And tougher.’ MARK SIMPSON
A gentleman called Joan lands in a subdued, suburban care home like a colourful, combustible cocktail. A veteran of Gay Lib, he dons battle dress and seeks an ally in the young, gay but disappointingly conventional care assistant Craig for his assault on the heteronormativity of the care system. Then, in this most unlikely of settings, Joan is offered love by a gentleman called Jim… This bittersweet comedy explores issues surrounding care and LGBT elders.
“Side-splittingly funny and achingly romantic. A play about ageing disgracefully that’s ferociously full of life.” RIKKI BEADLE-BLAIR
Cripple: The First Broken Book
Set in Manchester in 2003. Jonathan is a twenty-two year old quadriplegic and Carol is his mother and carer. From their windows they both see a young man at a bus stop and independently embark on fantasy relationships with him.
This is a parable for the 21st Century that explores the concept of virtual relationships and asks questions about their validity. Are these relationships any less real or meaningful than the ones we choose to conduct in the physical world?
If you are queer, crippled or broken, and you’ve ever lived in Manchester then you need to buy this book.
Servants of the Crown
Intelligencers: men and women from all walks of life and from all sections of society, servants of the Crown who work for the Home Office gathering information vital to the security of the nation.
London, 1855. While Great Britain is at war with the Russians in the Crimea, a cadre of disaffected seditionists and insurrectionists, made up of members of the aristocracy and wealthy industrialists, have set a plan into action that’s been decades in the making—a plan that aims to overthrow the Queen and to install a puppet king on the throne in her place. With the war raging and disquiet in the industrial north and in Ireland, their perfidious plot, unless stopped, threatens to bring about anarchy and revolution.
Aware of the imminent danger, Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary, has tasked The Brothers, a band of four men, friends of over twenty years, to root out the source of the infection, destroy the clique, and track down and eradicate its foreign pretender by any means necessary. From molly houses to state banquets, from hospitals to steam baths, from aristocratic households to the meanest of slums, the friends find themselves in a succession of increasingly perilous situations.
Like the mighty Thames, undercurrents flow swift and deep as they uncover plot after plot and treachery and treason in abundance.
Kissing The Lizard
Justin David’s newly-released novella is part creepy coming-of-age story, part black-comedy, set partly in buzzing 1990s London and partly in barren New Mexico wildlands. When Jamie meets Matthew in Soho, he’s drawn to his new-age charms. But when he follows his new friend across the planet to a remote earth-ship in Taos, bizarre incidents begin unfolding and Matthew’s real nature reveals itself: he’s a manipulative monster at the centre of a strange cult. Jamie finds himself at the centre a disturbing psychological nightmare as they seize the opportunity to recruit a new member. Pushed to his limits, lost in a shifting sagebrush landscape, can Jamie trust anyone to help him? And will he ever see home again? This evocatively set desert gothic expertly walks the line between macabre humour and terrifying tension.
‘A beautifully creepy novella, terrifying and macabre, shot through with blacker than black humour. I loved it.’—S J WATSON
Nico and Valerie Solanas – Warhol’s muse and would-be assassin – meet, in this black comedy about fame, failure and firearms.
The Chelsea Hotel, New York, 1968. Nico, German actress and singer with The Velvet Underground is waiting to shoot her role in Andy Warhol’s latest movie and for her lover, Jim Morrison, when her room is invaded by Valerie Solanas, radical feminist and would-be Warhol assassin. A duel to the death begins…
One hundred years since women got the vote, and thirty years since Valerie and Nico died, Polly Wiseman reimagines two female pop culture icons at the epicentre of ‘60s cool battling for control of their own destinies.
Naomi is a thin, fashion-loving Torontonian living in a world that likes it large. Being small is her life, and she gets by day-to-day ignoring the micro grievances that surround her until they become unavoidable obstacles in her dating, family, friend, and work life.
To add to it, the new girl at work is tormenting her, and she doesn’t know who to turn to. Who is this Ami chick, and why has she taken such an intense interest in her? This isn’t what she asked for. All she wants is acceptance, respect, and a warm body to spoon on cold nights, and it’s going to take more than dressing pretty to accomplish it.
This speculative romance takes place in a world similar to our own, but with a tiny twist. Naomi will have to think large and take charge to get what she wants in life, and a pretty girl or a handsome guy on her arm would be an added bonus.
Nick (he/him) is an editor and proofreader, specialising in LGBTQ+ writing. He is an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and a member of PEN, the Professional Editors Network.
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