IQARUS: International Queer Authors and Readers Uniting Stories

Bringing together readers and authors globally through a rainbow of queer fiction.

iqarus book con logo image as an abstract bird emerging as a book in rainbow colors

Thank you to all our guests and participants! Please let us know how your experience with IQARUS went, and what we could do next year to make it better by filling out this survey.


This is the IQARUS Book Con agenda.

IQARUS program at a glance - the information in this image is listed on this page below this image

The IQARUS Book Con works on two parallel streams. Stream A is reader/fan focused, while Stream B is author/writer focused.

To watch the panels, follow the links provided under each description. The panels are broadcast live on YouTube. To ask questions, use the chat next to the video (please note you must be logged into YouTube to use the chat).

Accessibility note: automated closed captions will be available for each stream 24 hours after the stream has ended (at this moment, live captioning has not yet been implemented across all channels).

16:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

IQARUS Book Con Opening Event

Watch the opening ceremony here!

17:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Panel A1: The Trope Cake: Queer Frosting and Subverted Sprinkles, hosted by M.D. Neu | This is a conversation about creating queer stories and avoiding common tropes. Not all tropes are bad, but learning when and how to use them in writing is important. This panel is a discussion so bring your questions.

Guests: Ava Kelly, Sera Trevor, Kellie Doherty

Watch Panel A1 here!

Panel B1: A Book’s New Clothes: Challenges in Producing Inventive Cover Art, hosted by J.P. Jackson | Let’s face it, a picture is worth a thousand words, and an inspiring book cover draws in potential readers! But with a limited supply of model images, and a lack of BIPOC representation on book covers, how do we create stunning images to draw readers in? Come listen to some of the industries Book Cover Artists discuss current market trends and challenges in creating the pictures that draw in thousands of readers.

Guests: S.A. Baz Collins, Cait Greer, Sarah Waites

Watch Panel B1 here!

18:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Reading A1: Not your Typical Fantasy, hosted by J.P. Jackson | We all know what to expect from a Tolkien type fantasy. Different humanoid races, political strife, magic use and monsters… but what about all the other types of Fantasy? Fantasy has morphed into many subgenres. So then, what is Dark Urban, Dystopian, Dreampunk, and Paranormal Fantasy. Come join us and hear some of today’s most talented authors read from their “fantasy” works that go well beyond the realm of Tolkienism.

Guests: J.P. Jackson, Dorian Graves, Alex Harrow, Dez Schwartz

Watch Reading A1 here!

Panel B2: Outside the Box: Social Media, hosted by Gillian St. Kevern | If you’re an author who hates Facebook, doesn’t understand WordPress, gets the cold sweats at the thought of Twitter and would rather just be writing, this is the panel for you! Our guests share their approaches to an author’s arch-nemesis: social media.

Guests: Lori Blantin, J. Scott Coatsworth, Sarah Waites, Nazarea Andrews

Watch Panel B2 here!

19:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Panel A2: Down the Rabbit Hole: the Researcher’s Tea Party, hosted by Ava Kelly | The tea is hot in some cups, cold in others. Chaos abounds in between steaks of order. Thousands of books and websites flutter their information filled pages at the writer. In a corner, a rabbit hurries toward a deadline. In this panel, we talk about research for writing, authenticity, and the approach to understanding unfamiliar subjects.

Guests: Damian Serbu, Dorian Graves, Alex Harrow, J.P. Jackson

Watch Panel A2 here!

Panel B3: Editing from an Editor, hosted by Gillian St. Kevern | It’s pretty easy to find resources and opinions about the craft of writing, but what about editing? Join us as several professional editors demystify the editing process and explain what to expect.

Guests: Zelda Knight, Valentine Wheeler, Jerry L Wheeler

Watch Panel B3 here!

20:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Reading A2: Science Fiction and Fantasy, hosted by M.D. Neu | Come and check out our authors and their current Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. This is your opportunity to hear from some great authors who write Sci-Fi and Fantasy. After the reading there will be a Q&A with the authors.

Guests: M.D. Neu, Ava Kelly, E.D.E. Bell, Sera Trevor

Watch Reading A2 here!

Reading B1: The Queer Character Doesn’t Die in the End: Queer Horror, hosted by J.P. Jackson | Within the Horror genre, we’re all familiar with the concept of “The Final Girl”, the main character who survives the tale and lives to tell the tale. With “Bury Your Gays” a trope we’re desperately trying to steer away from, how do we write creepy, fear-instilled stories while still appropriately representing the LGBTQIA+ community? Everyone these days is looking for a positive outlook for our queer characters and avoiding the “Bury Your Gays” scenario. Can we adequately achieve this in the Horror genre? Come sit with us as we hear our Horror authors read snippets of their horror fiction where the surviving character is “The Final Queer”.

Guests: Gillian St. Kevern, Rick R. Reed, Damian Serbu, Christian Baines, J.P. Jackson

Watch Reading B1 here!

21:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Reading A3: Modern Works set in Modern Times: Contemporary, hosted by M.D. Neu | A set of wonderful authors sharing their contemporary works. It’s a mixed bad filled with wonderful stories set in our contemporary world. After the reading there will be a Q&A with the authors.

Guests: Hans M Hirschi, Rick R. Reed, Kevin Klehr, Petrina Binney

Watch Reading A3 here!

Stream B: Let’s Write | Write-in / Social, hosted by Gillian St. Kevern | We’ve heard different authors share their work and their process. Let’s put that inspiration to use with fifty minutes of writing prompts, sprints and exercises designed to harness that energy! Gillian St. Kevern hosts a relaxed Discord chat, where anyone is invited to join and share their writing or other creative projects. Make some wordsand hopefully some new friends! Please note: this session will be hosted on Discord, so anyone wanting to participate must register to access the server.

22:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Panel A3: Inclusive World-Building in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, hosted by Gillian St. Kevern | Fantasy and Sci-Fi gives authors and readers the chance to explore reality through different perspectives. When your imagination is the only limit, what are the building blocks of successful world-building?

Guests: Valentine Wheeler, J.P. Jackson, Jamie Sands, Rebecca Langham

Watch Panel A3 here!

Panel B4: Podcasting and Vlogging: The Current Frontier, hosted by M.D. Neu | Want to start a Podcast or a Vlog, come and learn from those that are already doing it. Our panelists are a mix of seasoned professionals and newer content creators. They will be sharing their background and expertise, bring your questions.

Guests: The producers of WROTE, Books that Burn, DIY Writer, Queer Words, Nobody Reads Short Stories

Watch Panel B4 here!

23:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Reading A4: Romance, Part I, hosted by Kevin Klehr | A sultry night. Frantic heart palpitations before that forbidden rendezvous. And a touch as addictive as the Romance novel you cannot put down. Our authors are ready to share their tales of queer love, just for you.

Guests: Jamie Sands, KJ, Kevin Klehr, Kara Ripley (Rebecca Langham’s alter ego)

Watch Reading A4 here!

Panel B5: The Publishing Process: Trad, Self, Hybrid, Small Press, hosted by Ava Kelly | The publishing path used to be one size fits all–find an agent, shop your book around, sign with a huge press. In the age of the internet, self-publishing and small presses have flourished, allowing all sorts of different paths to publication. Join us with a varied group of authors to discuss their journey to a published book and find out their advice navigating this new landscape.

Guests: Gillian St. Kevern, Ada Maria Soto, E.D.E. Bell, Petrina Binney

Watch Panel B5 here!

24:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Panel A4: All or Nothing: Writing Across the Romantic Spectrum, hosted by J.P. Jackson | Romance is a vast umbrella, welcoming a broad group of identities and catering to a variety of different readers. Join a diverse group of writers as they discuss the craft of romance writing.

Guests: Ada Maria Soto, Erica Cameron, Ava Kelly

Watch Panel A4 here!

Panel B6: The Writing Process from Start to Finish, hosted by Gillian St. Kevern | Authors receive tons of conflicting advice. Write every day! Write when you feel like it. Write to market! Follow your heart! The vampire trend is dead! Don’t run with scissors! We’re going to talk to five authors who have (mostly) figured this out and learn about their author journeys, from plotting to hitting publish.

Guests: Kevin Klehr, Nigel Bartlett, Gary Lonesborough, St. John Karp, Anne Barwell

Watch Panel B6 here!

01:00 UTC – What time is this for me?

Reading A5: Romance, Part II, hosted by M.D. Neu | Get cozy and prepare for all the feels as some of the best queer romance authors in the business read from their works. After the readings, there will be a brief Q&A with the authors.

Guests: Ada Maria Soto, R.L. Merrill, Erica Cameron

Watch Reading A5 here!

Reading B2: Queer Contemporary: A Little bit of Everything, hosted by Kevin Klehr | Life is complex. The modern world throws us challenges unique to our time. Join us as authors complicate their characters’ lives beyond our mundane first world problems.

Guests: Liz Fariam, Nigel Bartlett, Valentine Wheeler, Gar McVey-Russell

Watch Reading B2 here!

2:00-2:30 UTC – What time is this for me?

IQARUS Closing Event

Watch the IQARUS Closing Event here!