Guests

A preliminary view of our guests. Check back here for updates. See the guests for each panel here and reading session here. Read about the organizers here.

We welcome all the guests who are part of IQARUS. It’s great to have you on board!

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Nazarea Andrews author photo

Nazarea Andrews is a self-confessed book addict and avid fangirl. She got her start writing, and is the author of over thirty five books. She joined Inkslinger PR, a boutique literary PR firm, as the event coordinator in summer of 2013 and purchased the company in 2019 with business partner Jessica Estep. Nazarea has a passion for stories and authors, and realizing their vision.

When she isn’t writing, Nazarea is most often found with her kids, reading or binge watching her latest obsession.  Website here.

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Jeff Bacon is an author, podcaster, and friendly neighborhood IT guy who likes nothing more than to entertain you. He lives in Southern Wisconsin with his wife, four daughters, and a small dog with a bad attitude named Grizzly.

His podcast (DIY Writer) focusses on introducing authors and getting to know who they are. He believes in letting the authors showcase their personality on a podcast will endear readers to their favorite authors on a deeper level. He writes Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Horror, I combined all those genres in my series The Darkside of Good. Website here.

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Christian Baines is an awkward nerd turned slightly less awkward author of weird and dark queer fiction. His work includes the gay paranormal series The Arcadia Trust, the novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award.

Born in Australia, he now travels the world whenever possible, living, writing, and shivering in Toronto, Canada on the occasions he can’t find his passport, or has to isolate due to a global pandemic. Website here.

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Nigel Bartlett is a former freelance writer and editor who’s worked for many of the best-known magazines in Australia. He lives in the inner-Sydney suburb of Redfern.

Talking about his novel King of the Road’s main character, David Kingsgrove, he says, ‘In many ways David is who I’d like to be — physically fit, a loving uncle and a good friend, although he does have flaws. He doubts himself and lacks confidence, but he discovers his strength by being pushed to his most extreme limits.’

Nigel is writing his second crime novel, which delves into the world of bodybuilding, steroids and class A drugs. Website here.

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Anne Barwell photoAnne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. Anne works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher of a wide range of genres, and is constantly on the look-out for more hours in her day. She likes to write in series and even so called one shots seem to breed more plot bunnies. Her writing is like her reading – across a range of genres, although her favourites are paranormal, fantasy, SF, and historical. Music often plays a part in her stories and/or her characters are musicians.

She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Her books have received honourable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. Website here.

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Vance Bastian author photoVance Bastian, a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, loves being a professional storyteller. Early in his career, he wrote an urban fantasy novel about sandmen and reapers. However, it took him several decades to realize he could merge his acting and voice backgrounds into a career performing voice-over work and narration for both radio and audiobooks.

As a founding host of the WROTE podcast he delights in the show’s mission to deliver interviews and news of content creators who write, draw, sing, perform, and tell all manner of LGBTQ stories. Website here.

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E.D.E. Bell (she/e) loves fantasy fiction, and enjoys blending classic and modern elements. A passionate vegan and earnest progressive, she feels strongly about issues related to equality and compassion. Her works often explore conceptions of identity and community, including themes of friendship, family, and connection. She lives in Ferndale, Michigan, where she writes stories and revels in garlic.

Bell was born in the year of the fire dragon during a Cleveland blizzard. After a youth in the Mitten, an MSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, three wonderful children, and nearly two decades in Northern Virginia and Southwest Ohio developing technical intelligence strategy, she started the indie press Atthis Arts. Working through mental disorders and an ever-complicated world, she now tries to bring light and love as she can through fantasy fiction, as a proud part of the Detroit arts community. Website here.

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Petrina Binney author photoPetrina Binney is from 1980s south London. Daughter of a nurse and a carpenter, she spent much of her childhood writing stories to bring into school for whatever the eighties English equivalent of ‘Show and Tell’ was called. She spent her teenage years avoiding all manner of naughtiness, instead writing copious amounts of self-indulgent poetry and reading multiple Brontes and Daphne Du Maurier. In 2015, she hosted her first ever dinner party and, due to a heavy stomach and a slight bout of alcohol poisoning, dreamt up the character of Fiona Weaver-King. Petrina spends the majority of her time in Devon, with her dogs, and drinking with older gentlemen. Website here.

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Lori Blantin: Lori’s had a love affair with books since childhood and grew up reading historical romances she borrowed from her mom. Sharing her love of reading became a passion which grew into a career. Her favorite thing is connecting readers and writers, then sitting back to watch the magic happen.

Website here.

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Erica Cameron writes series for young adults including The Ryogan Chronicles, which Kirkus starred and called a “rare gem” filled with “magic, action, and intrigue on the edge of a knife”, and The Assassins duology which Kirkus described as “Sexy and edgy, with plenty of surprises and fun.” Erica currently lives in Florida.

Website here.

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J Scott Coatsworth: Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow with two pink flamingoes in Sacramento. He inhabits the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecting their own reality. Scott is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Website here.

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S.A. Collins (or Baz) hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his husband, and a Somali cat named Zorro. A classically trained singer/actor (under a different name), Baz knows a good yarn when he sees it.

Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specialises in character study pieces. It is more important for him that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.

You can find his works at this website here and as a co-host of the wrotepodcast.com series.

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Kellie Doherty photoKellie Doherty is a queer science fiction and fantasy author who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. When she noticed that there wasn’t much positive queer representation in the science fiction and fantasy realms, she decided to create her own! Kellie’s work has been published in Sanctuary, Innovation, ImageOutWrite 2019, and Life (as it) Happens, among others. Her adult sci-fi duology—Finding Hekate and Losing Hold—came out in April 2016 and April 2017 from Desert Palm Press. She’s currently working on a five-book fantasy series. The first book Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties (March 2019, Desert Palm Press) won a 2019 Rainbow Award. An excerpt from the second book Curling Vines & Crimson Trades  (November 2020, Desert Palm Press) won first place in a 2020 Alaska Writers Guild Fiction contest. Website here.

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Liz Faraim (she/her) has a full plate between balancing a day job, parenting, writing, and finding some semblance of a social life. In past lives she has been a soldier, a bartender, a shoe salesperson, an assistant museum curator, and even a driving instructor. She focuses her writing on strong, queer, female leads who don’t back down. Liz transplanted to California from New York over thirty years ago, and now lives in the East Bay Area. She enjoys exploring nature with her wife and son. Website here.

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Dorian Graves: Hailing from the mountains of Oregon and the lecture halls of Mills College, Dorian Graves is an artistic cryptid found in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, drawing or working on tabletop RPGs, Dorian can be found adventuring in the woods with their wife and their mischievous cat.

Website here.

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Cait GreerCait Greer (she/they) is a nonbinary freelance artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, as well as a writer. Having worked with both publishers and individual authors, as well as the professional graphic design world, she’s happiest working on queer stories in speculative settings. She is a gamer, a certified (and possibly certifiable) geek, and has taught more things than she cares to think about anymore. She currently lives in northern Florida and works full time as a freelance layout artist and designer. Website here.

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Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). Goodman hosts Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives. When not writing or recording, he enjoys playing Gilded Age parlour music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.

Website here.

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photo of Alex HarrowAlex Harrow:  Alex is a queer and trans author of science fiction and fantasy with LGBTQ+ protagonists. When not writing queerness with a chance of explosions, Alex is a high school English teacher, waging epic battles against comma splices and misused apostrophes. His debut science fiction novel, EMPIRE OF LIGHT is out now from NineStar Press. Website here, twitter, instagram, facebook.

 

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Hans Hirschi writes character-driven stories that expose ordinary people to unexpected situations making the spectrum of queer lives visible to a wider public, hopeful tales with unconventional happy endings.

Website here.

 

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Robin Hofmann (they/them) is a non-binary person who recently obtained a small cat as an alarm clock. They handle the social media for the podcast, Books That Burn, including for the 2021 BTB readathon. When they aren’t monitoring the Twitter feed, they are listening to a lot of other people’s podcasts and reading even more books for fun.

Their current goal is to finish at least four books per week in 2021. Robin writes all of the reviews for the accompanying blog, Reviews That Burn.

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KJ is a best-selling author who lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her wife, their son, three cats and a dog.

She started writing interesting observations of life, literary articles, poetry, creative non-fiction, and personal essays, and eventually they were all sort of smooshed together in a giant author-y blender and out popped a book. Then another. The blender is currently in use for KJ’s next novel.

Her novel, Coming Home, was a Goldie finalist. Her other best-selling novels include Learning To Swim, Kick Back, Art of Magic, An Unexpected Gift: Christmas In Australia: Five Short Stories, and Change Of Plans. Website here.

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Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia). Completing a dual degree followed by postgraduate work, she has majors in English, History, Gender Studies and Education from the University of New England.

A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, Rebecca is a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine. When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children at home, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

Rebecca also has an alter ego. Kara Ripley is her inner romantic and author of the cowgirl novella, Riding the Track. Website here.

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St John Karp is an ornamental hermit originally from Sydney, Australia, but currently living in The World. He’s been spending his lockdown trying to teach his pet snake to do tricks like jump and shake hands, but she has so far refused to leap through even one flaming hoop.

In his spare time St John blogs about B-movies, does stand-up comedy in Esperanto, and suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous underpants. Website here.

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Zelda Knight author photoZelda Knight is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AURELIA LEO, a small press based in Louisville, Kentucky. She has published over one hundred authors, artists, and poets from around the world. She is also the co-editor of Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (AURELIA LEO, 2020), which has received critical acclaim! Keep in touch on social media @AuthorZKnight. Or, visit her Website here.

 

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Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin man, who grew up on the Far South Coast of NSW, Australia, as part of a large and proud Aboriginal family. Growing up a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan, Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school.

Gary has experience working in Aboriginal health, the disability sector (including experience working in the Youth Justice System), and the film industry. He was Bega Valley Shire Council Young Citizen of the Year, won the Patrick White Young Indigenous Writers’ Award, and has received a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship. The Boy from the Mish is Gary’s debut YA novel. Website here.

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R.L. Merrill brings you stories of Hope, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll featuring quirky and relatable characters. Whether she’s writing about contemporary issues that affect us all or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, she loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after.

Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, and a Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after.

She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and works on various other writing and mentoring projects that tickle her fancy or benefit a worthy cause. You can find her connecting with readers on social media, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, writing horror-inspired music reviews for HorrorAddicts.net, trying desperately to get that back piece finished in the tattoo chair, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance. Website here.

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jeremy ray author photoJeremy Ray graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a MFA in Dramatic Writing. He is the recipient of the Max K. Lerner Playwriting Fellowship for his play Boiling Point and the Shubert Playwriting Fellowship for his play Sisters of Transformation. His work has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and his screenplays have placed in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards Competition, The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, and the ScreenCraft Drama Contest.

However, he most enjoys writing prose. As an indie horror author with a penchant for jumping genres, Jeremy finds he learns best by throwing himself into stories outside of his comfort zone.

When he’s not writing, he spends his free time devouring books like the bookworm he is.

As someone who knows what it’s like to bump up against gatekeepers in the industry, Jeremy is passionate about helping other writers get their work out there. He believes talented storytellers shouldn’t have to wait for permission to have their work heard, so he co-created Nobody Reads Short Stories, a podcast & YouTube channel where authors can submit their work for free. Website here.

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Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their rescue dogs, Kodi and Joaquin. Website here.

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Gar McVey-Russell: Gar’s novel Sin Against the Race (gamr books, 2017) appeared on The Advocate’s Best Books We Read in 2018: LGBTQ Novels. His short story, Tom of Boalt Hall, appears in the Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Festival 2020 New Fiction anthology. He lives in Oakland with his husband. Website here.

 

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Jamie Sands grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, and was a library devotee and constant reader of fiction from a very early age. Their fiction covers Romantic Comedy, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Cosy Mysteries. They have self-published a number of novels and roleplaying games as well as queer romance under the pen name Jaxon Knight.

They live in Auckland with their wonderful spouse and a cat called Mochi. Jamie has visited Japan three times and would like to move into Tokyo Disneyland. Website here

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Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, The Bachmann Family Secret, and The Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa Is a Vampire with NineStar Press. The Vampire’s Witch will be released in April 2021. Website here.

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Ada Maria Soto (She/Her/They) is a Mexican/American expat living in the South Pacific with her partner and kid. She’s a veteran of the theatre and film business as well as all the lousy jobs that come with two liberal arts degrees.

A psychologist once told her she has a fantasy prone personality, but since she’s trying to be a writer that’s not a bad thing. She is a sports fan with a fondness for baseball, rugby, and cricket. She has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD, but tries not to let any of that slow her down. Website here.

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Sarah Waites (she/her/hers) is the designer behind The Illustrated Page Book Design. She got her start in the traditional NYC publishing scene and holds a certificate in publishing from Columbia University. Then, she switched her skills and energy to helping indie authors succeed. Sarah is happy to work with both new and experienced authors alike.

She works primarily with fantasy book covers of all subgenres, as well as historical romance. She specialises in female-led and LGBTQ book covers, and she loves artwork with a diverse array of protagonists. Website here.

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Sera Trevor is terminally curious and views the 35 book limit at her local library as a dare. She’s a little bit interested in just about everything, which is probably why she can’t pin herself to one sub-genre. Her books are populated with dragons, vampire movie stars, shadow people, and internet trolls. (Not in the same book, obviously, although that would be interesting!) Her works have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, including Best Contemporary, Best Fantasy, and Best Debut.

She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and two cats. Website here.

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Jerry L. Wheeler is the editor of seven anthologies of gay erotica for Bold Strokes Books, Wilde City Press, and other publishers. His own collection of short fiction and essays, Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits was awarded a spot on the shortlist for the Lambda Literary Award and has recently been re-published.

He has also been Lammy-shortlisted for Tented: Gay Erotic Tales From Under the Big Top (2010) and The Bears of Winter (2014). He lives and writes in Denver CO, maintaining his review blog, Out In Print: Queer Book Reviews and his own editing business, Write And Shine.