05 May '15

LGBT Event : Ten Trans Romances You Should Read by JK Pendragon

Posted in LGBT 2015 / 6 Comments

Hola and a big smushy WELCOME to our LGBT event which is here for the month of May. We have reviews, Guest Posts, Top Ten List and lots and lots of prizes all with a LGBT theme. The posts will be indexed on the side and I do hope you hop through … I have been so lucky this year!

Today, I am quite excited about this post. Last year, I BEGGED for someone to do a Trans-fiction post and got no takers. This year, I have a TOP TEN from the wonderful J.K. Pendragon! I hope you find something that you may want to try here …. a big thanks to JK!

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Hello! J.K. Pendragon here to recommend some awesome trans books to you for Scorching Book Reviews’s annual LGBT event. Thank you to SBR for having me!

Firstly, I want to note that these aren’t in any particular order because I don’t want to play favourites. I also don’t read nearly as much as I probably should as an author, so these are a combination of books I have read and enjoyed, and books that are on my (pathetically huge) to-read list, and come highly recommended from other trans readers that I trust. And finally I want to mention that this is definitely not a definitive list. It’s limited to the two presses that are my go-to for quality trans romance (Less Than Three Press and Riptide Publishing), and my opinions are, of course, subjective. I’m sure I’ll miss plenty of really good books, so if you’ve read an excellent trans romance recently that’s not on this list, please let everyone know in the comments! I’d love to get a discussion going.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. First up, Song of the Spring Moon Waning by E.E. Ottoman. I think this is the first trans romance I ever read, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s set in historic China, is meticulously researched, and has a wonderful, fairy-tale feel to it. The love interest is a eunuch, something that’s also well-researched by the author, and the story is lovely, light and magical.


2. Next up, Prosperity and Cloudy Climes and Starless Skies by Alexis Hall. Both stories feature a genderqueer character, Byron Kae, who uses ‘they’ pronouns, and is referred to by them in the text. As someone who also goes by ‘they’ pronouns, that’s pretty cool to read. Besides that, the Prosperity stories are all amazing, classic steampunk with airships, floating cities, and plenty of Krakens. Definitely check it out!

3. Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde. (This is one of three books on this list that are part of Less Than Three Press’s Geek Out collection of trans and genderqueer romances. It’s a really fantastic collection, and I highly recommend it! Full disclosure: I’m one of the authors.) Defying Convention is a contemporary romance between two trans characters who are meeting each other for the first time after being online friends for years. It’s a really cute, fun story with minimal angst, lots of sweetness and a bit of sex (the panties on the cover are a hint.)
 

4. Another story by E.E. Ottoman, Selume Proferre is a dark, supernatural romance with spells, exorcism and some great world building. The main character is an awesome butch lady with a cowboy hat, the love interest is genderqueer, and the sex is explicit. There also aren’t a lot of trans romances out there with two afab (assigned female at birth) characters, so this story is great in that way too!

 
5. The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz is about Derrick, a grizzly ex-logger who’s now trying (and failing) to run a bed & breakfast. He wants to shut the place down, but can’t until he gets rid of his last tenant, an incapacitated stuntman who’s determined to help Derrick get the b&b back on it’s feet, whether Derrick likes it or not. The story examines the effemephobia that a lot of cis men struggle with, and has a great trans character who is confident in his body and sexuality
 

6. Can you tell I love fantasy? The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller is some great high fantasy about a runaway prince and the long-suffering soldier sent to drag him home. This is a slow-burn romance with magic, politics, and very little angst regarding one of the characters being trans. Sometimes that’s the best kind of representation.

 
7. Another one from Geek Out, Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans is a beautifully written, artsy story. The writing style is very different and flowy. The whole thing feels almost like an impressionist painting. The main character, Jalen is genderqueer, and shy and awkard. They meet the cool, punk trans guy P at a coffee shop one day, and embark on a sweet, almost melancholic romance that ultimately ends in them supporting each other in their own special ways.
 

8. Wallflower by Heidi Belleau is a great contemporary romance about a gamer-geek who decides to start exploring his gender identity by dressing as a girl part time. It’s a nuanced story about gender presentation, as well as a sexy romance set in multicultural Vancouver, which I’m partial to.

 

9. Love Rampage by Alex Powell is also set in Vancouver, but it’s quite different from Wallflower. It’s an adorable fantasy story about a teenage trans girl who is visited by a unicorn one night, so that she can confess her love to the girl she has a crush on. If that sounds ridiculous, it is… ridiculously awesome! It’s a very short story, and more YA than adult romance, but I had to include it, because it’s just such a great, fun story.

 

10. Static is an award-winning novel set in an alternative universe where ‘shifters’—people who switch back and forth between genders—are common. The main character discovers that his girlfriend is a shifter. The problem is, they’ve been forcibly given an implant that keeps them in male form, something that causes them extreme pain, as well as dysphoria. It’s an interesting take, and a bit different from the other titles on this list, but I wanted to include it as well.

 

And finally, some self-promo. To Summon Nightmares is my first story featuring a trans hero. It’s a dark horror story, as well as a romance, set in Ireland, and featuring demons, witches and lots of magic. Along with that, it also focuses on the main character’s experience as a young trans person trying to escape the pressure of transitioning in the spotlight.

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was “Ireland’s Favorite Daughter”, a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media’s treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

And there you have it! I hope at least one of these books sparked your interest. Trans romance is still incredibly new and scarce, but my hope is that it will continue to grow until the T in LGBTQ is just as well represented in romance as the other letters! Thanks for reading, and please let me know in the comments if you’ve read any great trans romances that you think should be on this list.

Cheers!
-J.K. Pendragon

About the Author

J. K. Pendragon is a queer writer hailing from British Columbia, Canada. They have been writing and telling stories from a young age, and enjoy writing in a variety of different genres, mashing them together whenever possible. A social recluse at heart, J. likes peace and solitude, with the exception of attention from their doting boyfriend and cold disdain from their snot-bag of a cat. J. loves receiving messages and feedback, and you can reach them by email at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com, or tweet them at @JKPendragon.

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6 Responses to “LGBT Event : Ten Trans Romances You Should Read by JK Pendragon”

  1. Thanks for the post, I actually have Static and the Burnt Toast BB on my wishlist.

  2. Shirley Ann Speakman

    I have four of the books in my TBR pile I now have to add the others to my wish list!! I’m going to broke soon!

  3. I have Static, Prosperity in paperback but I haven’t read them yet. I have Burnt Toast in e-book and loved it. 🙂

  4. Thank you. Sharing my own. :o)

    “Secrets & Lies” – A Different Kind of Love Story
    by Tracy James Jones
    (multicultural, Trans/Bi romantic drama)
    “Secrets & Lies,” is a provocative, character-driven, emotional journey into the private lives of four central characters and their desperate struggles to survive in the shadows of life-altering secrets and lies. At the heart of the story is a beautiful transgender woman of color who questions her personal worth as she fights to keep the life and love she has always wanted. Even the elements of true confessions get lost in translation as the details of who these people really are brings them together in a surprising, yet necessary finale that could change their lives forever…

  5. I’ve read Prosperity and Static. Loved the first, not so much the second. Looks like I’ll have a few more to add to my TBR though. Thanks for the list.

  6. Great list! It’s helpful to know which publishers to keep an eye on, so I’ll add my own to the list. Bold Strokes Books started with a focus on lesbian romances and they still have some awkward remnants of that in how they classify books – for example, both of my books with transmasculine leads are romantically paired with women, but they’re listed under the gay section. So yeah – heads up to look there.

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