#SPFBO 5 and LGBTQ+ Characters

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Happy SPFBO 5! Today officially marks the start of the fifth annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, and the first reviews are already being posted! There’s so much excitement going on, it’s hard to keep track of. But I’m here to tell you about my favorite event so far: combining SPFBO with Gay Pride!

What’s that? You think just because June is over, Gay Pride ended? Nope! We celebrate it year ’round in my house. And I’m so proud to say that I’m not the only author in the competition who loves to celebrate LGBTQIA+ characters. Andrew Butcher took a little survey and found that a number of this year’s entries have at least one LGBTQIA character. We made a list on Goodreads, but I’m also sharing it here!

SPFBO 5 – LGBTQIA / LGBT-Friendly Books

  1. + Seraphina’s Lament by Sarah Chorn: My review, Judge’s review
  2. + River of Thieves by Clayton Snider: Author interview, My review, Judge’s review
  3. X Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts by Kristen S. Walker: Character interview, Author interview, Judge’s review
  4. X Fear the Wolf by Andrew Butcher: My review, Judge’s review
  5. + The Lord of Stariel by A.J. Lancaster: Judge’s review
  6. X The Gates of Golorath by R.M. Garino: My review, Judge’s review
  7. X A Triad in Three Acts by Blaine D. Arden: My review, Judge’s review
  8. + Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgess: Author interview, Judge’s review, My Review
  9. X Klone’s Stronghold by Joyce Reynolds-Ward: Character interview, Judge’s review
  10. X The Narrows by Travis M. Riddle: Judge’s review, My review
  11. X Dissident by Nikki McCormack: Judge’s review
  12. * Blade’s Edge by Virginia McClain: Author interview, Judge’s review, My review
  13. + Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn: Judge’s review, My review
  14. X Torn Apart by J.M. Riddles: Character interview, Judge’s review
  15. X Gloomwalker by Alex Lang: Character interview, Judge’s review, My review
  16. X The Eldritch Heart by Matthew S. Cox: Judge’s Review, My review
  17. X The Dragons of Esternes by Steve Turnbull: Character interview, Judge’s review, My review
  18. X Skies of the Empire by Vincent E. M. Thorn: My review, Judge’s review
  19. + Magpie’s Song by Allison Pang: Judge’s review
  20. X A Shard of Sea and Bone by LJ Engelmeier: My review, Judge’s review
  21. X The Door into Fire by Diane Duane: Judge’s review
  22. + Books & Bone by Victoria Corva: Judge’s review
  23. X Tavern by Deston J. Munden: Judge’s review

Key: X eliminated, + semi-finalist, * finalist

Books entered into SPFBO 5 which have LGBTQIA+ characters. Book links on Goodreads. Reviews and interviews are on individual blogs. I’m linking to any extra content I find related to this contest because I find it entertaining, but only the judges’ reviews count toward the final results.

Wow, that’s 23 books, which is over 7% of the total entries! That’s a fabulous showing. I don’t know of any lists for previous years, but it’s rare to see LGBT+ characters featured in any books. As of November 30th, 16 have been eliminated, 8 were semi-finalists, and one made it to the finals! Congratulations to Blade’s Edge by Virginia McClain!

Since I plan to participate in reading and reviewing other entries from the competition, I decided to start with this list. So I will keep it updated as I write my personal reviews for each one. I’m not an official judge, so my reviews won’t count towards any book’s score; I’m just doing this for fun, and to highlight the queer representation.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.