The best gay characters navigating difficult life changes

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay writer who has navigated some difficult life changes of my own, including cancer, a gay bashing, and the death of an early love, I always enjoy finding writers whose gay characters must deal with their own challenging life issues. Whether it's a coming-of-age tale, a puzzling mystery, or a suspenseful fantasy, each character comes to terms with accepting who he is in an often hostile world.


I wrote...

Murder at Union Station

By David S. Pederson,

Book cover of Murder at Union Station

What is my book about?

At close to midnight in the Phoenix Union Station baggage room, the air is hot, still, and thick. The eleven forty-five Golden State Limited to Los Angeles is rapidly approaching when a baggage handler, Alfred Brody, notices a stray hound dog sniffing around one of the steamer trunks. The horrific discovery of a body inside the trunk can mean only one thing: there’s a murderer among them.

A young woman was certainly murdered, but who did it, and why? Private Detective Mason Adler, hired to investigate the murder by the father of the murdered woman’s roommate, discovers that suspects and motives abound. He soon realizes that nothing, and no one, are what they seem to be as he races to uncover the truth and bring the real murderer to justice.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Where's My Wand?

David S. Pederson Why did I love this book?

This book took me back to my own childhood of imagination and fantasy and brought back so many memories. It's a fun, easy read, and quite entertaining. The characters are engaging and well thought out, and the charming descriptions of his home life, along with those of his rather eccentric mother, are a delight.

By Eric Poole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where's My Wand? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Gut-splittingly funny...a deeply moving account of a boy's attempt to control his world with his own brand of magic." --People magazine, 4 stars.

Tracey Ullman once described Eric Poole as "the best undiscovered writer I ever met." Now the world can enjoy his achingly honest wit and gift for capturing real life characters in this memoir about growing up in the 1970's with an obsessive-compulsive mother and a crush on Endora from Bewitched.


Book cover of Leave Me Not Alone

David S. Pederson Why did I love this book?

All the Croy books are so descriptive and imaginative, well-plotted, and with great characters the reader cares about. It's been fun seeing them grow, change and develop through the series, set in the small, fictional town of Croy. Rumor has it this is the last in the series, but I'm hoping for more.

By Louis Flint Ceci, Jennifer Rain Crosby (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leave Me Not Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in the same Oklahoma town as the rest of the cycle, this fourth and final book in the series starts on the same afternoon that ends Book 3, but on the other side of town. Characters that appeared only in the wings before-gender-fluid Beau and robust farm boy Frank-suddenly take center stage. Beau follows his dream of starting a rock band, and Frank faces the devastating end of his only real connection in life and the disintegration of his family. Their lives intersect with the three young adults readers have come to know: Joanie, with her insatiable curiosity and…


Book cover of Honestly Ben

David S. Pederson Why did I love this book?

This book is engaging and brilliant, with a lot of humor but also real honesty and raw truth. A coming of age story for all ages. The story follows Ben, as he confronts of pressures of school and home, and his passion and attraction for two separate, and very different people.

By Bill Konigsberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Honestly Ben as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In the companion to Openly Straight, Ben confronts pressure at school, repression at home, and his passion for two very different people in figuring out what it takes to be Honestly Ben.

The companion to the award-winning Openly Straight, called "remarkable...deeply satisfying and as honest as its appealing protagonist" (Booklist). Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Andrew Smith, and John Green!Ben Carver is back to normal. He's working steadily in his classes at the Natick School. He just got elected captain of the baseball team. He's even won a full scholarship to college, if he can keep up his grades.…


Book cover of Maybe Next Year

David S. Pederson Why did I love this book?

Maybe Next Year, by Dave Hughes, a coming-of-age love story of two young men that touched my heart. It's all about Bryan and Chris, two high school guys that have been best friends for several years, and what happens when they discover their feelings for each other are more than friendship. They come from two very different family backgrounds and will have a lot to navigate.

By Dave Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maybe Next Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bryan and Chris are high school juniors who have been inseparable best friends for three years. Now, they are discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than mere friendship.

Chris, whose open-minded family is completely supportive, is ready and able to live his life out and proud. For Bryan, whose father is the pastor of a very conservative mega-church in a Kansas City suburb, being gay simply isn’t an option. Bryan hopes that maybe next year when they leave Kansas to go to college together, he will be able to live more openly. In the meantime, they…


Book cover of Pangs

David S. Pederson Why did I love this book?

Suspenseful, well-written fantasy of other worlds and realms that kept me turning the pages and held my interest until the very end. Yes, it's about vampires, but vampires who subsist on talent, not blood. And it's a story of two mortal enemies who find they must now work together.

By Jerry L Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pangs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unlike their Blood Brethren, Warner and Seth are vampires who subsist on talent. They have been enemies for centuries, competing to feed on artists with the most prodigious musical gifts, and country blues singer Wade Dixon is no exception. But the pursuit and capture of Dixon unleashes unexpected forces that carry these combatants from the earthly realm to a dangerous land of eternal night where they must work together or die alone.

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…


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We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

Book cover of We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

Amy T. Waldman

New book alert!

What is my book about?

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus atUW-Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

Jest established lasting friendships with John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, and others, but ultimately, this book tells a universal story of love and hope – about figuring out where you belong, finding your way there, and living a life that matters.

We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

What is this book about?

The entertaining and inspiring story of a stubbornly independent promoter and club owner 

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus at UW–Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

This funny, nostalgia-inducing book details the lasting friendships Jest established…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay topics and characters, gay teenagers, and Kansas?

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