REVIEW : Queer Weird West Tales – Anthology- Julie Bossa & 21 Authors

Queer Weird West Tales Book Cover Queer Weird West Tales
Julie Bossa & 21 Authors
Fiction, Anthology, Gay, Old West, Fantasy
LIBRAtiger Publishing
August 31, 2021

Frontiers have always attracted the Other - where they find that the Other is always already there. These 22 stories explore what happens when queer characters encounter weirdness on the edge of the worlds they know.

Review by Linda Tonis

Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Anthology: Queer Weird West Tales- Authors: Julie Bozza and Lauren Scharhag/Peter Hackney/Bunny McFadden/Eleanor Musgrove/Toshiya Kamel/Adele Gardner/Justin Warren Jackson/Bryn Hammond/Angus Mcintyre/Atlin Merrick/Jennifer Lee Rossman/Narrelle M Harris/Miguel Flores/KC Grifant/Dannye Chase/Dawn Vogel/Sara L. Uckelman/Catherine Lundoff/S.E. Denton/Roy Gray/J.A. Bryson

Julie Bozza opened submissions to stories for this anthology and received a huge response. She and twenty-one other authors have written stories involving queer, weird and old West. These are all short stories and definitely some or all will tantalize readers, something for everyone.

No Mercy Down in the Mine: Lauren Scharhag

Sally Doyle has broken away from her gang and Emmett the leader. Robbing banks was easy but Emmett has decided that killing is what gets him off. She knows that Emmett is right behind her but she keeps running till she gets to the town of Mobley. She is a wanted woman and no doubt the sheriff will also want her but he is lying on the ground dead. There are only 60 inhabitants left. A chamber opened in the mine releasing monsters. The only hope is to dynamite the mine and while retrieving the dynamite Sally is surrounded by the monsters. Fortunately, Emmett shows up with the gang. One of the girls attracts Sally and they want a future, a future that doesn’t look promising. Do they destroy the monsters both on two legs and on four ?

Twin-Sun Bayou: Peter Hackney

P-223 is a planet with two suns and where the locals are reptilian and cold-blooded due to the constant humidity and dampness. Some humans have made the planet their home and that is the name they use to refer to the planet, Home. Arey is a local and his nickname is Croc. His partner is Mark a human and they have made a life for themselves based on love not looks. This was a story about two men as different as night and day and each an alien as others would see them but love has overcome all differences and love is all they see when they look at each other.

Camp Bones: Bunny McFadden

The town of Cooper City is seeing a return of folks who see hope of finding copper in the hills. There are ten people living in the campgrounds until something strange begins to happen at night. There are rumors that the mine is haunted and there is no doubt something evil has come. Everyone wonders if it is a demon and if there is any chance, they can reason with it. Just when the town is having a rebirth it could all come to an end.

Set in Stone: Eleanor Musgrove

Marcus and his lover Aulus are in the army and are assigned to the quarry building stone blocks for the wall that is being erected. One day Marcus stops making the blocks and begins to make a statue. When he is approached by his commander demanding to know who the statute is of, it was Aulus who came up with the name Vitiri, a barbarian god. One statue after another is sculpted by Marcus and each one is called Vitiri . Marcus is ordered to make more statues to be part of the walls. When Marcus sees his statue in the flesh including a chip that was in the stone it leaves him wondering if he released something evil. Great read!

Ask the Wind: Toshiya Kamel

Guadalupe (Lupe) is a bank robber stealing from the rich to feed the poor like Robin Hood. His airship Libertad is named after his mother and one day while grounded he hears a noise and finds a trespasser. Her name is Kasumi and she wants to work with him, she knows who he is and knows that he is a female. Lupe has lived most of his life as a man and was never comfortable as a girl. Kasumi reveals to Lupe that she always felt like a girl and she is living her true life just as Lupe as living his. Two people find each other and accept each other as they are, a lesson that should be followed by everyone.

Witches of the West: Adele Gardner

This was short but the point was clearly made, women can do anything, be anything that is needed and do anything to protect their loved ones. I totally agree.

Bleb Central: Justin Warren Jackson

Bleb aliens have landed they are like enormous octopuses with tentacles that detach and work on their own. Downtown New York is a place of devastation. A very scary story because when you read it and discover who is really to blame for the way the Blebs are it can keep you up at night.

Magic Casements: Julie Bozza

Oscar Wilde has agreed to give a lecture in Leadville, Colorado but when he meets a miner telling him about a cavern, he will experience something very special. The miner takes him into the cavern and tells him that it is a place of total darkness a darkness that Oscar wants to experience for himself. He experiences a darkness such as he has never witnessed and an enlightenment he could never have imagined.

A Truce With Evil: Bryn Hammond

I have to be honest this story was very difficult for me to read and understand so unfortunately, I wouldn’t know how to explain the story properly. I have no doubt that it is me not the author and I am sure others will find it interesting, readers with a better understanding of what is going on.

A Fearful Symmetry: Angus McIntyre

Kit and Carlotta are photographers, Kit is the technical half and Carlotta the creative half. When they are offered $1000 for one photo of a Thunderbird, they couldn’t turn it down. When they arrive at the place, they believe they will be successful they are approached by men insisting that they are there for gold. Kit was born a woman but never dresses like one and the men immediately believed she was a man. What happens to them is both scary and amazing.

The Day the Universe changed: Atlin Merrick

The world has changed and not for the better. Jana das Amil has difficulty remembering things, she knows she was a genius but has no idea how she wound up where she is. When soldiers deliver a woman made of metal and without hands and advise her that she made the woman she has no memory of it. Rasalas is from Jana’s past a past she helps her remember in its entirety.

The Endless Night at Promontory Summit: Jennifer Lee Rossman –

Fourteen-year-old Jim, Jody and Lysette are enjoying the beginning of the summer. Lysette and Jody are young and in love but everything changed that day when Lysette accidentally shot and killed Jody. Playing at being demon hunters, real demons unfortunately, their play turned tragic. When a demon is killed, they turn into a gem and in a rush to retrieve one Jody ran across the train tracks the only thing that demons couldn’t cross. Lysette shot at the demon to save Jody only she shot and killed the girl she loved. This night would follow Jim and Lysette into the future but what will their future be like.

Derailed: Narrelle M Harris

When a train derailed the noise could be heard for miles and when Polly Clewes and her lover Nettie heard it, they didn’t hesitate to go to the accident site and see what help they could be. Of course, the town accepted them because they were spinsters living together and more than that they wouldn’t accept. Nettie’s own brother couldn’t stop belittling her for not being married never considering that even though she didn’t While have a husband didn’t mean she didn’t have love. This book showed over and over again that a woman is every bit as capable as a man. This was a story of two women, a derailment, dangerous animals and proving women are strong.

The Shape of a Man With Peacemaker on his Hips: Miguel Flores

Hexburg is a town growing not because of gold but because of furs. Hope, is carrying an urn with the man he loves, Jesse. Jesse and Hope are shifters and when they met, they stayed together living in Beaver Creek where Jesse’s family, beavers lived. After a time, Jesse grew bored and wanted to go out into the world. Of course, he took Hope with him and they experienced so much and used their shifter powers to be anything they wanted, boy, girl, horse and the list went on. After a while Jesse wanted something different and decided to be a horse pulling a stage coach, it was fun until a man offered them a lot of money to take him to Tallamoosa where he would sell his snake-oil. Hope made a huge mistake when they found themselves stuck in a snow storm and she brought the horses and coach to Beaver Creek, back to their original cabin. The story of what happened and why Jesse is in an urn is sad, but stiffs (humans) are sometimes monsters and Jesse and Hope learned that the hard way.

Old Habits: KC Grifant:

Topaz is on a life and death mission to save the woman she loves, Bina. Bina was scratched by a crimson cougar whose fur is venomous. With what Topaz hopes is the toxin to save Bina she heads to the one place she swore she would never return to The Spirals. She is returning to the place that gives her nightmares and to the woman she once loved Jolene. She begs Jolene and the rest of her gang to find the cougar and retrieve some of its fur which is needed to make the toxin. While working out the best way to capture the cougar Jolene attempts to win Topaz back but all she wants is to save the woman she now loves. Things are beginning to go from bad to worse when Bina begins to change and finding the cure is getting more desperate so Topaz agrees to anything Jolene wants to get her to find the cougar.

The Train Ticket: Dannye Chase

Jacob has chosen an abandoned cabin without food or neighbors and with a limited amount of fire wood. A snow storm and freezing wind is leaving him with a sense of doom until someone knocks on the door. The person who enters is someone Jacob hoped to never see again in his lifetime, Elijah Colburn. Elijah was a sheriff and Jacob was a criminal robbing trains. Elijah explains that he no longer is the sheriff and Jacob has nothing to fear from him. Jacob recalls the time that Bright, a male prostitute that Elijah fell in love with was killed and that tore him apart. Jacob admits that he no longer robs trains and goes into the story of what happened when he tried to rob the last one. Is that where he is heading, is that where he is now, only why is the sheriff there. Questions about life and death, Hell or Heaven while they ponder it there is another knock on the door.

Memento Mori: Dawn Vogel

Calamity Jane finds herself in a jail cell wearing clothes that aren’t hers and wonders what is going on. A man takes her out of the cell and puts her in a different room where he asks her questions about every item in her saddlebags. One item after another she pulls out and none of them are hers. Her flask continues something that doesn’t smell like alcohol, the gun she pulls out isn’t her gun and when she pulls out hair that she immediately assumes is Wild Bill Hickok’s she knows that is something she never had she begins to question where she is and why all the questions. The answer she gets is a doozy and then she has to make a very serious and important decision.

The Frontier of the Heart: Sara L. Uckelman

A group of scientists are exploring a planet but their time will be limited due to the dying sun and high radiation. As soon as the radiation levels start to reach the dangerous level a shuttle will remove them. What they have found are shards, are they pottery or shells and the discovery of petrified wood leads them to believe that there was once life on the planet unfortunately they will never get answers to so many of their questions because it was time to leave. Metanoe and Narag have roomed together for months and now Narag wonders if she has a new frontier in her future.

Grimwood: Catherine Lundoff

Mavis Travern has left her home and job to travel to Grimwood, a frontier town where she is hoping to find the witchwoman who she hopes can reunite her with her lover Enid. When Mavis got off the coach it was dark and she headed to the saloon hoping to find someone who could direct her to lodging. Unfortunately, she was attacked by something huge that scratched her leg and if it wasn’t for a woman coming to her rescue, she would be dead. Sam works with Sheriff Halston and tries to find and destroy the monster that arrived in town a few months ago leaving a trail of dead bodies and animals. Mavis finds herself the target of suspicious stares, but she is fed and then heard Enid calling her from outside. The sheriff believes that Mavis can be the bait to finally destroy the monster than comes out at night and Mavis has no choice. Who was the witchwoman, does she exist Mavis has many things to discover in Grimwood.

Down in the Well: S.E. Denton

Sadie works in her father’s saloon and suffers from nightmares that unfortunately come true. Her latest nightmare started a week ago and every day it is different but she knew without a doubt they would come true. When a man walked in the saloon, she immediately recognized him as the man in her dream running from fire. He rented a room on top of the bar and after a bar fight the saloon went up in flames. She knew that the man whose name she found out was Tom was still in his room and she managed to get to him. He left a few days later looking for a ranch to buy and since her father died in the fire, she decided to follow him. As the two of them travel each of her nightmares becomes reality and they were so gross I wouldn’t even mention them in this review. This story gave me goosebumps.

Rumblings: Roy Gray

I am sad to say that I could not get through this story and was lost from the first paragraph. I would not give the story less than two stars because every author deserves two stars for being able to write a story even if it is one, I don’t like or understand.

Handguns: J.A. Bryson

Havalyn Grace (H.G.) is sitting in a bar on the planet Drek and has decided it was time to move on until the bartender brings her another drink courtesy of Cassidy Malone the woman she loved and left. H.G. stands for handguns since her hands were replaced by guns. Cass asks H.G. for help agreeing to clear up her record since she still is on probation and also doubling the bounty which right now is huge. H.G.has to find Maisy Llewelyn Tisdale wanted for murder and return her unharmed. H.G. has no doubt that once she is returned to Cass she won’t have long to live. H.G. has two days and time is running out but dragging a criminal while trying to fight off all the creatures in their way is not easy. Sit back and wait for the end, surprise.

I challenge anyone who reads this anthology not to find something they love.



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