About Libra-Tiger

When I write novels and stories, I always aspire to this ideal:

The best fiction is where art, philosophy and adventure all meet.

You can discover whether I achieve that via this site, LIBRAtiger, which acts as a central hub for the titles I have published. Manifold Press were kind enough to publish my LGBTQ+ fiction and male-male romance; I am now in the process of re-releasing these titles under the LIBRAtiger imprint. I am proud that my stories have been included in Manifold Press’s anthologies. MxM Bookmark have begun translating some of my titles into French. Ooh la la! I have also begun publishing my own general fiction.

The name of this site incorporates my Western astrological sign Libra and my Chinese zodiac sign Tiger. To be honest, I take astrology with a few grains of salt – but I still get a kick out of being a Libra-Tiger, and there’s plenty about both signs to like! On a more serious note, I like how the harmony and considered thought of the Libran scales contrasts with the energy and unpredictability of the tiger. Activities such as writing necessarily find a balance between two such forces – and so here I am, with one half of me prowling through the creative jungle, while the other half watches and considers and proofreads.

My biography and Transformative Works Statement can be found on the About Julie Bozza page.

I would – of course! – love to hear from you about art, philosophy, adventure, or indeed anything else you’d like to talk about. Please feel free to use the comment forms on any page of this site, or email me directly via info@juliebozza.com

Happy browsing – and happy reading!

Heroines

An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry (Volume 2)

Blurb: With a focus on reclaiming the stories of women in history and reimagining the heroines of legend, fairytale, and mythology, in ways that are both resonant and startlingly new The Heroines Anthology Volume 2 presents a challenging and soulful collection that interrogates the traditional power dynamics of classic literature, while touching on the deeper questions of women’s true nature.

Edited by Sarah Nicholson and Caitlin White, with poetry and short fiction by award winning and emerging writers including Julie Watts, Anna Jacobson, Therese Doherty, Jan Napier, Alicia Gilmore, Anne Walsh, Barbara Taylor, Jena Woodhouse, Louise Pieper, Hannah Wheeler, Clio Davidson-Lynch , Rita Togini, Pamela Hart, Kim Waters, Julie Bozza, Toni Brisland, Deanne Leber, Louise Hopewell, Jayne Fenton Keane, Linda Godfrey, Toni Brisland, Wes Lee, Margaret Bradstock, Kate O’Neill, Freddy Iryss and Jane Frank.

Genre: general fiction; women; historical; contemporary; myths; anthology

Page count: 121

Available in paperback format from:

Reader sites:

Published on 15 September 2019.

Banner image by Luke Braswell on Unsplash.

stories: Chooser of the Slain

I was very impressed by the quality of the stories to be found in the first Heroines anthology, and (while feeling somewhat daunted) I was determined to try writing something to submit to the second anthology.

The focus of the anthologies is on “reclaiming the stories of women in history and reimagining the heroines of legend, fairytale, and mythology”. I’m a fan of John Keats, and I love his ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, so I felt that was a good place to start.

La Belle Dame of the ballad – the beautiful woman without mercy – is only seen from the knight’s point of view. She seduces men away from life and hope, and condemns them to lingering in a shadowy nowhere, caught between life and death.

Many of us will be familiar with the imagery, even if we’ve never read the poem, as the femme fatale trope has long been popular. The Pre-Raphaelite painters in particular were inspired by Keats’ ballad, producing a number of works including the one above, painted by Henry Meynell Rheam in 1901 (source: Wikipedia).

“But what is the woman’s point of view?” I wondered. None (few?) of us see ourselves as the villain of the story. Maybe she is performing a useful service, saving them from the experience of a painful death, gathering more knights for King Arthur in his long slumber, or something along those lines. When I mused about this to my sister and fellow author, Bryn Hammond, she immediately pointed me at the Valkyries, who collected slain heroes from battlefields and took them to their reward of an afterlife in Valhalla.

And so was born Lily, my gentle, English pastoral version of a Valkyrie, who we meet in the no man’s land between the trenches of the Great War…

The story itself is rather short, but it captures what I wanted to say and in its way covers rather a lot of ground. I hope you will be intrigued enough to give it a try! I can guarantee you that Chooser of the Slain is at least in very good company.

Crisis at Christmas

Blurb: Oliver volunteers for Crisis at Christmas to help the homeless. The last thing he expects is that he’ll meet someone.

Genre: male-male romance; contemporary; Christmas story; short story

Word count: 2,500

Written for the Rainbow Advent Calendar 2018, with thanks to Alex Jane. If you are able to do so, please support Crisis, the national UK charity aiming to end homelessness.

Available in ebook format from:

Reader sites:

Published on 3 December 2018.

reviews: Crisis at Christmas

Readers on Goodreads:

  • Marge gave it four stars and said: Wonderful little story with likeable characters and a hopeful ending. Although it’s complete unto itself, I would love to read more about Oliver and Finn.
  • Sara said: Nine beautiful pages that filled my heart and made me long for so much more of Finn and Oliver.
  • Hart gave it four stars and said: This is a very good but very short slice-of-life Christmas story. … It only took me a few minutes to read, but I know it will stay with me – like everything Julie Bozza writes!
  • Don Bradshaw gave it four stars and said: I’ve read most of Ms. Bozza’s books. This sweet short lived up all of my expectations.
  • Shelley Chastagner gave it four stars and said: The feeling of hope came through from page one. I loved that Oliver saw Finn as a person from the moment he meets him. Not as a homeless person, not as someone less than, just a man. The plans they make together made me smile and left me feeling that all would be right in the end.

No Holds Bard

Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by the works of William Shakespeare

Blurb: Ten authors, twelve extraordinary stories. From a novel solution to the Plantagenet succession crisis to revelations about the private lives of Prince Hal and – separately! – Brutus and Cassius, plus a surprise ending for Twelfth Night, no play is safe. We have marriage proposals and murder; subtle scheming villainy; a missing manuscript; a haunting… Whether set within the framework of a play, or spotlighting actors, characters, or the Bard himself, these stories will have you viewing Shakespeare in a whole new light. It’s definitely not the kind of thing they taught us in school…

Take a deep breath. Dive in. Prepare to be astonished!

An anthology edited by Fiona Pickles and featuring authors Julie Bozza, Siobhan Dunlop, Adam Fitzroy, Bryn Hammond, Erin Horáková, Molly Katz, Vanessa Mulberry, Eleanor Musgrove, Michelle Peart, and Jay Lewis Taylor.

Genre: LGBTQ+ fiction; historical; contemporary; William Shakespeare; anthology

Click here for the blurbs.

Word count: 67,000

Available in ebook and paperback formats from:

Reader sites:

Published on 1 May 2018.

reviews: No Holds Bard

Historical Novel Society: review by Kristen McQuinn

Excerpt and conclusion: … a delightful collection of Shakespeare tales, revised and revisited for a modern audience and with an LGBT focus. …

For me, the highlights were Julie Bozza’s “In Fair Verona,” a version of Romeo and Juliet focusing on the ghost of Mercutio influencing Lord Byron; Siobhan Dunlop’s “Imitate the Sun,” about a modern London-based troupe of all-women Shakespearean actors preparing to perform Henry IV and their behind-the-scenes dramas and insecurities; Michelle Peart’s “Lost,” [Julie Bozza’s “In a Dark House”] a continuation of Twelfth Night in the form of a conversation, mostly, between Feste and Malvolio; and Adam Fitzroy’s “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t,” a retelling of Macbeth as a modern murder case.

Each entry in the anthology deals with some aspect that is important within the LGBTQ+ community and highlights it in a way that makes it relevant to all readers. This is a terrific approach, since everyone needs more insight, understanding, and empathy into all facets of life, not just what we are familiar with already. Literature such as No Holds Bard does exactly that, while also taking an irreverent approach to the Bard himself in the process. I think Shakespeare would have approved! Definitely recommended.

No Holds Bard on Goodreads

  • Rohase Piercy gave it 4 stars and said: Well, this was fun! Such a variety of approaches to putting an LGBTQ twist on Shakespeare’s works, with twelve stories from eleven different authors. I enjoyed all of them, but I’ll tell you my four favourites: Erin Horakova’s ‘Couched In A Curious Bed’ gives us a new slant on Richard of York’s ‘difference’ and a novel ending to the Wars of the Roses in Henry VI; Julie Bozza’s ‘In Fair Verona’ features a romantic encounter between Lord Byron to Romeo & Juliet’s Mercutio – no mean feat across two centuries! Bryn Hammond gives us an ageing Shakespeare collaborating on his last play, ‘Two Noble Kinsmen’ and pouring out his heart to his character Princess Emilia as he struggles to give voice both to her sexuality and that of her two suitors in a way that will avoid the controversy caused by publication of his Sonnets; and my personal favourite is Jay Lewis Taylor’s very clever ‘After the Storm’, in which the characters from The Tempest are transported to Wales and given an alternative but parallel story narrated from the point of view of poor captive Ariel. This anthology has made me want to open my long-neglected Complete Works of Shakespeare for the first time in years – which I hope is a tribute in itself.
  • Bellbomb Bellbomb gave it 5 stars and said: … my initial decision to buy the book was because I’m an avid fan of some of the authors included in this anthology (Julie Bozza and Adam Fitzroy) and I just couldn’t get enough of their writing, and because this was from Manifold Press which you can’t go wrong with any of their publications. I’m glad I’ve found many new gems in this anthology whom I will be looking out for more of their full length novels in the future. This is one of those rare anthologies which I believe I’ll pick up to reread many times.

blurbs: No Holds Bard

THE STORIES

Couched in a Curious Bed
Erin Horáková
Having lost his youngest son, a shaken but still-living York is determined to bring the War of the Roses to a swift end – preferably one that will benefit his family. The Lancastrian queen and heir are dead, and, medieval diplomacy being what it is, the best hope for peace lies in a highly unexpected royal marriage.

The Lord and Christopher Sly
Vanessa Mulberry
Christopher Sly is a wastrel with nothing to his name but a handsome face, but he’s always intrigued the local Lord. When he finds Sly drunk outside an inn, the Lord decides to play a trick on him and give him a taste of a better life.

In Fair Verona
Julie Bozza
Adventures naturally befall Lord Byron while he travels through Europe, but all are deliciously surpassed when he is visited by an apparition in the book-lined parlour of an old palazzo in Verona.

Under the Veil of Wildness
Adam Fitzroy
It isn’t only contemplation that Hal’s obscured under the veil of wildness; also growing like the summer grass, wildest at night, is another personality – a female one, Arietta. When a French spy discovers Hal’s secret, trouble follows – but the sequence of events is not what either of them had been expecting…

Continue reading blurbs: No Holds Bard

stories: In a Dark House

art by johnhain on Pixabay

This story follows a character or two from Twelfth Night into a future beyond the play. The story grew from a seed planted so long ago I can’t remember quite when or where.

I once read in a scholarly tome that if we are looking for queer characters in Shakespeare’s work, then we needn’t rely only on the relatively explicit declarations of same-gender love from characters such as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Antonio in Twelfth Night, or Antonio in The Merchant of Venice. Disclaimer: These can be interpreted as declarations of affectionate friendship, of course, rather than romantic love or attraction.

If we are looking for queer characters, however, we might also consider the characters who are left alone at the end of each play. This particularly applies to the “comedies”, in which most of the main characters are finally paired up in heterosexual couples, and left to a (presumably!) happy ending. For me, the fact that the Antonios in Twelfth Night and Merchant of Venice are each left to walk away alone at the end of their plays, only reinforces my romantic interpretation of their devotion to Sebastian and Bassanio respectively.

So, I wondered, all that time ago … what about Feste? He is, as I’m sure you remember, the Fool in Twelfth Night, belonging to the Countess Olivia’s household (though having been long absent) and also welcome to visit and perform for the Duke Orsino.

Shakespeare’s fools are usually clever and funny, and adept at using language to score a witty point. They entertain a court or household, in the traditional role of jester – but they also challenge people by speaking truths, and turning expectations topsy-turvy. In these ways, they could be seen as operating in a queer space, outside the social norms.

Given all of that, and that Feste is one of the few main characters left alone and unmatched at the end of Twelfth Night, I felt it wasn’t unreasonable of me to write him as queer.

So, what would he do next, once he has performed the play’s concluding song and the curtain has fallen? Would he stay with his newly married mistress Olivia, or would he go wandering again? And if the latter, then where…?

You might care to read my story to find out one possible answer!

stories: In Fair Verona

“The Death of Mercutio, Romeo’s Friend” (1904) by E. A. Abbey (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

My second story for this anthology was In Fair Verona, which features a character from Romeo and Juliet. Well, I couldn’t let this queer Shakespearean anthology go by without claiming a spot for Mercutio, could I? I’ve spent most of my life convinced that he was deeply in love with Romeo, after all.

At the time this thought occurred to me, I was reading the English Heritage anthology Eight Ghosts, and writing my own ghost story, An English Heaven. So, in a spectral mood, I wondered whether there are some ghosts out there who aren’t the remnants of human beans – but of strong characters from literature? We authors often like to say that characters take on lives of their own… What if some of them continue on beyond the inspiration and even the life of their author, in a kind of literary afterlife?

If so, then Mercutio certainly has the chutzpah to exist in his own right. And he might be found in a number of places, but one of them could certainly be Verona… And who else has visited Verona, and might encounter him…?

Enter Lord Byron and entourage, with a suitable flourish. Though the timeframe is neither here nor there, I set the story in early November 1816, when Byron travelled to Verona with his friend Hobhouse. Though I admit to conveniently ignoring Hobhouse (let’s pretend they went their separate ways while in town), I did draw on some of Byron’s thoughts on Verona, to be found in his letters.

And I have to admit to feeling rather pleased with the results… I hope you might give it a try – and if my story isn’t quite the thing, no doubt you will find something else in this quixotic tome to bewitch you!

fiction by Julie Bozza