INTRO TO CRYSTAL QUEER: Diana Hurlburt
 
It's time to get familiar. Read on for the nitty-gritty on CQ Creator Diana Hurlburt.

Q: Diana who?

A: Hi, y'all! I'm a public librarian in Florida. I love horses, heavy metal, caffeinated beverages (used to be strictly tea but I'm a recent coffee convert too), and fantasy paperbacks. And, you know, writing.

Q: So if you like writing so much, what do you write?

A: I lean heavy toward the romance angle of contemporary (almost always featuring LGBTQIA+ characters), but I also dabble in speculative fiction--usually on the dark side of contemporary fantasy. You can check out samples of my published short fiction here. Once upon a time I dabbled in fanfiction, mainly for the Grisha series--and I might again, depending on what our Patrons want! Expect to see all of the above, plus narrative non-fiction, media reviews, and the occasional prose poem included from me in Crystal Queer!

Q: Got a favorite author? Favorite books?

A: All-time favorite authors are probably Tamora Pierce and Jo Walton. All-time favorite book is The Once and Future King (I love Arthuriana in general), but other faves include Far from the Madding Crowd, Hild, Fargo Rock City, Dune, and Six of Crows. I try to read omnivorously, but my mainstays are YA of all genres and fantasy.

Q: Give us some identifying details.

A: I'm a born-and-bred Floridian who left part of her heart in the Rust Belt during a 4-year stint in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm cis and bisexual, a recovering Mormon, a younger sister; I've worked in academic, corporate, and public libraries; and I'm a big fan of public transportation. I love horses but I don't bet on them. I spend most of my money on student loan payments and concert tickets. Stripes are my preferred pattern, and I will take my coffee iced if possible.

Q: What's your mission statement for the CQ project?

A: My focus is on including queer characters in all the multiplicity of plots, situations, storylines, and universes straight and cis characters receive in fiction. I love writing romance, but I also want to create weird fiction with queer characters sans romantic focus--that's my current goal for developing as a writer.

Q: Where else can we find you online?

A: You'll see me updating the CQ Twitter along with my comrades in writing. You can also follow my personal Twitter for pony opinions and RT-button abuse, and my slightly more serious writing Tumblr.

Here's a sample of Diana's first Crystal Queer short story, 'Doubt,' included at the Enthusiast tier:

 

The day I got back to Gulfstream, Ben landed a grand slam. 
Boom, three lengths in the Starter Handicap. Boom, a nose in the Turf Sprint. Boom, half a length in the Lassie. Boom, eight lengths in the Distaff. 
I stood in the jockeys’ room and watched each replay, trying to decide if I’d ever seen anything better than that. Trying to figure out whether it was weird that I was kind of turned on. Trying to scrape down into the parts of myself I didn’t enjoy looking at and unearth envy or resentment, anything ugly that would ruin things, any suggestion that this was all a mistake and it’d be better if I called him right now and told him to stay in Maryland this winter—that there was no way, we couldn’t ride together, compete and be together. 
All I found was something that felt like happiness.
“Listen,” said Brent Mancuso from the couch, “nobody expects that, Joel.” He jerked his head at the TV screens, then nodded to me. He was trying to be reassuring, he had this track-dad way about him with the younger riders, but I hadn’t asked. Like I needed reminding that I was coming back from a two-month lay-off and no one expected anything, good or bad. It was easy to forget riders existed when they weren’t on the track every day, pushing for work-outs in the mornings and kissing ass at every opportunity.
I had mounts for the last two races of the day, and my agent hadn’t needed to tell me to be grateful for them.
“Nobody ever expects a grand slam,” I said, and sat down across from my locker. I wanted to concentrate on my conditions book, but I kept looking at the TVs, the screen playing Laurel Park on loop and the one with TVG. It was the Ben Goldfarb Hour, considering half the Laurel Park highlight reel would be his wins and that one of TVG’s analysts was hanging out at her home track in full interview mode. 
Ben gave much better interviews than me.
“Sure,” he said when the analyst asked him if he liked Maryland. “It’s nice to experience seasons for once.” 
They both laughed. I didn’t like her dress. I did like the red on Ben’s cheeks, from adrenaline or the cool October weather. Green silks looked good with his eyes. The helmet hadn’t messed with his curls in the slightest. There was sweat on his temples, above his lip, and I knew from experience there was a line of it down his spine, that he wanted to scratch his back but wasn’t about to do so on TV. It raised the hair on my arms, that I knew so much just from watching him. The Star of David tucked under his shirt. His lucky boxers. 
He looked straight into the camera once or twice, smiling. He was always smiling. It was easy to pretend he was looking at me.