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Berman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in an affluent suburb in southern New Jersey. Berman realized by junior high school he was gay. Years later, Berman chronicled his first homosexual experience, which occurred while he was away at college, in the creative essay "Coming Out 101: Final Exam." Despite the title of this piece, Berman remained closeted from family and friends until after he graduated with his first undergraduate degree.
He attended first Tulane University, earning a Bachelor's degree in English literature, then later studied History at Rutgers–Camden campus in Camden, New Jersey as well as a Master's degree in Liberal Studies in 2006. He worked in the publishing industry, both as a senior book buyer at an academic and then trade wholesaler, and in the marketing department of the Jewish Publication Society, a small religious press in Philadelphia.
One of the most influential relationships in his life began through d8 Magazine, a shortly-lived periodical devoted to roleplaying gaming culture, when he met Holly Black. A few weeks later, Berman took an editorial assistant position with the medical publishing company Churchill Livingstone in New York City, where Black also, coincidentally, worked. The two developed a long and abiding friendship and remain critique partners to this day.
Berman is a former member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and one of the few lifetime members of the RPGA (many of his early publications involved roleplaying games, notably the second edition of Dungeons & Dragons). Most of his short fiction could be considered dark fantasy or urban fantasy.
In 2001, Berman founded Lethe Press. The first few titles included his first short story collection, Trysts, and several books in the public domain. In 2004, he met author Toby Johnson through an online newsgroup devoted to queer writers. He offered to reprint Johnson's award-winning book, Gay Spirituality. In the years since, Johnson's role with Lethe Press has grown.
He attended the Clarion East 2006 class, the last year that workshop was held in East Lansing, Michigan. Unlike many graduates of the program, Berman has noted that his experience there was detrimental to his career and that the workshop hampers creativity and can be emotionally damaging to writers who are neither fast nor skilled at first drafts. He was a participant in the now-defunct Nameless Workshop, based in the Philadelphia region, which included such writers as Judith Berman, Victoria McManus, John Schoffstall, and Ann Zeddies.
As of May 2013, he has sold nearly 100 articles and short stories, many of them dealing with queer speculative fiction. Several of his urban fantasy stories are set in the Fallen Area. Berman has been a finalist seven times for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards and four times (as editor) for the Lambda Literary Award. His first novel, Vintage: A Ghost Story was released in 2007 and was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award. In June 2009, he launched the quarterly publication, Icarus, the Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction, which ended in October 2013.
- Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling (co-edited with Toby Johnson) (2006). The inaugural title in the White Crane Wisdom Series, this anthology of inspirational essays and short fiction for gay men was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.
- So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (2007, Reprinted 2009). This is an anthology of LGBT short fiction dealing with faeries was a finalist for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards and the Golden Crown Literary Awards.
- Magic in the Mirrorstone (2008). This is an anthology of young-adult fiction, all stories dealing with magic.
- Best Gay Stories (2008–10, 2013). An annual anthology reprinting quality short fiction and essays that have gay themes. Canadian author Peter Dube took over editorial duties for the 2011 and 2012 volumes.
- Wilde Stories (2008–13). An annual anthology offers reprints of the prior year's best works of speculative and interstitial fiction with gay characters and themes - the 2008 and 2010 editions were finalists for a Lambda Literary Award.
- Speaking Out (2011). A young adult anthology of inspirational short fiction aimed at LGBT teens.
- Boys of Summer (2012). A young adult anthology of summer-themed short fiction aimed at gay teens.
- Heiresses of Russ (2011-3). An annual anthology of lesbian-themed speculative fiction(each volume is co-edited with a different female editor) named in honor after Joanna Russ. The 2012 volume was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Golden Crown Literary Award.
- The Touch of the Sea (2012). An anthology of gay-themed fantastical stories involving the sea and maritime folklore.
- Bad Seeds: Evil Progeny (2013). A horror anthology of stories about evil children from Prime Books.
- Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe (2013). A dark fantasy anthology that remixes the oeuvre of Poe through a queer perspective.
- Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages (2013). An anthology of historical stories featuring ghouls and zombies from Prime Books.
- Shades of Blue & Gray: Civil War Ghost Stories (2013). An anthology of ghost stories set during or based on the consequences of the American Civil War.
- Suffered From the Night: Queering Bram Stoker's Dracula (2013). A dark fantasy and horror anthology that offers new gay-themed stories about characters from the most famous vampire novel of all time.
- Handsome Devil: Stories of Sin and Seduction (2014). An anhology of incubus-themed horror and dark fantasy tales from Prime Books.
- Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists(2014). A science-fiction lesbian-themed anthology.
- Steve Berman website
- 20 Questions with Steve Berman (Interview)
- Norton Award Interview
- Interview with Steve Berman on Tor.com
- Steve Berman at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database