The nights are getting longer and longer, and what better way to pass the darkest time of the year than with a terrifying anthology of queer horror, featuring stories by some of the most talented authors I know?
Horror has never looked this enticing. New release, All in Fear, is a gorgeous collection of horror tales from some of the hottest names in queer fiction. Be prepared to be titillated…and terrified.
Today I’m thrilled (and also petrified!) to tell you all about this creepy, eerie, haunting anthology! Not only that, but author Roan Parrish joins us to talk about the blend of romance and horror (spoiler alert: it involves Tom Hiddleston).
So turn on all the lights in the house, lock your doors, and ignore that strange creaking sound coming from the empty room next door…
All in Fear
Authors: KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock,
Steve Berman, Avon Gale, and Kris Ripper
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.
Company by Roan Parrish
Nick Levy’s family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, The Face of the Vampire. Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous . . . and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.
Love Me True by Kris Ripper
Palmer’s life is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he’s found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.
When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the world—to other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.
How could he have possibly been so stupid?
The Price of Meat by KJ Charles
Johanna Oakley will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?
His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman
Joining Zeta Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?
Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale
STAFF SERGEANT JASON ESSEX, YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING ORDERS FROM THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS:
REPORT TO: CAIN INSTITUTE [ADDRESS REDACTED]
ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT: GUARD AN ENTITY CURRENTLY HELD IN AN ENCLOSURE AT THE CAIN INSTITUTE. RECORD DAILY MEASUREMENTS. KEEP ANY AND ALL PERSONS FROM ENTERING OR LEAVING THE FACILITY. ENSURE THE ENTITY REMAINS COMPLETELY INCARCERATED. OBSERVE THE ENTITY WITHOUT ENGAGING.
ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS: THIS ASSIGNMENT WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN FULL ISOLATION. PLEASE BE ADVISED.
Beauties by J.A. Rock
When Dr. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.
Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.
Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.
Learn more on Goodreads
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“An engaging anthology of queer fiction filled with monsters, mysteries, and menace.” — Kirkus Reviews
The Blend of Romance and Horror by Roan Parrish
At the peak of their popularity, gothic novels terrified the reading public. Not because of their thrills and chills, but because of a widespread (middle class, white, male) fear that (middle class, white) women reading them would be overcome by the Strong Feelings they engendered, and would lose control of themselves. The notion that literature might have the power to catalyze readers—especially female readers—to give themselves over to any bodily feelings was threatening. But because it evoked strong feelings of horror alongside those of romance, the genre of the gothic was doubly provocative. There was a sense that consuming them put the reader at risk. As if the exposure to strong feelings was the stone that, when dropped into the water, caused ripples that threatened to touch the shore of cultural conventions of propriety, order, and desire.
This blend of horror and romance is still incredibly potent, horror amplifying romance, and vice versa, raising the stakes. I love this combination because it is a reminder that there can be intense beauty and love in the face of horror, and that love, when pushed to extreme, can turn horrifying. And this comes down to particularity. It’s when we look closely at someone or something that we discover inroads to desire or esteem, just as anything examined closely enough can become grotesque. Horror and romance are both genres that succeed or fail at the level of the detail. And I absolutely love detail.
My current favorite romantic horror movie is Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), a Detroit-set gothic that introduces us to Adam and Eve, vampires who have been lovers for centuries. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is suicidal, the apathy of long life dogging him, and Eve (Tilda Swinton) joins him in his crumbling Victorian home in poverty-blighted Detroit to pull him out of his malaise. As they re-learn one another after time spent apart, they’re interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Eve’s sister, Ava, an impulsive vampire whose murderous shenanigans turn their lives upside down. Against the backdrop of this chaos (not to mention while disposing of a body—romance alert), the lovers reconnect and Adam finds his will to live again.
In Only Lovers Left Alive, a romance is dilated to span centuries. With such longevity, the lovers come to know more about one another than any mortal couple could, intensifying their bond, but this means they also have time for each thing they love to turn to cliché. There is the capacity for extreme detail, but that detail has the potential to become grotesque or banal (different breeds of horror, but both horror all the same). Immortality is the ultimate limit case of a romance, and the way that Adam and Eve’s measures of intimacy, interest, and discovery must shift to accommodate a love that has the potential to live forever lurks beneath every gesture. Also, I mentioned that it is Jim Jarmusch, Tom Hiddleston, and Tilda Swinton, right?
Steve Berman loves to tell stories that are both queer and weird. He was a Zeta Psi back in his college days at and remembers being hazed. He survived and graduated and even earned a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies. He has written and sold over a hundred articles, essays, and short stories. His YA novel, Vintage, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award.
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, and a cat with murder management issues. KJ writes mostly historical romance, mostly queer, often with fantasy or horror in there.
Find her on Twitter @kj_charles, pick up book info and free reads on her website at kjcharleswriter.com, get the infrequent newsletter at kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter, or join her Facebook group, KJ Charles Chat, for sneak peeks and exclusives.
Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
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Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a little kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.