Gay Book Reviews would like to welcome author Roan Parrish as our guest blogger today! Here is what she has to say her story in the Follow Me Into Darkness anthology:
In “Touched,” Philippe Trudeau can see peoples’ futures when he touches them. Sometimes.
I’ve always been fascinated by the tension between the desire to know the future and the desire to be surprised by it. Tarot cards, tea leaves, augury, horoscopes, prophetic dreams … we want clues about what to expect—especially the very good (yay, hope!) and the very bad (forewarned being forearmed and all). And yet, we cherish the sense of openness and possibility that the future holds. We relish the surprises that are in store for us and get depressed at the notion that there might not be new things over the horizon to look forward to.
I was interested in writing a story that explored this tension through a character who has glimpses of the future but without any predictability. (The visions don’t happen every time Philippe touches someone, and he can’t always know if they come to pass.) I wanted to explore his mindset, in which the future exists somewhere between the knowable and the mysterious. And then I wanted to spin the dial and change the stakes for him completely. So “Touched” takes place over the course of a night when Philippe learns a truth about his visions that might change everything he thinks about the future, and meets the man of his (non-prophetic) dreams. Because love may just be the one future that most of us can agree is totally unpredictable.
Title: Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance
Authors: Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, J.R. Gray, Kris Ripper, and Roan Parrish
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Release Date: February 4, 2016
Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance
Carnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves. Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.
Hurricane by Santino Hassell
Interesting things never happened to Zay. He was the wallflower everyone forgot about as soon as the booze began to flow, and Mardi Gras had never been an exception. But after a chance encounter with a devil-may-care grifter, this year’s celebration brings adventure and whirlwind romance.
If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis
Seventeen-year-old Ven should be flying high—he’s playing the title role in a new TV drama about Hamlet’s teen years, and tonight they’re having a Mardi Gras cast party in a possibly-haunted castle. But Ven’s lost all his mirth since his boyfriend suggested they “take a break,” so he plans to skip the bash and brood in his trailer all night. Then the exasperating guy who plays Horatio challenges him to a Shakespearean soliloquy-off, and Ven knows his actorly honor is at stake. He says yes to the duel, trudges off to the the party to meet his fate–and finds that more awaits him onstage than a battle of wits and words.
Masked by J.R. Gray
Blistering heat and half-naked masked men as far as the eye can see, but Heath runs into the one face it’s taken him fifteen years to forget. Javier is plagued with a life of regret, but when a second chance confronts him, can he let go of his hang-ups and seize the moment?
The Queen’s Reflection by Kris Ripper
Isah plays the role everyone expects: malleable and cautious, a true queen. But what others see as a queen’s appropriate modesty is really just a disguise for what Isah has never told anyone, the thing no one can ever know.
This body, dressed in the queen’s gowns, is a lie.
Once a year, at carnival, Isah dons someone else’s clothes and becomes them for a night. A young cook in stained whites, or a stableboy in worn breeches. As long as no one gets too close the pretense holds.
Until two strangers look past all the characters and Isah finally exposes the person behind the mask.
Touched by Roan Parrish
Sometimes when he touches people Philippe Rondeau sees their future. It’s erratic and inconvenient, but mostly he’s learned to deal with it. Sure he hasn’t found true love yet, but he has friends and lovers, and is kept busy running his family’s jazz club in Prohibition-era New Orleans. But now it’s Mardi Gras and all bets are off. In the space of one night, Philippe falls under the spell of jazz musician Claude and learns a terrible secret about his powers. If Philippe is certain of anything it’s that the future can be tricky, but the chance at love makes it all seem worthwhile.
When not staying up all night writing, J.R Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns
Santino Hassell is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
J.C. Lillis writes contemporary YA novels about fandom, friendship, love, and art. Her Mardi Gras story was inspired by crazy days and nights in her college theater, where part of her heart still beats under the floorboards. She lives in Baltimore with her patient family and a cat who intends to eat her someday.
Roan Parrish is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. 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.
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, 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.