All in Fear is a queer horror anthology that features a wide variety of different topics. From vampires, to experiments, to frat houses, All in Fear has something for everyone. Each one of these six stories has a unique and alluring feel to it, drawing the reader into the world of the author. All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales is available now at OpenInkPress.com.
GenderTerror was lucky to get a small interview with each of the authors, asking them what their inspirations were as well as why queer horror was something that was important to them. Each author’s personal feelings are felt in each story in this small anthology, making it that much more personal and interesting for readers.
Steve Berman, author of His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl:
Some of my favorite horror films have a queer sensibility. Or fail to address queer issues entirely and force me to wonder, if the final girl had been a final gay boy, what might have happened. In the first category there are such movies as Dracula Daughter (the Countess actually seeks psychiatric help to overcome her urge for blood and her victims are all female), Bride of Frankenstein (directed by a gay man, James Whale, and featuring Doctor Pretorious, who yearns to create life on his own, also played by a gay actor, Ernest Thesiger), Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (perhaps the most homoerotic movie ever made for a general audience), and Let The Right One In (the vampire is not a girl, even admits this several times, and has scarred genitals–in the original novel the backstory reveals the vampire was once a boy who was castrated). Movies that I wish had been gay are It Follows (a young girl’s sexuality is shamed, so the premise of the movie is based on the Eros/Thanatos dynamic of cinematic sex for girls leads to death, but imagine it had been a gay boy, a party boy, who is not subject to the same baggage!) and Momma (if the uncle and his girlfriend who take in the wild children had been two gay men, what an interesting statement that would have made about gay parenting). Queer horror needs to be fostered so that LGBT people can be viewed as normal, because these days horror affects everyday folk rather than the wealthy cast of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
KJ Charles, author of The Price of Meat:
I like a good—which is to say, evil—vampire, werewolf or tentacular Old One as much as the next reader, but while horrendous creatures from the hell dimension win on the special effects, the most terrifying horror comes from the things human beings do to one another. Hence, I wrote a penny dreadful that’s set in an alternate world but with no supernatural elements–just people, for good or ill. Which, in a different sense, is why queer horror is important. Because it’s important that all kinds of stories have queer leads, and because stories need to tell us about the whole range of humanity—the worst, the best, the differences and similarities and all the wide range of who we are and what we can be.
Avon Gale, author of Legion: A Love Story:
As a member of the LGBTQA community, one thing that is very important to me is representation. Being able to see “myself” in a story is one reason why I write queer romance. I want to read about people like me having happy endings. Similarly, when I read horror, I want to see people like me facing their fears and destroying the monster in the dark. Even horror stories with endings that aren’t particularly happy or are flat-out horrific, I’m still going to live through it. There’s a catharsis there that is so important. Fear and love are two of the most profound human emotions, and fiction gives us a way to experience both. I’m also interested in anything involving demons and demonic possession, and how these stories are always framed in traditional, often religious, narratives. I’m fascinated by the idea of reframing these narratives, casting the demonic entity as neutral in origin instead of intrinsically evil. This opens up a lot of possibilities, in my opinion, to examine the idea that maybe demons are evil because we expect them to be and treat them accordingly.
Roan Parrish, author of Company:
Horror has a rather unsavory legacy of framing queerness as horrifying. In films like Silence of the Lambs, Cruising, High Tension, and so many more, being queer is associated with being a sadist, a serial killer, or insane. It’s a legacy that we can trace back to 18th and 19th century gothic novels, where queerness habitually became transmuted into threat. Same-sex desire was either punished or manifested by villains. It was metaphorized as vampirism or mesmerism so that it was always predatory or nonconsensual. It was always transgression, always danger.
Given this, writing horror that is purposeful in being about queer characters, rather than being haunted by them, is important in in refiguring the relationship between queerness and horror. It’s essential to have queer representation in all genres of fiction, but especially in one where the relationship is, historically, so fraught.
Kris Ripper, author of Love Me True:
Horror as a genre carries with it a strange sense of freedom, a liberation from the rules. Providing you make me believe it, I will read your zombies, your ghosts, your vampires, your spirit possession. I will delight in your story about a good person who goes bad, or a baddie who’s redeemed by an act of heroism on the last page. Horror gives us people at extreme moments, and queer folks should be more than punchlines, or the human sacrifice in the first scene. It’s long past time.
J.A. Rock, author of Beauties:
There was an article a while back on Wired called “Queer Horror Is Stepping Out of the Shadows.” It touched on how a lot of mainstream horror depicts serial killers as having “twisted sexual motivations”—they cross-dress, or are queer and closeted, and that’s often presented as the “reason” for their madness, or at least a manifestation of it. And while there are real serial killers who do have twisted sexual motivations, what’s so important about having broad queer representation in horror is that it mitigates the idea that there’s a link between queerness and evil. Or gender bending and misery-and-self-loathing-that-will-turn-you-into-a-psychopath. If we have nonbinary heroes, asexual heroes, gay and lesbian and bi and trans heroes, etc., then it’s no longer a link: “LGBTQIA+ people are fucked up.” Or “the queers are the first to die.” It’s a situation where sometimes queer people are the villains, and sometimes they’re the heroes. Sometimes they die, but often they survive. Buffalo Bill cross-dresses because he’s got mommy issues, but here are some badass cross-dressers who do it because it’s empowering and part of their identities. Horror has always been full of queer undertones, and it does the whole genre a favor when we un-closet queerness and make it an open and integral part of horror.
You can buy All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales on OpenInkPress.com.
So who are these authors?
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.
Connect with Avon:
Sign up for Avon’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bOXXp9
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.
Sign up for her Newsletter to receive updates about new releases, works-in-progress, and bonus materials like sneak peeks and extra scenes! eepurl.com/bmJUbr
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.
The site: krisripper.com
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.
GenderTerror would like to thank the All in Fear authors for their contributions as well as Judith who got in contact with us about this anthology and provided us with the author answers and profiles.