I love when a collection of stories this different come together under such beautiful common thread.
To Bring Him Home and Other Tales by Warren Rochelle release in September in the science fiction, fantasy, LGBTQ+ genre.
We all need a place to call home, a place where we belong, and are safe, and loved. For the lovers in these stories, finding home is easier said than done. Quests must be taken; dragons must be slain. Rocket launchers need to be dodged. Sometimes one might have to outrun the Wild Hunt, and sometimes they have to reimagine and recreate home. But these lovers do find homes, homes in each other’s hearts.
“That’s it for the pizza. Good thing you liked veggies, I’m so used to vegetarian stuff all the time, I forgot to ask,” Sam said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
They sat on the back-porch swing, looking into a yard of dark green shadows and dogwoods, another oak, a thicket of crape myrtles against the back fence. The night air was cool. The swing, hung on ropes, moved slowly as Sam pushed off with his feet. Behind them, the soft yellow light in the living room, muted by the curtains, made more shadows on the porch.
“In the summer the yard is lit up with fireflies: yellow-green, twinkling, like tiny stars in the grass and trees.” He smiled at Fletcher. “Sorry. Any more questions?”
“Just one more,” Fletcher said slowly, grateful the interview questions had saved him from his topics list and sounding stupid. He was acutely aware that Sam was just inches away and how much he wanted to touch him and how afraid he was of what would or would not happen. “There is one more question that neither of us asked the other. Significant others? Girlfriends? Boyfriends?” The last word came with great effort and he couldn’t look at Sam; he stared instead into his Pepsi cup, as if there was some answer in the dark liquid or the crushed ice.
“No, no significant others, no boyfriends,” Sam said, staring into his own cup, before setting it on the floor. “What about you? Boyfriends?” he asked just as slowly.
They finally looked at each other and Sam reached out to touch his face. Fletcher sat very still, the swing barely moving, wanting to run, but knowing he didn’t know which way, that he was going to let this happen, and that life had finally come looking for him. Sam touched him with the tips of fingers. Fletcher shivered at the touch. Sam kissed him. There was an explosion of light, a shattering, as if from somewhere, walls of shining glass rained down around them. Chunks of rose and golden light exploded in Sam’s dark hair, Fletcher’s red hair, and all they could do was hold on to each other. The light passed through them, breaking on the porch into small bits, like confetti, of yellow and green and blue and white that littered the floor, the grass, the trees, everything.
“Wow, I thought that only happened in movies. Fletch, you okay? My God.” Sam looked around without letting go of Fletcher. Behind them lights in the dining room seemed to be blazing, sparking, flaring, and dying, to flare again the cycle repeating, over and over.
“What’s going on? You’re glowing all over,” Fletcher asked in an awed voice as Sam took his hand and led him into the living room. It was as if someone had peeled off a plastic seal covering up the real picture beneath. Over the fireplace mantel, the picture of the dragon on the sea had changed—no longer a picture, a painting but a window. Fletcher felt if he was staring through a translucent window looking at a fast sailing ship running before a strong wind.
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader picture—it looks like we’re looking into a window—like in the book.”
“Yeah, a little closer and the waves would smack us. I don’t know what’s happening—I can’t turn this glowing off. It doesn’t hurt. I don’t feel bad or sick—I feel normal.”
“I don’t think we’re crazy. This all seems real—I mean, it is real, and your ears. They’re pointed,” Fletcher said, grabbing Sam’s hand and then Sam. Fletcher almost groaned and how warm Sam felt. They watched as the bits of light dissolved, oozing into the wood, the earth, the air. But what did it all mean? Fletcher flashed back to the neighbor in Durham, his dream. That was nothing compared to this. Magic seemed the only explanation. He couldn’t believe it was happening and to Sam, too. It was happening to the both of them.
“I don’t want to be alone. Stay here,” Sam said. “Stay here tonight with me, Fletcher.”
Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has just retired from teaching English at the University of Mary Washington. His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, Romance and Beyond, Migration, and Innovation.
Rochelle is the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released from JMS Books in August 2020. His first short story collection, The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, was published by JMS Books in September 2020.
Both The Werewolf and His Boy and The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories, received strong reviews from blog tours in November 2020.
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/warren.rochelle
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Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38355.Warren_Rochelle
Warren is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour: