My contribution to the book, a tale entitled “Another Night in Paradise”, is one of those stories that came together in my head and demanded to see the light of day, even though at the time I had no particular destination for it in mind. Once it was written I shopped it around at what I thought were a few likely markets, but struck out the first few (like, six or seven) times. And then Final Masquerade opened up, in one of those serendipitous moments I truly enjoy when they cross my path. The theme of the anthology … well, let me share the introductory lines of the submission call:
“The world is a masquerade in which we all dance with the devil.” J.L. Russell
Masquerade by definition states: “A false show or pretense.”
Wouldn’t you know it, my story was all about pretense, about the false show of self we present to the world as our identity and the falsehoods we tell ourselves as we struggle to believe it enough to sell it with conviction. My story even had a bit of dance in it, and a touch of the devil as well, in the sense that it was all about criminals, degenerates, strippers, the shows they stage and the deals they make with one another. Yes, it’s a dark one, even before getting into the explicit horror story elements. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but as I said, it was just one of those stories with a life of its own, and I faithfully followed where it led me, however bleak the surroundings.
The editor must have noted at least some of those same qualities as I did, since “Another Night in Paradise” made it into the book. I’m looking forward to checking out all of the other ruminations on the theme between the covers, and I hope you’ll give it a spin as well.