Editor Nancy Kilpatrick Multi Author Book Release Party and $50.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE Here!
Thanks for joining us today for our LIVE launch celebration for “ Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper“, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. Please ask your questions to the authors, and answer questions in the comments section below.
BBB: Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper could be one of the most unusual anthologies you’ll ever read! Twenty-three literary reflections embody the theme, classical artwork devoted to the spectrum of humanity’s intriguing interactions with the Angel of Death in all of his/her manifestations. Gathered together by Nancy Kilpatrick, these stories are intimate encounters with death; whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or psychic. Strange and horrific tales that will curdle the blood.
BBB: Thanks for joining us Nancy. Can you tell us a bit about Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper.
Nancy Kilpatrick (Montreal, Canada): Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper is a literary version of Danse Macabre “Plague art”. Twenty-six literary reflections that embody those themed, classical artworks devoted to the spectrum of humanity’s intriguing interactions with the Angel of Death. People die from old age, illness, accident, violence, despair. They can die before they are born. The happy and the sad, the sane and insane, the rich and the poor, the law abiding and the criminal, the genius and the fool, the saint and the sinner. Some face death consciously, others die in their sleep. But we all die and Danse Macabre is a kind of universal melting pot for death. My goal was to create an anthology that is a literary version of the Danse Macabre artwork, showing the same range of humanity in a variety of situations and encounters with death. — Nancy Kilpatrick
BBB: Who is featured in Danse Macabre?
Nancy Kilpatrick: Danse Macabre features works by Gabriel Boutros, Brad Carson, Suzanne Church, Dan Devine, Lorne Dixon, Tom Dullemond, Opal Edgar, Ian M. Emberson, Edward M. Erdelac, Sabrina Furminger, Stanley S. Hampton, Sr., Brian Hodge, Nancy Holder & Erin Underwood, J. Y. T. Kennedy, Nancy Kilpatrick, Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, William Meikle, Lisa Morton, Tom Piccirilli, Morgan Dempsey, Timothy Reynolds, Angela Roberts, Lawrence Salani, Lucy Taylor, Bev Vincent, and Bill Zaget.
BBB: Who is joining us today?
Nancy Kilpatrick: We have several authors from the anthology dropping in to answer your questions. Here is a list of the authors who will be dropping in, what their story in Danse Macabre is about, and what influenced them.
Gabriel Boutros (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
I am Gabriel Boutros and I’m writing from Montreal. My story is called Out of the Sun, and it is about Death and his sidekick, The Joker, coming to a mining camp to collect souls after a fatal accident at the mine. The inspiration came from the closing line of the song “All Along the Watchtower” which is:
“Two riders were approaching, and the wind begins to howl.” I just thought this was a very spooky, yet forlorn image and would be a great opening line for a story, although I had no idea who these riders were or what the story would be about until I began writing it.
Brad Carson (Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Mr. Go Away
Brief summary (without spoilers): A young boy at play meets and defeats the Reaper, with imagination as the ‘innocence’ victim.
What were your influences in creating this piece? Events from my farm boyhood, refracted by time, a return to the ‘hood and the thinning of the veil.
Suzanne Church (Kitchener, Ontario)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Death Over Easy
Brief summary (without spoilers): When Death waltzes into her diner for breakfast, Lizzie learns how he likes his eggs.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I love road trips, especially eating in local diners along the way.
Morgan Dempsey (San Jose, CA, USA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Death in the Family
Brief summary (without spoilers): Death in the Family is retelling of the classic folktale Godfather Death, with a bit of a twist. Dominik’s godfather is Death itself, and Death has given Dominik the opportunity to become a rich and famous healer. But Death’s gift comes with a caveat: when it is someone’s time, Dominik must let Death take them. When Dominik finally breaks that one rule, he discovers the consequences, and the truth about his godfather’s work.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: Mostly the original tale.
Lorne Dixon (New Jersey, USA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Pressed Butterflies
Brief summary (without spoilers): An ailing young girl, dying from yellow fever, encounters a man who offers her the choice between salvation and damnation. But which is which?
What were your influences in creating this piece?: Pressed Butterflies” is a meditation on every child’s first notions of mortality.
Tom Dullemond (Brisbane, Australia)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Population Management
Brief summary (without spoilers): A bureaucrat responsible for End of Life management tries to cope with his own scheduled death.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I thought of how robots might optimise the experience of death for the betterment of all society, then kind of ran with the creepy implications.
Opal Edgar (Paris, France)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Elegy for a Crow Brief summary (without spoilers): In modern Japan, Death, in the shape of a crow, comes to collect the victims of a sect…
What were your influences in creating this piece? The baby crow I found and cared for during a couple of weeks, as well as my general fascination for Asia.
Ian M. Emberson (small town of Todmorden, in the county of Yorkshire – U.K)
My contribution is in fact called “Danse Macabre”, and is the only poem in the collection. The opening line tells you what it’s all about : “Death came to me in a mini skirt”. The idea came to me when I showed my wife Catherine an illustration in a biography of Petrarch, and she remarked : “That’s death in a mini skirt”.The only question I have to ask is : “Why are people attracted to the macabre ?” It appealed to me as a child, but does so no more. My poem is essentially humorous.
Edward M. Erdelac (Valley Village, CA, United States)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: The Exclusive
Brief summary (without spoilers): A crusading frontier newspaperman gets the opportunity to interview the most accomplished killer the world has ever known.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I had recently read The Shootist by Glyndon Swarthout and there’s a scene where a newspaper editor tries to wrangle an interview out of the dying gunfighter (played by John Wayne in the movie). He uses the phrase ‘the most famous shootist extant.’ It stuck with me, and reminded me of the writer character in Eastwood’s Unforgiven, embodying that western era yellow journalism fascination with the career, with the motivations of killers, a fascination which of course extends to modern day. I write a weird western series called Merkabah Rider, about a Hasidic gunslinger tracking the renegade teacher who betrayed his mystic Jewish order of astral travelers to the Great Old Ones of the Lovecraftian Mythos. The folkloric story of the first woman Lilith (taken from the Alphabet of Ben Sirach) and the angel Samael (who in some traditions is the Angel of Death) and their illicit affair plays a part in that series, one I wanted to explore a little more. I saw the newspaperman eager for a story even at the point of death as a good way to frame this sort of eternally tragic love story, and Nancy’s anthology was the perfect impetus for writing it.
Stanley S. Hampton, Sr. (Las Vegas, Nevada)
My contribution to “Danse Macabre”: “An Appointment in the Village Bazaar”
Brief summary: Sergeant Caleb Justus, an Army Combat Artist in Afghanistan, is accompanying a patrol to a remote mountain village. Caleb has been provided with a bodyguard for the patrol, a reassuring feeling after he narrowly escaped being killed by an IED a few days before. He discovers that the closer they approach the village, he has a growing sense that there’s something unsettling to his bodyguard, perhaps even something dangerous…
Writing influences: My service in the Army National Guard, and my interest in painting. And an old Arabic story about a servant who finds Death staring at him in a village market, whereupon the servant flees to another village. His Master goes to the market to ask Death why he scared his servant, and Death answers that he was simply surprised to see the servant at the market. They have an appointment that night in another village.
Nancy Holder (San Diego, CA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: “Totentanz” (co-written with Erin Underwood)
Brief summary (without spoilers): Drea has moved to Germany to please her fiance. She’s trying to waltz to his tune but this dance is star-crossed.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I used to live in Cologne and I miss it! And I wanted a chance to write with Erin, who is awesome.
J. Y. T. Kennedy (Ardrossan, Canada)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Fingernails
Brief summary (without spoilers): An obsessive hobbyist in Iceland visits a gathering of world record holders, where he meets a woman who appears to share his interests. But there is something familiar about her project of building a ship out of fingernails. . .
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I started with the idea of Hel (the Norse Death Goddess) being the ultimate obsessive hobbyist, a thought that had struck me when listening to an audiobook of Norse Myths with my children. (I was familiar with the myth before that, but had not thought of it that way before.) It seemed natural for my protagonist to have a similar obsession, and there is an appealing weirdness to the whole world record scene. I mention one actual world record holder, Lee Redmond, by name in the story, because I had an image in my head from something I had seen as a child, and when I researched the story I realized that it was definitely her. I hope she would not be offended by my character’s opinion about her looking caged: in fact she seems to have lived a very active life.
Lisa Morton (North Hollywood, California, USA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: “The Secret Engravings”
Brief summary (without spoilers): When Death offers to help famed artist Hans Holbein the Younger create his immortal “Dance of Death” engravings, Holbein accepts…but soon discovers the terrible price of that acceptance.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I’d recently finished writing a non-fiction article on how Holbein’s work compares to the depictions of death in the graphic novel series THE WALKING DEAD (for the anthology TRIUMPH OF THE WALKING DEAD), and so Holbein and his astonishing engravings were still much in my mind.
Timothy Reynolds (Calgary, Canada)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: “Blue-Black Night”
Brief summary (without spoilers): It’s the story of an ailing folk singer and his chat with Death about the meaning of love songs.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: It was written straight from the heart, inspired by the music of the late Harry Chapin. The first draft took 45 minutes. I had a story about a young woman waiting for Death to join her for a dance but because it was a reprint, Nancy (the editor) declined, asking for something new. Since the first story was about a woman and dancing with the Reaper, I flipped the idea over and wrote what I think of as a companion piece, about a man and the Reaper, using music as the main theme.
Angela Roberts, (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: A Song for Death
Brief summary (without spoilers): In rural Portugal, at the height of the Spanish Influenza pandemic, Death appears to a young widow in the form of a black-clad folk singer, and offers her a bargain: her life or the lives of her village.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: When I read the description of the theme of the anthology, the period of the Spanish Influenza seemed like an ideal setting for this type of story. One of the hardest hit countries was Portugal, and being half-Portuguese myself, I was inspired to set my story in the Portugal of my great-grandparents – a land in upheaval politically, socially, and spiritually.
Lawrence Salani (Sydney, Australia)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: The Angel of Death
Brief summary (without spoilers): The story is predominantly a lamentation on Death. Reminiscence of the past as the main character visits the grave of his friend who was taken by a freak accident by the seaside while he was still in his prime. A strange occurrence at the remembrance ceremony performed on the spot where his friend was taken. As he contemplates the past he forgets the time, and must walk home in darkness.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: Because I live along the coast, the sea is often reflected in my work, but, the contemplation of Death was the main influence that led to the creation of the piece.
Lucy Taylor, (Pismo Beach, CA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: “La Senora Blanca”
Synopsis: Lupe Delgado spies Death in the form of La Santa Muerte prowling around the old age home where Lupe has lived since the murder of her husband Naldo many years ago. Despite Death’s fearsome appearance and her own terror, Lupe demands an explanation: why did Naldo have to die when he was La Senora Blanca’s most ardent devotee? Why weren’t Lupe and Naldo allowed to end their lives together as they had planned, by throwing themselves in front of La Estrella del Norte? And who among the home’s elderly residents will be the next to die?
The idea for “La Senora Blanca” came from two sources. One was my interest in the Mexican cult of La Santa Muerte. Beloved by criminals, prostitutes, and outcasts of all kinds, Saint Death promises to honor all prayers—as long as she receives gifts of cigars, liquor, money, and maybe even some high quality cocaine. And when I sat down to write the story, I had just returned from a visit to my 96-year-old mother, who lives in an assisted living center in Richmond, VA. I could imagine the terrified residents of such a place peeking out of their rooms at night as Death crept along the corridors, wondering who would be chosen next.
Erin Underwood (Marblehead, MA)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Totentanz (co-written with Nancy Holder)
Brief summary (without spoilers): When Drea moves to Germany to be with her fiancé she scores a job to die for and learns along the way that there is more to life than the stale promise of love.
What were your influences in creating this piece?: I was influenced by the idea of modernizing death over time based on the original history and art inspired by the Black Plague.
Bev Vincent (Houston, Texas)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Therapy
Brief summary (without spoilers): It’s short – no summary needed!
What were your influences in creating this piece?: A prompt from Judi Rohrig in her Hellnotes “Wee Small Hours” contest
Bill Zaget (Toronto, Canada)
Name of your contribution to Danse Macabre: Symeon
Brief summary (without spoilers): After millennia in service as the Angel of Death, Symeon is totally burnt out and not a little insane. Convinced that Love will redeem him, he goes in search of it, but the result takes a violent turn.
BBB: Thanks everyone for joining us today!
Everyone: Thanks Rachel!
For the Authors
The visiting Danse Macabre authors have asked the following questions. Authors please place an @ symbol in front of the name of the author asking the question.
Gabriel Boutros: I would like to ask the various authors if they write mostly in a specific genre or on a particular topic, or if it really comes down to whatever inspires them at a certain time.
Brad Carson: Do you have a particular place or time where your creative ideas seem to burst onto your consciousness?
Does music aid your “moodling” time? (that’s the stage where everything is in the air waiting for that aha! moment, you know the time when you appear to be dozing on the couch but are in the throes of brilliance))
Suzanne Church: If you had to assume the job of grim reaper, how would you dress?
Morgan Dempsey: What drove your particular characterization of Death?
Lorne Dixon: What happens to your characters in the last moment before the first paragraph of your story?
Tom Dullemond: What did you enjoy most about exploring your characterisation of Death?
Opal Edgar: When you write fantasy, do you try to teleport readers into another world, or do you see yourself as giving a distorted/personalized reflection of this world?
Ian M. Emberson: Why are people attracted to the macabre?
Edward M. Erdelac: Are you personally afraid of death? How did that inform your characterization of Death as a character?
Stan Hampton, Sr.: What fascinates you about the subject of Danse Macabre that you wanted to contribute to this anthology?
Nancy Holder: What is your go-to food when you’re on deadline? (Mine is sourdough bread!)
J. Y. T. Kennedy: Did you find that writing for this anthology led you in a different direction from what you are used to?
Lisa Morton: Is every horror story really about our fear of death?
Timothy Reynolds: When writing your story, how much did you think about your own death, your own mortality?
Angela Roberts: What do you think has made Death as a character so compelling for all these years?
Lawrence Salani: What led you to writing horror?
Lucy Taylor: How did you decide what form Death would take in your story? What influenced the way you depicted Death’s ‘personality?’
Erin Underwood: What are you reading now?
Bev Vincent: When you think of Death, how often do you picture the grim reaper?
Bill Zaget: What were your influences in creating this piece?
Question for Readers (Guests):
Gabriel Boutros: As for the readers, why are all you people obsessed with death, anyway?
Brad Carson: We’re getting close to Oct 31st – the night when the veil is thin. What are your ritual(s) to either welcome otherworldly beings to your hearth or keep them at bay? (We walk around our house with a lit jack o’lantern at midnight)
Brad Carson: Do you pay attention to what your dreams might mean? eg. If you dream of a dead friend or relative, does this alter anything in your waking life? Does the dead friend’s sister call or email you out of the blue? Do you believe this is more than coincidence?
Brad Carson: Do you have any personal ghosts that you know are around you? Do they haunt or comfort you?
(eg. My wife often feels her mother’s presence when she kneads dough and bakes bread because her mother taught her.)
Suzanne Church: Why do you think we humans find it easier to cope with death if we can picture him as one of us?
Morgan Dempsey: What is your favorite story with Death as a character? (Can be anything, book, tv show, movie, etc.)
Lorne Dixon: Do you truly believe in happy endings, ever?
Tom Dullemond: Do you think open discussion of Death is a taboo in Western Culture, and why/why not?
Opal Edgar: How would you personally picture the modern day grim reaper?
Ian M. Emberson: Why are people attracted to the macabre?
Stan Hampton, Sr.: What fascinates you about the concept of Danse Macabre, that you want to read a variety of short stories about it?
Nancy Holder: How many devils dance on the head of a coffin nail?
J. Y. T. Kennedy: Death has been personified in many forms in world mythology. Is there any form which particularly interests you?
Lisa Morton: If Death offered you a deal for extra life, would you take it?
Timothy Reynolds: Do stories about death horrify you or excite you?
Angela Roberts: If Death were a person, what do you think he looks like?
Lawrence Salani: Do you predominantly read horror stories, or are you interested in other genres.
Lucy Taylor: Do you find that reading about Death makes the idea of your own death less frightening? If you had only a very short time to live, do you think you would want someone to give you this book or would you want to avoid it?
Erin Underwood: What was the first book that you absolutely loved reading?
Bev Vincent: What draws you to anthologies?
Bill Zaget: No influences, other than my nagging fear of death and irony.
Thanks for playing! Good luck!
Entry Points into the Draw will be done using rafflecopter, in order for your book purchase points to count today you must purchase them through the rafflecopter widget and follow the instructions there, NOTE there is a different email to send your receipts to today. Contest ends on Monday October 22nd.
The prize has been donated by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. http://www.edgewebsite.com