Having dinner with my wife at Ray’s Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019
I am considering collecting all my short fiction published to date into one volume. This would include all the works in A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror, The Scent and Other Stories, and Click (Alien Embrace and Diablolical are already included in A Tale of Hell and Other Works).
The working title for this collection is Les Danses Macabres. According to The Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (J.A. Cuddon, Penguin Books, 1991) the danse Macabre is:
Also known as the Dance of Death…The Dance of Death (in art and literature) depicted a procession or dance in which the dead lead the living to the grave. It was a reminder of mortality, the ubiquity of death and of the equality of all men in that state. It was also a reminder of the need for repentance. Apart from its moral and allegorical elements, it was very often satirical in tone…Death is, as it were, presented as a kind of sardonic joke.
Notice that the title of my planned work is Les Danses Macabres, which is the plural of danse macabre. I chose this variation for two reasons:
- To distinguish my book from other books and other works which have the name Danse Macabre, which is not an uncommon name. In fact, there is even a tone poem for orchestra by Camille Saint-Saens called Danse Macabre (Opus 40, 1874) and a non-fiction book by Stephen King entitled Danse Macabre.
- “Danse Macabre” is a single way to death . By using the plural, I am intimating that there are several ways to death (or to hell, if you prefer). I think the stories in the collection illustrate that.
I have rearranged the stories, somewhat, to start with “The Scent”, which is a very pleasant, poignant, but a little spooky story. From there the stories gradually increase in intensity until the collection ends with the intense, violent microfiction at the end of A Tale of Hell….
The total word count of the collection is over 87,300, which puts it into the same size range as a novel. This should make it more marketable as people like to buy longer works. In fact, I have read that Stephen King likes to write long works, so that his readers get something for their money. This seems to bear out in my sales, as my longest work (A Tale of Hell…) has accounted for 43% of my sales since January, 2018. it is 62,054 words in length, which puts it in the range of shorter novel. According to my research on Duotrope, most small publishers are looking for novels to be about 40,000 to 100,000 words in length with the majority being around 40,000 to 50,000.
I am designing this work initially to be marketed on Amazon Kindle, but I am also keeping it simple to make it easily converted into a hard copy book.
This planned work will include only prose. Nocturne, therefore, will not be included in this collection. However, I am planning a second edition of it that will include poems that were not included in the current edition.
.I have started designing covers for Les Danses Macabres. Here are the possibilities I have come up with so far. Let me which one you think most suitable. For easy reference, I have put a name below each. Let me know your thoughts on my other plans too as well, if you will.
Red Skull Cover
Blue Skull Cover