About the Author

Nancy Kilpatrick

Award-winning editor Nancy Kilpatrick has published 18 novels, over 190 short stories, five collections of stories and has edited eight anthologies. Much of her body of work involves vampires. Nancy writes dark fantasy, horror, mysteries and erotic horror, under her own name, her nom de plume Amarantha Knight, and her newest pen name, Desiree Knight (Amarantha's younger sister!) besides writing novels and short stories, and editing scripts, a stage play and a non fiction.

Books by this Author
Arrowdreams
Excerpt

"Hockey's Night in Canada"

by Edo van Belkom

"What's up coach?" said Wilson, making himself comfortable in a chair. He had an idea that he'd been called in to be told that he'd made the team. After all, the morning's performance should have been more than enough to prove that he deserved a spot on the roster more than Smolnikov did. This was it. The point he'd worked all his life to get to, his life-long dream about to be realized. He was going to remember this moment and savour it for all time.

"You followed our team last year, didn't you?"

"I'd been drafted by Toronto the year before, so yeah, I kept up with whatever was written in the papers."

"Good, good," said Coach Chase. "Then you know that our defense had the third-best plus-minus rating, and allowed the fourth fewest goals in the league."

"Sure, those were good numbers."

Chase nodded. "So you realize that I've already got five good defensemen and it would be difficult for someone new to fit in with the defensive system that's already in place."

Wilson's soaring hopes suddenly came crashing down in flames. He knew that when Coach Chase said someone new, what he was really saying was a Canadian. So he wasn't going to make the team, after all. Wilson shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and placed a hand over his suddenly turbulent stomach.

"You know how it is," said Coach Chase, sounding more apologetic than authoritative. "People want to see the Russians play, they think their style of hockey's more exciting, more entertaining."

Wilson said nothing.

Chase got up and started pacing around the room. "I don't like it any more than you do, but that's the way it is. Maybe if Henderson hadn't hit the post in the dying seconds of that final game back in 1972, then maybe things would have been different. If he'd scored and we'd won the series, then maybe the Russians would have had to learn the game from us instead of the other way around. But no, he hit the post and they came back up the ice and scored..."

Chase shrugged. "The next season every team's got an operative behind the iron curtain. First Tretiak defects, then Kharlamov and Yakushev. Next thing you know, the Russians are making the deals themselves, using our money to make their hockey program stronger." Chase shook his head in dismay. "But what am I telling you all this for, kid? You probably know it as well as anybody..."

Chase sat down in the chair behind his desk. "Look, I'd love to stack the team with Canadian talent, play it tough, you know, real old-time hockey, but the owners want a team full of Russians. Better for product licensing and television revenue. I almost convinced them to start building up a team with young Canadian talent, but the Canucks shot that all to hell last spring when they won the Cup by dressing every Russian on the roster through the playoffs."

Chase suddenly threw up his hands as if he were disgusted by the whole situation.

Wilson took a deep breath and nodded. Who'd he been trying to kid? Who'd want a Canadian defenseman when they could have one of the best young Russians instead?

But, he reasoned, maybe things might change. If the Leafs couldn't use him, then maybe another team could. There was talk about the Oilers making the move to strictly homegrown talent. Sure it was a cost-saving measure on their part, but it was still a chance to play in the bigs. Wilson decided he'd work twice as hard this year and be ready if and when the call came.

"Am I going back to junior?" he asked.

Chase shook his head. "No, we don't think another year in junior as an over-age is going to help you much. We're sending you off to our minor league affiliate in Minsk."

"Really?" asked Wilson. This was good news, very good news. The Minsk Maple Leafs were one of the top teams in the Russian Hockey League, the best minor-pro league in the world. Heck, Gretzky and Lemieux were even playing out their careers there.

"Yeah, really. You do well there and maybe we'll call you back by mid-season."

Wilson's hopes soared once more.

They weren't giving up on him. So, he wouldn't be playing for the Leafs this year, at least he was being given the chance to improve his game by learning from the best hockey players in the world.

The Russians would teach him to play the game their way and he'd be that much better for it. Then, he'd be back in Toronto, wearing that eye-catching, army-red and white jersey the Leafs had adopted a few years ago to make them look more Russian. The dream was not over.

Not by a long shot.

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Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

Close Encounters with the Reaper
edition:Paperback
tagged : paranormal
More Info
Excerpt

Introduction
by Nancy Kilpatrick

We, the living, have always exhibited a fascination with Death. We can't help ourselves. Death is, after all, one of our two most personal experiences, the other being Birth.

Back in the 14th century, when the world was in the grip of the Black Death, people were immersed in demise. From then until the 19th century, the plague was an onagain, off-again reality that, when most virulent, effected communities on a daily basis. The Black Plague decimated the population of Europe by approximately fifty per cent.

Whenever catastrophe strikes humanity, the arts always prove themselves invaluable. Through the metaphor of art, people come to terms with the inconceivable. Events that traumatize us individually and/or collectively evoke a need to make sense of what happened and the arts allow deeper connections to be made, aiding our ability to cope.

The Dance of Death (English); Danse Macabre (French); Totentanz (German); Danza Macabra (Italian); La Danza de la Muerte (Spanish); Dansa de la Mort (Catalan); Dans Macabru (Romanian); Dodendans (Dutch); Dança da Morta (Portuguese), these are but some of the names for what has been called 'plague art', visual artwork, sometimes accompanied by text, that grew out of the Medieval collective experience. Most commonly known as Danse Macabre, the visual aspect of this art depicts one or more skeletons — the formerly living — leading the dying from this earthly plane to another realm. These skeletons achieve this by inviting people to dance their way to the end of life, a rather charming approach to a date with mortality, if you think about it.

The initial Danse Macabre paintings appeared on the interior walls of the Le Cimetière des Innocents in Paris in 1424 (artist unknown), accompanied by poetry. This was not a cemetery as we know them today but a fenced-in bone yard, where remains were tossed onto an ever-expanding pile. During the Black Plague, so many succumbed — the cause of the plague

unknown at that time — that everyone knew someone who had capitulated to this disease: family, friends and neighbors, bakers, priests, Queens.
Danse Macabre took hold of the collective consciousness because in the midst of all this expiration, one truism emerged: Death comes to us all. No one is spared, from the beggar to the King, the merchant to the Pope. Death is the one great equalizer. And the bereaved can find some solace in that fact.
Early Danse Macabre art showed mostly males leaving this mortal coil, but soon artists were pencilling females into tableaux, for instance, milk maids, nuns, prostitutes, dowagers, mothers and their daughters. A wide spectrum of mortals were caught in a personal interaction with the Angel of Death, who was encouraging them to 'dance'. Meanwhile, the mortal was: stalling for time; attempting a bribe; pleading their case; hoping to trick the reaper grim, etc. And despite Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' warning: "Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.", the occasional person was shown dancing willingly.
Mortals in Danse Macabre artwork are, naturally, portrayed with emotion. Death, on the other hand, is usually seen as an impersonal skeleton, merely doing a job, neither just nor unjust. This artwork was taken as a memento mori, "Remember, you will die". The motif is a reminder that by being aware that Death waits in the wings until the music starts, Life should be viewed as precious, experienced vividly; each moment counts.
Knowledge of human anatomy was sketchy but became more sophisticated over the centuries. Earlier skeletons are barely recognizable as such. They appeared as hairy, fleshy, wrongly shaped, with crucial parts missing, and creatures that live in the earth added to their bones as special effects — it's a wonder some could stand, let alone play an instrument, which they sometimes did as accompaniment to the dance they were trying to entice mortals to! Many looked more like the skeletons of monkeys, rather than humans. But despite the primitive quality of the earliest artwork, it's surprising how often their bony skulls managed to hint at cuteness or cunning, cruelty or caginess, cynicism or chivalry. They could be laughing at us or weeping for us but the underlying sense is that Death has seen it all before, and will again.
The first Danse Macabre artwork from the 14th century did not survive when the Parisian cemetery was demolished (once science discovered germs and realized the dead should be burned or buried and not left out in the open). Those images were, though, reproduced in a book, woodcuts designed by Hans Holbein the Younger.

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Evolve

Vampire Stories of the New Undead
edition:Paperback
tagged :
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Evolve 2

Evolve 2

Vampire Stories of the Future Undead
edition:Paperback
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nEvermore!

nEvermore!

Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre. Neo-Gothic fiction inspired by the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe
edition:Paperback
tagged : horror
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Tesseracts Thirteen

Tesseracts Thirteen

Chilling Tales of the Great White North
edition:Paperback
tagged : short stories
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