Variations on Death and Love

I have two pieces published this month and they’re both about death. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The first piece is an article, Danse Macabre: Equality in Death in Medieval Istrian Frescoes published in The Deadlands. This wasn’t the first time I connected my art history knowledge with my publications in speculative fiction magazines, but it was the first time I wrote a non-fiction piece about my own cultural heritage. If you want to know more about medieval representations of death and about the role of death as the great equalizer, read the article. Also, the frescoes are amazing.

Party like it’s 1474

The second piece is The Collector, published in the September issue of Cossmass Infinities. This one is not really about death, although the main character is Morana, the old Slavic goddess of death (who is, BTW, also the MC in my dark fantasy novel I’m querying right now). My main focus in this story is on migrant workers and on how hard it is to leave your country and your heritage behind, even if you are a deity. It sucks to be a foreigner, far from the people who believe in you, metaphysically or otherwise.

The story is on the Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction list on, where Alex Brown wrote an amazing review:

We’ve all read tons of stories about Death gods and soul collecting, but there is something special about Jelena Dunato’s story that stuck with me. Morana, an ancient Slavic pagan deity tied to death and winter, travels to Italy to retrieve the soul of a dying elderly woman. But the woman’s house becomes a battlefield as other Death gods seek to claim the woman’s soul. I think what I appreciated the most was how Dunato threaded in the complexities of being a migrant in a place that needs your labor but does not care about your life, where ties to family and land become both stronger and more tenuous.

This month I’m also collaborating with the wonderful  A.R. Ward on Ghost Orchid Press’s new anthology, Beyond the Veil. This one is not about death, thank goodness, but about love. Queer, supernatural love. Send us your stories, we are eager to read them.

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